The Limits of Hospitality

the bird neither knows nor cares that one side of the river is Mexico and the other side is the United States

Good religions do more than provide us with inspirational experiences.  Good religions also provide a framework for identifying our core principles and values and for putting them into practice in our daily lives.Some religions do this with rules that specify what practitioners can’t do or what they must do.  We Pagans aren’t big on rules – I wasn’t big on rules before I became Pagan and I’m certainly not big on them now.  Rules are supposed to make things simple and predictable and to a cert … [Read more...]

A Meditation on Fire

CUUPS camping Nov12 25

The four classical elements of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth are foundational to the Western Mystery Tradition and its many offshoots.  Even if that’s not your path, the elements remain a useful way to relate to life at a high level.  Following last week’s meditation on Air, today I invite you to join me in contemplating the element of Fire. To Fire A Hymn of OrpheusO Ever untam’d Fire, who reign’st on high In Jove’s dominions ruler of the sky; The glorious sun with dazzling lustre bright, … [Read more...]

Pagan Leadership

04 24b Din Lligwy

If you think leadership means telling people what to do you’ve missed the point in a very bad way.There’s been a lot of talk lately around the idea of Pagan leadership.  I wrote on my definition of priesthood and on the idea of paying Pagan clergy.  Yeshe Rabbit has this very good essay on her work as a priestess, and Thorn Coyle detailed her work as a full-time Pagan leader and how much money she makes through it.  Perhaps the closest to my own thoughts is this piece by Yvonne Aburro … [Read more...]

Dinosaur Valley

Acrocanthosaurus track, Dinosaur Valley State Park, Glen Rose, Texas

The Gods can be anywhere (thought not everywhere, at least not at once) and our ancestors move with us on our migrations around the world.  But the spirits of the land differ from place to place.This would seem obvious: of course the spirits of the desert are different from the spirits of the jungle, and the spirits of the mountaintop are different from the spirits of the sea shore.  But if we don’t listen to the spirits of the land – either because we stay in the same place all the time or b … [Read more...]

A Meditation on Air

sunrise 03.30.14 03

The four classical elements of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth were very important to my early Pagan practice.  Like so many, I came into Paganism through Wicca, and the four elements and their corresponding directions, tools, and themes are foundational to Wiccan practice.  They’re also a part of OBOD Druidry and many other groups with roots in the Western Mystery Tradition.As my practice has become more polytheistic I’ve found myself working less and less with the four elements.  Though they ha … [Read more...]

Paying Pagan Clergy – An Organic Approach

06 41 Temple of Hephaestus

Over on Pagan Square, David Oliver Kling has a long essay advocating for full-time paid Pagan clergy.  Though as I write this the essay itself has no comments, it’s generated quite a bit of discussion on social media.  Most of it falls into two camps:  those who say Pagan priests perform valuable services for which they should be compensated, and those whose sense of egalitarianism is threatened by anything resembling ecclesial hierarchy.  Both camps have valid points, but I think both are missi … [Read more...]

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 seem to take t … [Read more...]

Religious Freedom, Religious Bullying

01 01 Plymouth Rock

From the Pilgrims of 1620 to today, the issue of religious freedom has never been far from the front of American society.  Yet it seems that what is called religious freedom all too often is closer to religious bullying.  The Puritans escaped persecution in England and promptly started hanging Quakers in Massachusetts.  Mormons were run out of Illinois in the 19th century – in the 21st century they helped finance the campaign against marriage equality and just last week made headlines exco … [Read more...]