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Freedom of religion, religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue

Freedom of religion

Freedom of religion, and freedom of choosing religion [or choosing none], is one of the most valued freedoms for any human being.

The Russian Empire of the past was a country where the Orthodox Church was an official, State religion. It was not allowed to change religion and, more than that, people were punished severely for attempts to do so. Leaving the Holy Orthodoxy could lead to punishment, penalties, exile from the country, confiscation of all possessions, and even imprisonment.

I remember learning about the Soviet Union - my home country – by reading our Constitution and there was one very important thing:
- a citizen is free to belong to ANY religion, or belong to none.

This is a treasured freedom of living in a secular state.

This is a guarantee that some monotheist fanatics will not stone you because of “denouncing G-d” or however they word it, if you decide to part ways with your previous monotheistic religion.
This is a guarantee that people of all religions are equal before State.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Between the Stones

The boy froze when he saw the god.

Behind him in the woods, the rite had already begun. The path up from the circle wound through the trees. That's why he didn't see him until he was nearly upon him.

There, seated on the ground between the two tall stones that mark the head of the path.

Waiting. Watching.

His antlers seemed to touch the trees.

Brown eyes meet green.

The boy wanted to turn and run. He also wanted to stroke the velvet of that muzzle.

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Pagan News Beagle: Earthy Thursday, August 18

Is memory a reliable snapshot of the past? Can a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy be done without sacrificing jobs? And does a habitable planet orbit our nearest stellar neighbor? These questions and more are tackled in Earthy Thursday, our weekly segment on science and Earth-related news! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_June-2016-052.JPGAs someone who comes to goddess spirituality from a feminist thealogy perspective, I have found it important to distinguish between the lineage and history of goddess spirituality and that of contemporary paganism as a broader and larger movement. While the roots of goddess spirituality are indeed entwined with paganism and Wicca, there is still a distinct “herstory” of the goddess movement in the United States, as well as qualities, traditions, values, perspectives, and tenants within it that are worthy of consideration on a stand-alone basis.

The Goddess in America, forthcoming from Moon Books this fall, is a highly recommended anthology of insightful essays about the meaning, role, goddess in americaexpression, and experience of the Goddess in the United States. This is not a 101 or introductory book, but rather a complex exploration of a variety of topics including cultural appropriation, differences between feminist goddess spirituality and Wicca, contemporary priestessing, pop culture goddesses, goth goddesses, polytheism vs monotheistic concepts (i.e .the difference between “all goddesses as one” and each goddess as an individual), goddesses and the land and whether goddesses can be “transported” to other locations/lands, and much more. The book contains contributions from nineteen writers with diverse perspectives and experiences and it identifies the “enduring experience of Goddess Spirituality through a four-part discussion focused on the Native Goddess, the Migrant Goddess, the Goddess in relation to other aspects of American culture (Feminism, Christianity, Witchcraft, etc.) and the Goddess in contemporary America.” As someone who loves books, I believe that anthologies are possibly one of the greatest inventions of all time. Indeed, the only problem I had with this book was that the writers were so talented and have written so many other interesting books, that my to-read bookshelf now becoming even more extensive!

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When you get older and your doctor says you should start using a CPAP machine, don't take it as a failure. Embrace the opportunity; your CPAP may actually provide some of the same benefits as meditation, albeit through a somewhat different mechanism.

As your brain absorbs a higher percentage of oxygen while it's asleep and dreaming, it may realize clearer insights into the nature of reality.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Sturgeon: Be Responsible

Sturgeon are ancient fish who swam in the waters when the dinosaurs first emerged on the earth. Today, these living fossils are considered to be the most primitive of the bony fish. Sturgeon belongs to the Acipenseridae family which has twenty-seven species. Native to the lakes, rivers, and coastlines of Eurasia and North America, these giant fish resemble armored torpedoes. Their distinctive bony plates (hard scutes) stud their back and sides.

One thing that Sturgeons are well-known for are their dramatic leaping out of the water. In his poem, The Song of Hiawatha, Longfellow described this – “saw the sturgeon, Nahma leaping, scattering drops like beads of wampum.” As the largest fish in freshwater, a massive Sturgeon can kill or break the bones of unwary boaters. As to why They leap, nobody knows. Theories range from communicating in their group to Sturgeon simply enjoying doing it.

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Thunder in the Tall Grass: Full Moon in August

When the Sun transits into Leo, the Summer is at its fullest, the Sun returns to its sovereign sign, the lush abundance of the Summer's growth is at its peak. But the Summer is past its tipping point: the Oak bows to the Holly, the Stallion bows to the Boar. The transition is subtle but distinct: the Oak King and his powers of expansion, of movement forward, of exploration, have given way to the Holly King, older, wiser, more cagey,with his powers of protection, of preservation, and of steadfastness.

Under the Full Moon of August—a hot rosy-colored moon, a hot wind riffles through the tall grass and there's thunder in the distance—the Leo Sun dances with the Moon in Aquarius, tempering the intensity of Leo’s expressiveness and passion, with a wider perspective. Sun in Leo is eminently powerful, and imbues us all with the leonine qualities of confidence, creativity and playfulness. We feel ourselves to be sovereign in our lives, our work and our art flourishes because our connection to source is open and we are empowered to receive. This power within ourselves is available as long as we allow ourselves access, we need to believe we are worthy, we need to believe in our contribution and our talent. But Aquarius further empowers to see that our passions and our actions do more than entertain and enrich us. The appropriate role of any conscious soul at this time is to bring our talents and our contributions out of our studios, out of our homes, and offer them up for the benefit of others. The Aquarius moon reminds us that our talents and dreams might be incredibly personal and vulnerable, but they also transcend our small personal lives to touch others, to have an impact on the world we share.

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