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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Pagans and voluntary poverty

A few weeks ago I wrote a post inspired by a conversation I had with an indebted Pagan, and one idea that came out of it -- that of a Pagan credit union -- really caught fire.  The level of interest made writing a follow-up post on your reactions to the idea of a Pagan credit union the next logical step.

Comments are a double-edged sword in the blogosphere, but I've learned a lot from the ones I have received here.  In pointing out what he or she thinks is the fatal flaw in any plan for Pagan financial infrastructure, Kveldrefr got me thinking about one of the underlying beliefs about Pagans, that they want to be poor:

"I would think that part of the issue regarding credit unions in particular is that many Pagans make a virtue of poverty, taking pride in their lack of concern for "material things." While anyone should be allowed to make such decisions for oneself, all too often those same individuals insist that others should share that attitude, and attack those who are successful.

"Until and unless the 'virtuous poverty' syndrome is dealt with, Paganism will not be able to mature in the ways you suggest, because it quite simply won't have the resources to do so. You can't pay mortgages for temples and hofs [sic] with piety and selling handmade soap."

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  • Mariah
    Mariah says #
    I am both poor & privileged- I work retail, but I have a bachelor's, and the social connections & cultural knowledge/capital of a
  • Dver
    Dver says #
    I wouldn't describe myself as voluntarily poor, but I fall somewhere between that and the usual materialistic approach in this cul
  • Aleah Sato
    Aleah Sato says #
    Wow, so much to say in response. This is a very succinct post on such a complex issue and I support Alley's response, with some di

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
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My girl, Mary Magdalene

As eager as Old Christianity has been to paint Mary Magdalene as part of the oldest profession, New Christianity is equally eager to say that she’s totally legit.

I say the truth was probably somewhere in between.  I doubt she was a street walker but could she have been a temple priestess who wasn’t hung up being chaste?  Maybe.  It would make the fact that she seemed to be pretty educated plausible.  Plus the boys were probably jello that she was Jesus’ favorite so calling her a ho to take her down a peg isn’t exactly uncommon practice even in modern times.

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  • Linda Armstrong
    Linda Armstrong says #
    Thank you so much for this informative article; I really enjoyed it. Since I was a very small child, I have had two spiritual lea

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

My wife and I just returned from PantheaCon in San Jose. It was our first time attending the event, and we were very impressed. It's easy to find things to complain about, especially at an event this big, but one thing that impressed me is how few complaints I heard - at least about anything substantial.

Complaining can be a natural reaction to disappointment, frustration and other emotions; the lack of it spoke volumes to me in a couple of respects. For one thing, it indicated that the people who put on this convention really got it right. It was well organized, communication was clear (the map, list of events and daily updates from the "town crier" just outside the elevators were extremely well done. There just wasn't that much to complain about.

The lack of complaints also speaks to the tone set for the event in the workshops, rituals, classes, concerts and other activities. There was a sense of unity among a diverse collection of people. We were willing to celebrate our differences and learn from one another, eagerly and without prejudice.

Complaining is all about making one's feelings known - specifically, feelings of dissatisfaction. Sometimes, it's necessary, and some complaints can certainly be legitimate. But listening and learning are all about gathering information, and (barring an emergency), it's best to do as much of this as possible before complaining. Often, complaints turn out to be misplaced simply because we haven't taken the time to learn more about what's causing our dissatisfaction.

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  • Shauna Aura Knight
    Shauna Aura Knight says #
    It was great to meet you at Pantheacon. Thanks for posting this! I too hope to see more fruitful dialogue.
  • Stifyn Emrys
    Stifyn Emrys says #
    I'm sorry to have missed you, as well. We'll definitely be back next year!
  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    Hey, I'm bummed I missed meeting you! Next time?

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Winds of Change

 

“Blow, wind, oh, blow with all your might!

 Blow Conrad’s cap right out of sight,

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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Greetings to all!

This is just a quick re-blog of an article I wrote about my experiences with mountain lions, lore & history, and the magic alive in being a witness, activist, and treehugger.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

 

 

Taking a break from the hurricane-lashed Glen with its river in full flood, mountains capped with snow and giant trees ripped out by their roots, I crossed the ridge behind our cottage and dipped down into Tipperary Town for a quiet lunch and a potter around the shops.  Even in the sheltered streets the wind was still strong enough to take the breath away, but having been marooned without electricity, broadband or mobile phones for four days it made a welcome change to see other people around.

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  • Melusine Draco
    Melusine Draco says #
    How great to hear from someone who was part of that famous Sunday 'school'. Unfortunately everyone seems to have lost touch since
  • Jeremy Crawford
    Jeremy Crawford says #
    I read the book "Coven of the Scales" about Aliester "Bob" Clay-Egerton and his wife, Miriem. I used to meet with them at Mark Ton

As I deeply value thriving in the connection with All Things, I make an effort to live that truth. There's no one way or right way, and when you're a cyclic person, that fact becomes evident right away.

Photo by Jessie Pearl ~ flickr

What’s a cyclic person? We’re many things, I suppose. Women identify with the phrase from the onset of menstruation. Certainly those who cope with challenges to mood and mental health conditions relate. Later in life, I hear more men comment around cycles.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
When a Child's Pet Dies

 

 

Last night I received a heartbreaking email from a reader. He was emailing me because his child's cat had been hit by a car and he and his wife were at a loss as to what to tell her (the girl is about six). They have an active devotional practice and an active practice of ancestor veneration. They neither wanted to approach death as something wrong and to be hidden, or to lie to their child, but neither did they want to cause their little girl an iota's worth of unnecessary pain. They asked me what I suggested. With their permission, I'm going to share with you what I told them, but I want to preface that by a disclaimer and a story. 

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  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    wise advice. I agree, no point in hiding death from children. it is part of life.
  • Linda Armstrong
    Linda Armstrong says #
    Your article moved me very much. I'm a long way from being a child (67) but sooner than I would want, I'm going to need to say go

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Transitioning into the Mother Weaver

As a child I experienced everything around me with awe and wonder. Receiving magic was natural and seamless. The path of the Priestess helped me to keep this channel open, and as a Maiden Priestess I revelled in my role as Receiver of Magic. In ceremony and ritual I was taken away on the wings of the energy, the music, and the Spirit helpers that joined us. During retreats I was guided through meditations that opened my crown chakra, I would soak in sacred waters, and spend hours practicing yoga. I could walk the Earth, still and contemplative, or run wildly with the wind rushing through my hair. I was an adult, yet I was still a Maiden, my life was still my own. Just when, where and how I served the Divine and her children was still my prerogative.

Pregnancy was the beginning of my transition from Maiden to Mother. I knew that I was walking through the fires of my rite of passage when I was in it, but I could not have anticipated what it would mean for me as a Priestess. I was prepared to lose my freedom in exchange for devoted service to the nurturing of my daughter Gracious and her soul's descent into the flesh. It was the dimming of the magic and the loss of space and time to consciously receive it that I wasn't prepared for. The elation of new motherhood was tempered by surprising feelings of grief. In prayer I realized that the tension of transition had brought a feeling of loss for the former phase of my life. I was grieving because I was becoming ready to embrace a new phase.

With each passing moment I could see the Maiden I once was reflected in my daughter. I watched my daughter’s eyes as they scanned the room in wonder, in awe of the twinkling lights adorning our bookshelf, smiling at the ceramic butterflies fastened to the wall above her as she breastfed. I would remember how it felt to sit in front of Christmas lights as a child. I would have moments of clarity where I could recall staring deeply into a flower or a ladybug . As a child I could feel the essence of the life that flowed through these beautiful creatures and creations. My daughter's birth highlighted how much I missed that innocent state of wonder. This longing was all part of my gradual release of the past, and as I accepted that, I became conscious of a new role I was growing into, that of the Mother Priestess. My transition had taken me from me from Maiden to Mother, from the Receiver of Magic to the Weaver of Magic.

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  • Candise
    Candise says #
    thank you sister xc
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    beautiful

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Imbolc, though most often observed on the first of February, approximately half-way between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, is more than a a1sx2_Thumbnail1_Brighid.jpgcelebration of a day. Historically it marks the season of lambing and lactation in the ewes – the old Irish Imbolg meaning in the belly, and the medieval Oimelc, meaning ewes milk. In this respect, Imbolc is a season and the heralding celebration was often observed as much as two weeks before or after the beginning of February.

Living in a cold and wintery northern region of the United States (and this year Calleach is a formidable guest, brining with her deep cold and even deeper snow), I always have some difficulty getting into the spirit of Imbolc and Oestra. With temperatures below zero and the great likelihood that I will not see the ground without snow cover until well into April, the promise of spring is still a hopeful seed, closed tight, waiting for the earth to warm and the rains to come.

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Apollo, Dionysus: meet Nietzsche. Nietzsche: Apollo, Dionysus. Part 1

This entry is a little long so I'v split it into two segments. So don't worry if you feel theres something missing in the proposed philosophy. That gets covered in the second part. Here's part 1

 

Perhaps the central theme of Neo Paganism in terms of worship is the duality of God and Goddess. These forces, separately, represent all manifestations of human experience and cultivate realms of significance in terms of correspondence. Solar energy is typically understood as masculine and a part of the metaphors belonging to the God. Conversely, the Goddess offers lunar metaphors. The masculine concepts of deity are understood to be penetrative, the feminine, receptive. The list of correspondences extends toward literally everything in existence as all properties are believed to come from one of these opposing sources. Additionally, the Neo Pagan duality of worship stresses harmony and balance between the two gendered ideas. The one cannot survive without the other, the other invigorates the one. As the most intimate medium of understanding the world is indeed gender (within the context of western contemporary society), the metaphoric understanding of deity through gender provides an avenue of connection for worshipers and adherents of Neo Paganism. This essay is not to lambaste the gendered binary understanding of deity or the world, but to provide an alternative perspective on the duality of deity. Offered will be a short exploration of the Apollonian and Dionysian world views in context with previous examinations of said topic and a contemporary application of the worldviews within the context of Neo Paganism.

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  • Travis Crockett
    Travis Crockett says #
    I think you both have made excellent points. Terrence: I agree the duality Im interpreting does lean very closely to the wicca ide
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    I would agree with Terrance that Neo-Paganism is more multi-vocal than the assertion of duality of God and Goddess. Many Goddess f
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    "Perhaps the central theme of Neo Paganism in terms of worship is the duality of God and Goddess." If you replace "Neo Paganism"
The Divine Feminine Wears a Big Brim Hat?

A few weeks ago I was the co-host on a local radio show.  Now, keep in mind that this program is on a local college station and the college is a private, Free Methodist, liberal arts school.  Therefore, the managers of the radio station as well as a majority of the audience come from a fairly traditional, fundamental Christian mindset. When I co-host this show, I keep in mind the audience and try to speak their language without compromising who I am. The host of the program had decided to push boundaries and have a metaphysical themed show.  He fancies himself a rebel but in reality is not.

 Anyway, the main guest that evening was a woman who has written a couple of books about her channeled messages from Princess Diana and John Lennon.  Granted, I am almost always initially skeptical of such things.  I have been around long enough to know that it is possible that a given person would get messages from the other side of the veil.  On the other hand, why is it so many people seem to get messages from a select few celebrities?  Nevertheless, I proceeded to interview and ask her questions about the things she was saying in her book, particularly the one with messages from Princess Diana.  The guest wanted to just read pages from her book, which was pretty boring radio.  FINALLY, she took a breath and I was able to ask her about something she had just said. 

In her channeled messages, Princess Diana had said that while she was on earth, she was THE manifestation of the Divine Feminine.  Huh?  Wow.  Ok.  At this point I asked the writer if she could expound on that idea.  Just exactly how did Princess Diana exemplify the Divine Feminine?  The reply:  “By the good charity work I supported for children around the world, and especially my style and clothing choices.”  I don’t know…doesn’t that sound just a little bit like a typical Miss America answer?  Perhaps I am a bit jaded in my second half century.

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  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    I would agree that perhaps Princess Diana has become ONE aspect of the Divine Feminine for the modern culture, but I like your obs
  • JudithAnn
    JudithAnn says #
    Our human nature, or propensity to label, is no doubt responsible in part for these narrower concepts of the Feminine Divine. For
  • SophiaDawn
    SophiaDawn says #
    Yes, I do agree that we humans are limited at times in our understanding. Your Phyllis Diller comment made me laugh!!

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

I recently posted one of Danielle LaPorte's Truthbombs on my Facebook page:

don't hide behind your vows

 

This sparked a discussion of what it means to make a vow, to break a vow, and to hide behind a vow, a discussion that got me thinking about my first marriage and divorce.

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  • Amoret BriarRose
    Amoret BriarRose says #
    Thank you!
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    great post

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

MATRIARCHY: DARING TO USE THE “M” WORD

For me the word “matriarchy” expresses the certainty that “another world” can exist—a world not based in domination and hierarchy or violence and war. 

The word “matriarchy” makes people’s hair stand on end as they imagine the mirror-image of patriarchy: societies in which women dominate men, beat men, rape men, hold men as slaves, and demand obedience from men.  Some who do not protest very loudly or at all against patriarchy are horrified by the very idea of matriarchy. To be fair, most feminists have also been schooled not to use the “m” word.

Early in my academic career, I read “The Myth of Matriarchy” by Joan Bamberger and learned that the idea of matriarchy gone wrong has been used by men to justify patriarchy. From other academics I learned that in matrilineal societies, uncles have a great deal of power—so therefore there never was a matriarchy.  I was also aware that Jungian and other proponents of a “matriarchal stage” in the development of culture have argued that matriarchy had to be succeeded by patriarchy in order for societies to evolve to a “higher” stage. Unlike many of my colleagues I stubbornly held onto the belief that there must have been “a better way” prior to patriarchy.

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  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    There are powerful Goddesses in India, but India is so far from being a matriarchy that your comment does not make sense. Gang rap
  • Constance Tippett Chandler
    Constance Tippett Chandler says #
    So glad you said this. Women, and men need to be educated on this term and understanding what it means. Martriarchy does NOT mean
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    For examples of Matriarchies where women dominate men some would point to Sweden or India. Some would include numerous other plac

My familiar died last year.

But this article is not about him: the death of pets, even the best-loved, is in my opinion a matter for private, not public, mourning.

But the death of a household member occasioned some serious thought on the matter of the rituals with which we meet such an event in the home. As a community, we've been strong on public ritual and weak on household observance, and in this we differ greatly from the ancestors, who held both to be of equal necessity. The last death in my household had occurred almost 10 years previously, and at the time I pretty much winged it. But since then my thinking has matured (or so I like to tell myself), and so when Gremlin died I followed Ceisiwr Serith's advice: when confronted with a new situation, consult ancestral precedent.

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  • Arthur Freeheart
    Arthur Freeheart says #
    very nice, my friend.
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    With all the conversation lately about whether or not there are common threads which bind the many Paganisms together, this post i
Desperately seeking Druid: The over-sexualised images in D&D fantasy games

I love playing Dungeons and Dragons.  It is where I first came across the term, "Druid".  In the Forgotten Realms series, there was a Druid whose concern was in the balance, in keeping encroaching man out of the wilderness, and who could shapechange into a white hawk, summon insects to harangue enemy spellcasters, throw down lightning bolts and other such things.  I left the Druids in the realm of fantasy until much later in life, when I found out that Druidry is a reality, albeit a little different to the fantasy novel character…

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  • J'Karrah
    J'Karrah says #
    What? You don't find a chain mail brazier, leather thong, and 9 inch platform stripper heels to be appropriate female battle atti
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    It's such a shame that you had to modify all the miniatures, isn't it? Elder Scrolls is quite good, but I don't do computer game
  • ScarletteSpider
    ScarletteSpider says #
    When i'm looking for a picture to represent my character, do you have any idea how long and hard i have to look to find a female i
Pagan savings challenge, week seven:  parting of the ways

I feel a certain obligation to post weekly about the Pagan savings challenge, if only to remind readers that I am still plugging along, and to cheer on my fellow savers.  This week I did not have a topic at the ready, so when in doubt, do some divination!

Using the Greek alphabet oracle, I drew tau, the parting from the companions now around you.  I drew this tile separate from my daily divination, and despite carefully shaking the jar of letters, I got the same one both times.  Given the growing stream of money that is being diverted from my wallet to my savings, I believe the companions I am parting from are all named George Washington.

However, I am cheered that this parting is not forever, and that my army of Georges will return to me in less than eleven months, ready to do my bidding.  What orders are you readying for your army?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

This week, I write on Odin to fulfill my promise to write about each god (#8) placed in the atheists’ “god graveyard”.  I’ve only had one personal experience with Odin which I wrote previously about here.  So I’ve spent time this week researching him, trying to figure out what to write.  Nothing came to mind specifically just an overwhelming awe over the role he has chosen for himself.  

b2ap3_thumbnail_oski.jpg

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

They say that when the Moon, Mother of Witches, gave birth to the tribe of Witches, she looked into the water to see what the life of her first-born people would be. And there she saw sorrow, black sorrow; and there she saw joy, golden joy.

Then she wept a mother's tears for her first-born people, for what may be and what must be. From her left eye fell tears of black sorrow; they fell to the ground and were jet. From her right eye fell tears of golden joy; they fell to the sea and were amber.

So the great ones among us wear necklaces of amber and jet to this day; and whoever carries upon him the black tears or the golden will always draw her eye to him, for from her eye they came.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks Arwen, I'm honored. Any festivals coming up for you this year?
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    Many a moon ago, I met you at several PSG at Eagle Cave. You impressed me then. You still do. This was lyrical.

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