Pagan Studies


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Studies Blogs

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

Activist Clergy: Protesting from the Sidelines

I wrote this piece to the discordant music of police helicopters circling above.  Monday night my friends and colleagues marched through the streets of Berkeley, CA, protesting the killing of unarmed black men in the United States.  While many of them went home after awhile, some stayed to shut down Interstate 80 for a time.  Those dozen or so folks were part of a group that were cordoned off, surrounded by the police.  While they awaited arrest, the chaplains and ministers I spend my days with here at the Pacific School of Religion led the two hundred or so activists in Christmas carols, pop songs, and hymns.  Our Professor of Worship served a communion of almonds and tea to anyone who wanted to partake.  The group sang to the police for hours and the peaceful presence of the religious leaders kept things calm on both sides. It is the kind of work that I think religious leaders are well suited for.  I was with them many hours before, offering energy-based activist training and my loving support as they prepared for this action.  I've shed many tears this last week, filled with anguish for the injustice I see happening in my country and frustrated with my body's inability to march in the streets.

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    This brings back memories of my past protesting at Lawrence Livermore Lab when I, too, was a student at PSR. Though it's been deca
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you for all the work you did readying the group and supporting in the long hours that followed.
  • Kai Koumatos
    Kai Koumatos says #
    THANK YOU, Lizann, for your gentle invitations and unwavering support. You are a gem.

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_9228.JPGDaily Practice helps me from going crazy. No, seriously, in a world where so little is in our control, seemingly less filled with compassion and more filled with injustice, my daily practice allows me to sink into the safety of the only thing constant in my life, the breath.

I encounter people everyday, whether direct or in passing, and wonder… are they breathing? I mean, really breathing? With faces intently locked onto phones, harnessed at the computer, walking briskly, or rapidly talking, I wonder are these people breathing? What might it look like for them to simply acknowledge the breath within their body. The simple, yet realchemizing breath that fills our lungs to energize our blood and move toxins, like stress, out of the body.

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Oh Erick, This is just what I needed to read this morning. I am drawing a bath right now. I will tend to my outside altar and then
How the Death Gate Cycle inspired my Process approach to Magic

I've just finished re-reading the Deathgate Cycle, a 7 book series published in the early 1990's and one of my favorite fantasy series. One of the reasons I like the series so much is the appendices, which the authors created to explain various aspects of the series, including how the magic in the series works. Although neither author is a magician, so far as I know, the detailed explanations they share provide a lot of insight into not the magic of their series, but magical work in general. For example, one of the concepts they talk about is the importance of definition in magic, and how definition shapes the raw possibilities into something that a person can understand apply to the world around him/herself.

I read the Deathgate cycle when it first came out, before I started practicing magic. It's fair to say that reading those appendices certainly had an effect on how I thought about magic, once I started to practice it in earnest. The concepts presented provided a way to understand magic that made sense to me, because what was presented was a very methodical approach to magic that made sense. That I would find some similar approaches in actual books on magic only confirmed to me the value of looking outside of strictly magical texts to find inspiration in my magical work.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs

THE ELIXIR[1]

 

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The universe contains uncounted stages, and immortal souls are actors and actresses. We play many, many parts over many, many lifetimes, remembering our true selves fully once the makeup and costumes have come off.

Time is circular, and the Circle takes its time. Everything that is playing out now has played out before, and will be played out again—whether by this same acting company or by a new one.

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An Example of Poor Group Process - Scapegoating

Here’s something I’ve observed that I think may be a common phenomenon within many groups of people working together.  It has to do with compatibility, honesty, and integrity.

Your group is open to anyone who wishes to join in your shared work.  There is no method by which individuals are vetted for membership.  They simply attend meetings.  Well, that’s mistake number one.  No filtering to avoid antagonists.

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How to turn Profane holidays into Sacred Days

One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving. It's always been one of my favorite holidays because of the gathering of community and the sharing of food, as well as the playing of board games after the food has been eaten. Then again, I just like social gatherings in general, where people come together to share food and connect with each other. Nonetheless, Thanksgiving holds a special place in my heart. Perhaps one of the reasons I like this holiday so much is that it isn't overtly associated with any given religion. Rather it is a profane holiday, which nonetheless can become sacred.

Actually I think that's true with any given moment you have. There is no moment that is strictly profane or sacred that isn't made that way by the people in that moment. What makes something sacred or profane is our own interpretation of it, and how we choose to embody it. So when it comes to Thanksgiving, the experience of the food, friends, and activities becomes sacred because of how I choose to approach those moments. The making of the food is significant because of the meaning I associate with it. The point I'm making is this: What makes something significant ultimately is your choice to make it important. For many people, Thanksgiving will be a day off, or a day celebrating gluttony or commercialism or any other number of things. For me, Thanksgiving is a holy day. That's my perception of the day, but its also how I approach the various activities of the day. I'm aware of the various other meanings that people have for the day. But those aren't my meanings.

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  • Linette
    Linette says #
    Thank YOU for this blog! As an aside. I live in an area with Native American reservations on two sides of me and nearly all the N
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    Glad you enjoyed the post. Like you I feel everything is sacred as well...but it really does cme down to appreciating that sacredn
  • Modemac
    Modemac says #
    Thanksgiving may not be overtly religious (though the Puritans had religious motives behind nearly everything), but it is *is* pri
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    There's definitely controversy around the holiday. I suspect that many people, myself included, will continue to celebrate it rega

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