Je ne suis pas Charlie, because it is more complicated than that

Demonstrators gather at the Place de la République in Paris on the night of the attack.

The relationship between Islam and the West is complex and multi-faceted, and cannot be reduced to a simple binary of us versus them. Condemning the murderers does not mean you have to endorse everything that the victims did. Criticising the actions of the victims does not mean you endorse the actions of the murderers. [Read more...]

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Gender and sexuality in Wicca

"All acts of love and pleasure: inclusive Wicca", by Yvonne Aburrow

This is the video of my talk at Witchfest in Croydon, November 2014. The talk discusses expanding and deepening our understanding of the concepts of polarity and fertility, what tradition is and how it works, what we bring into circle (our whole self, or do we bring only our essence, and what does our essence include?) and how to make Wicca more LGBTQI-inclusive, with examples from rituals and from history. [Read more...]

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Diverse communities are less racist

A diverse group of friends

The subjugation and oppression of Black and brown people is part of the dominionist, capitalist, exploitative approach that says that the Earth is there to be exploited and subjugated, and so are other people. it is part of the worldview that claims that industrialisation and mechanisation will lead to increased human happiness, whereas in fact it has led to destruction of habitats, eradication of indigenous people and their life-ways, oppression, and alienation – and the view that any culture that does not buy into the myth of progress and the cult of consumerism is somehow more primitive and less civilised than the over-consuming West. I cannot see how any of this can ever be part of Paganism, and yet there are many Pagans posting racist comments on blog-posts about systemic racism, Ferguson, and the Black Lives Matter protests. [Read more...]

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Black Lives Matter

Rosa Parks (Wikipedia)

The thing about equality is that it is not enough to say, in a vague and woolly manner, that you support equality for everyone, or that “all lives matter”. Specific groups of people are being persecuted and killed in specific contexts, and there is a particular historical context for that persecution. That means that we have to understand the particular struggle in the particular context. That means we have to do the work to get involved; and to be good allies, we need to listen to the people who have been engaged in the struggle, and use our privilege to promote their voices and agendas, not talk over them and erase their voices. Ignoring the fact that Black people are being disproportionately targeted and killed is adding insult to injury. The reason we are focussing on the fact that Black lives matter right now is that there are large sections of society, most of them armed and dangerous, who seem not to agree. [Read more...]

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Samhain and Remembrance

Poppies in the sunset on Lake Geneva

The Pagan festivals are less about a single day when we reflect on or celebrate a particular aspect of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth, and more about the the high watermark of the ebb and flow of a tide of energy. But the season of remembrance is not at an end. The tide of Samhain ebbs until it rises again as the tide of rebirth at Yule. And on the way to the turning of the tide, there is Remembrance Day on 11th November. I don’t know how many Pagans actually do ritual for 11th November, but I am sure many of us will be wearing poppies – red, white, or mauve, or all three. [Read more...]

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Beloved dead

Battenberg cake

Why so few memories of my grandpa? Because my parents grew up in the Exclusive Brethren, and left that group in 1976. This meant that my grandparents were forbidden to have any contact with us after we had left. I only found out by accident in 1996 that my grandpa had died. I wonder what he would have thought of this blogpost. [Read more...]

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Ancestors

Ancestor fan chart

There are different types of ancestors – family members, ancestors of spirit, ancestors of place, the Beloved Dead, members of your tradition who have passed on. We honour them because they shaped us and our world, and without them it would be very different. [Read more...]

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