Paganism and Myths of Creation

FireHeart 6 Cover for EarthSpiritPaganism and Myths of Creation
A Ritual of Transformation
by Walter Wright Arthen ©1991

“In the beginning……”

These words open the book of Genesis, but they also find their echo in every great system of myth. Traditionally, myth has told us about origins, about how things began, and in doing so, it orients us. It tells us where we are from, and, therefore, who and what we are and how we should live. What happens in principio is creation: of the world itself, its physical features, and the realms of beings within it. For the traditional myth teller, to know how a thing came to be is to know something of what it is, and not to know the origin of a thing is not to understand it truly.1 So, in the first place, creation myths have always been myths of origin.

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THE EIGHTFOLD PATH Part Four: BREATH

FireHeart 5 Cover for EarthSpiritTHE EIGHTFOLD PATH
Part Four: BREATH
by Walter Wright Arthen ©1990

Breath is everywhere a synonym for “self,” a vehicle for the elan vital. T. H. Gaster

We live at the bottom of an ocean of air. Children’s Song

Breath … so natural, so easy. Yet breath is the most frequently over-looked of the steps on the Eightfold Path. Perhaps it is because breath is included in chanting and in many forms of meditation, or perhaps it is because breath is so ubiquitous. But while whole chapters in the major books about the Craft are devoted to each of the seven other steps on the path, breath rarely even gets mentioned, except as part of something else. Why is this? What, after all, is breath?

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THE EIGHTFOLD PATH Part One: MEDITATION

FireHeart 2 Cover for EarthSpiritTHE EIGHTFOLD PATH
Part One: MEDITATION
by Walter Wright Arthen ©1988

To support himself, Nasrudin took a job rowing a ferry across a particularly dangerous river.
One day a famous grammarian came to him for help across the river.
The water was higher and more dangerous than usual.
“T’ain’t been this bad since before I ever was here abouts!” said the Mullah.
The grammarian bristled at Nasrudin’s bad speech. “My good man, have you never learned grammar? Half of your life has been wasted!”
A little later Nasrudin asked his passenger, “C’n you swim?”
“No. Why?”
“Because all of your life has been wasted! The boat is sinking.”

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The Wicker Man A Ritual of Transformation

FireHeart 1 Cover for EarthSpiritThe Wicker Man
A Ritual of Transformation
by Walter Wright Arthen ©1988

Rites of Spring 1982: a circle of witches gathers at twilight in a familiar clearing in the southern New Hampshire woods. They come deliberately in four lines from the cardinal directions singing their invocations to the beat of a lone drum. Only moments before, the members of each line had formed their own circle, chanting together and calling the energy and power of one direction, one element, to be with them. Now, wearing colored ribbons (yellow for air, red for fire, blue for water, and green for earth) the four lines merge in a circle surrounding a human-like figure woven of reeds and grasses that stands at the center. The chanting voices weave together as do the dancers, until the movement suddenly stops, each group in its quarter. Now the celebrants turn their attention inward. The elemental chants shift into a chant to the moon. Silence. A voice calls them to sink into the earth, to be connected with Her. Ouietly, those assembled there recall the arrogance and thoughtlessness with which humans live on the earth-wasting their Mother’s riches, destroying and polluting Her body. They recall how they themselves have done so.

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