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
Cracking Through the Ice

Several days ago, I had a lovely, lovely moment. Sitting in the arch of a big, picture window, I felt the rays of the sun as more than just a heatless hint of things to come. There was, for the first time, a weight to the rays’ touch and I felt the distinctive crack of the cold ice within - that first inkling that the thaw is on its way. Unsurprisingly, the next day brought plummeting temperatures along with re-found gloves and snow brushes for the car. But the tide had turned. Imbolc had reached out its delicate fingers to tickle 2016 for the first time and there is no pulling back from that.


As far as weather goes, it hasn’t been a bad winter. We’ve certainly had worse. The snow shovels, for the most part, have bided their time leaning up against the house and the dogs are sorely disappointed that they have not had the opportunity to carve racing tunnels in the snow with their chases. On other fronts, however, this winter has been the worst yet. We have said goodbye to far too many folks – both personally and globally. So many that, in truth, when the news was announced that Glenn Frey had died last week, my husband, a down-to-earth, practical, self-declared atheist, stopped in his tracks, raised his arms to the Heavens and declared “Enough already!”.  The all too frequent heart-stopping announcements were taking their toll. It may not have been too bad outside, but our insides were feeling quite numb.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs

I just came across a 1979 video posted on YouTube under the heading, “VERY RARE Witchcraft Documentary with Doreen Valiente.” It's a BBC offering titled The Power of the Witch – Real or Imaginary? And there's something really wrong with it, as many of the comments try to show.

For those of us who never met her, it is very cool to see what Doreen Valiente looked like, and to hear what she sounded like – but her relatively short and reasonable appearance in this film was twisted and misrepresented by the other participants who were edited-in after her. She states that Wiccans believe in the Horned God and the Moon Goddess. She probably ALSO explained that the Horned God has nothing to do with Satan; but the editors somehow forgot to include that bit of footage. From that point on, the entire so-called “documentary” makes the unequivocal case that Wiccans are Satan worshipers. What should have been an opportunity to disambiguate and clarify the modern Pagan movement, is instead turned into a defamatory attack based on stereotype, fear and superstition.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Patience & Fury, Part 3


This is the third of a series of blog posts on how to move more gracefully through the turbulence of current events in the world. Each post can stand alone, and the order does not matter, but I suggest reading the whole series as they support each other. I am calling this series “patience and fury” though other words are just as applicable. This is the last in this series so let’s add “pertinacity and indolence”,“action and reaction” and “focused and frazzled”.

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6 Fantastic Ways your Imagination can turn Possibilities into Reality

When you think of the imagination, do you think of it as as a sacred magical expression of your true self, or do you treat it as a childish fancy, something to be boxed away and forgotten? For many people, the answer unfortunately is the latter...they treat it as a childish fancy and as a result ignore its power, to their detriment. For even when you treat your imagination as a childish fancy you are still applying it to your life, but not in a way that truly empowers you. Your imagination is a double-edged sword and if you don't learn how to work with it as a sacred magical expression you'll miss out on applying one of the most potent magical tools you have that can help you transform possibility into reality and align fortune in your favor.

So how does imagination turn possibility into reality?

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An Open Letter to the City of Philadelphia and the Mummers


(Author’s note: For those of you unfamiliar with this particular Philadelphia tradition, you can find information about it here: Because mumming is a tradition that arose out of European Pagan folk practices beginning with the Swedes and Finns who first settled in the area, I felt an especial need to address this years’ parade.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you for this column - 2015 was indeed been a year of seeing the realities of homophobia, transphobia, racism, and misogyny -
  • Helena
    Helena says #
    Oh I sure hope so!

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
When Long Shadows Fall.... Artists Get to Work!

When long shadows fall and dwarf the trees at evening 
When white winter light burnishes the streams 
The I will bring you a coat of soft lamb's wool 

To keep your back from the keen northern wind

When snow shames the sheep that huddles to the leawood
When snow drops peep form darkness unfurled
Then I will bring you boots with fur linings
To keep your feet dry as you walk o'er the world

When home becomes a prison and snow drifts lock the door
When February fill dyke drenches the moor
When black rain freezes and whips at your hand
Then I will bring a carriage with wheels of wind
To take you away from this barren land
~ From "Winter: Long Shadows" by Maddy Prior


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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Ubuntu: My African Journey

I spent fifteen days walking the sands of another continent this year. Fifteen days eating the fruits of another land, looking into the eyes of people I had never met, and marveling at the infinite beauty and potential of the human spirit. The cultural immersion trip I participated in was sponsored by my school, Iliff School of Theology, and led by two of my professors who are originally from Harare Zimbabwe. 

During the course of those fifteen days we interfaced with universities, non-profit organizations, orphanages, climbed the rocks of Great Zimbabwe, witnessed the power of Victoria Falls, toured the Apartheid museum, and walked the halls of the prison on Robben Island. The trip was simultaneously amazing, exciting, and excruciating. In other words I will never forget it.

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