pagan-ritual

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Hill of Witches, Lithuania

On one of the most beautiful and oldest parabolic dunes in Juodkrantė, Lithuania, the forest is alive with a vast array of fairy-tale creatures, witches, demons, kings, princesses, fisherman and devils. Known as the Hill of Witches (Raganų kalnas), this public trail through the woods takes visitors on a trip through the most well-known legends and stories in Lithuanian folk history.

Work began in 1979 on the sculpture park, and it now features over 80 different wooden carvings from local artists. Each beautifully hand-crafted sculpture depicts a popular character from folk and pagan traditions of Lithuania. The public park got its name long before the sculptures were placed along the wooded trails, and is in fact a reference to the pagan celebrations that take place on the hill during the Midsummer’s Eve Festival.

Each year on June 24th, people across Lithuania dance, sing and bring in the midsummer with the older folk traditions of the country. After Christianity came to Lithuania, the celebration was renamed Saint Jonas’ Festival, but many of the practices still have pagan roots, as echoed by the fantastic Hill of Witches sculptures.

source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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In Oberstdorf, an old village in Southern Bavaria, a unique ancient pagan tradition is still alive – the dance of the wild men (Wilde-Mändle-Tanz), which is held only in this small town, once in five years. 

Wilde-Mändle-Tanz is dedicated to the Germanic god Thor, and involves 13 men, all of whom belong to old local families who have been living in that region for centuries. The men’s costumes are made of moss, which grows only in the  Allgäu Alps

They dance to rhythmic drum music, building a pyramid, and at the end they drink mead from their wooden mugs, singing a ritual song.

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A selection of incredible portraits from photographer Charles Fréger’s collection and book Wilder Mann, documenting the ancient pagan rites still being practiced throughout Europe today.

From the New York Times Lens blog: 

About 10,000 years ago, humans began domesticating wild animals for both food and companionship. Over the course of centuries, animal species were bred for traits that made them docile and more useful to their masters. But as humans changed and fenced in animals, they were also domesticating themselves. The skills needed to survive in the wild were different than those needed to succeed in more complex social arrangements.

Mr Fréger was intrigued by the transformations of human being to beast that he witnessed in 18 European countries. They were, he said, celebrations of fertility, life and death and symbolized the complicated relationship between mankind and nature.

Calming Spirits Ritual Tea

used before ritual workings to aid in achieving a calmed centered state of mind before beginning work.

Materials Needed:

  • 1 part Chamomile
  • 1/3 part Mugwort
  • ¼ part Lavender
  • 1/3 part Peppermint
  • 1/3 part Lemon Balm
  • 1/3 part Elder Flowers 
  • ¼ part Spearmint 
  • 1/3 part Rose Hips
  • sweeten with honey 

******Mugwort should never be used internally during pregnancy or lactation or by anyone who has pelvic inflammatory issues as it causes uterine contractions and can be passed through the mother’s milk.

-By HONEYCOYOTE-

Symbols of the 5 Elements

First of all, you don’t have to be Wiccan or Pagan or follow a religious practice at all to have an altar. I, personally, have an altar simply for fortifying my spiritual consciousness with inspiring symbols in the physical world. A traditional altar uses symbols of the five elements as primary focal points. Having one serves as a daily reminder of your alignment with the five elements, increasing your ability to call on them when needed. Find a flat area in your space (such as a shelf, top of a bookcase, etc). Then, select one symbol for each of the five elements. Below are some ideas, but don’t feel limited by these suggestions:

Earth

  • a rock
  • a small, healthy living plant in soil
  • a ceramic dish
  • a dish of salt
  • a dish of soil

Air

  • an incense holder with incense (can double as a way to offer incense to the Divine, or the Spirit element)
  • a naturally shed feather or feathers
  • a bundle of dried white or desert sage
  • a handheld fan
  • a chain of tinkling bells

Fire

  • a candle
  • an essential oil burner
  • volcanic rock
  • a small sun or star shaped sculpture or figure
  • an attractive ligher or matches

Water

  • a seashell
  • a small goblet or bowl
  • a small bottle or jar of rainwater
  • a river rock
  • beach glass

Spirit

  • a symbol or statue of a deity, deities, or group of deities with whom you feel particularly connected
  • a symbol or statue of an angel or angels
  • a symbol or statue of a bird or birds
  • an image of our galaxy or solar system
  • a spiral image
  • a sacred geometrical image or sculpture 

Wisdom from Holistic Energy Magic (highly recommended). For more simple altar inspiration, visit Roots and Feathers