indigenous Tag - PaganSquare - Join the conversation! Mon, 22 May 2017 22:14:07 -0700 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Weekly Goddess Inspiration: Glispa

As I've often said before, one of the things I appreciate most about The Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr -- and one of the reasons its a key tool in my practice -- is how multicultural it is. I appreciate the inclusion of indigenous Goddesses from around the world alongside the more familiar European Goddesses. And I also appreciate that these Goddesses are never drawn in a stereotypical or fetishized way, and their stories are treated with the appropriate respect and reverence. I have learned so much about Goddesses from traditions with which I was largely or wholly unfamiliar. And while I realize that the cultures these figures hail from might see them as Goddesses in the same sense of the word that I use, I appreciate that they are included alongside all these other powerful female figures.

This week's Goddess is one such Goddess -- Glispa, the Navajo/Dine Goddess of Healing and Transformation. It is said that Glispa undertook a dangerous journey to the land of the Snake People, who taught her the sacred Hozoni healing chant, which she brought back to the Dine. (One lovely version of her story can be found here.) In undertaking her journey and in learning these healing songs with the Snake (or Serpent) People, she represents not only healing but transformation. Just as snakes are constantly shedding their skin and transforming, Glispa reminds us that we can grow, heal, and transform into something new. That when we have outgrown old patterns, old hurts, old beliefs, we can shed them -- not painlessly and not easily, but shed them we can.

I love Glispa's message to use music to access our own healing powers. Music has been central to my own spiritual practice for many years. I tell people that my real religion is rock n roll, and you'll find me playing Tool or Patty Griffin in my circles as often (or more) as you'll find me playing overtly Pagan music. Music has been there for me at times when nothing else could soothe, nothing else could speak for or to me. And so the idea of using music to access healing is one that is simultaneously intriguing and familiar.

Some questions I'll work with as a sing with Glispa this week, and which you might also ponder:

What music makes me feel most whole?

What do I want to heal?

What music might I use to start that healing?

What do I wish to transform?

How might I used music as a catalyst for that transformation?

How can I bring more music into my life?

Read more]]> (Susan Harper) SageWoman Blogs Sun, 01 May 2016 01:00:00 -0700
Weekly Goddess Inspiration: Ajysit

Among the Yakut people of Siberia, Ajysit is known as the Comforting Mother Goddess of Childbirth and Fate. It is she who guides children into the world through the process of birth, who comforts and assists with labor and birth, and who writes down the name of each newly born child in her Golden Book of Fate. It is said that calling out to Ajysit helps to ease the pain of labor contractions. She is also said to bless breastmilk so that it will be nourishing to the newly born.

While I have never had children of my own body and do not plan to, I spend a good deal of my time surrounded by midwives, doulas, and other birth professionals. (I joke that I spend a lot of time with a lot of people who spend a lot of time looking at other people's vaginas in a professional context, but I digress.) In working with, worshiping with, and simply knowing and loving people whose primary job it is to support labor and birth, I've come to believe that there are many times in our lives when we need a midwife -- not just when we are birthing a human child. In fact, one of my dear midwife friends calls me a "storycatcher" -- as she said once, "You know how I catch babies? You catch stories. You stay with people while they labor to get their stories out, and make it safe for them to birth them into the world." And so I do my own type of midwifery as a priestess, helping people, especially women, birth themselves into being. 

And I'm in the midst of birthing myself -- as perhaps we all always are -- as I adjust to a new time of life, a new pattern of life, a new vision for my life. Moving out of survival mode and into an abundant, creative time is at times frightening, not unlike labor. I know I am birthing something new, but am not sure when it will emerge into the full light of day. And I sometimes labor under the impression that I am doing this alone. But like Tara last week, Ajysit reminds me that help is always there -- I only have to call out for it, to look for it, and it will arrive. 

Some questions I'll consider this week, as a labor with Ajysit by my side, and which I invite you to also consider:

What am I birthing right now?

What fears  do I have about this?

What could help allay those fears?

What kind of help could I ask for?

What can I do to take care of myself during this time of transition and change?

Read more]]> (Susan Harper) SageWoman Blogs Fri, 22 Apr 2016 01:00:00 -0700
Atabeyra: Supreme Taíno Goddess  


Huracán was the supreme Taíno god, said Mr. Colón, my history teacher.

As a ten-year-old student, I did not control my enthusiasm:

No, I replied, it was Atabeyra.

What! Mr. Colón shouted, as he hit his desk with a ruler. 

Silence crept into the room like a mouse during siesta time.  

Every child in class seemed to stop breathing.  Suddenly, I felt my face turning red. 

Ruler in hand, Mr. Colón slowly walked toward my seat: What, he repeated as he reached me.

Read more]]> (Lillian Comas) SageWoman Blogs Thu, 07 Apr 2016 12:45:43 -0700
PaganNewsBeagle Fiery Tuesday Dec 30

On this Fiery Tuesday, the PaganNewsBeagle humbly presents stories of activism and religion here at the close of the very fraught year of 2014. Pagans ponder#BlackLivesMatter; an indigenous view of #BlackLivesMatter; restorative justice vs. police violence; should there be humanist chaplains in the military; are Pagans a net loss to the environmental cause?

How have our Pagan and allied communities reacted to the #BlackLivesMatter campaign? This Wild Hunt article covers the avalanche of responses from bloggers, organizations, and institutions.

Leanne Simpson at Yes! magazine offers an indigenous activist's view of the #BlackLivesMatter campaign.

This Native American activist turned to restorative justice after his brother died at the hands of Seattle police.

The Religious News Service interviews Jason Heap, who wants to be the Navy's first humanist chaplain.

John Halstead wonders: do we Pagans hurt the environmental movement by our association with it?

Read more]]> (Anne Newkirk Niven) Pagan News Beagle Tue, 30 Dec 2014 12:28:01 -0800
PaganNewsBeagle Airy Monday Dec 29

For today's Airy Monday post, at the close of 2014 we look back -- but not just to the year gone past but to the days of our ancestors. Modern Cornish witchcraft traced back to Elizabethan times; a matriarchal temple; bringing Bronze age Cyprus to life; down the way from Stonehenge, Silbury Hill unveils its secrets; a historic and fascinating map of Inuit Arctic "highways."

This archaeology dig was supposed to be for Neolithic remains. The researchers were pretty surprised to find solid evidence of Cornish witchcraft stretching from the 1600's up to the 1970s.

This 6000 year old Ukrainian temple may been one of the oldest finds of a little-known matriarchal society.

Visiting this Bronze Age site in Cyprus will be much more intriguing now that a new smartphone app has been created to provide a "streetview" of the city as it appeared when it was inhabited 3000 years ago.

The Silbury Hill site was built about the same time (and just down the road) from its super-famous cousin Stonehenge. Archaeologists are slowly uncovering its secrets.

The first atlas of historic Inuit Arctic trails reveals an amazing indigenous civilization that considered the Arctic home -- and far from the "empty" wasteland it's often depicted as.

Read more]]> (Anne Newkirk Niven) Pagan News Beagle Mon, 29 Dec 2014 11:29:12 -0800
What Claims are Made – Observations in the Pinaleño Mountains b2ap3_thumbnail_Treasure-Park-Meadow_20141116-222416_1.jpg

An excerpt

Up ahead is a small path that winds through a secret canyon. There I see the morning open up to sky. A cliff drops to the world below, some 2,000 feet to the belly of Sulfur Springs Valley. Plunging mercilessly, the creek follows stone, pulled by the heavy hand of the mountain’s descent. Water has cut through this lonely gorge for centuries, but my eyes are new here.


Many times in wild places I find myself staring at books to locate the botanical name of an unknown plant or identify a set of tracks, but on this morning I put the books away and set out for wonder. Wonder is of course the root of knowledge, but how often do we pause at wonder alone? Do we move so quickly from a state of awe to information that we miss something, a primal yearning and appreciation for that, which, unspoken by man, undocumented by the hand of scientist or layperson, slips our grasp of respect?

Wonder… is it missing?


Wading through waist-high sorrels and ferns, I crept deeper into the places where morning has not reached its hand. I imagined fairies dipping down to drink from a curled leaf. It seems possible here, where the verdant life of the forest has not yet been dimmed. And why not think of fairies?

The dripdripdrip of new rain on cold stone created a soundscape and I was mesmerized again by the passive yet strong pull of forces moving us, the trees, the water, the stones to the last leap of sky.

The Pinaleño Mountains, the Grahams, Mount Graham, or Dzil Nchaa Si An (Big Seated Mountain, Western Apache), is a remote “Sky Island” in Southeastern Arizona, offering more than 7,000 feet of vertical relief – a true wonder among Sonoran/Chihuahuan desert low lands.  This range has many names, many claims, even in modernity. Pinaleño, meaning many deer, seems an appropriate name – the area is rich with mule deer and white-tailed deer, suitably designed for the steep ridges and cliffs, angles no biped can maneuver with such grace.

This September, however, no deer were to be found in the obvious landscape of sight. The once lively meadows of fawns, does, and the occasional aloof buck were even bereft of the usual scat pellets I might expect on such an inviting landscape of open parks with brooks lapping against the wild blue bells and yarrow.  The Pinaleños are a dreamy place, to be sure, a place where all are drawn by watersong and starry views.


As the silence was broken by an ATV, I realized why the deer were in hiding. A bow hunter and his monster of mud and plastic came through the forest. He stopped long enough to shout a question at me, lamenting that he hadn’t seen a single deer all morning, as his ATV engine pierced the air and echoed down through the gorges. Deer are wiser than we credit them. Their behaviors often change with the seasons, with our malevolence, with the pressing weight of sound and intent.

The Pinaleño Mountains have had their share of embittered discussion. Back in the 80s and early 90s, the Vatican – among other astronomers and financial backers – decided to help fund the University of Arizona/Mount Graham International Observatory.  Mount Graham, with its low humidity and light pollution, was deemed ideal for such an observatory, and the efforts to build were pushed ferociously into motion.

Among these peaks, in the conifer and spruce-fir forests, the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel resides – a species only found on this range and surely impacted by the controversial observatory and the continued mixed use and management of a federal forest.


Opposition to developing an observatory should have held some weight since the Pinaleños were, in fact, nominated by the United States Forest Service for designation as a Traditional Cultural Property and considered sacred to many, especially to the Western Apache tribes. As the battle raged, involving the leaders of most of the Indian Nations in the United States and Europe, indigenous rights groups, environmentalists, biologists, and anthropologists, the mountain’s chief harbinger of impact, the Mount Graham red squirrel became the fight’s pinnacle mascot.

Ironically, some of these Mount Graham red squirrels are now being housed at the Phoenix Zoo, kept in a controlled climate exhibit designed to mimic their former Montane forest home. These squirrels are apparently a part of a conservation program, where, if successful, they will be released “… back into the wild…

A wild of our imagination, I fear.

And, how can the red squirrel ever win? How can the fight for Dzil Nchaa Si An and other sacred mountains ever be recognized? Among cell towers, Vatican telescopes, developed campgrounds along the Swift Trail, the ongoing efforts of wildfire and wildlife “management”, and the continued paving of roadways leading to Mount Graham’s recreational offerings… it’s all too clear.


Whatever Spirit of Wildness kept safe the dense population of black bears, the important prehistoric shrines and stories of ancestors, and the troops of that elusive red squirrel may not be powerful enough to hold back the inevitable future, a future that seems to have forgotten its equally sacrosanct call to wonder, to the sacred, to what is most precious on earth.

Read more]]> (Aleah Sato) SageWoman Blogs Sun, 16 Nov 2014 14:21:50 -0800
PaganNewsBeagle Earthy Thursday Oct 16

Today, it's the Element of Earth in the spotlight with our Earthy Thursday roundup. Where to find fall colors; the world's largest cave; an off-the-grid commune; the Mother of All Seed Banks; fisherman saves eagle; the battle over Mauna Kea.

This great map will help you figure out when and where to see the best fall colors.

One of the world's largest caves (Son Doong in VietNam) just opened for public view revealing an amazing underground landscape.

Living off-the-grid in a rural commune hours from civilization sounds inviting but has hidden costs. This thoughtful and evocative essay describes one family's experience.

The ultimate Seed Savers bank high in the Arctic intends to protect seed diversity against any threat: war, climate change, you-name-it. The Daily Mail has the fascinating details.

This fisherman saved a drowning eagle -- and his video created an internet sensation.

Heather Greene at the Wild Hunt reports on how indigenous Hawaiians are battling a new telescope on the summit of their sacred mountain Mauna Kea.

Read more]]> (Anne Newkirk Niven) Pagan News Beagle Thu, 16 Oct 2014 10:19:16 -0700