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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs
Tips ’n’ Tricks: A Pocketful of Kryptonite

While making a gemstone belt or waist chain could be a major investment of time and money, placing a rock in your pocket is a quick and easy way to bring change into your life. To get a new job, carry tourmaline, moss agate, tiger’s-eye, or carnelian. If you’re looking for love, pocket a moonstone. For money, carry green jade.

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 Review: 'Bridgerton' Is Sexy Shondaland Goodness : NPR

 

Somehow, Bridgerton reminds me of a blown-out Ostara egg.

Pretty on the outside, but that's all you get.

It's no exaggeration to categorize the Netflix period costume-drama Bridgerton, set in an ethnically diverse early 19th century Britain-that-never-was, as a fantasy series. At heart, it's a Mating Game drag show—how many fabulous costumes will our heroine get to swan around in this episode?—but, of course, lacking the poignant self-satire that gives real drag its pungency.

Women in female drag. Now there's a concept.

In Bridgerton, we enter into a world entirely matriarchal, with (basically) an all-female cast. Yes, there are a few nominal male characters, virtually all of them pretty prizes for the scheming central characters, without interior life of their own. (That they're beautiful and occasionally take their clothes off provides only limited consolation.) If this seems due payback for all those decades of hero-centric TV with its pretty-but-empty female trophies, unfortunately, in the end, one is just as boring as the other. Revenge nearly always makes for better fantasy than reality.

At very least, Bridgerton manages to avoid the all-too-predictable Masterpiece Theater trope, in which the lowah closses (= servants) are always good for a loff. (I'll include here Julian Fellowes' current Gilded Age, basically an English costume-drama in American drag.) Here, the dramatis personae are all Persons of Privilege, and working folk—amusing though they be—stay duly in the background, where they belong.

Although I don't doubt that eventually we'll be seeing the more-or-less obligatory Christmas episode, one advantage for the pagan viewer is that this is a thoroughly secular fantasy, in which religion—Christian or otherwise—plays virtually no part at all. As I said, this isn't a period piece, it's 21st century in drag.

What redeems Bridgerton is its unabashed let's-pretend ethnic romp. What if early 19th-century Britain were as ethnically diverse as contemporary Britain? What would it be like to live in a multiracial society utterly lacking in racism? In that sense, having laid aside even the slightest pretension to historical accuracy, the series offers the viewer a breath of fresh air.

Alas, Bridgerton's ethnic diversity is as far as it goes. Predictably, its lack of non-cardboardy male characters puts any sort of gay interest beyond the pale. (Unlike real matriarchies, there isn't even any lesbianism.) Sorry, Netflix, if you think that your gay audience is going to content itself forever with identifying with female characters while salivating over all those firm young male bodies, I've got some bad news for you.

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The Language of Jewelry: Headdresses

It is no accident that kings, queens, and emperors wear crowns. The ancients wanted their leaders to be wise, and bejeweled crowns brought the energy of gems to bear on their brows. While you might not want to wear a tiara to the office, you can wear hair clips and barrettes with crystals and stones attached for some of the same reasons. Why not be smarter and smartly accessorized?

I love it when bindis (the “dots” traditionally worn by Indian women on their foreheads) came back into vogue, because jewels on the third eye (an invisible organ of spiritual perception) stimulate intuition and compassion. Wear bindis in moderation, however, to avoid exhausting your center of intuition.

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 It's a Summertime Classic! Homemade Potato Salad with 5 Variations | My  Sweet California Life

Some Advice to the Newly Pagan

 

Well, that was a very special experience, I'm sure. Now let me ask you a question.

If you'd just met someone, like we've just met today, would you start by telling them about your most intimate sexual experience?

No, of course you wouldn't. Well, that's what you've just done.

Look around the yard here. Every single one of these people that you see here has had experiences like yours, every single one.

You're new to this community, and you feel like you have something to prove. I understand that. Out there, experiences like the one that you've just told me about make you special; they make you stand out.

But this isn't there. Here your experience doesn't make you different; it makes you just like everybody else.

One more thing: experiences like the one that you've had are gifts, intimate as sexual experiences. They're for holding close, not for handing out to strangers like me. You've had power given to you; don't go throwing it away.

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 Shadow, silhouette, back-view, window, animals, black, dark, trees, row,  look, rear, three-cats stock photo bff7a245-91e1-4dd4-b049-325bca5d7cf9

Few things are more dangerous than a line of bored pagans.

The heart of the ritual was to consist of an encounter with the Three Fates. There we were, queued up, awaiting our personal encounter with the Powers That Be.

Like all smart ritualists, the priestess had planned an activity to keep us—positively—focused on the task at hand and—negatively—from chattering, during our wait.

 

Spin, Clotho, spin;

Lachesis twist;

Atropos sever;

la la la la

la la la la la la.

 

The Fates have always been,

the fates will always be:

la la la la la la

la la la la la.

 

The Fates have always been,

the fates will always be:

la la la la la la

la la la la la.

 

The tune was spritely, syncopated. Dutifully, we chanted along.

And chanted.

And chanted.

And chanted.

The trouble with wait-in-line rituals is that they generally involve a modicum of waiting, a highly unsacred activity, and that the payoff has to be pretty damn good in compensation—which, to be quite frank, it rarely is.

Not to mention the fact that 1) pagans get bored easily and 2) pagans are creative.

(My friend and colleague Robin Grimm's rule-of-thumb for ritualists considering a one-on-one Wait-in-Line-for-Your-Personal-Experience ritual is: Do the Math. 50 participants x 2 minute encounter each = Way Too Long.)

Soon, to the same tune, a counter-chant began to emerge: a group creation, collective commentary on the ritual itself.

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The Language of Jewelry: Brooches

Brooches symbolize virginity, faithfulness, and protection. A diamond-studded brooch is a double symbol of love and safeguarding.

Brooches were the costume jewelry of the medieval Irish, who decorated themselves with gems and valuable stones to show they were part of the aspiring warrior caste.

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 Pope Francis apologizes to Indigenous delegates for Canada's residential  schools – Vancouver Island Free Daily

So: at a recent meeting with Indigenous Canadian leaders, the pope apologized for some of the unspeakable things that some representatives of the Church perpetrated on Indigenous children at residential schools.

Well, isn't that big of him?

Note what he did not apologize for: the spiritual genocide that the Church has, throughout the centuries, perpetrated upon the First Nations of America.

He didn't apologize for it, because he can't. The church that he heads owes its very existence to spiritual genocide. Like Islam, the world's other major imperialist religion, the existence of Christianity as a mass phenomenon has been historically premised on the spiritual genocide of Indigenous peoples.

In this, as in so many other things, pagans stand with the First Nations of the Americas. We must, because we've been there too.

Pope Apologizes to First Nations of Europe for Church's Spiritual Genocide.”

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