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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

We stood on a rock on the top of a ridge, forested hills and valleys on every side. It was past dusk and heavily overcast, though the full moon shone behind the clouds so they glowed faintly. The mists came in, blanketing out the further hills, filling the valleys. Five of us, and looking at the others, wrapped against the chill and dampness I thought I could be gazing at standing stones, not people, or druids from another time and place, or magicians gathered to create a spell. I could see only shades of grey and black.

We had gone to this particular place because it is in the North-East of our Circle, the direction of Beltaine in the southern hemisphere and that's the time of year it is, here. But the mists and the grey and the isolation - it could have been Samhain, it felt like a night between the worlds. Sometimes the opposite Festivals reach across the Wheel so strongly, holding hands at the hub of it that it's impossible not to see this open secret - whenever it is Samhain in half the world, in the other half it is Beltaine. The earth can never have one without the other, just as it can never have night without day, simultaneously. It's not just that the opposites both exist, but that they both exist at the same time. 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Ritual: The Power to Persist

If you’re a heart-led individual, you know it’s hard to be an agent of love in a world where vision is often scorned by those who prefer greed and narrow-mindedness. Sometimes, we just want to give up.

When hate tramples you, Gaia, and the lives of others—whether they are people you know or strangers—suffering can be so great that you feel too broken to keep on going. 

But love and the forces that oppose it have battled throughout all time. So we need the ability to continue fighting the good fight over the long haul. Here is a ritual that helps you persist, with the support of your Gods, ancestors, and All Your Relations.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

“Awakening doesn’t happen all at once. It is a thread that once pulled it unravels a little at a time.

Slowly tug by tug the holes appear. Nothing fits you the same in this threadbare world.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

“Earth is a mystery school complete with initiations and discoveries that you only experience by living with your feelings, touching the earth, and embracing the fullness of your humanity.”

--Queen Guenivere

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

In the new article Reclaiming the Radical Witch, Danielle Olson writes:

As her image grows ever whiter, more privileged, younger, prettier, and objectified in the west, women b2ap3_thumbnail_14884681_1809846729227541_4275433016924022846_o.jpgaccused of being witches in Africa, Latin America and New Guinea continue to be hunted down and burned alive. I can’t help wonder what this all means for the “real” witches here and now?

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  • Candise
    Candise says #
    powerful

 

Many Pagans, Wiccans, Polythesists, and others today mark Lughnasadh (pronounced LOO-nuh-sah or loo-NAH-suh; also sometimes called Lammas from the Christianized "loaf mass") on August 1 or August 2 in the northern hemisphere and on February 1-2 in the southern. Some eclectic traditions mark Lughnasadh according to the full Moon that is closest to August 1.Others celebrate it on the nearest weekend for convenience, especially if doing group or public ritual.

The roots of Lughnasadh come from old Celtic traditions, i.e., the Irish, Scot, Manx, Cornish, Welsh, and Breton peoples and probably from those of the Isle of Man as well. Many celebrants today follow traditional agricultural markers (based on extant records, folklore, etc.) rather than calendar dates when timing celebrations. Those practicing Celtic reconstructionist Druidism may locate Lughnasadh according to the appearance of the first late summer fruits or the first grain harvest in their home area. Here in the Pacific northwest, modern CRs use the blackberries to time agricultural Lughnasadh, while CRs on the east coast tend to use blueberries. For most modern practitioners, the emphasis is most often on the rhythms of life in one’s home area rather than on the calendar. For instance, rather than marking Beltaine on May 1, many CRs celebrate it once the hawthorn—or the appropriate local white-flowering tree—blooms. In CR practices, the sacred and mundane are not separate, and the most mundane daily activity is every bit as sacred as the carefully planned “high ritual.” Daily life is a form of spiritual practice, and hospitality is one of the most highly valued of these expressions.

According to Irish mythos, Lughnasadh marks a funeral celebration and feast thrown by the God Lugh (pronounced LOO) in honor of his foster mother, Tailtiu. Legend claims that she cleared much of Ireland’s plains to allow for farms to be started, after which she collapsed and died. (Yeah—I’d be tired, too.) The funeral games were subsequently called the Tailtin/Tailtiun games in her honor. Interestingly, because so many healthy, vigorous young people appeared for the games, Lughnasadh also became known as a prime time to make matches-- of the romantic rather than the gaming time-- with many handfastings following.

In folkloric terms—and those of traditional calendar customs—Lughnasadh more or less always marks the harvest of the local berries and of the first ripening grains.

Traditionalists may celebrate Lughnasadh in several ways, including some or all of the following:

1. The celebration is invariably communal. It was typical of the ancient Celtic peoples to gather as communities or even come from great distances for major celebrations, and this was often especially true at Lughnasadh as the weather tended to be better in summer than at the other cross-quarter holidays (although, the needs of one’s farm or animals always limited some from long periods of travel). The celebrations included feasting, games and tourneys (especially horse racing), and ritual fires.

2. The ancient Gods are appeased and thanked with offerings from the first harvest and with ritual. Lugh and Tailtiu, in particular, are often honored honored. Danu, the Irish mother goddess, is often mentioned at Lughnasadh as a benefactress.

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Minoan Ecstatic Postures: The Realm of the Dead

A couple of weeks ago I started exploring some of the ritual postures we find in Minoan art, mostly in the form of bronze and terracotta figurines. I began with the famous Minoan Salute and then had a look at the posture I call Shading the Eyes (and no, that’s not an ancient Minoan Weeping Angel, I promise! LOL).

This week I’ve done some experimentation with a posture that’s most common in Cycladic art, one that appears to link the user to the Realm of the Dead. You can see an example of it in the photo at the top of this post. These figurines, usually made of marble, show a person (most often a woman) with their arms across their abdomen, the left arm above the right.

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