Culture Blogs


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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

For as long as I can remember, Witches and Pagans have talked about whether or not they are in the “broom closet,” meaning whether or not they’re out about their religion publicly. Whether to be in or out and who to come out to (if anyone) are huge decisions for many Wiccans and Pagans, or at least they have been historically. Last month something happened to me that made me think long and hard about the broom closet, so I'm abandoning my usual question-and-answer format in this post to ramble a bit about my experience. 

The Broom Closet in the 1980s

When I first started getting into Wicca in the 1980s, we heard stories about people losing their jobs when their employers found out they were Wiccan, Wiccans being disowned by their families because of their religion, and Wiccans losing their children in custody battles against a parent who wasn’t Wiccan. It was considered unwise by many Wiccans to be out of the closet to anyone but close friends and family, and the general notion was even those people had to be chosen carefully.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Linette
    Linette says #
    Was married to an academic for 25 years, they look down on everyone for everything. I think it's the reason that they only talk ab
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Since you are now "out of the closet" (albeit unwillingly) this book might help you with your Christian relatives: http://www.amaz
  • Amber Manuel
    Amber Manuel says #
    I agree that no one should out another or pressure them to come out. I am very new to Wicca and was outed recently by a family mem
  • Thea Sabin
    Thea Sabin says #
    I'm so sorry someone outed you. That's just plain wrong. Have you heard Dar Williams' song "The Christians and the Pagans"? It's t
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    I prefer to call myself a "Goddess feminist" in terms of my spirituality. I don't always offer either of those terms in everyday c

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_14_Religions.jpgI only know one person who is an open atheist and I don’t tend to have any opinion when I hear discussions about the existence of god. I’ll confess that I feel somewhat sorry for atheists. I think its kind of sad that they don’t get enough joy and satisfaction out of a religion to justify a bit of faith when needed. Most humans practice religion of some kind. It has been fashionable in the twentieth century to bash religion and declare it one of the major causes of human suffering. My father-in-law was one such. Culturally Jewish, his father fled the Czar when he was found to be a Communist. Harry believed firmly in an afterlife, but he had bad things to say about religion. All while participating in his Jewish community. This might seem a paradox, but it really isn’t. Judaism does not dictate belief, only behavior, and by all means debate away!

I didn’t agree with Harry, although I did agree that there had been religious wars and persecution. Religions must be part of our biology and thus serve us in a survival capacity, otherwise we wouldn’t make so many of them! It comes down to a few simple ideas. Our brains want to create stories about what happens to us. We have a biological need for meaning. (For more on this I recommend the works of Eugene D’Aquili and Andrew Newberg.) What survival need does this serve? It creates hope. Hope allows one to continue in the face of fear, anguish, and physical or emotional pain. Without hope, we are more likely to give up. For our ancestors, giving up would have, more often than not, meant death.

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  • Linette
    Linette says #
    I enjoy this article. Lately I've been musing over similar things. I know that two things I especially value and appreciate in my

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Thunderstruck in Reykjavik

The way I heard it, back in 1972 the heathens of Iceland petitioned the Althing—Parliament—for federal recognition. The official state church in Iceland is the Lutheran church, and everyone pays tax dollars to help support it, but there are a few other recognized religious organizations that you can designate to receive your money instead. The heathens, very reasonably, asked to be included on the list.

Parliament thought it was a joke. (Hey, it was 1972.) “Odin? Thor? Come on, this can't be serious. Recognition denied. Jeez.”

That night (almost I want to add: of course) the Parliament building is struck by lightning. Lights go out all over Reykjavik. (I should add that thunderstorms are rare in Iceland.)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_800px-Oysters_p1040747.jpgI’ve written a bit about land based Permaculture, a food production system that works with Nature instead of against her, and produces a great deal more food per acre than industrial farming. Powerful as this system is, it can only take advantage of part of our planet. Now it seems there are those who are innovating similar techniques in the oceans.

Brenn Smith runs Thimble Island Oyster Company. This is not industrial aquaculture with its unhealthy and badly fed fish. Brenn grows seaweed, scallops and mussels, oysters, and clams using a system he calls 3D ocean farming. The seaweed, mussels and scallops he grows on lines strung under water, while below on the sea bed are oysters and clams. Such farming creates a thriving ecosystems as native species are attracted to the farm because the farm acts as an artificial reef and storm surge barrier. Smith reports more than 150 different species in what was once a barren sea bottom. And it is highly productive. He produces more food on 20 acres of ocean using this system than he used to get from 100 acres.

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  • Soli
    Soli says #
    He's local to me! I've heard about their "CSA" and if I felt safe shucking oysters I'd sign up in a minute.

Truth of the matter is, while this week's portion of the Pagan savings challenge was met, no visual proof of that fact exists. 

My savings so far:  $1,035, baby, four digits of cold, hard cash, 4.3% ($45) of which I saved today.  Which is completely badass.

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Paradise Now: The Visionary World of Feraferia's Frederick Adams

Few individuals can have been as important in the shaping of the modern pagan vision as artist and visionary Frederick McLaren Adams, founder of Feraferia.

I first encountered his work and thought in the early 70s. His vision of a culture in which art, daily life, religion, work, play, and wilderness together form a single, unified whole inspired me deeply and still does: the nostalgic and necessary dream of a holistic, integral culture.

And his art: swirling, surreal, eros-charged icons in which Pagan Past and Pagan Future met and kissed in a passionate Maiden embrace. To gaze into the eyes of his Apple Kore on the jacket of Hans Holzer's New Pagans (1972) was, for me, to fall willingly, irretrievably, head over heels in love.

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Beltane... a rose by any other name would smell as sweet
The full moon in Taurus has come and gone, and wasn’t it lush? Last weekend I celebrated the festival commonly known as Beltane with my coven, and today I go to a wedding… ’tis the season for all things love and an interesting time for witches of all stripes as Halloween is a spectre making itself being felt with more an more presence in Australia despite it being a point on the calendar not traditionally observed. But I digress – I am here to ruminate about Beltane.
 
The full flowering of Spring is truly upon us. The native plants are humming with energy and to the Noongar people, the traditional custodians of this land, the season is known as Kambarang, the season of wildflowers. Fruits and nuts are collected. The first summer fruits make their blessed appearance, and while they do not always taste as lush as the last fruits, they are a delight to re-introduce to the table. The jarrah tree is in full flower and you can hear bees humming when you pass beneath the boughs. Beauty is everywhere.
  
 When considering this mood with the ‘flipped’ Southern Hemisphere Wheel, it is not entirely at odds with the fire festival of Beltane, which brings connotations of fertility and is often seen as a festival of love. It is high wedding season as the weather starts to warm and our cardigans are shed to bare our skin to the first careless sunburns of the season, and more time is spent outdoors underneath perfect blue skies. The birds and the bees are literally out and about making full use of the nectar and fruits that are making themselves available. Conversely, the land is also starting to brown and a dying off of the winter green can be felt. I used to dread summer at this time along with the drag of Christmas but I have made a Pinterest board to sweet talk myself into actually enjoying summer as so many seem to do.
 
 
 
Our coven’s celebration of Beltane does not usually subscribe to dancing around a May pole (I think we’ve given it a crack once or twice), but it is a lovely time to court creativity and resonate with the energy that can allow for flourishing of personal projects, preparing for the heat ahead, and celebrating the furling out of the self and sealing the connection of the working group. In my own (work in progress) rendition of the Wheel of the Year, I have called it ‘The Radiance’ but I have also seen it referred to as Flowering Earth and Rosemas in other Australian groups who have forgone the name of ‘Beltane’ for their seasonal Wheel.
 
  
beltane2014cOur altar was festooned with flowers and fruits.
  
 
beltane2014a
A lovely opportunity to charge objects with solar energy – which we were definitely feeling on that day!
  
 
beltane2014b
 
During ritual we used chants, drumming, rose petals and ribbons to raise a cone of power to charge our rite, which was dedicated to celebrating our collective energy and also blessing the land with cooling healing if it should need it in the warm months ahead.
  
 
beltane2014d
 
A basket of flowers from our gardens and a jug of water, ready for charging and blessing.
 
 Our feast included sparkling wine with hibiscus flowers, fresh salads, and berries dipped in raw chocolate mousse and chocolate hummus! Yum!
 
 
I hope you are experiencing a lovely season or simply a beautiful weekend.
 
This post originally appeared on my main blog over at The Chaos Witch.
 
 
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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Hock-deep in Samhain up here in the Northern Half, and with 10 inches of snow predicted for tomorrow, it's nice to be reminded tha

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