New evidence sheds light on the extinction of (non-avian) dinosaurs. Astronomer Phil Plait takes a look at a so-called "rogue planet." And history remembers the "rocket girls," women who worked on NASA's early rocketry programs and forged the way to space travel. It's Earthy Thursday, our weekly segment on science and Earth-related news! 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.
In the line of work that I do, I have many opportunities to attend trade shows and fairs, setting up my business information and a small array of books and such for purchase. Many times, given the titles of books on display and perhaps my brochure outlining services and modalities I provide, I have found myself facing the question “Are you New Age?” Though some of what I do and what I offer does touch on aspects that are considered New Age, it is not a tag I have felt resonated with either my personal path or work. But the question has often caused me pause. Stymied on how to respond, I have pondered: What is New Age exactly? What constitutes New Age practices? What is different about what I do? And, if not New Age, then what am I?
It's a name to conjure with, for sure: Aradia.
It's thoroughly in keeping with the irony-laden history of the modern Craft that one of the most common names for the Goddess of Witches should derive ultimately from the name of a first-century member of the Judaean royal house.
Well, it's a long story. (I'll tell it to you some time. If you don't already know and want to find out, you can do so here. Scroll down for the good stuff.)
No, my purpose today is much simpler: stress. Is it a-RA-di-a or a-ra-DI-a?
“What do you know of the negative associations with the word Witch? How do you feel about the fact that so many witches were persecuted and burned in medieval times? Would you like to see witches and Goddess-religion made acceptable in today’s society?”
–Shekhinah Mountainwater, Ariadne’s Thread
While perhaps the answers to these questions seem very obvious when posted to a blog on a forum called Witches and Pagans, to many women interested in women's circles and Red Tents they are significant ones. And, they are very relevant to priestesses like me who work with the general public, rather than specifically pagan-identified groups, for Red Tent Circles and other gatherings. It is important to turn over and acknowledge the ways in which the word "witch" can be used to oppress people or to stifle their curiosity and personal expression as well as even prevent involvement with the work you offer.
This year I began a small study group using the book Ariadne’s Thread. I’ve wanted to work through this book with a group of women for years and it finally is working out to do so. One of the topics of our first meeting is the fear many women have of the word “witch.” This comes up in the Red Tent and Practical Priestessing classes I teach also. Indeed, when I plan Red Tent events, though I do use goddess imagery and I am extremely goddess-oriented in my personal spirituality, I am careful not to include the word “goddess” in the chants or rituals, because I want to make sure to speak to the womanspirit within all of us, rather than being associated with any one framework of belief. Red Tent spaces have the ability to transcend any particular belief system and welcome women of many backgrounds, inclinations, and beliefs. They aren’t specifically “Goddess circles,” though they honor the divine feminine through their very being.
I've been quiet here for the last while—er, the past several months, actually. It hasn't been intentional, but things happen--and I don't know about you, but for me personally, the longer I've been silent the harder it is to start talking again. I've been running my business (during my first year of working for myself full time), dealing with my usual constellation of chronic health issues, and struggling with something new.
As regular readers of this blog probably know, I've been dedicated to Odin (via vows of sacred marriage—similar, in my case, to a nun's vows in Christianity) since 2002. In all of that time, He has been more or less my sole deity, and Norse paganism more or less my sole path.
Until this year.
Should we link our politics and our faith? This is a question that is beginning to be asked in our community. Some of that has to do with the stir that Gods & Radicals has created, especially the recent controversy.
I try to stay out of online bickering, and when I feel I must get involved I try to do it in the form of a column so that we can have a mature, intelligent debate rather than a bunch of back-biting, pot-stirring and name-calling, with the usual wake of vultures showing up to cannibalize whomever looks weakest for their own self-glorification through gossip. Hard experience has taught me that wading in to the mix while the shit is still flying is never helpful. But even I was drawn partway into this one. I guess it’s because it’s such an emotional issue for me. It’s a button-pusher, and my buttons were pushed....