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Accompanying beauty is passion for life, for love, for enjoyment and doing the work of right living. Those without passion are adrift on the waves, and outside of the confines of mental illness (which is often an antithesis to passion but is not to be considered a personal fault), those who choose not to embrace passion are indeed lifeless, hopeless, and could easily be mistaken for automata.

(Nicanthiel Hrafnhild in my book Visions of Vanaheim)

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  • Dennis J Cline
    Dennis J Cline says #
    How does one obtain this, "Passion"? I am 58 years old and have never accomplished anything because I tend to have no passion. I
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    I have some suggestions on cultivating a sense of passion, coming in tomorrow's post.

b2ap3_thumbnail_419px-GuerreroAmthyste.jpgOne of the most important things you can know about my practice – and one of the few things about my personal practice that is not too out-there-in-woo-woo-territory to discuss publicly – is that I am a Maker. What this means in terms of my practice is making art, jewelry, and other things that have been enchanted with the presence of spirits, or to open doors into the Otherworld, or serve specific purposes (like protective or healing amulets, etc).

One of the reasons why I wound up on this path is that beauty is an important personal value. Most people like pretty things. There is this, and then there is needing to have beauty in your life. For me, beauty is not a luxury, but a necessity. I am one of those people who cries at beautiful things, and enthralled by beautiful people. I see beauty in other people, I cherish what is beautiful within them and try to encourage it. I find beauty in experiences, beautiful moments in every day life. I have a continual sense of wonder that has carried me through the worst times, kept me going when there was otherwise too much ugliness and pain.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_320px-Starry_Night_Over_the_Rhone.jpgFor each of the Vanic virtues, I plan on writing something on how Vanic pagans can better incorporate these virtues into their daily lives, living Vanatru.  So with the first virtue, Beauty, here is a list of suggestions (not demands, I am not interested in telling people what to do) of activities to better express this virtue:

-Take time out to smell the roses.  This can be literal, but also figurative.  Each day take some time away from your regular activities to look at pretty things - preferably outdoors, at the beauty of nature, but can also be indoors if need be, such as browsing the Internet for pieces of art or imagery you enjoy.

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  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Good advice I think! Appreciating Beauty, in oneself and in others, and appreciating *authentic* Beauty, leads to both personal s

b2ap3_thumbnail_peacock.jpgIn the book An Introduction to Vanatru, which I released in 2010 under the name Svartesol with my co-author Nicanthiel Hrafnhild, Nic created a list of thirteen "Vanic Virtues" which has made its rounds via the Internet, most recently on Sermons from the Mound on Patheos. (This book was de-published for various reasons, and we consider this book to be out of date.)  

For the updated second edition of my bookVisions of Vanaheim - which is a comprehensive introduction to Vanatru - I asked Nic if he would be willing to let me use the virtues list, and he agreed to it but wanted to revise the list, and whittled it down to seven virtues.  While I believe the original thirteen are good and still applicable, I will on this blog be exploring the seven one at a time, as relevant to a Vanic pagan practice.  (I would like to give a hat tip to Sarah Sadie from the aforementioned Patheos blog for lighting the proverbial fire under my rear end to get this series started!)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Land, Lede, Lore

What makes a religion pagan?

I'm going to contend that paganisms are preeminently religions of land, lede, and lore.

Land. Paganism is local, intimately related to specific places. Pagans are by definition the People of the Place; when peoples change their place, they bring their mythologies with them, and those mythologies naturalize to the new place. While the term “nature religion” is problematic on numerous levels, the paganisms direct themselves largely to this-worldly concerns, and engage the environment and the non-human beings with whom we share that environment as a matter of primary spiritual course. There are no universal paganisms; or, rather, the paganisms are at their most universal insofar they are most specifically local.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_milky-way-and-haystack-rock.jpgI’ve felt a lot closer to Star Mother since moving to Oregon in 2013.  I've really felt closer to the Vanir in general since moving out here, but right now I will talk about connecting with Star Mother.

When I first moved to Portland I took a lot of walks at night to calm down (as my move had been under less than ideal circumstances and I had a lot to deal with in a very short amount of time, I was pretty stressed) and it became a meditative exercise.  When I moved to a semi-rural area in January of this year, there was a lot less light pollution and I could see the stars more clearly in the sky (though enough light pollution that I couldn’t see beyond a few handfuls); this past Imbolc, I went for a ride out to a more remote location, and for the first time in my life I saw the Milky Way, and the sky dotted with what seemed like millions of stars.  It was a sight that moved me to tears, and I couldn’t speak except to say, in Eshnesk (the language of the Eshnahai, or Vanic elves) Alekteya, Naiandu Adami.  (lit. “Blessings, Star Mother.”)  There was joy, but also what I can only describe as holy terror.  It was so beautiful, the sky seemed endless, and I felt very, very small.  I could feel the presence of Something much bigger than myself, and in her embrace, I felt like a child again.  As powerless as I felt, so tiny - a tiny pale dot on a tiny blue dot in the vastness of space - I felt held, at the same time.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Do You Speak Pagan?

Paganism is a language.

It is, for many of us, a language that we are still learning to speak. We may have been speaking this tongue for many years--decades, in some cases--but it is still, nonetheless, not our mother tongue.

This fact has implications. We may have mastered the grammar and have a large vocabulary. We may, over the years, have become fluent speakers of Pagan. But we are still not native speakers, and we never will be.

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  • Mariah
    Mariah says #
    Yes, I think if you're talking about (Neo) Paganism it can be very broad theologically- we have the tradition-minded polytheists,
  • Gregory Elliott
    Gregory Elliott says #
    Yeah, the 'what is paganism?' can of worms has been opened. If you go with a simple 'paganism is nature reverence and this worldly
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Your definition of paganism has the advantage of being clear and testable. Assmann (who doesn't use the term "paganism") prefers t
  • Gregory Elliott
    Gregory Elliott says #
    "...religions that arise out of humanity's religious instinct and its interaction with the world, and the religions that arise out
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    "Pidgin Pagan"! Gregory, I rarely belly-laugh before noon. Modern English having started out as essentially an Anglo-Norse Trading

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