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could be viewed in concentric rings with the Family (as in extended,
not nuclear) in the center, the community surrounding that and then the
wilderness outside of that. Peasant class and Middle class dealt with
the Ancestors specifically. Elders or those of a similar hierarchical
rank would conduct community worship to regional deities (sort of like
church, for lack of a better simile). Kings and the rare friend of a
god would be the only ones who were in communication with the gods
themselves. Notably this was one of the reasons that Christianity held
success with the tribes- they offered direct contact with god
regardless of your class. God heard the slave as well as the king on
Slavic peoples, I suspect fell somewhere in between. Material is still
being translated out of these areas so reconstruction is still taking
baby steps in the States. We do know that with them as well, Ancestor
worship was of prevalent importance. Also, their lands were and are
peopled with many nature beings, just as those of the Celt and Germanic
tribes. Mother Earth, heard all, but apparently isn’t huge on personal
interaction on a working relationship level. She’s the impartial judge,
the hearer of oaths. The other deities however, appeared to take a
great interest in how the people of the land were behaving and would
punish or boon them accordingly.
a side note, the Mediterranean’s appeared to have a very personal
relationship with their deities. Has anyone ever been told to bury St.
Joseph upside down in the yard to sell the house? (If yes, do you know
why?) The Italians tell him he can’t come out until he sells the house!
regions had well-developed pantheons that everyone shared, but it was
more common for a person to honor only those pertinent to themselves on
a regular basis.
deity roles weren’t completely cut and dried, there were crossovers in
skills and areas presided over just as with us humans who can have more
than one skill. Therefore you may have a god of the hunt, death and
animals or a goddess of black-smithing, inspiration and brewing beer.
we are focussing primarily upon the deities of nature. We have
sovereign goddesses of the land- i.e., the goddess was the land. Gods
of vegetation and animals. Deities of weather such as thunder or snow,
deities of water/the underworld, and deities of the sky.
Earth, called “Moist Mother Earth” or Mat sera Zimlia by the Slavs, is
in itself an entity. Let me help you to adjust your perspective to the
heathen mind. When you stand outside at night and look into the night
sky, we often feel a smallness of being. I think that perhaps that
feeling has always been there, but it is more pronounced by our
personal views of the universe, that we are but one person of many.
Many of us have friends all over the world, especially thanks to the
internet and ease of travel. Almost all of us travel somewhat regularly
outside of our township or have replanted ourselves from different
towns or even states. This is not the way it was for most heathens of
the post agricultural development. As recently as 100 years ago, most
people rarely traveled outside of their home-town, and almost never
past the next town or two. Your world-view consisted of the same people
you’ve known since birth, you worked the same land that your parents
worked and you couldn’t get away with anything. You were a force upon
the land, you felt the impact of your labors in direct proportion to
how comfortable your survival was. Your existence in the town fulfilled
a role, you weren’t a nameless number and you had an impact upon your
neighbors and their lives. We were somehow ‘bigger’ in life we were
part of the community and every person had their part to play. The
earth sustained you in a more personal way. It was both personal and
impersonal. The Earth just Is, and it is important- if crops were bad,
you died, if food was plentiful, you survived. The Earth’s body fed us,
just as our mother’s body did as infants. The Earth becomes Mother. As
children you may have heard or used the term “You swear on your
Mother?” This is a survival of the old practice of swearing oaths upon
Mokosh, or Moist Mother Earth.
the Sovereign goddesses of Ireland, such as Epona, Eriu, Macha, Danu
and Anu, though they were similar in scope, their manifestation was
more regional. Kingship was bestowed upon the clan leader by them. Some
ancient rites required a symbolic mating of Her by the king to bring
bounty to the land. They had their own myths, personalities and
relationships with other gods.
This was the ‘largest’ and most personal of deities, as everyone was involved with Her for survival.
of you may be familiar with stories from the Brother’s Grimm. Actually,
probably one of the greatest resources for finding surviving bits of
the Old Ways was through folktales. Just as in the Irish tales of
Fairies and Leprechauns and the little people- which are demoted
deities of Pagan Ireland, so do are the brownies, ladies of the lake,
dryads, giants, dwarves and such of the Germanic/Norse and Slavic
Nature Cycles- The Wheel of the Year
that you know some of the archetypes that the gods hold, we’ll cover
how they played into the practices of the people; particularly the
celebration of the seasons and folk practices.
and Pagan holidays map out to the agricultural cycle of a region not
too drastically different than the one we live in around here. This
makes it fairly easy for local heathens to plug in to the old system.
These holidays also map out to specific deity cycles that play out on a
mythological level what is happening to the land. This is particularly
interesting to me because is shows that on a deep level we need to play
out the connection to the gods to our lives and worship of these gods
through these holidays directly correlates to their satisfaction which
could directly influence the success and survival of the people of the
though the names may differ and one region may not celebrate one of the
holidays, there is a strong similarity to all the celebratory cycles.
Solstices and equinoxes were celebrated as well as cross quarter
holidays which fell in between the above. The holidays are still
celebrated by modern heathens, pagans and wiccans. The names may seem
strange, but you will see some interesting commonalties that are still
manifest in the secular holidays of today.
celebration- Actually evidence is simpler to spot than you’d think.
With the current holidays, and you may have picked some of these up in
what I was previously discussing. Here’s the trick- if it doesn’t have
anything to do with Jesus, or it wasn’t a governmentally sanctioned or
in our case, hallmark sanctioned holiday- it’s most likely pagan.
Santa (used to be Odin), the Christmas tree, the Yule Log, Bringing
evergreens into the house, birds and bird’s nests for the tree
New Year’s Resolutions and breads made with a hidden coin
Valentine’s Day is a watered down version of Lupercalia and Bacchanalia- which were very rowdy and sexual in nature
Groundhog Day/ Candlemas: The groundhog, the blessing of candles,
Easter: The Easter Bunny, Easter Eggs, Pysanky Eggs
May Day: May Baskets, May Poles, May Queens and Kings (Robin Hood and Maid Marian)
Harvest Celebrations: Corn Dollies and god’s eyes, many of the games and competitions, Harvest Lord
All of Halloween/ All Saints Day- jack o’lanterns, ghosts, trick or treating, honoring our dead
Also, ground breaking ceremonies before putting up buildings or
establishing parks- are very close to the ancient pagan Germanic
ceremony done for the same purpose
recent years, there has been
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