PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in storytelling

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Boyan - Nicholas Roerich |


Humans are story-telling animals. We live and die by our stories, and most of us tell them every day.

(“When I was down at the store today....”)

Here's how to do it better.


One story at a time, please.

A good story has a single trajectory. The sad fact is that most of us are only half listening to one another at any given moment, so as soon as you start in with the digressions, your listeners have already lost the momentum of the narrative, and you've blunted your story's edge.

Spare us the back-story.

With stories, it's always tempting to want to start at the beginning. Don't. The creation of the universe is not a good place to start your story about what happened at the ritual last night. Give your listeners only the information that they need to have in order to get the point of what you're telling them.

Keep the detail relevant.

If it really doesn't matter that she's wearing a blue coat rather than a red one, don't mention it.

Keep it short and toward.

If you've been talking for more than five minutes, I can guarantee you that nobody is listening to you any more. Deliver, or shut the eff up.

Be specific.

Which of these two phrases tells you more? Which makes the man in question sound more desirable?

a. “A really cute guy.”

b. “A guy with a butt like two halves of a white pumpkin, and cheekbones you could cut your hand on.”

Don't be the hero of all your own stories.

He's a good friend, whom I love well. But, dear gods, he's always the hero of all his own stories. After a while, quite frankly, I get tired of hearing about how wonderful he is and, by implication, what a clown I must be by comparison because I am most decidedly not the hero of everything that I do.

Build to a specific point.

The whole story should be leading us somewhere. Telling a good story is a matter of building tension, which is finally released at the climax.

A good story is like good sex.

Last modified on


Image result for raven


In the old days, you could rightfully look to the storytellers—who, after all, tell the tales of the gods and know their lore—to know as much about the gods as anyone.

These days, I'm afraid, not so much.

As an entertaining read, I like American Gods. (The TV movie struck me as a waste of time, though. One story to go, please, hold the special effects.) But Neil Gaiman is a storyteller, not a theologian, and (as anyone who has read his twee retelling of the Norse myths can readily attest) an outsider looking in.

So—I will admit—it bugs me when I hear pagans citing Gaiman as if what he says about the gods has any sort of authority whatsoever.

(America hard on gods? Ha. America is a land of many gods.)

I can understand why theology-deprived modern pagans might do so, of course; the new paganisms, alas, have yet to generate much in the way of theology, or the conceptual framework that theology provides. Mostly we're too busy just keeping the lights on and the Wheel turning to have much time for deep thinking. But if we're looking for theology, a novel by a cowan using the Lore for his or her own purposes is probably not the best place to find it.

Gaiman's understanding of the gods is, for the most part, of no great depth, but there are two moments in American Gods when he strikes pure gold.


Shadow is talking with Mr. Wednesday, a calque for Odin.

Shadow: How did you lose your eye?

Wednesday: I didn't lose it. I know exactly where it is.

Last modified on
How Stories Can Change the World and Ourselves

Stories matter. In fact, human beings have been called “story-telling animals.” Every day we consume stories on the media and in books, films and TV shows. We can spend hours on Facebook reading the posts of friends, relatives, and even total strangers. We hunger for narratives that give us hope but all too often run into descriptions filled with horror, abuse and despair.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

A diaspora, a scattered and exiled people is held together mainly by shared stories and songs, customs and language. Through space and time, generations and movement, the traditions passed down change. They fade and dwindle, but they also are revived and brightened. They are added onto, embellished. Neighborhoods and cities become their territory, each gaining its own character, each city having a synthesis of all the waves of immigrants that enter its gates. Conquest, slavery, genocide, war, so many tragedies and trauma haunt us all in different ways. Expressing what has been lost and erased and  asking gods, spirits and ancestors why all these things happened, and asking who we are now, what are we becoming, what is this this idea, this great story we are all part of, called America? We struggle, who tells this larger story of who we are, who controls and steers it determines who are the heroes and the villains.

What was the original version of the story, of the song may not be remembered?  There are a thousand versions. How well it is sung or told and whether the people believe in its poetic truth and power matters more. Each people has a story of their journey of how they became American, each is a part of a great story, the story of America.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Where Prophecy Begins

Every prophecy starts off as a con.

You have an idea, a belief, or a practice that you would like to see spread. (In the beginning, one such idea was that there were other pagans out there.) It may be something that you and your group do. It may even be something that you've never done, but that you think would be good to do.

So you write a book—or an article, or a post—about it. You say: “This is what pagans think/believe/do.” You write about it as if it already existed.

People read your book/article/post. They think: That sounds cool; I'll do it too.

And pretty soon your idea/belief/practice is being held or done by people all over.

What is particularly interesting about the con is that we've been doing it since the very beginning of modern paganism. Gerald Gardner's a prime example. In his books, he was writing—at best—about the practices of one coven. Yet he writes as if this is what witches do everywhere.

Where does con end, and prophecy begin?

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Aniesa
    Aniesa says #
    I'm not one to leave comments but I felt compelled to make those aware of one of the original "Cons ". Adam and Eve and shortly af
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I read in one of the Seth books by Jane Roberts that humans are story telling creatures. That our myths are the way we turn anima

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_icstorymoonlogo.jpgHello Relatives! I'm so glad you could come with me this evening and travel to a gathering to hear a traditional Indigenous Grandma's storytelling! Historically, in most Indigenous nations of the Americas, the colder months meant the work is mostly over and the celebrations begin in order to see the people through the long, dark months. Even though we now have modern conveniences, traditional people still keep the cycles of the year of their ancestors and practice their traditions just as they have always done. Ah, I see you have the gift I suggested you bring Grandma in order to honor her and her nation's traditions--thank you! That beautiful blanket you brought will be put to good use for whomever in her community needs one. sure is cold this time of year, and I'm glad to see you dressed comfortably, but respectfully, because we will be up for hours listening intently to stories that have been told for centuries! Just like people dress well for an event they value, dressing respectfully to attend a traditional gathering is important--it's not a sports event or the gym! Come on! We are almost to her very traditional home where her medicine and ancient objects from her nation are kept. Look, here we are at last...I'm so excited!

Last modified on

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

I like the alternative name for vernal, or Spring, equinox - equilux, the equal light, this brief balance before we tip into the increasing daylight and lengthening days, the 'doing-ness' part of the year.

At this point when the the earth is equally poised between light and darkness, what stories do you tell yourself?  How do you frame your life's passage? Is there a single, unifying theme or thread? Or is it a tapestry with intricate workings of warp and weft? Where is the balance between the personal and universal in your story?

Last modified on

Additional information