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PaganNewsBeagle Faithful Friday Oct 10

In today's Faithful Friday post, the Pagan News Beagle brings you: a secularist convention; yoga: fitness or faith; UK law enforcement confronts witchcraft accusations; does higher education lead to less religious behavior? and five Hindu words for love.

Richard Dawkins and his fellow secularists are having a convention this week, concentrating on the rise of religious fundamentalism, especially in the Middle East.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    When schools teach secular non-religion, then fewer graduates are religious. It so good to know that highly schooled "experts" h

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

When I was eleven years old, I became deeply engrossed in magic tricks and ventriloquism. Both of those studies quickly became compulsions for me, to the extent that I would practice them in the privacy of my room while my parents confidently trusted me to do my homework. Paul Winchell was a popular ventriloquist on TV at that time, and I had a Jerry Mahoney ventriloquist dummy. I read books and learned the tongue-techniques of forming words without moving my lips. At the same time I devoured books on stage magic, discovering how to grab the spotlight by fooling an audience with digital manipulation, misdirection and mechanical illusions. 

At that point I could very well have been on track to become a colleague of Penn and Teller or Terry Fator—but such was not my destiny, for by the age of sixteen I had lost my enthusiasm for both of those trades just as abruptly as I had embraced them. The surprising reason was a sudden deep disappointment with their artificiality; I found that I no longer wanted to pretend to be the voices of animals and other non-human beings, I wanted to have real conversations with animals and sprites, in which somebody else would talk back to me! Neither was I satisfied to deceive people with illusions of magic tricks, I wanted to access the real magical powers of Moses, Solomon, Merlin and Jesus! 

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  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Beautiful! I think many of the people who contribute most to bettering society feel like failures to some degree, at least sometim
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thanks and smiles.
The Apples of the Avalon...  a search for the soul.

I love the autumn in Avalon. Today I spent a wonderful golden afternoon walking amongst the apple orchards. The last of the summer sun warmed my skin, and turned the lingering dew on the grass into a million diamonds...the air was rich with the heady scent of ripe apples, a hint of wood smoke and cider as the fallen fruit burst with juices and fermented upon the soil. The apples on the bough, still firm and full of life, russet and gold, hung like garlands of jewels amongst the turning leaves. Damsel and dragonflies flitted around in clouds of azure blue and metallic green, alighting on the rich blackberries and the scarlet rosehips. The air was still, the silence broken only by the cawing of the crows, the distant cries of the buzzard circling over Glastonbury Tor. All around was natures abundance, overflowing and decadent, lingering still before the coming winter, lazy and full bellied.   

The apples of Avalon are highly sacred. The mythical Isle of Avalon, the Isle of Apples traditionally held to be here, in Glastonbury in the south west of England, is a place of rest and wholeness, a place of healing. An Otherworldly Isle, positioned on the veil between the worlds, it is the first stop for travellers passing in either direction- a place of immortals and faery spirits, as well as wandering mystics, prophets, and lost souls seeking redemption. Modern day Glastonbury is much the same, a meeting place of spirits seeking something more...to cross the veil, or get a glimpse of the divine that here can feel so tantalisingly close. And always, the answer, the goal, the grail that is sought is summed up by the simple apple, the fruit of the gods.

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Once again you soothe and inspire us with your evocative descriptions, your poetry and the sharing of your inner peace. Blessed Be
PaganNewsBeagle Earthy Thursday Oct 9

It's earthy Thursday here at the Pagan News Beagle -- let's dig deep and get dirty! Today's stories include amazing mushrooms; neolithic burial -- now available!; hope for the Monarch butterfly?; living breakwaters and other new ideas in conservation and remediation; a guide to Earth's major chakras.

This slideshow includes photos of twenty five of the most amazing mushrooms I've ever seen. Wow!

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Halloween ace of pumpkins 400

Symbols, both ancient and contemporary, can be a treasure trove for creating fresh divination positions for layouts. Even symbolic shapes have informed tried-and-true spreads; the Celtic Cross and Horseshoe Spreads spring to mind.

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Nepal: A Country Of Holy Cows, Tibetan Refugees and Spiritual Mountains: Part Two

The jaunt to the mystical Langtang mountains of Nepal had left me feeling in better spirits and all too soon we are back on the bus to Kathmandu. I was back being my adventuresome self once more. It was 1996 and I had decided I was not going to die in Nepal. 

Back at the Kathmandu Guest House it is soaking up local culture again as we embarked on numerous sightseeing expeditions. First on the agenda was the Hanuman Dhoka—the Old Palace—spread over an area of five impressive acres. It was a popular square of complexes, palaces, temples and courtyards much of it built in the 12th Century. In Durbar Square statues of gods, men, demons and exotic sexual looking images greeted me. A half lion Vishnu statue created uneasy emotions; it was altogether an astonishing and overwhelming trip through images and often erotic art that is inspired by religion here. I felt confounded and baffled, not to fail to mention astonished and perplexed. Was it my strict Mennonite upbringing that caused me to feel bewildered seeing these images? I decided to sleep on it.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Viking Grief

One of the most moving poems by the Viking poet/magician/farmer Egil Skallagrimsson was one he wrote lamenting the death of his favourite son Böðvarr who drowned at sea, and his son Gunnar who died of fever. In skaldic form the twenty-five verses give voice to his sorrow with passion and beauty. Normally Vikings assuaged loss with revenge but there is no one to attack for these deaths.

Egil composes the poem after vowing to kill himself by starvation, unwilling to live in a world without his son. His daughter Þorgerður tells him she will die with him, but tricks him into drinking some milk and spoiling his hunger strike. She then suggests that the best way to memorialise her brother is to compose a suitable poem in his honour so that he will live forever.

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