Islam in Turkey

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul

The title of this post should be “The Observations And Impressions Of An American On His First Visit To A Country Where Islam Is The Predominant Religion.” But that’s way too long, so I’m going with “Islam in Turkey.”Tour guides in Turkey are licensed by the government and licensing requirements are stringent. Tourism is an important industry and the government wants to insure that tourists have good experiences so they’ll come back and so they’ll encourage their friends to visit Turkey too. … [Read more...]

The Temple of Hephaestus

The Temple of Hephaestus, viewed from the rearHephaestus is a god of fire, volcanoes and smithcraft – especially blacksmithing. He’s the son of Zeus and Hera, though various sources say one of them threw him off Olympus either because they were upset over his imperfection (Hephaestus is “the lame god”) or because he sided with the other during one of their many quarrels. Lame or not, he’s a good god to know. He made armor and weapons for gods and heroes, including Athena’s shield and Zeus’ lig … [Read more...]


Egyptian Summer Solstice - opening the templeIf you hold open circles and advertise them publicly, sooner or later a researcher will show up at your door. Some e-mail ahead of time and ask permission while others just show up. They’re not hard to spot: most dress more conservatively than your average circle-goer, and while they try to be inconspicuous, they inevitably have a look of “I hope I didn’t make a mistake coming here” on their faces. Carrying a notebook and pen is a dead giveaway. S … [Read more...]

I Went to Heaven – A Pagan View

One of the good things about internet news and social media is that it’s easy to find people and things you like. The downside is that you can miss things outside your interest zone that are generating a lot of attention in other circles. Since I mainly hang out in the Pagan, UU and liberal corners of cyberspace, I was a bit surprised when I surfed across reviews and commentary on some very popular books I had no idea existed – books by people who died, went to heaven and then came back to tel … [Read more...]

Summer Solstice

Hail, O Sun and Gods of the Sun! We call you and we honor you on this Solstice, the height of your power and the longest day.Without you there could be no life on Earth.The North Texas skies were overcast this morning – I couldn’t see the rising Sun. But like so many things in our lives that are unseen but very real, it was there.What other life-giving, life-sustaining forces are hidden by clouds? Are there people who keep you going whose work you’ve stopped acknowledging? Is there art you’v … [Read more...]

The Temple of Isis

Isis – or Auset, to call her by her Egyptian name instead of the more commonly known name the Greeks gave her – is one of the nine deities of the Ennead, the oldest gods and goddesses of Egypt. She is the daughter of Geb (the Earth) and Nut (the Sky), and the sister and husband of Osiris. She is the mother of Horus – much of the Madonna and Child artwork of Christianity is modeled after older images of Isis and Horus, and in some cases, Egyptian statues and paintings were simply appropriated an … [Read more...]

Apocalypse Not

Not all my vacation was spent visiting temples – I also did more reading than I’ve done in months. Long flights and evenings of rest following hours of hiking over ancient ruins present an opportunity to read that I don’t get enough of during “normal” times.One of the books I put on my Kindle was AODA Archdruid John Michael Greer’s new Apocalypse Not, subtitled Everything You Know About 2012, Nostradamus and the Rapture Is Wrong. Although it covers the supposed end of the Mayan “long count” cal … [Read more...]

The Temple of Artemis

crossposted with No Unsacred Place The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Today all that’s left is one column and a few low stones; the result of fires, earthquakes, plundering and the centuries of neglect that accompanied the shift from Classical Greek religion to Christianity and then to Islam. At first glance it is far less impressive than other temples I visited on my recent trip. But when you stop looking for awe-inspiring architecture and s … [Read more...]