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The Cartoon That I'd Draw, If I Could Draw

Jainism is India's religion of ahimsa (non-harming) par excellence; in fact, it's probably from Jain (that's Jine, not Jane) practice that both Hinduism and Buddhism got their commitment to non-violence and vegetarianism. Jainism is so committed to non-harm that, as with Catharism, it's considered meritorious to starve oneself to death, since to eat necessarily deprives others of life.

(Known as sallekhana, this would seem a pretty harmful act to me—self-harming is still harm, yes?—but, hey, I'm no Jain. In my opinion, the Dharmic religions parted company from their natal paganisms when they became world-denying.)

So deeply rooted is Jain reverence for the sanctity of non-human life that some Jain monks wear face masks constantly, even when they're not wearing anything else (and Jainism is also where Wicca got the term skyclad from), lest they inadvertently inhale some flying insect and so take life.

All this by way of prelude. So, in this Covid-19 Era—you can see where this is going—here's the cartoon that I would draw, if I could draw.

Gods, I love high-context humor.

 

Street scene, with wall-posters detailing covid protocols, and people wearing facial masks.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Breaking Glass, or: Bach with a Skip

At work one morning I'd put Bach's Sixth Brandenburg Concerto—the one without violins—on the sound system. I've always found Bach to pair well with Sunday brunch.

Unfortunately, the disk had a skip in it. The same brief phrase repeated and repeated, playing over and over and over.

As I was crossing the floor to change the disk, the door opened and a customer came in.

When she heard the music, her face lit up. She gave me a radiant smile.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
I'll Be Home for Sam Hane

From the liner notes of my 2005 spoken word album, Radio Paganistan: Folktales of the Urban Witches. 

Really, one has to wonder just who the speaker is.

Good Samhain, all!

I'll Be Home for Sam Hane

 


I'll be home for Sam Hane,

you can count on me.

Pumpkins glow on dancing bones

beneath the naked trees.

 

Hallows Eve will find me

where the hearth-fire's red:

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'Witch' Originally Meant 'Too Busy,' Suggests Philologist

AP: Minneapolis MN

You may have heard that the word “witch” originally meant “wise one,” or “bender [of reality]”, or “waker [of the dead].”

But if Stefano Pozzo, Doctor of Philology at the University of Paganistan is correct, the word derives instead from an Anglo-Saxon adjective meaning “too busy.”

“Students of Old English, the parent language of Modern English spoken more than 1000 years ago, have long suspected the existence of an I-stem adjective wicca” said Pozzo, who pronounces the word WITCH-ah, “but until recently we had no manuscript evidence to prove it. Newly-available palimpsest studies, however, make it clear, not only that the word existed, but that its original meaning, as we had long suspected, was 'too busy.'”

Surviving Old English texts, he explained, were largely written on parchment, which at the time was a valuable resource, far too valuable simply to throw away. It was common practice to reuse old parchment by scraping off the original ink and writing a new text on the erased surface.

Pozzo noted that new computer technology has now made it possible to read erased texts, known as palimpsests, which had heretofore been inaccessible to scholars.

In a recent article, Hebrew University's Dr. Tzemakh Posner amplifies Pozzo's contention.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Seeing with a Different Eye

Witches are popular with cartoonists. Of the thousands of witch cartoons that I've seen over the years, one stands out in particular.

 

  1. Rainbow. At one end, a big black pot of gold. At the other, a witch, hands raised, looks on with delight and surprise.

  2. Witch runs over to pot.

  3. Witch dumps out gold.

  4. Rainbow. At one end, a pile of gold, laying on the ground. At the other, the witch happily stirs her new cauldron.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
And Your Shaggy Dog Too

In what has been called the Glorious Autumn of '79, author-priestess Margot Adler (1946-2014) set out on a coast-to-coast tour promoting her newly-released book, the instant classic Drawing Down the Moon.

On November 13, she was scheduled to speak in an occult bookstore in one of the two small cities that span the Red River on the Minnesota-North Dakota border.

As she arrived at the bookstore, she was met on the sidewalk by a group of irate fundie protestors. One angry nazz threw a stone that struck Adler in the forehead, wounding her superficially.

Nothing daunted, Adler, blood streaming down her face, turned towards the crowd and raised her arms. The chanting Christians immediately fell silent.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    100% fictional. I'll do anything for a Spoonerism.
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    Christian hypocrisy drives me nuts. That is quite a story...

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
W3PHDRP+

A Modest Proposal

 

Face it, folks: there's strength in numbers. We need a term that includes us all.

Once “pagan” was our prime term of art, but since (like fractious adolescents) we tend to define ourselves by rebelling against what we're not, that simply doesn't work anymore.

So here's my suggestion.

I think that we need to take a page from the GLBTQI+ playbook.

(Interestingly, both “gay” and “queer,” originally intended as terms of inclusion, have since come to be used exclusively instead. Hai mai, it's nice to know that you're not alone in the world.)

We need to come up with a long, unwieldy, mysterious string of capital letters that's constantly bloating into a longer, more unwieldy, and ever more mysterious string of capital letters that never quite manages to resolve into a pronounceable acronym.

Of course, since—for all our egocentricity—we tend to have fragile egos, we need to be as inclusive as possible when we do this.

Let's see: Witch-Warlock-Wiccan-Pagan-Heathen-Druid-Reconstructionist-Polytheist....

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    How about a nice short one like FD for Fucking Different?
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Happy Pagan Bloggers we! Don't like what I write, then don't bother to read. So many posts out there to peruse, it's okay to pick
  • Meredith Everwhite
    Meredith Everwhite says #
    Despite what I think I'm detecting as a degree of sarcasm, at least on one subject here, I think "we" are all a little too varied
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    BWA HA HA!! *snort*..Hahahaha!! So true!

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