Witches build a temple for Hathor in Wisconsin. A new Tarot deck celebrates icons of black history. And debate consumes the Pagan community over what it means to be a real polytheist. It's Watery Wednesday, our weekly segment on news about the Pagan community. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
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One of the issues we face when working with modern Paganism based in ancient Minoan spirituality is a practical one: we can’t read what the Minoans wrote. Their two writing systems, Cretan hieroglyphs and Linear A, are still undeciphered. That leaves us with lots and lots of images from frescoes, pottery, seal stones and seal rings. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but figuring out exactly which thousand words are the right ones can be a problem.
Lately I’ve been working on some art projects that involve enlarging photos of some of the Minoan seal rings, and I’ve had occasion to examine the artwork closely. Most of the time this has been an enlightening process, but I have run across one bit that bothered me a lot. You see, there’s a particular ritual scene that’s repeated over and over on the seal rings. The archaeologists have interpreted it as a ‘tree shaking ceremony’ but they can’t manage to explain what it might actually mean. As I was examining a closeup of the seal ring from Tholos Tomb A at Archanes (the main blog image above) it occurred to me that the branch-type object the male figure is shaking might not actually be a tree. I had a look at a few other seal rings that include similar ‘tree shaking’ rituals and I think these images may be something far more specific to the Minoan goddess than trees....
For some, winter is the time of dreaming. The long dark night, the glow of the fire, and much of nature seeming to be inactive or hibernating, can be suggestive of human sleep and resting. Winter can be the time of storytellers. It depends a lot on your way of life though, as it can also be a time of hunger, cold, struggle and death.
For others, spring is suggestive of dreams because it is the time of new beginnings. Everything is growing afresh, new life is coming into the world and this suggests possibilities. We can throw away the old, make something new and dream big....
In Indonesia moderate Islams demonstrate the power of religious pluralism. Across the world sex workers unite to celebrate Amnesty International's decision to work towards the decriminalization of their profession. And in Europe the refugee crisis tests the region's dedication to its ideals. It's Fiery Tuesday, our weekly take on political news. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
If a Mormon barrista suddenly refused to serve coffee because caffeine is "against her religion," she would be fired.
If a tattooist converted to Orthodox Judaism and refused to tattoo anyone because the Torah forbids it, he would be fired.
So a county clerk in Kentucky refuses to issue marriage licenses because her form of Christianity forbids same-sex marriage, and they send the matter to court?
If I could reach through the folds of time and explain a few things to new-Priestess me, here is what I would say about who I might want to re-consider letting into the Coven:
The woman with the brassy-sassy personality who called you at work crying because it looks like she'll be getting fired wants to know because if it's because the Gods rejected her offerings...and gets rancid-offended when you suggest it's probably less about the offering and more because she slapped a co-worker that morning...she's going to be a bit tough to work with....
Recently on a Facebook discussion about raising children in our varied polytheist traditions, one of my dearest friends, who is an ally to those of us living as practitioners of minority religions, asked what allies can do to help those of us who are dedicated to raising our children within a polytheist home. I didn't respond, because at the time I was trying to decide what kind of help in the task would be helpful. And I've been thinking about it since then almost daily.
So Daniel, if you're reading this, here is my answer finally... You know how sometimes it takes a decade to get my thoughts together on things, and I want to thank you for your endless patience.