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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Gentle Fires of Spring

Back in the early days of Paganistan—known locally as the Paganolithic—four of us got together with the intent of forming a coven. Since the Spring Evenday (equinox) was coming up, we decided to make that our first ritual together.

A few days beforehand, we got together and dyed up a bunch of eggs in the old way, using only natural dyestocks. While the eggs were coloring, we sat in the living room and planned the ritual.

On Equinox Eve we gathered in the backyard. Tanith, who had been studying smithcraft, set up a tall iron tripod that she had hand-forged. On it we impaled the wreath that had been drying on the front door since Yule. The plan was to burn up the last of Winter and make this the fiery center of our ring-dance.

Striking a match, I start the invocation.

“O gentle fires of Spring....” We were using the invocation from William G. Gray's Spring Equinox rite.

(Doreen Valiente once characterized Gray's Solstice and Equinox rituals as “too Pagan for the Christians, too Christian for the Pagans.”)

I hold the match to the wreath. The wreath does not kindle, and the match goes out.

I strike another match and try again.

“O gentle fires of Spring.....”

Nothing. Desiccated as they are, the old fir needles simply will not light.

“Oh f**k the gentle fires of Spring,” I mutter.

Volkhvy goes into the garage, gets a can of charcoal accelerant, and squirts some on.

I light another match.

“Oh gentle fires of Spring.....”

Whoosh!

Suddenly, we're standing around a 20-foot pillar of flame, roaring its heart out into the starry Equinox sky.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    So mote it be.
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    lol. I too, having done rituals with fire, have learned that fire has to be respected first and foremost as fire. Symbolic meaning

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Trump-Ugly

 This is the premier of Canada.

Cute.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Macron.jpg

 This is the president of France.

Cute.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Trump-Ugly.jpg

 This is the president of the United States.

Ugly.

And not just ugly: Trump-ugly.

(Rhymes with butt-ugly.)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Tree of Dawn

In the traditional Baltic symbol-set known as the raksti, each of the Old Gods has his or her own symbol.

The Sun's is a Sun-Wheel, the Moon's a crescent. Fire has a fylfot (swastika), Thunder a compound fylfot, the Winds an equal-armed cross.

The symbol of the Goddess of Dawn is a Tree. In Latvia, Austras koks, Dawn's Tree, is a popular motif on Easter eggs to this day. (Austra, of course, is sister to the other Dawn Goddesses of the Indo-European world: Easter, Ostara, Aurora, Eos, and Vedic Ushas among them.)

Why would a tree be the emblem of Dawn?

Look East just before Sunrise. There you will see Dawn Herself standing in the sky, making Her Presence known primarily through light and color, attributes difficult to capture in a glyptic symbol.

Hence Austra's Tree. In a given landscape, Dawn first shines Her light on the high points. In low-lying, flat country like the Baltics, these would be the trees.

There's more. Lady of Dawns both diurnal and annual, the Dawn Goddess everywhere is also deemed the Goddess of Spring. What better symbol of Spring than the Tree of Life: sap running, buds enscaled, drawing up abundance from the Earth.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Breaking the Wheel

At Paganicon in several weeks' time, we'll be doing something profoundly non-pagan: anti-pagan, even.

We'll be singing seasonal songs out of season.

The pagan's work is to Turn the Wheel: to make sure (inter alia) that the Sun comes up in the morning. (Whether to read this literally or symbolically is up to you.) The greatest pagan sin is to try to stop the Wheel or (worse) to break it.

It's our conviction that to sing the right songs in the right season helps to Turn the Wheel. So to sing the songs of other seasons now in this season raises some deeply theological problems.

Well, the pagan world is a place of gradation. What needs to be done, you do in the best possible way that you can.

For my upcoming workshop All Around the Wheel: Sacred Songs and Dances from the Midwest's Oldest Coven, we'll be singing songs from all the firedays, not just the current one. That's the point of the entire endeavor: to teach songs for the whole year.

So here's what we're going to do to make it magically palatable.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Danced Religion

Paganism is sung religion.

Paganism is danced religion.

Without the songs and dances, our paganism is incomplete, a mere shadow of what it could be.

For 40 years now, one group in Minnesota has been gathering the Songs and the Dances of the Old Ways.

Now we're going to teach them to you.

 

All Around the Wheel: Sacred Song and Dance with the Midwest's Oldest Coven

Steven Posch, with Prodea

 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

9-10:15 a.m. Room F

Paganicon 2020

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Meet the Minoan Deities: Korydallos

One of the tricky bits about revivalist Pagan religion is that lots of information gets lost over time, either because oral traditions die out or because written sources are destroyed - or both. That means there are deities we may not even realize exist until we stumble across them in our research. So today I'm introducing a new god who's also a very old god. This is the section I've written about him as I revise and update Labrys and Horns for the new second edition that will be released in June:

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This enigmatic god comes to us via the fascinating field of dance ethnography. The Red Champion still exists in folk dances around the Mediterranean today. A shamanic spirit warrior of a sort, he is the son of an ancient goddess figure. He may very well predate the Minoans, possibly going back as far as the beginning of farming in the Neolithic, given the content of the dances he appears in. But our experience with him in MMP links him with Therasia, so that’s how he fits into our pantheon: he is her son.

He’s one of the three Young Gods, each one a son of one of our mother goddesses. In that role, he acts as an intermediary between the people and the Mothers. Like his brothers, he’s forever young: youthful, energetic, exuberant. But of course, he’s also old, as old as the gods themselves. So he’s wise but also playful, which can be a nice change sometimes.

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