Tag Archives: pagan

Pagan Books for April

We’ve got two fine new books for you this month – a fiction and a non-fiction. Text here is taken from author/publishers sources, it’s a not a review, but as I’ve reviewed one of them, I’m including a link!

The Knowing, by Kevan Manwaring

Pagan fiction

Janey McEttrick is a Scottish-American musician descended from a long line of female singers. She lives near Asheville, North Carolina, where she plays in a jobbing rock band, and works part-time at a vintage record store. Thirty-something and spinning wheels she seems doomed to smoke and drink herself into an early grave, until one day she receives a mysterious journal – apparently from a long-lost Scottish ancestor, the Reverend Robert Kirk, a 17th Century minister obsessed with Fairy Lore. Assailed by supernatural forces, she is forced to act – to journey to Scotland to lay to rest the ghost of Kirk and to accept the double-edged gift she has inherited, the gift of Second Sight: the Knowing.

My review here – https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2017/03/31/the-knowing-a-review/

Buy the book here – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Knowing-Fantasy-Kevan-Manwaring-ebook/dp/B06XKKFGFV

 

Pagan Portals – Animal Magic, by Rachel Patterson

Pagan non-fiction

An introduction to the world of animal magic; how to find, recognise, connect and work with the power of animal magic.

Buy the paperback – AMAZON US AMAZON UK INDIEBOUND

Buy the ebook – AMAZON US AMAZON UK INDIEBOUND

The Many Ways of Modern Minoan Paganism

Finger labyrinth

 

One of the interesting challenges I’ve found in practicing Modern Minoan Paganism is that my world is a bit different from ancient Crete. I’m not talking about technology so much (the Minoans didn’t have iPhones but they did have enclosed sewers, flushing toilets, and paved streets). What I mean is the religious facets of the culture I live in, as compared to a few thousand years ago.

For instance, when the high points of the Minoan sacred year come around, I can’t just head down to the local temple to watch a Mystery play or participate in a public ritual. Even though I have a debit card and access to the Internet, it’s still pretty hard to find “Minoan bling” outside of museums and specialty shops in Crete – I can’t just stroll down to an ancient Minoan marketplace and pick up some goddess figurines, oil lamps, and offering stands. I don’t have a whole city full of people who practice Minoan spirituality. We are, in a sense, baking from scratch in Modern Minoan Paganism.

(As an aside, I think Modern Minoan Paganism is poised at about the place Druidry was maybe 20 or 30 years ago. It’s a small specialty field within Paganism, which is itself a small specialty section of world religions. Not many people know about the Minoan spiritual path yet, but that’s slowly changing. I’m looking forward to the day when we can put together a Minoan Pagan festival with a big Mystery play as the main ritual.)

(As another aside, Modern Minoan Paganism isn’t the only Minoan path out there. The Minoan Sisterhood and the Minoan Brotherhood have been around for several decades. I was recently asked why I didn’t mention them in my two Minoan spirituality books, Ariadne’s Thread and Labrys and Horns. The answer is simple: because they’re separate paths from Modern Minoan Paganism. To go back to the Druidry analogy, I wouldn’t expect a member of one Druid tradition to write a book that discussed the spiritual practices of a different tradition. Modern Minoan Paganism is its own path with its own evolving traditions and practices, open to people of all genders, sexual orientations, and ethnic backgrounds.)

So what’s a modern Pagan to do? Put the bits and pieces together in our own lives, one person and one day at a time. And get together when we can.

The photo at the top of this post is a finger labyrinth I made out of homemade spice clay (recipe and complete directions are in my book Labrys and Horns, or you can do an online search for “cinnamon clay recipe”). The labyrinth is a potent emblem of Minoan spirituality, one that has remained in the public eye and touched hearts and minds for millennia. Making the finger labyrinth was a slow, meditative process that I did in a ritualized sacred setting. Now it “lives” on my altar as both a powerful symbol of Minoan spirituality and a helpful meditative tool. Finger labyrinths are readily available online and in metaphysical shops, and you can always make your own.

I walk labyrinths whenever I can, in public parks and at the beach and even in churches. A lot of people enjoy labyrinth walking as a moving meditation or simply as a way to explore this symbol in a whole-body kind of way. If we’re really honest, we’re not entirely certain what the original Minoan labyrinth was. No one has ever found one in the ruins on Crete, though meander designs do figure prominently in Minoan art. What we do know is that the idea of the labyrinth was powerful enough to influence classical writers, who thought it was important enough to write about and pass on. People continue to be moved by this twisting, turning symbol of the human spiritual journey.

Like many modern Pagans, I have altars in my home. Below is a photo of the Minoan altar in my office/studio. I consider my writing and art to be sacred acts, so I like being able to light a candle and some incense and turn at least part of my workday into a ritual.

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The ancient Minoans, like many other Bronze Age people, also had altars and shrines in their homes. They did the same kinds of things that we modern Pagans do with those altars: make offerings, meditate, pray, burn incense, light oil lamps (candles hadn’t been invented yet, but you get the idea). Most of the time, I do these kinds of things alone, but it’s also lovely to have a quick/tiny ritual in front of the altar with my family or a friend or two. A lot of Pagans are perfectly willing to hang out with Minoan deities every now and then, even if it’s not something they do as their main path, so go ahead and ask your local Pagan friends. You never know who might offer to meet you in the park for a little labyrinth-walking, or bring the incense for an impromptu ritual.

Formal religion, like the Minoans practiced in their huge temple complexes with a professional priesthood, has a lot of rules and regulations. But everyday spirituality, the kind that ordinary people have practiced for millennia, doesn’t. To me, it’s mostly a matter of listening: to your intuition, to the gods, to the universe. Take the pieces that are meaningful to you and use them in a way that feels right as you’re doing it. This should be a mindful practice, of course; just tossing anything and everything together without thinking isn’t going to get you very far and might very well annoy any Powers you’re dealing with.

But ultimately, if you’re paying attention and intending for what you do to be sacred and respectful, whatever steps you take will lead you in the right direction.

In the name of the bee,

And of the butterfly,

And of the breeze, amen.

 

New Pagan books for January 2017

Here are the latest books we’re aware of that are likely to appeal to Pagan readers. These are not reviews, information is taken from author and publisher websites.

The Long Woman,  by Kevan Manwaring.

Fiction. An antiquarian’s widow discovers her husband’s lost journals and sets out on a journey of remembrance across 1920s England and France, retracing his steps in search of healing and independence. Along alignments of place and memory she meets mystic Dion Fortune, ley-line pioneer Alfred Watkins, and a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle obsessed with the Cottingley Fairies. From Glastonbury to Carnac, she visits the ancient sites that obsessed her husband and, tested by both earthly and unearthly forces, she discovers a power within herself.

Buy the book on Amazon.

 

Pagan Portals – Merlin: Once and Future Wizard, by Elen Sentier

Bestselling author Elen Sentier looks at Merlin in history and mythology and considers his continuing relevance for people today. Best known as the wizard from the Arthurian stories, Merlin has been written about for well over 1000 years and is considered to be both a magical and historical figure. Over the centuries many people have had relationships with Merlin and in this book the author brings him to life for us once again in yet another way and from yet another perspective.

Buy the paperback AMAZON US AMAZON UK HIVE INDIEBOUND

Buy the ebook – AMAZON US AMAZON UK INDIEBOUND

 

A Dance with Hermes, by Lindsay Clarke

Poetry. In a verse sequence that swoops between wit and ancient wisdom, between the mystical and the mischievous, award-winning novelist Lindsay Clarke elucidates the trickster nature of Hermes, the messenger god of imagination, language, dreams, travel, theft, tweets, and trading floors, who is also the presiding deity of alchemy and the guide of souls into the otherworld. Taking a fresh look at some classical myths, this vivacious dance with Hermes choreographs ways in which, as an archetype of the poetic basis of mind, the sometimes disreputable god remains as provocative as ever in a world that worries – among other things – about losing its iPhone, what happens after death, online scams, and the perplexing condition of its soul.

Buy on Amazon.

 

Pagan Portals – Gods and Goddesses of Ireland, by Morgan Daimler

A concise guide to the Gods and Goddesses of pagan Ireland, their history, mythology, and symbols. Rooted in the past but still active in the world today, the Gods and Goddesses of Ireland have always been powerful forces that can bless or challenge, but often the most difficult thing is to simply find information about them. This short introductory text looks at a variety of different Irish deities, common and more obscure, from their ancient roots to the modern practices associated with honoring them in, an encyclopedia-style book with entries in easy-to-use sections.

Buy the paperback AMAZON US AMAZON UK HIVE INDIEBOUND

Buy the ebook AMAZON US AMAZON UK INDIEBOUND

 

The Heart of the Goddess: A Handbook for Living Soulfully, by Nikki Starcat Shields

We all know that our society’s old ways aren’t working. Racism, sexism, violence, environmental destruction, and violence are the warped legacy of the patriarchy. It’s time to reconnect with the values of the Feminine Divine – compassion, creative expression, holistic health, intuition, respect for diversity, communion with Nature, spiritual connection, and collaboration.
A grand new awakening is taking place. The Earth is calling us home, and those of us who hear Her voice are Her priestesses and conscious co-creators. We are embarking on an epic journey to a place of balance, where the qualities of the Feminine Divine re-emerge into this world. By surrendering our attachment to control and power-over, we can learn to live soulfully, even in a world gone mad.

Buy it on Amazon 

Ancient Calendar & Pagan Holidays: December 2 : The Feast & Story of Rhiannon

 

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Feast of Rhiannon

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Now, do you know who Rhiannon is? Some people connect her as being a Witch in the Stevie Nicks song, Rhiannon. But Rhiannon was so much more than that. In fact, there is a whole story behind her that I am about to tell. So grab a piece of Tom’s art and gather around the campfire.

The Feast that is going down today comes to us from Welsh tradition. Rhiannon happens to be a Goddess, a very good goddess, in Celtic culture.

Rhiannon’s father was Hefeydd and apparently she was a sight to be had. Now, it seems that daddy promised Rhiannon to Gwawl. Back then if you were promised by poppa dearest, that meant you were flat out—soon—to—be—betrothed.

Unfortunately though, someone else had their sights on Rhiannon and believe me when I say, he wasn’t stopping until he had her.

Yep, I smell more lover drama and romance in the air…pull out the smores.

One day Rhiannon was out riding a beautiful white horse and it was during this ride that she met Pwyll. During their meeting, he knew with all his heart that she was the one for him. So he proclaimed his undying love for her but instead of running into his arms, Rhiannon and her white horse took off.

Now Pwyll wasn’t the type to let go so instead of finding someone to take Rhiannon’s place, he sent one of his horsemen to chase after her.

Why didn’t he go himself? I don’t know…maybe he had a castle to build or something.

Anyway, his horseman chased Rhiannon for three whole days but just couldn’t catch her.

Out of his wits, Pwyll decided to do it himself. He soon learned, though, that Rhiannon wasn’t an easy Goddess to snare.

Catching glimpse again, absolutely exhausted, he finally shouted out to her with his heart bleeding with want, “ Lady, for the sake of the man you love most, stop for me.”

Rhiannon boldly called back, “I will gladly, and it would have been better for your horse had you asked me earlier.”

(Think how silly he felt at that point? All he had to do was ask her to stop instead of chasing her all over the place—duh)

Once she stopped and they spent more time together, Rhiannon admitted that she favored Pwyll over Gwawl. But if you think they lived happily ever after at this point, you are so wrong. Because now Pwyll had to win her from Gwawl. I mean, you didn’t exactly walk up to a guy who basically had the marriage papers already signed and say, “Hey, taking your woman now buggar off.”

Nope, for 2 years Pwyll had to struggle with Gwawl before he finally laid down his arms.

Pwyll had to be completely exhausted now, you know?

After they married, it took 3 years for Rhiannon to have a child—a son. But of course the life of a woman is never easy because her the night Rhiannon gave birth, one of her ladies claimed she murdered the baby just before her other ladies stole the child and took off with him.

Looking as if Rhiannon was guilty, she was made a slave and servant of her own house as punishment.

Meanwhile a man named Teirnan Twrvliant, the Lord of Gwent Ys Coed discovered the babe and adopted him but when the boy grew up in no less than seven years, Teirnan kind of realized, “Hey, something is up with this.”

Putting two and two together, he figured out who the boy—well man was—and returned him back to Rhiannon and Pwyll. Imagine her relief and how ticked off she was to have been a servant all this time for doing something she knew she didn’t do. Anyway, she named her son Pryderi which was Welsh for worry. I’d say that suited him.

 

Ancient Calendar & Pagan Holidays: November 28th: Egypt’s’ 3 Fold, A Goddess Month and Runic Month Begins

Well it seems the Egyptians have triple blessings to celebrate on this day in our Ancient Calendar. A feast for Hathor and Sekhmet will kick things off, but also, they honor Ma’at.

~

Now while the Egyptians are doing their thing, the Greeks will once again be doing theirs.

Today marks the beginning of their Goddess Astraea. Yep, this is her Goddess month and we think she deserves it because Astraea happens to be the Goddess of Justice. We all know we need a lot of that in this world.

~

Now while her month begins, so does the Runic half month of Is.

Is- ‘I’-ice.

This is a time of forced rest.  No movement, no growth. Just rest.

If you draw this rune in a spread, it means…

Isa:  A vertical line.

Normal: Winter has come upon you.  You seem to be
frozen in ice and can not move.  Positive
accomplishment is unlikely now.  A cold wind is
reaching you over the ice flows of outmoded habits.
Try to discover what it is that you are holding onto
that prevents the spring from arriving.  Shed the
outdated, and the thaw will follow.  It may be that you
have no control over the conditions causing the winter.
In this case remember that this is the way of Heaven
and Earth; winter follows autumn, but spring will
always follow winter.  Watch for signs of spring.

 

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Ancient Calendar & Pagan Holidays : November 27th : Sacred Fleece & a Farewell to Cailleach, for now…

In Ancient History….

Today, the Greeks are having a Pompaia of the Sacred Fleece!

In classical Greece, a Pompaia was a formal celebration of rituals that took place in many cities and towns by tons of people—people being the key. In this particular one, many  would carry the skin of a sheep that had been sacrificed in honor of Zeus. As they walked together holding the fleece, a priest of Zeus would hold up a Caduceus (a staff of Hermes intertwined with snakes) and lead them onward.

Zeus was said to protect all those participating in a Pompaia.  This particular one was meant to drive away storms so that the newly planted crops would not be harmed or destroyed. However, there are other purposes for this day as well. One of them being evil. If someone had been doing lots of evil deeds and wanted to be purged from the evil itself, they could place a left foot on the fleece, and the fleece’s power would drain all the evil out of them.

The Goddess Month of Cailleach Ends today.

 

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Ancient Calendar & Pagan Holiday: November 26th : A Silver Lining Born from Death and Curses

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!

On this day in History, guess what happened? Tut Ankh Amon was discovered!!!

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This huge discovery happened in the year of 1922. The reason this was such a big thing is one…the findings were astronomical and, well, the curse.

Without the doom and gloom of a nasty curse, let me just say, good comes from something bad. Why do I say this?

 Some would say that before this discovery, not many people were all that concerned or interested in Ancient Egypt. You didn’t have tons of people knowing the in’s and out’s of Isis nor did anyone  really care about the Book of the Dead , or the customs of an Ancient Culture long dead.

In fact, what was done to Mummies before and even after this time and the sacred various tombs of this civilization would bring a tear to your eye.

Did you know that during the 20’s and 30’s  thousands and thousands of mummies were used to feed the fires of trains as fuel?

This little tidbit is highly debatable as many Documentaries have made this claim but many others, especially on the net, argue it.  However, the Documentary I seen showed the trains and the thousands of Mummies piled on it. But you should go find footage and see for yourself.

I also found this…

  • Ground up mummies were used as fertilizer, and chopped wooden mummy cases served as firewood.
  • In the late 1800’s, paper manufacturers used mummy wrappings for wrapping paper.
  • Mummies have been used instead of thatch to repair roofs on houses, and used as a cheap source of fuel in trains.
  • In some areas, people would pay great amounts of money to see a mummy being unwrapped. SOURCE

So, while respect for the Dead and the history of Egypt wasn’t a popular trend at one point, the discovery of King Tut’s tomb might have helped change things and if it were not for the wealth of that discovery or the “curse”, , perhaps people would have continued to be ignorant of a civilization long lost. While the riches unveiled in this discovery caught the attention of media and viewers worldwide, it also helped other explorers to find the funding needed for future expeditions.

In all actuality, Tut’s tomb was rather small compared to the rest. This is probably because he died so soon in life. Usually a tomb took the lifetime of a Pharaoh to build, and since Tut was a boy, well the time was just not on his side.

But Tut’s tomb, small or not, stood out because it was the first ever tomb discovered that was completely in tact. Usually Tombs are poached and picked apart by grave robbers, even horrendously destroyed, but not Tut…and perhaps the Curse might tell us why.

 With the discovery Howard Carter made in 1922, came the first horror of interest story, which happened to be instigated by newspapers and reporters from all over the world. Suddenly, the ‘Curse’ was born and this very so-called nightmare would encourage Fiction for years and years to come. Here is one such movie made not long ago….

mummy_returns

And of course, what was written on the entrance of the tomb (as said during that time) helped to kick the whole thing off:

“Death’s wings will touch who ever touches the pharaoh.”

Note: I have never been to Egypt so can’t support an ongoing argument by two sides. One side claiming the inscription is there and others who claim that it isn’t.

So, is there any truth to the Curse?

On the day and within the hour that King Tut was discovered, the Earl of Caernarvon, who funded the Expedition, actually died.

Scientifically, people will later argue that the curse is a lie and that all  the deaths were a coincidence, while others, even to this day, swear it is true.

All I can tell you is, 18 living people became 18 dead ones AFTER the tomb was found. All persons, with the exception of Earl Caernarvon, died in one form or another AFTER entering the tomb. Even Carter, who led this adventure, died a year after.

Caernarvon died after traveling to Egypt, where he was bitten by a mosquito.  Lying in the hospital, Carter finally made the  big discovery that the Earl had  longed for, and within that hour Caernarvon closed his eyes for the very last time on this earth.

Two more incidents happened in Egypt when the tomb was discovered. All the lights in Cairo went out quite suddenly and Caernarvon’s dog began to howl madly—no one could stop him.  In fact, the dog kept wailing until it too met its end.

Coincidence? You decide.

Truth or not, the tally was adding up and the Egyptian workers were already spooked from the get go. The dog and lights didn’t help but as they pushed on, even more occurrences fueled their fear. For instance, the canary that Carter placed in the tomb was eaten by a cobra.

Remember, the Cobra is a royal symbol of the Pharaohs. In fact, it is the symbol located at their heads on their kingly crowns. It is in their paintings, on statues, and inspires their funeral masks.

Was there a more realistic cause to all these Deaths?

Medically and scientifically, there is a possible reason for all of it, aside from the dog and canary, that is. The dog could be explained as the bonds and link between man and best friend. The Canary could have been some freak accident.

However, as far as all the rest, it’s believed that there was a fungus or bacteria on the Mummies themselves, in the tomb, and when this sealed sanctuary of 3000 years was popped open,  those that  hopped on in, breathed in and became sick with it.

Another interesting fact, no bats were ever found living in the tomb even after it was opened—dead or alive. Could this be even more evidence that something was wrong with it, bacteria wise? Because we all know animals have a special two cents concerning these things. And then again, maybe they were just smart and knew to muck with the place—fearing the wrath of the dead? Hmmm

 Some say whether that’s a Scientific Fact, Theory, or not, it was still the defense of the spirits protecting that tomb and that the discoverers of that day and time should have respected and listened.

The tomb, the king, should not have been touched.

Regardless, Carter and many of his members died from lung and Respiratory problems after their famous discovery. This seemed to be enough to prove that there WAS something wrong with King Tut’s tomb whether Science could explain it or the fact that the warnings of the Dead were nothing to muck around with.

And the moral of the story, or the silver lining as mentioned above, if it had not been for this Discovery or the publicity and internet and lore surrounding it, who knows if there would have been an interest for all thing Ancient Egypt or if anything, respect for it’s customs and dead. We went from a world of ignorance concerning Ancient Egypts’ myths, customs and lore to one that values every find, every archeological discovery, every little piece discovered beneath her golden sands.

I for one think that, that’s a beautiful thing even if it had to come from so much death and mayhem.

Thank you, King Tut. Thank you.

 

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