As Pagans, we often hear of calls for healing and prayers when our community members have an illness or are in need of care. We send prayers, thoughts, and perform healing rituals. We offer help as friends, as family, and as a community. We may seek those among us who are known healers just as we seek the assistance of doctors. We lend an ear or our kitchen table for a chat with others.
July in the northern hemisphere is a month for heat, celebration, and fun. Pagan celebrations abound. In the United States, the Fourth of July heralds Independence Day, a national celebration of freedom gained in part through the signing of a formal document that explains why a group of colonies broke away from their colonizers. The Declaration of Independence is a representation of choice and has been used as a model for other countries around the world. The spirit of such a document is celebrated annually with feasting, fireworks, and flags.
One of the hardest things to do in this fast paced world is to pause or to take a break from ordinary routines. June is symbolic of transitional pauses such as weddings, high school graduations, and summer picnics. It is a time for taking a day off work or attending a celebration. While weddings, graduations, and summer fun with the kids can last a day or maybe a weekend, the type of break that refreshes on a deeper level is extended time away to renew the body, mind, and spirit. Taking a full vacation, a weekend or just four or five days away from the normal routine of life can have a tremendous impact on how life resumes post-break.
The tattoo has been an important sacred trial for individuals across multiple cultures for generations. The path of pain, identified in Western Witchcraft by Gerald Gardner and other early 20th-century esotericists, has a long history of altering consciousness and manifesting changes in people’s lives. Native cultures around the world have been utilizing the tattoo to mark sacred life passages for centuries, and those of Western heritage have been doing so for almost as long as they have had contact with outside cultures. Whether it is a sacred mark of a warrior initiation, or a mark of military service, sacred ink that tells a tribal person’s life story or a mark of one’s alma mater, tattoos have long represented what is important in the narrative of people’s lives. As often happens when indigenous ceremonies get translated into new cultures, the sacredness of the tattoo became diluted as Western culture embraced it.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – While the official theme of Paganicon 2017 was A Journey into the Underworld, a sub-theme of healing ran throughout the entire Midwest 3 day conference. There was, of course, the expected workshops covering such things as Reiki, but there was also a class on healing through movement, a round table on Pagans with cancer, and a room set aside specifically for healing work. The unofficial sub-theme theme wove its way through the art selections in the gallery and the songs sung by musicians.Paganicon Director of Programming and Entertainment, Becky Munson said the healing sub-theme wasn’t created by design, “Everything happened pretty organically; everything that was presented was submitted in the public call for submissions.”
Ms. Munson says each year there are submissions for presentations that seem to cluster around a topic that is simmering in the community consciousness. “I think it’s a by-product of what’s going in in our society right now,” said Munson.