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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in poetry
August 6: Festival for Thoth, the very great, in the whole country

The start of the Egyptian year was the First month of the Inundation (named Dhwty) and was a time of great celebration, coinciding with the rising of the Nile. “You shall follow Thoth, on that beautiful day of the start of Inundation.”
During this month there were three festivals for Thoth, held on the 4th, 19th and 21st. Entries from various calendars give the following descriptions of these feast days. 4th day - a “Festival of Thoth”. 19th day - a “Festival for Thoth, the very great, in the whole country”. [...] 21st day - a festival to “celebrate ‘the triumph of Thoth’ in the presence of Re”. [...]
Bomhard suggests that the first day of the new year, which coincided with the rising of Sirius, was the 19th July.
This would give the festivals in Dhwty the following modern dates; the 4th as the 22nd of July, the 19th and 21st as the 6th and 8th of August and the 26th as the 13th of August.  (Quoted from: -- Lesley Jackson "Thoth, the history of Ancient-Egyptian God of Wisdom)

For this festival day, I'd like to share some of my devotional poetry...

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
"The Bishop Had 17 Children"

In the year 981, the German missionary bishop Friedrich arrived in Iceland along with native guide and translator Thorvald Konradsson, an Icelander who had been converted while on the Continent.

Their mission failed because a skald (a word thought by some to be kin to the English word scold) composed a scurrilous little poem about the two of them which made them the laughing stock of Iceland. They were forced to leave the island in 986 because no one would take them seriously. You can't preach to people that are too busy laughing to listen.

Iceland officially accepted Christianity in the year 1000, largely because the Norwegian king held the sons of numerous prominent Icelandic families hostage: conversion by blackmail. Being Icelanders, of course, they added the parenthetical proviso: But if you want to keep offering to the Old Gods in private, well, that's your business.

But two lines of poetry had bought the Icelanders 14 years of freedom, and more than 1000 years later, we still remember them.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Western Waters

Sometimes, I can't sense a particular goddess's energy in the places I travel, even when they are palpably sacred. And sometimes, no matter how much I yearn for the feminine energy, the locations pulse with masculinity that can't be ignored. One particular place that sticks in my mind is Lake Coeur d'Alene in Idaho, where I've had the good fortune to spend snatches of summers here and there with my husband (a west coaster by birth). Since I'm feeling a bit nostalgic today, I thought I'd share a poem with you that I wrote years ago, upon my first experience at that magical lake.

 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Eilidh nic Sidheag
    Eilidh nic Sidheag says #
    So it's one of those "I know it when I see (feel) it" sort of things? I think that's basically how it is for me, too, but I'm cons
  • Jen McConnel
    Jen McConnel says #
    Fair point! However, I'm okay with that, since I feel like any understanding I have of an entity/force of the universe falls woefu
  • Eilidh nic Sidheag
    Eilidh nic Sidheag says #
    I'm curious - how do you determine whether any given energies are masculine or feminine? I've been wondering about this myself lat
  • Jen McConnel
    Jen McConnel says #
    That's actually a really great question. For me, I usually trust my instincts/knowledge of a place, but then again, I'm predispose

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Weaving Brigid's Magic

Beannachtaí Féile Imbolg! Beannachtaí Féile Bríde. Blessings of Imbolc! Blessings of Brigid's Feast! At Imbolc we are at the crossroads of the winter, six weeks past winter solstice, six weeks until spring equinox. 

The first days of February have been clear, frosty, but the sun has such a seductive heat in Ireland even in February. They say that weather like this augurs more cold, as the Cailleach is yet to release a vice-like grip on the land.  If it had been overcast and mild then the springtime was come.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Congrats on the book, keep taking those deep breaths, LOL! Just finished leading a public Brid ritual, a few minutes ago. At one
  • Bee Smith
    Bee Smith says #
    I love that snow pile smile from Spirit/Brigid. One of the other things I did for Brigid yesterday was to visit some St. Brigid's
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Oh my goodness, yes, I see how that could be a visit from the Lady. Very special. Thank you for sharing that special moment with m

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

One Imbolc, former pagan blogger Teo Bishop wrote about creating community poetry for use in liturgy based on the starting line, "I keep vigil to the fire in my heart." As someone who frequently experiences spontaneous poetry in the sacred spot in the woods behind my house, an experience I refer to as theapoetics, I was instantly captivated by this idea. Imbolc has a natural connection to the cycles of pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding and the fire in my own heart burns brightly for these pivotal life experiences. So, I went down to the woods, opened my mouth and this is what emerged…

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Welcome to the 2014 edition of BookMusings' Literary Discoveries! *insert much tooting of horns and throwing of confetti here* Looking back over my LibraryThing account and my postings here on PaganSquare, as well as at Eternal Haunted Summer, this has been quite a year for good literature. Not only did I find many new books and series to enjoy, and recommend to others, but I discovered entirely new authors.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Poetic Inspiration

Although I had not formalized a patronage relationship with Odin on the day I had intended to (see post The Day I Swore Myself to Freya), I received poetic inspiration from him. Some of the poems I wrote definitely felt like me writing them, that is, I was doing the work of writing. Others felt like I was just taking dictation. Some poems were in the heathen style, some modern, and some were ‘filk,’ which was the word among science fiction and fantasy fans for folk music related to the genres. It was my hand on the pen when the poem about the goddess Skadhi came into the world, but I've always felt that it was Odin who wrote it. 

 A quote from my memoir, Greater Than the Sum of My Parts:

     “At an Asatru festival I sang my filk version of a Canadian folksong by the campfire, and Vampyre Mike, the lead singer from the band who played acoustic pagan songs at the Festivals and hard rock in the mundane world, liked “Bajor’s Privateers” so much he sang it over and over for the rest of the festival.  His lady Pasha called to me, “You’ve created a monster!”

Bajor's Privateers was one of the songs I felt that I had actually written myself, although there might have been a touch of inspiration as well. It was a conscious parody of the folk song Barrett's Privateers, and I definitely worked at writing it. The poem Skadhi: Water Cycle was one of the ones I felt that Odin had written and I just noted it down. At this point in my personal journey, in the early 1990s, I was learning the bersarkr tradition (see post The Berserker Trance.) I was working with both animal spirits and with Odin and Freya. As I learned to open and close the door in my mind to admit Odin for the bersarkr trance, I grew closer to him and received more poetic inspiration. This is the way of the warrior-poet.

I received an invitation from Paul Edwin Zimmer to read at the Bardic Circle at Greyhaven. I had published some of his poetry in Berserkrgangr Magazine. I published that magazine mostly for the nonfiction, as a way for bersarkrs and others of similar traditions to connect and share information, but it was also a literary magazine, with fiction, poetry, and art. I published some of my own poetry in my magazine, and he must have liked it. We became colleagues and friends of the sort who gave each other our poetry chapbooks.

There were other heathens at the Greyhaven Bardic Circle, some of whom I recognized from the heathen festivals I had attended. Diana Paxson played the harp. I debuted my poem Skadi: Water Cycle at Greyhaven, and Diana liked it. It was an emotional high point for me for my poem to be appreciated by established authors. 

Of course, I felt that it was really Odin's poem, not mine. I had heard it in my sleep, woken up and written it down. I wondered, how can I take credit for what felt like taking dictation, not creating? Eventually I realized that it was not just my hand on the pen, it was my mind that Odin put this poem in. It was my effort and self-sacrifice that allowed me to open the door in my mind and let him in. (And the sacrifice to study the bersarkr tradition was hideous; more on that in my next post.) So yes, it is my poem, just like any other gift belongs to me once I've been given it, whether it is a poem from Odin or the flesh with which I receive it and write it down, flesh that began as part of my parents, flesh grown by the gifts of the earth through food and water and air, flesh that therefore also comes ultimately from the gods of nature, and yet is my flesh, my body, which I own entire. Everything I have comes ultimately from the gods, and yet is mine: my poem, my body, my breath, my mind, my soul, my life. I would not tolerate anyone trying to take my body or my life or my breath; I would fight. Even though my body is made by eating food, and food comes from the blessings of the gods, it is still my body; my art and writing and song come from the gods, too, but they are mine. Therefore, my poem:

Skadi: Water Cycle
by Erin Lale

Skadi scried the sky one day.
Blue was Baldur's beckoning eye,
Yellow as yew-wood the young god's hair,
The clouds that covered the coming sun.

All the east was ought but gold,
Blue below, the boss-shield snow,
Was Skadi. Sky-scattered clouds
Burned as beauty blazed forth

Down the deep snow-drowned ravines,
White-hot, whelming, whispering secrets.
She melted, and mickle and mild she found him.
So fair his fire she fain would go,

To marry the man, from her mountain home.
He unfroze the ice of her eyrie white,
Meltwater he made her, merry on stones,
Leaping laughing to the land below:

The gardened game-field the gods had made,
Where spirits spent in sport were happy.
A new game now, to net a husband,
Devised they very valiantly.

So fair of foot he fooled the snowmaid,
Niord named, not Baldur,
The gods' game gave to her.
The sun she sought, the sea she found.

To the ocean the icequeen overland went,
Merged at the margin of her married estate
With the salty sea as the sun looked on.
Her tears tended trees of kelp.

With watery waves wove she by day,
Niord's net-knotting daughters.
With women wily washed she by night,
Niord's nine naughty daughters.

Roamed with Ran to rend a dragon,
Long laughed loud jeers
At mighty men their maids never
Would welcome warm and winningly home.

She tried to tear her tears away
In making men meet their deaths,
A special sport a sport to forget,
From Baldur's bright beauty hiding.

But said she, "Sundered from the sun forever?
No more!" As mist, from her marriage-bed
At Ran's rim, she rose and flew,
Glad of a gull's gift of flight,

For Baldur abandoned the briny sea,
For Baldur broke in breakers white,
For Baldur bent her body up,
Climbing coastal cliffs as fog,

Sailed from sea to sundrenched air.
Yet the young god yearned she for
Too high held his head so bright
For a foamy flying maid.

Just one jutting jewelled place,
In all the upper air was there
Could Skadi skiff with skill and luck,
As crystal cloud keeping whole,

On land to lie and live all winter,
On rock and rowan resting, as ice
Spread, for spring to spring her up,
Waiting wan and wantingly.

The craigs and cliffs, kestrel-perches,
The spire-spears, sprite's castles,
The groves of granite growing high,
The meager meadows, less milch than stone,

The piney peaks she pined for strong,
Where first she felt the fiery sun,
Where last she lived a life of joy,
The much-missed mountains of home. 

This poem, along with other poetry and art, is available in the poetry chapbook Renaissance Woman. Link: 
 http://www.amazon.com/Renaissance-Woman-Collected-Poetry-Erin-ebook/dp/B004PLNLX8/ref=la_B004GLACQQ_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417153012&sr=1-8

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