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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in grief

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Viking Grief

One of the most moving poems by the Viking poet/magician/farmer Egil Skallagrimsson was one he wrote lamenting the death of his favourite son Böðvarr who drowned at sea, and his son Gunnar who died of fever. In skaldic form the twenty-five verses give voice to his sorrow with passion and beauty. Normally Vikings assuaged loss with revenge but there is no one to attack for these deaths.

Egil composes the poem after vowing to kill himself by starvation, unwilling to live in a world without his son. His daughter Þorgerður tells him she will die with him, but tricks him into drinking some milk and spoiling his hunger strike. She then suggests that the best way to memorialise her brother is to compose a suitable poem in his honour so that he will live forever.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Blood Ties

The blood of many species
swirls around me
The blood of many mothers
runs through me
The blood of many generations
comes from me

The blood of earth
feeds me
The blood of the Goddess
holds me

We dance together
in an ancient ecstasy
blood deep
bone rich
holy, potent, and pure.

The blood of creation
The blood of inspiration
The blood of sacrifice
and renewal…

(originally posted here)

Last modified on

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_DarkMother-lowres.jpgAcross the many pantheons and even within single traditions, there are more than a few goddesses to be found personifying sorrow and grief. We can look to these mournful deities to help us through our own times of unhappiness, from mild melancholia to the throes of despair and even to the rising up and moving forward after the worst of the grieving has passed. In our times of need, we can turn to these goddesses for compassion, strength and renewal.

In the Christian tradition Mary bears seven sorrows as a mother who must accept the destiny of her son. Early in Jesus’s life, they are the typical sorrows of any mother, but Mary's heroic strength through the inconceivable grief of his persecution and execution is said to have prepared her heart for the joy of Christ’s resurrection. As a mother I can only imagine the depth of her pain, both emotional and physical. Her stoic countenance tells all. In the hostile atmosphere, she dare not carry on in fits of anguish lest she too be persecuted. Yet it is not likely that fear for her own safety restrained her as much as the knowledge that her son did not need one more added burden; that of worry over the wellbeing of his mother.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_July13dump-585.jpg

On Wednesday, I placed a soft blanket on my lap.  I invited my cat to be comforted. His breath was labored. His body was clearly shutting down. The will to live is stronger than any other emotion or drive. He wanted to live. He was bewildered. He knew he was losing the battle. He collapsed on the blanket, took two long inhales and let out a long moan that was the end of his life. The sound of death is perhaps unlike any other. The sound of that sigh – I cannot describe. Poetry has no language here - my words utter only stupid rhetoric. To experience this is more than can be expressed, but I try. I try because it is vastly important to me to know what death is and to not hate life for its cruel finality. Right now, it is difficult to feel peace with this life. I struggle to understand why - despite the ache of the body and the deep, known suffering - the will to live is so strong. When he passed, it was not like some say, this ethereal light leaving. His eyes shone bright. His body, warm. It was my light that diminished. My eyes were those that shut, unwilling to see the end. I could not sense the sweat and blood, or hear the hum of awaiting insects near the dirt that would cover him.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Aleah, I am sorry to hear of your loss. I just lost my own kitty, and know how it feels. I also commend you for selflessly using y
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    It's been awhile since I've read something reminding me of my dearest Ginger's sigh as she died. How you can't really describe it
  • Lia Hunter
    Lia Hunter says #
    This was a beautiful meditation. I appreciate your experience and thank you for sharing it.
  • William Welsh
    William Welsh says #
    I also have walked a path very different but oh so similar to that of you, my sister Aleah. We must be strong and ever seeking the
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you so much for these beautiful and honest words.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
I Sit Exhausted on This Longest Night

My big plan was to finish up some loose ends so that I could truly enjoy my first winter holiday season in town, not working retail. Daughter was coming home, holiday cards were mailed away...even the weather was nice.

Did your December deviate from the plan, too?  There have been unexpected rituals, several funerals, more than one friend or circle mate whose life took a turn for the...challenging.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thanks for that. Blessings to you!
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    I don't have any big words, just silent support from across the pond. You're in my thoughts and prayers, as is everyone else who h

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Warrior's Grief

I ease my students into Beowulf by having them read the Anglo-Saxon poem 'The Wanderer' first. It's a great introduction to the warrior ethos that the longer narrative celebrates, but in a short form. It's a poem about grief but the first thing we'll notice is that the loss mourned isn't a partner, child or parent, but the narrator's leader.

Wyrd bið ful aræd!       Fate always goes as it must!

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    We don't hear enough about the sanctity and beauty of the warrior ethic from these traditions. You know how much I love "Beowulf"
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    Thank you, my dear. This piece actually motivated me to kick off a series on Hávamál, so I hope you'll find that appealing as well
  • Hunter Liguore
    Hunter Liguore says #
    Really great information here. Lots to take in and consider.
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    Thank you, Hunter.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The season of death

Ear (Ground) is loathsome to all men,
yet certainly the body will be set upon there,
the corpse grows cold, the soil accepts its pale bedfellow;
leaves fall, pleasures depart, men cease to be. 

 - Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Beth Wodandis
    Beth Wodandis says #
    Er, and in my comment above, I meant to type "he."
  • Beth Wodandis
    Beth Wodandis says #
    Theresa and Rose, thank you both so much for your condolences! And Rose, thank you for sharing the pics of Sunshine; what a pret
  • Rose
    Rose says #
    Here's a link to my FB album for Sunshine. In case you want to see him. I've even got bitty kitten pics! https://www.facebook.co
  • Rose
    Rose says #
    I had a cat, Sunshine, whom I had to put to sleep because of aggression. He behaved like a crazy kitty in pain. But no docs could
  • Theresa Wymer
    Theresa Wymer says #
    My sympathies for your loss of (physical) Pringle. It's good to know that she still makes her presence felt. She sounds like a lov

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