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PaganNewsBeagle Faithful October 17

Halloween/Samhain Special Edition:

In today's faithful Friday post, we are concentrating on the upcoming season of Samhain -- high holy days for Wicca- and Wiccan-influenced Pagans. In today's Beagle, we highlight posts from outside our PaganSquare channel -- watch for our PaganSquare Samhain special edition next week, where we will highlight the Samhain posts of our in-house writers.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Many thanks to Nick Sagala for sharing his traditions with us ♥

Dia de los Muertos—the Day of the Dead--is a holiday dear to the hearts and souls of people who love their ancestors. The Santa Muerte is the goddess connected to Dia de los Muertos. She pre-dates Christianity in that part of the world, and the Mexica knew her as MICTECACIHUATL, Lady of the Land of the Dead. She was believed to be a protector of souls residing in the dark underworld, and she is depicted as a woman in a skull mask and traditional dress decorated with flags which were put upon corpses prepared for cremation.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
'Tis the Season: The Ancestors

I’ve been thinking about the Ancestors a lot lately; it’s that time of year. In fact, they’ve even asserted themselves when I wasn’t seeking them, such as the day I experienced a vision of a Minoan priestess undertaking a rite of prophecy through the ancestral spirits. From the earliest times, the Minoans revered their ancestors. At the Autumn Equinox they held celebrations of the dearly departed, feasting and performing rituals in the shadows of the beehive-shaped tholos tombs where their ancestors’ remains were interred. Some of the tombs had pillar crypts beneath them, providing another place for offerings and communication with the dead.

My own experience with shamanic practice centering on the Ancestors and Minoan spirituality suggests a reason for the beehive shape of these tombs and the connection of the Ancestors with the Bee Goddess. Like many shamanic practitioners, I have experienced a particular sound when I connect with the ancestral spirits, a sort of multi-pitched buzzing that almost exactly reproduces the noise of a hive of swarming bees. And of course, honey being such a delicious prize in cultures that did not yet know how to refine sugar from beets or cane, I can totally relate to the idea of bees being sacred representatives of the Ancestors and, later on, the gods (or goddesses, to be precise). I keep a miniature beehive on my Minoan altar to remind me that the Ancestors were just as much a part of Minoan spirituality as the goddesses and gods.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Gabble Ratchet

As a young woman, I fell in love with the work of Mary Stewart and have read all of her books.  There is one that is set in Lebanon called The Gabriel Hounds and from it I learned the phrase "gabble ratchet" which is a folk corruption of "Gabriel's hounds." It means the sound of wild geese flying, a sound that is evocative of a pack of baying hounds. In folklore, the Gabriel hounds are sometimes the souls of unbaptized children crying in the night, or they may foretell a death or they're thought to be the hounds of Hel(l).

In my heart, though, that eerie sound--so full of longing and grief--always evokes the Ancestors, the Beloved Dead. My writing desk sets by a west-facing window and that window looks out over the French Broad River. The Canada geese use the old river as a flight path that sweeps them northward to a couple of good feeding grounds and a man-made lake. In the spring, we are rewarded with the site of families of the gabble ratchets with their fuzzy chicks, grazing on the chickweed near the old railroad tracks.

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Outer space is a Fey playground. Mine. Yours.
 
Emptiness is a jungle gym.
 
We can sow our magic in the rich loam
 
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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Stellar. I left a comment on your webpage. Such a timely reminder; thank you again.
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Ted, thank you for checking it out. I am so glad you liked it!
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    May we learn more and more to go within to find the truth of limitlessness. May we be less and less willing to buy into the opinio
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Yes, yes, yes! Thank you and amen. Re yr last line about not listening to those in control: I wrote a blog about not letting them
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Ted, I found it. Check it out if you want and have the time. It is called "Do Not Get Trapped in the Uni-Dimension" and is at http
Bring Out Your Dead!  Bring Out Your Dead!

There's so much during this season that I find myself trying to find any lightness, any humor. Hence the title of this piece. We hardly need to bring them out, Python-style, when they are insistently demanding our attention as the nights grow like looming stalactites.

Tonight I want to write a bit about Ancestor altars.  Do you have one?  Do you leave it up, year-round, or put it up just after the Autumnal Equinox?  I've been asking colleagues which they prefer and it's about evenly divided.  For the record, I keep one up year-round because my root work is dependent on keeping my Ancestors in-the-know.  And also, happy.  I like some happy Ancestors, me.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Hello Byron - A great read. I build an altar, sometimes a few altars for my Beloved and Mighty Dead. I'll cook and eat foods tha
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thanks! I think the food thing is terribly important. And the liquor thing--at least for my Ancestors.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Of Ancestors and Devotion

So here I am at Samhain-tide again. Like many Pagans this is the "big one", our month when we get to be as witchy as we want and it goes mostly unnoticed because everyone out there in the Western world is hanging up skeletons and foam cut outs of owls and black cats.

It's also the month where I find myself running from pillar to post, organizing and priestessing all sorts of Samhain-related events. As is often the case, I'm part of the organising team for the 35th annual Reclaiming Spiral Dance in San Francisco. I'll be part of North Bay Reclaiming's Samhain ritual and this year I'll be at a four day retreat in the Mendocino Woodlands called "Mysteries of Samhain". I'm fortunate to be a busy witch.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Thank you Annika - It's that lovely liminal space, you know. Not this. Not that. Now
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Thanks for the post. I love this season, too, especially the fact that I sometimes pass as "normal" during this time. Also fascina

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