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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in canadian paganism

Hello all! I'm a little late, but here's this month's horoscope from Michael O'Connor!

Horoscope for February 2019

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Canadian Seasons

The Sabbat Wheel made a lot of sense for our Pagan ancestors, for whom the seasons and their mid-points roughly corresponded with the Year-Wheel as we know it.  But more and more, I'm finding that it makes little sense in other places, especially where I live.  When I was growing up, the Wheel had only the loosest correspondence with the seasons I knew anyway. The snow was starting to melt by Imbolc, for example, and we had mud season a lot, but crocuses were still at least two weeks away. You knew it was Ostara because there were bees.  The hawthorn and fruit trees were usually blooming by Beltane, but it was still too cold (and often too wet) to camp outside. And so on.

With climate change taking hold, this has become less and less true.  With each passing year I find it more difficult to find meaning in the symbols and landmarks that are supposed to be associated with each Sabbat. The last few years, it simply hasn't felt like the Sabbat at all.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I live in Virginia. On June 19th I woke from a dream telling me to "Call upon the gods of love, friendship and community to guard
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I totally get not feeling it with the Sabbats. When I have tried it, it felt contrived and artificial. Working with the calendar
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Makes sense to me, Anthony! Whereabouts are you in the world, and when do you choose to celebrate?
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Great idea -- we've been kinda doing this for years in my house. I *do* suspect that Ostara may give you some trouble since (Chri
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    I thought about that, but a) yeah, I think the lunar/solar calendar juxtaposition is very Pagan anyway, and I understand they base

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Tapestry is a long-running and respected CBC Radio program that looks at different religions in Canada.  As far as I know, this is the first time Wicca, or any Pagan faith, has been featured on the show.  I thought it was worth sharing!

Listen here:

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for sharing! I'll definitely give this a listen in the near future.

Dominique SmithNo, this is not the United States.

This is Canada.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Shawn Sanford Beck
    Shawn Sanford Beck says #
    Greeting friend, I'm wondering if there's anything I can do to help with this campaign. I'm a ChristoPagan, and a priest in the A
  • Durantia None
    Durantia None says #
    This is definitely a hate crime. The failure of the Winnipeg Police Service to address this issue violates her constitutional righ
  • Kenq
    Kenq says #
    I was stunned to learn that there is no legal recognition for Pagans in Canada. We've had it here in the states since I think the
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Doesn't Canada have laws against vandalism? Why waste time with hate crime stuff when there is obvious and repeated vandalism goi
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Oh yes, there are laws against all of that. But the police don't spend a great deal of effort investigating and prosecuting rando


A Quest for Canada is a series of articles that will appear in both my Witches & Pagans column 49 Degrees and my Patheos blog Between the Shadows on an alternating schedule between the two blogs.   Links will be provided in both blogs.

2016-09-05 11.04.12It was the perfect moment.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Quest for Canada is a new series of articles that will appear alternately in both my Witches & Pagans column 49 Degrees and my Patheos blog Between the Shadows.  It will be published once a week in an alternating schedule between the two blogs.   Links will be provided in both blogs.

I believe in new gods as well as old gods.  When you invest spiritual and emotional energy into a concept, it acquires its own egregore; and when enough people do it for long enough, it develops a very powerful egregore.  Most of my readers will have heard of Lady Liberty, or the American Dream.  Simon and Garfunkle wrote a beautiful song about searching for the spirit of America, which was remembered recently in a political campaign ad.  I, as a Canadian, went in search of the spirit of my own country, Canada.

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Brown Girl in the RingBrown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read for the Women of Genre Fiction challenge, the 12 Awards in 12 Months challenge, the LGBTQ Speculative Fiction challengeand the Vernon Library Summer Reading challenge. I was going to read this for the Apocalypse Now! Challenge, but the world was not destroyed and therefore, it does not qualify.

I loved this book. I loved everything about it! I have encountered some of Nalo Hopkinson’s short fiction before and was intrigued, but this novel received a lot of awards and a lot of critical acclaim, and was her first explosion on the scene. One of those awards was the Aurora Award, which is Canada’s tribute to our science fiction and fantasy writers, so naturally I was honour-bound to read it eventually anyway, but what a pleasure!

In this novel of magical realism, which takes place in a dystopian Toronto that has been abandoned by the Canadian and Ontario governments after an economic collapse, Ti-Jeanne has just recently left the father of her baby to live with her grandmother because he is a drug addict who has gotten mixed up with the local organized crime syndicate who runs the inner city, called the Posse, and she realizes that as much as she loves him, he’s no good for her and less good for the baby. There is no police force in operation in the urban remains, none of the city’s infrastructure is supported, and economy has gone back to bartering and growing what one can in the remains of the city’s many iconic parks, so there is little consequence for participating in crime and the Posse has a free rein in the city. The leader of the Posse, Rudy, has made a deal with a shady hospital to provide a human heart for a transplant to the Premier of the Province (for you Americans, that’s like the state governor.) Rudy has learned that Tony, the father of Ti-Jeanne’s baby, has been skimming off the top of the drugs he has been selling for Rudy to support his own habit, and has blackmailed him into fetching the heart from one of the local urban residents – by force. Tony was once a nurse before his habit got him fired.

What makes this scenario really interesting is that Ti-Jeanne’s grandmother, Gros-Jeanne (yes, for those of you who speak French, the names are deliberately symbolic) is a Caribbean immigrant who is a priestess of a Caribbean Afro-Diasporic tradition. The Afro-Diasporic traditions are syncretic faiths such as Voodoo and Santeria; Gros-Jeanne never specifies her tradition and actually says that they are all essentially the same. This turns the sordid scenario into an epic spirit quest in the Caribbean spiritual tradition, taking place partially in the physical world and partially in the spirit world. Much of the magic, until near the end of the book, might only be happening in the minds of the characters, and best of all, the Voodoo is real. I am a Wiccan priestess and have had the opportunity to learn just enough about Voodoo from practitioners that I have met to recognize the rituals, the symbolism, the magical practices and the spirits themselves.

The overall effect is an exercise in surrealism, told with a masterful hand. The language is simple but the characters and the story are deep. I don’t dare tell you anymore for risk of spoiling the story. I will say that I loved everything about it, from the story itself, to the mythic themes of Caribbean culture that were mined to create the story structure, to the evocative descriptions, to the use of modern iconic places to create a sense of realism, to the theme, which, ultimately, is a complex examination of what “family” actually is. I find myself beaming with Canadian pride in Nalo Hopkinson, and I highly recommend this novel to pretty much anyone.

View all my reviews

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