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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Practice What You Preach!

Several years ago I was facilitating a spiritual discussion group at the Yellow Springs Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.  I was serving that congregation as their religious education director and one of the duties I took upon myself was leading this discussion group before we gathered for the weekly service.  There was a wonderful gentleman named Chuck who would often attend our discussions and sometimes attend the main service depending on the topic.  One Sunday morning after about a half hour of group discussion Chuck spoke up and addressed the small group of about eight or so at the spiritual discussion group with, “You folks talk about being opened minded and affirming of others yet in the course of this discussion you’ve insulted me several times.  I’m a Christian.  I’m a Fundamentalist.  I teach at a Baptist university, and I regularly attend a Baptist Church.  And I’m a Republican.  Some of you have used these terms like they’re swear words.”  After he spoke his mind there was a lot of back peddling.  Chuck attended these discussion groups because he valued the discussions and he attended the main service when he was able because he valued some of the topics presented.  On those occasions when I was able to preach at the fellowship he would often attend to hear me speak.  He was and is a good man.  He wasn’t the “enemy,” but he was someone who sought to understand others and dialogue for mutual understanding and respect.

But Chuck presented an important dilemma for Unitarian Universalism and also a dilemma that is pertinent to the Pagan community.  How can we advocate tolerance, acceptance and understanding while simultaneously causing alienation and marginalization?

Back in 2010 I attended a conference at Sojourners headquarters in Washington, DC.  Sojourners is an Evangelical Christian organization devoted primarily to social justice causes.  The conference I attended was focused on promoting education for collaborative faith based social justice programs and encouraged people to travel back to their local communities and organize faith based social justice programs.  The point of the training was to get conservative and liberal faith communities to talk to one another and focus on the social justice issues they can agree upon and work together to promote positive change.  When I returned to the Columbus, Ohio area I helped with some Immigration Reform events that were truly interfaith endeavors.  It was Immigration Reform that was a topic that could unite several very diverse faith groups together for common action.   It would have done no one any good to point fingers and shout, “Other.”  But together our small voices became a much louder voice.  I like to think we did some good by working together.  That training at Sojourners was a good opportunity for me and I value that experience.

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  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    Well said, and much needed, David. Thank you.
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    This is excellent, David, and of course it applies to all religious enclaves and all parties in a democracy. I had the same revel

Common Sense tea

The Common Sense Spell Book

By Debbie Dawson

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mistress Polly, Thanks for clueing us in about another fascinating bit of Kiwiana! I hope it sells well. You write from long ex
  • J'Karrah
    J'Karrah says #
    Bought the Kindle version! I'm always on the lookout for new material to add to my website's suggested reading list and always ha

Posted by on in Culture Blogs


Canadians Take the Gold (Photo courtesy of The Guardian) 

Okay, so this is completely off the topic from what I usually post in this blog, but I am a proud Canadian, and like all Canadians, I watch when our team is at the gold medal hockey final.  It's kind of like Americans and the Superbowl.  I think it's a Canadian law or something.

Now, I admit that for a good deal of the game I was shaking my head in dismay.  The Americans played a much better game than we did for most of it.  They were much more aggressive and energetic and were just overall handling the puck better.  The Americans almost won the game when, with a minute and fifteen seconds left, Canada pulled the goalie for an extra attacker, and an inexperienced linesman interfered with one of her teammates, freeing up an American shot on goal into an empty net.  Perhaps it was an example of the manifestation of collective Will as thirty percent of Canada's population screamed, "No no NO!" and miraculously, the puck bounced off the post and the goal was averted.  But our ladies tied it up in the last five minutes, and then stole the gold in sudden death overtime!  I would hardly be considered a hockey expert, but I am Canadian, and so you learn about it whether you want to or not, and overall, this was one of the most exciting and tense games I've ever watched.  Here's the link if you want to see it.

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  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    And the boys did us proud too!
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Yes, congratulations indeed. I was a Landed Immigrant in Canada from 1971-1973. I was a company member with the Shakespeare Fest
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    That strikes me as a uniquely, and perhaps iconic, Canadian story. Thanks so much for sharing it!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_heart_shaped_full_moon.jpgYour playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. ~ Marianne Williamson

 If you’ve been anticipating that lovely, romantic Full Moon on Valentine’s Day, you might want to reconsider your approach. Instead of dreaming of moonlit skies and stardust, dust off your altar and pull out your journal and your magical tools, because you’re going to want to work to shift the energy of this Full Moon into some positive results. As with most difficult charts, there is power here, but you need to put a bridle on that horse, or you’ll likely get thrown.

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  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Ahhh. I love an invitation to rethink things.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Cold Night and a New Dawn

Dramatic weather here and elsewhere--yesterday I watched an enormous weather front come up from the South in the form of a dark gray shelf cloud. It was a scene out of Hollywood: surely a mothership of some sort was lurking there or it was the precursor, the warning of some King novel.  I got back into my car and drove home to my old house that was under the edge of that shelf of doom.

And by the time I'd parked the car and looked up, the front had moved backwards, retreated back the way it had so ominously come, ragged now, undramatic, ordinary.

That's how life feels right now for so many people. Ominous, oppressive, heavy. All those Happy New Year greetings felt a bit strained and the emotional bubbly didn't last. There's a sense that we're in for drama--whether weather or spirituality or political. Drama and more drama.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Tarot Spell for 2014

The New Year and the Waxing Moon bring a wonderful magickal opportunity. What would you like to manifest in your life?

What would you like your life to look like this year?

Don’t worry about what you want to remove. Think instead about what you want to grow, initiate, invest in, create and attract.

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  • Lucien
    Lucien says #
    Thank you so much for this Tarot spell for the year 2014 I try it and I pick 22 cards it was very inspiring I felt that the numbe
  • Christiana Gaudet
    Christiana Gaudet says #
    Thanks, Lucien! I am so glad you tried the spell! Twenty-two is a great number - also the number of cards in the Major Arcana! Bl

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Taking Hold of the Reins 2014!

Happy New Year! We leave behind 2013 and embark on new journeys in 2014At the start of each new year I spend some reflective time to remind myself of the goals I have accomplished and how they can be best used as the foundations for the year's work ahead. I use multiple disciplines- Numerology, Astrology and Tarot- as part of this annual meditation and make note of the recurring themes of each as areas I should be especially mindful of.

This year resonates to the number 7 (add the 2+0+1+4=7) and the potential for new paths, gaining mastery over what was begun in 2013 and deeper connection to understanding our own spiritual nature. The number seven is the proving ground of what lessons we think we have successfully traversed. It holds the tension between the harmonious balance of the number 6, the double Trinity and the eternity and expansion and contraction of the number 8, the Lemniscate. That middle ground of 7 is the place for exploration of what feeds our knowledge base so that we may arrive more fully informed at the eternal Gateway of time and space (8).

Astrologically, we kick off the New Year with a New Moon in Capricorn, the Sea Goat, lending additional support and energy to the process of new beginnings.  Capricorn offers the strength and stability of the Earth element and as an astrological sign of the Cardinal Modality creates the seeds of inception that become the blooming fields in their peak and fullness. The lesson of the Sea-Goat is held within its ability to navigate the depths of emotion (the sea) and with sure footed grace scale the heights (reaching towards mind). The overall intent is one of having the ability to manifest our goals, dreams and desires into usable tools of growth from a structured and secure foundation of anchor.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

The New Jersey Finishing School for Would-Be Glamour Girls & Boys

"Waiting to get my nails did and a lady just walked in wearing a floor length mink coat over a track suit.  Also:  SO MUCH JEWELRY.  ALL THE (YELLOW) GOLD JEWELRY.  New Jersey, I love you.   Never change."  - a text received by me from Ms. K, the ex-opera singer at 4:14p yesterday.

I can never sleep this close to the Winter Solstice.   I run in my sleep like a dog, turning fitfully and dreaming about missing teeth.

Not even the nouveau riche have whimsical, dreamy (and expensive!) perfect bedrooms. I would know, I've changed diapers in enough of them.

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
What is your greatest hope for 2014?

As 2013 draws to a close, there’s a good deal to reflect upon. Many members of our Community have passed on, relationships have changed and babies have been born. Within the military, quite a few changes have occurred as well. In February, the retiring Defense Secretary Leon Panetta extended gay benefits to service members and their families as best he could due to DOMA still being on the books at the time. And when DOMA was repealed in June, the Pentagon was able to use the words marriage and spouse with the inclusion of gay and lesbian couples. Sadly, it took until last month overseas  military installations were open for things such as ration privileges due to where they were stationed, such as in South Korea. And too, while many more states, even Utah, are now marriage equality states, it is still not enough to make marriage equality federally recognized as the law of the land (read: Constitutional amendment).

Also, I would be amiss if I failed to mention other forms of equality within the military, especially pertaining to women. Not only are women open to train for full-fledged combat positions (though we won’t see women in direct Infantry until probably 2016), but also, rape and assaults within the military are finally being taken seriously. Men and women who have been attacked are reporting at an all-time high, which may actually be a good thing for a couple of reasons: For one thing, victims feel justice will actually be served instead wrapped in red tape, so they are reporting them. And for another, the reports that do occur are actually making it onto official ledgers to be counted.

For our veterans however, pension trimming is still in the works. While it’s true the compensation is bloated, as people live longer and more families have dealt with unfathomable losses, it is my opinion those who were promised cost of living increases should be grandfathered in. That’s what people signed up for. Yes, veterans are able to retire before their 40th birthdays, which doesn’t look good to the bean counters on paper, but the 20 (and more!) years these men and women served are deserving of every penny. And I say that across the board, even for those who since have moved on to lucrative civilian careers or even won the lottery. It’s no different than Social Security; you put into it, you get out of it, whether or not you can afford to live without it.

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