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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Two fascinating insights deepen our understanding of death and Samhain, which honors its sacred dimension.  In one of his essays on nature poet Gary Snyder made a point I have never forgotten. 

An ecosystem is a kind of mandala in which there are multiple relations that are all-powerful and instructive.  Each figure in the mandala – a little mouse or bird (or little god or demon figure) – has an important position and a role to play.  Though ecosystems can be described as hierarchical in terms of energy flow, from the standpoint of the whole all of its members are equal.

   . . . We are all guests at the feast, and we are also the meal!  All of biological nature can be seen as an enormous puja, a ceremony of offering and sharing.

As I was finishing a chapter in my forthcoming book, Faultlines, I encountered a compatible observation by Carl von Essen regarding what he called the “hunter’s trance.”  Von Essen wrote 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Sabbats by the Stars

Many contemporary Pagans use some form of the Wheel of the Year to mark the Sabbats, the eight times of ritual celebration usually determined by the sun's procession, and the general seasons we experience. At least, that's what I was always led to believe during much of my training with different groups and traditions. Solstice and equinox mark the quarters of the wheel, and the midpoint between covers the "cross quarters". The odd thing is that we rarely actually do what we're saying we're doing here.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    Well said, Peter, and I couldn't agree more. As an astrologer, I have always celebrated the cross-quarters astronomically -- when
  • Peter Beckley
    Peter Beckley says #
    I understand where you're coming from, Joseph, and appreciate your viewpoint on it. I think we both make the point that the calend
  • Joseph Bloch
    Joseph Bloch says #
    It's always been something of a truism in my neck of the Heathen woods that our ancestors in northwestern Europe didn't really rel

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