My 2013 Collage Review

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New Year's Eve means one thing for me: collaging. I'm not much of a crowd person, so I rarely go out in public on New Year's Eve. Even before I had kids I mostly stayed in and went to bed at my typical early  hour. For the last six or seven years I have used this night to make magic. I collage. I can't remember how I came up with this idea. Did I see it in some women's magazine? Did some one put an 'inspirational' post on Facebook? I have no idea, but I do know that now my New Year's collage … [Read more...]

Review: The Passion of Mary

MaryBowen

When I was debating quitting my doctoral studies - specializing in the Virgin Mary - I came across a blog, Project Conversion, written by Andrew Bowen. In a last ditch attempt to deal with his own anger and disappointment with his Christian experience and the effects of the post-9/11 world, Bowen decided to explore twelve traditions in twelve months. He dove into each tradition, with a mentor, with books, with practice. He lived as if he was a believer of each faith. It was fascinating. … [Read more...]

Top Ten Books of 2013

Rebecca Sutherland illustrates a story from 'The Bloody Chamber'

I read a lot. These days I read a lot for reviews, almost entirely non-fiction, or to my kids. Occasionally I'll post reviews of books that I have chosen to read, ones I think are particularly significant. However, I've read a lot of really good stuff this year that I haven't written reviews for. Here is a selection of books that got me fired up this year. Note: These are not ranked in any order of preference, and they may or may not have been released in 2013. Fiction The Bloody … [Read more...]

Pancha Ganapati: My Multi-Observant Holiday

Beautiful image of an altar. Click on the image to go the Boston homestay blog, where I snagged it from.

Pancha Ganapati is a modern holiday invented by the people at the Hindu Academy in Hawaii. The idea is to give Hindus in North America something to focus on while the over culture is celebrating Christmas. It reminds me of Hanukkah: a legitimate but minor holiday that took on increased focus as mainstream American Christianity increased its observance of Christmas. I love holidays and completely support people creating alternatives to give certain seasons meaning and/or to diffuse the over … [Read more...]

Review: The Showings of Julian of Norwich

JulianNorwich

Mirabai Starr, teacher of philosophy and world religions at the University of New Mexico - Taos, has taken on the challenge of translating the writings of a thirteenth century Christian mystic from England and bringing them to a modern audience. Apparently, Starr is "at the vanguard of the emerging Interspiritual movement," a movement that I can't seem to find a lot of direct information about, but seems to be a rather New Age blur of the three major monotheistic traditions, focusing on a God of … [Read more...]

Singing In Christmas

OCS2013

Christmas has almost always been a cultural holiday for me. Growing up, I had stockings and a tree, but we never went to services, unless we were visiting family in Australia. Once I started singing I was more inclined to go to midnight caroling services and join in caroling parties. Even as a teenager exploring Christianity on my own, I continued to feel that most of the holiday was more about cultural traditions rather than religious observance. I still feel this way, and I have a soft spot … [Read more...]

Dual Observance and Me

Albrecht Durer, Die Vier Hexen (or The Four Witches), 1497.

Dual observance, the practice of  more than one tradition at one time, is more common than most people realize, I think. It's not just for Pagans, either. For some people, it becomes syncretism, a blending of two (or more) systems into one. For some, one practice is spiritual or religious and the other practice is more cultural. Some people pick and choose parts of various traditions they like, leaving the difficult, challenging, or distasteful aspects by the wayside. For others, like myself, … [Read more...]

Welcome to A Witch’s Ashram

By Naama ym from Tel-Aviv, Israel, via Wikimedia Commons

Greetings and salutations! Come on in, settle down, and share some tea. A Witch's Ashram opens its doors today here at Patheos Pagan. I started this blog two and half years ago while living in Wales. At the time I was debating whether or not quit the PhD program I was enrolled in. I had a 3 year old and a 5 month old. I wanted to write outside of academia and I felt I needed some structure to help me focus. I ended up quitting my program and never looked back. My family moved back to the … [Read more...]

Frozen: A review

Oh Disney, you are so complicated. Such beautiful art, such a weird and twisted empire. So many great movies, so many terrible ones. But one thing has remained constant for your empire: you are a feminist's nightmare. I fell in love with Disney when I was 14, when The Little Mermaid came out. The colors! THE SINGING. I didn't have a filter then for deconstructing the anti-feminist qualities of that film. And oh, it's awful for girls. Silence your voice to win a cute boy's heart? UGH. And then … [Read more...]

Holiday Gift Guide for Magical Kids (and Kids at Heart)

laksmi-holystars

When I'm shopping for my kids for birthdays or holidays, I rarely think to myself 'is this Pagan?' I don't care if something is exactly my flavor of spirituality. What I'm looking for are things that foster creativity and enjoyment, and stories that reflect the values with which I and my husband are raising our family. There isn't a lot of high quality Pagan- or Hindu-specific kid stuff out there (that I can find easily). But there are some things I've found and I'd like to share with you. Some … [Read more...]