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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in back to the land

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

My previous post on connecting with Pagan Gods and Goddesses involved seeking to establish relationships with them by becoming involved in ritual Pagan practices where such events happen, and sometimes are even expected to happen. Having such experiences means our spiritual reality roots are directly into our own experience of the more-than-human as not only sacred but also willing to enter into explicit relationship with us. Such encounters are both wonderful and deeply transformative. They also upset our life plans in many cases, although in my experience leaving us ultimately better off than had such things not happened.

 

But are there easier ways to at least get a sense of this greater reality? Ways where we can be more active in our search?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

In the two months since the election my broader outlook has become less defensive.   I have begun turning from battling the nihilistic right to the vastly more rewarding challenge of helping build a attractive alternative to modernity’s collapsed moral foundations. That collapse facilitated the right wing’s attempt to impose traditional authoritarianism in both secular and religious guise. Now, instead of constantly uprooting the right’s intellectual and moral weeds I hope to help prepare the ground for new growth and beauty. We sure need it.

My reading has shifted from politics to exploring recent studies exploring how our world is truly conscious “all the way down.” So long as materialist reductionism dominate the intellectual conversation, with irrational monotheism as the alternative, we will be regarded as exotic outsiders, and not taken seriously.  This conversation desperately needs widening. More and more people are becoming aware of the inner bankruptcy of the Enlightenment project and its monotheistic alternatives, and so are open to views such as that of many Pagans if they are skillfully presented.

Mainstream philosopher of science Thomas Nagel’s short Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False,  argues materialistic reductionism will not work and suggesting possibilities with more promise.  All involve making consciousness in some sense a fundamental aspect of reality “all the way down.” Coming from the perspective of process philosophy, Christian de Quincey’s  Radical Nature: The Soul of Matter   is a more demanding work making the positive case that nature is conscious. After Nagel demolishes, de Quincey builds.  These two books are an excellent beginning, and for most, probably a good ending to seeing how a Pagan friendly outlook helps solve problems in the contemporary worldview, and does so from the perspective of contemporary thinking.

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  • Peter Beckley
    Peter Beckley says #
    Thank you for writing this, it's so nice to know there are others who feel this way.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Ancestral Recipes

This time last year, I was looking for somewhere fun to take my sweetie Albert for his birthday. We ended up heading up to Chico for the World Music Festival there. It was a really fun weekend and I highly recommend the event for those who like diverse music and don't like huge crowds. It's smaller and more intimate than other festivals I've attended, and I really felt like I got to connect more with the performers, vendors, and other attendees.

While we were visiting for the festival, an open-air market was happening just outside of town in the more rural farming community where the almond growers make their trade. This was a proper "Hoes Down" kind of affair that felt like a throwback to the festivals of my youth in upstate New York, with folks selling their handmade quilts and rag rugs and knit items, jewel-toned jars of homemade jam and pickles, whimsical yard decor, and a classic car show. I grew up going to events like these in the rural areas around my small hometown of Olean. It was fun to touch that country energy again. Urban farmer's markets in the Bay Area, with highbrow marketing, rapid turnaround, thronging crowds and long lines, are fun and exciting, but they are not quite like these homespun, slow-moving events. Different birds altogether.

I passed a booth where an elderly man was selling a small selection of preserved foods: pickled peppers, beans, and cucumbers. I had been hoping to find a pickled bean vendor, as spicy dill beans are among my favorite snacks. I stepped in to the booth and inquired after a jar of beans: how much? Spicy or not?

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  • Anne Hendley
    Anne Hendley says #
    What a wonderful story! How special for you to honor his wife in such a way. I have found myself trying my hand at gardening and
  • Natalie Reed
    Natalie Reed says #
    Oh sure, make me cry at my desk at work!! Lovely story, thank you for sharing and for honoring the woman the way you did.
  • Amy McCune
    Amy McCune says #
    Are you originally from Olean , NY? I'm from Derrick City, PA; right over the hill!

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

One of the key foundations of modern (and ancient) Paganism is also one of the most contentious. We find it very hard to talk about, it seems, and yet it's fairly key to many people's personal practice. When I've talked about it in the past, it almost seems like I'm breaking a taboo, with the words themselves being 'dirty' or embarrassing. And yet, learning from my passionate and heartfelt Heathen friends, that embarrassment is itself disrespectful, dishonourable and, ultimately, rather foolish.

Who are your Gods and Goddesses? What does Deity mean to you, and how does it influence and affect your Paganism? From the Platonic 'ultimate Male/Female' images (tallying with 'All Gods/Goddesses are One') to the pantheistic, international eclectic transference of pretty much any deity with any other no matter where you yourself live, talking about Deity is a tricky business. Especially because ultimately, nobody can really tell you you're wrong. Or right. Except, perhaps, those Gods themselves.

The Judgement of Paris (Classical)

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Cat: Like Elani, you are articulating one of the major cutting edges of contemporary Paganism -- what *do* we believe? I, for one,
  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    Wonderful post. I think about the Gods in general, and my patron/matron Gods, all the time. But too often I forget to stop, liste

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

It's been a few years since I left "the world of work" and embarked upon this journey with my wife. So many friends tried to talk us out of it, and some even stopped calling or coming by; many called us crazy, some called us brave. I guess it's not every day someone you know announces they're going to leave a good paying job, and the city, along with all its amenities, and move hundreds of miles away to start living a simpler life involving growing their own food, self-employment and getting back in touch with nature and their gods. Now that I think back, it was a crazy thing to do, but that's exactly what my wife and did.

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  • Michael
    Michael says #
    We all need to get back to the land and our roots, our core beliefs. I admire & envy you. May the Gods all smile upon you and yo

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