Heaven Is For Real – A Pagan View

Yukon mountains

The movie Heaven Is For Real opened yesterday.  This essay is an update of a 2012 post inspired by the book version of Heaven Is For Real and other books on the same subject. One of the good things about internet news and social media is that it’s easy to find people and things you like. The downside is that you can miss things outside your interest zone that are generating a lot of attention in other circles. Since I mainly hang out in the Pagan, UU and liberal corners of the internet, I was a … [Read more...]

Celebrating Life, Preparing for Death

Lligwy Burial Chamber

“How does your religion say you get to heaven?”I’ve been asked that question several times, at least once in those very words.  In answering, I begin by pointing out the unstated assumptions behind the question:  1) that heaven and hell are the only possible outcomes, and 2) that preparing for death is the most important aspect of religion.Christianity (at least in its more conservative forms) is a death-preparing religion – its primary focus is on holding the proper beliefs so the follow … [Read more...]

Thoughts on Death

04 08 Salem cemetery

Recently I received a private message asking for my thoughts on death: I was wondering if you might be interested in posting about death from a Pagan/Druid point of view? My wife and I recently lost our cat, whom we loved very much, and I was just curious what sort of wisdom you might have on the topic. First, my condolences on the loss of your cat.  Our animal friends are part of our families.  We care for them, they give us love, and in the process we’re reminded that all living things have i … [Read more...]

Ronald West Beckett (1948 – 2013)

Ron and John, Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, 1998

My brother Ron died this past Saturday, May 18.  His passing was not a surprise, but it is still sad to realize my big brother is gone from this world.Ron was a Christian in his early years and in his final days.  In between, his religion was... complicated.  That story is not mine to tell, and in any case, I only know parts of it.  Wish I knew more... but that's what happens when time and distance and priorities draw brothers apart.But I do know part of his story.  This is the eulogy I g … [Read more...]

Loving Nature in Tornado Season

the desert is beautiful - and unforgiving

One of the most useful – and most difficult – skills in life is to learn to see things as they really are, unvarnished by either fear or wishful thinking. As children we learn that if we go out in the rain we will get wet but we won’t melt. We learn that our homework won’t do itself. We learn there are no monsters under our beds, though sadly we learn there are sometimes monsters in other places. The wider we can expand this practice of seeing things as they really are the better we can success … [Read more...]

Football, Crossroads and Druids

college seniors try to impress scouts and extend their playing careers in a 3rd tier all-star game - Texas vs. The Nation 2013

If you’re someone who hates American football, keep reading. This post isn’t about football. On the other hand, if you’re someone who thinks the only purpose of religion and spirituality is to make you feel good about the way things are right now, you may want to go read something else.Like many little boys and at least a few little girls, I wanted to be a football player. There is no other game that combines athleticism, strategy and action in such an attractive package – which is why it’s t … [Read more...]

The Reality of Limits


On Saturday I wrote about how my decision not to attend Pantheacon was a question of limits. Today I’d like to explore the nature of limits in more detail, with particular attention to the relationship between limits and magic.In his book Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth, John Michael Greer devotes a whole chapter to The Law of Limits, which he describes as follows: The Law of Limits: Everything that exists is subject to limits arising from its own nature, the nature of the whole s … [Read more...]

What Comes After Death?

The religion website Patheos is beginning a series called “What Do I Really Believe?” and have asked for reader input. The first question is “What really happens when we die?” Here’s my response – we’ll see if it gets published. I believe our souls – the essence of who we are – survive death. Past-life memories, after-death communications, and thousands of years of human thought and experience strongly indicate that there is more to Life than the material world. I believe that after death we exp … [Read more...]