Plain Speaking on Polytheism

It’s good to have descriptions of what a word means, so that labels are mutually comprehensible. It’s also quite nice when the meaning of a word bears some vague resemblance to its etymology. But there’s a conflict between creating a meaning that is inclusive enough to include the majority of people who want to identify as that label, and making a word completely meaningless. [Read more…]

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May Morning in Oxford

May Day is coming. This year, May Day falls on a Sunday, which is great because it means that getting up in time to hear the May morning song from the top of Magdalen Tower in Oxford won’t be quite so difficult (because instead of going to work afterwards, I can go back to bed). [Read More…]

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Happy Earth Day

I am delighted to see that EarthDay is trending on Twitter. That means people care about the planet, which is encouraging. Have you signed A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment, and acted on some of its recommendations? Have you checked your ecological footprint lately? We only have one Earth – this beautiful planet with [Read More…]

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The Brewery of the Gods!

It is well known from the lore that the gods actually have a brewery, not a bakery. It’s true that Iðunn’s golden apples keep the Aesir ever-young… but on Mount Olympos, the tipple of choice is nectar and ambrosia. The devas of Hindu mythology drink Amrita, a related substance. There is no shortage of alcohol [Read More…]

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Cultural Appropriation has nothing to do with “race”

Cultural appropriation is when someone from a colonising or culturally dominant culture takes a ritual or sacred or meaningful practice from a subjugated or devalued or colonised culture, lifting it out of context and draining it of meaning. And probably making money out of it. [Read more…]

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Making Meaning at the Movies

Has Hollywood Become Our National Conscience? Many 21st-century movies—both animated children’s films and big production feature films—have tackled moral and cultural questions in ways that have shaped the public conversation. Is this good and helpful or dangerous? In what ways has Hollywood asked the right questions and shaped the discourse? Can the art of movie-making be an act of social justice? [Read more…]

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If You Have A Racist Friend

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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