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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Military

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Asatru and the Art of Nuclear Physics

Let's talk about zeal.

Though I am a member of several online forums, I rarely post to them- more frequently I use them to shamelessly raid the knowledge others have worked so hard to amass and then posted for the world to see.  I am not an archeologist, but I love reading the recent reviews of newfound Viking era settlements.  I am no theologian (despite short forays into the field), but the people with advanced degrees in religious study who can break down the Eddas and Sagas from both a historal and spiritual way are of endless fascination to me, as are their conclusions.  Like an Average Joe reading Psychology Today or Popular Mechanics, it is a great chance to get a wee bit smarter and maybe even find something applicable to my daily life.

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In a foreign warzone, some of the trappings of a traditional Asatru holiday are forgone out of necessity. 

There is no alcohol available, fires become a security concern as well as a highly regulated event when they are permitted at all, and feasting is limited to carry-out plates from the chow hall if you are fortunate and Meals Ready to Eat if you are not.  Hard copies of Eddic Sagas and study materials take up too much space and weight where both are premium commodities, and the infrastructure (and safety) doesn't support portable options like smart-phones to use as the ever-present resource they have become back home.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Heathenry in Afghanistan

I arrived in Afghanistan in the last week of August, just as many other members of the American armed forces do- a long flight, a refueling stop, a processing station in the former Soviet bloc, and then to one of the main airbases from which we are all parsed out to our respective assignments.  I ended up in the city of Kabul, with the mountains a short trip from the city and a lot of unpleasant flatlands in every direction.

Before I left for Afghanistan, I knew that I would want to connect with the pagan/heathen minority when I arrived- as I have said, I am not much for ceremony and ritual, but it is good to have someone to talk to when you're staring down the barrel of several months in a foreign land.  I began by reaching out to a great organization called Open Halls Project, a Facebook group owned and operated by Josh and Cat Heath with the goal of supporting heathens in the military.  The result was connection with one heathen on the exact camp I was going to- a relatively unlikely event given the size of our faith and the number of possible camps across Afghanistan.

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  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Thanks for sharing your experiences again! Looking forward to updates on your adventures. May you and your company come home safel

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Feeding the Needy through Pagan Pride

Good morning everyone and welcome back! And yes, I hope those of you who have the day off are having a relaxing Labor Day. We're getting ready to get our grill on, with one dish already prepared and a few others in priming stage. We always make too much when we grill, so we make sure what we make, we actually will eat the leftovers.

With that said, it's fitting to remind myself about the people who don't have the luxury of not liking leftovers. My dad would tell us stories of real hunger, like the time he sneaked out into the kitchen to eat a raw potato. I have my own stories too; some of which we had nothing to eat, times where a loaf of bread was dinner, the times where we triple checked the couch cushions so we could roll enough pennies for chicken pot pies, and yes, the times we, as a family with small children, would walk several miles to our uncle's pizza shop to beg him for a free pizza.

And oh my yes, let's not forget the donations we received from the food pantries. Sometimes it was okay, but oftentimes, the stuff we got was awful. There were always canned green beans (which, to this day, I can't stand - not even green bean casserole), canned pumpkin (WTF are we supposed to do with THIS?), a giant brick of government cheese (which I'll attest makes the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever), a huge box of powdered milk (even mixing it with real milk was still awful), that restaurant-sized can of peanut butter and a few other odds and ends. A good trip was when there were things included like the ever-popular favorite: Spaghettios. That was a special treat - something most American kids took for granted we never had on our own - and honestly, we did not savor eating it. Yes, we woofed it down and wanted more, and that was knowing full well that was something we wouldn't count on seeing again anytime soon.

Some people question why poor people are always poor, and I would like to provide a link to a couple articles that puts things into perspective in a way I never could have.



- The 5 Stupidest Habits You Develop Growing Up Poor

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Unconditional love is pure magick

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another posting! And yes - Happy Lammas everyone! What plans do you have for today? For us, it's a special one, as our beloved furbaby made it to his thirteenth year after having a few scary moments. He's getting old, slowing down, sleeping more often, but there's still those times where he dances around and plays just like when he was a kitten.

So to make today a special day, I contacted my local supermarket to see if their sushi chefs would be willing to offer their art for him and make him a birthday "cake". I thought they'd think I was a crazy cat lady, but nope - they thought it would be a cool thing to do! So after I stop by the office to get my commission check, I'm paying them a visit. I'm thinking salmon and extra tuna. And yes, his vet said "people food" is okay as the occasional treat, as long as it's plain. So don't worry, it will be sans the ginger, wasabi and soy sauce. Oh, and his present - a new collar we special-ordered with the digital camo. (Stupid clothes! haha)

It has me thinking how much it must pain those fighting overseas must feel to be separated from their furbabies, too. And yes, the love is definitely mutual. We've all seen the videos countless times, of when someone returns home, and the families rejoice. The ones with the moms and the ones with the children are always wonderful, especially the surprise ones. But I will say, the ones where the dogs see them for the first time - those are always tear-jerker moments. Let's watch a few:

(I like the wait over two minutes in for the tail to start wagging. The anticipation was killing me!)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
What I learned from PSG

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another posting! This month, I wanted to take some time to share with you all just a smidge of what I experienced at this year's Pagan Spirit Gathering. Honestly, I would need about twenty generalized categories to even come close to tapping on all the fun I had and knowledge gained, so it's a good thing I'm pretty narrowed down here.

One of the nice things about PSG, in comparison to other Pagan festivals I've attended, is the community love and support for our Warriors. At PSG, there are many areas dedicated for people to commune together, combining that reverence and mirth notion depending on the need. One of the areas, just past the entrance gate, is the Warriors Center. Each morning, active duty and retired military personnel gathered to meet with one another, with last Thursday morning being a special gathering: The Warrior Blessing Ritual.

I'm going to be completely honest here - I've been Pagan for nearly two decades, and I've never had that "peak moment" during rituals, in groups or alone, so many gleefully share. I joke it's because I'm like M&Ms with the hard candy shell but with the sweet center. I've never even been moved before during a ritual, at least not fully. Sure, there's been parts of rituals I've thoroughly enjoyed, and there have been many, many times where my spellcasting worked - sometimes a little too well. (Kind of like the time I really wanted to have a summer off, and I broke my ankle at work just before Memorial Day and collected workman's comp until the cast came off just past Labor Day. Fun times! Oh yes that was! Uh huh.). But this ritual, all I can say is WOW! There wasn't a dry eye in the house, and when I say I was moved, I'm talking that scene in Old Yeller.

I posted quite a few pictures this morning over at Pagan Newswire Collective, which you can see that article by clicking here. But what I would like to share here is the one on one time I got with many of the Warriors themselves - their stories and back stories.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
In Memoriam for Memorial Day

 

As I write this, it's early Friday afternoon and I'm just back from running errands and I'm about to start preparations for a House ritual tomorrow and my Memorial Day observances Monday.  When I was out and about today, several people wished me 'happy holiday' and you know, we all work hard, and I understand the anticipation of a three day weekend, or an unexpected day off, so I returned the greeting but I couldn't help but think "this isn't  a holiday. It's so much more than that." and I wonder if anyone gives any thought anymore to what Memorial Day is really about. 

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