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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in philosophy

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Medieval Consolations

The test of any philosophy is how it helps you survive difficulty. It is simple enough to hold the line in good times, but when your misfortunes seem to know no end, your patience and perseverance were truly tested. The Anglo-Saxons had a trust in wyrd both as pagans and as Christians. The thought might best be summed up in the refrain from the poem Deor:

Þæs ofereode, þisses swa mæg. 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I am increasingly disturbed by fellow Pagans/polytheists/occultists etc. who either so highly value gods and spirits, sanctity of sacred objects & places, or focus so much on environmental preservation and animal rights or other political ideologies that they devalue human worth and dignity. Now to be clear, I have often seen this as a critique of Pagan movement from conservative Christians and atheists alike. I am not sure if I can convince people who don't already to start truly valuing human welfare and rights and acting as if they do. It seems an ability that you to some degree either have or you don't. In my experience, a consistent commitment to human rights seems to correlate with having an experience of dehumanization oneself. This is not having your feelings hurt a little bit, being a "special snowflake" (though if that's an insult, I'll wear it with pride!)  

It's nope, you don't really count as a human being, your experience doesn't count. Even when the Powers that Be of whatever social situation, business or organization you are in repeatedly insist that they "welcome everyone" they don't really mean you. Actions always speak louder than words. Many of us who do have these experiences however still have the people will miss, the bigotries and biases we still hold. Ironically because we are human! This is a mistake I often see new Pagans make. After a happy honeymoon period of discovering Paganism and idealizing it in comparison to whatever their background is, they find out we have problems too. I too have run into this. I frequently have assumed that Pagans, or liberals/progressives/leftists, or whatever in-group I belong to will have a more enlightened and inclusive attitude towards disabled folks or other marginalized groups. And I have all too often dehumanized The Other Side in various arguments and the aftermath of elections. But this just keeps adding to the problem. Perpetuating this cycle of dehumanization just leads to more hate and violence.  Remembering the basic value of dignity & worth of human beings and human life, however interpreted, is often forgotten by both left and right, red and blue. If there's a different philosophical framework you prefer over the concept of "rights", then feel free to argue for it.  

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tacy West
    Tacy West says #
    An all autistic household sounds so supportive. I had two autistic children in a time when diagnosis was not done, 50 some years
  • Mariah Sheehy
    Mariah Sheehy says #
    Yes, we are seeing that more now among the Millennial generation- choosing your family & banding together by necessity.
  • Tacy West
    Tacy West says #
    Yes, yes. I just listened to book on CD "Conversation" by a social scientist regarding the change in Empathy due to separation
Book Review: The Other Side of Virtue by Brendan Myers

Brendan Myers is a Canadian Pagan author who has done two very difficult things.  One is that he has broken out of the Canadian market; the other is that he has broken out of the Pagan market.  He's a professor of philosophy in Gatineau, Quebec and this, plus his background in Druidry and Humanistic Paganism have come together in his 2008 book The Other Side of Virtue: Where Our Virtues Come from, What They Really Mean, and Where They Might Be Taking Us.  I've had a signed copy of this book sitting on my "to read" shelf since I saw Brendan at the Western Gate Festival a couple of years ago, but only now finally got around to finding time to read it.  I'm sorry I waited.

This book could be a modern manifesto for humanistic Paganism; but its theories can also be applied to most modern Pagan practice.  And it could also be read and enjoyed by humanists and naturalists of any faith. It could possibly even be held up to Neil deGrasse Tyson and Stephen Hawking as an answer on the value of philosophy.  Philosophy is not dead, Myers argues.  It has merely changed form.  A hard-core rationalist might ask "What use does philosophy have in the modern scientific and rational world?"  The answer is "to teach us how to live a good life without faith to fall back on."  But that being said, it does not challenge the existence of faith; rather, it suggests that ethics and values are essential and positive driving forces that cross the boundaries of religion or spirituality, and are equally applicable to everyone.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Us vs. Them

Us: “We just want security. We want the right to believe as we see fit.”

Them: “Sorry, those things have been outlawed.”

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Perspectives on Deity

 

Perhaps central to Neo Pagan practices is the petition of Deity. The crudest of formulas for Neo Pagan ritual would be: create a sacred space, invoke deity, pay homage and/or petition, and dismiss. Though some petitions might be spontaneous and overlook some elements of space or decorum ( i.e. Penczack’s “instant magic”), the desires and force of will are almost always necessarily in conjunction with some form of request to a higher power. Linguistically, one could simply put it as; “to petition”, a subject must have an object to call upon.  Even in the instance of petitioning the self, drawing forth some sort of believed, hidden energy from the depths of the practitioners psyche, the petitioner is calling upon an “other” to change or work with the “self”.

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

At the end of 2012, I looked over what I had read the previous year and came up with a list of Literary Discoveries. Considering how much I have read this year -- novels, novellas, anthologies, short stories, essays, longer works of philosophy and history and spirituality -- continuing the tradition seemed like a good idea. And, just like the previous list, not all of these titles were published in 2013 (though most were); I just discovered them this past year.

So, in no particular order, here is my 2013 edition of Literary Discoveries.

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When Bad Things Happen to Good People—A Pagan Perspective

I watch the news with my mother sometimes. For the record, probably not something I would recommend, especially when I have more leftist leanings and she is surprisingly conservative for how open-minded she is on certain topics. I digress. No matter how different our perspectives are, we usually end up saying the same thing after a particularly heart-wrenching news story about yet another murder or tragedy: “What is this world coming to?”

I was raised Episcopal, so I would assume that the whole idea of “God must have needed that person in Heaven, so He took he/she away from us here for a good purpose” filtered into me, by osmosis since I don’t remember anyone ever saying that to me directly. Since I never had to deal with personal tragedy, there was no reason for me to ever hear this statement, so I didn’t really think of it much until lately. Yet I keep saying that good ole phrase in the back of my head: “There must be a reason for this.” What if there isn’t?

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. Parry, Thanks for sharing a tarot reader's perspective on divination and fate! The Pythia and the priests (when not corrupt)

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