Archive for March, 2015

Planning my Paganicon Schedule

I thought I was going to plan out my personal Paganicon schedule earlier this week, but I had the “good problem” of getting busy doing paid work* (more on that in another post) So here goes. I don’t know how on earth people decide between 6 or 8 different things happening at Pantheacon, there are enough cool offerings this year that it’s hard to choose. (I’m listing events that either I’m attending or debating attending)

Friday the 13th!

5pm- Pagan Speed Friending (this will be offered again at 9:30pm) I went to this last year, in spite of trepidation about social speed anything (because autistic thought/speech/social skills processing = definitely not speedy!) But it turned out I really enjoyed it and it was a good way to meet a bunch of people in a short period of time. What would help, though I realize it’s late to make this suggestion, is for people to bring calling cards (like business cards but just for social purposes) that they can give to people with whom they “click”. Will explain the calling card thing more in another post.

7pm- Opening Ceremony– if I meet anyone super-interesting at Speed Friending, may skip this.

7:30 Opening Ritual- Return to the Root (Shauna Aura Knight) This ritual is about facing your Shadow, doubts, fears and journeying to the Underworld. Facing my Shadow? Gee that sounds pretty darn personally relevant!

9:15 Art Show

9:30 How Black Lives Matter Can Inform Our Spiritual Practices (Panel) Looking forward to this! We’ve been discussing Black Lives Matter (and racism in general) a lot at Unity and BOP, but the only discussion in a Pagan context I’ve participated has been online, so this should be interesting!

Saturday the 14th

9 AM Bioregional Totemism with Lupa– I’ve enjoyed reading Lupa’s writing online for years, and her innovative development of Neopagan totemism (though I wish we could come up with a better word!)

10:30 AM- 12 PM Paganism & Mental Health: Healthy Magic (Panel) I went to Sheryl Merriam’s panel last year about Mental Health & Paganism (she is a licensed therapist who serves Pagan and kinky/poly/geeky communities) and it was really good, so I recommend this one to folks. I however do not practice magic, and am unsure of belief in it, so really what I need is a “Magic for Skeptics” panel or workshop!

Plant & Fungus Totems with Lupa– working with totems from outside the animal kingdom means you’re really getting serious about your animism! Considering…

Nordic Horn Ceremony with Kari Tauring– I took a rune class with her, and have gone to several of her Nordic folk music performances so I am already biased. Considering…

12 PM Lunch Break!

1 PM Sex, Ethics and Power: Problems & Solutions (Panel) Another very important topic I’m glad to see is being addressed!

2:45 PM Sustainable Critique by Donald Engstrom-Reese– about constructive criticism, this sounds useful. Donald is a great guy, I’ve run into him multiple times at various pagan events.

The Blossom and the Bone- Kristia Wildflower– Exploring myths, legends and fairy tales and what they have to teach us. Could be good, but kind of a generic description…

3 and 4 PM Various book signings..good time for a social/sensory break, maybe go for a walk or browse the vendors

4:15 Cultural Honoring or Appropriation– Panel Another important topic!

Dinner Break!

8 pm Equinox Ball / Serenity’s Campfire (hangout alternative to ball- I will probably go to this because loud music is not Mariah friendly, and I’d rather talk with people and process the day.

Sunday the 15th

10 AM Pagan Parenting: Twin Cities Resources– Don’t have kids yet, but am hoping to at some point, and also would be interesting in helping out with kid-related events.

11:15 AM  Keepers of the Flame- Pagan Leadership & Community Building- Shauna Aura Knight Given that my efforts in this department haven’t exactly yielded the best results, I should probably go to this. Now, finding good like-minded people is another problem!

12:30 PM Enchantment, Charisma & Facilitation: Leading Rituals, Workshops and More- Shauna Aura Knight

Brighid Healing Ritual- Selena Fox

Nine Worlds Alignment- Kari Tauring Aligning the Norse 9 Worlds in the Body

2:15 PM Crafting & Guiding a Positive Volunteer Dynamic– this topic would also be useful to my work on the BOP board, even though I am not the volunteer coordinator.

Is Neopaganism Cultural Diffusion or Misappropriation? (it doesn’t say who the presenter is, but the topic is pretty similar to the panel on Saturday)

Personal Healing with the Ancient Ones– this is about asking for deities for help with various personal issues- also could be useful

3:30 PM Sunday Afternoon Tea

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March 13, 2015 at 10:28 pm Leave a comment

Note about Celtic Polytheism Resources Project

Over the years, I’ve read loads of good and bad info on Celtic traditions. I would like to help myself and others avoid re-inventing the wheel by collecting links on articles and posts on particular topics- for example specific deities, holidays etc. For the blog posts I am focusing on ones that cite good sources, but I also am thinking of including sections that are more UPG (imbas/aisling) based, or on personal practice and modern adaptation.

I’ve started with Morgan Daimler’s blog, organized by topic for the years 2011-2012. Note that nothing weird and stalker-y is going on between me and her- she is a casual Facebook friend whom I respect, I haven’t met her in person, yada yada. She is also a Heathen, so Norse stuff is mixed in there too.

After I’ve made several of these with her blog, and other people’s, and websites, I’ll start making the resource posts, and will add links to the Celtic Polytheism Resource page. In particular, I’d like to get a resource page about Beltaine up in April, to help me and others plan their celebrations.

Special Notes: Please Do Not Plagiarize any of these fine folks’ content. Or my content for that matter. If you want to share the links on Tumblr/Facebook et al. feel free, just link back to me. If you want to quote someone or cite them as a source, then cool. Yes, you can do that with internet sources as well as print ones- Here is a website where you can put in the information, pick a citation format (MLA- or Modern Language Association is most commonly used in the United States) and then ta-da!

Even more awesome in addition to citing these folks, is buying their books, and writing and sharing reviews about them, so more people will buy their books! I have not bought or read any of Ms. Daimler’s books, though I plan to! I am now writing reviews for Moon Books (in return for free PDFs of said books) and she has published several with them, so perhaps at some point I will be reviewing something of hers. That reminds me I need to get those reviews done!

March 12, 2015 at 9:00 pm Leave a comment

Morgan Daimler Posts Organized by Topic 2011-2012

Prayers

Faed Fiada- Deer’s Cry – Lorica Prayers (modern Irish Pagan’s Lorica)

Prayer for Protection (against a storm)

Prayer for Lunasa  (adapted) Modern Prayer for Lunasa

New Moon Prayer 2

Prayer for Imbas

Children’s Prayer before Sleep

Prayer for Sandy Hook victims

Rituals

Baby Blessing

Pregnancy Folklore & Traditions– Irish (not a ritual, but since other life cycle stuff was here..)

Pregnancy & Birth in Norse Tradition

Modern Celtic House Blessing

Celtic Rites of Passage for Children/Young Adults

Posts about Spiritual Practice

Offerings & Sacrifice

Ritual Structure

Hear my Prayer

Living Reconstruction

With the Sun, or Against the Sun– about sun-wise movement in Celtic traditions

Gaelic Heathenry– how Morgan blends her two traditions

Connecting to my Ancestors

Sacred Tattooing

The Four Treasures

Modern Altars

Ethics

Modern Ethics for a Modern Druid

Hospitality in a modern world

Living Honor

Karma, Wyrd & Dan, oh my!

Kids & Faith (I think this can fall under piety…)

Ethics of Information (add link)

Magic

Celtic Folk Magic- Food Part 1

Celtic Healing Deities

Celtic Healing Magic- Part 1, Part 2

Shamrock Charms

Oracular practices & magic– background

Seidhr (Norse oracular practice)

Celtic Ways of Seeing (oracular practice, trance etc)

Magic of Hair and the Head

Irish Bird Omens Part 1, Part 2

Use of Stones & Crystals in Celtic Folklore Part 1

View of Witches in Irish Folklore

The Rosc- Spoken Spells in Druidic Magic

Sacred Symbols– answer to What symbol do you wear of your faith?

Deities (Irish)

Brighid

an Dagda

Flidais Foltchaoin

Macha

Mannanan mac Lir

Nuada Airgetlamh

Deities (Germano-Celtic/Gaulish)

Artio, Germano-Celtic Bear Goddess

Deities (Norse)

Odin as a Healing Deity

Fulltrui- Dedication to a Deity in Heathenry

Faerie Lore

Brownies

Cat Sidhe

Daoine Sidhe

The Good Neighbors

Pixies

Spirits of the land, Spirits of the Otherworld– Norse & Irish views compared

Festivals

Samhain (2011)

My Gaelic Heathen Yule (2011) Yule (2012)

Children’s Yule Songs- Parodies of Traditional Carols

Imbolc: Traditional Celebrations for a Modern Time (2012)

Texts

Thoughts on the Ogham Tract

Thoughts on the Colloquy of the Two Sages

Thoughts on the Testament of Morann

Responses to Questions/Discussions

Familiars & why I don’t believe in them

Who were the Druids Part 1– as ritual leaders, judges and seers

Who were the Druids Part 2– as poets and bards

Mistletoe & the Druids

Druids and the Soul

Why Reconstructionism?

Belief & Practice

Living Druidism & Self-Identity

Animism & Neopaganism– Morgan describes her animist beliefs, and how they differ from common Neopagan views of animism

Runes

First Aett: FehuUruzThurisazAnsuzRaidhoKenazGebo, Wunjo

March 12, 2015 at 8:41 pm Leave a comment

Finding my Path Again

As Paganicon approaches, I find myself re-evaluating my (rather dormant!) spiritual path. I think for the past year, with the depression, it’s kind of like I’ve been wandering through the mists and need to find the path again, only to find it rather hidden and overgrown. I need to do some weeding, replace broken pavement stones and such. Being a caretaker of an old house, these home maintenance analogies come very easily to mind!

My main focus has had to be managing the depression, becoming active and involved with my communities in a sustainable manner that helps me get away from sitting at home alone stewing in my thoughts. One aspect of that has been becoming a Director of the Bisexual Organizing Project, a way to give myself a job (even if unpaid) with responsibilities that helps me develop my self-confidence and skills. The next step is to psych myself up enough to start looking for work again. I don’t have a specific idea of what I want to do, mainly Please Not Customer Service!!! Or at least not certain types. This time I would like to network with other people with disabilities- particularly learning disabilities/autism/developmental disabilities, and perhaps their family members and so forth.

Anyway, I am ignoring spiritual approaches that others do that don’t seem helpful to my situation (the Put the Gods first type stuff) and looking for ones that do seem helpful. I am looking for spiritual practices that might help me build up my confidence, reduce my anxieties, and re-direct negative though patterns in positive directions. I am not sure if I believe in magic, but if I’m not mistaken there are magical techniques that are more about changing how you think than changing the world around you. Without being totally, The Secret and the power of positive thinking can totally solve your problems!!!

I am also trying to back away from more intense and extreme versions of activism and social justice stuff. I’ve noticed that I feel good about going to meetings and doing things in person, but online discussions have a tendency to get really negative and depressing, so I am avoiding or at least being more selective about participating in them. In particular, climate change/Big Environmental Problems OMG!! are things I avoid, which is difficult because it’s also a big thing at Unity Unitarian. I have sat through at least two sermons about environmental destruction one of which listed in detail all the types of species that were endangered or going extinct that made me cry. It was like, yes I get it, humanity has messed up, and all this bad stuff is happening, but there wasn’t much space in the sermon for redemption, and oh here’s something small and manageable that you can actually do. It just fills you with despair, not a desire to be active. There’s also a lot of elitist baggage involved which is really alienating to someone who doesn’t have much money.

The other political area that I have to get away from for sanity reasons is the anti-capitalism and anarchism. I am not an anarchist, but I hang out with some of them online, and they can be cool people with whom I agree with some things. But a lot of the stuff they write I have to avoid, it’s like drinking a giant depression dose. I am skeptical of capitalism in many ways, and I realize it has a lot of problems but I kind of need to set that aside and well believe in it enough to go find a job, keep it etc. It seems like we’ve gone to the opposite extreme of Keeping Up with the Joneses, to a contest of who can intentionally live the simplest life on the least amount of money, involving the least amount of working for “The Man” and feeling morally superior to people who have regular jobs. When I signed up to be Pagan, that didn’t mean signing up to be poor. Wanting a decent job does not automatically make me Scrooge. I feel like we can’t have real discussions about these things because there is too much political division. Well that was long enough. More on the path development thing another day!

March 6, 2015 at 11:24 pm 7 comments

Spring Equinox- Gaelic Options

We don’t have evidence that Ye Olde Celts celebrated the spring equinox. But there are always options, if you do want to celebrate it, or a holiday near that time.

In Scottish folk tradition, Latha na Caillich (Day of the Old Woman) is observed on March 25th.  To be clear, there are multiple spirits referred to as an Cailleach in Scottish lore, and Cailleach Bheur shows up in Irish lore. So they should be referred to as nan Cailleachan, plural, or if you are familiar with one of them from a particular locality, be clear about which Lady you are calling on!

Scottish-

La na Caillich– essay on Tairis

Latha na Cailiche– Brian Walsh

Irish-

An Cailleach Bhearra– on Tairis blog, about her possible Irish connections to the spring equinox

Naomi J has also done a lot of research and devotional work with Baoi/an Cailleach Bhearra, the goddess of the Beara peninsula in Ireland. 30 Days of Deity Devotion posts.

Some polytheist alternatives to St. Patrick’s Day have been proposed-

Hero feast for Cu Chulainn– PSVL (pronounced cuh hull-linn) Look thru the Cu Chulainn tag for further ideas.

My personal idea is to honor the sovereignty goddesses Eriu, Banba and Fodla, specifically Eriu, for whom Eire is named.

Ruadhan, a Boetian polytheist of British & Irish descent, honors Britannia & Hibernia, the Roman national personifications of Britain and Ireland. Though they have been adopted by the natives and Hibernia is also various called Eriu, Kathleen ni Houlihan etc. He even wrote a myth explaining their origins.

In another post he notes: “One thing that I regret not posting about this year is my ritual and prayer for my re-envisioning of Shrove Tuesday as Pancake Feast of Britannia and St. Patrick’s Day as Bacon & Cabbage Feast of Hibernia.” I’m always interested in seeing creative polytheist alternatives to St. Patrick’s Day- or for that matter interesting spiritual takes on any secular holiday. (just yoinked that from my post on Tutelary Goddesses)

and here’s PSVL’s thoughts on Hibernia

Other people honor deities and spirits they associate with this time of year, if it’s more springy in your area, that might be Angus Mac Og and his swan-maiden lover, Caer Ibormeith.

March 6, 2015 at 6:35 am Leave a comment

U.U. Race Relations Compared to Pagan Race Relations

As I’ve discussed before, I was raised in the United Methodist Church, with parents who were involved in racial/social justice organizing both within the UMC and in broader society. Most Protestant denominations in the United States broke apart over the question of slavery or of integration. Many of them have made official apologies, acknowledgements of wrongdoing to African-Americans and sometimes American Indians depending on their history. Unitarian Universalists are a largely white denomination and we too have been working at racial reconciliation. Some congregations have made apologies to the family members of Black ministers that they didn’t call, there is at least one U.U. church that has a plaque in honor of the slaves who built the building. We have a long way to go, and are far from perfect, but we are committed to this journey. Recently I read “The Selma Awakening” by Mark Morrison-Reed, a book about U.U. involvement in the Civil Rights movement. Before the march to Selma, U.U.s had made various proclamations against racism, and made some attempts at integrating the ministry, with very mixed results. When Martin Luther King Jr. called upon clergy of all faiths to come march to Selma, many U.U.s heeded the call, and this was a turning point in the U.U. commitment to racial and economic justice.

I am trying to take what I am learning about U.U. racial history and apply it to a Pagan community context, but in some ways I find the situations are not very comparable, probably no more so than if I were to compare to the history of the United Methodist Church.

  • Though considered heretics and persecuted at times in Europe, in the U.S. for the most part, Unitarians and Universalists could practice their faiths openly and freely with formally recognized churches and clergy
  • Wicca came “out of the broom closet” in the 1950’s, and Paganism more broadly in the 1970’s. There were earlier groups, the Church of Aphrodite was formed & legally recognized in 1939 in New York, but they are outliers.
  • While tending to be mostly white, and sometimes insular, people of color could technically join both U churches, though they were not always accepted.
  • Covens and esoteric orders, being initiatory and secretive, tended to stick to a mostly white middle-class social network.
  • Public, celebratory groups and festivals opened up Paganism to a broader spectrum of people, book publishing and the internet even more so.
  • The Unitarian Universalist Association is one organization, albeit a loose structure, that congregations belong to as members.
  • Pagan groups are mostly small and local, with a minority having a larger organizational affiliation. Most Pagans are solitary. (There’s one similarity- there are many U.U.s that do not have a local congregation or fellowship)
  • Unitarian Universalism affirms social justice oriented values- while some Pagan traditions (like Reclaiming Witchcraft) may affirm commitments to peace, environmentalism, gender equality, etc. and individual Pagans might connect activism with their personal beliefs and practices, Paganism in general is not united under any set of principles, and even Wicca specifically does not require any socio-political commitments. (Which is fine, by the way- I’m certainly not proposing a platform for all of Pagandom!)

I think we need to delve into our history in order to understand where we are now. I am going to start by talking about Wicca and related ceremonial magic groups and esoteric orders in Britain and the United States. This is partly because I simply know more about this history, not because other traditions don’t matter, and also because of the influences they have had on other forms of Paganism. American Asatru arose as a separate movement, with different socio-political and cultural influences, so it makes sense to discuss it separately. If you have information about the history of inclusion and exclusion of various ethnic and other groups from your tradition of Paganism, polytheism (or insert preferred label) that you would like to share, please link, I’d be interested in hearing about it. (Also please let me know if I get anything wrong!)

March 5, 2015 at 4:49 am Leave a comment

A Couple Blog-Round-tables

For a while, I’ve known about the Kemetic Round Table, a group of bloggers that share/respond writing prompts about Kemetic Reconstructionism/Revivalism- that is Egyptian. Though not Kemetic myself, I appreciated the idea of open discussion that welcomes people of differing views within the same religion, or spiritual spectrum- there are folks who participate who are not recon, but honor Egyptian deities.

Their current topic is- What about modern priesthood? What does being a priest mean in the modern era?

Deadline March 18th, 2015 Be sure that your post is tagged #Kemetic Round Table.
We look forward to your responses!

So I was pleased to see that there is now also a Celtic Round Table (which makes me think of King Arthur!) Like KRT, it welcomes both beginners and experienced practitioners from throughout the Celtic polytheist umbrella. They are also on Tumblr here.

The March topic will be: What, if anything, is your view of the afterlife? How much of this view comes from mythology? Entries should be submitted or tagged by March 28. #celticroundtable and #celtic round table

Another one is for Pagans of any flavor with non-binary gender identities such as: agender, genderqueer, demigender, neutrois etc. Non-Binary Mysteries #NBMysteries

“This month’s theme is Solar and Lunar Symbolism.


Optional questions to answer:

Who are the sun/moon deities that make most sense to you? Are they even from your tradition?

What bugs you most about the way solar/lunar symbology is constructed or described?

Do you have sun/moon UPG that integrates your identity?

If you don’t work with or honor sun/moon deities/energies at all, why not?

What does your solar/lunar magic look like? How much of it did you have to build by yourself from the ground up?


Responses will be collected on March 31st.”

March 4, 2015 at 2:18 am Leave a comment

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