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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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A couple weekends ago I went to Paganicon 2017 in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. There were all kinds of amazing workshops, rituals and conversations with great people that I had which I will discuss in following posts. At the final panel discussion was about making space in the broader culture, which is especially important as many religious and other types of minorities are currently experiencing a resurgence of fear and pressure to choose blending into the background or being more assertive about who we are. One assumption that kept being made is one I want to challenge. The idea that Pagan conventions, festivals or other places in which we are more open, such as Burning Man, Renaissance festivals and so forth are not "the real world" that other people who don't get what it is that we are doing are mundanes, Muggles, cowans or whatever term. Now I understand that has a spiritual side to this, particularly with rituals in which sacred space is created, we are going into a gathering in which somewhat different social norms apply. However when we reinforce this dichotomy, we erase and negate our own experiences and identities as Pagans, Witches, polytheists and esoteric practitioners in the rest of lives. We may purify ourselves, put on special clothing or jewelry in preparation for holidays, prayers or ritual or set aside a piece of furniture, room, or even a building for spiritual use. We may not be as visible in our day to day lives as distinct minorities. But we are still Pagans the rest of the time. I know for myself, it's difficult to remember not so much due to the influence of Christianity per se, but consumerism and alienation of overall society. Conversely, around people sincerely practiced their religions, and folk customs I feel much more at home. This is one reason I feel much more comfortable in the very multicultural, multi-religious neighborhoods in which I live and work, in spite of many comments I get from others about how "scary" they perceive these places to be. I think their ignorant comments are much scarier. And yet I refuse to be intimidated. The ancestor shrines in Korean, Thai and Vietnamese restaurants remind me of how around much of the world, and most of human history animism is the rule, not the exception. In the very Mexican-American neighborhood in which I work, the Virgin of Guadalupe can be found everywhere from ornaments on cars to arm tattoos and yes, shrines in businesses and yards. While many of these neighbors identify as Buddhist or Catholic, or even secular rather than Pagan, I can see those commonalities. In small Midwestern towns you may hear tales in Lutheran church basements of nisse, tomten and trolls and in suburban malls teens spread rumors and Internet legends that are as recycled as many of the Hollywood movies that they come to watch!  My favorite way to discover "suspiciously pagan" things is from both atheists and conservative Christians complaining about superstitious things members of their flock do. It's like the modern version of learning about folk customs from missionary accounts.

 

...
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Pagan News Beagle: Watery Wednesday, June 24

One of the funnest parts of being in a community is celebrating with friends and family. This week for Watery Wednesday we take a look at festivals, gatherings, and all the other ways communities come together to celebrate something. Read about what it's like to celebrate the Solstice at Stonehenge, how to find a sober space at Pagan festivals, and the many ways that Pagans are coming together on Tumblr. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Effective Feedback: Giving and Receiving (Part 1)

Just weeks ago I had the honor of leading the main ritual at Paganicon, a Pagan conference in its fifth year taking place in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I felt the main ritual went really well, and over the course of the weekend I received a lot of positive feedback from people who had a deep, transformative experience during the ritual. I also heard from the convention staffers that fully a third of the feedback forms positively mentioned the ritual or one of my other workshops. 

As a teacher and ritual leader, it's always really exciting to hear that my work has had a positive impact!

However, after I returned from the event, I was directed to a blog post from another presenter at Paganicon who really disliked the ritual I facilitated. In fact, this presenter also had some problems with my presence on at east one of the three panels I spoke on. And it made me think a lot about feedback and leadership.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    This is super helpful, thank you for being so open and sharing this!
  • Shauna Aura Knight
    Shauna Aura Knight says #
    You are most welcome! The issue of feedback is, I think, a crucial one. So often folks go into the knee-jerk place. They're either
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Good article. You and I have a lot in common; similar issues for similar reasons, including our ego issues and their source; and
  • Shauna Aura Knight
    Shauna Aura Knight says #
    Glad the article is of use. I just posted part 2, and I'm thinking of writing another just on how to run a useful feedback session
  • Shauna Aura Knight
    Shauna Aura Knight says #
    Oh, the ball dropping. People have such cool projects and I want to support them...and then I look at my to do list and I weep.

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