Lupercalia

Wolf (photo by Jan Nijendijk)

Whatever the origins and timing of Valentine’s Day, 14 February was originally the date of a very different festival – the festival of Lupercalia. This was a fertility festival honouring the she-wolf who suckled Romulus and Remus. It also honoured Lupercus, god of shepherds. The festivities were presided over by the priesthood of the Luperci, who were dedicated to Faunus. They sacrificed two goats and a dog. There was then a sacrificial feast, and the Luperci cut thongs called februa from the skins of the animals, dressed themselves in the skins of the sacrificed goats, and ran round the walls of the old Palatine city. They struck all those who came near with the thongs. Young women would line up on their route to receive lashes from these whips. This was reputed to ensure fertility, prevent sterility, and ease the pains of childbirth. [Read more...]

Tea Times with Aine Llewellyn and Rhyd Wildermuth

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Fantastic Tea Times this week! Pagan history, the role of alternative religion in critiquing culture, harmonizing spiritual practice with paying work, and more. [Read more...]

Thought forms

Georg von Rosen - Oden som vandringsman, 1886 (Odin, the Wanderer)

One aspect of deities seems to be thought-forms. That is not to say that deities are merely thought-forms, but that part of the way we interact with them seems to be through our internal image of what they are like. The more people carry an internal image of that deity around in their heads, the easier it is to visualise them. [Read more...]

Tea Time Update and Chair Position at Cherry Hill Seminary

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Pagan Tea Time sweeps the Internet! Plus, Cherry Hill Seminary is looking for a new chair of Theology and Religious History. [Read more...]

Building Pagan Intellectual Culture Face to Face

witch-tea-time

It is vitally important, if we want to build Pagan intellectual culture, that we know one another in a way more profound than mere words on a screen. During the month of February, consider speaking with a fellow writer or commenter face to face. [Read more...]

Ritual safety

Use candles safely

I once attended a ritual where the temple (a basement room) had a polystyrene ceiling, and there was a cauldron of burning methylated spirit, which we danced round. I was very scared when I thought about it afterwards – but I didn’t leave the ritual. If you are in an altered state, it is very difficult to make rational judgements. It is not a matter of being gullible or stupid – it is how group dynamics work. [Read more...]

Yule

Dice players at Saturnalia - wall painting in Pompeii

The winter solstice is the point in the year when the day is at its shortest. The sun rises at its furthest south, and rises in roughly the same place for three days, hence the name “solstice”, meaning “Sun stands still”. The Anglo-Saxons called the festival Yule; the Old Norse word was jól. [Read more...]


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