Pagan Studies


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Studies Blogs

Advanced and/or academic Pagan subjects such as history, ethics, sociology, etc.

Midsummer Behind a Cyclone Fence

Yesterday we (the Wiccan circle at San Quentin State Prison) did a combination Midsummer and Fathers’ Day celebration, after the noisy Juneteenth celebration in the main prison yard.  We have to meet when and where permitted, and with limited access to such things as water for bathing or bonfires.  (There is water for drinking.)

Most times we meet in a little storage room off the breezeway where the Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Islamic chapels are.  It is literally a storeroom, with stacks of folding chairs and tables and old file cabinets.  Since I’ve been going there the file cabinets were moved.  At this point, it’s been cleaned out enough that we only have two tables and a bunch of stacked chairs.  It’s considered to be the Minority Faiths Chapel.

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Symmetry and Magic: an example of a pop culture magic rule

I've been rereading The Dresden Files lately and as I've been reading the books I've been paying attention to the rules of magic that are part of that pop culture magic universe. When you practice pop culture magic, its important to pay close attention to the rules of magic within the given pop culture you're working with because those rules apply to the pop culture characters you work with and how they'll help you magically. It may seem odd that different pop culture universes have different rules of magic, or that those rules should even matter.

However they do matter because you're working in a specific context generated in part by the pop culture you work with. And if you want the aid of the characters you work with, you need to respect the context that is part of the mythology you're working in. Let me share an example to illustrate this.

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Meditations on Hávamál: 76-80

 

76.

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Blood, Black Dog, & Boardroom

 

It is common in many traditions to ask for guidance from the unseen realms, from the spirits. Sometimes the requests are answered in signs, omens, visions, and the like. I have three short vignettes to share that illustrate some of the reactions that can occur when the guidance is very clear.

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What do you do when your magic is in a slump?

The other day, in the Magical Experiments Facebook group, I asked the members of the group to share with me what challenges they are experiencing in their magical practice. One of the people shared that they were experiencing a slump in their magical practice. It just didn't feel exciting or shiny or magical like it had before. When I read what the person was experiencing, I really resonated with it because sometimes I've felt the same way about my magical practice. 

The first time I experienced a slump in my magical practice, I was really surprised at how hard it was to motivate myself to do the daily magical work I'd committed myself to doing. It wasn't just an off day. It stretched into days and then weeks. I was seriously worried that I'd lost touch with the magic.

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Kith & Kin

Upon my initiation as a Witch, I swore a vow that I assume many others have also sworn, which is to always protect and defend “my sisters and brothers of the Art.”  Now I’m wondering over the longer term exactly what that means.  Or what it might mean to me.

Who are my sisters and brothers?  Who are my kin?  This is a topic worthy of further exploration.  However, while awaiting that further exploration, I want to speak of my main takeaway from the 2015 Parliament of World Religions.

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Of Antler and Wing: The Convergence of Paganism with the New Age

In the line of work that I do, I have many opportunities to attend trade shows and fairs, setting up my business information and a small array of books and such for purchase.  Many times, given the titles of books on display and perhaps my brochure outlining services and modalities I provide, I have found myself facing the question “Are you New Age?”  Though some of what I do and what I offer does touch on aspects that are considered New Age, it is not a tag I have felt resonated with either my personal path or work.  But the question has often caused me pause.  Stymied on how to respond, I have pondered: What is New Age exactly?  What constitutes New Age practices?  What is different about what I do?  And, if not New Age, then what am I?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tiffany Lazic
    Tiffany Lazic says #
    Hi, Courtney ~ Yes, there is something of great profundity, I find, in opening ourselves to the full experience of life. I appreci
  • Courtney
    Courtney says #
    Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed this article a lot. I find the immanence of Paganism much more appealing than what you find in Bu

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