Tradition and change

Image by JOAT, courtesy of Shutterstock

What is a tradition? What is the function of tradition? What are valid criteria for modifying or abolishing a traditional practice, and when should it be retained unchanged? Traditional practices help to reinforce group identity, which is why they are so powerful, and why so many people resist changing them. [Read more...]

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Terry Pratchett: an accidental Pagan theologian

My collection of Pratchett books

As far as I know, he is the only writer to speculate on how deities come into being, first as particles of energy, then accumulating more energy from the minds of worshippers (in the book Small Gods). He was the inventor of the wonderful idea of the Dark Morris (the slow and silent dance that must be danced in the depths of the forest in order to make the wheel of the year turn again towards summer). [Read more...]

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Transplanting from one culture to another – appropriation or exchange?

Dandelion seeds in the morning sunlight blowing away in the wind across a clear blue sky

Many people do not understand what is and is not cultural appropriation because they assume that practices and techniques can be easily transplanted from one context to another, but this does not take into account the issues around the particularity of traditions to their culture, place, and history, and it does not recognise the impact of colonialism and the commodification and commercialisation of indigenous traditions. [Read more...]

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Stephen Fry, burrowing insects, and lions and tigers and bears

The Horse Botfly, which lays its eggs on horses' skin and infests the horse's intestines.

Christianity assumes that humans are the pinnacle of “creation” and that the world exists for our benefit. Atheists often turn this on its head and claim that the universe is hostile, but fail to notice that we are just one species among other species. The universe is neither 100% hostile, nor is it 100% benign.

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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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One Pagan in the Season of Advent, the Season of #Ferguson #MikeBrown #EricGarner

Mandala Things Come Together

Why have we been silent? [Read more...]

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