Exercising Your Will

07 15b dry stacked stone

Rhyd Wildermuth has a long and thought-provoking essay on Saturday’s Wild Hunt titled Manifesting An Other World.  In it, he argues that beliefs should mean something – they should cause us to take action to manifest the kind of world we say we value.  This is particularly true for those of us who worship Gods we believe are real, distinct, individual beings – Gods who are capable both of blessing us immensely and of making our lives as miserable as Prometheus. Many Pagans don’t … [Read more...]

A Druid in the Marketplace of Religions

07 30 Cliffs of Mohor

I used to have a boss who’d get upset when I’d qualify my answers.  “Yes, we can have that job finished a week early, if a key supplier gets their parts here early, if the engineer’s design doesn’t require any modifications, and if the assemblers work more overtime than we have a right to require.”  He wanted an enthusiastic “yes!”  I felt I owed him an honest assessment of the situation. I’ve tried to carry that honesty into my religious writing and speaking, partially … [Read more...]

Tending the Altar

altar 06.07.14 after

To call yesterday “unproductive” would be an understatement.  I know, it was Saturday, and being productive isn’t a valid goal in and of itself, but there are degrees of unproductivity.  There’s “I was playing and enjoying myself” and there’s “I so needed to rest and do nothing today” and there’s “I didn’t accomplish anything but something about it felt right.” And then there’s sitting at the computer all afternoon, looking at a blank Word document, bouncing back … [Read more...]

Meaning and Proof

08 19 Newgrange 4x3

Thorn Coyle posted a quote on her Facebook page on Sunday and asked for responses: Truth to drum into the next generation:  trusting your religious experiences have meaning is stupid. You have to *prove* they have meaning. – Vinay Gupta My first response was to wonder about the context of the quote.  I did a bit of googling on Vinay Gupta and didn’t turn up anything specifically related to this quote.  He appears to be a futurist along the lines of John Michael Greer, only from a tech … [Read more...]

The Power of Prayer

04.19.14 03

When I wrote about my experience with the National Day of Prayer, I said “there is power in prayer.”  That phrase went directly to my fingers from my subconscious, a remnant from my Christian upbringing.  I recognized the source as soon as the words appeared on the screen and I considered changing them.  But I kept them, because “there is power in prayer” is as true for a polytheistic Pagan is it is for a monotheistic Christian. If we do not understand the power of prayer, it is … [Read more...]

Celebrating Life, Preparing for Death

Lligwy Burial Chamber

“How does your religion say you get to heaven?” I’ve been asked that question several times, at least once in those very words.  In answering, I begin by pointing out the unstated assumptions behind the question:  1) that heaven and hell are the only possible outcomes, and 2) that preparing for death is the most important aspect of religion. Christianity (at least in its more conservative forms) is a death-preparing religion – its primary focus is on holding the proper beliefs so … [Read more...]

Water in the Desert

Rio Grande - 2010

There are many challenges to building a deep and meaningful spiritual practice that serves the Gods, the world, and yourself.  Last year I wrote about returning to center when a minor annoyance or a major tragedy disrupts your life. But not every challenge is a sudden dramatic event.  Nor is every challenge the cumulative effect of many minor annoyances.  Sometimes your practice simply dries up for no apparent reason.  Sometimes your joy in life dries up for no apparent reason.  Some … [Read more...]

You’re Doing It Wrong!

the lower level of the Roman Coliseum

The last post Am I Doing It Right? was about how to deal with healthy doubts surrounding your beliefs and practices.   But I also listed a few examples of how you might be doing it wrong: if your religion tells you the world would be fine if other people would quit screwing it up, you’re doing it wrong.  If it tells you society is great just like it is, you’re doing it wrong.  If it tells you it’s all about you, you’re doing it wrong. In the comments, Yvonne Aburrow said this … [Read more...]