Patricia Monaghan 1946-2012

I am sad to note the passing of Patricia Monaghan, who died yesterday after living with cancer. Pat wrote the foreword for my Complete Idiot's Guide to Celtic Wisdom. She also was very supportive behind the scenes, introducing me to several fascinating people in Ireland who helped me with my research into Celtic spirituality, whether pre-Christian or Christian.Pat, of course, was known as a Goddess writer, and she and I lost touch after I became a Catholic. The last time we saw each other … [Read more...]

The Passing of a Pagan Legend

I am sad to learn of the death of Isaac Bonewits yesterday, of cancer, at the age of 60. Isaac was probably the single most influential American in the revival of pagan druidism over the last forty years. He was the founder of Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, the druid organization of which I was a member for several years. ADF had a sweeping vision not only for the revival of Celtic paganism, but indeed all of Indo-European paganism, and stressed sound scholarship, accountability, public w … [Read more...]

Of the Equinox and the Spirituality of the Earth

Twice this week, on two separate occasions coming from two different individuals, I have been invited to participate in Spring Equinox rituals that will take place this weekend.Ten years ago that would have been nothing remarkable, as I was a regular participant in Wiccan and Neopagan groups like the House of Oak Spring or the Grove of the Unicorn or the now-defunct local grove of Ár nDraíocht Féin. But since I wandered "out of the woods and into the Catholic Church" in 2005, understandably my … [Read more...]

The Snakes and the Slaves

Happy Saint Patrick's Day.As I ponder on this day, I am reminded that it, like Columbus Day, can elicit a radically different response from people, based on their world-view and value system. Columbus Day for Euro-Americans was traditionally a day of celebration and commemoration of "discovery," but for Native Americans and those who share concern for the plight of indigenous people who face the brunt of colonialist expansion, Columbus Day has become the symbol of loss. As one pundit put it, … [Read more...]

Grace and the Goddess: AVATAR as a Christian/Pagan Parable

James Cameron's new film, Avatar, tells a story we've all heard before; as I commented on Twitter last night, it is Dances with Wolves meets Star Trek: Insurrection, with elements of The Matrix and Whale Rider thrown in. But Avatar is grander and more epic than any of these films, and of course, it's a stunning achievement of CGI artistry. For its sheer beauty, go see it. But critics are whining that the story is "weak" or "boring" and I think they're rather justified in their gripes. … [Read more...]

More Thoughts About Christianity and Paganism

Judy's comment on my post yesterday concerning Quaker Pagans got me to thinking.Paganism and Christianity make for two very interesting spiritual cultures. In some ways they are practically mirror images of one another, in other ways they are so different from each other that they are like night and day. But what night and day and mirror images have in common is that each is somehow linked to the other.I have long felt that, on at least some levels, Neopaganism represents a new religious … [Read more...]

Magic and Miracles

Recently I was bemused by a review of one of my Neopagan books in which the critic, in panning the book, accused me of "not believing in magic." I thought, "Well, if she means I don't believe in magic the way a 6-year-old believes in Santa Claus, I guess she's right." Still, it was interesting for me to ponder about how I think about magic, both now (almost three years after entering the Catholic faith) and then (the book in question, Before You Cast a Spell, was written in 2003).I first was … [Read more...]