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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Does Evil Exist?

Does evil exist?

The ancestors certainly thought so. Looking around me in the world, I can't help but think that they were right.

I sometimes hear pagans dismissing the existence of evil with a cavalier wave of the hand. (I've been there myself.) As, many of us, people of privilege living in a society of privilege—some of us reacting against upbringings obsessed with metaphysical evil—it's easy to be dismissive.

But the ancestors knew about evil long before the coming of the missionaries. 5500 years ago, speakers of the Indo-European Mother Tongue knew evil as *upelo-. 3000 years later, the speakers of Common Germanic spoke of *ubilaz. The Anglo-Saxon tribe known as the Hwicce, the original Tribe of Witches, called if yfel (Watkins 98).

I'm not arguing for the existence of evil as a principle or a metaphysical entity. Although—linguistically speaking—evil may be a noun, it's not a thing in se.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    My working definition of evil is "superlative wrongdoing." Nobody does the right thing all the time; most (if not all) of us somet
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I once read a book by Lyall Watson titled: "Dark Nature" in which he talks about the biology of evil. I took some notes. "7 mor
Pagan News Beagle: Fiery Tuesday, September 6

The political atmosphere in Turkey continues to grow more repressive in the wake of the failed coup. The Wild Hunt takes a look at the role of religion in the U.S. election this year. And a look at why Virginia's governor is trying to restore the voting rights of several thousand ex-prisoners. It's Fiery Tuesday, our weekly segment on 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 Paths Blogs
Winnowing the Soul

I’ve been collecting wicker. Well, garbage-picking it actually. In my neighbourhood it’s gone out of style and so it ends up on the curb. And I can’t resist it: wicker hampers, baskets, bowls…nothing I need but everything I want. There is something enchanting about the weaving and wending, the writhing willow branches held in tension to create an object of beauty and use. I have to have it.


It’s intricacies are engaging to the eye, tempting to the touch. It is sturdy, but not solid: air and light flow through, keeping it fresh. It is Athena’s work, and the work of the women of Vinci, an Italian river town by full of willows—their branches worked into baskets by the mother of the artist Leonardo, he who would never cease to be fascinated by the woven patterns in the purling of water, the braiding and coiling of hair, the endless interlacing of twining branches and decorative knot work. One can see this obsession working itself out even in his intricate inventions, full of winding ropes and springy slats held in tension. There is magic there, in the weave, in the willow.

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Screen shot 2016-09-05 at 3.14.44 PM

Click on image for source. Sacred Stone Camp, North Dakota.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Tree of Souls

Well, they're starting their annual journey to the Valley of Souls.

Black-and-orange, black-and-orange, black-and-orange.

Even as a kid, they struck me as foreshadowing, as little flecks of Samhain fluttering, by some act of temporal disturbance, into summer.

Danaus plexippus: known variously as the milkweed, tiger, or (for unclear reasons) the monarch butterfly.

When did butterflies first come to symbolize souls? Who can say? (They're not uncommon in Minoan glyptic art.) The reasons for the connection are certainly clear enough. Probably you could rattle off three or four, if you wanted to.

And—among other reasons—like souls, butterflies are migratory.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    We used to have a patch of Michel mass daisies; a kind of tall lavender aster, when I was a teenager. The Monarch butterflies wou

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Wild Things


I had an email this morning from a reader thanking me for my book, The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druid, which is always a lovely thing to hear - do write to authors you like and support them! - and who also had some very good questions, apprehensions and fears about walking the wilds of Maryland, USA, safely and as a Druid, in cougar and bear country.

I used to live in North Vancouver, and took precautions every time I went out into the wild. I always had a hunting knife, not only for defence, but also in case  I got lost, needed to make a fire, etc.  What sort of Pagan goes into cougar and bear-infested woods armed? A smart one! Not that we would want to use any weapons, but that we know that nature is not necessarily always working for the sole purpose of being kind to humanity. Nature has its own modus operandi, as we know, for we too are a part of that nature.

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Pagan News Beagle: Airy Monday, September 5

What made Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away so special? A popular indie fantasy game inspired by an even more popular title gets a new sequel. And a look at the problems of sexual harassment within fan circles and how to establish a safe space. It's Airy Monday, our weekly segment about magic and religion in popular culture! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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