Recharging the Magic

“There will be no foolish wand waving or silly incantations in this class!” – Severus Snape, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s StoneOne of the biggest misconceptions about magic is that it’s easy and sure – at least for those with the right genes. Wave your wand or mumble a few words of Latin or Sanskrit or Gaelic and whatever you want comes into being. Anyone who’s attempted magic at even the dabbler stage knows this isn’t true. Real magic is hard work and the results are never certain. That’s w … [Read more...]

The Evolution of Religion

From Religion Dispatches comes this article on the evolutionary origins of religion. It’s at least the third such article I’ve seen in the past couple of months, all making essentially the same claim: religion helped early humans to cooperate better with each other, giving religious families/tribes/nations an advantage over their non-religious competitors. Natural selection does its thing, the religious grow and prosper more than the non-religious, and before too long (on an evolutionary time sca … [Read more...]

Pagan Tent Revival

I had envisioned doing this outdoors to torchlight, but the weather forced us inside. The candles did a nice job of creating a magical atmosphere.Back in October, I linked to a blog post by Ruby Sara at Pagan Godspell where she asked why we couldn’t have a Pagan tent revival. I said I liked the idea. The Baptist revivals I went (was dragged) to as a kid had a lot wrong with them, but they were energetic: they made people feel their religion instead of just hearing it.Last Saturday’s Celebration o … [Read more...]

The Anthropology of Magic

And now back to a review of a more specialized book…There aren’t a lot of serious academic books on Paganism and related topics – this is one of them. Susan Greenwood is an anthropologist and (per the back cover) Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sussex. Her new (2009) book is titled The Anthropology of Magic. I bought it to see how a serious social scientist would handle a topic like magic. I’m very much unqualified to judge how well she did as an anthropologist, but as a prac … [Read more...]


There are some Pagans who say our rituals and observances don’t just celebrate the seasons, they help turn the Wheel of the Year. If that’s true, some of us need to be pushing a little harder because it just went into reverse!This is the first full day of Spring. In Texas. In DFW, where we average 2.6 inches of snow per YEAR. Where we had 12 inches in one day in February. And now there's another 5½ inches overnight.It was 70 on Friday. It's supposed to be 70 again on Tuesday. In the middle, we ge … [Read more...]

Is Theology the Problem?

Fellow DUUFer Bruce sent me this column from the Huffington Post titled “Sin Isn’t the Problem with the World, Theology Is” by George Elerick. The bio Bruce tacked onto the article says “George is an author, speaker and founder of Chairs for Dialogue, an interfaith initiative that unites people from different faith traditions, no faith traditions, and different lifestyle backgrounds to work together to find relevant, creative, and practical ways to respond to global issues such as poverty, sex tr … [Read more...]

Pagan Reading List

I occasionally review books on this blog – things I read that are helpful to me that I want to recommend to others, and sometimes things that don’t turn out to be quite what I expected that I want to warn others about. But since I’ve been reading and practicing for a while, these books tend to be more specialized than what I’d recommend to a beginner.I put this together for our Introduction to Modern Pagan Religion class. It’s a list of the books I found helpful when I was starting out. Some book … [Read more...]

Introduction to Pagan Religion

I don’t remember who said what, but obviously it was funny! Thanks to David Sparks for taking pictures.Our Introduction to Modern Pagan Religion class went very well. We had ten in the class, plus four of our own folks teaching and supporting – a decent turnout on a very nice Saturday with a music festival just a few blocks away. The power went out for about 40 minutes, but we aren’t total technopagans – we worked from the handouts and kept going.There was some interest in a regular class and/or … [Read more...]