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Assuming the Mantle: The Lessons of Anne Boleyn

This post by Heather Freysdottir on female sovereignty, and male attempts to erase it from the historical record, reminded me that about a year ago I wrote a related piece (a meaty 7,200 word article) that was published in the Walking the Worlds journal’s very first issue, which focused on ancestor worship. Galina Krasskova approached me to write the piece because she had heard about my work with Queen Anne Boleyn and was curious about the contributions a Christian Queen might make to a polytheist devotional practice. The journal buys one-time rights, with the understanding that after six months all rights to republication would revert to me. I have held the rights since June or July, and because I felt it deserved a wider audience than the people I was able to reach through the journal, I had intended to put it out as a short ebook–but then I got busy with the store and forgot to release it.

And then Heather’s post on forgotten queens (or queens who are remembered for the wrong reasons) reminded me that interest in Anne is growing among polytheist women. True, she was Christian, but her ardent belief in the importance of having a direct and intimate connection with her god (which was a new and startling notion in the 16th century, when she lived) is not so different from our own devotion to our deities. And even more than that, queens are part of our cultural and spiritual inheritance as women; studying examples of female power proves to us that such power is not only possible but within our own grasp–which is exactly why men have tried so hard to hide this evidence. It is beyond tragic that popular culture mostly remembers Anne as a sex kitten; this is one of the ways in which men love to paint clever women who have gotten the better of them, minimizing them by reducing them to the sum of their sexual parts. Anne was a scholar (her father used his clout as French ambassador to arrange for her to have an education mainly reserved for the children of royalty), a better musician than her husband Henry VIII, a good mother to her only daughter (the future Queen Elizabeth I), a devout evangelist, and a champion of the poor. (She wanted the funds from the dissolution of the monasteries to go to health care and food for the underprivileged; the king’s minister Cromwell used them to enrich the royal treasuries instead. Their power struggle over this is partly why he turned against her, and why he felt he HAD to vilify her.)

My ebook discusses why her remarkable life is more important than her violent and horrific death, how she came to matter so much to me, and why she should matter to ALL of us, as polytheist women, godspouses, and spirit workers.  

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Pagan News Beagle: Watery Wednesday, November 18

This week for Watery Wednesday we take a look at Japanese Halloween, Wiccan "churches," and beginner Pagan's book lists.

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Altoid tin altar  

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Minoan Peak Sanctuaries: Way Up There

I’ve written before about the astronomical alignments of the Minoan temple complexes, but the big temples that were the centerpieces of the towns in ancient Crete weren’t the only places the Minoans went for worship. The island of Crete is ringed by lovely flat beaches, but the center is filled with mountains that rise more than a mile high. Some of these mountain peaks were sacred places to the ancient Minoans. They built pilgrimage roads up the mountainsides to shrines and sanctuary buildings at the peaks.

These peak sanctuaries were popular places for sacred pilgrimages as well as official religious celebrations. Some of them were built with purposeful astronomical alignments as well, mostly due east, the direction of sunrise on the equinoxes. But their pattern of use changed over the centuries that they were active sacred sites and some of the sanctuaries fell out of use altogether while others continued to be the focus of religious activities.

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  • Wendilyn Emrys
    Wendilyn Emrys says #
    The Peak Sanctuaries, when combined with a Cave Sanctuary, as in the case of Mt. Dikte were also considered the birthplaces of var
Pagan News Beagle: Fiery Tuesday, November 17

The world mourns in the wake of the Paris attacks and tries to determine the best course forward. Past terrorist attacks are remembered and examined. And the refugee crisis in Europe continues unabated. It's Fiery Tuesday, our weekly look at political and societal news from around the world. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Limits of Tolerance

Modern pagans pride ourselves on being a tolerant people.

In this we are wholly true to the ways of our ancestors, and it seems to me that we live up to this ideal often enough to claim it as one of the pagan virtues.

The dilemma arises when tolerance meets with intolerance, as the historic paganisms learned to their great disadvantage. Tolerance extended indefinitely must invariably end in ethnosuicide.

Tolerance may well be a virtue, but any virtue carried to extremes ceases to be virtuous. What, then, are the acceptable limits of tolerance? How much intolerance can we tolerate?

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  • Haley
    Haley says #
    Thank you for this well put, thought provoking piece, Steven. You really have a way of getting the gears turning.
Syria: Damascus Before the Wars Began

Syria, Damascus; Before the War Began March, 2011


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