Pagan Values: Domestic Abuse, Rape and Rihanna’s “Man Down”

Domestic abuse survivor Rihanna has a new song about murder, which isn't news. Most genres of music are full of songs about death, murder and killing. I used to joke that parents worried about their kids should be just as concerned about violent folk music as violent rap. Yet the video for Rihanna's Man Down places the murder in the context of rape. This is what I find interesting: we don't blink an eye when a song invokes murder, but if it places the murder in the context of rape or domestic … [Read more...]

Wyrd Designs – Understanding the Words – Fylgja

For those familiar with Irish folklore, you may have heard of tales about meeting a fetch. In these tales, a fetch is a person's own doppelganger. Usually the seeing of one's fetch portends one of two things in Irish folktales:  if one sees their fetch in the morning (i.e. your own image) it means you have a happy long life ahead, but if you see your fetch in the evening your death is very near. The word fetch also appears to be the Old English word equivalent to the Old Norse word Fylgja. In … [Read more...]

Top Ten Things Our Ancestors Want Us To Know

In the spirit of top 10 lists and the spirit of the season, here is my top 10 list of things the ancestors want us to know: 10. Everyone has ancestors, even if they don't know who they are, the ancestors will recognize their own. If you're adopted, then you have both biological and blood ancestors who watch out for you. 9. Even if you can't hear or feel the presence of your ancestors, they can hear you just fine. 8. Even if you don't have a natural gift for mediumship, you can learn to listen … [Read more...]

Sing to the Mighty Dead

My local Feri folks and I had our Samhain ritual this past Saturday, but what with the Florida Pagan Gathering next weekend (I’ll be there talking about Southern folk magic) and the local UU Pagans doing a silent supper the weekend after that, my Samhain season is just beginning. Naturally, I’ve been sitting in front of my ancestor altar a lot and making offerings to them. Just last night we were having pears and rum. “Ancestors” need not only refer to your blood relatives; in religious … [Read more...]

A Meditation on Samhain

I love this time of year more than any other. Almost on cue with the coming of Samhain, my little part of the world seems to transition abruptly into late autumn. Winter stands ready at the threshold just waiting for nature’s invitation to cross. There’s more than just a delicious chill in the air, now the wind has bite and the promise of the coming winter’s stinging coldness driving it. Now there is the breath of ice and frost dancing on the windows, on the bushes, on the brittle grass in … [Read more...]

13 Songs for Samhain

Seems strange that we began the 13 Songs series with Beltane and here it is already Samhain. What an important holiday, and an important milestone for us here on Pantheon. We've spent seven months together as of Samhain, the entire Goddess half of the year. I hope the God half proves as interesting and rewarding. I thought I would do something a bit different this time. Instead of 13 random songs to fit the season, I attempted to put together a liturgical set of music. From Joan Jett to set the … [Read more...]

Wyrd Designs – The Walking Undead

The crisp cool air of autumn is in the air, and with Halloween around the corner the airwaves are full of stories about vampires, werewolves, demons, ghosts and zombies (and oh how I have been waiting for AMC’s Walking Dead series). Of course the cultures that comprise the Northern Tradition were certainly known for their own stories. Even quintessential American literary classics like Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow have their roots in Germanic folktales and beliefs. There … [Read more...]

Honoring the Ancestors: Samhain and Beyond

There’s a great deal of focus around Samhain on honoring one’s ancestors, and honoring the dead in general. Whether we celebrate Samhain or Winternights, that’s what this holiday is all about, right? Well, yes….but ideally the celebrations that mark the end of October, should be the culmination of a year spent regularly and consistently interacting with the dead, honoring them, and recognizing their role in the continuing evolution of our spirituality. Honoring and interacting with the … [Read more...]

Contacting Ghosts, Ghouls, Spirits and Spooks

I was surprised to get a message from someone this morning about a spirit that was giving them trouble. I'm not the best sort of person to ask on these things. I was once interested in paranormal stuff but I'm afraid I'm a bit of a stuff-shirt about it now. I stopped paying random spirits attention years ago and they don't bother me now. My ancestors give me enough trouble without inviting more. This is the time of year for things that go bump in the night, though. Either for spiritual or … [Read more...]

Dying To Make Men Free

I'm a Southern girl, born and bred. I've had family serve during almost every military conflict from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam. I grew up on Gone With The Wind, trips to Fort Sumter and watching the laser show dance across the faces of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson at Stone Mountain. Despite this, I have no love for Southern romanticism regarding the Civil War. In fact, although I am a history buff, I tend to not dwell on it if I can help it. It carries deep emotion and infinite … [Read more...]