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Posts Tagged ‘paganism’

Dr Françoise Barbira-Freedman, medical anthropologist and lecturer at the University of Cambridge.

Dr. Diane Purkiss is also in this video.  I highly recommend reading her research on witchcraft.

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An Animist Manifesto

by Graham Harvey
(an excerpt – to read the entire manifesto click here)

All that exists lives

All that lives is worthy of respect

You don’t have to like what you respect

Not liking someone is no reason for not respecting them

Respecting someone is no reason for not eating them

Reasons are best worked out in relationship – especially if you are looking for reasons to eat someone – or if you are looking for reasons not to be eaten

If you agree that all that exists is alive and worthy of respect, it is best to talk about ‘persons’ or ‘people’ rather than ‘beings’ or ‘spirits’, let alone ‘biomechanisms’, ‘resources’, ‘possessions’, and ‘things’

  • The world is full of persons (people if you prefer), but few of them are human
  • The world is full of other-than-human persons
  • The world is full of other-than-oak persons
  • The world is full of other-than-hedgehog persons
  • The world is full of other-than-salmon persons
  • The world is full of other-than-kingfisher persons
  • The world is full of other-than-rock persons…

‘Other-than’ has at least three references:

  • it reminds us that we are persons in relationship with others,
  • it reminds us that many of our closest kin are human, while the closest kin of oaks are oaks, so we talk most easily with humans while rocks talk most easily with other rocks…
  • it reminds us to speak first of what we know best (those closest to us)

Make that four references:

  • it reminds us to celebrate difference as an opportunity to expand our relationships rather than seeing it as a cause of conflict or conquest

All life is relational and we should not collapse our intimate alterities into identities

Others and otherness keep us open to change, open to becoming, never finally fixed in being

Alterities resist entropy and encourage creativity through rationality, sociality (or, as William Blake said, ‘enmity is true friendship’)

Animism is neither monist nor dualist, it is only just beginning when you get beyond counting one, two… At its best it is thoroughly, gloriously, unashamedly, rampantly pluralist

Respect means being cautious and constructive

It is cautiously approaching others — and our own wishes,

It is constructing relationships, constructing opportunities to talk, to relate, to listen, to spend time in the face-to-face presence and company of others

It is taking care of, caring for, caring about, being careful about…

It can be shown by leaving alone and by giving gifts

  • believers in ‘human rights’, for example, demonstrate their belief in rights not only by supporting legislation to protect individuals from states, companies and majorities, but by not insisting on hogging the whole road or pavement, not insisting on another human getting out of the way on a busy street…

You don’t have to hug every tree to show them respect but you might have to let trees grow where they will—you might have to move your telephone lines or greenhouse

You might have to build that road away from that rock or that tree

Hugging trees that you don’t know may be rude – try introducing yourself first

Just because the world and the cosmos is full of life does not make it a nice and easy place to live. Lots of persons are quite unfriendly to others. Many see us as a good dinner. They might respect us as they eat us. Or they may need education. Like us, they might learn best in relationship with others who show respect even to those they don’t like, and especially to those they like the taste of.

…….

Go on over and read the rest.It’s juicy.

 

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help, protect, and defend thy Brothers and Sisters of the Art

There is an ancient story that in days long ago Wytches met in secret.  That to come among them, you swore a fearsome Oath.  Your measure was taken, with cord Hallow and Mighty, upon your promise to “keep Secret” and “Protect” the Art and those who practiced it.

A dread Oath to swear.  For, if the oath be broken by a Witch, his or her cord was buried with curses, so that as it rotted the traitor would too.

How many of you have mused on that time, and imagined yourself called to betray the names of your coven or your neighbors?  Would you…under torture, speak their names?

Bessie Dunloptumblr_m5gzspxhAN1qatqtto1_400

Elizabeth Knap

Marigje Arriens

Johann Albrecht Adelgrief

Goodwife Bassett

Giovanna Bonanno

George Burroughs

Lasses Birgitta

Michée Chauderon

Nyzette Cheveron

Elizabeth Clarke

Helena Curtens

Jean Delvaux

Catherine Deshayes

Thomas Doughty

Anna Eriksdotter

Ann Glover

…..

Perhaps we understand, all too well, what heinous physical cruelty these healers, midwives, cunning folk, and mystics endured.

                       Perhaps we hold mercy for those who screamed the names of others.

But in our day and age?

What is our modern equivalent?

A subpoena?

Would you “out” your brothers and sisters if a court demanded it?

What of MONEY?

Would you make known the secrets of the Art for payment?

What of prestige?

“I am High Muckety Muck Raven Claw” …. “I was told by the Goddess Spank Me that THIS is the only correct way”

I am a Witch heart-broken, enraged, and determined.  Someone has revealed.  Someone has made known.  Someone has not protected her brothers and sisters of the Art.

What would you do?

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Temple Spinner

Consecration of a Priestess of Bacchus by Sir Laurence Alma-Tadema

Consecration of a Priestess of Bacchus by Sir Laurence Alma-Tadema

I am dreaming back my sisters
Whisper-worn footfalls on the Temple steps
Skywalkers
Storm dwellers
Heavy-breasted cauldron keepers
Songweavers
Snake sisters
Darkmoon dancers

Labyrinth builders
Star bridgers
Fiery-eyed dragon-ryders
Wind seekers
Shape shifters
Corn daughters

Wolf women
Earth stewards
Gentle-handed womb sounders
Dream spinners
Flame keepers
Moon birthers

Come home sisters, come home

~ Marie-Elena Gaspar

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I have been writing at the new Patheos Pagan Chanel blog: A Sense of Place. It has taken me into a deeper exploration and understanding of my own connection to the geography around me, what constitutes “home”, and what various places mean to my spirituality and to my practice as a witch.

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the ring fort : Lissnabroc : Cork

Because it was such a sunny morning here in Cork, I went out for a run. As I passed the gate, leading into the pasture where the Ring Fort lives, I noticed a sigh. “blah, blah, Cork County Council…blah, blah…..planning permission for..blah, blah, ….a residential structure.”

What!?

The man who bought the pasture– from the family whose relations originally farmed it and lived in our stone house (that pasture had once been part of the farm belonging to the house we live in), a family whose relations had preserved the ring fort in tact (a fate not shared by two others on this ridge)–was now giving it to his daughter to build a new house. Right. Next. To. The. Ring.

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the back pasture : my family farm : Wadsworth, Texas

Several things flooded my mind as I read the sign. First, that the new owners show an incredible lack of regard for folk tradition. In years past, no one in their right mind would have lived so near one of “their” dwellings (ring forts were seen as dwelling places of the Good Neighbors, and there were/are many prohibitions concerning them). This seeming lack of regard immediately had me concerned for the preservation and welfare of the ring. Secondly, I felt the trauma of losing my family farm all over again.

I am sure I have written here before about growing up on a farm in Texas. My experience of and deep connection with that Place forever shaped my present incarnation. Many times I have admitted that instead of human parents rearing me, it was actually the land. Nature herself, in all her forms, took a wild heathen thing, who used to run barefoot from sunup to sundown, and shaped her into the woman I am today. When my father got control of the farm, he sold it: bit by bit. While I know his actions were influenced by his Bi-Polar disorder, the loss devastated me.

So today, reading a simple white sign staked into the ground by the stone wall, I was struck once more with my own Solastalgia (Albrecht, 2010a): my own grief, pain, and trauma caused by the loss of Place. My post on Patheos this week was about snakes and sovereignty–specifically musing on the very local and immediate connection the ancient Irish kings had with Place. The right to rule, here in Ireland, was bestowed by a female agency and was intimately bound to the immediate environs of that tuath (The tuath was the basic unit of society and was based on kin grouping. At one time, there were up to 300 tuath in the country.). The king, then, was sovereign over his very specific Place–and nowhere else, as each tuath was independent (apart from occasional alliances, etc).

I no longer have a place. Uprooted and tossed on the wind, like many in western culture, I am a migrant. I am forced to carry my Place within me. This is both lonely and liberating. I learned, out of necessity and natural inclination, the tools to connect with my surroundings. These have served me well, as I have traveled–moving from place to place–the entirety of my adult life. And it occurred to me, reading the sign today and feeling the instant desire to flee so I don’t have to witness the infringement on the ring, that I’ve been running from deep connection my entire life.

Maybe we all do. In America, society has become disposable. Forces outside our immediate control have power and sway over our lives. So, whether due to economic or political forces, many are compelled into a migrant lifestyle, seeking work or fleeing destruction (another shopping mall or parking lot, anyone?). In ages past, we were subject to the power of a chieftain or tribal ruler. But at least that king was kin, and his domain–our domain–the same Place our ancestors had lived, perhaps for millennia.

a village by the sea : Ireland

a village by the sea : Ireland

Now market forces rule, and kingship is given to the profit margin.

I hurt…and because I can’t bear the loss of another Place, I will migrate once again. My face is turned toward the city. It seems my Fate is intimately bound with it. My academic interests include the psychological stress of urbanisation. It seems fitting, doesn’t it?

References:

Albrecht, Glenn. (2010, May 22). ‪TEDxSydney 2010 was organised by General Thinking. Environment Change, Distress & Human Emotion Solastalgia. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/-GUGW8rOpLY

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I tell to you, a special festival,
The glorious dues of May-day:
Ale, worts, sweet whey,
And fresh curds to the fire.

Lammas-day, make known its dues,
In each distant year:
Tasting every famous fruit,
Food of herbs on Lammas-day.

Meat, ale, nut-mast, tripe,
These are the dues of summer’s end;
A bonfire on a hill pleasantly,
Buttermilk, a roll of fresh butter.

Tasting every food in order,
This is what behoves at Candlemass,
Washing of hand and foot and head,
It is thus I say.

Quatrains on Beltaine, &c.
Author: Kuno Meyer
An electronic edition

What is probably meant by “every food in order” is that the fresh food was getting scarce, so eat whatever was on hand!

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Divine Women: Handmaids of the Gods : BBC Documentary

Historian Bettany Hughes continues her journey into the hidden and controversial history of women’s place in religion as she uncovers the lost era of the priestess. She delves into the ancient Greek worship of the goddess of sex, Aphrodite, and finds out what this practice meant for women. She also heads to ancient Rome, where the fate of the civilisation lay in the hands of six sacred virgins. Returning to the crucial early years of Christianity, she finds evidence that overturns centuries of Church teaching and challenges the belief that women should not be priests.

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Euhemerism and demonisation, ‘two Christianisingdevices of unimpeachable orthodoxy which were disseminatedthroughout Europe’,(16) were not employed until the tenth century. This was not due to ignorance; Irish clergy were aware that other Christianwriters, such as Isidore of Seville, used these techniques. Instead,there developed the doctrine that the old gods, the Tuatha dé Dannan,were ‘half-fallen angels’ or ‘a branch of the human race whichsomehow escaped the contagion of the Fall’. (17) This is clearlyradically syncretic, and not merely an illustrative use of pre-Christianmaterial, as proposed by Carney and others. The conclusions of Carey, a cautious scholar, are supported by other reputable research. (18)

Brigit: Goddess, Saint, ‘Holy Woman’, and Bone of Contention;  Carole M Cusack 

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