Pagan Paths

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Paths Blogs

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

When I lean over the chasm of myself,

It seems my God is dark,

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On Frigga


She is not the most beautiful woman at the court of the Aesir, nor the most glamorous, not the most vivacious and charming. Those roles are held by Freyja, said by some to be Her rival, by others to be another, earlier, side of Herself. (In mainland Germany, there was no Frigga and no Freyja—only Frija, apparently an amalgam of the two goddesses.) There is no contest: Freyja is the star who draws all eyes in Asgard.

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Growing Up Among Almond Trees

Almond Orchards

As a child in Ripon, California, I lived surrounded by almond orchards. The trees grew in neat, straight rows, in accordance with human desires rather than their own. The only time the trees were able to have a little freedom was during the annual Almond Blossom Festival, when they dropped pinkish-white petals all over the ground. Almond trees lined the main street of town, and the petals collected in drifts on the street, and blew through the air during the parade. I could sense the trees' exuberant happiness at that time of year.

The orchards were not just full of trees, though. They were also full of angry honeybees who lived to sting humans. I understood why. They were being kept as slaves, and forced to live a migrant lifestyle that did not suit them. Commercial beehives were moved around from one orchard to another, disorienting the bees. Although I could sense why they hated human beings, understanding them did not make me any less afraid of them. I was allergic and would pass out if I was stung, and they would chase humans, and they terrified me. 40 years later, I'm free of that fear, though the cost was too high-- I'll write about that when I catch up to the present day.

The Tradition of Hospitality

My mom's parents, who immigrated from Austria and were native speakers of Plattdeutsch, were nominally Christian but observed a number of traditional Germanic customs that no doubt originated in heathen times. Some of these customs had a coat of Christian paint on old heathen wood. There is an old tradition known among heathens today as Guestright. That is taking in transients, and goes back to the days when there was no such thing as a hotel, and back to a place where sleeping outdoors would surely mean freezing to death, so the custom had a practical function in society. It also had heathen religious overtones, because there were many stories of Odin wandering in disguise, and the traveler who came to the door might be Odin, and one had best not turn him away and anger him. My grandfather observed a custom of inviting a "bum" home for Christmas Eve every year. Although it was tied to a Christian holiday, that very holiday is also an old pagan and heathen holiday, Yule. The family claimed this tradition was about charity, but it was transparently really about honoring the wanderer. If it had been about charity, they could have invited a poor person from the local area, or made a donation. The custom was very clear that the person invited to the feast had to be an anonymous vagrant whose real name no one knew. Looking back, knowing what I know now about heathen stories and customs, it is quite obvious to me that was a survival of a folk custom meant to honor Odin. And it was still being practiced in the 1970s.

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a1sx2_Thumbnail2_qmi2.jpg“Peace and Blessings!”

If you’ve had a phone consultation with the Queen Mother Imakhu, you’re sure to recognize the trademark greeting, along with the joyful cackle. This time, I wasn't following my usual "Call The Queen Mother!" routine which usually involves bringing her a dream for interpretation or seeking guidance in untangling a leadership knot. This time, I was seeking to make her the subject of a blog post, hoping to speak about the nuts and bolts of Priestesshood.

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Who Am I?

The man who taught me yoga was lean and stringy—the very image of a traditional yogi, except for his greying mullet and tendency to sound like a Baptist preacher. But today his voice was soft as he led 70 would-be yoga teachers in one of our last exercises: getting over ourselves.


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Lanaya Heathen 

An Open Letter from a Mixed Ugric and Black Heathen:

by Lanaya Winterly

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Lynn Sharp
    Lynn Sharp says #
    I don't often interact with other heathens. My ideas on heathenry are wildly unpopular. I believe in the Gods and Goddesses as kin
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Thank you for your comment, Lynn. If you can connect with some IRL groups, you will probably be pleasantly surprised to find Heath
  • Lanaya Winterly
    Lanaya Winterly says #
    Dear David Carron The suggestion I would make is that young men and women in our community stop taking on the roles of shield mai
  • David Carron
    David Carron says #
    "I wonder when the time will come where Heathen groups actively discuss the wrongs that have been done to other neighboring cultur

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And, not Or

I sit here in my Hudson Valley home’s very overgrown-and-green back yard, on a redbrick courtyard cobbled in the last decades of the 19th century, replying to emails and catching up on correspondence following this last week’s (very successful) Polytheist Leadership Conference, held in nearby Fishkill, New York. I open one email, praising such-and-such presenter’s discussion on this-and-that, and another which asks important moving-forward questions about community building, bilocation, interfaith dialog, and engagement strategies for further social outreach, education and communication. I eat pizza, and I ruminate, over all of the Guinness remaining from the various inter-community after-parties (during which theologies were addressed, gods discussed, and religious and social identities hashed out in hypothetical language around a fire lit with prayer and reverence), and I ponder.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Anomalous: I'm happy to see you returning to PSQ. Namaste, Anne

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