Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Grandmother Ocean: constant inspiration

The ancient Minoans revered the sea, and that makes perfect sense. After all, they lived on an island just south of Greece. Granted, it's a fairly large one as islands go: about 260 km (160 miles) long and 60 km (37 miles) wide. Still, the weather on Crete has always been mediated by the sea. And the Minoans plied their trade, becoming the wealthiest merchants of their time, by sailing large ships around the Mediterranean and even out the Straits of Gibraltar, up the Atlantic coast of Europe.

The merchants made their living on the sea and throughout the many centuries of Minoan civilization, the people relied on the sea as a source of food. But I think the Minoans also appreciated the beauty of the marine world, with its varied and fascinating plant and animal inhabitants. For instance, as far as we know they didn't eat dolphins, but there are a lot of dolphins in Minoan art, and not just the famous fresco at the top of this page. Here's a lovely stirrup jar with a leaping dolphin on it (all images are from Wikimedia Commons):

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THE TRADITIONAL WITCH’S CALENDAR:  15-21 FEBRUARY

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Valentine for Your God

A Valentine for Your God (Written together with A.D. Kent)

"The whole thing is to love God
and to taste His sweetness.
He is sweetness and the devotee is its enjoyer.
The devotee drinks the sweet Bliss of God.
God is the lotus and the devotee the bee.
The devotee sips the honey of the lotus.

As a devotee cannot live without God,
so also God cannot live without His devotee.
Then the devotee becomes the sweetness,
and God its enjoyer.
The devotee becomes the lotus, and God the bee.
It is the Godhead that has become these two
in order to enjoy Its own Bliss."

—  Sri Ramakrishna, "The Sacred Jewels of Yoga"


St.Valentine's Day!
Ahh, it's the Secular Day of Love made popular by greeting card companies-- and the Feast of Saint Valentine, which has more significance if you're Catholic. Most people get through not having the traditional secular day of love “valentine” by ignoring the public displays of affection or out and out having an “anti-valentine” of some kind. Ie ask why expend that energy being negative? There's enough negative energy in the world already. If you have no other valentine you may do a variety of loving things for yourself-- or in devotion for your God. That's really what I want to talk about.

Divine Love. Love of the Divine. Bhakti.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhakti

There's the wikipage on it, so wiki away if need be, and then come back. If not then good, you're just that much ahead. The important thing is Love is an experience that grows-- sometimes faster, sometimes slower, depending on how you nurture it. If you even WANT to love your Goddess or God deeply, then probably you are already on the way of growing that love.

“Teach me how to love you”, “Let me love you more and more every day”.
These are absolutely legit wishes for you to present your deity and no one is pushed into that type of relationship with a deity-- (consent is a very big thing. A powerful thing.) If you want it, just ask for it. (If you don't, please make that clear too) Just ask for it in a prayer. Ask the deity to help you to “grow more in love” with them, and if that feeling between you is mutual, They will definitely help! You may notice the changes coming into your life, emotions and feelings that burst forth. These small changes will build into a sense of renewal and well-being.

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We may not be able to agree what "pagan" means, or even if that's really the label we prefer- Heathen, Witch, Polytheist, Occultist etc. But one experience many of us have in common is facing some degree of social prejudice and the question of how "out" to be.  At the end of day, regardless of your practices, theology or identity, Paganism can be That Religious Category By Which we are lumped and stigmatized.

Often when we speak or write to teenagers inquiring about religious and magical practice, we advice them to wait until they move out of their parents' house. For many young people with disabilities independent living is  out of reach. And for older Pagans who may lose some degree of independence, getting help from aides, relatives or moving into a senior home may mean going back into the broom closet. I have been quite fortunate- my parents were quite accepting both of me being bisexual and Pagan, and I've had to continue to rely on them or my partner to varying degrees financially without having to hide who I am. The mental health professionals that I work with, when I have broached the subject of my sexuality or religion, have also been accepting. (It doesn't hurt that two of them were also Unitarian Universalists!)

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The Parentalia: Honoring the Ancestors and Beloved Dead

It is bedtime. My daughter and I are cuddled up, and it is story time. This is our nightly ritual. Some nights, when she's not so tired, we read myths. She is nearly 4, and her attention span is not that of an adults, so most nights we read about My Little Pony or Olivia like your normal family.

Tonight, though, she brings me Neil Gaiman's Blueberry Girl. There was a point where I couldn't read through it without crying, and I'm secretly thankful that I've steeled myself slightly to the beautiful prayer the author wrote for his daughter.

Within the first few pages, my daughter grabs my hand to still it, and looks a long time at the picture of beautifully aged women looking lovingly over a wandering, wondrous girl. She asks, “Are they the Ancestors?”

I'm suddenly tearing up anyway. This time my eyes are welling up with pride. She's connected it. She's starting to understand the nature of Ancestors – That They watch over us.

Until this point, I've avoided using anything but English words for the Gods (which for a Roman polytheist can include at least some of the Ancestors), but on this night I kiss the top of her head and say with pride and delight, “Yes, these are special Ancestors. We call Them the Matronae. They are the Big Mothers who look after us and make sure we have a good life.”

“Matronae,” she says, turning the R into a W. It's adorable. It's amazing to hear the word on the lips of the young, fae-like creature my entire world has come to revolve around. It means even more as I slowly write a book about the Matronae of the Missouri River.

My daughter gets it. She understands.

Maybe I'm not failing as a parent as much as I thought.

“It's Parentalia,” I remind her. “This is a time for the Ancestors.”

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Loving Your Body Doesn't Mean Thinking It's Perfect

It was a strange experience, having a birthday just days before David Bowie and Alan Rickman died. They were both 69. I turned 35. When I heard about their deaths I realized, with a mild but chilling existential awe, that my life could very well be half over.

Ha! Ha! I know what those of you who are older than me are thinking. Half over? At 35!? Sweetie, calm down. They both had cancer. You’re not even middle-aged yet.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_6.jpgEach of the past five years Temple Osireion has remembered the journey of the soul through the Duat with a ritual drama.  We do this around the first of November, a time when it is natural to embrace the darker season, ponder the afterlife, and imagine meeting the gods.  The journey through the Duat is one of the grand myths which provides a metaphor for personal and community growth.  It is arduous, confusing, transforming and, ultimately, regenerative. 

With the regeneration comes a rebirth into the dawn of a new day.  The ancient texts tell of Osiris’ transformation into Ra, of Ra’s transformation from an old, dying neteru back into the young hawk that bursts from the eastern akhet (horizon) into flight across the day. 

Pool of Lotus has for three years brought messages that we hope have shed a bit of light on new Egyptian practice, encouraged those on a Kemetic-inspired path, and better connected Egyptian religion to the contemporary Pagan movement.  As with many journeys, it is time to look ahead to a new morning, a next new way of being. 

In the coming year I will be directing my focus on finishing my graduate degree at Cherry Hill Seminary, so it seems wise to bring Pool of Lotus to a close.  My heartfelt thanks goes to the editor of Witches and Pagans, Anne Niven, for opening this opportunity to me in 2012.  Your encouragement, advice and support are a treasure for which I will always be grateful.  Blessings of peace to all.

A god has been born now that I have been born:
I see and have sight,
I have my existence,
I am lifted up upon my place,
I have accomplished what has been decreed . . .
(Book of the Dead, 174)

Come, come in peace, O glorious Eye of Heru.
Be strong and renew your youth in peace,
for the flame shines like Ra on the double horizon.
I am pure, I am pure, I am pure, I am pure.
(From “Great Rite Honoring Djehuty,” Eternal Egypt by Richard Reidy)

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Holli Emore
    Holli Emore says #
    Thank you for reading and for your kind comment, Brea.

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