Intersections: A Pagan View of Modern Culture

An exploration of culture, the arts, and science through the lens of modern paganism.

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Tim Titus

Tim Titus

I am a teacher, theater lover, and witch who loves both reason and magick. I believe that all things are connected, so I strive to write about connections between Paganism, pop culture, science, and the arts. My work was published in the Ancestors of the Craft anthology and in Finding the Masculine in the Goddess’ Spiral.  

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Virtues of the Goddess is a series on the eight virtues mentioned in the Charge of the Goddess and their relationship to the sabbats of the Wheel of the Year.  This is Part 3: Honor.

Last Sunday, I was treated to a special screening of the classic Mel Brooks satirical comedy Blazing Saddles.  The screening, which included a discussion with Brooks himself afterward, packed our gigantic Segerstrom Center with rabid fans of the comic genius writer-director-actor-singer-composer-producer.  The crowd spanned across all ages.  My dad, in his 70s, sat next to me.  The lady next to him looked to be not quite of drinking age, and she enthusiastically sang along the opening theme song as she zealously cracked her imaginary whip at all the right moments of the introductory number.

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I just got back from seeing Deadpool. Although the character would bristle at being included in the genre, it was a good super hero movie. Our protagonist is the classic antihero: he’s flawed, potty-mouthed, and obsessed with revenge. Like many people in this world, he uses humor to cover up the burning anger within. But, in the spirit of the film, I’m going to break the fourth wall. I don’t want to talk about the merits of the film. I want to compare it to modern Paganism and magickal practice.

I’m getting a bit tired of super hero movies. There are some really great ones. I loved the first Iron Man, but that franchise hasn’t been the same since. Batman and Superman have been reinvented and regurgitated so many times over the decades that by now they just need to trot out a few recognizable icons then devolve into a CGI fueled orgy of fight sequences. Marvel has a plan to continue releasing its films at least through 2020, but I’m not sure the market can take it. As Deadpool himself might say, “the market is getting saturated and the audiences are getting tired. The genre is getting stale.”

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  • Travis
    Travis says #
    Those are some great points. Im also wondering how Pagans can step outside of their practice and evaluate it as Deadpool would his

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Virtues of the Goddess is a series on the eight virtues mentioned in the Charge of the Goddess and their relationship to the sabbats of the Wheel of the Year.  This is Part 2: Beauty.

I’ve never seen a purple crocus shyly peeking its fragile bud through virgin snow. Where I live, he have colorful roses into January and the citrus trees are heavily laden with fruit, coloring our land in shades of lemon yellow, lime green, and orange, well, orange.  Fresh snow will never make it onto my altar.  The winter, with its sabbat of Imbolc, is a hard season to attune to here in California. 

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2015 was a dynamic year in the world of Paganism.  Social justice dominated the year, and members of the Pagan community struck out against racism, religious favoritism, and environmental destruction.  At the same time, 2015 saw polytheist and anti-capitalist groups underneath the Pagan umbrella truly hit their strides and stand up for their own views, whether or not those views were popular anywhere else.  2015 was a year of owning our identity, fighting for that of others, and standing up for our beliefs.

With such a diverse community, there is inevitably disagreement over what justice looks like, the ideal political landscape, and how our individual identities fit into the picture of larger society.  So while we planted many flags of identity this year, we also engaged in profound internal dialogue about how we interact as Pagans within the larger world.  We challenged each other spiritually and politically.  There was friction, but friction leads to fire, and fire burns away the deadwood, giving us a new vitality.  Friction, as the sign of free thinking and free expression, is healthy.

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 Witches often point to the Law of Three or the last lines of the Wiccan Rede as the source of their ethical beliefs. The trouble is that even those simple guidelines can be controversial. It’s a wonderful goal to “harm none,” but it’s virtually impossible in practice. Just by driving to work, I harm the environment. The Law of Three has so many different interpretations by now that it can really only be a loose reminder that we get back what we send. Further, since we have no central authority, many people object to each of these for their own philosophical reasons.

 So what’s left? It’s also easy to point to the words of the Charge of the Goddess, which tell us that “All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals.” That’s a great start. Every time you are experiencing or causing love and pleasure, you are in accord with the Goddess. Still, there’s a lot of grey here. You can’t just orient your life around love and pleasure. Your job may not provide either, but that doesn’t make it unethical. I hate vacuuming, but that doesn’t make it immoral.

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When the calendar turns to December, I often remember back to a discussion I had with the first pagan I ever met. I had never heard of any of that “Earth-based” religion he was talking about, and the idea of a Goddess sounded shockingly revolutionary to me at the time. It all sounded pretty nice, though, except I had trouble getting one thing out of my head: Christmas.

“Do you still celebrate Christmas?” I asked him.

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Love this, thanks!
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Thanks, you bring back many memories. Date bars and a Christmas morning coffeecake are the foremost at the moment. My sister Meg

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I’ve heard it said that the famous “Witch City” of Salem, MA has five seasons: spring, summer, fall, winter, and October. As a witch from the opposite end of the country, I’ve always wanted to experience that October goodness in Salem. Finally, two days before Samhain, I got the chance.

Part of the experience is the overall vibe of acceptance and openness among the pagans in town. I’m so used to being part of a fringe religion, that to be thrust into a situation where I was among the majority was a sudden and welcome change.   Certainly, not everyone wandering Essex St. and Pickering Wharf that day was a practitioner of Witchcraft, or even Pagan, but they were open and tolerant of my minority religion. Even if they were only doing it for the money, it was still a wonderful feeling.

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  • Miles Gerhardson
    Miles Gerhardson says #
    Wonderful insight....that coincides with "What's good for the goose is good for the gander"....

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