The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries

sheep grazing at AveburyThe Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries is a survey of encounters with faeries, banshees, corrigans and other varieties of fae in the Celtic lands of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Cornwall and Brittany. It was first published in 1911; most of the accounts it relates are from the 19th century. It is a book that likely could not be written today, in part because most of the believers in faeries have died off, and in part because no serious academic today (at … [Read more...]

Sovereignty Before the Gods

photo from Wikimedia Commons If you write about religion beyond the level of platitudes, people are going to disagree with you. You can ignore them or you can get defensive, but if the criticism has merit you’d better give it some serious thought. Last week Morpheus Ravenna – the de facto High Priestess of Morrigan – took issue with my blog posts saying we shouldn’t bargain with the gods. In the first, I said “How do you make a deal with Morrigan? You don’t.” In the … [Read more...]

A Call to Action

Last night's Denton CUUPS Winter Solstice ritual was everything I had hoped it would be:  a good turnout, lots of participation, the presence of the gods and ancestors, and a very strong response to the Call to Action in the main working.  For those of you who couldn't be there, here's the Call to Action.  The Old Gods and Goddesses are still calling...We all know what happens when a species’ predators are removed from its environment. Reproduction increases, resources are … [Read more...]

Integration

I learned compartmentalization as a small child. I was an “A” student who loved books and learning and I attended a small fundamentalist church where the preacher was a high school dropout and no one in the congregation had been to college. I lived on a small farm and I attended suburban public schools with the children of middle class professionals. I loved sports but I wasn’t very good at them. I liked cooking and needlework and other things boys weren’t supposed to like. I had an … [Read more...]

Learning

The School of Athens by Raphael (1511)When I was in college I lived in a fraternity house with a ping pong table on the front porch. We played a lot – sometimes regular games and sometimes beer pong. When I moved in I could barely play; by the time I was a senior nobody could beat me. I thought I was pretty good, so I went up to the student center and entered a tournament with a lot of guys from Taiwan and Malaysia who held their paddles funny and stood way back from the table. Turns out I … [Read more...]

Between the Worlds

I’m back from four days at Between the Worlds, which bills itself as an “interfaith esoteric conference” for intermediate and advanced practitioners. Between the Worlds isn’t held every year, but rather “when the stars indicate that such a gathering is needed and favored.” This was my first – it came highly recommended and it did not disappoint.Many traditions were represented in the lineup of speakers and workshops, including Wicca, Druidry, Asatru and Feri, as well as more … [Read more...]

The Price of Magic

USS Chesapeake, launched 1799, via Wikimedia CommonsIn witchcraft lore, in magical fiction, and in conversations with magical practitioners we occasionally come across the concept that magic comes with a price. Is this true? And if so, what kind of a price does magic carry?My basic model of magic has three parts: the manipulation of energy, the intercession of spiritual beings, and psychological programming. Most Pagan magic is a combination of all three: we raise and direct energy, we … [Read more...]

CUUPS Winter Solstice

If you're in the North Texas area please join the Denton Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans for our Winter Solstice circle on Friday, December 21 at 7:30 PM. Denton CUUPS usually holds our circles on the Saturday closest to the actual date of the holiday, with occasional adjustments for members' schedules and competing events.  We've learned not to schedule Beltane on the same weekend as Denton Arts & Jazz Fest, which is usually the last weekend of April.  But when we … [Read more...]

Seeking the Mystery

Paganism and Unitarian Universalism share the general idea that what you do is more important than what you believe. If you come to one of our CUUPS circles I don’t care if you worship Morrigan or the Great Mother Goddess or if you just love Nature and enjoy ritual. I do care if you conduct yourself respectfully while you’re in the circle and if you do your best to live responsibly, sustainably and compassionately once you leave.But while what you do matters most, it also matters what you … [Read more...]

Purity Is Overrated

Most of us make our moral judgments intuitively and then look for a reason to justify our decisions. According to psychologist Jonathan Haidt, there are five primary moral intuitions that are universal throughout humanity: do no harm, fairness and reciprocity, loyalty to community, respect for authority and purity. These intuitions were not designed or discovered, they evolved – they helped human societies survive, succeed and grow, so they were passed on from generation to generation. … [Read more...]