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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
“Clean!”

 “The gods receive no offerings from dirty hands.”

(Hesiod)

 

So: at Paganicon next month we'll be doing a big, public ritual for the many-named and many-hued Lady of Spring.

Here's the downside: We' ll be doing it in a cowanish and public place, to whit, a hotel.

Here's the resulting problem: Ritual of this sort demands a high state of ritual purity, and public spaces such as hotels are not generally in a ritually clean state.

So what do you do? Obviously we can't expect to maintain the same high degree of ritual cleanliness that one does back home at the temple.

So we do what pagans have always done: we make do.

As the procession bearing the Offerings and the Holy Things proceeds through the hotel to the Place of Offering, it will be preceded—even before the drums—by one bearing the rose water and the leafy spray for sprinkling.

(And surely those who bear the Offerings and the Holy Things will have washed themselves well beforehand, hands and forearms to the elbows.)

As she cleanses, she will cry out in the ancient language of the Tribe of Witches.

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Now the Green Blade Riseth: Invoking the Lady of Spring at Paganicon 2020

What follows is the Invocation/Bidding Prayer from the Rite of Welcome at this year's upcoming Paganicon. The prayer will be chanted together by the priest (=yours truly) and the people. The people's lines are in italic.

Ushrine is the name of the Baltic (specifically Lithuanian) Goddess of Dawn; Her name is cognate with many of the other Indo-European dawn-goddesses here invoked. Note that the invocation consists of Nine Names, and that these play out, as one might expect, from West to East. A good spell is one in which the words themselves do what they say.

 

Invocation/ Bidding Prayer (sung)

 

Priest (facing people):

Let us lift up our hands.

(Turns, faces altar.)

 

Many-named and many-hued Lady of Spring,

radiant goddess of the Day's Dawn,

radiant goddess of the Year's Dawn also,

we your people call to you:

 

You who are called Eostre,

(Eostre)

you who are called Ostara,

(Ostara)

you who are called Ushrine,

(Ushrine)

you who are called Aurora,

(Aurora)

you who are called Eos,

(Eos)

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Now the Green Blade Riseth: Crafting Rites of Welcome and Farewell for Paganicon 2020

Crafting—I'm tempted to say “wrighting”—Rites of Welcome and Farewell (known to the poetically-challenged as "Opening" and "Closing" Rituals) for this year's Paganicon 2020 has been an interesting and challenging commission.

So let me invite you to put on your ritualist's robes, and come along with me on the journey.

 

OK, ritualists, here are our parameters:

  • The Rites take place in a hotel, an unbeautiful institutional building.
  • We need to engage a large group of people (say 100+) from many different traditions.
  • We need to have special roles for the guests of honor.
  • No permanent installations (e.g. altars) are permitted.
  • No open flames.
  • The theme of this year's Paganicon is Journeys.

To these, I will add my own personal provisos:

  • The rites need to be about doing, not talking. Words need to be kept to a minimum.
  • The rites need to be something that, as a people, we do together.
  • The rites need to offer an encounter with Mystery and an opportunity for collective worship.
  • The structure of the rites needs to be such that one part flows into the next without need for verbal cueing. (“Now we're going to....”)
  • The rites need names. The common but colorless titles “Opening Ritual” and “Closing Ritual” simply will not do.
  • In these rites, as in all good ritual, every action needs to bear meaning.

 

The purpose of the Rite of Welcome is to bring together people who have come from different places, to claim the turf as ours, and to do something sacred that brings us together. Given these specifics, what kind of rite would you craft?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks Leandra; I'm taking a big risk here, and (who knows) it could be a disaster. Scaling-up pagan ritual has been a steep learn
  • Leandra Witchwood
    Leandra Witchwood says #
    YES! You have your hands full! I can relate to the stress and issues that come with this kind of planning. Planning rituals is nev
  • Chris Sherbak
    Chris Sherbak says #
    Very nice. Icon or statue? Or maybe an empty/draped chair? The anointing is en masse, yes? "Sprinkling/asperging the people" vs.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    The Goddess will (I trust) be aniconically present in Her attributes: the Fire, the eggs, the catkins, and the ram's-horned stang
Those Prodea Witches, or: How Does a Coven Manage to Stay Together for Nearly 40 Years?

Come Harvest Home (= autumn evenday) this year, Prodea, the coven that I'm part of, will have been together for 39 (= 3 x 13) years, a significant number.

Given that the life expectancy of the average coven comes to something around three years, that's really a pretty remarkable achievement.

So at Paganicon 2020, we'll be throwing a public bash to celebrate.

 

How Does a Coven Manage to Stay Together for 40 Years?

In Celebration of Prodea, Paganistan's Oldest Working Coven

 

We'll start off with a little panel, so you can meet the folks. Prodea members (those that want to, anyway) will offer stories and reflections on 40 years of life, and magic, together.

There will surely be singing and dancing. (It wouldn't be a Prodea event without them.) Eventually—since there is no witchcraft without food—we'll get to the cake and ice cream.

Reportedly, our celebration will feature yet another culinary masterwork by the indefatigable Janey S., baker to the gods, who (speaking of tales of Prodea) for our 13th anniversary, actually baked a cake with 13 layers.

So cut a notch in your calendar-stave, and we'll plan to see you there.

 

Because if we can do it, so can you.

 

***

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Live from Paganicon 2019

Plymouth, MN

Greetings from the Hotel of the Pagans.

We've got the whole place, with the exception of a few poor, unsuspecting cowans with preexisting reservations.

Now there's some sociology just waiting to happen.

Here's something interesting: I've been through every drawer in my room, and—Lady be praised—there's not a Gideon Bible in a single one of them.

(The Gideon Society is a group of spiritual imperialists with the motto “A Bible in every hotel room.”)

I can think of several possible explanations.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Helga Hedgewalker
    Helga Hedgewalker says #
    Hooray! I also noticed the lack of pre-existing offensive religious literature in my room as well.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Ask an Elder

Even in a community as richly endowed with characters as Paganistan, my dear friend “Granny” Ro Nicburne stands out.

At Twin Cities Pagan Pride last fall, she set up a shingle.

Ask an Elder

Free Advice

(And Worth What You Pay)

All day long, she fielded questions.

Some—from wise-asses like me—were joke questions. To these, she replied with the answers they deserved. Nobody does wry like Granny.

But there were real questions, too. If you build the candy cottage, the kiddies will come.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Banned at PSG!

25 years ago, they wouldn't let me give this workshop at PSG.

"Too controversial," they said.

But you'll be able to hear it in full—new and improved—at next year's Paganicon 2019.

Lucky you.

 

Sacrifice Revisited

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