PaganSquare


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

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Indo-European paganism

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

“Milk” writes Julie Sahni in the introduction to her chapter on South Asian sweets, frequently dairy-based, “is the divine food of the Aryans.”

For Sahni, of course, “Aryan” means nothing like what it would have meant to Hitler. Sahni uses the term in its original sense: as the endonym (i.e. the name by which a given community knows itself) of the Sanskrit-speaking population that first entered the Indian Subcontinent between 5000 and 4000 years ago.

(A related population, also calling themselves the Ârya, the “Noble Ones,” went west into the Iranian plateau, and in fact the word “Iran” itself comes from the same root: “the Land of the Noble Ones.” According to Indo-Europeanist J. M. Mallory, the term “Aryan” properly describes only this ancient Indo-Iranian population or their descendants. No doubt Hitler would have been furious to discover that he wasn't really an Aryan.)

Milk is a miracle. If you slaughter a cow, you get food to feed the family for maybe a month. If, however, you milk the cow instead, you get enough food to feed the family for years. Divine food, indeed. Small wonder that the cow was the basic unit of value across the entire Indo-European diaspora.

Human beings originally lost the ability to digest milk as they grew out of infancy, but with the advent of pastoralism back in the Neolithic, certain human populations acquired what is called “lactase persistence”: the useful genetic mutations that permit continued milk-drinking into adulthood. Julie Sahni's Indo-Aryan ancestors were one such population, and it's possible that this ability was one of the things that distinguished the Ârya from the peoples that they conquered in their travels.

Other populations with lactase persistence arose separately in Central Asia and West Central Africa. (Interestingly, the genetic mutations allowing for adult milk consumption among the world's three main populations of milk-drinkers are different mutations. Clearly, the ability to keep digesting dairy has high survival value.) Milk isn't just the divine food of the Aryans; it's also the divine food of the Mongols, and of the Maasai, and the Fulani.

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Myself, I like nut milks, grain milks, and bean milks just fine. But good old mammal milk is the Original.
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Posch, Yeah, I wasn't attempting to harsh on non-dairy milk. I'm sure that some of it's quite delicious. A significant fract
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Posch, I don't give a Gods damn what anyone says. I like milk.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

What makes something truly distinctive?

The newly-designed Witches' Blood tartan, the world's first official Witch plaid, is largely black, with red and gray “piping.” From a distance, aptly enough, this reads as undifferentiated black.

In this, the witches' tartan is unlike other clan tartans, which are, of course, designed to be identifiable from a distance.

(In the warrior-driven Indo-European world, where plaids are an immemorial tradition, it's always best to know who is coming at you before they get within striking range.)

I think of the legendary thief who had his fingerprints removed with acid. Ironically, of course, the fact that he now lacked fingerprints gave him the most distinctive fingerprints in the world.

It's a nice, witchy twist to the tale. The mysterious Witches' tartan distinguishes itself by its very lack of distinction: this for the Craft known also as the Nameless Art.

What is't you do?

A deed without a name.

Last modified on
The White, the Red, and the Black: An Indo-European Tale, ca. 4000 BCE

There were once two brothers who had a falling-out.

If the stories once told why, they no longer do. Perhaps it was over a woman.

(Probably it was over a woman. Why else do brothers fall out?)

The end of it was, that one brother killed the other. This was the first kin-slaying that ever there was in the world.

Well, but hear what came of it.

From his head he made the priest-kind: those that remember, and counsel, and guide. Their gods are gods of Sky, and their color is white, the white of snow, and purity.

From his torso and arms, he made the warriors: those that lead, and fight, and protect. Their gods are gods of War, and their color is red, the true warrior scarlet.

From his hips and legs, his buttocks and loins, he made the peasants: those that raise, and grow, and make. Our gods are gods of Earth, and magic, and our color is black: the deep, rich black of good, tilled loam.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Our God Is a Solid Hill-Fort

Last Samhain having marked the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, here in Minnesota—the Holy Land of American Lutheranism—it was All “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” All the Time.

It might have been irritating, but instead I found myself reflecting on the ways of the ancient ancestors.

Eine feste Burg ist unser Gott: so begins Luther's marching-song of Protestantism Militant. The tune is a good, rousing, beer-swilling one, the lyrics a paraphrase of the Biblical psalm 46. The Hebrew begins: Elohim lanu mahase va-'oz, “Elohim [is] to us a protection and strength.” By the rules of Hebrew poetry, one could also translate, “Elohim [is] to us a strong protection.”

So Luther doesn't just translate, he Germanizes: “Our god is a solid burg.” Burg can mean “protection, refuge,” but primarily it means “castle, fort.”

It's an ancient word, from the depths of the Indo-European past. Originally, it meant a “hill-fort.” The Bronze Age having been a time of demographic upheaval, you can trace the spread of the Indo-European-speaking ancestors by the hill-forts that they left behind them.

In any given tribal territory, the largest hill-fort (in Irish, it would have been called a dún) marked the seat of the chieftain, or king (or, sometimes, queen). Here on a hill was found the Royal Hall, safe behind its solid concentric earthen walls. Most people lived dispersed throughout the territory, but in times of war they could gather together safely behind the walls of the burg.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Thinking in Circles

Thinking in circles.

Imagine: some people think that's a bad thing.

6000 years ago, the Mother Language had a word: *serk-. It meant “make restitution, compensate.”

It also meant “make a circle, complete.”

Restitution is an important cultural value. When you screw up, you need to make up for it. People are going to hurt one another, and restitution helps heal the wound.

So what does restitution have to do with circles?

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I remember an article in Science News that said reciprocity is the basis for all moral and economic activities.
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    And what goes around comes around, also a circle. Do unto others, as the saying goes, (And be sure it is what you would like done
Did Ancient Indo-Europeans Celebrate Samhain 6000 Years Ago?

According to Italian anthropologist Augusto S. Cacopardo, we've been celebrating Samhain for a long, long time now.

Some 6500 years ago, a group of people speaking a family of related dialects called Proto-Indo-European lived in the grasslands between the Black and Caspian Seas. In time, they expanded east and west into Asia and Europe, bringing with them their language, ancestral to many South Asian, and most European, languages, including the one that you're reading now.

In his book Pagan Christmas: Winter Feasts of the Kalasha of the Hindu Kush (2010) Dr. Cacopardo contends that they also brought with them a festival called *Semen(os), the ancestor (and namesake) of our modern Samhain.

Of this festival Cacopardo writes, [T]hough it may not have marked the beginning of the year, it seems to have some traits of a New Year feast, or it must have opened, at any rate, the winter period (260).

He adds: It surely marked, however, a time considered to be particularly numinous because gods and fairies came close to human beings. It coincided with the time when the herds were brought back to their winter quarters and it marked the beginning of the winter sacrifices (260n51).

Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

It is so amazing watching a vision become real.  And in our case, it starts in the dirt.  The place has been chosen and cleared for the Goddess Samona’s Shrine.

...
Last modified on

Additional information