Paganism for Beginners – Overview

Tree at dawn, Bucovina, Romania

Paganism is more of an attitude of mind than a fixed creed. It is always tempting to ask, “what do Pagans believe?” but a better question is “what do Pagans do?” [Read more...]

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The Gay Roots of the Pagan Revival

Full Moon by Nidan [CC0 Public Domain] on Pixabay

It is a little known fact that many of the early pioneers of the Pagan revival in England were gay: Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, who came up with the idea of the League of Nations, was a gay man, and had close connections with the Bloomsbury group, and was a friend of E M Forster and Edward Carpenter, both of whom were gay. [Read more...]

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If You Have A Racist Friend

By Frerieke from The Hague, The Netherlands - Flickr: Day 20.06 _ Diversity and Unity, CC BY 2.0

So you have a racist, sexist, homophobic, white supremacist friend. Your racist friend is perfectly affable to you, buys you beers, likes to chat about the football and whatever. But you are white and male and straight, so of course he is nice to you. And he doesn’t challenge your world-view, or your assumptions about how the world works, because both you and he are white, straight, and male. [Read more...]

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Why We Need Black History Month

By User:Mitchumch - Top left: File:Bloody Sunday-Alabama police attack.jpegTop right: File:We March With Selma cph.3c35695.jpgBottom left: File:Selma to Montgomery Marches.jpgBottom right: File:Abernathy Children on front line leading the SELMA TO MONTGOMERY MARCH for the RIGHT TO VOTE.JPG, Public Domain, CC0

Every so often, some ill-informed person opines that we don’t need Black History Month, or International Women’s Day, or LGBT History Month, or the BET Awards. Sure, we wouldn’t need any of them if white privilege, male privilege, and straight privilege didn’t exist. But they do exist. [Read more...]

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Embodied Spirituality: Compassion

Intertwined branches of a large tree (Public domain image, CC0)

Spirituality – embodied or otherwise – is merely narcissism and self-indulgence when it doesn’t involve compassion – literally, feeling with others. I regard embodied spirituality as a sense of mystical connection with the universe and all beings within it. In feeling this sense of connection, we experience compassion for the sufferings of other beings, and empathy with their joys. [Read more...]

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Embodied Spirituality: Magical Tools

By Fer Doirich - Own work, CC0

Tools are levers for affecting the world. You can’t tighten a screw without a screwdriver. You need a wooden spoon to stir a pan of soup or stew, otherwise you would burn your fingers. You can cast a magical circle without a sword or a wand – but it feels like a better and more magical circle when it has been cast with the appropriate tool. The subtle energies involved in magic are affected by physical tools in much the same way as denser matter is affected by tools. [Read more...]

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Spirits of the Land

"Wayland Smithy Long barrow" by Msemmett - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wayland_Smithy_Long_barrow.jpg#/media/File:Wayland_Smithy_Long_barrow.jpg

I have always liked the description of Paganism as nature religion (however inaccurate and unhelpful that may be). The idea of being connected to Nature was one of the things that drew me towards Paganism. I also really liked the old gods, but woods, mountains, the sea, chalk hills, ancient trackways, burial mounds, stone circles, and liminal places have always attracted me. I think I first tried talking to trees when I was about 12 years old. I get withdrawal symptoms if I don’t get out into the countryside regularly. So I also feel the urge to converse with the spirits of the land. [Read more...]

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The Celts at the British Museum

The Gundestrup Cauldron - By Rosemania - http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosemania/4121249312, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9404289

Last weekend, I saw the Gundestrup Cauldron. It was an amazing, powerful, beautiful experience. Seeing something that I’ve waited so long to see, something so old, and so powerful, of such exquisite craftsmanship. It was awesome. Cernunnos sitting there with his antlers and his snake, all beautiful and serene. And the embossed panels, and the tiny details like the embossed leaves, and the silver of at the bottom of the cauldron. Amazing. So sacred. And containing such a wide range of influences from different cultures. [Read more...]

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