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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in literature

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Patheos has been in a bit of a kerfluffle this past week -- or, at least the Pagan Channel has been. It all started with Catholic blogger Mark Shea's post of his views on small-p paganism and neo-paganism. Patheos bloggers Star Foster and Jason Mankey counter-responded, and there were lots and lots of comments below each of those posts, ranging from the thoughtful to the angry to the wtf??

Considering the focus of this blog, and in the interests of interfaith dialogue (or, at least, interfaith not-screaming-past-one-another), a few literary suggestions. Each of these books in some way addresses the relationships between Jesus, the Christianities that rose out of his teachings, the ancient Paganisms, and modern Paganism. Hopefully, they will open a few eyes, broaden a few horizons, and allow for clearer dialogue.

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Even though it's a novel, anybody interested in this subject will greatly appreciate Marion Zimmer Bradley and Diana L. Paxson's "
  • Magia Wicca Portugal
    Magia Wicca Portugal says #
    I read "Priestess of Avalon" and I couldn't agree more with Ted! This book, as well as other books from Bradley, is full of pagan
  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    @Brian: yep. An interesting enough book, but I found it to be rather repetitive. It read like an essay that had been padded out t
  • Brian Shea
    Brian Shea says #
    Are you familiar with God Against The Gods by Jonathan Kirsch?
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    I have come to realize I have a problem with Christianity being brought into Paganism, but I'm fine with Jesus being brought into

Title: The Prince of the Dolomites: An Old Italian Tale 

Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

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  • Larksong
    Larksong says #
    Hi Rebecca, I noticed there was not much of this post showing above the fold. This is because the automatic system allows for thr

If you know your fantasy history, you’ll spot that the title of this blog comes form the very first fantasy book written by William Morris in 1896. For the first time, Morris deviated from writing “reality” and ventured into another realm, one inhabited by otherworld creatures, like giants and wise hermits, a place governed by the laws of magic.

In Well at World’s End, Morris takes the reader into a mythical region where a magical well grants the drinker immortality. He quests with helpers to find the well, facing danger at every step. The story sounds familiar, because we’ve seen similar ones over the ages, like Percival who quests for the Holy Grail, or Ponce de León’s journey for the Fountain of Youth.

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  • Hunter Liguore
    Hunter Liguore says #
    Oh, my, let's skip right to the hard stuff! Adding it to the list--certainly a provocative pick and one I'm sure will lend to a ni
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Are you planning to cover, ahem, "popular" culture fantasy/sci fi? I'm thinking of a famously popular HBO show, the thealogy of wh
  • Lex
    Lex says #
    My favorite stories are the kind that resonate with the truth that comes from all of history, for we are all from pagan roots! T
  • Hunter Liguore
    Hunter Liguore says #
    Thank you for the great suggestions! Will add them to the list. Just came across "The Girl Who Circumnavigated..." Looking forward
  • Amanda L
    Amanda L says #
    If people are interested in reading "Well at World's End" it is free at Amazon through their kindle program.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

The unexpected death of a friend this week brought into sharp relief the differences between traditions around death and grief, not only between different communities but also between different generations. How we handle the dead and our sorrow shows a lot about our culture.

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    My condolences on your loss, Kate; I thank you for sharing your wisdom and reflections with our community.
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    Thanks so much, Anne. The power of community in bad times reflects the strength of its joy in good times. And the fluctuation betw
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    Thank you, my dear. It's never easy, but the weight becomes more familiar as we age, alas. It's the first time I have felt 'away'
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Of course, you touch my old heart with the very mention of Scyld Scefing and Beowulf but I also want to offer my condolences on th

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Paganism is one of the most democratic of spiritualities, right? It allows each of us to maintain and explore our own relationship with deity, practice pretty much as we like, and generally find like-minded people to work with along the way.
Except that it's not that simple (of course). We like to think that it's all sweetness, light and friendship, but as with any human philosophy, there are speed-bumps on the road that we're travelling.
 
Something that I've been really coming up against in recent months is the issue of hierarchy. If Pagans can each hold their own method of worship, then why do we even need leaders? Perhaps rather naively, I used to assume that each person understood that following a spiritual path involved investigation, constant challenging of the self and their chosen Way - otherwise it'd be far simpler to just find one of those other faiths with a set doctrine and follow that (less thought and effort required all round).
 
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Pop quiz, Jeopardy style: the Instructions of Shuruppak and the Kesh temple hymn.

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_sumerian-tablet_127_600x.jpg[insert annoying music here]

Question: what is the oldest surviving literature in the world? The Instructions of Shuruppak and the Kesh temple hymn, sometimes called the Liturgy to Nintud, both date to roughly 2600 BCE Sumer. The first is Mesopotamian wisdom literature, while the second is a creation myth. They were dug out of the ruins of Abu Salabikh in modern–day Iraaq, along with some five hundred other clay tablets, in a series of archaeological surveys which -- due to current conditions -- have yet to resume. Who knows what else lies beneath the sands, waiting?

Bonus answer: the Maxims of Ptahhotep.

Question: what is the oldest work of literature which can be credited to a specific author? Written down sometime around 2350 BCE, the Maxims are Egyptian wisdom literature, passed down from grandfather to father to son. A few decades later, sometime around 2270 BCE, the royal priestess Enheduanna penned her hymns in honor of Inanna and other Mesopotamian deities, making her the oldest known woman author.

Think about what that means, what that *really* means: the oldest works of literature in the world were written by pagans. Polytheists. People who prayed to Goddesses and Gods, who made offerings to spirits of river and cave and sky, who honored their forefathers and foremothers.

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    Walls' book on Anat has been on my wish list for several years -- but I have not been able to find an affordable copy. I will add
  • Tess Dawson
    Tess Dawson says #
    Absolutely. Check out Ugaritic Narrative Poetry, edited by Simon B. Parker; Canaanite Myths and Legends by JCL Gibson; and Ritual
  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    Oh! More info, please. Do you have specific titles or a book I can track down?
  • Tess Dawson
    Tess Dawson says #
    Marvelous, Rebecca! Be sure to remember the Canaanite writings from 1200 BCE in Ugarit.

The charms of Anglo-Saxon England consisted of words, herbs and actions. The folks who lived in the period after the Roman era and before the Norman Invasion of 1066 believed that words had a magic of their own especially when spoken aloud, but that the application of the right herbs would help the healing processes along, too. Sometimes other actions were required to create the right atmosphere or to move bad luck along to someone else. All three techniques used together was simply magic.

Among the most common uses for magic was for healing. Lacking any kind of organized medical care system, they pieced together charms and poultices to take care of the common health problems. But they also used charms to protect, both themselves and their belongings. Chief amongst their property was cattle. The Anglo-Saxon word for "cattle" (feoh) is the same as the word for "wealth" which shows how important cattle were. Charms also came in handy to enhance good luck and increase one's bounty.

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  • Joseph Bloch
    Joseph Bloch says #
    At the risk of being pedantic, the Ango-Saxon for cattle and movable property is "feoh". "Fé" is the Old Norse version of the word
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    You're right, of course! I go back and forth between OE and ON so much, I slip up on words from time to time. Good to know I've go
  • mary widner
    mary widner says #
    i enjoy reading this
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    Thank you, Mary.
  • Hunter Liguore
    Hunter Liguore says #
    Magic and healing, very interesting element. Looking forward to reading more.

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