Samhain and Remembrance

Poppies in the sunset on Lake Geneva

The Pagan festivals are less about a single day when we reflect on or celebrate a particular aspect of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth, and more about the the high watermark of the ebb and flow of a tide of energy. But the season of remembrance is not at an end. The tide of Samhain ebbs until it rises again as the tide of rebirth at Yule. And on the way to the turning of the tide, there is Remembrance Day on 11th November. I don’t know how many Pagans actually do ritual for 11th November, but I am sure many of us will be wearing poppies – red, white, or mauve, or all three. [Read more...]

Why do we need labels?

Labels

I have been asked twice recently why people need labels for sexual orientations and gender identities; one person commented, “aren’t we all just human beings?” People have also wondered if we need theological labels like ‘polytheist’, ‘pantheist’, ‘monist’ etc. To me this question is a bit like asking why we need names for things. [Read more...]

Lammas

A Hereford Lantern corn dolly

It is surprisingly hard to design rituals for large numbers of people that can involve everyone in the ritual. Some of my more successful attempts at creating ritual involving large numbers of active participants have happened at Lammas. [Read more...]

Pagan prayer

Pagan Prayer by Gixajin on deviantART

A prayer can be nothing more than time taken to set an intention for the day, or to contemplate the day’s events before going to sleep. It can be time spent communing with a deity, or holding others that you care about in your awareness and wishing them well. It can take place at your personal altar, or just in your head. It can be spoken or unspoken, formal or informal, and involve stillness or movement. It can involve descending into your own depths to find a connection with all-that-is; or it can be reaching out to a deity or spirit of place. [Read more...]

Wiccanate Privilege and Polytheist Wiccans

Wiccanate Privilege

We should dismantle Wiccanate privilege as soon as possible. Let’s have devotional polytheism, liturgical Paganism, Wiccan (rather than Wiccan-flavoured) ritual, revived Eleusinian mysteries, Heathen blots, Druid rituals… And let’s not have assumptions about what Pagans believe. [Read more...]

Drugs: it’s all about the context

Two Crow Indians sitting on the ground smoking a peace pipe.

Drugs and other mind-altering substances have been used in a sacred context for millennia. It is only when drug use is taken out of this sacramental and communal context that it becomes a vice. If a drug is taken to alter one’s consciousness for a sacred purpose – to obtain information or abilities inaccessible to normal consciousness – then it is a rare occurrence, and for a good reason: in the service of one’s community. [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...]


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