PaganSquare


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

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All by Itself, the Humble Sweet Potato Colonized the World - The New York  Times

The sweet potato lies in the middle of the porch roof. Looking out the window, I wonder if it's an omen.

An omen, as a warlock friend of mine once pointed out, needs to be something out of the ordinary. In order to know what's out of the ordinary, you first have to know what's ordinary.

(He was out on a first date with a Druid one night, when the guy picked up an oak leaf from the ground and said sententiously, “In my tradition”—gods, I hate it when pagans start sentences that way—“it's a favorable omen to find an oak leaf.” Then he paused, expectantly. At the time, they were standing in an oak grove. It was autumn. Needless to say, there were no more dates.)

I presume that the sweet potato in question came from the compost, and got to the roof via squirrel. That's ordinary enough around here, though I can't recall having composted any sweet potatoes lately. Still, mine isn't the only backyard midden on this alley.

A sweet potato on the roof, though: I'll grant that tentative “out of the ordinary” status. Now, of course, we arrive at the central crux of omen-reading: what the flock does it mean?

OK: it's on this roof, so clearly—if it is a sign—it's a sign for this household.

As for meaning, well: nice fat tuber, comes from underground, gold in color.

I'd say: Unexpected windfall coming soon. Gods grant the omen.

A few hours later, I remember and look out the window again. The sweet potato is gone.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 Tales from the Pagan Resistance

 

In the days of the Byzantine emperors, long after most of the empire had been converted—forcibly or otherwise—one little Anatolian town held resolute to the Old Ways. Despite repeated warnings to accept baptism or suffer the consequences, the entire community stood firm.

One day imperial forces marched into the city. After the massacre, they sawed the arms and legs off every man, woman, and child, and hung the severed limbs along the streets as a warning.

 

 I regret to inform you that the above story is true. In Catherine Nixey's 2018 The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World, you can read similarly grim stories on virtually every page. Be warned: this is no easy read.

I have to be careful reading books about the history of what we really must call the Christianities; reading too many tends to make me morbid. I get angry; I start making stupid and thoughtless generalizations; I fall into an “us and them” mode of thinking that, down the years, I have come to eschew as ultimately counterproductive.

But we are who we are because we remember, so I read on. Many times during the reading of Nixey's engagingly-written, but devastating, history of the horror show that was 4th- and 5th-century Christianity, I've found myself laying the book down because I simply couldn't bear to read any more. Each time, though, I find myself picking up the book once again, needing to know the rest.

Let me quote from Nixey's introduction:

As Samuel Johnson...put it, pithy as ever: “The heathens were easily converted, because they had nothing to give up.”

He was wrong. Many converted happily to Christianity, it is true. But many did not. Many Romans and Greeks did not smile as they saw their religious liberties removed, their books burned, their temples destroyed, and their ancient statues shattered by thugs with hammers. This book tells their story; it is a book that unashamedly mourns the largest destruction of art that human history has ever seen. It is a book about the tragedies behind the “triumph” of Christianity (Nixey xxiv).

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The Language of Jewelry: Ankle Bracelets & Toe Rings

Bejeweled feet and ankles are very sexy. Jewelry in this area of the body is also grounding and stabilizing. If you are dealing with anxiety or substance-abuse issues, wear amethyst around your ankle. If you’re feeling drained of energy, jasper or rock crystal will come in handy. Rhodonite will do the trick if you are feeling disconnected or restless.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Colorful foggy autumn park with bench and yellow maple tree Stock Photo -  Alamy  

 

I wrote a story  a while back. A good little story, actually: in all candor, one of my best. "Leaf Man, Rise Up," it's called.

It's scary: a horror story, with a neat pagan twist to it. Lyrical, if horror can be lyrical.

The old priest sat on the park bench, watching the boys play their weird game. That's how it begins.

Unfortunately, you probably won't be seeing the story anytime soon. Why not?

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Minoan Artifacts: Where are the baskets?

One aspect of ancient Egyptian archaeology that I've always enjoyed is that the dry climate of the Nile valley and the surrounding desert preserved biodegradable items like clothing and baskets (and mummies, obviously!). Unfortunately, the Aegean isn't dry - it's a portion of the Mediterranean Sea dotted with islands. So sadly, on Crete and Thera (modern Santorini) most of the biodegradable artifacts have long since rotted away.

But that doesn't mean the situation is hopeless. There are other ways to discover what kinds of biodegradable objects the Minoans had.

...
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 Tom Riddle | Harry Potter Wiki | Fandom

 

It's got to be one of the lesser ironies of the current war in Ukraine that both its hero and its villain (I'll leave you to decide which is which) share the same name.

Russian Vladímir, Ukrainian Volodýmyr: two equivalent Slavic names, both with their roots in Norse.

(This is unsurprising, since the Slavic state was first founded by east-faring Viking traders-cum-mercenaries; the classic Slavic woman's name Olga, for example, derives from Norse Helga “[female] holy [one].”)

Indo-European languages have long favored two-element names—e.g. Beowulf, “Bee-wolf”—and the Norse name Valdimar is of the same sort. One could translate it “power-fame” or “powerful fame.” Its first part is kin to the English word wield. (We still speak, tautologically, of “wielding power.”) Compare, also, the Yiddish expression oi gevalt, literally “O Power!” (i.e. “O 'God'!”). Gods being, by definition, powerful, one could perhaps render the name “divine fame” or “godly fame.”

Drawing, no doubt, on the name's “foreign” feel, J. K. Rowling recasts it as a Norman French charactonym for the main antagonist of the Harry Potter-verse: Voldemort, which one could parse as “death-willing.” (Cp. deus vult, “'God' wills [it]”.] That, a thousand years after the Noman invasion, the good guys of Rowling's series tend to have Anglo-Saxon names (Potter) while the bad guys have French ones (Malfoy) probably tells you quite a bit about the enduring nature of the English class system.

Still, Voldemort Putin.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    The statistic I've heard is that to this day, 90% of the land in England is owned by 10% of the population. I suspect that that's
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Posch, It would also not surprise me one bit, if the titled descendants of the Norman victors at Hastings in 1066 still held

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Language of Jewelry: Belts

Waist jewelry has recently made a big comeback. People are going beyond belts and wearing belly chains and lariats. Gemstone belts and buckles can really enhance your joie de vivre and give you greater physical strength and health. Turquoise stones are grounding, and agates raise the energy level. For healing power, try bloodstone. For keeping life on an even keel, the organic-gem family—shells, corals, and abalone—is optimal. For impetus and motivation, wear carnelian. To boost your health and well-being, wear red coral for the lungs, bloodstone for the heart, and moonstone during pregnancy.

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