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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in UPG
Uniting Personal Gnosis and Folklore with Fairies

It's a perennial discussion that goes around online and in-person: how much should we rely on personal gnosis and how much should we look to recorded material and other people's experiences (i.e. folklore)? This is a particularly pertinent question when it comes to those who interact with fairies because of the diversity of understandings that exist in relation to them. There are those who argue in favour of relying solely on personal experiences and those who reject the idea of modern experiences entirely, and some who advocate different balances of the two. I used to think balance was the ideal approach myself, but as I've thought about it I've come to a different view.

Folklore is an essential groundwork for anyone, in my opinion, who wants to understand the Good People. Whatever culture we happen to be talking about looking at the accumulated material that has been collected to describe previous people's experiences with and beliefs around fairies is enormously helpful in building our own understanding. Such folklore represents a valuable corpus of belief going back countless generations that can be relied on to teach us how to safely interact with Otherworldly beings, what to expect in different circumstances, and show us various outcomes of previous encounters. In short, immersing in this folklore means we don't have to learn all the hard lessons (hopefully) all over again for ourselves because we can look back to other people's previous experiences to help guide us.

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Cernunnos Shrine June 2017

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Younger Lores

UPG: Unverified (or: Unsubstantiated) Personal (or: Private) Gnosis.

New information on old topics.

I've gone down on record as contending that UPG is important—indeed, necessary—to contemporary pagan observance, but that it deserves a better, more worthy, name.

Well, I've got one to propose.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Throng of Boars

In the old Witch language, the constellation that we know as Orion was called Eofor-ðring: literally, “Boar-throng.”

We don't know why.

It's likely that there was once a story to explain the name. Doubtless this Ever-thring (as we would say today), this throng of boars, belonged to—or was defeated, or captured, by—some god or hero, and ended up in the sky as a result.

We'll never know.

Boars were meaningful to the ancestors. Their likeness appeared on battle-gear. Boars are fiercely protective, and nothing stops them. You can always recognize a boar-spear because it's got a cross-bar. If it didn't, the spitted boar would drive his own body up along the spear-shaft, just to get at you. Seriously.

In Old Norse mythology, the boar belongs to the phallic god Frey, whom some would identify (controversially) with the God of Witches. His name means “lord.” The Anglo-Saxons had the same word with the same meaning—fréa—but whether to them it also was the name of a god we simply don't, and probably never will, know.

So much has been lost since the old days, like the story of the Ever-thring. What has come down to us has come down to us in pieces.

And thereby hangs a mandate.

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Reconnecting with Sigyn, Part 1: Learning From My Mistake

A godphone is like a computer that automatically signs you into your email; if you're using someone else's and you don't know how to sign out and sign back in as yourself, you'll accidentally get their messages instead of yours. If you don't realize what happened it can be really confusing.

Continuing the story of my personal journey on my path from the part where I broke my connection with "Other-Sigyn" as related in my post My Two Weddings Part 4: Odin and Honir: 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Assessing Visions: A Field Guide

So: someone you know has Seen or Heard Someone.

We have it from the ancestors that these things do indeed happen from time to time. Maybe they've happened to you. (I've had my share of visionary experiences over the years.) When it comes to trustworthiness, though, we're clearly talking case-by-case basis. How do you tell the real from the...um, not-real?

Forthwith, some pointers to help guide the way along the thorny path of personal revelation.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Yew Pegs and Round Holes

I hate acronyms.

There's something inherently ugly, opaque, even anti-poetic about them. If I could, I'd do away with them altogether.

Oh, I'll concede them a certain prosaic utility. The term DNA has saved a lot of time and breath down the years.

Point conceded. I would, nonetheless, contend that their use is best restricted to secular contexts. They have no place in religious vocabulary.

Let me pick on a particular example. The term UPG—that's "unverified personal gnosis" to the uninitiated—has gained a certain currency in pagan circles since it was coined some time in the late “20th" century.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    I hate the term UPG. An essay on that topic (too long to post in a comment): http://www.bubblews.com/news/9753201-language-matters
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    We, of course, distinguish between visions (which happen while we're awake, if possibly while in an altered state) and dreams, whi
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Thanks for the term dream-lore. I rely on dreams and whimsy to guide me through the large amount of written material out there.

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