Pagan Studies


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Studies Blogs

Advanced and/or academic Pagan subjects such as history, ethics, sociology, etc.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Seers' Charge

 

It is murky out there. It has been this way for a long time. There are roiling atmospheres of complicated astrological conditions that will persist for years. There are currents and crosscurrents of cultures, ideologies, and religions moving and colliding into whirlpools and riptides. And all that is churning while the icecaps are melting.  There are pundits, prophets, and profiteers with axes to grind. It seems a safe bet to put your money on cynicism, apocalyptic narratives, and apathy as respite.

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CAOS, Caliban, Chaos -- and Sycorax

There are bound to be a lot of commentaries on the latest series of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the latest in the comics adaptations aimed at getting young adult audiences (and the not so young) to binge on the tales of teen sex and magic. The creators have fun with the links to Riverdale of course, and horror movies (showrunner and comics writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa grew up on comic books) as well as magic and the occult. You can already find a couple of thoughtful responses from Cunning Folk Magazine and the Media Witch.

No doubt there is a lot to untangle and most of it is probably not as deep as our analyses will go nor as seriosu (as we know) but I am struck by the use of Sycorax without using the most well-established aspect of her as Caliban's mother. In this series of CAOS Caliban is 'made of clay' like a golem (!) I guess for reasons to do with plotting. This move erases lineage but it also erases race. Sycorax as created by Shakespeare in The Tempest is Algerian and banished to this island presumably in the Mediterranean between Italy and Tunisia where Claribel, Alonso's daughter, was to be married to the prince.

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Rejecting Dualism With Fairies

I have never personally understood dualism very well, although it seems to run rampant in many corners of the pagan community. In my particular focus on fairies and fairylore I also see this dualism expressed in the idea that some people have that fairies are either good or bad, or in some views must be wholly good, or in others wholly bad. I tend to reject these concepts but I think its important to discuss why.

To begin let's start with what dualism is, so we're all on the same page, because there are several definitions. For our purposes here the meaning we are using is that of a worldview that divides things into the opposing groups of good and evil. In cosmology this is often expressed through the idea of powerful benevolent deity/deities in opposition to malevolent cthonic or entropic forces. The benevolent forces seek to preserve or improve the human world while the opposite forces seek to destroy it; that which seeks to preserve is labeled by humans as 'good' while that which seeks to destroy is called 'evil'. 

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A Little Folklore of Light & Shadows

We often find ourselves yearning for light and warmth during these last winter months in the northern hemisphere. We grow tired of being bundled up, of shivering, of staying indoors. Yet, if we look carefully, we begin to notice that, little by little, the light is growing. Situated in the fading of winter, the holidays celebrated on February 2nd -- Groundhog Day, Imbolc, Candlemas -- feature an interplay of shadows and light as we approach revitalization in many forms.

 

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Hogmanay

Tonight Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh will end with an impressive fireworks display. Thousands will be gathered there to see in the New Year -- many more will be at home watching it on the telly because we're introverts and that's the way we like it.

Historic Environment Scotland has done some research into when fireworks were first displayed in Scotland. Few will be surprised to find that 'Renaissance King' James IV (r 1488-1513) was responsible. He sponsored poets and alchemists and other scholars, but he liked a party as well as the next royal. The occasion was not New Years, however:

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Perchta, Winter Goddess of the Alps

The Yuletide is a season of wonderment, with warm food and drink, songs of joy and peace, the soft lighting of hearth fires, candles, and strings of electric light, gifts and blessings. But there's a darker aspect: the nocturnal Wild Hunt, when the fierce spirits of the wilderness roam.

 

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In Defense of a Missionizing Paganism

 

 

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