Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
9 pagans that have influenced me in 2014

I'm not a fan of Top Ten lists. In fact, Top Ten lists frequently make it onto my Top Ten list of things I dislike. Having said that though, I feel inexorably compelled to write about 9 folks that have greatly influenced me this year. And as a Top 9 list is not the same as a Top 10 list I think I can live with myself. I considered a Top 11 list but thought that was too reminiscent of Spinal Tap and let's face it, 9 is a good witchy number.

Now some of these folks you might recognize from their books, or Pagan festival appearances or blogs and I imagine that several of them might appear on other people's year-end retrospectives too. My hope is that there will be at least one or two folks that you don't know and, much more importantly, I hope to convey just why these people have been so deeply influential to me this year.

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    I've left it as published but just in case anyone else reads these comments, it's clear that Anne and I have yet to meet. I'm goin
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Don't edit it, Gwion, or you'll make this entire thread look .... well, really weird.
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Well then - I'm about to edit my piece to make it clear we haven't met! Now...I wonder who I did meet?
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Gwion -- I've only been to PCon once in my life, way back in 2008. I'm pretty sure we haven't met.
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    You know Anne, I have a recollection of being introduced to you by a mutual friend at Pantheacon several years ago. Now if that's

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Christmas with Dionysos

You’ve probably seen those memes that depict the many deities whose birthdays coincide with Christmas and whose attributes are startlingly similar to Jesus’. Please understand, I have no quarrel with Jesus, though I could do without some of his followers. He is one of a long line of gods who remind us that there is light within the darkness, that all cycles turn and renew, and that mindfulness and compassion go a long way toward curing the ills of this world. But he’s not the only one with those attributes, and in fact, he’s not the only one celebrated at this time of year, either, as you might have guessed.

Let me introduce you to another god who is born at Midwinter; perhaps you will enjoy his company as much as I do. He has much to teach, for those who have the patience to listen.

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  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    Fabulous! I loved reading this. I hadn't heard this story before. Thanks for sharing it.
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    You're very welcome! Glad you enjoyed it.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Villa of the Mysteries at Pompeii

As indicated in the introduction to this blog above, I discovered Jungianism and Neo-Paganism at the same time, through the writings of Vivianne Crowley, Margot Adler, and Starhawk, and the two have remained intertwined for me ever since.  In fact, the first Pagan writing I ever read was an essay by Wiccan priestess and Jungian psychologist, Vivianne Crowley entitled, "Wicca as a Modern-Day Mystery Religion", in Graham Harvey and Charlotte Hardman's Paganism Today (1994).  Wouter Hanegraaf has written that Vivianne Crowley’s Jungian perspective “is so strong that readers might be forgiven for concluding that Wicca is little more than a religious and ritual translation of Jungian psychology.” And, in fact, that is exactly what I believed.  Even after realizing that that Paganism is far more diverse than I had originally thought, Crowley's vision of Wicca has continued to influence me.

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  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    I don't disagree with you, John. Actually, I think that the personal transformation element is the superior of the two reasons to
  • Courtney
    Courtney says #
    In becoming a Pagan, I have experienced the initiation as a form of personal transformation that you spoke of. I liked this post a

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

 

 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_NutCosmicDream.jpgAt the winter solstice I can’t help but be aware that the earth is rushing inexorably towards its fatal crossing of the ecliptic on December 21.  After that longest night, the sun will rise a tiny bit earlier, set a bit later.  Before I know it, the year will have changed again, and life will have moved on as I sleep, whether I am ready for a new year or not. 

Deep in the quiet night, curled up beneath the warm of my down coverlet, I ponder the fragile balance of light and darkness, remembering that the Tanach says in Genesis that G_d separated the evening and the morning, then called them the first day.  In ancient Egypt, all life emerged from the water, but soon began the same sort of bicameral division, first into firmament and waters, then into snakes and frogs, and eventually into ta, the land of Kmt, and Hapy, the great river of life surging through it. Ages later, modern science told us a new story of cell division and multiplication. The act of creating would seem to necessitate divisions. 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
And so it is Yuletide

And so it is Yule. Unlike Christmas (and even unlike the Winter Solstice itself), Yule is not a single day, and its arrival is not determined by a single calendar date. It is a dark tide of energy that arises, generally on or around the Solstice, and Yule proper lasts for twelve nights, ending in Twelfth Night (which usually falls on or around Christmas Eve).

Its coming is not always predictable; one can plan for Yule and then feel the tide of energy arrive a day early, or a day late. In this modern era, most people are so harried by the commercialism of the Christmas season that they barely even notice when the tide comes in, if they notice at all. I own an online shop and my day job is in customer service, so I certainly am not immune to the hectic atmosphere that prevails. In the midst of the flurry of shopping and making, it can be difficult to feel the moment when the land whispers to you: “It is now.”

Our ancestors (in the Germanic countries) referred to Yule as Rauhnacht, the “rough nights” or “raw nights.” The Yuletide energy is not a gentle one; it is harsh, glaring, strident, echoing the energies of the Wild Hunt that rules this season. It actually meshes pretty well with the frantic shopping and feelings of desperation and often despair that surround Christmas. It can manifest in irritation and snappishness (tempers have been short in my household all week long), or in a surge of energy that one does not know how to channel. Many people respond to it by feeling the need to retreat from the world, to nest with books or movies—which is actually a wise choice. Traditionally, Yule was a time for gathering a home with families and friends—not just to celebrate the return of the sun, but because it was considered a dangerous time. The roads, the wildness, all of the in-between places were particularly dangerous; there was too much chance of encountering the Hunt, or even being taken by it. Only witches, seidhr folk, sorcerers, and other societal vagrants would choose to be out and about on these nights.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_800px-Winter-Sonnwendfeuer_in_Senden-Wullenstetten.jpgPer corroborated gnosis/doxa, the winter solstice in Vanaheim is Rasthuas Essonsaras (RAHSthoo-ahs es-son-SAH-rahs), or Lights of the Serpent (in Eshnesk, the language of the Eshnahai [the Vanir]), where the "fire within the earth" is given to begin awakening the land.  

On the night before the winter solstice, the King and the Lord of the Black "battle" with the King "winning" to gain control of the land again. As the men "battle", women enact the union of Star Mother with her reflection in the Void, exploding the Multiverse into being.

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  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Sounds lovely. Happy Rasthuas Essonsaras to you!

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