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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Europa - World History Encyclopedia 

An Open Letter

 

Dear Andras Corban-Arthen,

I'm looking forward to hearing your presentations at Paganicon 2023 this year; I've long been an admirer of your work.

Really, though? “Indians”?

 

Indians of Old Europe

European paganism never died out completely – to this day, ethnic survivals of traditional pagan practices can still be found in remote areas of Eastern and Western Europe. Andras has spent over 40 years seeking out such surviving traditions, and in this workshop he will discuss the nature and scope of some of those practices, how they managed to survive, and the striking similarities they share with indigenous spiritualities from other parts of the world. The presentation will also include slides of people and places, as well as a short video.

 

I get it, I get it. As “Indians” are to the Americas, so “pagans” are to Europe. Indigenous Americans, Indigenous Europeans. For all its inherent limitations, it's a useful analogy.

Still, “Indians”?

Well, I don't know about the Berkshire highlands of western Massachusetts, but around here in the Paleozoic Plateau's upper Mississippi Valley—historic Dakota country—there are still lots of Indigenous/First Nations people, our elders in the Land. These folks are our friends, our neighbors, and our kin, and I think you should know that at least some of them—for reasons that should be pretty obvious—find the term “Indian” more than a little objectionable.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 

“Was that housekeeping that just went by?”

The woman sticks her head out of the hotel room door.

“No,” I say, chin-pointing, “but the cart's down there.” I'd just walked past it, on my way to the ice machine.

“Bless you,” she says, falling in alongside.

“Somewhat excessive,” I say.

“Toilet paper,” she explains.

“All is made clear,” I reply.

She snags a roll from the unattended cart.

“Celtic warrior making a raid,” she quips, heading back down the hall at a goodly clip.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 How to use bow-drill to start a lifesaving fire - We Are The Mighty

 

“You wouldn't happen to have any matches or a lighter on you, would you?”

Paganicon 2022. I'm not sure what this man's official title might be, but he's clearly the hotel's go-to guy for things practical.

When a ritual's about to start, expect the unforeseen. We're just about to begin an offering to the Lady of Spring, but we need to relight the altar light, and—in these non-smoking days—no one has the wherewithal to do it.

Unfortunately, the maintenance man doesn't, either.

“Sorry, no," he says. "Lots of sticks out there, though,” he adds, chin-pointing toward the window. “You could always rub a couple together."

There's a pause. I suspect that this might not have been the answer that I'd have had if we were a convention of Presbyterians or Reform Jews. But, hey, we're the pagans. We're Nature people. We do primitive, right?

Well, yes: actually, we do. As a matter of fact, over the course of the past three days, I've heard two separate discussions of wood-on-wood kindling: the traditional woods used in fire drills, the utility of the fire bow. Not your typical non-pagan type of convention conversation, I suspect, though maybe I'm doing some stereotyping of my own here.

Well, if that's the stereotype, I embrace it. Eventually, we do manage to unearth some matches—thank you, Mark L.—and the offering proceeds as planned. This man's comment was thoroughly good-natured, not in the least bit condescending and, in fact, he's right: I know the very people who could do it.

So I laugh.

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Dear Michael,

I realize that the chances of your ever seeing this are slim. I'm writing because there's something important that I forgot to tell you.

First, I want you to know that in more than 40 years of priesthood, with many namings, handfastings, and arvals—funerals—under my cincture, I have never before felt so honored and so humbled as when you asked for my blessing before you leave for Ukraine to fight. Never. Michael, my thanks.

Fight well, Michael, and the blessings of our people's gods strengthen you, and keep you safe.

I want you to know that every day between now and when next we see one another, I will be praying for your protection and safe return, every day. Here at Temple of the Moon, when I make the twice-daily offerings, I will remember you by name, and pray and offer on your behalf. Every day I will do this; I give you my solemn word.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Heroyam slava!
  • Chas  S. Clifton
    Chas S. Clifton says #
    Slava Ukraini!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

If you build the candy cottage, the kiddies will come.”

 —FCM

 

What do you do when standard-issue libation-bowls just aren't big enough?

We'll be pouring three different libations for the Many-Named and Many-Colored Lady of Spring on Opening Night at this year's Paganicon, so—a hotel ballroom being our temporary temple—we'll need a pretty capacious receptacle to catch them all.

(After the ritual, of course, we'll pour out the mingled offerings on the Earth, giver of all good gifts.)

So a friend of mine offered to bring her largest cauldron.

“Just how big is this cauldron?” I email, ever the conscientious organizer.

(You don't have to be anal-obsessive to make a good ritualist, but it sure helps.)

From several hundred miles away, I can far-See the glint in her eye as she fires off the response.

“Big enough to boil three babies,” she writes.

Ah, my people. Some size cauldrons by quarts and gallons.

 

A cowan walks into a witch store.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 

Opening Paganicon 2022

 

Paganicon 2022 being held over the Equinox weekend, we'll start off our time together with a grand public offering to the many-named and many-colored Lady of Spring.

As always during sacrifice, people will be making their own personal prayers, but the public prayers will be for the well-being of pagans everywhere, especially those of Ukraine.

Please come and join your prayers to ours. If you won't be joining us at Paganicon, I invite you to act in concert by using these prayers on your own recognizance.

And better it be if you pair them with a gift. Remember: “The offering bears the prayer.”

 

 Now the Green Blade Riseth

Bidding Prayers

 

Ever-young goddess, Lady of Dawn,

we your people stand here before you:

we ask your blessing upon us, and upon our time together.

So may we grow in wisdom and understanding;

may we leave better pagans than when we came.

And let us all say:

So mote it be.

 

Ever-young goddess, Lady of Divinations,

you who shine light upon that which is dark:

we ask for renewal of the Old Ways, wherever they are found.

May what has been lost to us, come once again to light;

and let us all say:

So mote it be.

 

Ever-young goddess, Lady of Spring,

we pray for the well-being of pagans everywhere,

especially the pagans of Ukraine;

may we daily grow in numbers, strength, and confidence.

Shine your light upon our ways, that we may walk in wisdom.

And let us all say:

So mote it be.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 

The offering bears the prayer. Every ancient pagan that ever went to a temple knew this.

Unfortunately, I strongly suspect that many—perhaps even most—modern American pagans, accustomed to a very different theory and style of ritual—the standard modern Ceremonial Magic-derived circle—do not.

So: when leading temple-style worship for a roomful of folks accustomed to summoning, stirring, and pointing knives at, what's a ritualist to do?

That's my dilemma. In March, we'll be kicking off Paganicon 2022 with a temple-style offering to the many-colored and many-named Lady of Spring.

Myself, I've always been of a mind that it's a poor ritualist that needs to give directions in ritual (“and now we're going to....”): the parts of a ritual should flow organically into one another. That said, if you have to give directions, make them part of the ritual itself.

So here's what we're going to do.

Just before the Threefold Libation of water, milk, and (red) wine, the presiding priest (= yours truly) will turn to the people and say:

 

Call to Prayer

 

Priest:

My sisters and brothers,

the ancestors said:

The offering bears the prayer;

so today, as we pour out

the traditional Threefold Libation

of water, milk, and wine,

I would invite you to pour out

the prayers of your own hearts as well.

And so we begin.

 

[Libations are poured.]

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