Latest

Happy All Snakes Day!

1086_Snake

(Image Source)

St.Patrick’s Day has become one of those holidays that no one understands, but everyone likes to celebrate (just like Cinco De Mayo and Mardi Gras). After all, it’s a great excuse to get wasted, kiss Irish people, wear your best green shirt and pinch people. However, for those in the Pagan community – especially for those who are Celtic Pagans – the holiday has less lighthearted undertones.

St. Patrick’s claim to fame is that he “drove the snakes from Ireland.” Now of course, there were no snakes in Ireland. So this phrase is a euphemism. What it really means is that he is the person who drove the druids from Ireland, since snakes were a sacred symbol that many druids had tattooed to their arms.

Ironically, this patron saint of Ireland isn’t even Irish. Patrick was a 5th century Romano-British missionary and bishop who came to Ireland to preach Christianity. According to the Confessio of Patrick, he was captured from his homeland in Britain and taken to Ireland as a slave where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. Later, when he became a cleric, he returned to the land of his capture to spread the Christian religion.

However, it has been argued that Patrick’s conversion of Ireland is a highly exaggerated affair. There were Christian missionaries in Ireland long before Patrick arrived, and the druid culture existed in Ireland centuries after Patrick died (on March 17th). Many aspects of the pagan culture in Ireland even blended into Christianity over time: holidays, holy wells, and even Gods were absorbed into the Christian tradition and called saints.

Whether Patrick’s conversion of Ireland is exaggerated or not, I still have a problem with dedicating a holiday to this man. I have a problem with celebrating a figure who is famed for driving the druids out of Ireland, so I will not celebrate his name.

Some also suggest that the institution of “St Patrick’s Day” was an attempt by Christians to replace the Pagan celebration of the Spring Equinox.

So I agree with many others when they say that we should instead call this day “All Snakes Day.” Hail the Irish Druids! Hail the holy symbol of the snake, a creature of healing and power! I will take today to celebrate my own Irish heritage and welcome the coming spring with open arms. I will take today to cherish the connection of my ancestors with Ireland’s ancient druidic culture.

10509511_795775777101421_1465162746299251338_n

RELATED ARTICLES

Saint Patrick, Druids, Snakes, and Popular Myths (Patheos)

Saint Patrick and the Druids (Sacred Texts)

Snakes and Bladders: Celebrating All Snakes Day (The Pagan Pope)

“A Dream Within A Dream” Poem – Edgar Allen Poe (1850)

10421982_730293630384687_6229263372642662256_n

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow –
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Ways that Modern People Have Overlooked Warrior Women as Historical Fact

gladiatorwoman

(Historians have assumed this woman was holding a cleaning tool – um she looks more like she’s ready to cut someone’s head off with that thing than polish the floor.) 

READ ARTICLE FROM CRACKED.COM

Cracked isn’t always the most accurate place for news, but the article I posted above makes some good points.

In modern depictions of the past, such as a TV series like Spartacus, we are shown an image of muscular slave men battling each other to death in the gladiatorial arena, while a woman’s maximum participation is cheering from the sidelines or later rewarding one of the gladiators with a blow job.

However, the truth is that female gladiators were quite common in Rome. There were many graves of decorated gladiators that historians assumed to be male, only to be surprised when the bone analysis revealed these warriors to be women – as if the woman just so happened to fall into the wrong grave!

The assumptions don’t just end there. Most heroic warrior figures, such as vikings or samurai are all assumed to be male, and this depiction is the norm in television dramas, comics and movies. Yet in most warrior societies – such as that of the Spartans, the Mongols, the Celts and the Vikings, the art of war was such an important skill that everyone was expected to know what they were doing – including the women. In ancient Celtic societies, there were even fighting schools where female teachers called a BAN-GAISGEDAIG taught boys the art of fighting and love.

In fact, in a DNA analysis of the Japanese battle of Senbon Matsubaru in 1580, 35 of the 105 bodies tested were female. Not to mention that this is only one of several archaeological finds that show a similar story.

Then there is the fact that most ancient societies had goddesses associated with war and death, such as Athena, Freya, Sekhmet, the Morrigan, Brigid and Kali. In fact, some of these named Goddesses  were more terrifying than their male counterparts. If the idea of a woman fighting was really so unrealistic to the people of the ancient world, then why were there Goddesses entirely devoted to warfare?

So today’s reality of women in the military or police force actually isn’t anything new. If anything, it is a return to long term historical trends. Look at the fact that more than 30% of the Kurds fighting the ISIS scum are female. When a group of people are in danger, and bodies are needed to fight for survival, women will be among that number. This is why it is unrealistic for people today to think that women don’t need to know anything about fighting or self defense. What society has a better chance of survival – one where only half the population knows how to fight, or one where 100% of the population can kick some ass?

So next time someone complains that the portrayal of women warriors in historical dramas is “not realistic,” remind them that the more historically inaccurate fallacy is one where there are no women warriors at all in societies that prized the art of battle in all aspects of life.

mashascreamarkona

Masha Scream of Arkona (Source)

LINKS OF INTEREST

Ancient Celtic Women

Ancient Norse Women

Japanese Warrior Women – Onna-Bugeisha

Women in Reasonable Armor

Why I Hate Most Drawings of Women With Swords

Gun Guide

Rock Icons Episode – Heavy Metal God Rob Halford of Judas Priest

judaspic01

WATCH VIDEO HERE

My love affair with the world of metal began in middle school when one of my friends was listening to Judas Priest’s “Metal Meltdown.” She said, “Hey, you gotta check this out.” I put the headphones to my ear and it was like a bolt of electricity was shot straight into my brain.

Now this isn’t to say I wasn’t already a fan of rock music. I grew up listening to my dad’s music collection of 60’s and 70’s rock legends like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. Later on I was introduced to the “Nu Metal” trend of bands like Korn, and also rap/rock groups like Linkin Park (Yes, I’m admitting that I listened to Korn and Linkin Park).

But when Judas Priest entered my life, it was like everything I once thought was great paled in comparison to the awesome power of these raw and brutal Metal Deities.
What I really like about this video above is it does more than explain the creation of a type of music, it describes the birth of a Metal Legend and a way of life. Judas Priest wasn’t just some ordinary band, they developed the Heavy Metal leather rebel look, they pioneered the Heavy Metal sound.

Heavy Metal really has helped a lot of people get through the most difficult times of their life because it gives them a sense of invincibility and power. There are times in my life too that I felt weak and helpless, but when I fired up the Heavy Metal and blasted it out of the speakers of my car, I felt like I could do anything.

All hail the Metal God Rob Halford! \M/

Druid College in U.K. is born!

stonealtar

2015 has been an exciting year for Pagans so far, and we’re only in February! First it gets announced that Iceland is buildings its first temple to the Norse God to be erected in 1,000 years. Now a U.K. branch of the Druid College has been born. The other sister college is in the U.S. in Maine. (I personally would love to see one in every state).

The Druid College’s goal is to cultivate priests of Nature. They are dedicated to

  •  to Earth-centered spirituality
  •  to  the integrity of our natural home
  •  to the crafting of sacred relationship

The foundations for this life long journey are established by three years of study. Unlike contemporary universities, Druid studies are furthered not only by personal reflection but primarily by ongoing personal connection and spiritual guidance of (i.e., apprenticeship to) a Druid Priest.

What does being a priest mean to the Druid College? Here is what the website says: “Being a priest of nature does not mean being an intermediary, but instead living a life in service, crafting a sacred relationship with the land, the ancestors and the gods.  It requires service to the community as well as the land, wherein the priest acts as guide, witness or celebrant to a journey or journeys of crafting sacred relationship.”

While one can learn about druidry anywhere, the college itself has a specific focus on cultivating people who can perform service to the land and community. Given that human beings currently have a very dysfunctional relationship with their environment, the college stresses that priests of nature are needed more now than ever.

NOTE: The Druid College is not an accredited college. It’s not a place where you would go to get a degree. They use the word “college” in an earlier sense to describe the place as a center of learning.

 RELEVANT LINKS

Druid College Home Page

Druid College FAQ

Druid College Facebook

Big News – Druid College UK is born! (Witches and Pagans, 2-6-15)

Wardruna and Anilah Collaboration – New Warrior Song

Einar Selvik of Wardruna and Anilah (Canadian, Shamanic Folk Music Project) have collaborated together to remake an Anilah original. Together they have come out with a new version of Anilah’s “Warrior.” Einar Selvik and Dréa Drury of Anilah are a natural combination of forces – considering that both artists create ambient, folk music that could be the backdrop for a ritual or meditation.

Anilah is the musical project of vocalist and composer Dréa Drury, a musician who hails from the Selkirk Mountains of Western Canada. Her music is influenced by traditional shamanic sound practices, sacred chant, dark tribal and Indian Classical. For more information on Anilah, check out my previous post.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Wardruna, they are a Norse Folk Project put together by the former members of Gorgoroth. Their focus is on Norse Paganism, spiritualism and the runes. They are also famed for composing some of the music in the popular History Channel Drama Vikings.

ANILAH’S DESCRIPTION OF THE NEW WARRIOR SONG:

cortesisland

(A picture from Cortes Island)

This song was composed on Cortes Island, a remote community off the west coast of Canada. The composition is meant to accompany ceremony and ritual, in whatever form the listener chooses.

“The self-confidence of the warrior is not the self-confidence of the average man. The average man seeks certainty in the eyes of the onlooker and calls that self-confidence. The warrior seeks impeccability in his own eyes and calls that humbleness. The average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked only to infinity.”

~ Carlos Casteneda Quote

SUPPORT THE BAND – BUY SONG HERE AT BANDCAMP 

All Paths Lead to the Divine [Bhagavad Gita]

10489641_643152382448211_6493487498316873729_n

 

If you’re like me, you may have had those moments in your life where you’ve agonized over “what is the correct path?” Is it a monotheistic faith? Is it Pagan? What if there is a “one true way” and I get it wrong? There was an episode of South Park that made fun of this. Several people of different faiths were surprised at ending up in hell, since they thought that their religion was the “one true religion.” But then a voice overhead said “sorry, Mormon was the correct religion.”

So, from the beginning of Judeo Christian religion, we’ve been taught that there is a “right” and “wrong” religion. This is the result in believing in a “one true God.” Before this mentality took hold, there were myriad of different spiritual groups and traditions. There wasn’t necessarily a right or wrong God. There was instead a supreme God (usually the favorite of the emperor or king) and then less supreme Gods.

In Rome some people would worship the traditional Roman Gods while others took to worshiping new Gods introduced by foreigners, such as Epona and Isis. In Japan, when the people encountered Buddhism for the first time, they simply mixed the new Buddhist and the original Shinto tradition together. Even the idea of “Hinduism” as a single religion is misleading (an idea perpetuated by Westerners), because in India they actually practice  a myriad of different traditions to a wide diversity of different Gods.

Yet this idea about “the real religion” or “the real tradition” is even pushed by Pagans. Some of us point fingers at other pagan traditions different from our own and call them “posers”, “wannabes”, “too new agey”, “too old fashioned”, “too fluffy”, “too brutal”, “too universal”, “too exclusive.”

I’m not saying every path is always good no matter what. I’m sure if some group decided to start practicing human sacrifice or cannibalism of other group members we could objectively call that wrong. I’m not saying that we have to be open to everything.

However, I’d like to shed some wisdom from the Bhagavad Gita on this age old question:

“You may think this is partiality, but I have no favorites. Whatever path a person travels to Me is My path. In whatever way a person approaches Me, I return like for like. If they treat Me as father or mother, I treat them as My children. If they serve Me as master, I accept their services as their Lord. If they worship Me as a child, I approach them as a child. Those who pine for Me, I pine for. To those who see Me as friend I am friend. Even for those who perceive Me as enemy I approach as enemy. All paths lead to Me, Divinity.” (Krishna’s Declaration in Chapter 4)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 454 other followers