Posts tagged ‘pagan blog project’

Pagan Blog Project Archive Post

(archiving this as a post, rather than a page)

Pagan Blog Project Topics

2013

January 4, 2015 at 10:19 am Leave a comment

X- Gebo- Gift Economy

I’m taking a little creative license here- X is the shape of the rune Gebo, which means gift, and I thought with the upcoming gift-giving season it would be a good one to talk about. In ancient Norse and Irish societies, gifts served a very different and more central role in society’s social and economic structure.

Wealth was not to be hoarded, but excess was given away, both as a show of generosity and as a tribute to loyal followers and supporters. Stinginess was considered one of the worst attributes of a king or lord, and hospitality and generosity were considered the greatest of virtues. If the king behaved well, the Gods would be pleased, and the land and people would prosper, but if the king was cruel and stingy, the people would suffer, the crops would fail, and surely the people, and the Gods would not allow him to rule long!

A similar relationship exists between humanity and the Gods- offerings given to Them are expected to be returned with blessings.

Analysis of Stanza 39 of Havamal (the next 2 stanzas further explain the “gift for a gift” concept)

Birthing Justice- the Link to Humanity- Gift Economics (examples in Mali, a West African country)

The Gift Economy: A Model For Collaborative Community– Tikkun magazine, progressive Jewish magazine

December 20, 2014 at 12:16 am 1 comment

Pagan Blog Project Prompts for Letter Y

Here are some prompts for Y. To give us more options, I definitely went far beyond my usual European/Near Eastern bailiwick of Paganism.

Yalda- Persian winter solstice celebration

Yam- Canaanite sea god

Yama- god of death/the underworld in Vedic myth, after becoming less important in later Hinduism, Yama become more well known as a judge of the dead in various forms of Buddhism (Tibet, Japan, China, Korea)

Yantra- a mystical diagram or amulet used in mystical traditions of Hinduism (related concept- mandala)

Yarrow- herb used in traditional healing

Yasna- Zoroastrian offertory ritual, for the Indo-European geeks among us…

Yazatas– angels in Zoroastrianism- were “demoted” from god status in pre-Zoroastrian Persian polytheism.

Yemaya- Afro-Caribbean goddess of the sea, an orisha

Yeti- Tibetan legendary creature- the “Abominable Snowman”

Yew- the rune Eiwaz, ogham Idad

Yeeger, Eweich- Eternal Hunter, a hero/demi-god/god in Urglaawe, Deitsch heathenry

Yezidism- an off-shoot of Zoroastrianism, though monotheistic, their culture & traditions has connections with older Indo-Iranian polytheism

Yin and Yang- symbol of balance and interconnection in Taoism

Yggdrasil- the World Tree in Norse cosmology

Ygg- a name for Odin

Ymir- giant that world was created from in Norse myth

Yoda- ponder the teachings of the short green one!

Yoga (actual yoga, please not the watered down Westernized exercise program by the same name)

YOLA- You Only Live Once- discuss spiritual/philosophical aspects of this modern saying

Yoruba- Western African culture with major influences on Afro-Caribbean religions

Yule

Yule Log

December 2, 2014 at 2:38 am Leave a comment

Pagan Blog Project Prompts for the Letter X

So I’ve caught up with letters U, V and W on the Pagan Blog Project. I went over there to add the link for Wandervogels post and saw that they didn’t have any prompts for the letter X. There is also an error that says it’s the second week working with it (Nov. 21st) when it’s the first week. I’m mining the archives for ideas with links to posts. So here are some ideas- if you have any more, add in the comments. To make it easier, I will included words that start with “ex”. And of course if you’re writing in another language, words started with X will turn into other letters. Still counts, in my opinion.

Xenia- hospitality in Greek

Xenophobia/xenophilia- fear of the foreign/love of the foreign- how do these themes pop up in your spiritual path, your community, and how does it relate to your values?

Xena (& Hercules) Inspiring or mostly just annoying?

X-rated as in censorship- of religious or sexual content

X- Chi, the Greek letter

X- the Roman numeral for 10, write about the significance of the number, or a group of 10

X- Gebo, the rune (that’s the shape of the letter, but obviously a different sound!)

X chromosomes

X-ing something out, negation, negativity, lack of something

Xeriscaping- landscaping & gardening in a way that reduces or eliminates the need for irrigation to conserve water

Xartus- Proto-Indo-European word roughly meaning “cosmic order” more or less equivalent to the Hindu rta, Norse wyrd (Leithin Cluan/Naomi had a great post on it last year)

Xochiquetzal- Aztec goddess

Xoana– Hellenic wooden statues

Excellence- the ADF motto is “Why not excellence?” for a pop culture spin, you could talk about  Bill & Ted’s “Be Excellent to One Another”

Exes Write about your ex-partner, friend, spiritual teacher/clergyperson, religion in a spiritual context.

Extraordinary, Extreme, Exploring/exploration, Existentialism

November 18, 2014 at 12:21 am 1 comment

Wheel of the Year

As a follow-up to my Ancestor Calendar, here are some more resources for personalizing the wheel of the year.

Make Your Own Wheel of the Year by Caer (yay craft project!)

Moon names- I’ve always been fascinated by the moon names I see various Pagans use, but it drives me nuts not having a good source for which name came from which culture. Well, to start with here is a list of moon names from different Native American tribes. The writer cites some of his sources, and at least he’s an actual Indian and not from the Wannabe tribe!

Civic holidays and Local festivals- Sometimes we long for the city-wide celebrations of ancient Greece and Rome, when in fact we do have some of those celebrations. They may be secular, but pagan elements can be found within- look at the queen or princess of the county fair as a representative of the local sovereignty goddess, civic holidays often have hero and ancestor cultus attached to them, you can give an offering of wine to Dionysos before going to your city’s film festival. Most towns have at least one harvest festival- whether it honors corn, strawberries or whatever, honor the spirits of the harvest, and the spirits of the plant.

Saints days- are there local folk customs with suspiciously pagan undertones? Even if they aren’t actual survivals from Ye Olden Times, if it works, why not use it?

Pagan Book of Hours- Breviary of the Church of Asphodel– this polytheistic monastic order has a very well put together calendar- it is very multicultural, so people from many traditions could find ideas here! They use alternate month names: Anglo-Saxon, pseudo-Celtic Ogham trees, and Athenian, but line them up with the Gregorian calendar to make things easier.

Living in Season– Waverly Fitzgerald’s collection of info about holidays from around the world

Earth-Based Judaism- Jewish holidays have many interesting seasonal connections

Peel a Pom websites, Tel Shemesh

November 11, 2014 at 6:15 am 1 comment

Favorite “M” Pagan Blog Project Posts

Catching up on some major backlog!

Holidays

Midsummer’s Light– Magickal Pen- lovely poem and reflection on the Solstice!

Deities/Spirits

Mara & Modesty– Book of Mirrors- one of things I enjoy about PBP is all the different perspectives- this person worships Mara, a goddess from the Skyrim video game universe. This may seem silly but if you read it, you can see the sincerity and devotion she feels. (Note: there’s also a Latvian goddess by that name, not sure if there’s a connection..)

Mother Nature– Blue Crow- comparative myth & commentary about earth mother figures- I liked this comment: “Note to all you people who called our earth Gaia: that’s the Greek pantheon. Why pick one name out of the air and use it to name our living world, yet give no consideration to the rest of the Greek deities?  You aren’t Greek, you aren’t in ancient times, you don’t follow those gods and goddesses, so why? New agers, pfft! It’s all very well having a varied path, finding pieces of many threads to weave your own path but come on! If you’re going to make things up, why not call Her Sheila or another name lol?  Or how about just Mum?”

Meretseger– Fluid Morality writes about a lesser known Egyptian cobra goddess

Multiple Gods with the Same Focus– Kylara’s Musings

Morning Glory Zell: America’s Priestess– Book of the Eucalypt- a beautiful tribute to an amazing woman!

Male Familiars in Disney Films– Hedged Paths- I suppose it’s debate-able how “pagan” this really is, but the Disney geek in me couldn’t resist!

Sacred Objects, Symbols etc.

Masks– Kylara’s Musings- nice little essay on the uses and meanings of masks, Broom with a View also writes about masks.

Moldavite– Super-Duper Space Witch- interesting info about a stone I’ve never heard of!

Traditions

What is a Mystery Religion? the Broom Closet explains

Masonry/Co-Masonry– Set-jataset Masonry actually reminds me a lot of UUism, though with more mysticism and ritual. So if you’re a UU looking for a mystery tradition, that’s one way to go. “On a personal level, members are encouraged to raise their personal value without dogma and as a whole, members are encouraged to unite together to converse about theosophy and spirituality whilst respecting each other’s personal differences.” Also founders of this particular order were involved in French women’s suffrage!

Practices

Moontime– In Librarius Venefica- While I’ve never been especially interested personally in the spiritual aspects of menstruation, I’m all for finding more positive ways of viewing/experiencing it!

Morning Ritual– Book of the Eucalypt I always find it interesting to see regional variations on the directions.

Mandrake & Bear– Love by the Moon- poetic writing about experiences with Mandrake ointment

Minimalism– Serpent’s Labyrinth- after painful experiences of losing many of his spiritual items, Nornoriel learns to make do with very little.

M is Not for Muggle, Experiential Pagan and Kitchen Witch Musings both write on this. Honestly I’ve used that term jokingly, and I’ve seen other folks do so as well, but I haven’t really seen people seriously use it. Technically I am a Muggle, not being a magic-user! Now, I could see using it for non-Harry Potter fans…

Motivation– Fluid Morality

August 1, 2014 at 10:01 pm 1 comment

Prometheus

Prometheus is a Titan, the son of Iapetos and Klymene.

In the war between the Titans and the Olympians, Prometheus (his name means “foresight”) knew that the Olympians would win, so he convinced his brother Epimetheus to join him in siding with them. Prometheus created humans out of clay. Later he noticed that humans were cold on earth, and feeling compassion for them,  he decided to steal fire from Olympus to share with them. In punishment, he was chained to Mt. Parnassus, and every day an eagle would come and eat his liver. Every night his liver would grow back, in a cycle of endless torture. Finally his agony was ended when he was freed by Herakles, and apparently by that point Zeus had gotten over it- or maybe it was because it was his son that was freeing him?

I tend to think of Prometheus as a patron of reason, free-thinking and humanism- which may seem contradictory, but as I’ve stated before humanism does not necessarily exclude theism. I also associate the flaming chalice symbol of Unitarian Universalism with him- it represents the torch of civilization being passed on and the light of reason. Prometheus reminds as we revere the gods to not forget about humanity. He inspires us to challenge unjust authority, while his story warns us that rebellion does come at a cost.

Theoi article on Prometheus

Speculation on Reddit: Were the Titans the gods of a pre-Greek society that was supplanted?

Origin of the Flaming Chalice as a symbol of UU-ism

Threads on the Cauldron Forum: Honoring Prometheus, Experiences Honoring Prometheus?

August 1, 2014 at 8:26 pm 5 comments

Mannanan and Midsummer

The Summer Solstice is one of the 8 Wiccan/Druid Wheel of the Year holidays that some Celtic polytheists don’t celebrate- we don’t have as much evidence for it, as compared with Samhain, Beltaine, Lughnasadh and Imbolc (or whatever your regional equivalent may be) However there is a Manx tradition (as in Gaelic culture of the Isle of Man) of paying “rent” in the form of rushes to Mannanan Mac Lir, the god of the sea, for fishing. The Isle is said to be named after him/sacred to him and there seems to be a strong folk memory of him, as he shows up in many later Christian-era folk tales. Of course like any Celtic festival a bonfire is involved! The focus of this festival is on protection of the crops (whereas Beltainne focuses on the blessing of cattle by driving them between fires), and blessing the coming harvest. Typically rather than the Solstice itself (June 20 or 21) Midsummer was celebrated on June 23rd- the eve of St. John’s Day. Again, as with Beltainne and Samhain, witches and fairies were said to be active at this time, so precautions were made to protect children, animals and crops from their mischief. Hence Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream- watching a movie or play, or even reading lines from it would be a fun way to celebrate. Collecting herbs is also traditional- particularly St. John’s wort, mugwort and yarrow. Related to this, another deity who might be appropriate to honor would be Airmid, the Irish goddess of herbal healing.

We usually go camping in late June, so I tend to forget about formally celebrating the Solstice. Though spending time out in nature with my sweetie is of course, a very Druidy activity! I’ve joked to him that he’s really a better Druid than me- he can spot and identify many birds, trees and plants and animals.  So if we do get our act together and go camping next week, perhaps I can make an offering of some kind to Mannanan before we go fishing!

References/Resources:

Midsummer, Celebrating Midsummer– articles from Tairis including Scottish, Irish and Manx customs

St. John’s Eve in old Ireland

Better Know a Celt: Mannanan Mac Lir by Sage & Starshine Nice compilation of info about Manannan.

The Temple of Manannan

Airmid: Goddess of the Growing Green by Erynn Rowan Laurie

An Essay on Sacrifice by Erynn Rowan Laurie (about plant sacrifice)

June 19, 2014 at 11:49 pm 1 comment

Lore of the Lefty

Sometime ago I changed the title of my blog from “Politics & Polytheism” to “the Lefthander’s Path”, a play on words since I’m left-handed. But I’ve never written about it- there is some interesting esoteric and historic lore associated with left-handedness.  Well to begin with, I can’t assume that everyone reading this actually knows the origins of the terms Right Hand and Left Hand Path. We may think of ceremonial magic(k) but it actually goes back to Tantra, a highly misunderstood branch of Hindu philosophy. Traditionally Hindus use their right hand for ritually clean activities, and their left hand for unclean activities (like wiping your butt) There’s a similar situation in some Muslim cultures. Tantra was about shocking the initiate through the use of taboos, such as eating meat, sexual rites, alcohol, and rites in graveyards. Confronting taboos was a way of psychologically spurring spiritual progress. It was Westerners like good ol’ Madame Blavatsky and Aleister Crowley, that latched onto the sexual aspect of it (originally practiced in a minority of sects) and said “Hey let’s use this exotic ancient Wisdom of the East to rebel against Victorian sexual repression!” So yeah, bringing up Tantra is a great way to annoy Hindus… 

Anyhow the Left Hand Path came to be short hand for “evil” or “black” magic and Satanism, but from what I’ve read of it, I think of it more as the “Chaotic” alignment in Dungeons and Dragons- rather amoral ethos of use magically/spiritually what works, if it feels good do it, use of magic in vengeance, honoring or working with Trickster gods or archetypes (Satan, Set, Prometheus, Loki etc) I picked the name for my blog mostly in fun though, because this whole dichotomy is irrelevant to my own spiritual practice. This is why I don’t especially care to police the use of the term “Pagan” against Satanists and LHP magicians (or Heathen against Loki-worshippers- but then again I’m not Heathen) I’m a lot more irritated by Neo-Nazis and followers of Ayn Rand (La Veyan Satanism is basically Ayn Rand’s ideology with lots of Gothic makeup!)

Anyway left-handedness in general- even up to a few decades ago, doctors, clergy, parents and teachers would be concerned when a child began to show preference for use of the left hand. Lefties were believed to be more awkward (because the world is designed for righties?) , prone to becoming slower learners, criminals, mentally ill, sinners, homosexuals and witches. Children were actively discouraged from using their left hand, a practice which later came to be understood as harmful to the child’s development. Left-handed people are more wired to use their right side of the brain, which is more associated with creative thinking, whereas as righties are wired to use the more conventional, logical left side. I’ve seen a suggestion for writers and artists who are feeling a creative block, to try using their non-dominant hand. Us lefties are going to be more ambidextrous than right-handers, because even while most equipment is pretty neutral towards handedness, there is still a right-leaning bias. Gee, sounds kinda like the media… 

Speaking of that, the terms “left and right wing” go back to the French revolution– in which the supporters of the king sat on his right side, and the revolutionaries sat on the left. Once again, as with “Left Hand Path” in Tantra, the term has come to mean very different things! 

There’s all kinds of interesting modern research on left-handedness and its correlation with various traits- intelligence, creativity, aggressiveness etc. Have fun reading but just remember folks- correlation DOES NOT equal causation! As a social scientist who enjoys finding connections between things that is my very un-spiritual but important mantra! 

Anyway, I am changing the blog’s title back to Politics and Polytheism since it is a better description, especially since I am getting more non-Pagan followers who will likely not get the reference.

June 12, 2014 at 2:21 am 1 comment

Interfaith- or Inter-monotheist

A friend and neighbor of mine mentioned that she participates in a monthly interfaith discussion group, hosted by the St. Paul Area Council of Churches. I told her I might interested in checking that out, but I asked- is this really “interfaith”?  Or is it more like “inter-monotheist?”. She told me who attended varied each month (due to availability or interest in the topic) noting the Jewish folks (like herself) were actually often over-represented, different types of Christians, a Bahai’i who moderated the discussion, some Muslims and Buddhists. And atheists- though she said they called themselves “Rational Pluralists”.
The mention of enthusiastic Jewish interest didn’t surprise me- after all, religious minorities have to deal with members of more dominant faiths every day, whereas a Christian has the luxury of ignoring the existence of other religions, having them only occasionally intrude into their bubble. I felt better when I heard the atheists and Buddhists mentioned, and upon looking at the website noted mention of Sikhs, Hindus and American Indians. Sikhs are also a kind of monotheist, but part of the Dharmic family of religions (along with Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism) often Hindus involved in interfaith or PR efforts like to frame their religion as “really” monotheistic- all those thousands of Gods are really One, and that’s what matters! Now I totally respect that it’s their choice on how to publicly present their faith, but I hope they are not allowing a monotheist bias to influence them. Anyway Hindus are such a huge and diverse group it’s hard to say.

I knew my friend has some sympathy for this, because even more frequently, especially in areas with less diversity, an “interfaith” event really means ecumenical or intrafaith- between different types of Christianity, sometimes made “interfaith” by inviting the town’s token Jew. Now having ecumenical Christian events, or pan-Abrahamic or just Jewish-Christian dialogue events are fine and dandy by me, they are very much needed. But as religious minority that feels especially well, minor I ask that those events be clearly labeled as such, stating their focus and purpose. Focus and purpose are key to making an interfaith group or event successful (heck any event successful!)

As I mentioned, I felt more included once I heard about the atheist participation (if they can deal with someone who doesn’t believe in any gods, they can deal with someone who believes in many gods is my rationale) And I’m guessing the sorts of atheists that like to go to interfaith shindigs, are the kind I get along with- much like the folks who might be sitting next to me in a pew at Unity. These are the positive Humanists, who believe in working to make the world a better place, and affirm the value of science and reason, and God and religion doesn’t jive with their worldview. And they want to work with religious people to help make the world a better place, and share the values of science and critical thinking with them. But they aren’t anti-religion. I believe religion- like anything created by human beings can be used for good or evil. And as much as I value science and reason as ways of knowing, I find there are emotional, aesthetic, social, and intellectual things that I get out of religion. I can lead a meaningful, ethical life without religion or Gods. I’m frankly agnostic about the existence or nature of the afterlife, so that is not my motivation. But something would be missing for me. And it would be for a lot of people. The anti-religion atheists who don’t understand that need to work on their empathy. But the Humanists who share my view of religion as neutral, they are on my team.

May 16, 2014 at 4:38 am 1 comment

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