Welcome back to Airy Monday! Once again we start off the week with a round-up of stories dealing with magic and religion in pop culture. Join us as we take a look at reactions to Victorian gothic horror show Penny Dreadful's second season finale, the surprising theism of Doctor Who, and The Washington Post's analysis of the ongoing battle at Etsy about witchcraft. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
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I jumped through the window after him. It was a graceless and slow process but one I completed nonetheless. There was still blood in my hair, my breath smelled of absinthe and Death in the Afternoon and I clutched my protective locket. I had somehow managed to lose an hour, an entire loop, like a waking dream. Back at The McKittrick for another Sleep No More Experience....
Someone told me today that someone else had mentioned to them that I don't just say, "oh look, a bird," but name them, "oh look, a kestrel," and I tell them about the plants... "this is echinacea, it's good for immune system stimulation."
Hearing this made me rather happy, since it has always been my dream to be someone who can identify flora, fauna, and other parts of nature. I haven't formally studied naturalism, botany (beyond a plant biology class in college), ornithology (birds), herbal medicine, or other such things, but I have picked up a fair bit in a broad sampling kind of way. I probably wouldn't measure up to most foragers, herbalists, or naturalists, but I'm on my way. It was gratifying to hear that I give that impression.
I hate acronyms.
There's something inherently ugly, opaque, even anti-poetic about them. If I could, I'd do away with them altogether.
Oh, I'll concede them a certain prosaic utility. The term DNA has saved a lot of time and breath down the years.
Point conceded. I would, nonetheless, contend that their use is best restricted to secular contexts. They have no place in religious vocabulary.
Let me pick on a particular example. The term UPG—that's "unverified personal gnosis" to the uninitiated—has gained a certain currency in pagan circles since it was coined some time in the late “20th" century.
Ksama in Sanskrit means forgiveness. An indispensible word on the spiritual path at practical and cosmic levels, ksama is a virtue that, perhaps more strongly than any other, binds us to a tantric life. Its practice requires that we move beyond our ego and take sanctuary in the naked truth of reality. It is a gateway to Her through relationality (one of the five-fold qualities of the Dark Goddess), a way of creating connection across divides of difference on inner, outer and causal levels.
At times, forgiveness means making a choice to be present with another. It can also mean holding a space of respectful distance in order to let truth unfold. In its many manifestations, the path of forgiveness is a tall order in a world filled with insecurities and vitriol. So many of us harbor terrifying yearnings to be loved—terrifying because we fear we are unworthy of another’s love or worse, somehow unlovable. But as a mechanism for unleashing the power of unfettered love—the antidote to much of our struggle—forgiveness is worth taking the time to understand and practice....
I have never really celebrated Independence Day with parties, parades, and patriotism. I was raised in Germany and studied history and - well, let’s just say patriotism makes me deeply uncomfortable. For many years I fled into the woods and celebrated InterdepenDance Day at rainbow gatherings, far away from drunken revelry and fireworks.
Here in Sebastopol, where I live, someone loves driving around in his pick-up with a huge American flag attached to its bed. So far as I know he does it every day. I suppose he is making a statement about his patriotism. Every week on the main corner here in town for years two groups face off, one loudly “supporting our troops” the other more quietly supporting peace. The first waves flags and to my mind, sadly the second group generally does not, giving the first a visual advantage they do not deserve.
Among people with more progressive sympathies patriotism has gotten a bit of a bad rap by being equated with those who talk the most aggressively about it, and shove their views in everyone’s face. It’s rather like religion getting a bad rap because of the excesses of those who make the most noise about it. I think this is too bad. Patriotism is a complicated emotion and a complicated commitment, but it is very real for most of us....