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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How To Be An Elder

Stańczyk by Jan Matejko The jester is the only person at a 1514 royal ball troubled by the news that the Russians have captured Smolensk. (Public domain image)

The first rule of being an elder is not to talk about being an elder. Don’t even think about being an elder. And certainly don’t proclaim from the rooftops that you are one. If you think you are one, you probably aren’t. [Read more...]

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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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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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