A Reasoned Defense of Paganism


Even in its Big Tent form, Paganism is a distinctly minority religion.  And that’s OK – we’re mostly happy staying under the radar.  We have no divine mandate to convert the world to Paganism, and besides, we’re growing as fast as our infrastructure of groups and teachers can manage.Still, conversion is an issue with Pagans.  Most of us have converted from some other religion, and there is constant pressure from the more vocal religions (some subtle, some not) to abandon our chosen path.O … [Read more...]

Pan Druid Retreat

PDR 2014 02

As I went over my 2014 calendar back in December, I realized I would be traveling a lot in the first five months of this year.  I’ve been with my current employer for 17 years so I get more than the typical two weeks vacation, but I’ve already used up most of it, to say nothing of what I’ve done to my travel budget.  But when John and Elmdea Adams asked me to come to the Pan Druid Retreat and then asked me to be part of a panel discussion on ritual, I had to say yes.The theme was “Approa … [Read more...]

ADF Texas Imbolc Retreat

labyrinth at U Bar U

I’ve led workshops and seminars at Pagan gatherings for several years: Pagan Pride Day, the OBOD East Coast Gathering, and even CMA Beltane, a large pan-Pagan festival here in Texas.  But those were all events I was going to anyway and volunteered to present something.  This year’s ADF Texas Imbolc Retreat was the first time I’ve been invited as a speaker.  That was both an honor and a responsibility.The first responsibility was showing up and late last week it looked like that might be a pro … [Read more...]

The Art of Wild Wisdom

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The Art of Wild Wisdom by John Beckett Pathways UU Church November 17, 2013 The Ancient Druids“The Druids may well have been the most prominent magico-religious specialists of some of the peoples of north-western Europe just over a couple of thousand years ago; and that is all we can say of them with reasonable certainty.”This is the opening line of Blood and Mistletoe: the History of the Druids in Britain by Ronald Hutton, Professor of History at the University of Bristol in E … [Read more...]

Religious Tech

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This Sunday I’ll be speaking at Pathways UU Church in Euless, Texas.  The service is titled “The Art of Wild Wisdom” – it’s a brief look at Druidry both ancient and modern, and a look at the love of Nature as a religious impulse.  For the Story for All Ages, I’ll be telling the story of the Reformed Druids of North America.Here’s a video of me telling this story at Denton UU earlier this year:This is a wonderful story and it illustrates a very important religious principle: what you d … [Read more...]

Do the Work and Trust the Process

Ovate altar

Initiations in OBOD are powerful ceremonies that transmit mystical knowledge and wisdom to the candidates, but they are not the primary transformative process of the order.  They are an introduction to a grade, not a culmination of that grade.At last weekend’s East Coast Gathering, we initiated 12 Bards into the Grove of the Ovates.  These new Ovates have a lot of work ahead of them and all the ones I talked with understood that.  If you’ve been around long enough to complete the Bardic grade … [Read more...]

The Currents of Life

Animas River, Colorado, 2009

For me, blogging is first and foremost about the discipline of writing.  It isn’t enough to think big thoughts – too many of those thoughts are random, impulsive and disorganized.  Writing forces me to examine my thoughts, see if they’re in alignment with my values, and determine how I should integrate them into the rest of my life.  Keeping a blog forces me to do this regularly – nothing runs off readers faster than long periods of silence.Though some of my posts are intended to inform or pe … [Read more...]

East Coast Gathering 2013

good music and a good fire

I’m back from the OBOD East Coast Gathering after spending four days with about a hundred Druids and Druidish friends.  This was the fourth year for the ECG and my third year to attend.  They’ve all been slightly different – different guests, different workshops and rituals, different weather – but they’ve all had the same spirit of fellowship and bardic sharing, the same spirit of curiosity and inquiry, and of course, the same love of Nature experienced in a beautiful wooded camp.The big cha … [Read more...]