Posts filed under ‘Blogjects’
I have sections on my blogroll for Celtic/Druid and Germanic/Heathen, but the rest are blobbed together in Pagan & Polytheists. I’m renewing an interest in Greek & Roman stuff (back when I was more into Hellenic stuff, it was the heyday of Livejournal & Yahoo-groups.) Making note of what deities/cultus they focus on, location if known, and other spiritual interests. Please let me know if you want to be added. This list includes Hellenic polytheists & pagans of varying traditions, levels of reconstruction etc.
Ariadne in Exile– Aridela Pantherina, Bacchic Orphic tradition
Aspis of Ares– Pete, SE Michigan
Baring the Aegis– Elani Temperance in the Netherlands, Elaion member
Beloved in Light– Lykeia in Alaska- devotee of Apollon & Artemis, Shiva & Parvati
Bull-headed follower of a Bull God– ADF Dionysian
Drinking from the Cup of Life– Lon Sarver, Dionysian in Bay Area, CA
The Dionysian Artist– Australia
Hellenic Hearth– Lena, devotee of Hera & eclectic kitchen witch
House of Vines– Sannion, Magna Graecian Bacchic Orphism cultor
Magick from Scratch– Thenea, ceremonial magic/mysticism in Hellenic context- not Recon
The Minoan Path– Laura Perry
Mists to Open, Mists to Bind– Jan Avende, Hellenic Druid & ADF Priest
The Modern Hellenist– Alejandro, Boston, Mass.
Of Thespiae– Ruadhan J. McElroy, Ann Arbor Michigan, devotee of Eros, Boetian focus, hedonist philosophy
Necropolis Now– Caroline Tully, Ph.D candidate at the Centre for Classics & Archaeology at the U of Melbourne, Australia (Greek, Egyptian and other content)
Never Unmindful– Alexei, local focus, social justice
Queen without a Court– Apollon devotee
Soul Bites– Mysticism & Craft
Strip Me Back to the Bone– Jolene, Poseidon devotee
Temple of Athena the Savior– Amanda Artemisia Forrester, Greco-Egyptian Pagan, Alexandrian witch, homesteader & templekeeper
True Pagan Warrior– T.P. Ward, devotee of Poseidon & Ares, Friend/Quaker
Under Two Trees– Mestizo paganism in multi-cultural, post-colonial Manila, Phillipines, Greco-Roman focus with indigenous Filipino, Hindu, Buddhist and other influences
Tumblogs– Gah! why does this have to be pink text on white background?
Elaion– Quite active!
Halls of Hera– Dedicated to the worship & study of Hera- Oakland, CA
Hellenion– U.S. based, mostly online
Hellenic Round Table– Discuss monthly topics with other Hellenists!
Neokoroi (Still active?)
Neos Alexandria– Greco-Roman-Egyptian syncretism
Pandemos– San Francisco Bay area collective of practitioners from diverse backgrounds, approaches and communities, united for the purpose of honoring the Hellenic gods and celebrating Hellenic culture.
Archived Blogs (Year of last post listed)
Boukoleon– 2015 Starry Bull Thiasos- Magna Graecian (southern Italian Greek colonies) Orphic Dionysian cultus
Flaming Thyrsos– 2014 Kenn, in Coventry, UK , a devotee of Hekate, Dionysos & Prometheus
Frankincense & wine– 2015, British, interested in lay monasticism
Hestian Lily– 2014 Lily, a devotee of Hestia & witch
Smoke from the Temple– 2014
Sightless Among Miracles (2013) , and Executive Pagan– Erik Dutton’s blogs- Longtime online acquaintance- from back in the days of Beliefnet Pagan forae- he was one of the people that came up with the idea of Religio Americana
Tending the Hearth of the Gods– 2013 Nom de Internet: Patch
Obey the Gods– 2013
Aithaloeis Theos– 2012 A space dedicated to Hephaistos
Pagan Reveries– 2012- some good stuff about poet ancestors/heroes
A Twisted Kind of Ingenue– 2012-Had to add this one after seeing this on about page: The ingenue is most interested in disability rights, the autism acceptance movement, anti-kyriarchy (the patriarchy is so passe), trans rights and acceptance, neurodiversity, young adult literature, simple living, paganism, fusion and tribal bellydance and avoiding medical bills.
Memories of Pain & Light– 2011
Next in Approaching Paganism- Vocational Paths: Warrior
Also a response in part to Allec’s Thoughts on the Warrior’s Path, what does that mean, how does one define it?
As with elder, I think this needs be a role defined by specific cultural traditions and organizations. If you feel a calling to a warrior path, in what context will you walk that path? Which community, tradition, deity etc. will you do warrior work for, and what does that entail? I am not a warrior myself, but even if I were, I still couldn’t answer those questions for you. Here are some factors to consider, as well as some ways different people and traditions define warriorship both in Greater Neo-Pagandom and broader U.S. society (I’m always interested in hearing about non-U.S. perspectives, just basing things on what I’m familiar with)
- Mundane/Paid Profession/Job/Career- a person who serves, has served, or plans to serve in the military, police, fire departments, emergency personnel (EMT, paramedic) park/forest ranger etc. Such a person may go into these fields as part of a spiritual calling, or discover/explore the spiritual dimensions after going into it.
- Practitioner, Teacher or Master of a particular martial arts form- it could be a hobby, a form of exercise and self-defense, various Asian martial arts traditions typically have some culturally-specific philosophical concepts involved, at least if they have haven’t been watered down into American Mixed Martial Arts…(Puke!)
- Devotee of a war-associated deity, hero(es), warrior/military dead- I know various people that have taken up martial arts and other forms of physical fitness as ways to connect with and serve a deity or spirit. Some, but not all of such folks identify as warriors, or as priests of the deity.
- Roles at rituals and festivals such as warding/guarding the edge of a ritual space, working security at a festival or other Pagan event, being an advocate of abuse victims/survivors in Pagan and broader communities.
Ethics & Norms to Consider-
- Are Peaceful/Spiritual Warriors a thing? Do nonviolent political activists count as warriors? This is debatable- I’d say be aware of what context you are in- Reclaiming Witches perhaps, Heathens/Asatruar, not so much.
- Gender- some people think warrior automatically means male, a rite of passage to manhood involves “becoming a warrior” and so forth. I also see the “strong woman equals warrior” meme among certain feminists, both religious & secular- or conversely “women should be/are inherently peaceful” among certain feminists and anti-feminists alike! Nope. People of any (or no) gender can be warriors, and people of particular genders *don’t have to be* warriors if that’s not their inclination.
- People in, or formerly in the careers discussed above may or may not identify as warriors in a spiritual sense. Calling someone by a label they don’t want is not “honoring” them. Being individual humans, they will have varying emotions and opinions about their experiences, please respect give space to them accordingly.
- Be careful about attaching cultural associations to “warrior” that are not yours or bringing them into the wrong cultural context. (E.g. would you wear your karate gear as ritual garb?)
- Historical re-enactment, role-playing games and the like are fun hobbies, but they are not necessarily part of your religion.
- Observe rules/laws at rituals, festivals and people’s homes about what (if at all) weapons are allowed, how they should be secured, children and pets as factors, etc.
- Being a warrior is not an excuse for being a bully, bad behavior etc. In fact, many warriors have codes of ethics that they strictly adhere to!
Part II will be links and commentary from people in various warrior traditions.
I encounter with relative frequency, individuals calling themselves shamans or having an interest in shamanism in both online and offline settings. I suspect most of them are not Evenki or Tungus Siberian folks, though there is the occasional exception. I would humbly propose to other well-meaning defenders of indigenous cultures that screaming cultural appropriation! at these New Age “shamans” is probably not the best approach, especially if they are not actually the ones leading the weekend sweat lodge retreats and publishing books on Shamanic Wiccan Druidry. Instead, let’s have conversations.
Is there a better word to use than shaman?
What are you trying to describe with the word shaman or the adjective shamanic?
A role serving a particular community as a spiritual specialist who does lots of intense spirit work, healing and otherworld journeying? What tradition do you work within? Are there more culturally specific terms?
A solitary path that involves intense spirit work and otherworld journeying? Spirit worker, mystic, hedge witch/wizard/warlock
A belief/worldview involving plant, animal and other spirits? Animist
Some Potentially Very Bad Reasons for “Deciding” to be a Shaman include…
Connotations of “Noble Savages” who are more “in touch with nature, what it Truly Means to Be Human etc.” in contrast to This Corrupt Urban Industrialized Disenchanted society that I still don’t want to leave cuz indoor plumbing and electricity are nice… Please unpack your cultural assumption baggage again- some books that might help:
Orientalism by Edward Said
Books, articles and classes on postcolonial theory, postcolonial feminism, anthropology, cultural area studies (American Indian, East Asian, African diaspora et al.)
You have what Western medicine classifies as a mental illness, chronic illness or other disability. Therefore, shaman *must be* your spiritual calling! You have a shaman-sickness! You are specially/chosen or “marked” by the Gods/Spirits/Ancestors! Your suffering, isolation etc. now has meaning and It All Makes Sense Now! OK, let’s slow down. I admit this one is a little close to home, as I myself qualify as neurologically divergent in various ways (autistic, epileptic, ADHD, etc.) I believe this *does* make my spiritual perceptions and experiences unique and different in various ways, but I’m hesitant to jump to the conclusion that This Means I Must Have a Special Cosmic Destiny!!!
For one, I know plenty of other people with the same conditions as well as other disabilities that do not have any such spiritual inclinations and get pretty darn irritated when they get the “You are Special Child of God” or the other extreme “You are possessed by demons!” crap from people or similar Pagan/New Agey versions- “You’re an Indigo Child”, “You did something bad in a past life, and this is your punishment”. There does seem to be a higher than average number of Pagans with various disabilities and medical conditions, how much of that is self-selection or by Higher/Lower Powers That Be is up for debate.
You are transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, pansexual, intersex, asexual, kinky, yada yada…and once again this gives you a magical ticket to shaman-hood. In various cultures- yes shaman-type roles are often associated with gender-bending/blurring/fluidity and sexual “otherness”, though it’s important to remember that late 20th-21st century Western identities like I just mentioned above are different from alternate sexual and gender identities found throughout human history and contemporary cultures around the world. We can certainly find a lot of inspiration and ideas from these various identities, and learning about them can put into context how we view GLBTQ+ identities in our own cultural settings, and how they can have collective and individual spiritual meanings and roles. But likewise, a gender/sexual/romantic minority might see their identity in a completely secular manner, or see their identity as mostly incidental to their spiritual role and development.
On the Celtic Polytheism resource page, I had a link to Echtrai’s list of Celtic Polytheists on Tumblr. However it’s like Livejournal in that there’s a lot of blogs that come and go and ones that have very mixed content that you have to slog through. I’m reducing it down to ones that are mostly Celtic in content. And to boot, perhaps I’ll add some other types of polytheists. Bonus points if you actually tag things, have pages of info etc.
ReviewingtheCeltics– group that reviews Celtic-related books & answers questions.
Altar of Delirium– Brighid, Mannanan mac Lir
Crowsandcondescension warrior path, Morrigan devotee
Echtrai– Riona, devotee of Lugh
Feannog– Kym Lambert, Shadow of the Hooded Crow project for the goddesses Macha, Badb & the Morrigan
Mathairnandee- Danu, Brighid
Nicstoirm– Allec, devotee of Lugh, sea magic
Sachairi Mac Caba Zach
Blind Brigidine Hearth- Robert/Raibert
Lightning & Ravens– Shrine to Thor & the Morrigan
Celtic cultural interest (not just religion)
Too Sexy For My Celt– fashion, historic & modern
As Gaeilge– Irish language learning, by Jared, same person as Lebornaciar
What are your beliefs about deities from other religions/pantheons, both polytheistic and not? Do you honour any, and how do you balance that with heathenry?
Well I have been a Gaelic polytheist or Druid for a lot longer so for me the question is a bit more in reverse. That is, I honor both the Tuatha De Danaan as well as the Aesir & Vanir. I believe the two can blend together pretty well for both historic reasons and cultural similarities. There is a lot of Norse influence in especially northern Scotland, the Hebrides and Orkney islands, there is the blending of Anglo-Saxon and Brythonic traditions in Britain and in continental Europe, it is often tricky to distinguish between historical accounts of which tribes were Germanic and which were Celtic. I’m continually researching and learning new things about how these cultures compare, overlap, intersect and how they differ. I also from time to time will honor deities of other cultures/religions, typically when I am invited by friends or family members to partake in a ceremony, holiday celebration or simply a meal-time prayer. I just won’t participate in aspects that conflict, such as reciting creeds or statements about how there is only one god
The Heathen Round Table topic for July has been posted: What are your beliefs about deities from other religions/pantheons, both polytheistic and not? Do you honour any, and how do you balance that with heathenry?
Well, that one’s certainly a relevant one for me! Be sure to link to the wordpress blog above, or tag your tumblr posts with #heathen round table.
I notice the Celtic Round Table on tumblr hasn’t been updated since April. Summer happens, people get busy! It’s also on wordpress here. A lot of the participants are part of the Polytheist Community Forum that I belong to, so I will poke them.
So I’m starting it up again with- for folks in the Northern Hemisphere: Do you celebrate Lunasa or other harvest festivals? Do you integrate any local practices, such as county/state fairs, corn feeds, barbecues, etc? How and why?
For Southern Hemisphere peeps: Do you celebrate Imbolc or other late winter/early spring festivals? Do you integrate any local practices or holidays? How and why?
The Kemetic Round Table is also on hiatus- I’m not a part of that community, but just thought I’d bring it to folks’ attention in case anyone’s interested in re-starting or re-visiting old topics- you can still submit posts for the old ones.
Next in Approaching Paganism, let’s talk about spiritual specialists. Not clergy, not priests, though those are overlapping categories, but every tradition has a different concept of what that means, and every person who becomes Pagan brings their own baggage and assumptions about what they mean. As a result, conversations about the roles and duties of “Pagan clergy” in a broad community context are generally a mess. But priests, witches, shamans, seers, magicians- these are all various types of spiritual specialists. The concept of layperson, or a laity necessitates a clergy class, so instead, I’ll contrast the specialist with the general practitioner- yep like a doctor. A better analogy would be a homeowner who knows enough about plumbing, carpentry and electrics to fix most things him/her/theirself. But every once in a while, a major problem occurs and the homeowner has to call in a plumber/electrician/contractor to fix it. Also, sometimes the homeowner knows how to fix a problem, but doesn’t have the time to do it, having a day job and all.
So, here’s a layout of common “ingredients” to being a spiritual specialist- some combinations work better than others…
*Self-study & practice
*Informal study & practice with peers
*Taught by family members/elders of oral tradition (folk customs, healing techniques etc.)
*Has taken various one-shot workshops & classes at festivals & conferences
*Formal training by a group (coven, lodge etc.)
*Training in an Eastern martial art, spiritual discipline like yoga, Zen meditation, etc.
*Academic training at a seminary
*Academic study of religion, history, cultural studies, language in graduate school
Service to Community
*Celebrant or Officiant (weddings, funerals, other rites of passage)
*Pastoral care work- as a volunteer or paid chaplain (visiting & counseling people in hospitals, hospice care, assisted living, prisons, jails, the military, praying, studying or leading ceremonies in those settings)
*Teacher of adults and/or children
Service to a Deity/Spirit/Group of Spirits
*Shrine or temple keeper (set-aside purified space, not just a table in your bedroom)
*Prophet/mystic with an intense connection to the spirit/deity
*Shares information with public about deity/spirit/tradition to encourage worship, maybe leads rituals specific to their cultus but not general community festivals
*May involve monastic lifestyle with possible rejection of mundane/broader community work, rejection of regular human romantic/sexual relationships & having children
*Advanced practitioner of magic, divination or healing
*May do these types of work for others for pay, favors, other services etc.
*May train/teach others in this type of work
*Researches and designs own rituals
*Teaches own children, peers, members of their group
*May teach occasional workshops, write articles or keep a blog but does not lead a group or do this as a living
*May practice magic, healing, divination for self, close friends and family
*May do peer ministry- visiting other Pagans in hospitals, mentoring and sharing information
Super-Volunteer/Queen of the Church-Ladies/The Committee Meeting Ain’t Over til She Leaves
(Not to be sexist- I do know some menfolk that play this role as well! Every volunteer org has one or more…)
*Chief event organizer, except on the day of the event, in which she is busy vending Pagan bling, doing Tarot readings, leading workshops and/or speaking on panels
*Career is designed strategically so she can get weekends & evenings off. Hopefully a gig that will also allow her to get free food/paper copies/other relevant discounts. Always asks for the week of Pagan Spirit Gathering off about 2 years in advance.
*Things don’t get done because everyone else on the committee/coven members etc. assume she already did them.
*When she has a major family/health/career change, Pagan Pride, Samhain or the local festival Just Doesn’t Happen.
*A minimum of 3 cats or other animals is require for this position, as is an entire spare bedroom or basement for storing of annual event or coven supplies. Said supplies must not be put in waterproof containers..
I typically reserve the word “clergy” for people who have more formal training, serve a community, and in a American context usually have legal status so they can marry people. I know in other countries, you can’t just pay X amount to the Universal Life Church and suddenly you get to marry people- they are more picky about what counts as a religion. Across the board, it means “person who is recognized as clergy by the community they serve”. Just paying the fee, and buying a stole does not clergy make.
A priest/ess on the other hand, may primarily serve a deity or group of spirits/deities, rather than a community as such. The training and experience required will depend on the tradition they follow. And while I don’t have a problem with people creating their own personal religion, declaring yourself a priest of your own religion that consists of no one else seems very silly at best, and disrespectful to priests of other traditions at worst.
The Super-volunteer example is what happens when general practitioners don’t step up/wheel up to the plate and pitch in. Everyone has different talents, skills, levels of experience and personal/familial needs that have to be balanced out. I’ll give some suggestions on how this can work in my next post.
My Related Posts:
Food for Thought:
Ordination? But….We Don’t Need Clergy by Byron Ballard (some Pagans need clergy, some don’t)
In Support of Our Own: Understanding Unitarian Universalist Idealization by David Oliver Kling- argues that getting trained as a U.U. minister does not solve the whole Pagan communities need for clergy
Why My Aunt Judy Isn’t a Pagan (Or, How Far We Still Have to Go) by Raven Kaldera