PaganSquare


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

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Weaving a Stronger Web

Taking time to become aware of the self is a large part of the modern Pagan movement.  In the last twenty years, exploring the psychological aspect in many of the traditions has been as important as the metaphysical and the spiritual work.  Many have done this, as part of a training course or in their own deep learning, but perhaps subsequently allowing it to fall by the wayside; once it’s been studied, that’s it, let’s move on.  Being aware of your emotions and behaviour is a never-ending quest in self-awareness.  In order to live as Pagans it should be a lifelong exercise, in order to ensure that we are living honourably and respectfully within nature and the natural cycle.

Indeed, it is our responsibility to be aware of what we put out into the world, emotionally and physically, as Pagans.  We know that we are a part of a greater web, therefore when one strand is tugged, all the others shiver all the way down to the core.  We need to be able to see when we have failed to act with honour, in our human relationships, in our relationships with the natural world, in our relationship with the gods and the ancestors.  And in doing so, we can work to make amends, to reweave those threads that have been pulled apart.

Sometimes the damage is so great that we need to start again, and that is perfectly acceptable.  When there is no possibility of working with another without losing that sense of honour, where there is no respect, then we can walk away calmly and begin again, focusing our energy on creating the world we wish to live in that benefits the whole.  We can still try to understand the situation, working with compassion, but we don’t have to participate in it any longer, especially when it becomes abusive.

We face many challenges in our modern world, some of which we shared with our ancestors, some not.  Alienation, isolation, war, climate change, technology: all these we have shared previously with those who have gone before. How we respond to it makes all the difference. Emma Restall Orr, on the Patheos website as part of her article on the environmental crisis and how to respond gracefully as a Pagan, states:  

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Ancestral Trauma

Before you were even conceived, the burning times had terrorized your soul. But you can reclaim your Pagan power. 

During the European persecutions, thousands of women were killed as witches. Accusers would sometimes wipe out almost all the women of a village, along with some of the men.

I believe the burning times traumatized our DNA. This following shows how I picture it happening. 

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Pagan Event Planning: Recipes for Disaster Part 2

 

In Part 1, we looked at Team Intrepid as it began an event planning process for a Pagan event without creating any structure for decisionmaking or establishing any goals, and diving right into minutia of the event. And this process can work as long as everyone agrees on everything. 

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Rick
    Rick says #
    Beginners at event planning should start out building a pert diagram. This is a very simple exercise where you list all of the tas

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

This weekend my coven will be celebrating our first "outdoor" sabbat.  I know that a lot of groups exclusively meet outside but that's never really been an option for us.  While my wife and I are lucky enough to live in a house, there's another person living in our backyard.  He's not a living in a tent or anything like that, but he does occupy a studio-like living space attached to the garage.  I doubt he wants to listen to us chant in the backyard while he's trying to sleep.  

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While I do share a backyard the garden spots are all mine and with the corn already over six feet it feels pretty magical. It may not be with the coven, but every time I water my garden (with grey water from the shower) I feel like I'm at least performing a private ritual. I talk to my sunflowers, implore my pumpkins to grow, and stop to bow at Aphrodite-Chicago of the Lemon Tree.  My garden is ia magical place, but it's a magical place for mostly "just me" (and sometimes my wife when she checks on things). 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
To Find My Ancestors

One Pagan's DNA Research

My ancestors are important to my shamanic path. My previous post discusses that and why taking an AncestryDNA test is part of that path for me. 

Today's post discusses my feelings as I waited for the test results, my reactions to the results, and the adventure it put me on as a Pagan. 

An AncestryDNA test predicts ethnicity. Waiting for test results, I wondered if I'd like them. I felt excitement and a bit of trepidation.

I was empowered thinking about the benefits my friends' experienced. One friend learned which regions in Africa her ancestors hailed from. Prior to that, she did not know where in Africa she was from. Another friend uncovered secrets her family had hidden. This freed her from decades of lies.  

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Joyce ORourke
    Joyce ORourke says #
    I loved reading about your experience with the DNA testing and your results. Did you ever just know something about yourself since
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Joyce, Thanks for checking out the blog. I am delighted you liked it. And yes, I really hear you about knowing stuff despite any
  • aought
    aought says #
    Yes, I look forward to having my DNA analyzed. Oh, the ancestry that is buried. Raised "English," (Grandma was an English immigran
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    aought, thanks so much for your perspective on this. I am glad that you agree with me that 1) discovering one's ethnicity both doe

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Experiencing the Sacred

Friend and fellow colleague, Kevin Emmons, once described the sacred as “A simple thought that isn’t so simple. What we see and experience as sacred is what allows us to glimpse the eternal through cracks in consciousness caught in the field of time.” I love it when people say things that really make you think. You can find links to other inspiring writers on my personal blog at Down the Forest Path.

As a Druid and animist, to me everything is sacred. Everything is sacred, and yet everything is also mundane.  As author and Zen teacher Charlotte Joko Beck once said “Nothing is special. And when nothing is special, everything is”.  She wrote an entire book, called Nothing Special. I highly recommend it.

Kevin’s words are beautiful, evoking an image of eternity in which we can only catch glimpses.  My Zen Buddhist tendencies lead me to question whether anything is eternal, as the main tenet of Buddhism is the impermanence of everything, and yet there is a certain paradox in that the energy of life is never-changing: it only changes in the forms that it takes.  Energy manifests itself as different forms of matter dependent on circumstances such as environment, genetics, etc. So yes, the energy is eternal, but the manifestation is not.

Catching glimpses of this energy, of the sacred through cracks in consciousness is an absolutely delicious concept.  It reminds me of Emily Dickinson’s poetry, when she speaks of nature as in XCII:

To my quick ear the leaves conferred;    

  The bushes they were bells;      

I could not find a privacy             

  From Nature’s sentinels.            

 

In cave if I presumed to hide,             

  The walls began to tell;               

Creation seemed a mighty crack              

  To make me visible.

 

We cannot escape life. It is always there, always around us, and we are always a part of its flow. There is no separation, only integration.  We live with each other; we live because of each other in a beautiful dance throughout the ages.  These cracks in our consciousness allow us to break through our perceived reality, and move beyond perceptions, beyond subjectivity into the entirety of being.

Our senses are so beneficial to us, and yet they also are the cause of our subjectivity. We see the world through our own eyes, feel through our own fingers, listen with our own ears. Everyone is different, yet everyone has a shared experience. When the species is the same, there is a deeper shared experience, an understanding and knowing where the Other is not so “other”.  Transcendence is moving beyond the senses, moving beyond the boundaries and definitions into pure understanding, pure experience.  Then there is no “I” or “Me”, there is no “You” or “Them” – just life, glorious life.  

Our consciousness is a blessing, a gift. It is also the greatest hurdle to overcome, for it shouts aloud and above the songs of the earth, drowning out the consciousness of other beings in our own minds.  Cracking open our consciousness we allow those other songs to come through, to inspire us, to nourish us, to blend with our song in a wonderful symphony of energy manifesting, over and over again.

These cracks of consciousness are caught in the field of time (however you may view time, whether it be linear, circular, etc.).  Energy manifests, for a time, and then changes its form.  Time is what creates the impermanence that is so vital to life. Without time, there would be no conception, no materialisation, no death and no decay. Within the moveable boundaries of time we see a progression of the eternal processes of birth and decay.  Time is a gentle sanctuary, an indiscriminate boundary that allows these processes to occur.

And so, the sacred is that which allows us to glimpse the eternal. The sacred is anything and everything, if only we open up our senses and move beyond our perceptions.  Through the cracks of consciousness within the fields of time we perceive this sacredness, flowing and changing, manifesting and decaying, a boundless stream of energy moving through the cosmos.

May you see through the cracks to glimpse the sacred.

 

*For more writing on the sacred and other concepts witin Druidry, visit www.joannavanderhoeven.com for a full bibliography of the author's work.*

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Pagan Events, Trash, and Environmentalism Part 2

 

 

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