Pagan Studies


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Studies Blogs

Advanced and/or academic Pagan subjects such as history, ethics, sociology, etc.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Fake Magic

I've long had a fascinating with grifters and fakes. In the Middle Ages, as now, there were plenty of folk looking for a quick windfall by pretending to be something they were not. Sometimes they had good reasons: the young woman Silence who pretended to be a minstrel and then a knight and rose to the heights of both professions needed to hide the fact that -- well, she was female.

Most often of course the hoodwinking was to get money out of the unwary (like Chaucer's Canon's Yeoman's tale). Money wasn't the only motivator though: there are few guilty pleasures as delicious as revenge well-served. A fine example is the Scottish text, The Freiris of Berwick.

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Kehinde Wiley, Barack Obama, Art History, Race, and Gender

X-Posted to my art blog, mythandwonder.com

 

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Eros's Symposium

It all began with a discussion among some friends about Plato.  We were talking about our favorite books, and it turned out that we all really loved the Symposium.  (Yes, my friends and I are all dorks.  You know you're jealous!)  And so, by the end of the evening, the invitations went out:

"In the 4th century BC, Plato wrote one of the most influential works of all time: the Symposium. A series of speeches to Eros, god of Erotic Love, this work has shaped, if not directly influences, almost all of what we westerners think about love and romance.

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The wordless truth and experiential embodiment
I've lately been contemplating the phrase the wordless truth. It's a phrase that shows up in the Dune series by Frank Herbert, but its goes much deeper than amazing Science Fiction (though Dune is a deep series). The wordless truth is the experiential embodiment of the work you do. It speaks through you, but not in words, rather through the experiences you have.
 
You can read something and think you understand it. But until you do the work and have experiences you don't know it. For instance I can read a book with practices and have a conceptual understanding of those practices. It's only when I do the actual practices that I open myself to the wordless truth conveyed by the experiential embodiment of those practices.
 
Experiential embodiment is the engagement of your senses, inner and outer, in the work. When you engage your senses in the spiritual work, you incorporate your body into the work and make it part of the experience that speaks the work through you. We often take our bodies for granted, yet I would argue that your body is the most potent resource you have available to you. It allows you to have experiences and enables you to embody them into the deepest level of your being.
 
The wordless truth is the experience speaking through you, embodied in your awareness and physicality. When you come back to the book and reread the book, it becomes a different book, that reveals deeper layers of meaning and experience that must actually be experienced to continue your journey with the work. The words take on new meanings and realizations because of the work you've done. But even so it is the work, the experience of the wordless truth that gives such meaning to the words.
 
The work speaks to us and through us and brings us into something larger, if we open ourselves to the experience. But we must open ourselves to the experience and allow it to embed itself in our sensory and bodily awareness, engaging all the senses, those directed outward, those directed inward, and those directed to the passage of time and the navigation of space.
 
When I do a working, it is not something separate from me. It is an intimate connection between myself and the universe, an exchange of ideas and experiences that creates a sacred moment where reality is shifted an possibilities are manifested. And of course this can be shared in words, but it isn't truly experienced until the person does the work.
 
Doing the work is taking on the experience and letting that experience speak to you and through you. It is the choice to embody the experience, to allow it to transform your relationship with yourself, the work, and with the universe. That can't be done through words alone, though words can play an important role in introducing you to the experience and upon being reread after the experience, unlocking deeper mysteries to be explored.
 
The wordless truth is found initially through words, but only experienced when you do the work, when you make the practice part of your life and allow it to work through you...then you'll know the wordless truth and carry it with you wherever you go.
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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Sounding Out the Water Elf

If someone suffers from the disease brought by the 'water elf' the Anglo-Saxon medieval charm advises that one ought to make a compound of nineteen different herbs, soak them in ale then add holy water. Of course to make them effective, the important step is to also sing over them this charm three times:

Ic binne awrat betest beadowræda,
swa benne ne burnon, ne burston,
ne fundian, ne feologan, ne hoppettan,
ne wund waxsian,
ne dolh diopian;
ac him self healde halewæge,
ne ace þe þon ma þe eorþan on eare ace.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Staying Positive for 2018
I have this ear worm today that happens to be a hit song from back in the seventies.... it is reminding me that even when everything looks bad, we need to remain positive. The song was written by someone with the unfortunate name of Wet Willie:
 
Well you say you got the blues, 
Got holes in both of your shoes, 
Feelin' alone and confused, 
You got to keep on smilin', keep on smilin' 
 
....Keep on smilin' through the rain, laughin' at the pain 
Rollin with the changes til the sun comes out again 
Keep on smilin' through the rain, laughin' at the pain 
Rollin with the changes, singin' this refrain 
 
 
Indeed the sun MUST come out again, the pendulum has to swing back to a better outlook for everyone. I say this as I cringe reading the news every single day for the past year at least. I am really sick of seeing the current president of the US seemingly get a pass for his bad behavior in the face of the #me too movement. I am so tired of knowing that our coastlines are shrinking, and water is not drinkable in so many communities..... It can overwhelm us if we let it. What can we do to keep on smiling? To remain bright?
 
For me, it has come down to sticking to my resolutions of making art and writing every single day. (OK, I missed  yesterday, but I AM human), as well as following my own fitness goals and sticking to achieving them. I don't have any control at all over the outside world. I do have control on what happens in my own little sphere of influence, and I can control what goes into my body, and the care I take of my body. Have been amazed at the positive outcomes I have seen from just a few weeks of exercise. 
 
Getting back to my artistic practice, making art everyday has made me so much better as as artist. I have been drawing anything and everything - I like to capture my cats as they stare at me, waiting for me to feed them. I like to try to imagine difficult angles to be posing in, and then I draw them. I have taken photos of myself in poses I want to try to capture and this has assisted me in becoming a better observer of everything around me. 
 
Is any of this influencing the world at large? No, not in the slightest... unless it means that doing the small things that keep my personal microcosm happily humming along is being passed onto other people that I encounter, and to whom I can be just a wee bit more pleasant. I do think that this kind of work is a "pay it forward" sort of thing - why inflict my bad moods on the unsuspecting people I have to see every day if I can fo something to make them smile instead? Even if it is as small as saying "thank you." or chatting up the person behind the counter. 
 
Wag more, whine less. These are more goals for 2018.
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by Joan DeArtemis, M.Div.

The Calvinist work ethic, the  Protestant work ethic or the Puritan work ethic is a concept in finances (historically), sociology, and religion, which stresses that solid effort, self-control and thrift are a consequence of an individual's contribution to the standards advocated by Protestantism, and, particularly Calvinism. It is also the driving force behind American capitalism, as well as the core belief in what is known as “prosperity gospel”. 

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