Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Piece of My Father's Soul

Continuing my story of my personal journey, this post is about my father’s death. Here I’m going to talk about visiting dad before my junior year of college, which happened before the events of the previous post in which I became a sworn priestess of Freya, and then go forwards to dad’s death at the end of my junior year. His funeral was on Father's Day, June 17, 1989. 

I had a problematic relationship with my father. He abused me in many ways. His death was one of three three traumatic things that happened right after my dedication to Freya, and I think she removed him from my life so that I could eventually heal. But he was still my dad, and his death affected me in more ways than getting a toxic person out of my life. He was not only the dad who touched me sexually while telling me I was too fat to ever get a man; he was also the dad who taught me to fish. He was not only the dad who hypnotized me and tortured me in ways that he had picked up from his North Korean captors during the war; he was also the dad who taught me how to communicate with the land spirits. 

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Nepal: A Country Of Holy Cows, Tibetan Refugees and Spiritual Mountains: Part Two

The jaunt to the mystical Langtang mountains of Nepal had left me feeling in better spirits and all too soon we are back on the bus to Kathmandu. I was back being my adventuresome self once more. It was 1996 and I had decided I was not going to die in Nepal. 

Back at the Kathmandu Guest House it is soaking up local culture again as we embarked on numerous sightseeing expeditions. First on the agenda was the Hanuman Dhoka—the Old Palace—spread over an area of five impressive acres. It was a popular square of complexes, palaces, temples and courtyards much of it built in the 12th Century. In Durbar Square statues of gods, men, demons and exotic sexual looking images greeted me. A half lion Vishnu statue created uneasy emotions; it was altogether an astonishing and overwhelming trip through images and often erotic art that is inspired by religion here. I felt confounded and baffled, not to fail to mention astonished and perplexed. Was it my strict Mennonite upbringing that caused me to feel bewildered seeing these images? I decided to sleep on it.

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Dear Friends,

Effective immediately, please stop telling me to delegate.

Thanks so much.

...
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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_800px-Leaves_in_Oregon.jpgThis is my second fall in Oregon, and only the second "real" fall I've had in eight years.  Last year, after I first moved here, the sight of the leaves changing color and falling to the ground made me cry.  I knew I'd missed the big dramatic seasonal changes of New England, but didn't realize how much. Not experiencing "real" seasonal changes during my almost-seven years in SoCal (beyond rainy and really hot) really messed with my head, and contributed to my general sense of feeling out of place there.  In a way, my life reflected that - I was stuck, and like much of the flora that is naturally suited for New England or the Pacific Northwest but not SoCal, I wasn't thriving there.  I was perpetually dry, burned to a crisp.

When I moved here, it wasn't just that the beauty of fall foliage nourished my soul.  I really like rain. (Which is good, because we have an abundance of that up here.)  But even above and beyond that... it was like an internal clock that had stopped ticking, started ticking again.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Welcome "home." (Even though you never lived here before. In this life, anyway.) I lived in an amazing place in Northern Californi
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    Thank you! Western Oregon has amazing energy, especially the coast. Words do not even properly do justice to how I feel about th
Yule Advent Calendar (and a belated Michaelmas outing)

Taking a look back into the archives of my personal blog, I found that I first began putting together what I referred to as my “Yule Advent Calendar” in September 2010. (The same year I took my service oath to the Wild Hunt.) Admittedly, advent (from the Latin adventus, meaning “coming”) is a Christian concept, a series of festival dates that mark the progression of the Christmas season. I am not claiming that this custom was borrowed from paganism, but since so many other trappings of the Christian festival year clearly were, I felt no qualms about adopting the advent calendar for my own purposes in marking the series of festivals I observe leading up to Yule. 

This custom of adopting some of the festivals of the medieval Christian Church for my own purposes has since spread into other parts of the year, no doubt under the influence of my adoptive Disir, the group of women I've referred to as the Queens (most of whom were actual Queens in medieval Egnland). Shortly after discovering Michaelmas and Martinmas, I adopted Candlemas and began adding more traditional elements into my celebration of All Hallow's Eve, May Day and Lammas, and I wouldn't be surprised if that trend continues, since the customs and pageantry of medieval England (pre-Reformation) call to me quite powerfully. In most of the festivals I can feel an echo that harkens back to pagan times, as well as to the pagan customs that were slow to die away in the countryside. Whether or not this echo reflects the actual survival of a pagan practice, it enriches the experience of the festival for me and gives me that feeling I so love of being linked to the past and helping to carry the essence of lost traditions into the future.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Jolene
    Jolene says #
    I wish I could have been with you this morning -- I love the cemetery tours that we do this time of year. Sounds like it was a gre
On Trust and Shadow Work (or, what happens when your gods say no)

My friend Nornoriel's posts Trust part 1 and 2 over at Patheos helped inspire this post—mostly by kicking my ass.

I almost decided not to post about this, because it's another one of those vulnerable-feeling areas (like His decision to change His face for a while). But recently I've been discovering that sharing these vulnerable places with others makes me feel less vulnerable about them (and maybe helps other people out with their own vulnerable spots in the process), so here goes.

During the past few years, it seems like I always fight with my Husband during Wild Hunt Season, sometimes spectacularly. (We always make up just as passionately afterwards, but I would rather just skip the fights and jump straight to that part.) Although the specifics vary, the theme is always the same: trust.

Now, most people wouldn't raise an eyebrow at the thought of not trusting Odin, of all People, and He would be the very first to point out that most people should not trust Him; they have no reason to do so, and would be far wiser not to. But I do—most of the time, anyway. After all, He is my Husband--bound to me by oaths, blood, and love.  Even more, He is my partner, my mate. We are building a life together.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Beth Lynch
    Beth Lynch says #
    Your order, by the way, purchased a new camera! Little by little, the pieces are coming together...
  • Soli
    Soli says #
    Awesome!
  • Soli
    Soli says #
    A lesson I need to keep learning myself. (See my last blog post for a small window on that one) Also let me say I am SO glad some
  • Beth Lynch
    Beth Lynch says #
    Thank you! And yes, it is a difficult lesson, but the best parts of yourself only emerge once you stop trying to be someone else.
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    I love this post so hard I want to turn cartwheels. ...Comparing yourself to others is an easy trap to fall into. I've fallen in

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Of Ancestors and Devotion

So here I am at Samhain-tide again. Like many Pagans this is the "big one", our month when we get to be as witchy as we want and it goes mostly unnoticed because everyone out there in the Western world is hanging up skeletons and foam cut outs of owls and black cats.

It's also the month where I find myself running from pillar to post, organizing and priestessing all sorts of Samhain-related events. As is often the case, I'm part of the organising team for the 35th annual Reclaiming Spiral Dance in San Francisco. I'll be part of North Bay Reclaiming's Samhain ritual and this year I'll be at a four day retreat in the Mendocino Woodlands called "Mysteries of Samhain". I'm fortunate to be a busy witch.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Thank you Annika - It's that lovely liminal space, you know. Not this. Not that. Now
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Thanks for the post. I love this season, too, especially the fact that I sometimes pass as "normal" during this time. Also fascina

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