An interviewer speaks with Eva Green about her role on Penny Dreadful and more. A stage writer best known for his work in the Harry Potter universe aims to bring the His Dark Materials series to the small screen. And tattoo artist Damien Echols talks about mixing magic and art. It's Airy Monday, our weekly segment on magic and religion in pop culture! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
Spring is the season of passion, of stirring life, of creation. In my younger years, this season was all about Beltaine, and Beltaine was allll about passion and sex. One of the things I love best about my path is the celebration of sexuality as something sacred, as a gift from Goddess. As I've gotten older, sex has become less central to my Spring celebrations -- not because sex is no longer an important part of my life, or because I think it unseemly to be openly sexual and sensual now that I'm no longer in my 20s, but because I've begun to think about passion and creation in a wider sense. My Beltaine ritual this year involved working on my home, spending time with my partner, and honoring all the things I am creating, gestating, and getting ready to birth -- my women's circle, my priestess sisterhood, my creative projects. All the things that awaken passion in me, and all the passions I feel in addition to sexual passion.
In my New Moon circle this past week, I drew oracle cards that encouraged me to step into my Authentic Self, to find my true passions and follow my calling. In some ways, this whole past year has been about accepting that I even have a calling -- something I've resisted for most of my Pagan life -- and learning what it might mean to step into it. So I've been spending the past week thinking about authenticity, about passion, about the role my politics around gender and sexuality and justice play in following my calling. I've also been reflecting a lot on the role that healing around my sexuality has played in my spiritual path, and about the ways in which I can help to create safe, brave, healing spaces for survivors of sexual violence in my spiritual community; about how I can help to facilitate the much-needed conversation about consent that's happening (or needing to happen) in Pagan spaces; and about what it means to be part of a sex-positive spiritual community in an overwhelmingly sex-negative culture....
When we seek immortality or spiritual “rebirth,” are we not saying that there is something wrong with the “birth” that was given to us through the body of our mothers? In She Who Changes and in "Reading Plato's Allegory of the Cave as Matricide and Theacide," I asserted that our culture is "matricidal" because it is based on the assumption that life in the body in this world "just isn’t good enough."
What is so wrong with the life that our mothers gave us that we must reject it in the name of a “higher” spiritual life? The answer of course death.
Can we love life without accepting death?
Can we love our mothers if we do not accept a life that ends in death?
Jesus was said to have encouraged his disciples to leave their wives and families in order to follow him. When he was told that his mother and brothers were outside and waiting to speak to him, he is said to have said:
“Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother. (Matt. 12:48-50)
Buddha left his wife and new-born son in order to pursue enlightenment.
Some feminists, including Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza and Rita Gross, view these incidents positively, stating that their meaning is that no person should be trapped in the conventional biological roles.
I have always experienced these stories as dismissive of women’s bodies, of women’s lives, of women’s work. When I went to college, I learned that all of the knowledge and insight about the meaning of life I had gained through the experience of raising a child with my mother was irrelevant to the university education I had embarked upon.
May you find your mothers in a lungful of sweet air, in a breeze that cools your anger, in a gust that sings, “I see you, and I’m here."
May you find your mothers in deep belly laughter, the joy that overtakes you unexpectedly, the electricity that fuels your love for what you create....
Are you a good witch or a bad witch?
(Glinda the Good, The Wizard of Oz)
Well, they call her Glinda the Good.
But she can't even tell the difference between a dog and a witch dog.
So obviously (I'm afraid I'm in a bit of a muddle, she says) she isn't, not very.
When it comes to witching, the difference between good and bad isn't the difference between help or harm.
No: when Tiffany Aching says of Mrs. Lettice Earwig (author of To Ride a Golden Broomstick) that she's “not really, when you get down to it, a very good witch” (Pratchett 99), it has nothing to do with helpful or harmful. Nothing at all.
Cynthia Eller in Living in the Lap of the Goddess notes that, “some spiritual feminists say that having a divine mother is a way of compensating for the frailties of human mothers, giving women a more perfect mother…” This is not actually true for me; I’m fortunate enough to have an excellent human mother. I am more liable to see myself as a mother reflected in the empowering imagery of the Goddess as mother than I am to feel “mothered” by Her—I feel like she affirms my worth and value in my own maternal role. She gives me strength and inspiration to be a better mother to my children. In this way, I then agree with the hope of spiritual feminists that, “this great mother goddess will have a transformative effect upon the social valuation of motherhood.” (Eller, p. 143)