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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Are the Days of the Heroes Behind Us?

In the mail yesterday, my Covenant of the Goddess clergy credential renewal arrived, along with—I kid you not—my very own vial of Covenant of the Goddess lip balm.

Vanilla flavored, no less.

Well, I receive these gifts—as the ancestors used to say—with both hands, i.e. gratefully. Now I can continue to hatch, match, and legally dispatch in the eyes of the Great State of Minnesota, a Land where winter lip balm is pretty much a way of life.

Still.

In the old days, Christians used to fight (and sometimes kill) over whether the Spirit proceeded from the Father, or from the Father and the Son; or whether the Son was equal to, or lesser than, the Father. Substantive issues.

Now, of course, they fight about gay sex.

In the old days, witches used to make poisons, medicines, and flying ointment. Pharmacopoeia.

Now we make lip balm.

I shake my head. Perhaps the days of the heroes and demigods are behind us. How are the mighty fallen.

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A Homeland More of Time Than Place: In Search of an Anthem for the Pagan Revival

Is there an anthem of the Pagan Revival?

Short answer: No, although it sure would be nice to have one.

Probably the closest we get to a New Pagan anthem is “Gwydion Pendderwen”'s 1981 We Won't Wait Any Longer:

We Won't Wait Any Longer

 

We won't wait any longer,

We are stronger than before;

We won't wait any longer,

We are stronger!

 

We have trusted no man's promise,

We have kept to just ourselves,

We have suffered from the lies

In all the books on all your shelves,

But our patience and endurance

Through the Burning Times til now

Have given us the strength to keep our vow.

 

Chorus

 

You have grazed away the heather,

You have razed the sacred grove,

You have driven native peoples

From the places that they love;

Though your greed has been unbounded,

You have felt the pangs of shame

Each time you trod upon the Mother's name.

 

Chorus

 

Though you thought you had destroyed

Each memory of the ancient ways,

Still the people light the balefire

Every year on Solstice day;

And on Beltane and at Samhain

You will find us on the hill,

Invoking once again the Triple Will!

 

Chorus

 

Through the ages many peoples

Have risen and have gone,

But dispersed among the nations

Of the world we linger on.

Now the time has come to take

The sacred Cauldron of Rebirth,

And fulfill our ancient pledges to the Earth!

 

Chorus

 

Kudos to Gwydion, who considered himself a Muse poet in the Gravesian tradition, for being the first to dream of a fine, rousing anthem for the New Old Religion(s). Alas that his aims generally outpaced his abilities.

As an anthem, We Won't Wait Any Longer hasn't aged well. The Pagan World has marched on in the last few decades, and the song's specifically Wiccan imagery reads more exclusively now than it did then.

Likewise, while fully endorsing the song's sentiments, I've always felt that it was weakened by the fact that it specifically addresses itself to...whom? Christianity? The Church? The non-pagan world in general? In any event, to them: the bad guys of our story.

To this, my attitude is: Why make our enemies the center of our discourse? F**k 'em! Let's direct our anthem to ourselves, or to our gods.

Well, there's no reason why, as New Pagans, we need an anthem, or—in what is, after all, the Wonderful World of the Many—anthems. Perhaps some day someone will write one that we can all get behind.

Until such a time (if any), my own nomination for New Pagan Anthem goes to Daniel Pemberton's We Shall Go Home/Song of Exile*, from the 2004 film King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

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Three cheers for oral traditions, and two for texts

 Unlike Abrahamic and Dharmic traditions, modern NeoPaganism has no texts regarded as divinely inspired. Perhaps the closest for some is the Hermetica, a late Classical text supposedly dictated by Hermes Trismegistus, but parts of which are truly ancient. Most NeoPagans have never read it, nor does it play much role in our practice. To the best of my knowledge, the Hermetica has never been used to determine who is, or is not, a NeoPagan. Nor, to my knowledge, are equivalent texts found in other Pagan traditions, unless you include Hinduism, which is usually included in the Dharmic traditions.

The New Forest Coven,  with whom Gerald Gardner  circled,  called themselves Wican (with one ‘c.’) The earliest Wican Book of Shadows about which we know was filled with directions for rituals and spell casting. Just as important, according to Gardner, these original texts were  fragmentary. To flesh them out, Gardner and Doreen Valiente  added important parts to create the existing Gardnerian BOS. As some have observed, a BOS is much more like a ‘cookbook’ than a scripture.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    About a month ago I got on Reddit. In one of the subreddits someone asked if there was a male counterpart to the Maiden, Mother,

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Tree Magic: Sylvian Spells

In Celtic lore, certain kinds of trees were called wishing trees.   Taoists refer to them as money trees;  either way, they can be giving trees. Choose from among these magical trees, or trust your intuition in arboreal matters:

Willow- for healing broken hearts

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Pagan Poppy Power: Seeds of Abundance

The wealth of wildflowers is one that offers both beauty and plenty. Pagans revere poppies for their money magic. If you have a yard, nearby meadow, or any strip of ground you can garden, buy poppy seeds and simply toss half of them all around in early spring.  Soon, you will have a wealth of wildflowers. No doubt, you will be rewarded for years to come with the beauty and abundance of poppies for many years to come.

Gather together

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Stinkies

“Steve, are you on AZT?”
It was a hot, steamy summer back at the beginning of AIDS. AZT was the first in the long line of drugs that the researchers cooked up to treat folks with HIV.

At festival after festival that summer, I'd been fielding indirect questions about my health from well-meaning people: “Steve, are you...OK?” Ah, the pagan rumor-mill. Well-known (and beloved) public gay guy, therefore, must have AIDS, right?

My current boyfriend was the last person from whom I expected to hear such a question, though.

“Gods, Don,” I say, a little miffed; I felt as though my integrity were being called into question. “We've been sleeping together for weeks. If I had HIV, don't you think I'd have told you by now?”

He apologizes handsomely. (He always was good at making up.) Still, it seemed an odd kind of question.

“Why do you ask?” I ask in turn.

“Your sweat smells like guys' on AZT,” he says.

Well, it was—as I'd said—a hot, steamy summer that year, and between the two of us we had indeed been working up a good deal of sweat. (“Is it possible for two men to have a baby together?” goes the world's oldest gay joke. Answer: “Theoretically no, but...they sure do keep on trying!”)

Still, it wasn't until long after the relationship was over that I finally puzzled out the answer to Don's question.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I once read an article by an anthropologist who was interested in why Americans--of all people--should have invented deodorant. He
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Salads just taste better if you chop up a slice on onion. Most dishes are improved with a couple of slices of onion and a couple
Hedgewitch Money Magic: Grow Prosperity Herbs

As a kitchen witch and gardening enthusiast, I am always seeking to learn more about the power of herbs, plants, roots and flowers can be used in the craft. Grow your wealth, literally with these handy herbs:

Allspice berries bring good luck; gather 7 berries and place in a small pouch to carry in your pocket or purse for a week, On the 7th day, burn them with cinnamon incense while making your wish for whatever you want.

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