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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Man Who Loved the Goddess

In this season of the ancestors, I remember W[illiam] Holman Keith (1900-1993), the Baptist minister who fell in love with the Goddess and so became one of the pioneers of the New Paganism in the United States.

From the jacket of his book Divinity as the Eternal Feminine, the first (1960!) American book of self-consciously pagan theology:

W. Holman Keith, born June 11, 1900 at Vincennes, Indiana, began his “pilgrimage of faith,” to use his own words, with evangelical Christian Protestantism. After taking a BA degree at Franklin College...he went on to earn the degrees of Bachelor of Divinity and Master of Systematic Theology at Newton Theological Institution...and an MA in Theology at the University of Chicago. His subsequent career included two brief pastorates at Baptist churches in Massachusetts and New York. However, he writes, “I was progressively disillusioned in the two theological schools I attended,” and he subsequently abandoned his vocation as a minister. His search for faith “at last found its haven in a small chapel in West Hempstead, Long Island, New York, known as the Church of Aphrodite, of which the Rev. Gleb Botkin was the founder, and the priest of Aphrodite.

Presently, the author writes, “the challenge of this truth commands all my loyalties of mind, heart, and will.

And so it would be to the very end of his life.

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Jerusalem's Kaleidoscope and Portal Uniqueness

Fridays at 6:00 a.m., this Reiki Master heard the beginning sounds of the weekend morning rush in Jerusalem. The brilliant kaleidoscope of sunrise dazzled the landscape as she stood on her deck, facing east to say morning prayers. Afterward, she immersed herself in the sights and sounds of the Holy Land. Goats scampered, donkeys brayed, and dogs barked in the wadi below her. Cars and trucks in the distance were already deafeningly pummeling down the highway to Tel Aviv, and clanging sounds came from the Arabic villages nearby. She was ready to face the busiest day of the Jerusalem week, for the next day was the Sabbath, Shabbat, when everything stalled until the first three stars came out in the evening.

Friday shopping could be dodgy and dangerous. People shouted and screamed, motioning with their hands in their cars and on the street. The Supersol, my local supermarket, was jammed—a mad house with orthodox, ultra orthodox, and secular Jews, pushing and shoving. A line up meant nothing there. I wondered if I should become one of them, but reminded myself I was not that kind of person. Keeping on telling myself; shwei, patience, as I often waited in twenty-foot long checkout lines while the cashiers idly chitchatted with friends for what seemed like an eternity. I always arrived home hot, hungry, and unscathed, though.

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Pagan News Beagle: Faithful Friday, October 2

Reform Judaism gains new adherents in Israel. A beloved and respected Vodou priest dies. And Muslims in India rally against ISIL. It's Faithful Friday, our weekly segment on religions from around the world! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Harvesting the Intangible

My best friend has a mantra she says when her children are being difficult, "I love my child, I love my child, I LOVE my child …" and it helps to some extent when dealing with the upsetting behaviors of those we love.  I've tried it out a few times myself, and it tends to lead me to laugh or at least to breathe and reconnect with my priorities.

Lately, the mantra hasn't been working for me.  As a birthday promise to myself to change some of my own poor habits, I disconnected myself from Facebook for a month (still going), because it had become such a big distraction, it was bleeding into my writing time, my cleaning time, and worst of all, time with my kids.  So, I set up a filter so all my notifications go to a special folder instead of my inbox, I deleted the related apps from my phone, and stop myself when I unconsciously start typing in the URL.

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How to Build a Pop Culture System of Magic Part 3

In part one and two of this series I covered how spaces and characters could be used to create a pop culture magic system. In this part of the series, we'll explore the role of symbols in the creation of a pop culture magic system. What I find fascinating is how symbols are interwoven into characters, in such a way that sometimes characters are simultaneously personalities and symbols that represent something else. For example, in comics, the color schemes of a character's outfit make the character a symbol, as well as the ore overt display of a specific. The character is an extension of the overt character, automatically associated with the meanings attached to a symbol. Red, Blue, and Yellow call Superman to mind, along with the S in the geometrical figure. Black, Gray, Yellow, and a Bat symbol call to mind Batman, as much as the bat symbol itself. The symbol embodies a connection to the character, much like a goetic sigil embodies a connection to a Goetic Daimon. But the symbol is also evocative of what the character stands for and the values and skills the character embodies (again not different from the Goetic demon).

This melding of symbol with character doesn't just occur with comics. It also occurs with Fantasy and SF books and other forms of media. For example, the lightning bolt scar is a symbol associated with Harry Potter, and the Chaostar is as much associated with the character of Elric as it is with chaos magic. The melding of symbols with characters is a way to make those characters impressionable to the people who are into. The symbols evoke the characters.

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Ahimsa Grove: The October 2nd World Farmed Animal Day Fast Against Slaughter

When I first heard about the annual fast against slaughter, which is a campaign hosted by FARM (Farmed Animal Rights Movement), I didn’t do it. Let’s face it, a day without food is usually a pretty big deal. It may sound doable right up until the witching hour, but then resolve can crumble away.

The fast occurs on October 2nd, partly because this is Gandhi’s birthday. The messaging on the campaign website is as follows:

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Mouldy grapes and the work after the harvest

Harvesting also means preserving. The traditional men’s work for the season – bringing it in – may be done, but the traditional women’s work of getting it to keep, is just starting. Drying, pickling, fermenting, jamming, canning, and storing are older methods, freezing and refrigerating more modern, but if you want your harvest to feed you until spring, you have to look after it.

I’m wine making this year, the ongoing work in the midst of which I have paused to blog. My mother’s grape harvest, of tiny, tart green grapes, must be plucked from stems, and the dodgy ones removed. It’s slow, fiddly, and throwing the right bits out is an important part of the proceedings.

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