Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

The retrieval and revival of indigenous ceremonial traditions is a growing concern in this increasingly disconnected world, and one that has great promise for the restoration of methods of sustainable living, sound ecological practices and the preservation of ancient knowledge. Sound recordings of elders are being made around the world, as well as video recordings (where possible and appropriate) of aspects of traditional ritual. For some tribes, preservation and the training of the younger generation are key. For other native cultures, these efforts hinge around the retrieval of fragmentary and partially forgotten evidence. This is the situation with native Celtic ritual practices, some of which have died out, and others which survive in traditional Celtic-language speaking communities and which are not advertised or generally made public.

Every book, group and spiritual teacher who professes to practice 'ancient Celtic or Druidic ritual' has a completely different system on offer, which in and of itself is a red flag. The vast majority of these are based on modern occult and Neo-Pagan traditions, Neo-Shamanism of a non-Celtic provenance, and various New Age ideas, with a smattering of Celtic words or symbols. The reason for this is totally understandable: without living elders to pass along an intact tradition, or detailed written evidence that preserves such a system (provided by and approved by living descendants of native tradition bearers), there is enormous confusion and controversy over what Celtic ritual is or should be like.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Alan O ' Domhnaill
    Alan O ' Domhnaill says #
    Language is in a continual state of evolvement. Possibly our way of expressing and understanding too. Should ritual not also be ev
  • Alison Leigh Lilly
    Alison Leigh Lilly says #
    Thanks for this article -- a good, informative run-down of some basic commonalities in ritual from different ancient Celtic cultur
  • Síthearan NicLeòid
    Síthearan NicLeòid says #
    Hi Alison - Thank you for your very insightful and thoughtful message! Yes, I can clarify.... Since what I am personally trying t
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Thank you for this article and knowledge.
  • Síthearan NicLeòid
    Síthearan NicLeòid says #
    You are very welcome, Greybeard! May it serve and inspire!

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Holding a Heathen Ritual Upstairs

Continuing my story of my personal journey on my path, in the late 90s I started holding my own blots and sumbels in my apartment. My local area had neither festivals with public rituals nor any heathen groups I could find to join, so I started holding the holidays myself, sometimes alone and sometimes with friends. When I had non-heathen friends over for the holidays of the American holiday calendar, I did my holidays the American way. That eventually grew into my personal practice which I talk about in my book American Celebration. 

When I held specifically Asatru rituals, I usually held a sumbel (toasting ritual) but also sometimes held a blot (blessing) in addition. In preparing to hold a blot or sumbel for the first time, there was a practical consideration: Where do I pour out the blotbolli or horn? At the end of a heathen ritual, there is leftover liquid-- usually mead these days-- in a bowl (for a blot) or a horn (for a sumbel.) This liquid is supposed to be given to the landwights. I would have had to leave ritual space to access the ground, which was a common strip of lawn used by all the neighbors, down a flight of stairs. So I decided to pour the horn or bowl into my potted plants on the balcony, which I called "the hanging gardens of Las Vegas."

Offering through my plants connected my potted garden, in which I grew food, flowers, and small trees, with the land spirit. There is something very primal, very pagan, about gardening. It connected me with the land, the seasons, the weather, and all those gods and beings related to those things: spring maiden and harvest lord, sun and rain, and the spirits of nature.

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Everywhere, Spring is being celebrated. I feel it, too: the warm air on my arms (hey, sweater season gets annoying!), the heavenly scent of jasmine, the first buds on the jacarandas. But underneath it I feel a sense of dread. Here in Los Angeles, rainy season is over.

Last month I got a price quote from a vegetable gardening service, hoping to finally get my garden in shape. But it's been weeks and I can't bring myself to pull the trigger. What if the guy comes out and the next day, restrictions go into place? Even if they don't (and our lackadaisical municipal governments aren't making any move to ration), can I really justify expanding my garden when water is so scarce? Everyone knows lawns are bad, but are tomatoes okay?

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    I think you'll probably be doing this... http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/cities-are-now/los-angeles-imports-nearly-85-percent-of

 

 

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In my last post, I introduced the archetype of the Anima and Animus, the contra-gendered aspects of our unconscious selves.

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The Vanic New Year is the spring equinox in March, which in the language of the Vanir they call Eshnaia Agreta (esh-NIGH-ya ah-GREYtah), or Green Awakening.

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Ritual Elements Water - Immersing Myself in Water

Over the past few weeks I've been examining my practice with the Elements. It is one of the core pieces of magic I teach in the Reclaiming Tradition.I revisit this work every so often as a teacher and as a student. In my last two post I talked about my explorations with Air and my connections with Fire. Now it's time to dive into some deep Water.

Immersing myself in Water -

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    I love that too Annika - There's a scene in the movie "The Graduate" where the main character sits at the bottom of his parents sw
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Oh, what a great exploration and complicated relationship to water. I didn't grow up near water, my refuge and place of exploratio
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Hello Crystal, thank you for commenting and sharing something of your story. I am a Fire sign actually, but I think your point st
  • Crystal R. Martin
    Crystal R. Martin says #
    Is earth by chance your element? I ask, because I too was scared by water as a child. I almost drowned, and it terrified me. I've
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    As a child growing up in French Gulch, a tiny mountain community in the Trinity Mountains of California, the first voice of The Di

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