Planning Initiation Rituals

If someone asks you for an initiation, your first questions should always be “why?” and “what do you hope to gain by initiation?” Most likely the response will be vague, something along the lines of “I don’t know, I just feel like I need to be initiated.” This is a perfectly legitimate answer. Our mainstream culture has done away with most rites of passage, but the need for them still exists, on our spiritual paths as much as in our ordinary lives. Additionally, there is a long tradition of i … [Read more...]

Initiation in Today’s Pagan World

This week I learned that a friend has been passed over for a teaching position with a Wiccan seminary because he doesn’t have a “proper” initiatory lineage. His many years of Wiccan practice and coven-based teaching experience count for nothing without documented First, Second, and Third Degree initiations.Long-time Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wiccans and those with experience in groups such as Freemasonry and the Golden Dawn will not be surprised by this. But those who have come to Paganism wit … [Read more...]

Outed at Work

The door to the broom closet keeps getting more and more open…As I’ve discussed here and here, I’m not one for wearing my religion on my chest. I don’t like it when religious conservatives inject their religion into the workplace and I don’t want to do the Pagan equivalent of that. If people ask, I tell them I’m a Unitarian Universalist and leave it at that.Today at work one of our Human Resources managers stuck her head in my office. I thought she might have found one of the job descriptions … [Read more...]

The Book of English Magic

Perhaps it is because I started reading it on vacation in New Orleans, but my first impression of The Book of English Magic is that it is a magical travelogue – a guidebook describing the important places to go, history to investigate, people to get to know, and sights to see. It doesn’t give you an in-depth look at any of them, but it does tell you enough for you to figure out what you want to do first and what can wait for later.The Book of English Magic was written by OBOD Chosen Chief Phi … [Read more...]

The Green Dragon

You know you’re accomplishing something when folks on the other side of the religious spectrum start screaming that you’re dangerous.Via The Wild Hunt, here’s a piece from the New York Times Green Blog on an Evangelical backlash against environmentalism, calling it “the green dragon.”  The name is obviously an attempt to associate the whole green movement with the dragon of Revelation – Satan, and with the “end times” many look forward to.  And their target isn’t just Pagans – it’s also … [Read more...]


Cathy and I visited the National World War II Museum in New Orleans last week. After seeing the Churchill War Rooms in London my expectations were low, but we were there for almost four very fascinating hours. The facts and artifacts were mostly not new to me but the presentation of the events and the stories that went with them was superb. My first impression was the level of sacrifice involved. Any war requires sacrifices by the combatants and by those caught in the crossfire. But this war … [Read more...]

A Special Christmas

I am not so old and cynical I can’t remember the joy that Christmas – a traditional American Christmas – can bring to a child. Nor am I so naïve I can’t recognize that my disdain for its materialistic aspects comes from a position of privilege. I remember being six or eight or ten years old and enjoying putting up the tree, shaking presents, shopping for gifts for the rest of the family… Those were wonderful times and I would not deny them to anyone of any age. The problem is one of proportio … [Read more...]

Christmas – Stop the Insanity

There has been a rash of activity on the Pagan side of the internet this week about Christmas and what – if anything – those of us who aren’t Christians should be doing with it. It began with this Wild Hunt post by Jason Pitlz-Waters, which summarized his entry on The Washington Post’s “On Faith” question “what is Christmas all about?” Jason basically argues that much of Christmas comes from older, pagan, universal Winter traditions, and thus belongs to everyone.Thorn Coyle took another angle, … [Read more...]