Sewing for Athena

I decided to learn how to sew and make costumes because sewing and handicrafts are in Athena’s domain. When I gave that pillow to Athena, I was not simply giving a gift. It was a thank you for all the ways that I became a better person simply by exploring the skills she governs. [Read more…]

Loop of Brighid: The Nine Pure Choice Graces, Part 3 – The Grace of Fortune

The grace of fortune is not the condition of being lucky, but a lighthearted and graceful acceptance of change and loss, a spirit of gratitude without attachment, a conscious embrace of the fact that fortune always changes and will go on changing. Christopher Scott Thompson presents a prayer and ritual for Brighid that emphasizes the transitory nature of fortune. [Read more…]

Loop of Brighid: The Nine Pure Choice Graces, Part 1 – The Grace of Form

Bathing the head, feet and hands was once an important part of the Imbolc celebration. The first verse of the “Invocation” refers to a similar practice, bathing the palms and then the face in the lustral fire. The provided ritual is meant to help the practitioner internalize the nine graces. [Read more…]

Making Light: Demeter

With Demeter, my practice is about as simple and ordinary as it gets. I don’t do any complicated rites and I don’t have a lot of high-falutin’ prayers; I just do some gardening and show some gratitude. [Read more…]

Making Light: Zeus

If ever there was a strong masculine father figure, he’s it. If you’re a Pagan who is coming to a Paganism via the goddess movement or converting from a faith or practice that is strongly patriarchical with a desire to seek the divine feminine, Zeus is not your go-to god. [Read more…]

Loop of Brighid: Private Practices 7 – The Devotional Moods

In an earlier series of columns on “The Mysticism of Devotion,” we explored the devotional moods of Child, Friend, Strength, Champion, Hound, Servant, Spouse and Parent in relation to the love of the goddess Brighid. Now we will explore the cultivation of these devotional moods through visualization. [Read more…]

Seekers and Guides: The Role of Music in Teaching the Craft

Sable Aradia explains why, and how, music is an effective tool in Pagan ritual. [Read more…]

Loop of Brighid: Invocation of the Graces – A Brigidine Sacred Text, Part 4

In “Invocation of the Graces,” all eight “ethical empowerments” express essentially the same concept: to relieve the suffering of others by providing comfort, shelter, guidance, support, sanctuary, protection, refreshment or healing. [Read more…]

Loop of Brighid: Invocation of the Graces – A Brigidine Sacred Text, Part 2

The “Invocation” is not only a piece of folk magic but a commentary on virtue ethics. Many systems of virtue ethics seem to come from a very masculine perspective. For instance, the “nine noble virtues” of Asatru are courage, truth, honor, fidelity, discipline, hospitality, industriousness, self-reliance and perseverance. These are not portrayed as being “just for men,” but their relationship to the masculine warrior ethos of the Icelandic sagas is clear. As a discussion of “virtue ethics” based on a distinctly feminine perspective, the “Invocation of the Graces” provides an interesting contrast to the nine noble virtues. [Read more…]

Loop of Brighid: Invocation of the Graces – A Brigidine Sacred Text, Part 1

The “Invocation of the Graces” is a charm or blessing that was recited over young people in the Scottish Highlands to protect them from various potential threats while endowing them with a number of virtues or powers Carmichael’s translation refers to as “graces.” [Read more…]