The Pagan Carnival

Welcome to the seventh edition of The Pagan Carnival, a bi-weekly summary of the best writing in the modern Pagan, Heathen and occult blogosphere. Help spread the word and strengthen our online community by posting a link back to this entry. Don’t forget to submit your nominations for the next edition! Now on to the carnival!

Anne Hill, of Serpentine Music fame, writes about her experiences producing digitally re-mastered versions of Gwydion Pendderwen’s music, and the memories the project has evoked.

“Though I never knew him personally, Gwydion Pendderwen loomed large in the Bay Area Pagan community when I first became a part of it in the early 1980s. My first affinity group participated in the protests at Lawrence Livermore Labs in May, 1982 in conjunction with activists from Reclaiming. I remember a buzz that day when a certain man came onto the scene: Gwydion had come down from the mountains to protest nuclear weapons research with the rest of us. It was something special that a prominent Pagan not normally associated with the overtly political Reclaiming would step across the aisle, as it were, and lend his considerable voice to the actions we were espousing. There was a feeling of hope in the air, too, that this might be the start of a larger Pagan presence in the anti-nuclear movement. A few short months later, Gwydion was killed in a car accident, and the Pagan community lost a charismatic, talented man. Gwydion?s influence continued on, however, in the two albums of music he had made, Songs for the Old Religion (1975) and The Faerie Shaman (1981), and in the Faery Tradition which he helped shape.”

LaSara Firefox muses on why we give during the winter and what that means.

“When I can recall that we gift to keep the wolf from each other’s doors, that we gift to remind ourselves that there are others who will take care of us if we fall upon hard times, that we gift to remind ourselves and each other that god (in this case in the form of a jolly, rotund giver, as well as the Solar entity, and the baby Jesus ? “light of the world”, and Saturnus, and who ever else we pray to at this time of year) exists, that the sun will return, that even in dark times there is light to be found, I feel less conflicted.”

Meanwhile, Maggie Macary is invoking her inner scrooge.

“It seems somewhat hypocritical to me for anyone to complain that there is a war against the Christian religious holiday of Christmas by emphasizing the lack of Jesus in heavily commercial enterprises. Nor do I see how one can think that Christmas is essential to the American way of life. Christians who feel persecuted when they hear ?happy holidays? rather than “Merry Christmas” should take a moment and walk through any store at any time of day where the incessant toning of Christmas Carole?s hammer their way into our unconscious.”

Victoria Slind-Flor gives her reason for the impending holiday season.

“As a Pagan, I feel like I’ve stepped out of what my friend Macha calls “the overculture.” What I now do at this time of year has nothing to do with what’s going on in the department stores or in the churches. As I watch the turning of the wheel, I think about the waxing and the waning of the light. For me, the high point of the season is going with my friends to sing up the sun on solstice morning at Inspiration Point in Tilden Park, and filling my house with candlelight to banish the darkness. I don’t have to buy stuff, and there’s really no way I can imagine that someone would manage to commercialize my celebration of standing in the pre-dawn light on a hillside, awaiting the new sun. If my winter celebration falls into the category of what Marguerite Perrin would call “dark-sided,” well then, so be it. After all, people have been celebrating the solstice much longer than any other winter holiday.”

Isaac Bonewits has some merchandise to remind others why we celebrate the season as well. You know, to send to relatives.

Speaking of Druids, OBOD druid Dragon writing for The Sacred Grove blog, talks about essential paganism.

“Our goal is to be active participating partners in nature as opposed to some sort of alien onlookers peeking out through double-paned observation ports. It is through this activity that we touch the heart of an essential paganism which has remained alive and surprisingly well through two millennia of suppression. In the course of our walks, we engage an essential paganism beyond which all else is merely rhetoric. It is the soulfire approached in ritual and meditation, the wellspring of true wisdom, and the nameless spirit of what it means to exist.”

I wonder if Dragon has read Chas Clifton’s wonderful essay on the subject “Nature Religion For Real”?

Ever wish your spell-casting and ritual groups could be more like the Dr. Strange comic books? Well Klintron of Technoccult points to everything you need to emulate the good doctor.

“A collection of spells, enchantments, etc. used by Doctor Strange, compiled from numerous comic books.” (link to the site)

T. Thorn Coyle discusses mastery, leadership and group dynamics. She makes the case that perhaps hierarchy isn’t so bad after all.

“Hierarchy need not be so rigid. It need not incorporate power over – to say that it naturally does is a lie. Hierarchy can become a place of shared thinking and exploration led by one who has walked this particular patch of path slightly ahead, or is approaching it from a different angle. Attempting to completely throw out hierarchy or meritocracy, as some Pagan and activist groups do, has its own incredible problems and is a disingenuous and false “solution” to the issue. It is really no solution at all and can lead to an abdication of responsibility.”

Anne Johnson comments on the impending demise of limbo (and the related spiritual housing shortage this will create)!

“Just before he descends into Hell, Dante comes to a place (not a happy one) wherein all the good folks reside who were born before Year 1 A.D. It’s a busy place. Just the ancient Romans and Greeks alone would fill the University of Michigan football stadium. And we haven’t even started on the Native Americans, Africans, Indians, Russians, Mongols, and Fiji Islanders born before 1. Hey, Pope Rat! Where are all these folks going to find lodging? Do you know how expensive apartments are these days? Even if you share with five other Romans, you’re going to need some cash!”

I wonder the same thing in my blog. I bet Plato is sweatin’ this whole situation.

Daven discusses the nature of sacrifice.

“Ever think of the act of consecration? Cleansing it an
d going over it with the salted water and so on or whatever ritual you do to make that item sacred sacrifices it to the Gods. You just gave something to Them. Granted you still get to USE it in your rituals, but taking that special goblet that your grandparents drank their wedding toast out of and consecrating it to use in ritual has taken it from the realm of the mundane and special into the realm of the sacred. So that sacrifices it. You have, in effect, given it to the Gods.”

Finally, Brenda Daverin provides us with a public service by reading bad Druidic and Celtic Pagan web sites so you don’t have to.

The Archdruid, Agricola, had received a vision that the Old Wisdom Religion preserved by the Druids throughout the past three ages, must yield to the revelations and traditions which were to become prevalent in the coming Age of Pisces.

“Any relation to Cnaeus Julius Agricola? Georg Agricola? Coca-Cola? Hey, I know! It’s Agri-Cola, the pause that refreshes your awen and awakens the fires of imbas forosnai!”

Thanks for reading, if you have submissions for the next Pagan Carnival or are interested in editing an edition drop me a line. Remember to post a link to The Pagan Carnival in your blog and spread the word!

Carnivals Past can be found here.

Jason Pitzl-Waters