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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Different

Leaping Lucifer!

The witches of the world have gathered for their annual meeting, Boss Witch (Martha Ray) presiding. Doesn't she look absolutely hideous in her hornëd hennin?

And who else could belt out the witches' anthem like the incomparable Witch Hazel (Mama Cass Eliot)? Now is that a witch or what?

Über-kitsch, you say? Not quite your cup of hemlock tea, perhaps?

Well, it managed to get this little gay warlock boy through the horrors of junior high, thank you very much.

So you can just go to Heaven.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Land of the Lost, H. R. Puffinstuff, Lidsville, Sigmund and the Seamonsters, Lost Saucer I guess all those Sid & Marty Kroft shows
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    "Surreal" would be a fair description, I believe. An adolescent boy's best friend is a talking golden flute. He just loves to play
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    H. R. Puffinstuff, I used to love that show. Sometimes the opening theme song still plays in my head when I'm at work.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Blessed Dark and Glorious Light

In my Reclaiming Witch Tradition we have just marked the Solstice, Summer in the Northern Hemisphere where I live, and the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. It is now the time when the North turns back toward the sacred dark, and the South toward the sacred light. This cycle in the Earth's annual journey around the Sun gives each hemisphere an opportunity to revel in long days and short nights - a chance to play in the Sun, and see clearly what world work needs to be done by the bright light of day. It gives each hemisphere an opportunity to reflect in long nights and short days - a chance to slow down and "cozy in" and mend and repair and heal. 

Last December shortly after the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, I came across a poem by one of my favorite Reclaiming Witch poets/writers, Gerri Ravyn Stanfield, called “bold dark hymn” that made me begin to rethink my own use of the language of “light” and “dark.”  It made me begin to examine my own use of image and metaphor through the perspective of what has been going on in my country, The USA, as we continue to struggle with the legacy of slavery and the continued violence of racism.  This link will take you to the poem on her blog http://www.gerriravynstanfield.com/a-bold-dark-hymn/  

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    This is very timely, Lizann. How safe we've been all our lives, just by being born White! Whenever we ask for morphine in an ER t
The Theological Aftermath of PSG: A Flood Narrative For Modern Times

"Twelve hundred years had not yet passed

When the land extended and the peoples multiplied.

The land was bellowing like a bull,

The god got disturbed by their uproar.

Enlil heard their noise

And addressed the great gods,

"The noise of mankind has become too intense for me,

With their uproar I am deprived of sleep." --Atrahasis Epic

 

It is hard to make your way in our modern world without at least cursory knowledge of flood narratives in some form--whether that is the story of Noah and the Ark, Gilgamesh, Atrahasis, Metamorphoses, or many others from multiple cultures around the globe. Indeed, there is an ongoing relationship between man and the divine that involves water particularly as a cleansing agent. This particular post is not going to delve into the deeper meanings of punishment inflicted on humankind by the divine use of water. Rather, I'd like to take a look at theological implications for the Pagan community in the aftermath of one of the most significant natural disasters of this decade. 

I was a prime observer of the 2015 Pagan Spirit Gathering deluge. I showed up on Sunday afternoon, and after a harrowing few days evacuated the area on Wednesday afternoon after having drove thirteen hours from Maryland to get there. During that short time period I witnessed marvelous acts of sacrifice and kindness--the kind that inspires me to continue doing my work as a minister in training for Circle Sanctuary. There is no question in my mind of the bond shared by our community, or the significance this event personified.

First and foremost, I have participated in and been witness to multiple conversations on creating intentional community. Many of us realized having our spiritual and emotional cup filled only once a year is not enough, and have begun seeking out like-minded individuals to either purchase land to live on or start some other form of community with more permanence. In this way it is possible to draw upon narratives like the Jewish diaspora for inspiration (not that I am comparing the Pagan community to the Jewish community). Having shared this particular experience as a whole, we carry our own pieces and memories of the loss with us, using it to fuel our search for something more.

Secondly, we are beginning to see more attention being garnered for climate change and its effects. It is a bit of bitter irony that while I am up to my knees in mud and we are pushing cars out of a lake, that California and other portions of the nation are still experiencing intense drought. This is only one example of how our weather is shifting in many ways due to mankind's involvement--highlighting a greater need to discuss remediation with our planet.

Lastly--and I'm throwing a hurt feelings disclaimer out there--events like the one we just experienced have large scale implications for "culling the herd." In mythology it's called cleansing the sinful. In today's society it's called where your heart lies. This event will have turned many off to the idea that PSG is worth their time or their money. We will see the numbers drop, but we will also see a strengthening of existing bonds in ways nothing else could have accomplished. For better or worse this event, this flood narrative of our modern time, has marked us as a people who love and work and sacrifice for each other. So for that I am grateful. #wearetribe 

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Swastika and the Flag

 

Some  Southern Pagans, have criticized  comments I made elsewhere on W&P and on Patheos supporting removing the Confederacy’s battle flag from all public displays in the South.  They thought I unfairly maligned Southern culture by saying it was inextricable from racism.  Some thought I must not know anything about the South. For the record I was born in Southwest Virginia, raised in the half-Southern state of Kansas with relatives whose views ranged from a relatively benign racism to endorsing Southern slavery.  For much of my life I frequently visited my Virginia and Arkansas relatives. I am not a Southerner, but I have fairly substantial experience with Southern culture, usually in a positive context. That experience plus their defense of the Confederacy's battle flag as a symbol of Southern culture has led to this post, dedicated to Southern Pagans.

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  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Thank you Heather. I don't know how important they are within their community because I am not a Heathen and rarely attend their d
  • Heather Freysdottir
    Heather Freysdottir says #
    As a Southerner who also whole heartedly approves of the removal of the confederate flag from public spaces, I very much appreciat

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Obsession X

Oh gods. Yet another ex-Christian wants to tell me who Jesus really was.

(There's no mistaking them. Oh, they may call themselves something else now, but their first and foremost identity is Ex, with a capital X: the Jesus obsession gives them away every time.)

I've seen the scholarship. (It's hard for anyone in the field of religion to avoid seeing it.) The scholars agree on virtually nothing. Over the years, I've drawn three conclusions of my own.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Sweet Calendula

Two years ago, I bought a couple of calendula plants and tried to grow them in my container garden. They fared all right--I was still learning what conditions calendula likes--and I managed to make a batch of moisturizing balm out of their oil. When they died, though, I figured I wouldn't repeat the experiment. They hadn't seemed to like the hot, dry weather on my roof. I decided that next time I made oil, I would buy calendula blossoms in bulk.

Imagine my surprise when, last winter, a couple of interlopers sprouted in my garden: two new calendula plants, born from the seeds of the first two. In completely different pots, no less! Well, obviously one doesn't reject a healing plant, so I started to tend them. To my delight, they thrived.

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Body Painting in the Wild by Gerhard Lipold.  Courtesy http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/.The Pagan Festing season generally runs from May until October and usually takes place in campgrounds that are reserved for this purpose for anywhere from a weekend to a week. In Ontario, notable campgrounds that host Pagan Festivals include Raven's Knoll,Mythwood, and Whispering Pines.

Some of these Festivals feature Clothing Optional areas so that people have the option to be naked if they so wish. This is because some Pagans like to cast-off their wrappers and be caressed by the sun and the wind, while others consider their nudity to be part of their sacred relationship with the Gods and a Pagan event is a place where they can feel comfortable enough to explore that relationship.

However, because not everyone is comfortable with that, Clothing Optional areas can be restricted to certain areas, including:

  • campsites
  • the beach
  • the firepit area after 10pm

The important word in "Clothing Optional" is the term "Optional". A Clothing Optional area is not zoned as a Strip Club. You have the option to be as naked, clothed, or a variety of both as you wish and it's nobody else's business.

I cannot believe I must state this so blatantly, but this is also means that no one has the right to pressure you to be clothed or naked. No one has the right to tell you how naked or dressed you must be based on other people's decisions to be naked or dressed. No one has the right to express opinions about your character, your values, or your sexual identity. No one. No exceptions.

Now I know that sometimes people can unintentionally cross this line. In their minds, they want you to know that you are beautiful and valued and they want you to know that they are not judging you for any reason, so if you want to strip down, they are ready to support you in this decision. The problem is that it's very difficult to express this idea without it sounding like they are pressuring you into coming to this conclusion.

A person's state of nudity is NEVER an invitation for people to touch, stare, or make sexual references about. EVER. A person's nudity can be an expression of their relationship with the Gods, but it is not meant to be a show for other people to ogle or make snide remarks upon. However, if you want to quietly appreciate the beauty of the human body, that can be okay, but you need to be subtle in your appreciation.

Unwanted, unwarranted, unasked, uninvited contact with a person in a state of undress can constitute assault or sexual assault. The fact that the person is naked does not justify anyone's actions without EXPLICIT permission being given. It also does not give you the right to pressure anyone into being more naked or less naked, for any reason, even in jest. If you think you have accidentally crossed this line, take the person aside (probably better when they are dressed), apologize sincerely, and then learn from it.

Whether it is intentional or unintentional, here are some statements you should NEVER make to someone about their state of dress or undress:

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  • Jön Upsal's Gardener
    Jön Upsal's Gardener says #
    "this is also means that no one has the right to pressure you to be clothed or naked" Does that actually happen? It sounds uber-c

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