All Our Relations: Pagans and the more-than-human world.

For aware Pagans the Sacred encompasses us all, rivers and mountains, oceans and deserts, grasses and trees, fish and fungi, birds and animals. Understanding the implications of what this means, and how to experience it first hand, involves our growing individually and as a community well beyond the limits of this world-pathic civilization. All Our Relations exists to help fertilize this transition.

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Gus diZerega

Gus diZerega

Gus diZerega DiZerega combines a formal academic training in Political Science with decades of work in Wicca and shamanic healing. He is a Third Degree Elder in Gardnerian Wicca, studied closely with Timothy White who later founded Shaman’s Drum magazine, and also studied Brazilian Umbanda  for six years under Antonio Costa e Silva.

DiZerega holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from UC Berkeley, has taught and lectured in the US and internationally, and has organized international academic meetings.

His newest book is "Faultlines: the Sixties, the Culture Wars, and the Return of the Divine Feminine (Quest, 2013) received a 'silver' award by the Association of Independent Publishers for 2014. It puts both modern Pagan religion and the current cultural and political crisis in the US into historical context, and shows how they are connected.

His first book on Pagan subjects, "Pagans and Christians: The Personal Spiritual Experience," won the Best Nonfiction of 2001 award from  The Coalition of Visionary Resources. 

His second,"Beyond the Burning Times: A Pagan and a Christian in Dialogue" is what it sounds like. He coauthored it with Philip Johnson. DiZerega particularly like his discussion of polytheism in Burning Times, which in his view is an advance over the discussion in Pagans and Christians.

His pen and ink artwork supported his academic research in graduate school and frequently appeared in Shaman’s Drum, and the ecological journals Wild Earth, and The Trumpeter. It now occasionally appears in this blog.
My complete argument criticizing 'cultural appropriation,' and offering a more interesting alternative, is now up.

For those of you interested in examining the complete argument criticizing the entire idea of 'cultural appropriation' and describing a far better, and much more interesting, alternative view, I have now posted it up on my web site.

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Bringing it All Together, Part VI: a better way to address exploitation, theft, and lack of respect

This is the final installment on why neither Pagans nor anyone else do themselves or humanity any favors by discussing inter-cultural issues in terms of ‘cultural appropriation.’ In earlier sections I demonstrated this view is deeply incoherent. I then offered a more ecological view of culture as consisting of humans and memes as a far better perspective, one in deep harmony with Pagan insights about a living world. 

But what of the actual problems that attract well-meaning people to thinking in terms of cultural appropriation?  I close by returning to these issues.

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Re-examining Cutural Appropriation: Part V.

I have argued culture is a network of living processes best understood as an ideational ecosystem. We are inhabitants of this ecosystem, as we are inhabitants of a biological one. But, as in biological ones, we are not alone nor are we in charge. We share our cultural ecosystem at least with memes, and as minds, we co-evolve with them.  With this brief summary, let’s look again at the argument for ‘cultural appropriation.’

Looking again at ‘cultural appropriation’

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  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    I could not agree more.
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    My friend Carol Less Sanchez said that she was happy for non-Native Americans to learn to love and live in greater harmony with na
A Living World: Language, Memes, and Thought Forms : Moving Beyond 'Cultural Appropriation' Part IV

 

Many memes are communicated through language, and, like any tool, language shapes how we look at the world when using it.  Language facilitates some memes’ replication and makes the survival of others more difficult by shaping what relations are easy to notice and what relations require more effort. Different languages have different biases in this regard. One linguistic feature is particularly relevant here: do we experience our world primarily as objects, or primarily as processes and relations?  Clearly there is value in both perspectives, but which gets emphasis is in no small part shaped by language.

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Moving Beyond 'Cultural Appropriation:' Part III: Memes as cultural organisms

 

Memes

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Moving Beyond Cultural Appropriation: Part II. Cultures as Ecosystems

Jarume Uwujare  argues cultures should relate as equals when they take something from another, and contribute something to the other in return. I think we all can agree people can and should relate as equals, but I argue this is a confused way to think about cultures.

If I have what you want, we are not equal unless you also have what I want, and want it with about the same intensity. We can easily have a formal equality to make an exchange or not, but this equality is modified, sometimes drastically, by the intensity each of us has to make the exchange. The more desperate one party is compared to the other, the greater an important kind of inequality.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Meaning of Lammas

 

The Wheel of the Year is widely honored by we Wiccans, along with Druids, and many other NeoPagans. The eight Sabbats arranged along the Wheel are divided into universal solar cycles celebrating the solstices and equinoxes and four place-specific ones representing the agricultural cycles of planting, growth, harvest, and death.  The Wheel’s symbolism is beautifully adapted to illustrate profound insights in regions with four seasons because both cycles are coordinated, but its basic insights are true everywhere.

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