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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Holidays

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Holding a Heathen Ritual Upstairs

Continuing my story of my personal journey on my path, in the late 90s I started holding my own blots and sumbels in my apartment. My local area had neither festivals with public rituals nor any heathen groups I could find to join, so I started holding the holidays myself, sometimes alone and sometimes with friends. When I had non-heathen friends over for the holidays of the American holiday calendar, I did my holidays the American way. That eventually grew into my personal practice which I talk about in my book American Celebration. 

When I held specifically Asatru rituals, I usually held a sumbel (toasting ritual) but also sometimes held a blot (blessing) in addition. In preparing to hold a blot or sumbel for the first time, there was a practical consideration: Where do I pour out the blotbolli or horn? At the end of a heathen ritual, there is leftover liquid-- usually mead these days-- in a bowl (for a blot) or a horn (for a sumbel.) This liquid is supposed to be given to the landwights. I would have had to leave ritual space to access the ground, which was a common strip of lawn used by all the neighbors, down a flight of stairs. So I decided to pour the horn or bowl into my potted plants on the balcony, which I called "the hanging gardens of Las Vegas."

Offering through my plants connected my potted garden, in which I grew food, flowers, and small trees, with the land spirit. There is something very primal, very pagan, about gardening. It connected me with the land, the seasons, the weather, and all those gods and beings related to those things: spring maiden and harvest lord, sun and rain, and the spirits of nature.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_three-hares.jpg

The Vanic New Year is the spring equinox in March, which in the language of the Vanir they call Eshnaia Agreta (esh-NIGH-ya ah-GREYtah), or Green Awakening.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Lesson in Carrots and Sticks

Two Christmases ago, my husband gave me a lemon tree for my garden. Last month, after I spent a whole year waiting and watering and wringing my hands, it finally produced one full-grown lemon.

For awhile, the lemon looked more or less yellow, but I held off on picking it because it still had a blush of green on the underside. I had elaborate plans for it: I would give it as an offering to the Morrigan, my matron deity, and dry the skin for magical work. I would use the juice for some very special dish or drink--a sacred mojito, maybe! I dreamed and planned and admired my lemon until one day, it disappeared.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Interesting story, but I don't see where the gratuitous Republican straw man bashing adds anything positive to your essay.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_imbolc.jpgThe last holiday of the Vanic year (as the Vanic new year is the spring equinox) is called Rasthuas Ja'enladata (RAHS-thoo-ahs JIGH-en-lah-dah-tah) [in Eshnesk, the language of the Eshnahai, or citizens of Vanaheim) - translated as Lights of the Winter Storm, observed in early February, where lights are burned through the worst winter storms of the year as a reminder that soon the spring will come.  This is the holiday where the Queen's half of the year and time of influence begins, power rising again in anticipation of the spring.

The Queen arrives at the ritual site at the capital, wearing a crown with unlit candles.  A representative from each of the twenty-four tribes wields a wand and draws down light from the stars to light each candle. When all the candles are lit in the crown, the Queen lights a candle for each of the tribes to bless them, as the King dances around the Queen, spinning fire, a token of offering his power so that the Queen's power may rise. When all of the tribal candles are lit, the Queen removes the crown and places it on the snow, and the King and Queen mate ritually on the stone table in the sacred circle; the first sign of green growth appears, rising up in the circle of the crown, which will survive the rest of the cold season.  The mating of the King and Queen empowers the candles with light and life and the gift of joy.  When the mating is done, the tribal representatives take their candles and each tribal candle is used to light a candle for every individual within that tribe, so the Queen's light is given to all of Vanaheim and the land can begin to thaw from the winter and people's spirits can be lifted in hope.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

(excerpted from my book, Visions of Vanaheim)

b2ap3_thumbnail_candles.jpgAt the end of October is Rasthuas Mahareyan (RAHS-thoo-ahs mah-hah-RAY-ahn), which is Eshnesk (the language of the Eshnahai, the name the Vanir call themselves [via corroborated gnosis]) for the Lights of Remembrance.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Holiday Rhythms

I awoke this morning to the smell of crisp fall air coming in my window.  It rained a little last night and I can smell that, too.  Today we gather for the first of several Samhain rituals this year as my circle is spending this season visiting other communities to learn more about how others experience the holidays.  It feels a little early for Samhain, but honestly, this holiday always comes rushing forth.  I never feel quite prepared.  This is my favorite time of year and there are always more fun things I'd like to do before the year ends.

One of my favorite parts of being a pagan is the way our holidays provide rhythm and movement to my life.  No matter what I'm doing with my work or my relationships, those six weeks always pass by the same and suddenly, another holiday is upon us.  Despite more than two decades living like this, I have to admit that they sneak up on me more often than I'd like.  Even as I build my livelihood out of my spiritual life, it is still so easy to get caught up in the mundane things going on that I don't notice the signs of season's change all around me. 

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Hmmm...For more than a decade I've lived my life around a different calendar. for me it's Samhain-tide or soon to be Lammas and I
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Yes indeed, it is such a lovely rhythm! So good to have you at our Samhain last night up in the North Bay!

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_Lanterns.jpg(excerpted from my book, Visions of Vanaheim)

At the fall equinox in September is Selenestra Madonatal (seh-len-ES-trah mah-DOUGH-nah-tahl), which is Eshnesk (the language of the Eshnahai, the name the Vanir call themselves [via corroborated gnosis]) for the Festival of Gratitude. This is essentially the Vanic version of Thanksgiving, where people in Vanaheim feast with their families and count their blessings of the year. It is common for people to light lanterns or candles for each of their blessings and float lanterns down the rivers.

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