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Review: Paganism for Beginners by Althaea Sebastiani

Paganism for Beginners celebrates the diversity of pagan belief and experience, and encourages the reader to seek out their own truths and personal paths.
fools

The Witch, the Seer, the Fool

Every now and then, I go on a hunt for knowledge about a certain Someone: a name, an icon, a place, ancient practices and worshipers. In the past, I’ve always ended up where I began: uncertain. I feel deliberately called to these hunts, spurred by a mysterious yearning that wells up in me. In my…

On the Twelfth Night: the Coming of the Christmas Witch

The last night of the Yuletide is approaching, although when exactly it is depends on whom you ask. For much of Europe, it’s the Eve of Epiphany, January 5th. On this night, Perchta descends from the Alps to visit homes in Bavaria and Austria. In Italy, the Christmas Witch called La Befana leaves gifts for…

Halloween Night

It’s Halloween, and I’ve been doing all sorts of Halloween things today in preparation for tonight. We’re expecting a big storm, which is thrilling but puts a damper on trick-or-treating. But I’ve got other plans — movies, treats, and games for the kids; divination for the grown ups; purification and warding for the house. I’ve…
Brown leaves on the the ground

All Hallowed: A Contemplation for the Darkening Time

Our dead are in the soil, in the water. Their voices are in the wind. Hear them howling against the window, voices thin as cobwebs, dry leaves? Let them in, warm them, bring them comfort. Their bodies, laid into the earth or burned in the funeral fire, have broken down like the leaves crunching beneath…

Amid the Storms Before Walpurgisnacht: A Benediction

The rumble of Thunder is the beating wings of a golden eagle; lightning is his radiating shriek. He storms through the sky, frightening away the spirits of cold and want and disease that cling stubbornly with frozen fingers, washing the land to make way for the witches of the valleys and mountains. Five nights from…

Becoming Animal: Tutelary Animal Spirits

Shortly after we bought our first house seven years ago, I stepped outside into the backyard. The light was bright gold; the air was crisp but not cold. When I turned around toward the house, I saw that slugs had crawled across the screens of the back porch in the night, leaving behind their delicate,…

In the Beginning: Cosmogonic Myth and Oneness

The cosmogonic myth — or mythical creation story — is a fascination of mine. I collect these stories like a magpie, mentally tucking them into my nest of tales and traditions, bringing them out now and again to mull over. The Norse cosmogonic myth is one of my favorites: a yawning gap lies between two…

The Feast of the Midwinter Witch

Frau Holle is to me what many neopagans would call a patron deity. Goddess of witchcraft and nocturnal flights, wild animals, winter, and mountains as well as childbirth, housekeeping, and fabric arts — Frau Holle oversees so many aspects of life that are important to me. Like Baba Yaga, she looks (and can be) fearsome;…

Magical Animals in European Lore: Horses

I turned Stumbling in the fever of a dream, down towards The dark woods, from the kindling tops, And came to the horses. There, still they stood, But now steaming and glistening under the flow of light, Their draped stone manes, their tilted hind-hooves Stirring under a thaw while all around them The frost showed…