Evidence of ancient rituals are uncovered in Sweden. The neuroscience of sleep loss is examined. And the accuracy of the movie The Martian is checked. It's Earthy Thursday, our weekly segment on science and Earth-related news. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
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On Wednesday, in the deepest dark of the Moon, I made a little nest of blankets on our balcony and sat back to try and watch the Perseid meteor shower. This is always one of our favorite Summertime traditions, as my kids and I shut off all the lights we can, and lay back to watch the darkening sky. This year, thin cloud cover veiled much of the show, but I saw spectacularly bright flashes across the sky. The rest of the time, I sensed, vaguely, that there was movement up there, but I just couldn’t quite see it. The clouds were bad luck, especially since the shower's peak was coming on a moonless night, the dark sky making the show more visible. The darker the setting of the night sky, the more brilliant the flash of shooting stars.
This New Moon in Leo lines up 5 planets in Leo, the sign of high Summer, the Fixed Fire of the zodiac, ruled by the Sun. Leo illuminates our sense of power and passion, shows us our desires, fuels our creativity and our play. The Sun and Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars are all radiating Leo's boundless solar joy and strength just as the Sun itself is pouring down intense light and heat. The presence of the cosmic lovers, Venus and Mars, in the same sign brings luck and love, but this year, Venus is retrograde....
sex and love
beauty and enticement
seduction and persuasion
victory and wine
these are your gifts
The problem I am running into, as I try to fulfill my promise of writing something for each of the divinities placed in the atheists’ “god graveyard”, is trying to find enough information on some of the divinities. For them, I tend to resort to poetry and prayers. The Incan/Aztec divinities have been especially hard. As everywhere I look, there are the same miniscule bits of information, repeated over and over. Not complaining, just stating the challenges I have faced in order to fulfill my promise. This week’s divinity (#17) is Chasca, Incan goddess of dawn and dusk, symbolized by the planet Venus.
For Pagan Spirit Gathering this year, one of my workshops really isn't work to me. It's more of further expressing a part of myself I ordinarily am unable to do. I'm one of those extreme extroverts the introverted either are are okay with me in small doses or are straight up annoyed with. That's just who I am, and yeah, I do try to rein in my personality some, but I don't always succeed in that. I'm not any type of activist really, or hardlined into politics, or get overly enthused with intellectual stuff. (Not saying I'm stupid or less than worldly, but academia has its place... over there - something to occasionally peruse from a shelf.) In all honesty, I'm just your typical urban American who also happens to be Pagan, which I've come to find over the last couple of decades usually goes the other way around.
So this workshop - it allows me to be me in a big way. I did it for the first time last year, and it was well-received, but there were definitely bugs to work out. What is it? It's hosting a photobooth for the big party known as Pan's Ball. And yeah, that's how I've always seen it - a party. A drunken barn dance. An outdoor night club. A costume party. A kegger in the woods without the keg. For those who follow the Hellenic path, it was much more than that; it was a ritual. And this year, one of the main features has been changed up in order to keep everyone safe and happy - taking out the punch (aka Jungle Juice). There was a very long discussion over the change, which also included starting the festivities early and kicking it off with a costume parade. Sure, it's still BYOB, and yeah, we'll actually be able to see some of the costumes since it'll still be daylight during the parade, but for some folks who preferred the old way of doing things, it was a disappointment. Change is hard, but for those who saw Pan's Ball as a ritual, I'm certain things can be adjusted to bring the ritual part back into it....
For a recording of this Vision working, please click here:
Later, she might wonder whether she’d been looking at one too many Venus figurines for her online archeology course.
But now her mind, as it had for days, weeks, decades on end, was chattering non-stop, yammering thoughts (judgments, really) through circles within never-ending cycles of not-good-enough. Such had been her life, so-called, whatever you would call absenting yourself from actual contact with the world's flavors, textures, and other trinkets of sensation. Certainly her world — although some might call it sterile — was neat, tidy, clean.
She wasn't discontent with her circumstances. Any time she had peeked out of her circumscribed la-la-land, however arid — and, to her credit, she had attempted several sorties — she'd encountered bits of barbed wire in her milk, darts flying through the air, cutlery strewn across the sidewalk. In her, yes, limited experience, the world was not a friendly place. If her existence within her self-imposed isolation was a bit lonely, actually loveless, at least she was safe. Trips to the grocery store and library were adventures enough.