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In this season of the ancestors, I remember W[illiam] Holman Keith (1900-1993), the Baptist minister who fell in love with the Goddess and so became one of the pioneers of the New Paganism in the United States.
From the jacket of his book Divinity as the Eternal Feminine, the first (1960!) American book of self-consciously pagan theology:
W. Holman Keith, born June 11, 1900 at Vincennes, Indiana, began his “pilgrimage of faith,” to use his own words, with evangelical Christian Protestantism. After taking a BA degree at Franklin College...he went on to earn the degrees of Bachelor of Divinity and Master of Systematic Theology at Newton Theological Institution...and an MA in Theology at the University of Chicago. His subsequent career included two brief pastorates at Baptist churches in Massachusetts and New York. However, he writes, “I was progressively disillusioned in the two theological schools I attended,” and he subsequently abandoned his vocation as a minister. His search for faith “at last found its haven in a small chapel in West Hempstead, Long Island, New York, known as the Church of Aphrodite, of which the Rev. Gleb Botkin was the founder, and the priest of Aphrodite.
Presently, the author writes, “the challenge of this truth commands all my loyalties of mind, heart, and will.
And so it would be to the very end of his life.
Today's Pagan News Beagle concentrates on politics, activism, and how our Pagan culture connects (or doesn't) to issues of social justice. SCOTUS case on religious attire at work; civil marriage under attack; the Covenant of the Goddess under fire (from Pagans); are the gods moral?; how do we juggle social justice and our Pagan faiths?
US Supreme Court already decided one religious rights case this year. Another case pits Abercrombie & Fitch against the EEOC on a case involving the right to wear religiously-significant attire at the workplace....
Halloween is over and gone. The last of the soul candles have burnt out; the candy (thank Goddess) is all handed out; the squirrels have reduced the jack o' lanterns on the doorstep to piles of orange shreds. (“May squirrels eat his/her face” is one of my favorite curses, but obviously nothing to toss around lightly. Shudder.) But this, after all, is Paganistan. Don't go putting up those Yule lights quite yet. Around here, Samhain is just beginning.
Americans tend to do their celebrating in advance (Christmas begins the day after Thanksgiving and ends December 24th), but that's not the witch's way. Tony Kelly of the Pagan Movement in Britain and Ireland always used to say that the firedays aren't neat, tidy little dates on a calendar; they're extended tides of intensive change during the year. Like Yule, they all have their thirtnights, their witch's dozen of days.
Today's the Fifth of November. (“Remember, remember the Fifth of November: gunpowder, treason, and...what? There must be some reason to remember the season, but whatever it is, I forgot,” says the Kipper family.) Guy Fawkes' Day fell out of favor in America back around the Revolution, but did you ever wonder why Election Day is the first Tuesday in November? Back in the day, Election Day was a bonfire holiday. The harvest is in, but the winter weather hasn't closed in yet, so the tribe gets together to do its necessary politicking. The more things change....
This edition of our Watery Wednesday feed features news from the Covenant of the Goddess; an update on the continuing legal battle over the Matreum of Cybele; a call for submissions to a new Pagan traditions anthology; and two stories on the drought in the American west.
Covenant of the Goddess (a national Wiccan organization) accomplished a lot at their yearly Merry Meet convention, including establishing an Award for Outstanding Service; honored military Pagans; established an educational committee to fight sexual abuse; and adopted a formal statement on environmental issues. Read all the press releases from Merry Meet for all the details....
In my view, one of the most comforting activities one can do after a loved one has passed through the veil is telling stories about the deceased. Stories tell us who we are, where we came from, what we might become. They are our primary teaching tools.
“We're all made of stories. When they finally put us underground, the stories are what will go on. Not forever, perhaps, but for a time. It’s a kind of immortality, I suppose, bounded by limits, it’s true, but then so’s everything.”...
Earlier this week The Wild Hunt blog featured a report on CoG’s recently concluded MerryMeet/Grand Council, complete with photos of the new National Board. What a change from my day!
There was a time when Witches (and Wiccans) kept deep within the broom closet, for all manner of reasons, most involving fear of discrimination at work, school, or housing....