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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in elder gods

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Any Day of the Moon

A Qabalist was explaining to me the mysteries of the Christian Qabalá.

I can't remember whether or not she knew that I speak Hebrew.

So, here's how it works. You start off with YHVH, yod-he-vav-he, “Yahvéh,” the secret name of El, the Canaanite High God.

Into this, you insert the letter Sh, shin, one of the Three Mother Letters (whatever that means).

And voilà: YHShVH, “Yehoshuah”: Jesus.

Pretty nifty, eh?

“But that's not how you spell 'Jesus' in Hebrew,” I objected.

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An Older, Realer Paganism: The Life and Times of a Saami Shaman-Poet

 the guests had one month fewer

they do not speak the language of nature

 

We take ancient gods and goddesses, revive them, and think that that's paganism.

But that's not paganism; it's a cartoon, a caricature, of paganism.

For an older, realer paganism, read the work of Saami poet Nils-Alsak Valkeapää (1943-2001).

Here there's a life lived so thoroughly among the old gods—the Sun our father, Earth mother of life, the Moon, the Winds, the Lake, the Mountain, the Reindeer—that there's no space between: a living relationship with a living world.

Listen to his shaman's song:

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Nectar of the Gods

Woe, I cry, woe: five long years, and never a good tomato.

Either it got too hot, and the tomatoes languished.

Or it didn't get hot enough, and they never ripened.

We didn't have enough rain, and so they were tough-skinned and bitter.

Or we had too much rain, and they swelled up obese and flavorless, red water balloons.

Oh, but this year: this year the gods have been good.

Earth and Your two boon husbands, Sun and Thunder: thank You, thank You All.

Firm, sweet, kissed by the Sun: at every meal tomatoes, and you never get tired of them.

Glory to the gift of the Aztecs, best of Nightshades! But in every good tomato year, you always reach glut: the point at which they're coming in so fast that you can't keep up, no matter how many you eat.

That means that it's time for the Nectar of the Gods.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Stand aside, avocado toast. You're hopelessly outclassed.
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    Need someone to unload tomatoes on? Tomato toast for breakfast now. Just sayin '.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Goddesses in the News

Since Kilauea began its most recent eruption a fortnight ago, we've been hearing a lot in the news about Madame Pele, Lady of Kilauea.

Every pagan should sit up and take notice.

Even from here in Minnesota, I've heard Hawaiians of many different ethnic backgrounds talking about Her. It's well worth listening closely to what they say.

No one tries to explain Her away as a metaphor or an archetype. No one mounts a defense of Traditional Hawaiian religion. They simply speak of Pele as an indisputable datum, as real as the old lady next door.

In fact, people do see Her in human form all the time. “With great regularity Pele stories appear, usually on Page One, of every Hawai'i newspaper from Hilo to Hanalei,” writes Rick Carroll, editor of the anthology Madame Pele: True Encounters with Hawai'i's Fire Goddess. “Over the years, I clipped Pele tales from Time magazine, the New Yorker, National Geographic, and mainland newspapers” (Caroll xiii-ix).

I've noticed that people usually (although not always) give enough qualifying explanation for us non-Hawaiians to understand what they're saying: “the goddess Pele,” “Pele the volcano goddess.” Information needs to be contextualized, after all; your hearer needs to know enough to be able to understand what you're saying.

I doubt that most of the folks that I've heard speaking of the Red Lady to reporters would describe themselves as practicing Traditional Hawaiian religion.

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Everything I Know About Paganism, I Learned from Lake Erie

In those days, I didn't know how to be pagan.

Lake Erie taught me how.

When you live near a large body of water (“large” meaning you can't see to the other side), life is relationship. You come to know the Lake as individual. You come to understand that it's not just a thing: it's a Being.

This Being, vast, becomes intrinsic to your thought-world. Consciously or not, on some level it becomes a constant Presence.

Even cowans feel it.

But for pagans, this is religion. Relation is its essence.

Earth, Sun, Thunder, Fire, Wind, River, Lake: to These Mighty Beings, we say You.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
What Pagans Do

Do you know the punishment for cutting down a sacred tree?

Did you know that, at a sacrifice, it's proper at the moment of the killing for women present to cry out?

Do you know why one should always end a funeral with a ring-dance around the grave?

Neither did I.

But now I do, and you will too, once you've read Ken Dowden's European Paganism: The Realities of Cult from Antiquity to the Middle Ages.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Are the Gods Archetypes?

If I could zap one word from the pagan vocabulary, it would be “archetype.”

Don't ask me what it means. When I press people for a definition, they're mostly hard-put to provide one. So far as I can tell, archetypes seem to be something like Platonic Ideas.

If so, what does it mean to say that the gods are archetypes?

Me, I'm an Old Style Pagan. I worship (to name only some) the Sun, the Moon, the Storm, Earth, Sea, the Winds. Whatever it is that They may be (when asked “What is a god?” the poet Simonides replied, “I find that the more I think about the question, the more opaque it becomes”), it doesn't seem to me to be in any way meaningful to say that they're archetypes.

Whatever that may be.

Craft historian Michael Howard has contended that the reductionist tendency to regard the gods as archetypes—essentially, as parts of ourselves—has actually stood in the way of entering into any sort of real relationship with Them.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anne Forrester
    Anne Forrester says #
    I also love this posting and agree with everything that Shiri says above. I was going to write a lengthy comment until I read her
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks for your generous words, Shiri; I'm in full agreement with your observations. I continue to be astounded by the simultaneou
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Thanks for this. I've been finding a lot resonating in your microposts about the profundity of basics and the ancestors. Modern pa

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