Wisdom & Wisecracks of the Old Ones

“No Greek sacrifices an elephant or a camel to the Gods—because Greece does not produce camels or elephants.” That’s Porphyry, quoting someone much smarter than himself. It explains a great deal about religion in general.Once someone asked Victor Anderson why he used a red tablecloth on the altar. He replied, “Because I had a red tablecloth.” “Beware lest these teachings be divulged to uneducated people. For dew teachings sound more ridiculous to the ignorant  . . . or more profound to the … [Read more...]

On My Love for Sophia, Our Lady of Wisdom and Mercy

It is common to suppose that knowledge is not wisdom, but just what is the difference between them? Mapping knowledge is easy enough: mathematics, science, humanities, social studies (they should be scholarly, but they are not sciences), then dividing them into categories, subcategories, and so on, down to a subncategory small enough that one can know everything relevant to that tiny slice of reality. That is the ambition of almost every academic researcher. But as a result, said researcher … [Read more...]

A Prayer That I Hope Many More Can Say

After I came to AA in September 1976, I began to assemble a litany of morning prayers as a tool for maintaining myself in a fit spiritual condition. I began that litany with the “Lord’s Prayer,” the “Our Father,” the Paternoster, because I know it is a truly Jewish prayer, as taught by that tragic Rabbi. I have found every thought in it stated in other words somewhere in the Talmud.AA is a simple program, simple but not easy. All you need to do is change yourself, change everything you have e … [Read more...]

The Problem of Consciousness, Part II

I have derived what I hope are some valid insights into the nature of time and consciousness from thinking about Blake’s descriptions of his eidetic imagery, which I did not know about, despite having done Blake for one of my Master’s orals, until I saw Jacob Bronowski’s episode about Blake done as an addendum to his Ascent of Man series. Bronowski said that he expected to be reading about an amusing English eccentric, but instead found himself looking into one of the most profound intellects he … [Read more...]

Thoughts on Infinity and Suchlike on a Slow Day

Having apparently had a ministroke on the I-5 in the sophisticated metropolis of Fife last Friday, as a result of which I totaled our minivan by rear-ending the pickup in front of me, I am further behind on blogging than I want to be. So for today I’m going to assemble some fragments, in no particular order, that I intend to expand upon later. Also, my students are taking their final exam on Written Analysis at the moment. I. Trying to visualize how the Divine organizes what he/she/they know … [Read more...]

The Queen Who Is Hidden in the Gospels, Part IV

In Part III of this series, I pointed out that Mk (The Gospel According to Mark) is not a simple reporting of unadorned facts, but is instead a carefully constructed literary masterpiece. That Mark constructed his gospel carefully was actually known in antiquity. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon, in his Detection and Refutation of Knowledge Falsely So Called (still one of the most important sources of information about the “Gnostics,” since Irenaeus had the good sense not to set forth a straw-man arg … [Read more...]

The Queen Who Is Hidden in the Gospels, Part III

 As I discussed in the previous blog, that rather humorous passage about the Queen of Heaven in Jeremiah. . . but Kate Gladstone chides me for not knowing that that passage is not in the current calendar of haftarot. Perhaps it may have been back then, but . . . Anyway, “Queen of Heaven” was a title used for many goddesses in the Hellenistic world. Could there still have been any genuine belief in a Queen of Heaven in the Judea of Jesus’ time? Any awareness of Her as still being Yahweh’s wife and … [Read more...]

The Queen Who Is Hidden in the Gospels, Part II

At the end of Part I, I asked, Would the people in Jesus’ time have known who the Queen of Heaven was? Yes, they certainly would have, but to see why, we must look at how the state religion of the Kingdom of Judah (which therefore came to be called Judaism) was founded and at the career of the prophet Jeremiah. The full history of the founding of Judaism can become a very long story, which I will save for another time. Here I want to touch upon only the details relevant for answering that q … [Read more...]

The Queen Who Is Hidden in the Gospels, Part I

I discovered Her by accident. Given my predilection for Goddesses since age 14, I obviously hope She is truly there, but I think (or at least hope) that I can be objective enough not to engage in special pleading or distort the evidence.The birth of my oldest daughter Maeve Adair in January 1973 forced me to begin growing up a little more. A few months later, Alta asked me, as we were sitting at a red light in Berkeley, if I had thought more about the possibility of going to the Graduate … [Read more...]

Grateful Thoughts for Peter Dybing

I am quite grateful for Peter Dybing’s praise for my writing in a comment he left a day or so ago. Considering his immense service to Paganism and to humanity in general, and the stage of (current) burnout he has reached because of (I assume) rampant ingratitude, I find his goodwill toward me very special. His focusing on how I “process” in my writing, rather than merely present conclusions, seemed, well, unexpected; at least, “process” was not a term that would have occurred to me, but I think I … [Read more...]


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