Boedromion 13 and Other Stuff

Today preparations for the Eleusinian Mysteries begin. A troop of epheboi, essentially an honor guard of teenage boys, perhaps having been purified at the Nekusia, in their "customary dress," marches from Athens to Eleusis.Yesterday, after my enthusiastic note about Professor Karen King’s new parchment fragment, which has already been dubbed “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife,” my friend and colleague Bob Mattheisen at Brown sent me links(available here: http:// … [Read more...]

A Preview and Some Poems

I'm working on a long post about the fragment of papayrus, announced by Professor Karen King of Harvard, that contains the line, "Jesus said to them, 'My wife . . . '" That is definitely going to force revision of the theological landscape. In the meantime, here are three more poems. Another TriptychIn the Country of the Young  Alan, it’s cruel to be so reasonable.When your son rebels,You weathered stormsOn those very seasWhere we’ll go no more a-rovingIn these … [Read more...]

Mabon and the City Beneath the Sea, Part II

One of the most peculiar features of Stonehenge is a small circle of holes tangential to the main circle. Hoyle discovered that it could be used to calculate the date of the fall equinox, which therefore was an important day 5000 years ago. But important how? Are there any clues about that? Yes, not proofs, but definitely clues worth thinking about.The classical Greek calendar was calibrated so that the Eleusinian Mysteries began at the full moon nearest the fall equinox. The oldest temple … [Read more...]

The Month of the Mysteries

Today, in the Athenian calendar, was the fifth day of the month of Boedromion, the “month of seeking help,” the month of the Eleusinian Mysteries, which have intrigued scholars for centuries; because the contents of the Mysteries were an Athenian state secret, we cannot be sure we have any clear idea of what happened during them.  The Mysteries fell into two periods: the earlier, in Anthesterion, was called the Lesser Mysteries, and probably involved a ritual or drama about the life, death, and r … [Read more...]

Mabon and the City Beneath the Sea, Part I

There is a city under the North sea. It was the center of European civilization until it was inundated by the rising sea about 8500 years ago. Fantasy? No, fact.In recent years, archaeologists, palaeontologists, oil-company geologists, other scholars, and several British universities have been investigating the sea around the British Isles. , because bottom dredging by the oil companies had been brining up bones of land animals and even human artifacts. Their conclusions are amazing and yet … [Read more...]

A Typology of Pagan Groups

Given the commonality of the basic Gardnerian liturgical pattern, it is useful to propose a typology based on how closely the various Pagan groups resemble the Gardnerians, resemblances created because it was the “Gardnerian magnet, as Chas Clifton labeled it, that set off the Pagan Renaissance in the 1960s. I must emphasize that this typology does not reveal an organizational structure. Resemblance to Gardnerian practice does not imply that Witches of other Traditions regard the Gardnerians as h … [Read more...]

Songs for the Book of Shadows[1]

I. Conjuration of the Charging OilI conjure salt for savor,I conjure oil for pleasure,I conjure water for the lightning hour,I conjure the fivefold leaf for power. Lady, comb the threads through thorns,Lead the light between the horns,Ring the circle from the world,And all the snarls of karma be uncurled.II. The Prayer of the FeetBlessed be the feet that have walked in the kingdom of Death.Blessed be the feet that have returned from the … [Read more...]

The Fascinations of Gnosticism, Part IV: The Gospel According toMary

A copy of this document had been in a library since late in the nineteenth century, but its significance was not realized until it also turned up as one of the Nag Hammadi documents. If I were writing this as a scholarly paper, it would be overwhelmed with footnotes, but I’m keeping this readable. If you are interested in all this, please see the research by Elaine Pagels and other current women scholars.What follows is from its ending.[I know enough about Coptic to improve the t … [Read more...]

The Fascinations of Gnosticism, Part III

Now it’s time to let you see some of the most interesting and easiest to understand passages from the Gnostic writings. [From the Gospel of Thomas]His students said to him, "When will the kingdom come?"Jesus said, "It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, 'Look, here!' or 'Look, there!' Rather, the Father's kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don't see it."Jesus said, “If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the (Father's) kingdom is in the sky,' … [Read more...]

The Fascinations of Gnosticism, Part II

I hope you were able to hang with the personal history in Part I. It’s there because for me Gnosticism is not merely an academic historical puzzle, but instead highly relevant for current religious concerns. For example, the vision of an utterly different sort of Christianity allowed by the Nag Hammadi documents is a vision of a religion that could not only be compatible with the Craft, but also enrich it. I have played with such possibilities in my Goddess Murder novel, such play having been t … [Read more...]


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