Eris is a Greek goddess, the Latin form of her name being Discordia. She is best known as a goddess of chaos; She is mischievous and something of a trickster. She is sometimes described as the twin of Ares, daughter of Zeus and Hera, or, alternately, as the daughter of Nyx. Continue reading
How do Pagans in the southern hemisphere accommodate the differences in their seasons when most of the Pagan literature is focused on more northern climates?
As Wicca’s spiritual roots are found in pre-Christian European mythology and culture, consequently its festival dates tend to follow the seasonal cycles of the northern climate.
In fact, previously, most books on Paganism and Wiccan focused almost exclusively on the northern hemisphere, but more and more Pagan writers are getting the idea that this there are Pagans practicing in other parts of the world, with entirely different seasonal cycles.
We’ll explore more on this in future articles with book reviews and interviews featuring Pagans from varying traditions from all over the globe.
As a nature-based religion, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to be celebrating the slumber of the Earth and the Sun-God’s rebirth in December, where in Australia, for instance, they’re throwing shrimp on the barbie and the sun’s in the full blast of summer.
Typically southern hemisphere Pagans shift the traditional designated dates on the Wheel of the Year by 180 degrees, so you have the following designations:
Samhain – 30 April
Yule – 21 June
Imbolg – 31 July
Ostara – 23 September
Beltane – 31 October
Midsummer – 22 December
Lughnassadh – 2 February
Mabon – 21 March
In each of the Sabbat articles I’ve written thusfar, I’ve included both the northern and southern dates for the festivals, and I will continue to do so.
If you’re a Pagan down under, let us know how you celebrate. What you do differently, what you do that’s similar. You can begin or contribute to discussions by clicking on the link at the bottom of this article.
First published on Suite101.com on 25 June 2006. (Unfortunately.)
Paganism, in general, has no prescribed dietary restrictions, though it has developed a few customary dishes for feast days over the past 50 years. There are some noticeable tendencies in our dietary habits, while by no means universal or necessarily defining, there are a few notable commonalities.
For example, you may find a higher number of Pagans who prefer to buy natural and organic meat and produce, as reverence for nature is one of our defining doctrines, Pagans tend to be especially environmentally and morally conscious in this regard. Continue reading
I first began meeting other Pagans and magickally-minded folk online ten years ago through various Usenet groups, e-lists, message boards, IRC, websites, e-mail and other electronic correspondence. While there were quite a few then, over time I’ve watched it expand and grow significantly. Today there are literally hundreds of e-lists and online communities virtually dedicated to each and every facet of Paganism, and every tradition of Wicca imaginable (and some I would never have imagined!)
I was excited to find others who were interested in the same things I was, and I learned a lot. I even briefly had a go with an online coven, but that didn’t work out for me, though there are several that are active and successful today.
There is a certain amount of interconnectedness online, especially within specific communities, but what about offline, meeting people in the flesh? Attending public rituals with other Pagans, or even just meeting up for coffee or a pint, can seem difficult or scary for someone newly discovering their path.
Check out your local occult shop for postings, or Pagan magazines, and websites. For example, the Witches’ Voice is great resource that lists many, many local covens, shops, and other places for networking.
You may not find a community that fits your particular interests or needs in your city, may need to decide how far you’re willing to travel, and what sort of relationships you’d like to make. Are you hoping just to meet casually, or would you like to be a regular member of a coven, circle or grove? What tradition would you most like to connect with?
When meeting anyone new for the first time, it’s always best to meet in a public place. Many moots are held in pubs or coffee shops with non-Pagan attendees present as well. Festivals and conferences are great ways to meet a number of people in a public setting.
People in the Pagan community come from a variety of age groups, traditions, coven or solitary backgrounds, and while generally a friendly lot, if you do come across a group that seems hostile, or demands certain things of you that you feel uncomfortable with, remember that you are free to disagree or leave at any time.
Just be honest and open; make an effort, but allow connections to form naturally, and don’t try to jump into anything too serious too soon. At any large gathering you’re likely to find others who are new to the scene or to Paganism in general.
It’s fairly recently that I’ve branched out into meeting other Pagans offline, and I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. I hope your experience is as rewarding.
First published on Suite101.com on 27 March 2006. (Unfortunately.)
Depending on your background, the word ‘pagan’ can mean a variety of things. It may mean one who is not Christian, Muslim or Jewish, or one who has o religion. It could simply mean one who isn’t Christian, or conjure fantastic hedonistic images of orgiastic rites. These definitions have had their place n the past, but definitions have a way of changing with time depending on usage and culture.
Our modern word ‘pagan’ comes from the Latin paganus, meaning ‘country-dweller’. Similarly, the word ‘heathen’, which has come to mean one who does not acknowledge the Christian, Muslim, or Jewish god, literally means ‘heath-dweller’. Both these words refer to someone from the country or rural district, as opposed to more urban folk.
The initial spread of Christianity took place in major urban areas, leaving the countryside continuing to practice folk magick and adhere to the local customs. It wasn’t long before the word became synonymous with the idea of rustic folk tradition and those who were not followers of the Christian god, thus giving rise to many of the more modern meanings we understand today.
More recently, however, the definition of Paganism has evolved yet again to become a general term for the followers of magickal, shamanistic, and polytheistic religions which hold a reverence for nature as a central characteristic of their belief system. It’s also given rise to the term neo-pagan (literally ‘new pagan’), which refers to a follower or sympathizer of one of the newly formed pagan religions now spreading throughout the world. It is with this latter modern definition that this section will be predominantly concerned.
First published on Suite101.com on 11 March 2006. (Unfortunately.)