When I first became interested in Paganism, one of the things that drew me in was the idea of women's spirituality and bringing the unique experiences of being a woman (often left out of Christianity and Judaism) into my path. As I further explored though, many of the concepts mainstream feminism focused on, like how to juggle career and motherhood, didn't seem to resonate with me. The way I think, and how I communicate is shaped through my perspective as an autistic woman. Along with the growing, mostly online neurodiversity community, I came to see autism not as a set of deficits, but as a different way of thinking and being. I found further inspiration in the GLBT community, as I saw folks like P. Sufenas Virius Lupus honor queer ancestors, heroes and deities. As a bisexual, I drew on that heritage, while also looking to eccentric inventors, artists and mystics throughout history and disabled gods like Hephaestus. I felt a calling to share this understanding of disability as a part of human experience, rather than something to only be pitied, "fixed" or medicalized.
PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
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.
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)....
For the past 2 years, I've been circulating a Dropbox link to a collection of files containing Jung's Collected Works, which someone had scanned. Unfortunately, the text recognition feature on the scanner was imperfect, which made searching and reading frustrating.
But I have good news Jung-o-philes!...
Within the fraternity of Freemasonry there is the designation of "operative and speculative" Mason. The operative Freemason are those Masons who actually used the working tools of Masonry (level, plum, square, et al) and built structures from stone -- as the mythical history of Freemasonry tells the story operative Masons have their genesis in the building of King Solomon's Temple as well as the medieval stone masons guilds of the Middle Ages. Speculative Freemasonry is the symbolic use of the operative masons working tools to illustrate a spiritual, moral, and ethical story on how an individual Freemason should live his life -- "meet on the level and part on the square." Therefore, Masonic Lodges throughout the world are populated by "speculative" Freemasons.
I joined the Masonic fraternity in 1997. I have also joined other Masonic bodies such as the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite and the Ancient Arabic Order of the Noble Mystic Shrine (Shriners), and even The Order of DeMolay (a Masonic inspired youth organization for boys). I currently serve my Masonic Lodge as chaplain -- which I very much enjoy....
I first came across the term covenstead in Uncle Bucky's Raymond Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft. In the Big Blue Book Buckland describes the covenstead as "the name given to the home of the coven (the place where it always, or most often, meets). Within the Covenstead,* of course, is found the Temple." I've been a part of several covens over the years, but most of those situations seemed to lack a true covenstead. Rituals were undertaken in several different locations: a few houses, maybe a park, etc. Those places were all nice, and my house numbered among them, but they didn't feel like a covenstead.
I’m absolutely thrilled to be writing for PaganSquare. My blog here will focus on topics of leadership, community building, and facilitation skills for classes, rituals, and meetings, as well as the personal and spiritual growth work beneath all those skills and tools. My goal is to help more people become the leaders and community builders who can help foster more sustainable groups.
Why do I write about these topics? Once upon a time I realized that I wasn’t a very good leader. I enjoyed the energy of being with a group but when things fell apart, I was intensely frustrated. Since I like organizing events and big projects, I figured I should learn the skills and tools to do that well. I didn’t plan on teaching leadership, but after I began training in the Diana’s Grove leadership and ritual arts program, I noticed how few groups seemed to have access to those tools. I started teaching at local Pagan events, and then at festivals, and then I started writing.
When I went through a painful blow-up of a Pagan group, that further inspired me to teach tools that will hopefully help others from having to go through the same thing I did. When I travel and teach leadership, I hear from so many people who have faced problems in their groups. I want to help people to build stronger communities.
It’s true that these can often be uncomfortable topics, but I feel they are crucial to explore in order to build healthier communities. There are a lot of ways that we can work together to build the kind of magical and spiritually fulfilling groups that will serve us and empower us.
Imagine... What if Mother Goose was the ancient European Mother Goddess in disguise, hidden from the patriarchal, monotheistic church that took over Europe, appearing in print just as the Inquisition and Witch-hunts drove anything non-Christian underground? What if the Mother Goose “nursery rhymes” taught to children over the last few centuries were a way to pass on an encoded pre-Christian worldview? Are fairy tales the carriers of the Pagan values of ancestors who had to disguise them as “peasant imbecilities” to keep them in cultural memory in a stratified society, of which the hierarchical authorities wanted to eradicate their egalitarian, animistic, and earthy worldview?
These questions are explored in Jeri Studebaker’s new book, “Breaking the Mother Goose Code: How a Fairy-Tale Character Fooled the World for 300 Years” published by Moon Books. I was excited to read the advance copy I asked for, since folklore and fairy tales have always fascinated me, and I really love reading about history - especially Pagan history. I know I’m not alone in these interests, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the book after reading it.