Eastern & Western European
Earth-Based Ways (Wicca)
For my "Wheel of the Year," please click here.
For a special page on what has become known as "The Burning Times," please click here.
For two pages on Kosovo/Serbia with a Pagan/Christian/Moslem Peace Invocation,
please click here.
"The Magic Circle"
John William Waterhouse (1849-1917)
This non-wiccan page, "Witchcraft & Wicca," is an informative and balanced overview of witchcraft history (ancient and modern from Europe, Africa, and the New World); beliefs, practices and rituals; current legal issues and on-going persecutions; and much more related to the topic. Excellent resources (books, links, etc) are near the bottom. The page is one in a series created by four Canadians (three women and one man from varying religious backgrounds) who promote religious tolerance by reporting, without condemning (except where beliefs harm others), on minority religious groups (e.g., Native Americans, Judaism, Islam, New Age) and issues (e.g., abortion, homophobia, creationism). The tone is quiet and clear. As an introduction to wicca, especially for those who might feel uneasy with the subject, this site is perfect. (If you click on their homepage at the bottom, you'll learn more about these four impressive people and their goals.)http://vinland.org/heathen/pagancee/
This site on "Neopaganism in Central-Eastern Europe" looks at earth-based religions in Belarus, the Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia), Old Prussia, Poland and the Ukraine. This lengthy essay points out that the Baltic States were Christianized relatively late, and thus retained many older ways in a more intact form than was possible in other areas. The essay also mentions the role of Carl Jung, Marija Gimbutas (a native Lithuanian), and environmental issues in the resurgence of Central-Eastern European neopaganism. Excellent hypertexts will take you into a more in-depth exploration of these subjects.http://members.aol.com/HPSofSNERT/slavres.html
I found the site both rich and fascinating in its treatment of history and lore. In contrasting central-eastern European neo-paganism with Western neo-paganism, for example, the author offers the following lucid distinction:It seems that it [central-eastern European neo-paganism] is neither a fad nor merely a reflection of Western neo-pagan ideas. For the majority of people interested in neo-paganism the Western neo-paganism is rather unknown, and pagans in the region are much less interested in magick that the Western pagans. It seems that the answer to the question about the origin of this phenomenon lays in the quest for national identity.The continually emerging insights garnered by these peoples from their own ancient traditions are increasingly important today.
The reference to tradition may imply some danger when combined with radical nationalism. The political abuse of the concept of ethnicity and tradition led to incredible horrors during the Nazi era.
Are Central-Eastern European pagans immune to this danger? The majority of pagans in the region, with the above mentioned exceptions, is not politically active.
As for their political views, they are either moderate right, centrist, or - particularly those ecologically oriented - moderate left. None of the above organizations can characterized as extremist.
"Slavic Pagan Resources": scroll down a few inches and you'll find an excellent, extensive bibliography for books on Slavic paganism, herbs, myths, and many other related topics. Beyond the bibliography you'll come to a collection of links -- I've already culled some to use elsewhere on my site (primarily for Russian Folklore and general Slavic themes), but there are still many I won't be using and you might enjoy exploring whatever catches your eye.http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/2810/
A sacred Zaltys
(Colorized from black to green)
Courtesy of Sacred Serpent: see directly below....
"Sacred Serpent": this lovely site is dedicated to Lithuanian paganism. The Baltic region, and Lithuania in particular, was the last region of Europe to be converted to Christianity. Older ways are still powerful to this day, sometimes through direct transmission, sometimes through re-discovery. In the words of the authors of this engaging site:http://vinland.org/heathen/pagancee/lithrel.htmlThe site includes a fine series of mini-essays on such topics as rain-rituals involving a sacred rock (it might be remembered that Moses struck a rock and forced it to release water, so the relationship between rain and rock is an ancient and familiar one); Baltico-pagan religion; Lithuanian goddesses; legends and tales; a calendar of feasts (a direct link to this calendar page will be found below under "Other Seasonal Links"); and Baltic politics; there's also a moving Lithuanian prayer involving trees and other ecologically sensitive "beings." [Note: I've double listed this site under Eastern Europe >> Baltic States.]Sacred Serpent is named after the zaltys or zalgtis: a revered [and harmless] grass snake, indigenous to the Baltic lands of East Prussia, Latvia and Lithuania. Zaltys is known as the sentinel or messenger of the ancient Baltic deities and plays a significant role in the mythology and lore of the region....The Baltic faith does not negate other religions and Gods, but emphasizes the sacredness of nature first and foremost. The core of the faith is harmony (Darna). First, darna aspires to inner harmony: people at peace with themselves. Second, it endeavours to create harmony at home and in the community. Third, it pursues harmony with the ancestors. Finally, it quests for harmony with the universe, i.e. with life and with the divinities.
"The Basis of the Old Lithuanian Religion": this is a beautiful, wise little essay by Jonas Trinkunas of Vilnius on ancient non-dualistic beliefs. [Note: this site is also double listed under Eastern Europe >> Baltic States.]http://www.pagan.drak.net/wwcrew/
This site by Latvian-American, Kristaps (Chris) Johnson, "Ancient Latvian Pantheism," looks at Latvian history and a wide array of earth-based (pagan) divinities, festivals, beliefs. It includes a good map (under "History") as well as many lovely ancient symbols (often in brightly embroidered variants) connected with individual deities. I especially enjoyed the enthusiastic essays (note: if documentation is missing, click on his "Links" at the bottom of the home page and you'll at least find his bibliography). I also loved all the Mates, or "Mothers" (of forest, mushroom, fog, wind, flax, leaf-colors, mischief, flowers & buds, dreams, waters, rivers, waves, rain, and many more -- click on "Divinities" at the top of his home page, then click on "Land," scroll down a bit and click on Zemes Mate -- this will give you the entire list of Mates and save you the trouble of having to click on each one indivdually).http://www.inetworld.net/dgerbe/
The site is tasteful and impressive. It has a few rough edges -- e.g., not all images load and, on my browser, his text sometimes spills over into the borders, making it a bit difficult to read; nevertheless, the site is worth the effort and shows great promise. If you move between it and other Latvian websites, the deeper contours of the Latvians' commitment to their ancient past begin to emerge. [Note: this site is double listed under Eastern Europe >> Baltic States.]Update -- 20 November 1999/22 December 1999: the site is experiencing growing pains. Some of my instructions don't apply anymore, especially for the Mates; they are there, however, so just click on "Divinities" and play it by ear. On some browsers (like mine), the need to constantly scroll horizontally to read a line of text is really awkward. I'm leaving the URL in place, however, because I'm confident that Chris will work out these problems and make the site better than ever. Its promise remains strong.
Diana / Artemis
Copyright by the artist, Sandra Stanton (used with permission)
FYI: Sandra's site provides further data on this goddess.
This illustrated site on Stregheria, or Italian witchcraft, is by author Raven Grimassi, whose family has passed down this wiccan tradition for generations. I found especially interesting his data on a possibly historical woman named Aradia, a medieval "avatar" who traveled through Italy teaching the ways of magic. Also of interest is a nicely detailed section on Befana, the old moon-spinning witch who fills the stockings of Italian children with gifts on Epiphany, January 6th (click on "Italian Witchcraft" and scroll 2/3rd's down the page to find this one). Grimassi also looks at the work of American-born Charles Leland, whose writings on Italian wicca predate (and tend to validate) the later work of England's Gerald Gardner (who is generally considered the "Father" of the 20th century's surge of interest in wicca).http://www.fabrisia.com/history.htm
This is another site on Stregheria -- the link will take you to a good essay by Fabrisia on the history of Stregheria, starting with earlier Etruscan practices. She provides no footnotes for her data, but does give her sources at the end. Her menu covers a wide variety of subjects: I found especially interesting her pages on the Benandanti, the Cimaruta spell, Goddesses & Gods, Italian Faery (annotated on my Nature Spirits page), and divination (see below).....http://www.fabrisia.com/divinationtypes.htm
....This page from Fabrisia's site looks at a long, alphabetized list of divination practices. As someone who has spent years working with the divination systems of others, as well as creating my own, I found her collection fascinating. Here are some samples:http://members.atlantic.net/~wiccan/whyis4.htmAustromancy is divination by the winds.
Belomancy is divination by arrows.
Botanomancy is divination by herbs.
Capnomancy is divination by smoke.
Catoptromancy is divination by using a mirror.
Pegomancy is divination by fountains.
Pessomancy is divination by pebbles.
The Black Madonna
Copyright by the artist, Sandra Stanton (used with permission)
FYI: Sandra's site provides further data on this ancient earthways-goddess
"Thoughts on Women vs. Organized Religion" is the title of this essay by Ed Howdershelt, reprinted from the Body Politic Net News. The brief piece is aimed at the general public and is a useful overview of issues behind the deeply entrenched societal domination of women's minds and bodies. The author also has a good essay, "About Being Wiccan" [click on the title to read it], on his own website that nicely deconstructs commonly held views about what Wiccans are -- and aren't.http://www.northcoast.com/~caw/witchset.htm
This is a lengthy essay called "Satanism vs. Neo-Pagan Witchcraft: Confusions and Distinctions," by Otter and Morning Glory Zell (editors of the respected pagan journal, GREEN EGG). It is fascinating and richly documented (despite the fact that the writers uncritically accept the exaggerated claim that "millions" died during the "Burning Times" [see the top of my page for a link to further data on this period].) They start off with a wonderfully lucid disclaimer:http://www.wicca.com/celtic/wicca/wiccas.htmIt seems to be necessary to preface every discussion of Witchcraft with an explanation that, no, Neo-Pagan Witches aren't Satanists. The Christian anti-God, Satan, has no place in Pagan pantheons, either mythologically or theologically. Plainly and simply, to non-Christians, Satanism is the dark side of Christianity.(9/29/99: Note -- this is now a dead link. I'm trying to find a new URL for it. If anyone knows what happened to the site, please let me know! 12/22/99: still dead.)
This page by "Grey Cat" from the Celtic Connection gives a basic overview of 20th century "reconstructed" earth-based religion, beginning with England's Gerald B. Gardner, who was initiated into a coven in 1939, and whose later writings are generally agreed to have brought about this century's surge in interest in wicca. Grey Cat also looks at other wiccan traditions (some of them Gardnerian offshoots), including the Alexandrian, Dianic, and Celtic. The Celtic Connection has a number of other fine pages on Wicca as well, including Herne's great introduction, "What is Wicca."http://www.reclaiming.org/starhawk/reviews.html
Finally, for those interested in exploring some of these wiccan themes more deeply, this is Starhawk's lively, annotated booklist. She also includes books on the Goddess, earth and eco-sprirituality.
Winter Solstice/YULE LINKS:
Stag-headed Winter Solstice God of Wisdom and Light
(Courtesy of Witch Way Graphics by Ravon)
http://www.mythinglinks.org/wintersolstice~Shekinah1999.htmlI'll start this section with Winter Solstice/Yule because I began annotating this page during the 1998 Yule season, and also because, as a Capricorn, it is my favorite pagan time of the year. (For my Winter Solstice 1998-1999 greeting, click here.)
This is my 1999-2000 Winter Greetings page with annotated links to relevant sites on Chanukkah, winter solstice, yule, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Epiphany; there are also links to regional feasts such as Mexico's Our Lady of Guadalupe (12/12), Scandinavia's St. Lucia (12/13), and the Eastern Europeans' Winter Goddess,Rozhanitza (12/26). New greeting pages and links will be added annually.
Spring equinox LINKS:
The joyous springtime Khorovod, or pagan round dance
(Russian art courtesy of Russian Sunbirds)
This is my 1999 Spring Equinox Greeting page with annotated links to 3 relevant sites, one general, one Platonic, one Celtic. New greeting pages and links will be added annually.http://www.mythinglinks.org/summersolstice2.html
Summer Solstice LINKS:
Lunch in Summer Fields
[Courtesy of Russian Sunbirds]
This is my 1999 Summer Greetings page with annotated links to solstice and Lammas. New greeting pages and links will be added annually.
Autumn equinox LINKS:
Swan-Geese Flying in Autumn
This is my Autumn Greetings page for 1999 with many annotated links to the equinox, Samhain, and Day of the Dead. New greeting pages and links will be added annually.
general Seasonal Links:
[Courtesy of Tradestone International]
This first-rate site on pagan holidays is by Akasha Ap Emrys. She looks in fascinating detail at the eight major wiccan celebrations and offers appropriate rituals as well as tempting recipes (the sensual sacredness of food is very much a part of earth-based Ways). Since I'm adding this link in early February 1999, I looked at what she has to say about Imbolc (February 1-2) and was very impressed, not only by her data but also by the exquisite ritual she created for this day. (Note: the page comes from a handsome site called the Celtic Connection, whose home page can be reached from the page's bottom.)http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/2810/calendar.html
This excellent page from the Sacred Serpent site (see elsewhere on my page) looks at Lithuanian pagan holidays. (Those of my students who have heard me lecture on the intricate concept in Hindu aesthetics of rasa [dew, generative organic sap, "juice," flavor, taste, etc] may share my pleasure in discovering that Summer Solstice is called Rasa in Lithuania, and is specifically linked to growth nurtured by dew.http://members.aol.com/HPSofSNERT/holid.html
This site looks at Slavic seasonal pagan feasts and provides a wealth of detailed, evocative folkloric data (including wonderful verses from songs sung during rituals).The Pagan Year in the Southern Hemisphere
Flaw: The large-fonted, very bright yellow text against a stark black background is hard on the eyes, so you might prefer to print out the text (see my For the Cyber-Challenged if you use Netscape and aren't sure how to change colors in your browser in order to print this).
This is a page by an unknown author on "Southern Year" pagan celebrations in Australia and New Zealand. The interesting essay was rescued and sent to me as a text file by Australia's Margaret RainbowWeb (a link to her fine "Re-Earthing the Earth" page will be found with the essay). I created an html page for it and have now linked it to my own site until it finds another home. I found especially interesting the many Celtic influences still alive and well "down under."
Image is courtesy of Swampy's Place
For my "Wheel of the Year," please click here.
For a special page on what has become known
as "The Burning Times,"
please click here.
For two pages on Kosovo/Serbia, including a
Pagan/Christian/Moslem Peace Invocation, please click here.
Up to Europe's Opening Page
Ancient Greece / Ancient Rome /
Celtic Traditions / Icelandic, Nordic, & Teutonic Traditions /
Medieval Life & Times / Arthurian Themes / Grail Lore /
Alchemy, Gnosticism, Hermetics / Fairy Tales & Folk Lore /
Down to Indigenous Peoples
This page created with Netscape Gold 3.01
Technical assistance: William Weeks
Text and Design:
Copyright 1998, 1999-2006 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
All rights reserved.
Latest Updates: 26 July 1999; 30 September 1999 (checked & updated all links);
20 November 1999 (transferred Yule links to their own 1999-2000 page);
23 November 1999 (more revisions & images);
22 December 1999 (Southern Year link).
5 November 2006: added invisible Google Analytics program
plus tweeked some out-of-date formatting & deleted old Webcom e-mail.
3 August 2008: added a new sponsor for a year (below); xx-d 11/14/08.