It’s back to school time, and that has me thinking about those of us who no longer spend much time in a classroom. I’d like to encourage us to think deeply about different purposes and practices of learning so that we can shape our own back-to-school intentions for ourselves. One of the biggest ways to make a difference is to practice what's not perfect.
Refractions: Pagan & academic ideas interacting
Using multiple lenses to shed additional light
Please note that all opinions expressed here are Literata's alone and do not reflect the positions of any organization with which she is affiliated.
Sutin, Lawrence. Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley. New York: St. Martin’s Press. 2000.
For better and worse, Aleister Crowley is one of the pivotal figures in the recent history of magic. He is also one of the more inscrutable, and the difficulties of his deliberate misdirections are multiplied by the revulsion that his actions and ideas can create. He proclaimed himself the divinely inspired messenger of a vast cultural shift and a magician of the highest achievement, but was widely reviled and - much worse from his perspective - often ignored. Capturing the breadth of these paradoxes in a single personality is not easy, and Sutin tackles it well in his biography of Crowley, which makes an excellent introduction for anyone trying to gain the necessary perspective on Crowley and his work.
Recent experiences have shown me that more and more relationships are being described in terms of customer and vendor, even when that application of the commercial metaphor is terribly inappropriate. Where this problem disturbs me the most is in misunderstandings of magical and religious relationships.
After I wrote about liminality recently, I have been thinking about change and how we create it in our lives. Affirmations are a magical tool that can be very powerful, but only when constructed well. Using the present progressive tense to craft affirmations puts them in a form that draws on the Element of Fire and makes them much more effective tools for transformation.
“Liminal” is a concept that Pagans and especially Witches use frequently, but it’s not so well known to non-Pagans, at least not by name. A liminal time or space is the transition between one thing and something else. This time of year is an example of liminality in the overculture. How do you experience that? Do you use it for magic?
Regardie, Israel. The Golden Dawn: A Complete Course in Practical Ceremonial Magic. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn. 1986.
I'm going to try something of a new kind of entry for a while: Comments on various works that may be of interest to Pagans, Wiccans, people interested in magic, and more. These comments are intended to introduce a book to a broader audience who may have heard of it but haven't read it. With that in mind, there are several things that these comments are not: They are not scholarly book reviews that attempt to comprehensively address the arguments of the work and all its relationships to the existing literature. Hopefully some of that sort of awareness will be included - so that someone who reads my comments would be better informed without still having read the book itself - but these are going to be briefer and aimed at a nonspecialist audience. For that audience, these comments are still not the kind of book review that tells you whether it's a "good" book or a "bad" book. I may occasionally excoriate a truly abysmal work for the fun of it, in general I want to tell readers who might want to read this book and why, and what readers will find or not find within it. It's up to you to use that information to figure out if it's a good book for you and for your interests and purposes....
With a movie adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s popular novel Ender’s Game being released soon, QUILTBAG individuals have spoken out to challenge potential viewers to consider whether they really want to give money to Card, considering the hateful things he has said about QUILTBAG people, and the anti-equality causes he has financially supported. Like many others, I was intrigued by Ender’s Game and its sequels as a teenager, but drifted away from sci-fi and fantasy over the years. I actually first realized that I had problems with the way Card’s approach to religion in a separate book, Pastwatch, reveals an underlying tendency to objectify others. Today, when I look back on that book as a Pagan, I find a disturbing similarity in the fundamental reasoning for the two problems to stem from a single root.
CAUTION: SPOILERS for Pastwatch are ahead.