Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

Specific paths such as Heathenism, blended traditions, polytheist reconstructionism, etc.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

You've probably heard the story of Persephone's abduction to the Underworld by Hades and her mother Demeter's frantic search for her. But what if the original story was a little different from that? Instead of the young goddess being taken against her will and needing to be rescued, what if she descended to the Underworld of her own free will, to aid and guard the spirits of the dead during the fallow season when she wasn't needed in the World Above? And what if her mother didn't frantically search to find her, but simply went to where she already knew her daughter was, in order to let her know it was time to ascend from the Underworld?

The Persephone-and-Demeter story was enshrined in the Eleusinian Mysteries, which were so popular they survived from classical times several centuries into the Christian era. It's possible that the Eleusinian Mysteries began in the pre-Greek era, perhaps in Minoan Crete and/or mainland Greece among the people who lived there before the arrival of the Indo-European Mycenaeans (check out Karl Kerenyi's book Dionysos for some interesting theories along these lines).

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Sometimes insights come from lighthearted conversation rather than deep mystical trances in the woods. This is one of the challenges we face in these times of isolation: the challenge of just have conversations with other heathens or mystics or etc. Internet forums and plain old telephones come to our rescue. It isn't always enough, but this time it was.

I was talking on the phone to another heathen and mentioned the solar lights I added to my pool this year, claiming I have a light-up pool eyeball. Of course I was just joking when I said, "My pool is Mimir's Well and I swim in it every day, and at night I swim with the light-up eyeball. I don't think it's Odin's eye, though, it's the eye of a monster. The monster that lives in my pool."

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Thoughts About My Ancestor Mystery

I've been cogitating about my previous post, Solving an Ancestor Mystery with DNA, and what the new information means to me. Firstly let me state that the Cherokee Freedmen were culturally Cherokee regardless of DNA, so when I talk about the revelation that my supposed Cherokee ancestor was "really" African, I'm not implying that anyone else's Freedmen ancestors were not "real" tribespeople. I'm only talking about me, and my personal ancestors.

There must have been a good reason why my dad's family were not living in a Cherokee tribal community at the time of the earliest living memories to which I was exposed growing up, and the stories I've previously heard about why that was are now suspect. It seems likely that my Freedmen ancestors left because they could, because they were freed. My dad's early spiritual teachings to me were Native American in character, not African, referencing the corn spirit and other spirits native to this continent. His teachings set me on an animist spiritual path in harmony with the land spirits, which I continue as an Asatruar. He never specifically stated what tradition he was, though.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Oh, cool! Does Finland have a tradition about that?
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    When you mentioned that you call your drum Grandmother Elk I immediately thought of Finland.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Solving an Ancestor Mystery with DNA

Asatru is one of the paths that includes ancestors among the beings we honor. That doesn't always have to be one's own personal literal biological ancestors, as explored in a prior post. However, many heathens go in for genealogy, and for those who have done so and hit a wall, or for adoptees and others who don't know anything about their ancestors, the corner where modern science and capitalism meet has provided home DNA tests.

My brother has extensively traced our family genealogy and uncovered some interesting things, but there was one mystery the paperwork could not answer for us. We had been told that we were part Cherokee. The summer after I graduated from college, which was about a year after my father died, I went looking for my Cherokee roots and drove across the country, all the way from California to the Qualla Boundary reservation in North Carolina. I utterly failed to connect to the land spirits, the people, or even the artifacts in the museum. I went camping nearby in the Great Smoky Mountains and did not connect to the land there either. I tried looking for records, and whether I approached via writing or in person, I hit a wall of silence everywhere I went. I tried to connect spiritually, and decided that was not the path for me. I had already been following a heathen path at that point, but that was about when I found a local California Asatru organization, and when I went there I felt right at home, welcome and connected, so I was affirmed on my path. But the unsolved mystery of the elusive Cherokee ancestors stayed in the back of my mind.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Audio Resources on Asatru and Heathenry

If you are blind or visually impaired, or just prefer audiobooks to print or ebooks, there are links at the end of this post for your use. I have a limited number of free codes for the audiobook of my new book Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path, and I would like to give them to readers of my blog who are blind. I am also giving these codes to the blind in my forum, the Asatru Facebook Forum, and on my social media. These codes will all be gone after this month, August 2020.

Here is a link to my new book on Audible. Right now Audible is giving away free copies of my book when you sign up for a 30 day trial of Audible.

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Answering Questions About My New Book Part 2

Here are some more questions and answers about my new book Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path, and about me and my other books and projects. This book is the ONLY official, authorized new version of my out-of-print book Asatru For Beginners.

With that out of the way, here are some more of the questions and answers. Part 1 of this 2 part series ran last weekend.

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Honoring the Dead: Secondary Burial in Minoan Crete

[Content Warning: This post contains a photo of human skeletal remains.]

When we talk about funerals, many of us think of the deceased being either cremated or buried in a grave, and that's the end of the process. But for the ancient Minoans, it was only the beginning.

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