One of the greatest obstacles to social change is often the impression that there's either nothing that we can do or that social issues have no relevance to us. But is that really true? This week we take a look at issues of social justice as they relate to people in general and the Pagan community specifically. Join us as we take a look at the relationship between oppression and magic, read a piece about how social justice fuels one Pagan's spiritual practice, and investigate the religious roots of American terrorism. 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.
This year I was invited to present my work, Priest of the Goddess at the 2015 Coph Nia festival. To quote their website Coph Nia is, “a 5 day outdoor alternative spirituality festival for gay, bi, queer and questioning men. Held at an interfaith sanctuary in Artemas, PA, Coph Nia is open to long-time practitioners and new seekers of a wide range of spiritual paths including Wicca, Paganism, Heathenry, Druidism, Shamanism, Thelema, Ceremonial Magick and more. Sponsored by the Ordo Aeternus Vovin, an initiatory Thelemic order for gay and bisexual men, Coph Nia features vendors, concerts, rituals, workshops, nightly bonfires, dancing, drumming, chanting, signing and many social events including our annual Masked Ball & Sensual Feast.”...
Several years ago my daughter and I attended an interfaith event at a Christian church. As we sat down in the pews, my daughter leaned over to me and said "How come we aren't sitting in a circle? How will everyone see each other if some people are behind other people?"
I can't think of a better way to highlight the differences between most* Pagan rituals and those of other, more mainstream faiths. For the most part, we do gather in circles. No one person is in front of another person and, in theory, a newcomer to the circle wouldn't be able to tell who was in charge just by the position that a particular person or persons occupied. There's something crucial and fundamentally different in that small action that separates Pagan gatherings from other religious or magical rites....
Your body's center, sheltered within your belly, is the one-point through which you address your body as a whole. It's a principle of physics: A motive force applied to your body's center moves your entire form.
As I write in The Woman's Belly Book:
What happens to the center happens to the whole.... When your belly center leads you into action, your whole body moves easily, gracefully, almost effortlessly. The whole of you moves as one.
Your body's center is also your center of being, the one-point where the matter and energy of who you are converge. It's the one-point from which your physical and emotional expressions emerge.
The best actors enact this truth. They entirely embody a character, bringing the physicality and emotionality of a particular — however fictional — person to life. They deepen into their body's center and bring forth an individual. They don't give us an impression; they give us a genuine experience of another human being.
Tom Hanks is not my favorite actor, although I think he did a splendid job as Chuck Noland, the stranded FedEx exec in "Cast Away."
Whatever my opinion, he does know acting.
In fact, he revealed acting to be a body-centered practice when he said this (at 1 minute, 2 seconds) after receiving the Kennedy Center honors in 2014:
"I hope the look on my face was reflecting the honor and pleasure I had inside my belly."
I often marvel at the difference between humans and trees. In particular, I wonder how it would be to spend your whole life in one place – and I don’t just mean one locality, I mean one exact place, like a tree does.
What would it be like to learn the angles of the sun, never moving but only by them moving past you? To offer a refuge to birds, animals and insects that isn’t fleeting, temporary, but will last as long as your life lasts? To deepen into the earth gradually, over years, learning the precise geography of the land beneath you – it soils and clays and rocks, the exact bands and patterns of them – to seek water not as some temporary, immediate need but as a life long commitment, learning exactly, precisely where it is to be found and anchoring there....
In colloquial English we tend to think of holy and sacred as being vaguely synonymous, but to the ancestors they were two distinct, if related, forms of being.
The original meaning of holy—Old English hâlig—emerges when we examine its sister-words deriving from the same Old Germanic root: hale, healthy, whole, hail, wholesome, hallow. Holy denotes an intrinsic state of being characterized by radical completeness in self: wholeness, entirety, unbrokenness.
The first observation to make about sacred, on the other hand, is that it derives from Latin rather than Old English. Possibly Latin sacer replaced Old English wîh (or wêoh) because of the latter's pagan associations. If so, they don't seem to have had this problem on the Continent, where the old Germanic word still survives in the Modern German name for Christmas Eve: Weihnacht, “holy night.” (It's worth noting that modern German-speaking pagans refer to Yule as Weihenacht, an archaic form of the same word.)
But in fact both the Latin and Old English words refer to the same concept. What is sacer or wîh is something that belongs to a god. Hence, to sacrifice (literally, “make sacer”) something is to give it to a god. Sacrilege is the theft of something that belongs to a god: in the eyes of the ancestors, one of the most terrible of crimes.
Welcome back to Airy Monday, our weekly take on pop culture as it relates to magic and religion. This week our topic of discussion is identity: what it means to you, what it means to us, and what it means to others. Join us as we take a look at racebending, feminism, and the importance of representation in this week's edition. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!