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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Culture of the Imagination, Part 3

Last month, I wrote about the psychological dynamics behind the sacred spaces we create together and the ways we might utilize the power of sacred space to create a better world. This month, I'll be writing about what happens when the people to whom we have given power abuse it, and in doing so weaken both the internal and external cultures of the imagination we've worked so hard to build. Specifically, I'll be writing about the work of Marion Zimmer Bradley (MZB), its influence upon a generation of Pagan women and the destructive effects of the recent pedophilia allegations against her.

The younger Pagans among you might not recognize the name, but if you're a Pagan woman of a certain age, you'll remember that MZB is the author of a much-beloved novel called The Mists of Avalon. This novel tells the Arthurian story from the point of view of its women and follows the life of Morgaine, otherwise known as Morgan le Fay. It was released in 1983, just a few years before I left an abusive family of Jehovah's Witnesses to live with my grandmother, who was also a Christian conservative. An avid reader, I found the novel in 1986, and it changed my life in ways that echo even now. It was the world I wanted to live in; a place where women existed in community with one another, where they wielded the ancient power of the divine feminine, where the sacred was protected from the mundane. Because of that book, I was drawn to Western European Paganism, and then to Celtic Pagan spirituality, and then to a degree in Celtic Studies, and then to Cape Breton. In a very real sense, The Mists of Avalon shaped my own culture of the imagination and helped make me the woman I am now.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • C.S. MacCath
    C.S. MacCath says #
    In hindsight, it sounds uncomfortably like what Moira Greyland has written of her mother. Interestingly, that passage struck me a
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    C.S. and Carol: I actually have found a paragraph from one of the Avalon books which could, in a certain light, be construed as a
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    In re: Diana Paxson and the MZB situation, please see Diana's public statement here: http://www.diana-paxson.com/writing/avalon/ma
  • C.S. MacCath
    C.S. MacCath says #
    Thanks for this, Anne.
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you, Anne. Good enough for me, too.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Culture of the Imagination, Part 2

Last month, I wrote about hiraeth, the cultures of the imagination we create as a Pagan community and the empowerment that occurs when we cultivate sacred spaces together. This month, I'll be expanding upon that theme with a discussion of the psychological dynamics behind this process and some suggestions about what we might do with the power inherent in it.

"I think the search for community, be it within the traditional cultures in Alba Nuadh1 or the various pagan cultural communities, is the proof of how crazy global consumerist culture has made us and, indeed, how wrong it is for us. We are instinctively looking for what felt right. I don't think that a homeland of the imagination is better than an actual community of people who see and speak to each other, but perhaps it can form a useful bridge to sustain isolated cultural thoughtful pagans during this period of global cultural and environmental decline." - Sylvain Grandcerf

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I Couldn't Find my Black Lace Corset

...so I made a bright green underdress to go with my green ruanna and I constructed a fat new flower crown, too.  I'm the elder priestess at Mother Grove and the younger ones have given me a couple of public rituals with only a little bit to do and that has been a wonderful gift to me as my schedule gets complicated.

I was a smudger and Sabra anointed the revellers. We were in a new park this time--a really pretty one. The altar was set inside a ring of old trees, mostly oaks.  We had a good turnout with lots of familiar faces and several new ones, too.

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** Update: After reading comments on FB I wanted to clarify this.  It may be is a case of the written word not always coming through as intended (in this case - sarcasim).  My purpose here is not to introduce a serious topic for consideration.  It is to show that we can sometimes get caught up in a "tempest in a teapot" and that it can be pretty funny if we step back and look at it.  I hope you get a chuckle during a stressful time. Namaste.

 

I admit that I’m a fairly thick-skinned Pagan and don’t take offense when someone uses the word “Witch” in place of a naughty word they can’t say on television.  I don’t get upset when someone wishes me “Merry Christmas” (and I almost always spare them my lecture about how saying that is actually casting a spell).  The other day I used the phrase “come to Jesus meeting” and later I was thinking about it.  Should I have been averse to using this phrase?  Am I an insensitive Pagan?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    I've used it a lot. For me, it conveys the meaning well. When I tell someone we need to have a "come to Jesus" meeting, they under
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    I've never seen that term used by pagans, but I've seen several of that kind of meeting where some self righteous self appointed "
Pagan savings challenge, week fourteen:  what women want

I heard an interesting story on NPR about women and investing the other day.  The points which jumped out at me were:

  • Women are more risk-averse when it comes to investing, and testosterone plays a part in the gender difference;
  • Fear of an impoverished old age -- women generally have more time as senior citizens -- adds a layer of paralysis which amplifies the hormonal factors;
  • In heteronormative relationships, women are more likely to let the man control the money, even women who are the primary wage earners; and
  • When they invest for themselves, women tend to be better at it than men.

More than a decade into the 21st century, we haven't reached gender parity in how we relate to money.  How much of that difference is cultural and how much is biological isn't clear to me, but differences there certainly are.

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Saving money as a community:  the sou-sou

As the Pagan savings challenge progresses, I'm aware that there are Pagans who are not participating because my weekly (and impersonal) posts aren't motivation enough to keep it up.  The pressures are many, and my voice is small.  But my belief in the power of savings is strong.

  • Savings is a discipline, as surely as devotion and magic are, and discipline is its own reward.
  • Savings transforms one's relationship with money, changing it from one of reaction to one of intention.
  • Savings results in a pile of money that literally wouldn't have been there if it hadn't been saved, which is the sort of reward that even the most right-brained among us should appreciate.
  • Savings requires the right mix of patience and attention, which in proper measure can nurture virtually anything.

So in keeping with my sincere belief that each and every Pagan should have a savings plan as part of their spiritual practice, I present an alternative for working groups:  the sou-sou.  It is one of the simplest savings programs to understand, but challenging for the typical American to participate.  It came to the United States from West Africa, and is most commonly used in this country by populations who are on the edges -- or outside -- of the traditional money system.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
What Young Pagans Like

Writing and marketing my new book, Teen Spirit Wicca, has been a very interesting process. Most people know that my prime work in the community is based on advocacy and youth outreach/support. Advocating for young Witches and Pagans means constantly engaging with this demographic and being open to their interests, likes, and dislikes. I learned so much while interviewing teens during the initial writing of TSW, but I continue to learn as I pose new questions to the community that has built up around it. So for the next few months I'm asking the young Pagan community about their thoughts on a number of topics that I'll report on here. Some of them will be deeper and more intellectual, and some will be based on simple feelings. I ask these questions through a number of outlets including Facebook pages, groups, and via email to the youth I know.

Last week I started with a simple question: What in your opinion is the best part of being a young Wiccan, Witch, or Pagan? How is it helpful for you? What are you most proud of?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Nova
    Nova says #
    I think most people take younger people for granted sometimes forgetting who they were and how they thought when they were younger
  • Julie Chedzo
    Julie Chedzo says #
    I am new to Paganism. I love Nature and i love the freedom Paganism gives you. I don't like rules and being free is great. I like
  • Julisa
    Julisa says #
    I am also a younger Pagan and I chose this religion (coming from a firm Christian family) because I feel a strong connection to na
  • David Salisbury
    David Salisbury says #
    Julisa- thanks for sharing! Isn't it cool how nature can call out to us and poke us to learn more about it's mysteries?
  • Julisa
    Julisa says #
    Yes David, it is amazing. It also made me look back up the trunk of my family tree as well. Come to find out, I come from a long

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