The Myth of Magic

flaming cauldron

There are many views on magic in the Big Tent of Paganism.  For some, magic isn’t very important – their focus is on their gods and ancestors.  For others, magic is all about transforming themselves and aligning their will with the Divine.  Still others see magic as a hands-on tool and use spells and charms throughout their everyday lives.Our larger culture doesn’t think much of magic... or at least, they like to pretend they don’t.  Over on the Patheos “Religion on Science” blog, Nicholas Di … [Read more...]

The Druid Revival Reader

Druid Revival Reader

The Druid Revival Reader edited by John Michael Greer 240 pages available from the Ancient Order of Druids in America or from Amazon.comModern Druidry traces its lineage back to 1717 when the Ancient Druid Order was founded in a pub in London.  Historian Ronald Hutton thinks that meeting may be more apocryphal than historical (see Blood and Mistletoe, page 127), but there is no doubt there were people calling themselves Druids in the 18th century and at least one Druid order by … [Read more...]

Pagan, Druid and UU

Spiral Dance - Beltane 2010

There’s been a lot of chatter in the past few weeks on Pagan identity and on who and what is or isn’t Pagan. More recently Yvonne Aburrow has had one series and one post on the challenges of practicing more than one religion at the same time. And Sam Webster really stirred things up with his declaration that “no, you can't worship Jesus Christ and be a Pagan.”Yet as the header of this blog proclaims, I am an active part of three religious traditions: Pagan, Druid, and Unitarian Univers … [Read more...]

Fear of the Gods

Athena Parthenos - Nashville

On a fairly regular basis I hear from someone who expresses fear of the gods. This isn’t the awe and reverence expressed by monotheists and Pagans alike, which is a natural response when encountering a being who is older, wiser and much more powerful than you are. This is a fear of approaching the gods and goddesses of our ancestors and it generally falls into one of four categories. I’d like to explore those fears and what I’ve found to be helpful responses to them.I don’t know how to begin. … [Read more...]

A New Home

John at Beltane 2012

Welcome to the new home of “Under the Ancient Oaks.” I’m John Beckett and I’m happy to be joining the Pagan Channel here at Patheos.I want to start by thanking Star Foster, who first invited me to move to Patheos. We couldn’t get the arrangements made before she left. I want to thank Christine Kraemer, who reissued the invitation and who has been a pleasure to work with. And I want to thank Hillary and the other tech wizards at Patheos who set up this blog and transferred all the posts, pictu … [Read more...]

The End of Growth

Here’s a link to an article from The Wall Street Journal titled “A California Drought: Not Enough Children.” It points out California’s declining birth rate and immigration patterns (including state to state immigration, not just people from other countries) as a predictor of future problems. And it quotes Stephen Levy of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy, who said “unless the birthrate picks up, we are going to need more immigrants. If neither happens, we are going to h … [Read more...]

Tension and the Big Tent of Paganism

Yesterday I started a blog post on the most recent internet dustup over the label “Pagan.” I got a page into it before I decided I didn’t really want to stoke this particular fire again.Then today I came across this piece by P. Sufenas Virius Lupus titled “Bringing Back the Gods.” He referenced Sam Webster’s call to rebuild the cult of the gods, then asked “why are so many Pagans leaving them out of their theology?” As a hard polytheist who’s on speaking terms with several goddesses and gods, … [Read more...]

Creating and Re-creating

David Dashifen Kees had an excellent question in response to my last post on Sam Webster’s call to rebuild the cult of the gods:What about deities for whom we lack evidence of an ancient cult or for those which are not ancient in and of themselves? How would you recommend going about the recreation of a cult for these powers?This is an important question, particularly for those of us who follow a Celtic-oriented path. The original Druids kept an oral tradition and their stories were first w … [Read more...]