The feminine side of Buddhism is explored. A Hindu religious leader talks about love and intimacy in his religion. And we take a look at the sacred Islamic "Feast of Sacrifice." It's Faithful Friday, our weekly segment on faiths and religious communities from around the world! 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.
Could one solution to global warming be as simple as fostering forests? A new pterosaur is discovered that's the size of a cat. And a closer look at scientists' vision of the newly identified planet orbiting Proxima Centauri. It's Earthy Thursday, our weekly segment on science and Earth-related news! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
I've been following the events on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, where hundreds (if not thousands) have gathered to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL for short) for the better part of two months, though I've been dimly aware of the issue since last spring. As a native South Dakotan transplanted to Texas, I still follow news outlets from my beloved prairies, including several independent Native news agencies. When I started sharing posts about the growing camps of protectors -- community members prefer this term to protestors -- I was shocked and amazed when friends told me that my Facebook feed was the only place they were hearing about the situation. (The 1,172 mile pipeline, which will carry oil from North Dakota's Bakkan region, crosses the Missouri River in a number of places, threatening the only source of drinking water for many indigenous communities. Construction also threatens burial grounds and other culturally important sites for the Standing Rock Sioux. For a quick primer on the situation, go here and here.)
I've been heartened to see that the Pagan community has spoken out about the DAPL and has offered support to the protectors at Standing Rock. While I understand that many Pagans "don't like to be political," there is no question in my mind that we have a duty to stand with indigenous peoples everywhere, and in particular with Native American/First Nations peoples. For Pagans in the United States and Canada (and elsewhere in the Americas), the very land on which we stand and which we purport to venerate is the same land (and water, and air) threatened by the DAPL and projects like it. The environmental stakes alone should give us reason to stand up and say #NoDAPL and to support those seeking to prevent the "black snake" from being built across the nation's prairie heartland, from North Dakota all the way to Illinois. As earth-venerating people, I believe that it is incumbent upon us to stand up against environmental degradation -- as Al Gore famously said in Earth in the Balance, Paganism is the spiritual arm of the environmental movement....
One of the joys of autumn is the finding of webs, dew decked and glinting in the early morning light.
Spider webs are amazing constructions, and the whole spidering business is fascinating – all spiders produce 8 or more kinds of thread, and they only don’t get caught in their own webs because they remember where to stand....
–Christopher Penczak, Sons of the Goddess, p. 51
Our oldest son is rapidly sliding into manhood. Creaky voice. Height stretching on a near-daily basis. Fuzz on upper lip. It is hard to hold space for this transition while still caring for a not-quite-two year old small boy as well, one who reminds me regularly of my first baby boy and what it was like to be a mother to only one, focused on each stage of development, each new word, each successful identification of a new color. Now that first baby boy swings that last baby boy onto one hip with practiced ease, washes dishes, helps to cook, pours milk for his sister....
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.
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!