Tag Archives | Paganism

Down at the Crossroads: Interview with Artist, Author and Witch Sarah Anne Lawless

Down at the Crossroads— Podcast: #039 — Sarah Anne Lawless

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039_sarah_ann_lawlessThank you for joining me Down at the Crossroads where we have the conversations that the pagan community needs to have.  Because as you know, we are, “Pagan culture for the Seasoned Pagan.”  Tonight, we meet with beloved occult artist, author, blogger, and witch Sarah Anne Lawless who is known for her artwork and her long-time running blog which can now be found at her website sarahannelawless.com.

A professional artist, writer, and witch, Sarah’s work has been published in various books, magazines, and online in The CauldronHex MagazineWitches & Pagans, WitchvoxSerpent Songs, and Hoofprints in the Wildwood. She is a carver, painter, and illustrator working in the mediums of bone, wood, ink and paint creating original artwork, talismans, and ritual tools. Sarah is an animist, initiated witch, and wortcunner with a love of otherworldly beauty, folklore, mythology, poisonous plants, wildcrafting, wild places, and bones.

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Richard Gordon: ‘Genesis of the Gods’

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Pic: ‘The Magic Circle’ by John William Waterhouse (PD)

In magick the circle has been generally accepted as being the universal symbol of protection, in ritual work it should not be seen as being a two dimensional disc but rather as a sphere of energy that totally encompasses the practitioner. This sacred space can then be safely utilized as a portal between our world and the mysterious other worldly realms of the gods.

The worship of gods and idols has been well documented throughout history and is evident within the belief structure of nearly every culture, but if asked the question, “From where and why did the pantheon of familiar idolized gods we know so well today arise?” most would be lost towards proposing a plausible answer, in fact I myself have been involved in many such empty ended raucous debates.Then several months ago whilst I was having an in depth chat on the subject of ritual healing, a chance remark by one of the people involved opened up a new avenue of thinking that may perhaps go a long way towards revealing the truth of the matter.… Read the rest

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Happy Saturnalia To All!

SaturnaliaA celebration dear to the hearts of the Disinformation team at this time of year is Saturnalia, one of the most popular Roman festivals. It was marked by tomfoolery and reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters ostensibly switched places, with expectantly humorous results. Saturnalia was introduced around 217 BC to raise citizen morale after a crushing military defeat. Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17th, its popularity saw it grow until it became a week-long extravaganza, ending on the 23rd. Our favorite exposition of Saturnalia has long been the Electric Sheep comic strip, no longer easily available on the web, but we dug in the crates and are pleased to bring it to you. We did find it here and in a video created from the original website posted to Funny or Die:
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Winter Solstice Today

Goseck-CircleThe winter solstice is upon us this weekend. While it’s far too soggy outside for the bonfire I had half-considered, I’ll still probably tip a glass of rum later tonight to the passing of another winter. I’m not religious, but I try to be mindful of the natural world’s cycles and remember my place within them.

If you’re interested, here’s a nice little list of ancient tribute sites from Live Science.

Goseck circle, Germany

The Goseck circle is a series of concentric rings dug into the ground — the largest of which measures about 246 feet (75 m) in diameter — located in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It dates back to about 4900 B.C., but was forgotten and covered by a wheat field before being discovered through aerial surveys in the early 1990s. Archaeological remains suggest Goseck circle was the site of religious rituals, such as sacrifices.

Upon discovery and excavation, researchers realized that two gates cut into the outermost circle aligned with the sunrise and sunset of the winter solstice, suggesting this the circle was somehow a tribute to the solstice.

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The Horrifying Necropants Of Iceland

necropantsThe Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft houses the only known intact pair of necropants, a beyond-disturbing item popularly used for purposes of traditional magic in seventeenth century Iceland. To make your own (and thus reap good fortune), strike a deal with a friend than whoever dies first will allow the other wear the lower half of their corpse as a pair of pants, day and night:

If you want to make your own necropants (literally; nábrók) you have to get permission from a living man to use his skin after his death.

After he has been buried you must dig up his body and flay the skin of the corpse in one piece from the waist down. As soon as you step into the pants they will stick to your own skin.

A coin must be stolen from a poor widow and placed in the scrotum along with the magical sign, nábrókarstafur, written on a piece of paper.

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The Terror Of Stagnation: Gaahl Of Wardruna Interviewed

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Dayal Patterson speaks to the enigmatic and iconoclastic Gaahl about the Runes, the difficulties of creativity and why he actually likes open-mindedness

With the majority of its key protagonists operating under pseudonyms and layers of monochromatic face paint – not to mention working within a genre that is inherently esoteric, fiercely independent and often vehemently opposed to mainstream exposure – it’s not surprising that black metal produces very few household names. Indeed, even within the parameters of the wider metal community only a handful of participants have really become anything close to recognisable – Varg Vikernes of Burzum for example, those larger-than-life characters from Immortal and, if we’re pushing the definition of ‘black metal’, perhaps the ever-provocative Dani from Cradle Of Filth.

Vocalist, clothes designer and occasional actor Kristian ‘Gaahl’ Espedal may not be likely to grace the covers of Q, NME, or even Metal Hammer any time soon, but there’s no doubt that his profile has been steadily on the ascent during the last decade.

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Disgraced New York City Councilman’s Pagan Rituals Exposed

Queens Republican Dan Halloran is at the center of a scandal involving an attempt to influence the New York City mayoral race with bribes.

Bizarrely, he may also be the most influential pagan politician in city history, with the press now carping on the odder beliefs and activities of his faith, Theodism, including a time when he was stripped, tied to a tree, and whipped as punishment for improper actions toward a female slave. The New York Post attempts to wrap its head around it all:

Halloran – arrested Tuesday as the suspected bag man in state Sen. Malcolm Smith’s alleged plot to buy his way onto the mayoral ticket — has been publicly flogged as part of his Theodish punishments.

Halloran converted in the 1980s from Catholicism to the pre-Christian Germanic religion, whose believers drink mead or whiskey from horns and dress like characters in a Renaissance fair. He learned about their tough disciplinary code when he committed an undisclosed act against a female “thrall” — or probationary servant.

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Witchcraft, Spells, Curses, And Exorcisms Thriving In The Welsh Countryside, Reverend Claims

Are the picturesque towns of rural Wales a hotbed of the occult? The Telegraph on a scenario recalling the late nineties Sandra Bullock classic Practical Magic:

Witchcraft is thriving in the Welsh countryside, a church minister has said, as he described stumbling upon an increasing number of effigies, users of the evil eye and exorcisms. Rev. Felix Aubel claims occult practices in rural Wales have been increasing during the two decades he has been working in the area.

The minister spoke out after latest figures in the 2011 census has revealed 83 witches and 93 satanists are living in Wales. He said there was an “unusual connection” between Christianity and witchcraft in some chapel circles in Wales.

Rev. Aubel, who is the minister of five Congregational chapels in rural Carmarthenshire, said he has called out an exorcist after a witch placed a curse on one of his parishioners. He said: “This is not a joke and I would warn people not to get involved in the occult…I have been told that a coven of witches still meet locally.

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Utah Town Burned 16-Foot Mammoth Effigy For Winter Solstice

This is my kind of Christmas — shades of The Wicker Man in a remote Utah town.  Salt Lake City’s KSL reports:

The town is relying on the wooden mammoth to hopefully catch the attention of researchers. The effigy, built to scale, was built over the course of three weeks by Pachak and Bluff residents, using only sticks and two support poles. The 8 p.m. ceremony will include drumming, and Gulliford said the effigy won’t be set on fire with just matches.

The mammoth is meant to celebrate the winter solstice and draw attention to the historical significance of the area. Mammoth petroglyphs [were discovered] near Bluff, a town of a few hundred people located on the San Juan River. Rock expert and local artist Joe Pachak first discovered the petroglyphs in 1987, but they have been a source of controversy ever since.

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Swiss Santa Claus’s Terrifying Alter-Ego Schmutzli

The harsh Germanic Santa Claus equivalent known as Krampus has seen his celebrity rise in recent years, but he’s not Northern Europe’s only the only psychologically scarring Christmas figure. Switzerland’s black-cloaked Schmutzli, also known as “the Whipping Father,” arrives each December 25th to beat and abduct children. Swissinfo says:

Known as Schmutzli in the German part of the country and Père Fouettard (from “whip”) in French, Samichlaus’s alter ego usually carries a broom of twigs for administering punishment to children.

Kurt Lussi, curator at Lucerne’s History Museum, says that the St. Nicholas custom in Switzerland became interwoven with a festival of masks dating back to pre-Christian times. Schmutzli, he says, was a symbol of the evil spirits which these ancient festivals sought to drive out with a combination of noise and light.

He gives the example of an illustration from 1486 that depicts a demon who abducts children. “This child-stealing motif returns again in Schmutzli,” he said.

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