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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in temples

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Temples: Ancient Pagans and Sacred Space

In my last article, I put forth the notion that we humans have had the need to create art encoded into our DNA. Along with the need to create images, humans have had the need to “make special,” to “make sacred,” and art can fulfill this need. By bringing art into a space, humans make the space special. When the art reflects beliefs about the divine, the art that inhabits that space makes it sacred. I spoke at length about cave paintings in my last entry, and I believe that those paintings could in fact have been making ancient caves into sacred spaces.

As humans moved from a hunter gatherer existence into something more settled, areas where they settled often included sacred places where their relationships with the divine could unfold – temples. When I was in graduate school, I strove to understand what installations were and what “site specific” art, as installations are more commonly called these days, were and where they fit into art history. Temples themselves are “site specific,” created to meet the needs of a particular people in a particular place. In this article, I will look at some pre-historic peoples and their need for the creation of permanent sacred space.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Breakfast of Giantesses

The year's first favas are in, thank Goddess. It really must be spring.

Vicia faba. Broad beans. Horse beans. Windsor beans. Under their many names, they are the Original Bean, one of humanity's very oldest cultigens; we've been eating them for the past 12,000 years or so, since the end of the last Ice Age. They're the Old World's only true beans, the ones Jack sold the cow for; all the rest, incredibly, come from the New World. Fava beans.

Once long ago, they say, on the southern Mediterranean island of Gozo there lived a Giantess. One day she decided to build two houses: one for herself, and one for her daughter. She carried her daughter on her hip and the stones—I've seen them myself, and many are as big as automobiles—on her head. From these she built two beautiful big houses, one for herself, and one for her daughter. How did she manage to heft such massive stones? Well, she ate magical fava beans, of course, which gave her magical strength.

Then there came a terrible drought, and the crop of favas failed. The hungry Giantess (and presumably her daughter as well) sank down into the Earth. They are there still.

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Ahhh. Egypt, mysterious and wonderful. When we reached our hotel in the southern city of Abu Simbel early evening we discovered that the hotel had been double booked. All fifteen of us were stranded. At eight p.m. the lights went out and dinner was by candlelight. We drank tea and organic Egyptian wine as we sat in the lounge after dinner and waited. It was near midnight when rooms had finally been vacated! Who knows what happened, but we were happy they had happened and settled into our sparse but acceptable rooms for the night.

 The next morning we were off early to see the sun rise over the colossal imposing 67 foot stone carved figures of Ramses II. My foot slipped on the walk and I was in pain. Along with almighty Ramses were the gods Ptah, Amun Ra and Re-Horakte. They lined a sandstone cavern temple. This site was sacred to the goddess Hathor before Ramses decided to build temples. Ever popular and charismatic, on one side of the cavern the statues of Ramses II showed him wearing the White Crown of Upper Egypt and on the south side statues Ramses II wore the Double Crown of Lower Egypt.  The statues had been plucked from their original site by UNESCO and were now 200 feet higher on this taupe sandstone cliff.  

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On the Solstice came the happy news that the temple of Zeus at Nemea is finally without its scaffolding again! Together with the temple of Apollo in ancient Corinth, the temple of Zeus is the most emblemetic of the ancient monuments in the provence of Corinthia. 

 
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Ancient Hellas was brimming with active temples, where many came to sacrifice, plead and vow. The sacrifices are the most famous of the votive action and I've mentioned them--especial animal sacrifice--on lots of occasions. Yet, of equal importance were the votives and thank-offerings ancient Hellens donated to the temples they frequented.

Votive relief from the temple of Artemis at Brauron
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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I talk about Delphi a lot; the place speaks to my imagination and every time I pull out my Tarot cards for a session, or ask Apollo to grand me a divinatory dream, my mind flashes back to it. I have written about how a session with the Pythia would go. I have also talked a lot about the Delphic Maxims, and some about the site of Delphi. What I haven't talked about a lot is its history...and its future. This is what I will do today.

As legend goes, a shepherd herded his flock up the side of Mount Parnassus. The sheep came upon a chasm and seemed to lose their minds. They started jumping around, and darting about. When the shepherd went to inspect the chasm, he fell under the influence of gasses that welled up from it. He lost all his worries and cared not about the time. He simply wished to remain there and gleam the knowledge he felt at the edges of his mind.

When he did not return, his family went to look for him. They took him home and put him to bed. Everyone was worried by his strange behavior, but he seemed to be calmer when the morning came. Yet, the shepherd's behavior had not returned to normal. He was able to foretell the future. Soon, word of the shepherd's ability, and the chasm, spread. People came from far away to either talk to the man or go to the source. Yet, those who visited the chasm lost their minds as well, and sometimes even jumped in the chasm.

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