Cubans celebrate their dual faiths of Catholicism and Santería. The dwindling Parsi (Zoroastrian) community of Pakistan struggles to survive. And online atheists grapple with sexism in their movement. It's Faithful Friday, our weekly discussion of religion and religious communities from around the globe. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
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Smaller and shier than Grey Squirrel, Eurasian Red Squirrel prefers living alone in the pine forests of Europe. After searching meticulously for food, He takes his pine cone to a secure branch for safety. Holding the cone in his front paws, Eurasian Red Squirrel rotates it while biting off the scales to get at the pine seeds.
People have admired Eurasian Red Squirrel for centuries. According to the Norse of Scandinavia, Ratatosk lived in the Tree of Life. He carried messages to Eagle, perched at the top, and to Snake, coiled around the roots. For his efforts, Ratatosk enjoyed the special protection of Thor, the God of Thunder.
Could humble mushrooms save the bees? What do you think of scientists' plans to employ robot assassins to protect the Great Barrier Reef? Get into the thick of it with us for Earthy Thursday, our weekly take on science and Earth-related news. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
It's a Golden Age of polytheist publishing.
To incisive works such as John Michael Greer's World Full of Gods and Steven Dillon's A Case for Polytheism, we can now add W. D. Wilkerson's Walking with the Gods, in which 24 (counting Wilkerson herself, 25) contemporary polytheists tell their own stories. It's a pioneering, and invaluable, study of Polytheism-as-Lived in the modern world.
Sigh. If only the news were better.
This past summer, Morpheus Ravenna delivered the keynote speech at the Many Gods West polytheist conference. Her speech was entitled, "Deep Polytheism: On the Agency and Sovereignty of the Gods". It was later published at polytheist.com, and I encourage you to read it in its entirety. I’ve been meaning for some time to write a response to Morpheus’ speech, for a couple of reasons. First, I am always interested in the intersection of Jungian psychology and polytheism. In fact, it was the pairing of these ideas in Margot Adler's 1979 Drawing Down the Moon that drew me to Paganism in the first place. Second, I think Morpheus is one of the most interesting polytheist writers out there, and I am often surprised at how much of what she writes I agree with. Her keynote speech was no exception....
Thanks to Maureen Corrigan and her excellent So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures, there's another upsurge of interest in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel.
I've been seeing images of the novel's original cover on tote bags and t-shirts. In fact, I’d just finished an immersion — reading So We Read On and then The Great Gatsby — when I was browsing in the regional authors section at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC. Glancing down at the table there, I see a scrap of paperboard with the cover pictured here, complete with a cryptic "95 R" jotted on the back.
As bellyqueen, and in The Woman's Belly Book, I champion our body's center as the energetic sourcepoint of our courage, confidence, intuition — and creativity. Fitzgerald's words about writing Gatsby add his own evidence. After completing the novel, he recalled:
I'd dragged the great Gatsby out of the pit of my stomach....
After thoroughly considering the manuscript, Fitzgerald's editor at Scribner, Max Perkins, sent the author a long letter. He wrote:
And all these things, the whole pathetic episode, you have given a place in time and space,…you have imparted a sort of sense of eternity. You once told me you were not a natural writer — my God! You have plainly mastered the craft, of course; but you needed far more than craftsmanship for this.
That's the body's center — the sourcepoint of our creative energy, our connection to transpersonal power.