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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in living Paganism

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
How straight is your wheel?

Our usual solar stories about the turning of the year focus on the birth, maturing and death of a sun god who might fight his rival at midsummer and will probably father himself. Imbolc is all about pregnancy and birth. Beltain is all about impregnating. It’s a very heterosexual narrative, when you get down to it.

Nature is not exclusively about heterosexual reproduction. What we would understand as homosexual behaviour crops up in all creatures. If you’re part of a wolf pack or a bee hive, it’s about the group, not about spreading your own genes directly. Many plants have both male and female sex organs – if you insist on understanding them in those terms! On top of this, plants will also reproduce through suckers, bulbs and other ways of doing it for themselves without any need for pollination. Some creatures change gender. Oysters have all the kit, and effectively change gender every few years. Other life forms – fungi particularly, are asexual, and reproduce without any input from anyone else.

Where, in the traditional wheel story, would you honour the oyster? Or the male seahorse who carries his young in a pouch? Where, in the cycle of the year do we talk about how most of the elm trees in the UK are probably descended from just the one tree, and spread asexually? Where are the stories that place our equally natural gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, not so gendered and asexual Pagan folk within the wheel of the year?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    That's one of the reasons I'm glad I'm a heathen, specifically an Asatruar, because our ritual structure doesn't have heterosexual
  • Nimue Brown
    Nimue Brown says #
    If we have three kinds of ancestors (blood, land and tradition) then we must also have three kinds of descendants. While that cann
  • Anna Belle LaFae
    Anna Belle LaFae says #
    Thank you for this article! After my child was stillborn and then subsequent infertility the reproductive emphasis of so many pag
Pagan Culture and Experience: Definitions and Practice

Who gets the right to define you? To label you? Is that right solely your own, or does it belong in some measure to the culture with which you identify? I've considered this question for a long time, and I've concluded that there's no easy answer.

I've long been an advocate for the principle of self-identification: If you choose to identify yourself in specific terms, who are others to challenge it? But things really aren't that simple, are they? What about frauds who have ulterior motives for adopting a label? What about people who don't really understand what the label means?

A Huffington Post article titled "Striking Photos Challenge The Way We See Blackness" recently explored the idea of self-identification in terms of race. The writer interviewed several individuals from diverse backgrounds who identified as black, postulating that "Blackness must be recognized as something other than just skin color and specific physical attributes."

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  • Samaire Provost
    Samaire Provost says #
    Nope, not at all awkward, Steve
  • Stifyn Emrys
    Stifyn Emrys says #
    Not awkward at all, Samaire. I'm sitting right across the table from you!
  • Samaire Provost
    Samaire Provost says #
    Well isn't this an awkward meeting

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Sometimes, as a public Druid, I get frustrated. Because over and over again, I seem to be saying the same thing. 'What's a Druid?' 'What do Druids do?' and so on, and so forth. I suspect we all get this at some point or another, if we're 'out of the broom closet' in any way. We just smile and get on with it as part of life.

But I do worry. Is this because nobody's listening? Am I actually trying to con people into following this mad 'cult' of modern Paganism? And of most concern, am I on the take?

I'm not - but it's easy to see why people would think that.

Spirituality is a deeply personal, heartfelt thing - a state of being, mind, emotion... so much contained in a such a complex state that it's virtually impossible to put into words. Especially, I might add, when someone asks me suddenly to explain my Druidry in two minutes or less.

b2ap3_thumbnail_ADT-Cover_20140130-164522_1.jpg

(Yes, this is me - in the woods near my home)

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  • Nimue Brown
    Nimue Brown says #
    There is a world of difference between standing up and saying 'this is what I do' and saying 'this is what you should do'. So many

 b2ap3_thumbnail_SANY7301.JPG

One of the questions I get asked more often from our customers is “I want to have a Spiritual Path – how do I start?” - well, the answer couldn't be simpler: Living It Every Single Day. Entwining your everyday life with a set of regular devotional practises will gradually increase and empower your energy, connect you with the energies and entities around you, ground you, and build the Personal Power you will need to have efficient results on more demanding practises like Spell Work.

There is something I would like to explain before we go on with the practises – while I am practising my path every single moment of the day, I do not live surrounded by Pagans and I do not speak of my path unless someone asks me. While clearly I am not in the broom closet, I am a very private person, and the Canary Islands is a place where 99% of the population are Roman Catholics – not extremely devoted Catholics, but certainly people who still cringe at the word Witch. The social stigma of what I do has caused rejection, misunderstandings, prejudice, ridicule and fear in my life.

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  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    Absolutely, I'll send you a draft in advance. John
  • Carolina Gonzalez
    Carolina Gonzalez says #
    Thanks so much! You can email me at magickshop (at) gmail (dot) com .
  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    Carolina, I'd like to republish this on HumanisticPaganism.com in late spring with you permission. Is that okay?

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Institutions

As a product of the counterculture, I tend to mistrust and avoid institutions.  I suspect this is a common attitude among “first generation”[1] NeoPagans in the U.S.  We found existing institutions, be they religious, educational, or governmental, to be oppressive, unfulfilling, and irrelevant to the conditions of the world in which we found ourselves.

Let’s face it: established religions such as Christianity in its many forms, were created and gained ascendency in other times and places.  There was no threat of nuclear annihilation, no looming environmental degradation, no water shortage, no organ transplants, no vaccinations against such diseases as smallpox and polio.  Those religions addressed the concerns of the peoples in other times and places.  Further, few of these religious institutions adapted to changing circumstances.  Nowadays some are trying to be more relevant, often by adopting practices, such as involving lay people in their rituals and dancing during worship. 

In the years since Paganism has become visible, particularly in academia and interfaith, we have gained credibility in the wider world, and although we remain a religious minority,[2] we have not done much in the way of establishing lasting institutions.

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  • Marissa  Bomgardner
    Marissa Bomgardner says #
    Are the inmates allowed the fake tealight candles that are battery operated? That's what my group used on the carrier (USS John C
  • Samuel Wagar
    Samuel Wagar says #
    I believe that people vote with their wallets. They vote to buy Pagan bling and to go to short-term Pagan communities / festivals
  • David Oliver Kling
    David Oliver Kling says #
    Institutions are important and Pagans need to raise their collective "self-esteem" and step out into the world holding their heads

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The plans of trees

 

The deciduous trees stand, bare and apparently lifeless through the winter months. The popular take on this, is that they are sleeping. It is a perspective which depends on paying no attention or thought to what the trees are really doing. Those bare branches are a misleading focus.

 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

In recent months, I've been lucky enough to witness some fairly ancient traditions replayed by modern folk in my local community. Rather than taking the cynical, culturally-superior, post-modern 21st-century approach, villagers across Derbyshire have delighted in the creation of Well Dressing ceremonies and presentations.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Well-Dressing1.JPG

Well Dressing is thought to be pagan in origin, but now crosses social and faith boundaries in the simple act of creation. An offering is made from natural materials - such as petals, seeds and leaves - ostensibly to celebrate the local community and the various groups within it. But it is known that Well Dressing was also an act of thanks and celebration, to honour the spirit of the Well for providing clean water to that community, allowing it to nourish and thrive.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    That is very, very cool. Thanks for sharing.

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