China puts the pressure on nomadic ethnic minorities along its northern border. Feminists within Orthodox Judaism struggle to make their voices heard. And the Scandinavian far-right takes a populist stance. That's right it's time for Fiery Tuesday, our weekly news segment on political and social news from around the globe. If you're looking for a Pagan perspective on the news, here's our take!
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This past Saturday, I attended a remembrance circle for a member of one of our covens. It was held on her birthday, about one year after her death. There had been ceremonies immediately after her death, but the passage of time allowed this ritual to focus more upon a celebration of her life than upon loss. Almost everyone present chose to speak about the times that they had shared with her. It is often said that funerary rites are more for the living than for those who have gone ahead. For the most part I agree with that statement, though in this case I believe that there were mutual parting gifts....
For many older Pagans, the personal roots of our practice lie within the ‘counterculture’ of the 60s and 70s. New spiritual winds were then blowing across the desiccated body of American religion, which for many of us had withered into beliefs rooted in fear and habit. On a mass level questions of right livelihood first began challenging the American Dream of more things and more money - and many of us accepted alternative visions to a greater or lesser degree. Across the country efforts to make real greater equality and respect between the sexes, affirmation of different cultures and ways of life, and enhanced love for the natural world, transforming many lives. Many were drawn to seeking and sometimes encountering the Divine Feminine....
When the thede (tribe) of witches foregathers, as we did recently at this year's Midwest Grand Sabbat, we kindle (wood on wood, in the old way) the traditional Fire of Gathering.
The Fire burns continuously throughout the time of assembly. Everyone tends it; offerings are made to it daily. It roars at the very heart of the sabbat itself, and on our final morning together it is ritually extinguished. People take the ashes home with them when they leave.
Anyone who grows up in a traditional culture knows how to behave around a sacred fire—how it differs from a household fire, for instance—and doesn't have to be taught What You Do and What You Don't. For those of us who (alas) did not grow up in such a culture, how then does one impart these rules, the Does and Don'ts of sacred Fires, in a manner that doesn't devolve into learning boring lists of regulations?
Well, my friend and colleague Chris Moore came up with the perfect way to do it: you give people a metaphor.
This week (and next week) we're going to be talking about crystals with Phantoms. Phantoms are mineral inclusions formed evenly throughout a crystal. They are formed when the crystal is growing, still in solution, and a different mineral (or even a more gas-filled layer of milky quartz) gets introduced. The forming crystal point is then surrounded by this now mineral-filled (or different consistency quartz) solution. Settling of the mineral causes the solution to return to clear. Sometimes Phantoms will even have layers of Barnacles on them, inside the crystal, like the one below:
Welcome back fellow Witches and Pagans! We hope you enjoyed your weekend! This week for Airy Monday we've brought you a whole gamut of stories featuring magic and religion in pop culture. Read on to learn how one self-defined "urban hipster" got involved with witchcraft, which popular villains were most successful, and how the animated series Steven Universe has developed some of the most complex protagonists in television. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!