Our Pagan News Beagle today is all about faith & religion -- both Pagan and otherwise. Today we have 17th century British (accused) witches; a rare documentary on British Witches of the Sixties; a naturalist Pagan describes the purpose of ritual; religions that are highly concentrated in only a few places; and a suggestion of how black churches can function, post-Ferguson.
This previously-rare documentary sheds light on public Wicca as practiced in the 1960's.
Pagan blogger John Halstead shares his conception of how ritual helps him come into communion with Divine Nature.
Pew Research publishes a report that describes the way in which various religions are regionally-based and heavily concentrated only in a few countries. (Surprise! Islam is *not* the most concentrated faith. Can you guess what is?)
This editorial in Religion & Politics examines the place of black churches in addressing the issues of race, justice, and power in Ferguson, MO.
A constellation is not an object, it's a pattern of objects visible from a certain perspective. Look from a different perspective, and the pattern disappears.
That's what's going on right now with the raging controversies over the meaning of the word "Pagan." From some perspectives it makes sense, from others it does not. And since no single perspective has authority, neither does any single definition.
Nature is self-caused, both source and manifestation of all matter, all experience, all thought, all emotion, all life, and all death. We were not created by nature; we have emerged within it, as integral parts of it. In short:
If the "Pagan" question - i.e. who's Pagan and who isn't - were a political issue, it would decide elections. It's grown that large. It's come to a point where posts don't just reference others, they form catalogs of references to others. It's even spurred sub-issues: the "Christo-Pagan" question and the "Atheist Pagan" question (I have an obvious vested interest in the latter).
But in all this endless talk, few seem to have the balls to say in no uncertain terms what's really going on:
My rituals are done to please the gods. Therefore, if you do not acknowledge the existence of those gods then there is absolutely no reason to be in attendance at the rites because — and I know this will come as a shock to some — true worship isn’t about us and what we get out of the experience however much one may, indeed, get out of it. (emphasis Sannion's)