Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I’m Erin Lale, author of Asatru For Beginners, and this is my first post in my new Gnosis Diary. I’ll be telling the story of my personal gnosis journey from the beginning, starting with the next post, until I catch up with the current time.

I’ve been a sworn Priestess of Freya since 1989, and recently also became a bride of the triple Odin. I work with all the gods of the heathen pantheon. All my earliest spiritual experiences were with Native American land spirits and animal totem spirits, though. I did not know the heathen path was my path until I was 17.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Into the Coven

As a Witch the goal for me has always been to work and practice in a coven. In twenty years of mostly Wiccan-style Paganism I’ve only truly been a part of a real, living, breathing coven a small handful of times. That’s not to say I’ve been a solitary for the majority of a my time as a Pagan, just that the groups and people I was working with didn’t quite meet the standard of a coven. The word coven means something to me, it has value, so I don’t like to use it lightly.

Most of my group ritual has taken place in ritual groups I generally label circles. These are usually eclectic gatherings of people without much (or any) adherence to any particular tradition or path outside of the basic Wicca-101 type books. I’ve had some truly amazing experiences in these types of groups, but with revolving door memberships most of them lacked cohesion. Just because something worked the one time didn’t mean we’d remember it for the next sabbat.

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Magic on the Altiplano/Aramu Muru, Peru: Part Two

I hopped into a boat and left the shore far behind. Ahead suddenly loomed a Uros Island, in Lake Titicaca, on top of the world, Peru. When I got to the island the water drew me in and I immediately wanted to dive into these out of the ordinary waters. When I emerged into the water I felt purified, cleansed and peaceful. This gigantic lake on top of the world was clear, pristine and most sacred.

As I relaxed into the unique floating island ambiance feeling divine, I chewed on totora reed and played with the children. Potatoes and eggs were served for dinner, the potatoes cooked in the putu, which was a small oven created for cooking potatoes.

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We make our destinies by our choice of gods. -- Virgil

In my last post, I wrote about the danger of trivializing the gods.  In this post, I want to discuss the danger of trusting them.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Follow your heart, your conscience and your ka – your creative power – all your life. (11) The ka of a just man is a genuine creative energy and makes people rejoice. (22)

(from The Wisdom of Ptah-Hotep: Spiritual Treasures From the Age of the Pyramids, Christian Jacq) 

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I am a Jungian Neo-Pagan, which means that, theologically speaking, I fall somewhere between atheist Pagans and devotional polytheists regarding the existence of the gods.  By placing my beliefs in the "middle" here I do not mean to privilege my beliefs, only to make the point that I both agree and disagree with both groups about different things.  One thing I agree with devotional polytheists about is that the gods should be taken seriously. 

I worry sometimes that we Neo-Pagans don't take our own gods seriously enough.  I disagree with devotional polytheists about the metaphysical nature of the gods, whether they are "real, independent, sentient beings" or real, independent semi-conscious archetypes. (Carl Jung called the archetypes "gods" and compared the psyche to an “Olympus full of deities who want to be propitiated, served, feared and worshipped”.)  But one thing I admire about them is the seriousness (the "piety" if you will) with which they approach the gods.  

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One of my favourite Irish myths of all time has to be 'Cormac's Adventures in the Land of Promise.' In the story, the Otherworld goes to great lengths to get Cormac's attention, eventually luring him (or guiding him) into an Otherworld encounter. At one point he is shown a vision of a fountain with five streams flowing from it. The god Mannanàn mac Lir explains that what he is seeing is the Fountain of Knowledge, and the five streams are the senses through which knowledge is obtained. He adds that the 'Folk of Many Arts' are those who drink from both the streams (the senses) and the fountain (the source of knowledge).

In modern paganism, we enjoy the freedom to 'drink up' through the wonders of the senses, through time spent in nature, ritual, study, exploration and song. Drinking at the Source, however, can be a little tricker. How can we know if the things we are doing, sensing and experiencing are 'Celtic' or 'personal,' if the beliefs and concepts we are discussing are Celtic or from some other path (new or old), and if the ways in which we are expressing our inner experiences are in fact 'Celtic' at all?

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