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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Tony Kelly

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Thanking Tony Kelly

Last night I finally got to thank the man who gave me the gods.

This might not seem so strange except for the fact that he's been dead for 20 years, and that I never actually met him in person.

But actions taken in dreams signify. You know that they do. When you have an erotic dream about someone, it changes the relationship, whether or not you've ever actually slept together. An initiation received in a dream is a valid initiation, as (incredible, maybe, but true) the courts have determined.

How can I claim as my teacher someone that I never actually met? Well, through Tony Kelly—specifically through his writings—I first came to the gods. From him I learned to think like a pagan. From him I learned to do ritual.

If that doesn't make him my teacher, I don't know what would.

In the dream, Tony sat across a wooden table from me. (There was much between us when he was alive, including the Atlantic Ocean and the fact that he was a mature thinker while I was still a callow youth.) I thanked him for everything that he'd given me, and in particular for teaching me the names of the gods. To hear him pronounce the Sacred Name of Earth was a blessing in itself.

I've never met either of the Grand Old Men of the Craft in dreams—GBG or Bobby Cochrane—but I did once dream about meeting the Regency's George Winter and Ronald “Chalky” White (1921-1998) in an elevator: going down, I think. And now I've dream-met Tony Kelly of the Pagan Movement in Britain and Ireland.

Interestingly, Tony was “off of” the Regency, as the Regency was “off of” Bobby Cochrane's Royal Windsor coven. So I guess (inter alia) that's my lineage, for what it's worth.

Back in the old days, resources were few and hooking up was hard. When in Fate magazine I saw a classified ad for the Pagan Movement in Britain and Ireland, I immediately wrote and, eventually, became (along with Margot Adler and Tom deLong, later known as Gwydion) an overseas member. That's how I learned about Tony Kelly, one of the New Paganisms' deepest thinkers.

That's how my life changed forever.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Is 'Silent Night' Reclaimable?

I've always hated “Silent Night.”

The whiny tune, the maudlin lyrics, the sappy sentimentalism it evokes. Its unassailable preeminence in the Christmas canon. Ugh.

I also think that some texts are best left unreclaimed. “Our Mother who art in Heaven....” “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound/that saved a witch like me....” “The little lord Sun God, asleep in the hay....”

Kill me now, please.

Given these two facts, one would expect that I would categorically reject my teacher Tony Kelly's pagan “Silent Night.” And, for the most part, I do.

And yet.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tyger
    Tyger says #
    I'm a non-theist pagan. I left my christian roots behind a long time ago, but I still love the sacred music from that time. "Sing
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Oh, I think that there's something to be said for reclaiming. Much has been lost, and we have to start somewhere. As for gravy,
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I tend to view Christianity as just another layer in my Euro-Mediterranean Heritage to build on, not something to reclaim. I do l
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    Try the fact-checked version: Axial tilt The way the world’s built: Sun is north, then sun is south. Axial precession makes seaso
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    1. I'm in love. 2. Is it yours? 3. Do you know Chris Raible's "God Rest Ye, Unitarians?"

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Script and the Story

Was I ever excited when my copy of Lady Sheba's Book of Shadows arrived by mail. I was going to learn the Secret Ceremonies of the Witches.

Gods, was I ever disappointed.

Not long after, I became an overseas member of the Pagan Movement in Britain and Ireland. An important part of the newsletters that they sent out eight times annually were accounts of the rituals that they'd done.

But these weren't the bare-bones outlines of the Book of Shadows, lists of words and actions. These were stories. They told not only what was done and said, but what it was like to be there.

I was in love.

There are two primary ways to write about ritual. If you stick around this blog long enough, you'll see examples of both. One is the Book of Shadows way: the outline, the script, the list of words spoken and actions done.

The other way is the Pagan Movement way: the story.

Both genres are important. Both, in fact, are necessary. But they're not the same thing, and they serve different purposes.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Unsympathetic Magic

I made a mistake yesterday.

More than halfway through [winter], I thought, and I haven't lost a glove yet.


So today—of course—I lost a glove.

Let them talk about sympathetic magic.

Everyone knows that unsympathetic magic is far more powerful.

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  • Alvina
    Alvina says #
    The agnostic rabbi and one of Paganism's best ritualists, Steven Posch draws formal experience from a wide assortment of foundatio

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Thing About Leadership

The priest-in-residence of our regional pagan land sanctuary was taking us to see the sacred spring.

Never having been that way before, we kept stopping to look, for indeed, there was much to see.

The priest kept going. He never looked back. Eventually we lost him.

In time we found his trail, and he brought us into the secret valley where, among its lost orchard, the Ancient Tree bears its golden apples, and the Hidden Spring flows sweet and pure.

In this Season of the Ancestors, I remember my teacher, Tony Kelly (1943-1997).*

He, too, led without looking back.

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  • James H. McCoy
    James H. McCoy says #
    I agree with Tasha. And I found out by accident... and first-hand... you keep doing lead by example - it can be a tad scary if you
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Interesting observation. I prefer to lead by example rather than any other way. That way you don't have to worry about losing sigh

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
What is the Symbol of Earth?

In Baltic lore, each of the Old Gods has his or her own sign.

For the Sun, it's the Sun Wheel. For the Moon, the Crescent.

Fire is the Fire Cross, the swastika, Thunder, the Thunder Cross, or compound swastika.

The Winds, since there are four of them, have the Cross, Heaven the Mountain. (How else would you draw a picture of the sky?)

But what about Earth?

My teacher, Tony Kelly, of the Pagan Movement in Britain and Ireland, used to say, “If we know anything at all about Earth, we know that she's Mother.”

At the time, as a good, doctrinaire second wave feminist, I found this statement reductionist and objectionable.

Since then, I've changed my mind.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I'm no historian of feminism and certainly can't speak for second wave feminism generally, but (in effect) yes. The feeling was th
  • Taffy Dugan
    Taffy Dugan says #
    Why would thinking of the Earth as a Mother be reductionist and objectionable? Was the 2nd wave of feminism putting down mothers?

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Earth's Blessing on the Newborn Sun

Straight be thy will,

deft be thy hand:

O heat of my heart,

O light of my land.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    And to you, my dear! (Did you get the golden Mother?) Let's talk soon!
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Merry Yule! Love and warm blessings to you.

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