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
A Little Help

 

Help isn’t always helpful is a lesson I learned from Annie Lomax of blessed memory back in the 70s when she was training me to work on a hotline. Sometimes, help is offered as a sedative when someone else is having strong emotions that make you uncomfortable. Sometimes, help undermines another person’s sense of autonomy or sense of accomplishment. Sometimes, help makes it more comfortable for someone to stay stuck in a situation that is slowly but surely diminishing them. And yet despite all the potential pitfalls involved in the offering of help and support, Annie taught me that when help is offered with a clear mind and an open heart it has the potential to encourage not just comfort or healing but true growth. Let me reiterate the part about the criterion of having a clear mind and an open heart. The mind and the heart don’t always agree, but if both are in agreement you might be doing the right thing. My time on the hotline at the Wellspring program taught me many things that I still use to this day.

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Wow! Ivo, I am moved beyond words by this post. Now that you are writing a regular column for W&P, I'd love to see this sort of ma
  • Ivo Dominguez Jr
    Ivo Dominguez Jr says #
    Thanks!
Taking Possession: Home-Buying and Moving-In Traditions

The Jesse Pickens Pugh House via Wikimedia Commons

My husband and I recently bought a home in the Blue Ridge mountains – a dream we’ve held since we married eight years ago. It’s an old house with history, an acre and a half of land, and beautiful views of the mountains. I fell in love with the house and surrounding land almost immediately. As we look forward to moving in, I’ve been thinking about traditions to perform as we get established there – traditions that will familiarize and unite us with the spirit(s) of the house and ensure a long-lasting, productive relationship for years to come.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
St George & The Uffington White Horse
The Uffington White Horse is a huge figure of a horse carved into the turf and filled in with white chalk.  People in the area have been doing this for at least 3000 years.  The figure needs consistent upkeep to remain visible, which was traditionally done every seven years.  Today it is done "as needed". (eye roll)    Not everyone agrees that the figure was originally intended to be a horse, although it has been consitently called horse since at least the 11th century.  Some scholars believe that Horse may have been the totem of a local tribe, while others believe it is a solar horse, that is, one that draws the chariot of the sun.  

For my part, I was more interested in the hill itself than the horse.  The horse lies on a large cliff, with numerous hills and valleys (more pics below).  If you are ever in the area, I very strongly recommend visiting, even if you just drive up "Dragon Hill Road" and back down. It is very, very lovely, even in December, and the winding road provides amazing views, even if (like me) you are not fit enough to trek up the hill on foot.  There is a disable parking lot near the top of the hill, which, in December, was nearly empty, but I assume "in season" it fills up and requires a permit. 

Even from the highway, the feature that most caught my attention wasn't the horse itself, but a small, flat topped hill next to it.  This, I came to find out, is "Dragon Hill" and is legendarily where St. George slew the dragon.  As you know, I have a strong connection to St George, and to his Phrygian counterpart, the Great Horseman of Thrace, Sabazios.  (you can read a story about St George here, and more about Sabazios here).

The energy of the hill was very powerful, and nearly intoxicating. I spent about an hour there, but it was very cold and windy, so I left eventually.  I may go back again before I leave.  It is quite close to my brother's house.   More pictures on my facebook page. 

Love to you all in these dark days,

Sara
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  • Sara Mastros
    Sara Mastros says #
    The "Thracian Rider" is a name for a particular kind of iconography, that scholars aren't sure who it represents, maybe a god, may
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I remember reading mention of someone called the Thracian Rider. Could that be Sabazios? I think it might have been in a book on

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

By Rev. Wes Isley

There are lots of things I love about being Pagan, and maybe you share some of these. We have a holiday every couple of months, and we get to dress up in fun clothes for ceremony. Our deities are badass—with horned gods who like wine and fierce goddesses who will kick your butt if you don’t mind your manners. Maybe best of all, I like that Pagans can have “church” anywhere—on a sunlit meadow colored with wildflowers or beneath a star-spangled night sky, where we can just sit in silence and feel the vitality of Gaia all around and within us. But, there’s one thing we Pagans don’t do well. Can you guess what that is? Well, it’s my opinion that Pagans stink at grieving.

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    I don't think that any humans handle grief all that well. It's human to mourn, and equally human to try and *not* to feel that pai
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    Hear, hear! Grief is real, and it's not resolved by assurances that the departed is "going to be born again" or "in the Summerland

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

In 1976 I became a Home Sanctum member of The Rosicrucian Order A.M.O.R.C., and for years thereafter I received regular mailings of their instructional materials.  I found those teachings to be of great value as an "Intro to Metaphysics 101."  They stood me in good stead for decades.

I especially appreciated the RC admonition to never blindly accept anyone's teaching as true, until I had first submitted it to proof by personal testing and my own sense of reason - a warning which I subsequently discovered had been issued by no less a person than the Buddha himself. 

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Cool! Shows the universality of thought between intelligent people of all faiths. I remember when all our favorite Gurus began d
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Cool! Shows the universality of thought between intelligent people of all faiths. I remember when all our favorite Gurus began d
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Couldn't agree with you more, though of course we both might say "Goddess of my heart." It continually amazes me that so many peop

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Yuletide Household Lore & Traditions

art by Arthur Rackham

The winter solstice is approaching.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Winter Crone

Cailleach walks the winter hills: in an old Gaelic song 'Cailleach Beinn a' Bhric' she has 'a great grey grisly paw' and is cold and wet, but cares for her deer. The hunter who sings to her laments her keeping the deer from him. This version is from Songs & Hymns of the Gael:

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