Over the years, Pagan Pathways has presented many talks of potential interest to pagan and magical folk and the following is another brief survey from a selection of diverse and informative topics that various speakers, experts in their respective fields, have explored at one time or another.
A New Look at Earth Mysteries (Grey Wolf)
In this talk Grey Wolf spoke about the rise and fall of the old Earth Mystery movement, which had a devoted and wide following during the 1960s through to the 1980s, when interest and support sadly began to decline. Although the Earth Mysteries movement was not primarily pagan-focussed, many of its adherents, including Grey Wolf himself, discovered that paganism was very accepting, owing to its focus on revering Nature and recognising the energy of place and landscape. In addition to examining the Earth Mysteries movement, Grey Wolf also discussed and suggested local sites of interest that everybody could visit to experience “earth mystery” for themselves.
There’s Something About Fabric (Penrose)
This talk examined some of the ways that we seek to imbue textiles with deeper meaning than the purely practical, for instance: using them variously to symbolise aspects of the sacred and/or magical; to embody sacred and/or magical processes; to express, or actually confer, status. One feature of this talk is that clothing, which tends to be disposable and often regarded as mundane in our modern society, could never simply be taken for granted again.
No better summary of this talk can be provided other than what Timaeus expressed in his own words: “I shall be talking about Dartmoor which I knew and loved as a child. Dartmoor has been described as the 'last great wilderness in Southern England'. To me, and those who respect the elements, it is an area of magic, and of immense and haunting beauty. To those who do not, it can be extremely cruel. On Dartmoor one can see the undisturbed evidence of inhabitation and industry over several thousand years. It is one vast archaeological site with thousands of items, such as stone circles, many of which appear as they would have 3000+ years ago. Whilst we know little or nothing about the religious activities of the inhabitants of old, the Dartmoor atmosphere is one which, today, all pagans should experience”. (Well said)
An Introduction to Heathenry (Suzanne Fraser-Martin)
Heathenry is a popular tradition under the broad banner of paganism and one that few Pagan Pathways regulars are familiar with. Suzanne was a visiting speaker from our Chesterfield Pagan neighbours and is highly knowledgeable and very enthusiastic about her path, which she herself did not choose – but the gods chose for her. It was an interesting and rewarding evening whereby we were given an introduction to Heathenry and introduced to its history, ethics, ritual etc. and anything else we had always wanted to know but were too afraid to ask.
The Magic of Music (Silverspear)
Magic can often mean different things to different people, whereas everyone understands what is meant by music – despite one person’s music sometimes being another person’s noise. This was an informal talk, beginning by examining why music affects our emotions so profoundly, and therefore illustrating that music generates powerful magic indeed. Over the years Silverspear has given a variety of talks on the theme of music and its association with spirituality and magic, and on this occasion he also explained why the guitar, with a feminine body shape and rather phallic neck – and therefore androgynous by nature – succeeded in emerging from humble obscurity to become an instrument that dominated popular culture in the world for over half a century.
Magical Gardening (Rosa Mundi)
As pagans many of us are familiar with picking up the energy from places, which we often describe as ‘magical’. But what is it that gives some places good energy and others not so good energies? Gardening is a subject that tends to divide people – perhaps you love it or maybe you hate it. But many of us have gardens attached to our homes so why not try and make these into magical spaces of our own? In this talk Rosa discussed the energy of landscapes, the reasons why we should tend to our outside spaces and how we can create a garden that can be called ‘magical’. But let’s not use lower case: let’s say Magical.
Working with Clay (Rosa Mundi)
This was a practical workshop for everyone who wanted to try their hand at ceramic sculpture. Some made Goddess figurines from nothing more than their imagination. Others used a few moulds that were available to make Green Men and sun/moon faces. Even Grey Wolf produced something resembling more than just a blob, and Rosa fired the results in her own kiln for collection later. Clay and some tools were also provided but folks did have to provide their own old clothes or bring an apron. Needles to say, a great time was had by all.
Knots and Braids as Magical Tools (Penrose & Rosa Mundi)
The art of binding knots for magical purposes has been known in many cultures and religions for centuries. Used in folk and ritual magic the use of knots is a versatile way of storing and expelling magic energy. Tying a knot can capture, bind or retain something and untying the knot release it. Knots are also used in some cultures for protective purposes. In this talk/workshop Penrose and Rosa discussed the use of knots and braids in different cultures as well as our own and looked at ways the knots can be made and used. There was also an opportunity for those attending to learn and practice simple techniques for their own use.
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