Happy St. Patrick’s Day? I Don’t Think So.

I was driving around my little town today and I saw that several houses already have decorations up for St. Patrick’s Day, which in the US is about two weeks away. I usually forget all about this “holiday,” and I certainly don’t celebrate it, but this time, seeing the shamrocks and the green paper garlands festooning my neighbor’s home, I decided to sit down and write a little bit about why.I realize that for many people, St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of Irish pride. I think that’s a goo … [Read more...]

A Meditation for Imbolc and Charming of the Plough

Poet T.S. Elliot called April the cruelest month, but I’ve always thought February fits that appellation far more thoroughly and resolutely. I detest this month, though I have to admit that it wasn’t always so.  My adopted mom died in February though and since then everything, from the snow and ice, to Valentine’s day decorations, to the joyful celebrations of Chinese New Year remind me of her passing. For me, it’s turned an otherwise innocuous month into something bleak and grim. Still, there ar … [Read more...]

The Definition of ‘Pagan’: Monotheism and Polytheism

This summer, I have spent more time doing pagan things – attending festivals and events, teaching and attending workshops, crafting and performing rituals – than at any other point in my life. During these experiences, I have come to believe that one of the largest issues facing paganism today is one of definition: Who are the pagans, exactly? Various answers to this question have been put forward over the years, many of which conflict and confuse, and none of which are adequate in my opinion. To … [Read more...]

Pagan Theology Series

For the next few weeks on the Pagan Portal at Patheos we're going to be engaging in the discussion of Pagan theology. Who are the Gods? What is their nature? Their origin? How do we account for a plurality of religious experience? What is our relationship to the Gods? Why do we exist? Is there a greater purpose?We've started off the series with Mana for Heaven: Bonewits Polytheology and American Capitalism by Alison Shaffer, a comparison of the "worship bargain" to multi-national … [Read more...]

Wyrd Designs: Finding Asgard

Sometimes understanding the cosmological map of the Northern Tradition can be most problematic. Unlike Christians, our origin story isn’t neatly laid out in chronological seeming order in a book (like Genesis). To find our origin story and learn of the nine worlds we have to read, compare and contrast the information from multiple references: Völuspá, Grímnismál, Vafþrúðnismál, Alvissmal, etc.Combine this confusion with the fact that because Christians took up the name for our underworld of 'He … [Read more...]