Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

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A toast to the Minoans!

It can be hard to figure out what kinds of rituals and traditions people of the past had, especially if we don't have any written records of them. But sometimes art can help. The image at the top of this post is part of the Camp Stool fresco from Knossos, the largest of the ancient Minoan cities. It shows a banqueting scene that includes ritual toasting, a common activity in many societies from that time. Here's a reconstruction of the whole fresco, with two rows of people participating in toasts and possibly libations (poured offerings) as well:

  

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Dying Matters

I am not just a Pagan author and Druid, my life has a extraordinary tripartite pattern to it, yes, I am an author, and I am a Druid, but I also work as a member of a Mortuary and Bereavement Services team. In a manner I am an ordinary person who has an extraordinary job. When I say Mortuary, to those in the USA, what I am referring to is a Morgue or a Medical Examiners facility as opposed to a Funeral Home, which you would commonly refer to as a Mortuary. 

This week it is Dying Matters Awareness Week, a 7 day nationwide event facilitated by the National Council for Palliative and End of Life Care and the Dying Matters Coalition. The movement is dedicated to raising awareness about and discussing our wishes and preferences around care and treatment at the end of life. Hospitals, Mortuaries, hospices, community centers and all manners of other venues are hosting events all week to talk about death and dying. 

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  • Malinda Sutherland
    Malinda Sutherland says #
    I am no longer scared of dying as I was in the past. My soul will move onto Summerland. I have decided that my body is to be crema

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Honour the bones...

Bones

In the old days bones and animal parts were used widely for magical purposes.  People were hunters they used all the parts of an animal primarily for food and warmth, and the bones for magic.

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A Prayer for the Unmothered

May you find your mothers in a lungful of sweet air, in a breeze that cools your anger, in a gust that sings, “I see you, and I’m here."

May you find your mothers in deep belly laughter, the joy that overtakes you unexpectedly, the electricity that fuels your love for what you create.

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An Accidental Pop Culture Beltane

While I had no plans to incorporate pop culture magick into my Beltane celebrations this year, the powers that be had other plans.  Apparently, when you get a group of Seattle Pagans together and ask them how to come up with a way to clear blocks to abundance and build foundations of prosperity what they come up with is magickal scrubbing bubbles and the nanobots from Big Hero Six.  How you ask?  Well, let me tell you.

For those of you who don’t know, I am part of a duo of facilitators that puts on public rituals in Seattle.  We call ourselves Illustris and do most of our rituals at Edge of the Circle Books near the University of Washington.  Instead of having a large team performing scripted rituals, we co-create our ritual with the participants just minutes before performing it.  This means we never really know what our rituals are going to look like until we’re in the middle of them.  It’s quite exciting and our attendees come up amazing things sometimes. 

For each ritual we establish a magickal purpose for the working to be designed.  This time around we had two: 1) working with the energies of Mercury retrograde to remove blocks to wealth and abundance (whatever that looked like for each participant), and 2) building a sturdy foundation to grow true prosperity.  My brain was totally fogged by allergy medicine, so I was utterly dependent on attendees coming up with good ideas because I had nothing.  I looked around the room and saw one of our regulars snort and say, “Well, the image that immediately comes to mind is a foaming toilet cleaner bomb.  It gets rid of anything.”  Immediately everyone in the room smiled and knew exactly what she was talking about.  Oh yes, we would clear energetic blocks with magickal scrubbing bubbles!  Whoever said commercials were useless?  They get stuck in our heads so well that they make shockingly good common imagery and vocabulary.  We decided we would collectively create an energy ball that we would essentially detonate in the middle of the group to foam away blocking energies.  It worked shockingly well.

For the second part of the ritual one of our new participants suggested using the energetic equivalent of the nanobots in Big Hero Six to build a foundation for prosperity.  I loved the idea and about half the room immediately nodded their heads in agreement.  The other half of the room went, “What’s Big Hero Six and what do the nanobots do in it?”  So, we spent a few minutes explaining the reference and got sidetracked talking about carbon nanotubes (it was awesome!).  Then a gal brought up the issue that she’d only seen nanobots portrayed negatively in sci-fi and asked for an example of nanobots doing something positive.  Thankfully she was a Doctor Who fan so all I had to say was, “just this once Rose Tyler, just this once everybody lives,” and we were good to go.  (If you have no idea what that means watch the episodes “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances” from the 2005 run of Doctor Who - some of the best television ever made. This clip shows the scene:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhklrve5xmw

The whole situation really highlighted one of the most common problems in doing group pop culture magick - common culture.  People of different demographics have different things in their pop culture baskets.  Hell, people of the exact same demographic are likely to have different things in their lexicons.  We all like different things and thus remember and attach importance to different bits and pieces of pop culture.  The more diverse a group of people is the less likely they are to have a lot of common pop culture (though there’s almost always something there - think blockbuster fandoms like Star Wars or Mad Max).  I don’t generally bring pop culture magick into big public rituals for just this reason, but this time it happened organically and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results.  A little explanation to make sure we were all on the same page and we created the common imagery we need to make the magick work.

Through no intention of my own, I ended up having a Beltane ritual that was filled to the brim with pop culture magick.  The ubiquity of commercials gave us our first working and a combination of Disney and Doctor Who gave us our second working.  What a great time to be a pop culture practitioner!

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Thank you for sharing. I got the scrubbing bubbles reference and I have both the Big Hero 6 DVD and the Manga so I got that refer
  • Emily Carlin
    Emily Carlin says #
    We did have a lot of fun Unfortunately, since our rituals are created on the spot there's no script to share. I would if I could

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
First steps in Kemetic Religion

"Come, let me cause you to know them,
namely, the four principles of life…
to bind with them -
Set your heart upon god!
Adhere to the law!
Make revenge!
Go in ma'at!"

Be small of wrath!
Be thoughtful!
Be a good man!.."

"Conversations in the House of Life" ("The Demotic Book of Thoth" - 388-390)

 

If you feel called to Kemetic religion and wonder what should be your first step, my answer always is “Just make that step”. Come before the Netjeru to walk on the path of Ma’at and prepare a place in your heart where your honored Gods will reside, making your body and soul into their temples; guiding your boat on the waters of life.

If you have attraction to certain Netjer, by whatever reason, try talking to that one.
Even if you just consider the deity to be handsome. This also is a valid reason :)
If you are attracted to the pantheon as a whole, address them all, as one divine family… and ask if someone wants to take a larger role in your life, to “step in”.

Once you let them in (as living gods- they may reside in your heart), even if you don’t think about them often, they think of you :)

It’s not required to think about the Gods every single minute of your life, but it makes one happy when you know that deities are loving, caring, helpful and ready to hear your prayers, your praises, and the sharing of your concerns and worries with them. They are like your family and friends; think about your prayer/shrine time as about divine phone call or skype chat with a close friend who is not physically present, but always ready to answer your call and listen.

If you are drawn to several Netjeru already, then start doing more for them and learn more about them.
 
You do not have to have one central Netjer to work with. There is more likely to be several. In Ancient Egypt it was not common to choose only one Netjer to serve/“work with”. People had personal devotions, and may be had their favorites between Netjeru; but more common case was that there was a group, or “family” of the Netjeru who were closer to that particular person.

Frequently it was defined by the place they lived in and other circumstances. We know accounts of ancient Egyptians who had Netjeru appearing to them in dreams, and this causing their focus of devotion to significantly change. There are recorded stories of people who were called for intense devotion by Mut, Aset/Isis and Djehuty after the Netjeru making clear appearance in a dream. But most of the people simply followed their hearts, natural attraction, tradition of family and home town.

Choosing one “primary” Netjer doesn’t mean that you can’t have “many”. Historical example again: even the high priest of one temple could also have priestly ranks and offices in other temples, dedicated to other Netjeru. So, Egyptian priests could bear titles “high priest of NN, and priest of NN, and NN, and having a shift in the temple of NN”, and it totally worked.

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My 2 Weddings, Part 3: May Day with Loki

May Day 2014 was the first ritual I attended after Loki started skinriding me almost every day. Because he could be present in my body at any time, I have to be sure that every ritual I go to is a Loki-friendly one put on by Loki-welcoming people. If Loki isn't welcome in main ritual space, and he's in here with me, then I can't enter main ritual space.

It would not make any sense for me to put a lot of time and effort into getting to a ritual if I can't be sure I'll be able to participate in it. Luckily, there was a ritual I could attend right in my local area. 

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