Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

No, Christianity Didn't Steal Ash Wednesday from Heathens

No, Ash Wednesday is not a heathen or pagan holiday. Yes, Wednesday is named after Odin (Woden.) Yes, other cultures besides Christianity used ritual fire and some even used ritual ash. Some Hindus in India receive a blessing from ash from a sacred fire. Fire as a source of cleansing, heat, and light is pretty basic and obvious, and the fact that x culture used it does not mean y culture stole the idea from x culture.

The internet meme making the rounds that claims that fire and ash is an exclusively heathen or pagan symbol is ridiculous on its face; all cultures used fire. The internet meme claims the ashes from heathen festivals were protective in heathen culture. While it is possible that some heathens in the past did use ash for some magical or religious purpose, but if so the person who created the meme really ought to cite the source.

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Myth-information: Minoan facts, rumors, and wild tales

The Internet is a great source of information, but it turns out that it's also a repository of out-of-date and incorrect ideas that keep getting passed around again and again simply because they're floating around in cyberspace. Believe it or not, the Minoans are the subject of quite a few of these bits of misinformation.

In the interest of efficiency, here's the list of Minoan-related concepts that I find myself having to explain most often. Don't panic; I believed many of them myself at one time. But it's a good idea to set the record straight. Plus, this way I have a link to point people to instead of having to constantly repeat myself. :-)

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Looking to the Stars

It was a silent, windless night far north, beyond the harsh lights of city and suburb. I was lying belly down on a dock, staring into utterly still water. The diamond splash of stars above was reflected perfectly beneath me.

 

I was rapt, drawn out of myself by the strangeness of finding stars above and below. With a slight shift in perception, suddenly all was space and points of light. I was falling, floating in this wondrous, mesmerizingly unfamiliar space. I was suspended, lost in an ocean of stars. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Kari
    Kari says #
    Loved it! Brilliant as usual.
  • Archer
    Archer says #
    You are too kind! Thank you!

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Book Review: Aspecting the Goddess

I hadn't intended to review Jane Meredith's book Aspecting the Goddess on this blog. But then I read her tale of Ariadne, and I just had to.

The book is both a how-to manual of methods for connecting with the divine and a recounting of her own experiences using those methods. Her writing is poetic, touching, and inspiring - and just to be clear, the methods can be used to develop relationships with gods, goddesses, land spirits, and other non-human beings.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Moon Path Part Two

Last month I began to write about the relationship between the moon and the witch. Let's continue the discussion here. 

There are many different names for the various moons throughout the yearly cycle, and perhaps the most famous of all is the Coligny Calendar, a Gallic lunar calendar dating back to the 2nd century. Indeed, we derive the word “month” from the word “moon”, and so to follow a lunar calendar in our Craft makes perfect sense. In the Coligny calendar, the moons start from the sixth night of the waxing moon, and are described as thus: 

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There is a lot of discussion online these days about how one can learn about the historical knowledge and practices of the past, in order to create a strong foundation based on the wisdom of the Celtic ancestors. It is well documented that the long-standing and time tested wisdom and rituals of indigenous cultures are enduring and powerful because they are supported by, and in some cases perceived to have been directly given by, the gods and spirits.  Some of these indigenous cultures have managed to preserve this ancient and sacred knowledge over centuries or even millennia. Others however, like Celtic traditions, have lost pieces of their religion and are working to put back together a fragmented knowledge of what was once a life-sustaining and deeply effective religion.

For many years, I have been working to learn, research, restore and transmit authentic historical Celtic practices and wisdom. That quest has taken me into the halls of academia, as well as onto the land to connect with Celtic language speaking tradition bearers. I did not realize it at the time, but the gods and spirits were clearly supporting certain activities, while putting up obstacles to prevent me from others... including not immersing myself fully in modern NeoPagan or New Age practices and beliefs. After 30 years of questing, and 25 years of teaching, I have found that when I stay in alignment with what the gods and spirits support, energy flows and synchronicities abound. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Síthearan NicLeòid
    Síthearan NicLeòid says #
    Thank you Anne! I hope you’re having a wonderful time, wherever you are! Many bright blessings
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Gillian: Leave a message at bbicontact.com and I'll forward it to Sharon next week (I'm currently out of town on business for my d
  • Síthearan NicLeòid
    Síthearan NicLeòid says #
    Hi Gillian, and thanks for your message. I’m not sure how to facilitate a chat without leaving my email here, which I’d prefer not
  • Gillian Van Dien
    Gillian Van Dien says #
    Hi Sharon: I would like to discuss attending one of these with you (they all sound fantastic!), but I don't have a FB account and

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

A couple of nights ago, not long after Candlemas, I woke up at 4am with our farm animals on my mind.  The fire was out, the wind was howling, and it was freaking cold even under the covers.  Outside, the temperature had dropped to -40 degrees Celsius.  Factor in the wind chill and it was close to -50.  As I tried to get some warmth back into my toes, I began to worry about the animals outside.  Our small herd of cattle, horses, and sheep are all well suited to northern climates, but this type of deep cold is hard on them.  I said a prayer, and envisioned them blanketed by a protective warm layer of light and love.  I added another Spirit-song for the dogs, and all the other wild creatures on and around the farmstead.  I'm glad they are resilient, but I can't help but feel concerned for all the wights abroad on a night such as that.

 

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