PaganSquare


PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Gifts Hidden In Loss

On February 21, 2015 my second son, Galen, was stillborn.

I wrote out the whole traumatic story, then found myself reluctant to share it.  I wish what happened to me would never happen to anyone else.  So I'm not going to share the details in blog form.  Maybe in my next memoir.

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  • Lia Hunter
    Lia Hunter says #
    Thank you for sharing the beautiful lessons you learned from your community and from your son with the name of a healer. Another
  • Ashley Rae
    Ashley Rae says #
    Thank you, Lia.
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    This has to be one of the bravest, saddest, and more amazing blog posts I have ever read on this or any other site. My heart break
  • Ashley Rae
    Ashley Rae says #
    Thank you, Anne.
  • Courtney
    Courtney says #
    I am so very sorry for your loss. I am surrounding you in love.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Identity and Leadership Failure


So many of the leadership problems that I see in the Pagan community come down to issues of our personal identity. There are leadership techniques for building healthy communities, models for understanding group dynamics, and tools to mediate conflicts. But the truth is…all of that stuff is a house built on a faulty foundation if we don’t also do our personal work.

To do that work, we have to understand identity.

And we also have to admit that all of us need to do this work. Unfortunately, the way identity functions can make it hard to change our own bad behaviors, and ego is pretty good at denial. When a group blows up you’ll often hear, “It’s just too much ego.” They’re sort of right, but it’s a little more complicated.

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  • Shauna Aura Knight
    Shauna Aura Knight says #
    You all have inspired me to do a few posts on gossip. I'm thinking at least one on discerning between information sharing and mali
  • Power Before Wisdom
    Power Before Wisdom says #
    I did the exercise and posted it above. Then I took it to turn into a paper to post over my desk... Here's what it looks like:
  • Irisanya
    Irisanya says #
    Wow. This is timely. I've been engaging in mirror work around this, and have found: 1. Overcommitment, which leads to... 2. Poor
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Over committing is a big one for me and I must admit that I will entertain gossip.
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Over-committing, that's something I keep trying to work on, too. My over-committing is rooted in feeling that it's not nice to say

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Paganism and Problem Solving

I’m absolutely thrilled to be writing for PaganSquare. My blog here will focus on topics of leadership, community building, and facilitation skills for classes, rituals, and meetings, as well as the personal and spiritual growth work beneath all those skills and tools. My goal is to help more people become the leaders and community builders who can help foster more sustainable groups.

Why do I write about these topics? Once upon a time I realized that I wasn’t a very good leader. I enjoyed the energy of being with a group but when things fell apart, I was intensely frustrated. Since I like organizing events and big projects, I figured I should learn the skills and tools to do that well. I didn’t plan on teaching leadership, but after I began training in the Diana’s Grove leadership and ritual arts program, I noticed how few groups seemed to have access to those tools. I started teaching at local Pagan events, and then at festivals, and then I started writing.

When I went through a painful blow-up of a Pagan group, that further inspired me to teach tools that will hopefully help others from having to go through the same thing I did. When I travel and teach leadership, I hear from so many people who have faced problems in their groups. I want to help people to build stronger communities.

It’s true that these can often be uncomfortable topics, but I feel they are crucial to explore in order to build healthier communities. There are a lot of ways that we can work together to build the kind of magical and spiritually fulfilling groups that will serve us and empower us.

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  • Shauna Aura Knight
    Shauna Aura Knight says #
    Rick, you're very right about that. Volunteer management is absolutely different. I can certainly do a post about that, though I k
  • Rick
    Rick says #
    One of the topics I might suggest is the art of managing volunteers. It is so much different from managing people you are paying!
  • Shauna Aura Knight
    Shauna Aura Knight says #
    Thanks! I've been writing on topics of Pagan leadership and community building for a while, and I hope that these articles offer s
  • Rick
    Rick says #
    So looking forward to more. The problem in our area is relationships between the groups. It has caused a lot of people to go sol
  • Sheilia Canada
    Sheilia Canada says #
    What a great article. I look forward to learning more leadership skills & suggestions. I run an open Pagan Community group & hav

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Banishing a vampire

 

We had to banish a vampire from our community. She came last year and was charming and likeable. She was allergic to garlic and once she moved in, we couldn’t cook with garlic anymore, not without all the windows open and her safely away in another room. Of course the connection between garlic and this vampire was a coincidence, and at any rate, she was allergic to many foods. But she was, indeed, a vampire.

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  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Kathy, that's an interesting question. I don't know where the boundaries are between mental illnesses, personality disorders, and
  • Kathy Parris
    Kathy Parris says #
    Hi I came from similar background, but had pagan roots to start out with. Just wondering, did you tell this individual they were/h
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    So painful. Blessings on your community and house. Blessings on those who were once part and are not longer.
  • Martin
    Martin says #
    Far out!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Ancestor Offering #13daysofmagic #day3

#13daysofmagic has been a lot of fun! Tuesdays I usually make offering to spirits and my picture is of an ancestor offering I did earlier today.

Yesterday furnished some pretty amazing spells for the challenge, here are jus a few!

b2ap3_thumbnail_1607067_10204188644030390_2313873531617392638_n.jpg

"Ancestor offering" by Chas Bogan from Carnivalia.com

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Finding Communion in Mixed Company

Sometimes, where we least expect it, we can find spiritual communion.  This isn't my usual monthly post with tips and advice, but perhaps this anecdote has something to offer you, as it did me.

It was my birthday about two weeks ago, and though I wasn't planning a birthday party, the gathering planned for testing my new fire pit and grill ended up being scheduled the weekend after.  It seemed a good time: just after my thirty-sixth, just before Mabon.  I was surprised when I did a head count from R.S.V.P.s that we were expecting up to twenty-seven people, something our house isn't used to accommodating, but I was determined to make it work.

Then, the morning of the gathering, my one year old had sniffles, and not knowing whether it was an on-coming cold or just an allergy, I posted a quick update to my guests.  In under three hours, I had fifteen cancellations (understandable) and a fridge crammed full of food I'd bought and prepped specifically to feed the large guest list (unexpected).

By the start time, I wasn't sure anyone was coming, though I went to build a fire anyway.  Then someone showed up: a friend from university I hadn't seen since I'd graduated.  We sat alone together and carried on small talk, while I felt first embarrassed at not having anyone else there and then embarrassed because I didn't know what I was doing.  I'd never grilled before, nor had I done so by starting a wood fire outdoors.  (Can you tell I work mostly with water and earth?) As I'd expected other witches there, some far more experienced with fire who could give me a boost, and maybe join in a touch of spirit-calling to welcome the fire, I felt wholly out of my -- pardon the pun -- element.

My friend started giving advice from his own experiences camping, and we tried to implement them together.  Shortly after, one of my dearest friends arrived, bringing along his mother, whom I knew from online conversations, and his brother whom I knew not at all.

Feeling a little relieved, we proceeded to acquaint ourselves to one another while discussing the best way to start a fire.  As it turned out, two of the guests including my friend's brother, were experts.  Together, they worked to both encourage the smoldering wood and to teach me how to work with fire in a practical way I'd not learned before.

Though there were a few bumps in the process -- and one very stubborn sweet potato that refused to cook -- after two hours of talk and finesse with fire, we had all managed to enjoy a host of delectable, locally-grown vegetables and meats grilled by our own hands.

What's more, we created camaraderie through the evening's adventure that led to a natural moment of reverent silence between us.  Though each of us were from different backgrounds and honoring different traditions, the silence became a communion in which, serene and smiling, we found spiritual connection.


For several breaths, without intent to guide it there, our small group became one -- with each other, the food, the fire, and the night.  The embarrassment and disappointment I'd felt earlier in the day had burned away, and leaving a spiritual community created just for the purpose of one evening and to teach me an important lesson.

Though my usual band of friends who share in similar spiritual pursuits were unable to join with me that evening, I learned that no matter who I'm with, it's possible to create a supportive, spiritual community whenever needed.  Our paths need not be the same, only the willingness to sit with one another, share in the simple joys, and open our hearts to the possibility of communion.

Thus were my needs met that night, and I realized, have been at every point in my life when I needed connection of this sort.  This event helped me recognize and appreciate the abundance and connection we bring to one another, and all it took was sharing a fire.

Of course, it's been a week now, and despite a lot of creativity, our fridge is still burgeoning with food.  What a blessed challenge to have!

May your Mabon and harvest be as abundant!

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Labor Day Reverie, plus apples

Labor

We’ve just wrapped up our celebration of Labor Day weekend which is apparently another excuse for a sale in Retail-Land and a well-deserved day-off for American workers. At least the ones who get a day of for federal holidays, which isn’t everyone, of course.

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  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thanks for reading it, Ivo.
  • Ivo Dominguez Jr
    Ivo Dominguez Jr says #
    Thank you Byron!

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