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Posted by on in Studies Blogs

Veritas is boldly tattooed on my left forearm. In time it evolved to be surrounded by acanthus leaves and three pomegranates, creating a half sleeve down to wrist. In shades of grey, it is only augmented by single red thread.

Often, I am asked what it all means. Both the tattoo and the thread?  Many mistakenly assume I came to Qabalah through Madonna and that veritas refers to being a wino, in vino veritas or Harvard alumni whose motto is veritas. All are false. I am not a big fan of the Material Girl, or wine, and I did not go to Harvard.

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Isaiah Berlin begins his famous essay The Fox and the Hedgehog by quoting the Greek poet Archilochus: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Berlin uses this saying to contrast two different intellectual styles: Hedgehogs “relate everything to a single central vision, one system,” while foxes “pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory ... seizing upon the essence of a vast variety of experiences and objects for what they are in themselves.” (Isaiah Berlin, The Fox and the Hedgehog: An essay on Tolstoy’s View of History, (Guernsey: Phoenix, 1992) 3)

In Pagan terms, Berlin’s approach presents an interesting way to think about what we mean by “eclectic,”  what it is that we’re contrasting eclecticism with, and the benefits and potential downfalls of both approaches.

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