Sacramental Eating

cows Oct2013

I’m out of the country on a 12-day trip that’s part vacation and part pilgrimage.  Yes, you’ll hear all about it when I get back.  Until then, enjoy this update of an essay I wrote in 2011. We are born alive – and hungry. For a short time we are sustained by our mother’s milk.  It is given freely and lovingly (in most cases, anyway), but that gift is possible only because our mothers consume other life. Eventually the maternal intermediary is removed and we begin a … [Read more...]

Not Her Priest

Priestess of Delphi by John Collier (1891)

I wear many religious hats and fill many religious roles.  One of them is priest.  I occasionally talk about being a priest of Cernunnos and a priest of Danu, and I’m ordained as a priest in the Universal Gnostic Fellowship. If you’ve read Under the Ancient Oaks for a while, you might get the idea I’m also a priest of Morrigan.  I’ve probably written more about Morrigan than any other deity.  I’ve made offerings to Her, made requests of Her and received Her blessings.  I’ve … [Read more...]

A Pagan Watches Cosmos


I watched the new Cosmos science TV show on Sunday night.  It’s an update of the 1980 13-episode series featuring Carl Sagan.  Like the original, it’s designed to make big scientific concepts interesting and accessible to ordinary people.  Here are some of my random impressions: I can’t speak to his accomplishments as an astronomer, but as the public face of cosmology, Neil deGrasse Tyson is a worthy successor to his mentor, the great Carl Sagan, who died in 1996. Sagan’s … [Read more...]

The Pagan World in 2064

The Temple of Isis at Pompeii.  A few dozen people could stand in the courtyard, but only a handful of priests would fit in the sanctuary itself.  Temples don’t have to be large.

Patheos Pagan Managing Editor Christine Kraemer has thrown out a challenge for bloggers for March.  She asks “As Pagans, what do we hope to build?”  Here’s Christine’s full question: Much of the current dialogue in the Pagan blogosphere is about carving out ways to explain and justify our personal experiences and beliefs in relation to other traditions, but without a clear vision of the place our own traditions and experiences might have in an ideal world. Will the Pagan movement … [Read more...]

Vampires Are Us

vampires are us

Vampires Are Us: Understanding Our Love Affair with the Immortal Dark Side by Margot Adler Published by Weiser Books 256 pages Paperback:  $15.06 Kindle:  $9.99   I’ve been fascinated with vampires ever since I was rushing home from elementary school to watch Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins in the original Dark Shadows.  From there it was on to the Universal horror classics:  Bela Lugosi in Dracula, Lon Chaney Jr. in Son of Dracula, John Carradine in House of Dracula, … [Read more...]

A Rite of Sacrifice

Danu Sacrifice 03.02.14 01

Work with a Goddess long enough and you learn to hear Her call.  You learn to pick Her voice out above the noise of contemporary society, above the words of teachers and friends, and even above your own thoughts and feelings. Sometimes what you hear is not what you expect. Though I am pledged to Danu, She has not been the strong presence in my life that Morrigan or even Isis has been, much less as strong a presence as Cernunnos.  But since last fall Danu has been more vocal, and earlier … [Read more...]

Unfortunate Effects of Joseph Campbell


On my journey from fundamentalist Christianity to Nature and Deity centered Paganism, perhaps no single figure was more helpful than Joseph Campbell.  I found him at just the right time, when I was starting to get serious and realized I needed to develop a strong religious foundation based on what I did believe instead of what I didn’t. Shortly after my religious turning point, I watched The Power of Myth over and over on PBS.  I also found and read the accompanying book.  It was exactly … [Read more...]

Nine Things I Think

PPD 2013 24

Nine Things I Think is an irregular feature whenever I have a list of things I want to talk about that aren’t long enough for their own individual posts.  There’s no theme, just nine things I want to bring to your attention.  Feel free to expand on any of these topics in the comments section. This isn’t entirely a Pantheacon post, but I’ve still got a few odds and ends better suited for this format than for their own posts, so here goes. 1) Maybe I’m just getting old and grumpy … [Read more...]