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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
In Search of Perfection

Is the quest for perfection a worthy one?

No matter what form of art I've explored, there are always people trying to hold up a mirror of perfection.  Some use it as a moving target for them to aim their practice to, motivating them to work harder, pushing them along.  Some people take that to an extreme, and never find satisfaction in anything they do because it falls short in their eyes.  They deny themselves credit and possibilities because they feel their work doesn't measure up. Their work might never see the light of day because of their fear. 

Why fear? Because others use an elusive ideal as a means to tear down others who don't fit THEIR idea of what "perfect" is.  Even if they wouldn't even attempt to try it themselves.  They too are trapped by fear and insecurity - of failing short.  But it's easier to talk the talk than walk the walk. 

But the reality is this: There is no perfect film, song, book, dance, building, or work of art. Nothing we create is ever truly perfect - it is all inherently flawed, because that is both our nature and the true disease of time. A work can never be all things to all people. It's not meant to be.

Yet within this unavoidable imperfection, a work IS perfect. It is a pinpoint perfection of that moment in time, that decade, that experience - of the creator and those who interact with it. Perfect dwells in the liminal, the intangible, the shifting land of hopes, dreams, desires, and memories.

What works for one moment may not work for the following one.  That's how time works.  Society is always moving, we as beings are ever-growing and changing.  What we deem worthy or commendable in one situation or timeframe may fall out of favor in the next.  And vice versa. 

Working artists know this.  They know perfection is a lie.  We fall in love with our latest work of art, and then move on to the next one.  We see our work as a series of steps in a spiraling staircase that only ends when we end...or the work ceases to exist.  Each piece of work is part of a larger pattern - and if we rip out those threads solely because we later deem them imperfect, then we fail to see the beauty of the pattern. 

It's important to keep this in mind whether you're considering an artistic, metaphysical, or spiritual practice.  (And often all 3 may find common ground!). 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
In Praise of Guys Without Shirts

A friend of mine has a chalkboard: Things to Be Thankful For.

Yesterday, going past, I took up the chalk and wrote:

Guys Without Shirts.

It's the kind of weather that they named the Summerland for, and finally, after a long winter of visual deprivation, the shirts are coming off.

Thank Goddess.

Don't get me wrong: I appreciate rippling pecs and box-grater abs as much as the next (gay) guy.

But they're not required. Young or old, rounded or taut: it's all beauty to me, and yes, I always look. As the sage once said: The contemplation of beauty is its own reward.

When peonies bloom and shirts are shed, it means that Summer, our beautiful, poignant Summer, is come: burgeoning, urgent, and always O so brief.

And so with poet Dan Pagis I see, and I say:

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  • Haley
    Haley says #
    Hear! hear!
Pagan News Beagle: Airy Monday, June 5 2017

The world goes wild for Wonder Woman. J.K. Rowling's official Harry Potter sequel comes to Broadway. And a look back on the acclaimed show The Leftovers as it ends. It's Airy Monday, our news segment on magic and religion in popular culture! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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It's been a hard spring for many of us, including this Priestess. We've been doing a lot of emotional housecleaning, facing fears, putting to rest old selves, and navigating a world that seems to be determined to show us its cruelest face. It can be hard to find even a moment of peace, of gentleness, of compassion. That's why I'm delighted that Kuan Yin, She Who Hears the Cries of the World, has decided to visit us this week. 

Kuan Yin reminds us that if our compassion does not include ourselves, it is incomplete. She also reminds us to release judgement. This does not mean that we cannot be discerning, or that we cannot decide to remove ourselves from situations that are toxic or harmful. Rather, she reminds us that we can use our discernment and compassion to transform ourselves and others. b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0373.JPG

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Flying the nest

When we talk about flying the nest in human terms, what we mean is a sudden, dramatic exit from a place of comfort and safety to having to fend for ourselves. I find it interesting that this is not what birds do. As it is very much fledgling season right now, I thought it a good time to explore this.

Aquatic birds leave the nest not long after hatching. Fuzzy, excited and with no idea about anything much, they are led to water. Floating comes naturally to them, and momma duck, or in the case of swans, both parents, will get to work teaching them how to survive. Young swans will still be with their parents into the winter.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
The Dragon of the Home

It flies above rooftops, snaking down chimneys to steal wealth or sustenance. Sometimes it appears as a bolt of fire. Other times, it takes the form of a small, red-coated man. Still other times, it appears as an animal -- a lizard, serpent, black cat, rooster or chicken. In Occitan and Catalan cultures, it's called drac, a term related to the more familiar dragons ("Drac"). Like dragons, dracs are connected with wealth and fortune, although unlike "wild" dragons, domestic dracs bring these things to the masters and mistresses of their dwelling (albeit, at the expense of their neighbors) (Encyclopedia of Norse and Germanic Folklore, Mythology and Magic). It makes its home in chimneys or behind the stove -- hot places, where fire naturally dwells, the center of the home. It is a shape-changing spirit, a trickster, but it is happy to serve its chosen family as long as it is well cared-for.

Wild Spirits

So how do dracs come to be? One tradition states that they are born from a yolkless egg; another claims that they are established in a household through a contract with a devil (The Tradition of Household Spirits 154). In Demons and Spirits of the Land, medievalist scholar of folklore Claude Lecouteux argues that the term "devil" is used in these instances to represent a land spirit:

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  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    I love this, thank you!!!!!!! —a dragon's granmother and a daughter of dragons.

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