Tag: Paganism

Lughnasadh: The feast of grain and berries

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Godel loaf, photo by Victoria ChanLughnasadh, also known as Lammas, is all about giving thanks for and eating the delicious bounty of the first harvest, especially the abundant wheat, corn and berries growing at this time. It’s celebrated around August 1, the first of three fall harvest festivals (the next two are Mabon and Samhain).The Pagan festival is named for the Sun god Lugh, the god of craftsmanship and skill, who is thanked for the harvest and offered prayers for the still-ripening crops. The Bread Man symbolizes Lugh and can be used as the centrepiece of your ritual. Sometimes ritual bread loaves are topped with bits of dough shaped into corn, barley or wheat stalks. Read More

The Witch’s Eight Paths of Power, by Lady Sable Aradia

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The Witch’s Eight Paths of Power, by Lady Sable AradiaThe Witch's Eight Paths of Power, by Lady Sable AradiaThe Witch’s Eight Paths of Power: A Complete Course in Magick and Witchcraft, by Lady Sable Aradia Weiser Books, 978-1-57863-551-1, 275 pp., 2014Lady Sable Aradia has been a practicing witch for a quarter of a century. Being a third degree initiate in the Star Sapphire and Pagans for Peace traditions, she has a depth of experience and knowledge of Wiccan practices that are of value for initiates and veterans alike. Her aim in this book is to explore the concept of the Eightfold Way. This term refers to a Wiccan practice that was introduced by Gerald Gardner in the 1960s. It involves eight steps on the path to developing magical abilities. Lady Sable Arcadia provides a compelling and contemporary view of this Wiccan tradition.The Witch’s Eight Paths of Power is written in clear and concise language that is both informative while holding the readers’ attention. The book begins with an explanation of the very foundation of magick: intent. Aradia details the importance of forming an exact and precise intent in order for a practitioner to will it to happen. For beginners who are struggling with the concept or the practice, the chapter outlines several exercises that can help improve creative visualization, facilitate meditation, and raise conscious awareness. The next two paths deal with the trance -- developing a state of consciousness in which to gain insight, heal, seek knowledge, and the Craft -- the practice of ritual magick. Read More

The Case for Polytheism, by Steven Dillon

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The Case for Polytheism, by Steven DillonThe Case for Polytheism, by Steven DillonThe Case for Polytheism, by Steven Dillon Iff Books, 978 1 78279 735 7, 96 pp. (incl. endnotes and bibliography), 2015My first impression of Steven Dillon’s The Case for Polytheism was of scattered musings on the concept of divinity. It was through a second reading that I found Dillon’s intention, and what a wonderful surprise.The Case for Polytheism “seeks to prove...the existence of God or gods, and to acquire knowledge about them,” so non-polytheists may entertain the idea, at least as an exercise in cognitive dissonance. This is real discussion on the nut and bolts of what polytheists believe, and some of the why. Read More

Did Freemasonry invent modern Paganism?

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Masonic temple, photo by Andy Chase“The Yggdrasil-Tree is a beautiful symbolical representation of Freemasonry,” says Daniel Sickels in his General Ahiman Rezon. The book, which was intended to be read by Freemasons who wanted insight into their fraternity and its rituals, was published in 1868. Yggdrasil, says Sickels, “illustrates the character of Masonic secrecy.” Yet this was, of course, the world tree of pre-Christian, Norse mythology, and Sickels, who also speaks of the norns (the female figures who predetermine the fates of men), is certainly well aware of its character.Sickels’ work appeared more than 85 years prior to the publication of Gerald Gardner’s Witchcraft Today -- which initiated the birth (or, as some would maintain, revival) of the Pagan religion of Wicca -- and just over a century prior to the “revival” of Asatru, the Germanic-inspired, and rune-based Pagan religion which emerged during the 1970s. Yet, some other Freemasons of the 19th century were inspired by northern European, pre-Christian mythology, and absorbed some elements into Masonic, or “fringe Masonic,” ritualism. Read More

Liber Nox, by Michael Howard

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Liber Nox, by Michael HowardLiber Nox, by Michael HowardLiber Nox: A Traditional Witch's Gramarye, by Michael Howard Skylight Press, 9781908011855, 217 pp., 2014Liber Nox is subtitled "A Traditional Witch’s Gramarye" in order to distinguish it from various forms of Wicca and contemporary Paganism, and to emphasize that it’s not in those traditions, but dealing with something older.The book covers what one might expect from a basic text of witchcraft: the deities, the tools, initiation, circle casting, and the Wheel of the Year. In this regard it’s a good book, and if you need another guide to the Wheel of the Year and the mythology and rituals behind it, or the tools of the craft, then Liber Nox can get you started. Read More

Blood is life: The Vampire’s Masquerade Ball

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Vampire Masquerade Ball, photo by Sepp BernhardI first heard about Portland's Vampire’s Masquerade Ball by chance. I was coming out of a period of intense navel-gazing and decided I needed to leave the house more often. I saw that my friend was a guest DJ at an '80s goth dance night and decided I’d go for maybe an hour, make myself dance if I was feeling brave, then run back to my hidey-hole. But that’s not what happened. First, some very friendly people saw that I was new to the scene and introduced me around, and then I met Sean who, wouldn't you know it, has attended the VMB from the beginning. Anyway, he told me about the ball and I was intrigued; it sounded like the perfect opportunity for me to make some sparkling entrance back into the wider world. Read More

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