Zen Wisdom

The quote for today on my Zen desk calendar comes from Huang-Po, a Chinese Buddhist master who died in 850 CE.“The foolish reject what they see, not what they think; the wise reject what they think, not what they see.”This quote is particularly timely given the last blog entry on presuppositionalism. When we are confronted with evidence that our beliefs are wrong, our first instinct is to deny the evidence. If you repeat something often enough people begin to assume it’s true (as politicians kn … [Read more...]


I am what the English majors in college called a “barbarian engineer” (we called them “unemployed”). I took two philosophy classes: Introduction to Philosophy and Basic Logic – and that was thirty years ago. I’ve done a considerable amount of reading in the social sciences as part of my religious and spiritual quest over the past ten years, but virtually none of it has been in philosophy.So I’m very much out of my element when it comes to this topic I recently discovered. But it’s the answer … [Read more...]


I’m back from a trip to Tennessee for my mother’s 80th birthday. It was a good trip, and I’m particularly thankful we got out of DFW when the weather had airlines canceling flights by the hundreds. In the course of normal catching up with friends and family, I got some news about a guy I went to church with as a kid – we’ll call him Albert, to protect the not-so-innocent. It seems he now has an advancing case of Parkinson’s Disease. He was a few years ahead of me – that would put him in his e … [Read more...]

Coming to the Edge of the Circle

Back in December, Chad Clifton had a blog post on Coming to the Edge of the Circle where he used it as an example of a Pagan scholar doing academic work in a Pagan setting. This is not a normal occurrence in academia: there is an unstated assumption that Wicca and other “new religions” aren’t worthy of serious study, and there is an assumption that anyone who practices them will be unable to separate the study of her religion from advocacy for her religion. In this book, Nikki Bado-Fralick atte … [Read more...]

Religion and Money

One of the points of division in the recent split in the Feri tradition of witchcraft concerns charging money for teaching, as Jason Pitzl-Waters describes in this very good, very neutral piece on yesterday’s Wild Hunt. The issue of charging for religious services and the larger topic of the role of money in religion can be just as volatile in Pagan circles as it is in more mainstream religions.On one side is the idea that whatever we have learned (be it history, structure, lore or magic) was t … [Read more...]


Imbolc seems to be the least-known of the eight major Pagan sabbats… or at least it is here, where attendance is usually lower than any of the other holidays. We had 26 at the Denton CUUPS circle last night, which for Imbolc is pretty good. We were probably helped by unseasonably warm temperatures - it was 74 yesterday.Our Imbolc circles tend to be contemplative, and Dolores led a wonderful guided meditation to Brigid’s Forge. I can’t speak for everyone, but I received a message that was loud, … [Read more...]

Prayer for Egypt

picture via Olly WainwrightFor the past seven years Denton CUUPS has celebrated each Summer Solstice with an Egyptian ritual – our attempt to re-create the daily temple rituals practiced over thousands of years of Egyptian antiquity. Though our primary emphasis has been on connecting with the gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt, we have also connected with the land and its people. And so it is with great interest that I follow the current events in Egypt. A people who have never truly been f … [Read more...]

Christian Conversion and Pagan Initiation

Sometimes when you get on a roll the inspiration just keeps coming. Here’s another interesting piece, this time by Briallen Hopper at Huffington Post Religion. It’s titled “Amazing Grace: How Conversion Really Works.” It’s fairly short – go read it now, but as you do, substitute “initiation” every time Hopper says “conversion.”Did it occur to you that a conversion experience is a Type 3 initiation – “a method for transferring spiritual knowledge and power”? Or at least that’s what I was led t … [Read more...]