When “Pagan” Loses Meaning: Atheists and Theists

I was angry this morning. I read M.J. Lee's post over on Humanistic Paganism and I found myself really pissed. It cheesed my grits. It got my goat. And then I thought "Why are you pissed Star? This isn't even your religion she's talking about." That thought caught me by surprise. I have never before thought that way about another person who considers themselves Pagan. A different tradition, yes. Different nuances, different culture, different emphasis, but always with the same threads running … [Read more...]

Eating God: Considering Eucharistic Ritual

A scene familiar to both Christians and Pagans.

It's not unusual to see Pagans joking about the "cannibalism" of the Christian eucharist. While the concept of transubstantiation is unique to Christian worship, eucharistic ritual is not. What do you think those ancient sacrifices were about? Why do you think women baked cakes for the Queen of Heaven? And when the officiant blesses the cakes and ale/wine in a Wiccan ritual, isn't that a eucharistic style of worship as well? One of the most important things for a human to do in this life is … [Read more...]

Delphic Maxims: Intend To Get Married (Γαμειν μελλε)

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This is the first difficult Maxim I have to address, and not nearly the hardest (because there's one I intend to dismiss entirely so stay tuned). This is a Maxim geared towards a specific cultural norm that no longer exists. Yet some of the root virtue inherent in this Maxim still applies. Marriage meant children, and continuity. It meant maturity and stability. It meant status. It meant family. It meant love. So how does this translate into modern culture? For one thing, marriage doesn't … [Read more...]

Delphic Maxims: Be/Know Yourself (Σαυτον ισθι)

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Know Thyself. It's the Maxim that everyone knows. What new thing can I say about this? I don't think I can say anything that won't sound cliché or trite. And so I give you Emerson: The Gods we worship write their names on our faces, be sure of that. And a person will worship something, have no doubt of that either. One may think that tribute is paid in secret, in the dark recesses of his or her heart, but it will out. That which dominates imagination and thoughts will … [Read more...]

Beyond Roses Red and Roses White (Possibly NSFW)

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Writing can become a bad habit, and a simple question can set loose a torrent of words. So when Niki Whiting asked me what I thought of Peter Grey's The Red Goddess last night, I gave a long and complex answer when a simple one would do. Now that all the words are just sitting there, I feel I should form them into a post of some sort. I should warn that there's some frank talk about sexuality in this post, and it is heteronormative. I'm not qualified to speak to any other kind of sexuality, but … [Read more...]

Delphic Maxims: Know What You Have Learned (Γνωθι μαθων)

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I have this trick of being able to repeat a phone number in my mind until I have a chance to enter it into my phone. Once I've got it safely squared away, I promptly forget the number. It's a really good example of not knowing what I've learned. This whole series on the Delphic Maxims is an active expression of this one Maxim. I could memorize the list, but would I know it? For instance, it's not enough to remember to Know Thyself, one actually has to put in the work. Memorizing by rote is … [Read more...]

Delphic Maxims: Be Overcome By Justice (Ηττω υπο δικαιου)

This may be one of my favorite Maxims. It is the counterpoint to Obey the Law. Sure, we have to stop at stop signs and pay our taxes, but we are also commanded to Be Overcome By Justice. I love that word: overcome. It reminds me of the old civil rights spiritual: We Shall Overcome. So when it comes to our rights being taken from us, do we obey the law or do we allow ourselves to be overcome by justice? I think the same-sex marriage debate raging in this country is a great example of … [Read more...]

Everybody Say Love

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I didn't have a lot of downtime this weekend really, but I'm in a really good mood this morning. Such a good mood that I'm setting aside what I had planned for this morning (including an essay on my experience with gay marriage) but instead I want to share this feeling of love and hope I have this morning. As we are quickly speeding towards mid-year, I have to reflect that 2012 has not been very kind to me, but I didn't expect the Year of the Dragon to be flowing with milk and honey for a dog … [Read more...]

Delphic Maxims: Respect Your Parents (Γονεις αιδου)

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First let me send out some link love to all the folks also blogging through the Maxims: Aine Llewellyn tackles three at once, Anne Hatzakis takes on Follow God and Obey the Law, John Beckett gives a polytheistic take on Worship the Gods, and Niki Whiting takes on the difference between worship and devotion. With Mother's Day this weekend, and Father's Day next month, this is a good time to consider the 4th Maxim. I know a lot of Pagans have difficult relationships with their parents who … [Read more...]

Worshiping an Imperfect God

Hera gave Heracles her friendship and daughter in marriage because she admired his striving for excellence against all odds. She had given him a hard time because he had been given gifts tricked out of her which made him superior to other mortal men, but is she to blame that he let the stress of adversity lead him to commit murder?

I don't believe in perfection. I don't believe in flawless things. I don't believe in purity. I don't believe in "pure goodness" because it implies the opposite: "pure evil." I don't think such a thing exists. I don't believe the Gods are pure and perfect, without a flaw. That's the sort of language that is used to speak of Jesus, and promotes an unattainable ideal. I don't think humans are less than the Gods for being imperfect. I think that's a dangerous theology to promote. I am not a … [Read more...]