The occult makes its way into the art world. Wiccans participate in a multifaith prayer circle. And A look at how to teach Heathenry to children. It's Watery Wednesday, our weekly segment on news about the Pagan community from around the world! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
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AP: Washington, DC
The Postmaster General announced today the upcoming release of a series of stamps commemorating the eight holidays celebrated by the vast majority of contemporary pagans.
"Pagans have been an integral part of this nation since its founding and before," said Postmaster Tamar Penrose, acting head of the US Postal Service. "It's time and high time for such a public acknowledgement."
The stamps will be released later this year on November 1, the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain, celebrated by many contemporary pagans as their New Year.
The release coincides with the opening of the Smithsonian's new exhibit, "Pagan America: The First 400 Years." The exhibit will include the unveiling of the original prototypes for the stamps.
The prototypes were created by the Minneapolis Collective of Pagan Artists (MCPA) which, since its founding in 2013, has spearheaded the mainstreaming of pagan art and culture into American consciousness. It was the MCPA that first vetted the idea to the Postal Service.
I am because you are.
In the spring of 1974, Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa—arguably the most famous painting in the world—visited Japan.
There she was welcomed in a manner quite quintessentially Japanese.
People sent flowers.
At the time, I can remember thinking, Of course: that's absolutely right. That's exactly what you do to honor such a powerful...well, kami.
It's an action quintessentially Shinto.
And quintessentially pagan.
A great meeting of the gods was called for a certain day. As the various statues of the gods arrived from all over the world, the gatekeeper directed them.
Gold statues in rows 1 to 3, silver statues rows 4 and 5. Bronze statues in rows 6 through 10; marble statues, rows 11-20. Wooden statues in rows 21 to 40.
Now it so happened that Socrates was in attendance that day. He approached the gatekeeper.
Come, come, my friend, he chided him. A work of art cannot be judged merely on the basis of what it is made from. Some of these bronze and marble statues—even some of the wooden ones—are great masterpieces, made by the finest artists of their day. By any reasonable standard, we must hold them to be of greater value than statues of lesser craftsmanship that merely happen to be made from gold and silver.
When long shadows fall and dwarf the trees at evening
When white winter light burnishes the streams
The I will bring you a coat of soft lamb's wool
When snow shames the sheep that huddles to the leawood
When snow drops peep form darkness unfurled
Then I will bring you boots with fur linings
To keep your feet dry as you walk o'er the world
When home becomes a prison and snow drifts lock the door
When February fill dyke drenches the moor
When black rain freezes and whips at your hand
Then I will bring a carriage with wheels of wind
To take you away from this barren land
To the best of my knowledge, in the entire 3000-year span of its existence, not once in ancient Egyptian art do we see the death of Osiris at the hands of his brother Set.
If true (and my knowledge of the field is nowhere near exhaustive), this is a remarkable fact, and makes some profound suggestions about the thought-life of the ancients.
What is shown endures. What is shown is empowered. What is shown is made real.
So that the death of a god, the Great Sacrifice, while—terribly so—a necessity, can never in itself be an inherent good.
Did you know that there's a specific name for a statue of the Horned God?
Neither did I, until I read Dorothy Edward's 1981 children's novel, The Witches and the Grinnygog.
Back during the Troubles, goes the story (the Witch Troubles, not the Irish ones), the three appointed Keepers of the most sacred image of the Master just barely manage to escape (on brooms) with their lives and the Lord. They hide Him away in a safe place, and go into a deep, deep sleep until such a time as they shall be needed again.
That time is our day. Where's the best place to hide a Grinnygog? Well, of course, precisely where no one would ever think to look for Him: among the carvings of the local church.
But now the historic church is being dismantled stone by stone, preparatory to being moved to a new location, and the Lord is once more in danger. (Or is He?) His guardians awake, and their magic along with them.