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PaganNewsBeagle Watery Wednesday Nov 12

In today's Watery Wednesday community news, we've got news that focuses on our many intertwining communities: an upcoming divination conference; The Wild Hunt's editor Heather Greene; Paganicon announces its headliner for 2015; a Witches' memorial; and a magickal woodland handfasting. Enjoy your day!

An upcoming conference in New York promises to explore the mysteries of divination. Check out all the details.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_658px-DEA_mar_loose.jpgIn her 2002 editorial on incarcerated Pagans Anne Newkirk Niven writes about the value of ministering to that population. She sensibly points out that such folks will not be confined forever and will at some point exit the system. Cherry Hill Seminary offers literature for incarcerated Pagans at a very nominal fee. *

Niven tells us that not all Pagans feel such ministry is worth the effort. But it is worth noting that the US has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. Since the 80s, incarceration in federal prisons has soared 800%. A great many of those who are confined were committing nothing that Pagans would view as an ethical violation: they were taking some form of illegal drug. And such policies are inherently racist. People of color are locked up in far greater numbers than those with fair skin.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Maureen Juarez
    Maureen Juarez says #
    It's crazy how many times I have seen people mention the use of drugs and the select behavior of law enforcement persons. There ar
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    You are very right that arrests for minor drug crimes are primarily of young black men. Why are the police not stopping and friski
From Those Who Have Much, Much Is Expected: A Kalasha Tale

The Kalasha are the last remaining pagans of the Hindu Kush. Numbering about 4000, in three adjoining valleys in northwest Pakistan, they are known for their proud polytheism, the freedom (and beauty) of their women, and their wine-drinking.

Among the Kalasha, November is the month of the ancestors, and it is customary to remember them—for “the spirits of the dead are pleased when their names are remembered”—by recounting tales of their deeds.

In Kalasha society, it is impingent upon the wealthy to throw elaborate feasts for as many people as possible; only by sharing their wealth with the rest of the community do they gain prestige. Their Muslim neighbors laugh at them for their lavish, spendthrift ways, but this is indeed the way of the pagan ancestors: from those who have much, much is expected.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    My understanding (I'm certainly no expert) is that the Kalasha reckon lineage bilaterally (i.e. through both the mother's and the
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    According to Heide Goettner-Abendroth, gift giving as a method of ensuring social equality is characteristic of matriarchal egalit

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
From The Sacred Songs of the Witches

Virtually all tribal societies transmit tradition through the medium of songs. In this Season of the Ancestors, we remember the Mothers and Fathers by gathering to tell their stories and sing their songs.

Green Grow the Rushes-O has been part of the Younger Witchery since the early 1960s at very least (some would say for much longer than that); Robert Cochrane, father of the modern Old Craft movement, mentions the song in his letters. This version, which I learned from Feri elder Alison Harlow in 1980, functions both as riddle-song and teaching-song. (Any teacher can tell you that making the student figure things out for herself is the most effective heuristic.)

The mysterious Eleven Words of Power are said in witch legend to be, in fact, the very basis of all existence; but of this I should probably say no more.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Gods and Men in Ancient Minoan Spirituality

I was recently asked, in the Ariadne’s Tribe group, about the apparent predominance of women and goddesses in ancient Minoan religion. After all, the labrys and the Snake Goddess figurines have been hallmarks of the feminist movement for decades. But I’m not sure Minoan spirituality was nearly as overwhelmingly female-centric as it might appear. Before you panic, let me reassure you that the Minoan pantheon was headed by a couple of ‘unmarried’ goddesses who stood alone – Rhea, the Earth Mother who embodied the island of Crete itself and Posidaeja, the Great Mother Ocean. From them descended all the goddesses and gods in the Minoan pantheon. But below their level the pantheon spread out into a collection of deities whose population resembled that of humanity – roughly half female and half male.

One of the reasons Minoan spirituality has an apparently goddess-centric vibe is that the most publicized pieces of art from ancient Crete involve female figures: the Snake Goddess figurines, the central priestess/goddess figure from the Corridor of the Processions fresco. I tend to think these images have captured the imagination of the general public largely because, even today, they’re a bit risque with their brazenly bare breasts. An image of a fully-robed man isn’t nearly as titillating. And of course, for decades it was the men within the archaeological community who decided what to study and what to publicize, hence the preponderance of topless female figures.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

For as long as I can remember, Witches and Pagans have talked about whether or not they are in the “broom closet,” meaning whether or not they’re out about their religion publicly. Whether to be in or out and who to come out to (if anyone) are huge decisions for many Wiccans and Pagans, or at least they have been historically. Last month something happened to me that made me think long and hard about the broom closet, so I'm abandoning my usual question-and-answer format in this post to ramble a bit about my experience. 

The Broom Closet in the 1980s

When I first started getting into Wicca in the 1980s, we heard stories about people losing their jobs when their employers found out they were Wiccan, Wiccans being disowned by their families because of their religion, and Wiccans losing their children in custody battles against a parent who wasn’t Wiccan. It was considered unwise by many Wiccans to be out of the closet to anyone but close friends and family, and the general notion was even those people had to be chosen carefully.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Linette
    Linette says #
    Was married to an academic for 25 years, they look down on everyone for everything. I think it's the reason that they only talk ab
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Since you are now "out of the closet" (albeit unwillingly) this book might help you with your Christian relatives: http://www.amaz
  • Amber Manuel
    Amber Manuel says #
    I agree that no one should out another or pressure them to come out. I am very new to Wicca and was outed recently by a family mem
  • Thea Sabin
    Thea Sabin says #
    I'm so sorry someone outed you. That's just plain wrong. Have you heard Dar Williams' song "The Christians and the Pagans"? It's t
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    I prefer to call myself a "Goddess feminist" in terms of my spirituality. I don't always offer either of those terms in everyday c
PaganNewsBeagle Fiery Tuesday Nov 11

It's Fiery Tuesday at the PaganNewsBeagle, and today we have stories that reflect on the recent elections; the gap between knowledge and opinion; recent court cases involving religious rights; and a new reaction to climate change news.

Overlooked in the recent Republican gains in last week's election is two opposing issues that won big: voters supported raises in the minimum wage and the legalization of marijuana.

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