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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Birth-Cave

It will come as no surprise to anyone likely to be reading this that Christendom's two most sacred shrines, those marking the supposed sites of Jesus' birth, death and burial, are both located on the sites of old pagan holy places.

In a spasm of triumphalist destruction, the emperor Constantine (of cursed memory) tore down Roman Jerusalem's major temple, the Temple of Venus, to build the Church of the Holy Sepulcher on its site. (According to Israeli novelist Meir Shalev, the original builders of the church simply paved over a mosaic of Venus in one corner; ever since, that section of the floor always feels hot to the touch.)

Same deal with Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity. In a letter dating from 395, Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus (later known as “saint” Jerome), translator of the Vulgate (Latin) Bible, who had himself lived in Bethlehem for a number of years, writes: “Bethlehem...belonging now to us...was overshadowed by a grove of Tammuz, that is to say, Adonis, and in the cave where the infant Christ cried, the lover of Venus was lamented” (Taylor 96).

Tammuz' sacred grove, of course, is long since gone, but the birth-cave that still underlies the Church of the Nativity was mentioned by Christian writers as early as the second century. Jerome, in the late 4th century, is the first to mention the cave's previous divine tenant, admittedly a late attestation; but he seems unlikely simply to have invented a pagan origin for the site.

Even conservative Biblical critic Jesuit Raymond Brown readily admits in his magisterial study of the gospel birth-narratives that their historical value is virtually nil. (We don't even know for sure that Jesus was actually born in Bethlehem.) But by the late third century, Christian tourists were already coming to Bethlehem, asking to see where Jesus was born, and naturally the local tourist industry provided a venue. Where else but at the local holy place? (You know gods: they always hang out together.) That will be two sesterces, please.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Doesn't sound like a very lively party.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    (You know gods: they always hang out together.) That brought to mind the Avengers and The Justice League, which in turn brought to

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Seasons of bare earth

Exposing the soil is, in temperate climates, something people do when farming or gardening. Drier lands that do not support many plants can have much barer earth.  Mountains and deserts can be something else again. I’ve seen small islands where the winter grazing of birds will take out all vegetation and bare the ground. There are all kinds of possible seasonal variations that might expose the soil. Where and when and why this happens is well worth a thought.

Left to its own devices, England is a green sort of place and manages this most of the year round. We lose the leaves from the trees in the winter, but not the green from the fields. Even in the hottest summers, we stay green rather than fading to the yellows and browns of hotter climates. If we don’t dig the soil, then the soil seldom stays bare for long.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Goddess Earth

It all begins with Earth.

Recently, at the Summerland Spirit gathering, I spent a day in walking meditation, fasting, naked, covered with ash. I'd suspected beforehand that I might be bored. Nothing could have been further from the truth. That day was the busiest I've spent in a long time. They say that the naked ascetic sitting beneath the tree has fought and won more battles than the bravest warrior.

So there I was, sitting under a white oak in the mid-afternoon heat, reeling with the concept: Goddess Earth.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_lumia-730-selfie.jpg"10,000 Pagans Raise Their Voices For Environmental Action"

This might be the headline this summer. 

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    When I learned Wicca, I was told that Wiccans believe in abundance of Mother Earth. I now find all these doom and gloom prognosti
  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    I don't think Jung was saying that the Germans' collective guilt was unfounded, only that it needed to be brought to consciousness

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Birthday Party for Mother Earth

Our planet needs all the love it can get. Treat her well and she will return the favor. I propose not just doing this, but throwing her a party as well. Round up a group of your closest pals not afraid to use the term "climate change," and volunteer to clean up a park or river in your neighborhood. Bring along the following to store in cars until you are finished with your day project: a loaf of fresh-baked bread, a large bottle of distilled water (plus extra for all of you), a pretty collected stone, a sage stick with matches or a lighter, a birthday cake (also preferably homemade with organic ingredients), a cutting utensil, recycled napkins, and 15 birthday candles. Have everyone attending bring one of the items listed so this is a united group effort.

Most parks should have a grill facility that you could use to set the smudge stick, if not, bring a small plate or dish to let it rest on and ensure that it goes out safely. When you and your amigos have staked out a picnic bench and brought out all of your packed supplies, light the sage stick and smudge each member of your gathering, clearing them of any residual negative energy. Cast a sacred circle around the group in the tradition that you use. Pass around the bread and have everyone break off a small piece. Leave pieces on different areas of the ground within your circle as an offering to earth's fellow creatures. Then pass around the designated water bottle and have each person sprinkle a little on the ground to nourish the grass and soil. 

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  • Melinda Judy/Lyndie Diamond
    Melinda Judy/Lyndie Diamond says #
    Great post. I agree we should appreciate mother earth. Nothing could live without her. I'm new to paganism and just wrote this blo
  • Colleen DuVall
    Colleen DuVall says #
    Hi Melinda, Glad you liked it! The person you'd want to contact is Anne Newkirk Niven. Her email is editor2@bbimedia.com. Thank
Pagan News Beagle Earthy Thursday Feb 26, 2015

It's that time of the week again: Earthy Thursday! Read on for stories of edible "smut," birth and death, what to garden in winter, and the smell of rain.

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Pagan News Beagle Earthy Thursday Feb 19, 2015

Pagan News Beagle is back! Today is Earthy Thursday and we've got quite a set of stories for you all: nature's own internet run on the backs of fungi, seasonal photos of a lake from Japan, and a Unitarian's position of Ash Wednesday!

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