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.  

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I am dangerously close to thanking Indiana.

Someone had to test the waters. While there are at least 20 states plus the federal government who have passed so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts,” Indiana’s was singled out because, as Pagan lawyer and blogger John Halstead explains, it expands the definition of “persons” who can be protected and it allows the use of the law as a defense in civil suits. In other words, it gives people and private business owners with religious objections a potential shield to discriminate against the gay community.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

When we met in nineteen thirty-eight, it was November
When I said that I would be his mate, it was December
I reasoned he would be the greatest husband that a girl had ever found
That’s what I reasoned
That’s what I reasoned
Then April rolled around…

April has rolled around once again, and with it comes a tradition that has been part of the background of American life that stretches even farther back than 1938- it began almost the very day in 1845 when the Knickerbocker Club of New York City took on the New York Nine in the first organized game of “base ball” ever played.  Since that day, as Meg laments in Damn Yankees, baseball has been a part of American life for “six months out of every year.”

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tim Titus
    Tim Titus says #
    Thanks David. I'm in your town right now, but I missed the Nats opener because I was out touristing. We have tickets for Wednesday
  • David Salisbury
    David Salisbury says #
    Awesome post, Tim! I'm a secret baseball fan (*GASP* the horror!) and will be watching tonight's game in DC. Have tix to see our N
  • Tim Titus
    Tim Titus says #
    Thanks Gwion. Yes: Eternal and ephemeral. I like that.
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Hello Tim, Well, I guess it's time to come clean. I LOVE baseball. I'm a total and complete nutjob for baseball. And yes, there i
Twelve Healing Stars is a yearlong project in cooperation with the Temple of Witchcraft that explores social justice through the lessons of the 12 Zodiac Signs. This is part seven. “So it is with skillful warriors – their force is swift, their precision is close. Their force is like drawing a catapult, their precision is like releasing the trigger.”

-Sun Tzu, The Art of War

I’ve always struggled with activism. I know it’s the right thing to do in many cases, but there are so many justified causes that it can feel overwhelming. If you put your finger on one problem, another head of the hydra pops up in its place. You want to be a warrior, but there are enemies everywhere. It’s easy to lose track of where to aim and how much force to use. It can be depressing and paralyzing.

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Limoncello is a glass of liquid sunshine.  As the light grows and we approach Ostara, the Spring Equinox where the light overtakes the darkness, there is no better drink to celebrate the season.  Sweet, tart, strong, and delicious, a little glass of limoncello is like drinking in the growing sun.

Some pagans make mead, others brew beer, others steep all sorts of fruits in any strong drink they can find.  I make limoncello.  I first learned of limoncello while traveling in Italy.  We were staying in Sorrento, a seaside town with much the same climate as my native southern California.  The local drink was this delicious concoction of local lemons, sugar, water, and booze.  I had to try it.  After I did, I had to find the recipe.

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Twelve Healing Stars is a yearlong project in cooperation with the Temple of Witchcraft that explores social justice through the lessons of the 12 Zodiac Signs. This is part six. Basic social psychology suggests that religion can be a very dangerous thing. Open any introductory textbook to the chapter on social psych, and you’ll be hit with a flurry of concepts that build upon each other to show us how tribal, exclusionary, and potentially violent religion – any religion – can become.

  • The Out Group Homogeneity Effect tells of our tendency to see all people that are not part of our group as “all the same.”
  • In Group Bias is our ability to tolerate differences within our own groups, even as we don’t see them in other groups.
  • The Fundamental Attribution Error leads us to blame another person’s character for mistakes they make and any behavior they do while ignoring the situational variables that could have caused the mistake or behavior.
  • Group Polarization is our tendency, once within a group, to gravitate toward extreme thinking. Our opinions may be moderate on a topic, but as we hang out with people with more extreme opinions, we move in that direction.
  • Groupthink tells us that when we have a charismatic leader and a lack of dissenting opinions in a group, we make very poor choices.

Add these together, and any time a group gets together they risk extreme thinking and tribalism. We see that play out in everything from sports team rivalries to international politics. We tend to naturally separate ourselves from others. And one of the places we see it way too often in is religion. Ethnobiologist E.O. Wilson is working on a trilogy to explore the human condition and its intersections with spiritual practice. He says that a major problem with religion is this tribal mentality. “Religion,” he says “features supernatural elements that other tribes – other faiths - cannot accept.” The problem with that is that, “Every tribe, no matter how generous, benign, loving, and charitable, nonetheless looks down on all other tribes.” Mix that with social psychology and you are creating a pretty toxic brew for humanity’s survival. There is a way out of this. Another concept from social psychology, a deceptively simple one, can be our key. It’s called the Mere Exposure Effect. We’ve all experienced it. When a person begins with a negative attitude toward a person or group, spending time around that group – merely being exposed to it – can improve their attitude. It’s one of the reasons that coming out of our closets, be they broom closets or any other kind of closet, is so important. When we know good people who belong to a misunderstood group, our perceptions of that group improve.  Instead of separation, we need to come together. We need the Piscean message of merging together, yet we can’t lose what makes us all unique. This is a large part of the mission for Alix Wright, the Pisces Lead Minister for the Temple of Witchcraft. Paganism of any brand, but especially Witchcraft, runs a great risk of being misunderstood and maligned. Wright says that, “The air of mystery surrounding the various pagan faiths could feed the fear of those who don’t truly know what we do.” She adds that, “Anytime you keep things closed off and secretive, those not in ‘the know’ have the opportunity to put their own spin on things and can demonize what the only have minimal, or no, understanding of.”

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I’m still trying to wrap my head around Pantheacon 2015. It was a very different con for me, a strange mix of ups and downs. It started off incredibly when I got to watch my wife present for the first time. She got wonderful feedback on her work as a hypnotherapist. Throughout the con, and even after the con, a number of people expressed their appreciation for her session and for the work she did for them.

I got to help Shauna Aura Knight in her ritual facilitation workshop. By simply repeating a chant about Air as three others chanted the other elements, we raised some pretty amazing energy in a small space. I got a tiny glimpse of her ritual skills, and it left me wanting more. Much more.

I was the bad kid in a class on knot-tying, that poor student who wants to learn but needs the individualized attention from a teacher too busy to give it. There was important lesson there for this high school teacher to learn. My fellow witches and I sent protection to the witches of future at Devin Hunter’s Rite of Grand Convergence, and I worked to restore order in the world with Christopher Penczak. I met with men about men’s issues, talked with David Salisbury about establishing a Pagan lobbying day in the nation’s capital, and had the opportunity to meet Krampus, who was taking a break from his holiday season duties.

Krampus

Those were the ups, but then there were the downs.

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  • Tim Titus
    Tim Titus says #
    Thanks Piper. I agree with your thoughts. I felt that Jonathan Korman's letter was well done and the response from the PantyCon
  • Piper
    Piper says #
    Sorry I missed this year, I enjoyed last year alot, The POC suite was full of great people, and there were more offerings along my

Better Call Saul!, the highly anticipated Breaking Bad spinoff that scored the best premiere ratings in cable TV history, was really, really depressing.  That’s OK.  It had to be.  Bob Odenkirk’s characterization of Heisenberg’s crooked lawyer was so fascinating that the most compelling aspect of this new prequel was the character’s back story.  Much like Walter White had to do in Breaking Bad, Saul Goodman needed to hit rock bottom in order to turn his life around.

But then, “turning your life around” is a relative term.  We know from the original show that both characters end up making significantly more money than they start with.  Yet what does that success get them?  We also know from Breaking Bad that both characters live a life of constant struggle to stay ahead of the law, ahead of the drug cartels, ahead of Albuquerque’s criminal underworld.  They never get a moment to rest and enjoy the wealth that they create.  The loneliness is painted vividly in the new show's ads:

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