Ancestor Communion Ritual

Ancestors service 06.15.14 1

I rarely post ritual scripts, but this is a short ritual we did as part of this morning’s Sunday service at Denton UU.  It’s suitable for Pagan groups, UU services, religiously mixed groups, or individuals.  We split it up into five parts, but it could have been done by one person.Feel free to use it – just credit the source.strike gong one time loud“Let us now invite our ancestors to join our service.”light first candle“Fathers, Mothers, Grandfathers, Grandmothers, ancest … [Read more...]

A Reasoned Defense of Paganism

Agora

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...]

Interview With Morpheus Ravenna

illuminated_vellum_9_square

Morpheus Ravenna is a priest, spirit worker, artist, and initiate of the Anderson Feri tradition of Witchcraft. Her primary spiritual practice is her dedication to the Morrígan, a devotional practice of about twenty years. Her interests include folk magical traditions, devotional art, and Celtic heroic spirituality.  She writes the Shieldmaiden Blog and she is known in her community for her service as a priest of the Morrígan, in addition to spearheading the Coru Cathubodua Priesthood. She can be … [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 and forth between e-mail and F … [Read more...]

Expanding Circles

expanding circles

Pagan groups are notoriously volatile, in the chemical sense of the word:  they evaporate quickly.  Sometimes they’re volatile in the commonly used sense of the word:  they change rapidly, unpredictably, and for the worse.  Much of this volatility comes from a lack of understanding of what is required to form and maintain a functional and healthy religious group.Good religious groups may evolve organically without any structural planning (or even structural awareness) but like biological evol … [Read more...]

Planning Special Rituals

02 20 Roman Forum

I’ve always loved ritual.  The opportunity to compose, lead, and participate in ritual is one of my favorite things about being Pagan.  So it’s no surprise I write about ritual a lot – here are some of my favorite pieces:A Pagan Ritual OutlineCommon Ritual Errors and How to Avoid ThemThe Challenges of Large Public RitualsLast week I saw a request for help on a child naming ceremony.  Then earlier this week I responded to a Facebook request for suggestions on composing a ritual for … [Read more...]

Cernunnos

Cernunnos square

I was a devotee and a priest of Cernunnos long before I started this blog.  Over the years I’ve told parts of my story with Him (here, here, and here, for a good start), probably enough for a diligent reader to piece the whole thing together, if one was so inclined.  I’ve reviewed a very good book of devotions to Him written by others.  What I haven’t done is talk about who and what He is, as He’s presented himself to me.Let’s start with what we know about the history of Cernunnos, which can … [Read more...]

The Four Centers of Paganism

Centers of Paganism

Welcome to Under the Ancient Oaks, a thoughtful little blog on the Patheos Pagan Channel.  I’m John Beckett, and as the header says, I’m a Pagan, a Druid, and a Unitarian Universalist.  Earlier this week I felt called to respond to the misogyny in our society after the killings in Isla Vista, California.  Apparently what I had to say resonated with a lot of people, because traffic on this blog is up.  A lot.  More people read Dude, It’s You in its first 24 hours than visit in a typical month. … [Read more...]


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