As a way to keep the blog flowing (and supplement a new project Ill share with you soon!) I'm rereading Ronald Hutton's Triumph of The Moon. I'm placing here summaries of the chapters for reference and easy reading for any of you who don't have the book.
Ronald Hutton’s Triumph of The Moon, undertakes the task of tracing the developments of contemporary paganism and witchcraft as it originated in the English speaking nations of Europe and their influences. His first chapter, “Finding A Language” is a necessary foundation for the reader, supplying and clarifying a vocabulary with which the rest of the book uses and sets the historical framework within which the events examined take place. Hutton superbly mingles witty observations with historical records and cultural paradigms to produce, not merely definitions, but a working understanding of how and why the terms came to be.
It used to be simple. Wiccans and NeoPagans in general were polytheists in contrast to Christians and other mostly monotheistic religions.NeoPagan polytheists usually spent little time on theology and considerably more creating and practicing rituals.Most of us became Pagans by virtue of personal attraction enriched by our involvement with a teacher or a coven or similar group.
Today many NeoPagans first learn about our traditions from books or the internet.The net in particular has expanded easily available information about our religion but at a cost.That cost is to be severed from NeoPagan history and practice except as available through pixels or the printed word.Instead of starting with learning and practice with others and then studying written sources, many NeoPagans now go from the study of texts to practice. They hope to interpret experiences they anticipate having through the texts they have read rather than judging whether the text illuminates or contradicts the experiences they have had.
I frequently find myself inspired by the books I read, and sometimes, a good memoir can even encourage my wanderlust. I wanted to share three titles with you today that have me itching to get up and go experience the goddesses of these places:
Inanna is a very old Goddess.* She is one of the oldest Deities for whom we have a name and a record of worship -- and that worship lasted all the way up to the conversion of the Near and Middle East to first Christianity, then Islam. Today, Inanna (or Ishtar, in the Akkadian) is an immensely popular Goddess among Pagans, especially solitaries and those who practice Goddess Spirituality.
There are a number of resources available to those who are interested in Inanna, ranging from the densely academic to the poetic to children's books.**
As we roll around to a new year, I find myself reminiscing, thinking over the many many novels, anthologies, poetry collections, and graphic novels which I have read over the course of 2012. Most have faded, reduced to scattered scenes or memorable lines. Others remain more coherent, plot lines complete. A few notable books remain completely intact in my memory, characters permanently etched into my consciousness.
Life is too short to waste on bad books. As such, here are my literary discoveries of 2012. Some are brand new books, just published; others are new to me; still others qualify as rediscoveries, books read many years ago and mislaid or forgotten.
One of the most important virtues a magician can cultivate is curiosity. While the old saying that curiosity kills the cat comes to mind, we should consider that such a saying really is a response to curiosity that favors the status quo. It discourages exploration in favor of keeping things the same. Such an attitude should be an anathema to the magician.
Curiosity is at the core of my spiritual practice. When I was much younger I was a born again Christian and I left because I realized that I couldn't find all the answers in one book and that allowing myself to be limited to what I considered to be a narrow perspective of the universe was not good. So when I discovered that magic was real I voraciously began to read books and I allowed my curiosity to explore and experiment with what I learned. Curiosity motivates me to discover my questions and answers and it is an emotion that I couldn't imagine being without.