Pagan Studies


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Studies Blogs

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

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Divination, Play, and Sacred Work

If you want to get the magical community riled up, tell us how divination tools often begin their existence as toys. You’ll see how we quickly split into two factions: one which vehemently denies this, and one which asserts the truth of it (with evidence that is often ignored and bypassed by the former faction). For the former set, I’ve sensed a root assumption at work that makes accepting the mundane, unserious origins of many divination forms so difficult, and even heretical. For them, play is inherently secular and unworthy of a sacred function. Divination, and anything else related to spirit work and religion, must be solemn and sober to have value and efficacy.

 

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Cunning Wife, I believe you are 100% correct. Just look at the 'Chessboard' of Gwenddoleu ap Ceidio, one of the 13 Treasures of T

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Pins and Needles and Nails

Generally speaking, pins, needles, and nails are protective elements in folk magic. They are one of the elements included in many British witch bottles, which function by drawing in malevolent magic and trap it. One source describes a witch doctor who recommended that a man “take a Bottle, and put his Wives Urine into it, together with Pins and Needles and Nails, and Cork them up,” first to be set on the fire to explode and then later buried in the yard to heal his wife from an illness (Saducismus triumphatus). In Appalachia, Scots-Irish settlers held onto these traditions and passed them down. Here, pins, needles, and nails can be used for protection, healing, divination, love magic, and cursing.

 

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs

Bealtaine is upon us once again, as the round of the year passes in due course. This is always a popular holiday, as people celebrate the arrival of warmer weather (in areas that see distinct weather shifts anyway) and renewed agricultural activity and activity in the natural world. Holidays at this time of year are celebrated by many different types of witches and pagans and may be called by several different names although my own focus is on Bealtaine, both as it was traditionally celebrated in Ireland as well as specific ways that I have personally adapted practices for myself. 

Bealtaine stood opposite Samhain on the calendar and in many ways represented opposite themes; where Samhain was a time of harvest and of the Dead, Bealtaine was a time of blessing and planting. It was on Bealtaine that the herds were sent out to their summer pastures, and in the old stories it was on this day that many important events occurred such as the Tuatha de Danann first arriving in Ireland. It is said that in ancient Ireland all fires were put out on the eve of Bealtaine and then the Druids would light a sacred fire at Tara which would be passed from hilltop to hilltop and home to home until all the fires were re-lit. (Wilde, 1991). Bealtaine is the beginning of summer and was the time that contracts were renewed, herds moved, and crops planted.

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Pangur Bán

This is a translation I did in 2016, but I thought it would be fun to share here today. Its a well known 9th century Irish poem about a scholar and his cat called Pangur Ban. The following original Irish is from Stokes' 1903 Thesaurus Paleohibernicus; the English is my own.



Messe ocus Pangur bán,cechtar nathar fria saindán;

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Through The Mist

Its said in Irish mythology that the Aos Sidhe have the power to conjure a mist, the ceo draiochta, which hides them from mortal sight and allows them to pass through the human world as they will without human interference. They teach this magic to the Tuatha De Danann when those Powers go into the sidhe so that they too can pass unseen when they will. 

For someone studying fairies or seeking a path that is based in fairy belief this magical mist may or may not be a factor in physically seeing fairies but on a figurative level it certainly seems to be an issue in finding out anything about them. Information is hard to find and often distorted, like the image of a landscape through a heavy mist, and terms are fluid and hard to define. The more you walk into the mist the more lost you feel. The more you learn the more questions you have. 

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white candles on black surface

 

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