Happily Heathen: Know Your Lore – Deconstructing the Brisingamen Myth

To many modern Heathens, Brisingamen is Freya’s beautiful necklace, made of gold or amber or gemstones, and gifted to her by four crafty dwarves. Her necklace is to the Lady as Thor’s Hammer is to the Thunderer. The story of how Freya won Brisingamen has been told and retold many times, but there are some details that modern retellings have left out. Would you like to know more? [Read more…]

Irish American Witchcraft: 21st Century Hex

Of all the lines that divide the modern pagan community none may be so sharply defined as hexing. [Read more…]

Wyrd Words: Vikings in the New World

There’s been quite a buzz going about the Heathen community about the three “newly discovered” Viking sites in Canada. Already there have been some pretty wild claims and suppositions made by people who are understandably excited by these discoveries, but it’s important to keep the facts in mind. [Read more…]

Star Made Witch: Witchcraft and the Grimoire Tradition

A grimoire is a magical book with rituals for contacting spirits, spells, divination and associated lore. Magic books and witches have a long traditional association. In folklore and witch trial records we read that the Man in Black presented to new witches at their first sabbat ritual a big book in which to sign their names. There are any number of famous Black Books, books of planets, and medieval grimoires mentioned in witch trial records and wise-folk trial pamphlets, news articles, folk song and lore. [Read more…]

Irish-American Witchcraft: What We Pass On

My two and a half year old son was sitting in my lap the other morning when he grabbed my hand and started tracing the lines on my palm. Only half joking I asked him if he was going to read palms like his great-grandfather, and he agreed enthusiastically and made a game of inventing stories for each line. [Read more…]

The Rantin’ Raven: Telling Our Stories

If you’re a member of any kind of linage, formal or informal, please ask more questions of those who’ve preceded you. How did this get in our Lore? What does it mean? How did you, dear teacher, get involved in all this, and why, and what was it like then? Who did you know and what were they like? Any idea they are now? [Read more…]

Dandelion Seeds: Gaia, The Gangster Earth Mother

Most of us these days know the name Gaia from James Lovelock’s theory of the same name. Later I will be talking about modern interpretations and thoughts about the earth. For now let us focus on Gaia in her ancient form. [Read more…]

Adventures in Wortcunning: Spelling as Witchery

“I never had any large respect for good spelling. That is my feeling yet. Before the spelling-book came with its arbitrary forms, men unconsciously revealed shades of their characters and also added enlightening shades of expression to what they wrote by their spelling, and so it is possible that the spelling-book has been a doubtful benevolence to us.” ~Mark Twain [Read more…]

Irish-American Witchcraft: Irish Fairies in America

Some people do see the Gods as anchored in one terrestrial space. Others think the fairies are similarly limited to Ireland and historically Celtic lands. This has not been my experience. [Read more…]

The Rantin’ Raven: Songs for the Old Religion, in Context

Something like Songs for the Old Religion could not happen in today’s Pagan world, because Paganism has changed and we have changed. In 1975 music was something everyone did, everyone shared, everyone wove into the fabric of their lives. Today, music – even Pagan music – is performed by professionals and bought by the rest of us. [Read more…]