Feet of Clay

Stalin's boots by Laika Ac. CC-BY-SA 2.0

It seems to be a tendency in much of contemporary culture, including the Pagan movement, to put people on pedestals and hero-worship them, and when we discover that they are flawed human beings like the rest of us, to knock them off their pedestal and dismiss every good thing they ever did.
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Pagan and Pantheist Tendencies in Unitarianism

"Beautiful nature Before sunset" by ABDO2008.DZ - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Beautiful_nature_Before_sunset.jpg#/media/File:Beautiful_nature_Before_sunset.jpg

Many people think that the Pagan or Earth Spirit element in Unitarianism started around 1980 with the first Unitarian Universalist Pagan ritual, or with the foundation of CUUPs (Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans) in America in 1986, or the Unitarian Earth Spirit Network in the UK, founded in 1990. In fact, it has its roots in some much earlier developments. [Read more...]

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Embodied Spirituality: Archery

Warrior woman by Andreas Øverland on Flickr

When I am doing archery, I am totally in the moment, totally focussed on hitting the target, and how my body fits with the bow (though probably insufficiently focussed on the latter). I am not thinking of anything else. For me, archery is embodied spirituality in action. [Read more...]

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Embodied Spirituality: The Hearth

The hearth - photo by Yvonne Aburrow

The hearth is traditionally the place where you honour your ancestors and household gods and spirits, usually by making offerings to them. The fire would have been kept burning all the time, so it would be a good place to make offerings.
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Embodied Spirituality: The Sit Spot

"Flickr - Nicholas T - Woodland (1)" by Nicholas A. Tonelli from Pennsylvania, USA - Woodland (1). Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flickr_-_Nicholas_T_-_Woodland_(1).jpg#/media/File:Flickr_-_Nicholas_T_-_Woodland_(1).jpg

A really great way of experiencing yourself as part of nature is to incorporate the sit spot into your practice. The sit spot is a place in nature where you can sit comfortably for around fifteen minutes. While there, you slow your breathing, quiet your mind, and listen to the sounds around you: the rustling of the wind in the leaves, water flowing or falling, bird song. You return to the same spot on a regular basis, so as to become attuned to that particular place and its sounds, energies, spirits, seasons, and moods. [Read more...]

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Pagan Contemplative Prayer

Mount Fuji, Japan

Contemplative prayer is a practice that is fairly simple to understand, but which may take a lifetime to master. In contemplative prayer, we descend into the depths of the psyche, and encounter the collective unconscious, and thereby the formless depths of the divine realms. Contemplative prayer is not solely an internal experience; it is an encounter with the divine that transcends the individual. [Read more...]

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Embodied Spirituality: Grounding and Centering

Tree at dawn, Bucovina, Romania

Many Pagan rituals begin with grounding and centering. It comes from the Taoist tradition originally, I think. There are several different versions of it.

Its purpose is to allow you to feel connected to the Earth (grounded), not floating away into fantasy-world, not obsessing about the past or the future, but being present in the now. The centring part of the practice allows you to feel connected to the cosmos and the four sacred directions, which are associated with the elements. [Read more...]

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