On Being European and Scottish

The North Sea has always connected people far more than it divided them, and the marks of these connections to the rest of Europe are everywhere in Scotland’s history, language, culture, place names, educational system, architecture and law. I know that a few miles walk in one direction would bring me to the remains of the old Dane’s Dyke. A few miles the other way and I’d be where the first translation into any of the English family of languages of one of the foundational works of European literature, Gavin Douglas’s 16th Century Scots translation of Virgil’s Aeneid, was written. [Read more…]

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Externalising/Internalising: Talking About The Pain

I am very concerned that now straight society may take even less responsibility for the way heterosexism and homophobia led to this horror. As if it were only a psychological problem of people who cannot accept their own sexuality. So it can all be made ‘other’ by white cisgendered heterosexual society, the society Mateen grew up in. So much ‘other’ : ‘Well he was gay and he was Muslim and they are so anti gay aren’t they? He must have had mental health problems. Nothing to do with us. Nothing to see here, let’s move on’. [Read more…]

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After Orlando: “Stay Proud, Stay Visible”

All around the world, vigils have have taken place in memory of the dead of Orlando. I attended the Oxford (UK) vigil for Orlando last night with two friends. It was beautiful. There were poetry readings, candles, flowers, speeches, and a silence. LGBTQIA people and our allies came together in a shared moment of grieving. In the face of such an appalling tragedy, it is all too easy to assume the world is full of hate. Yet every day, millions of small acts of kindness and love go unnoticed and unreported. [Read more…]

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Grace is the Time, is the Place, is the Motion

Grace is related to renewal and a sense of being right with the world and the divine. The Three Graces or Charites were definitely pagan. A feeling of grace can be created by harmonious sounds and soothing light. Splendor, Good Cheer, and Mirth also seem apt descriptors. And the more modern meaning of elegance and harmony also fits in with these ancient concepts of grace. So I think we can reclaim the word grace to mean the beauty and harmony and radiance of Nature and the feelings of awe and gratitude, wonder and joy and healing evoked by that beauty. [Read more…]

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Let’s Talk About Gender

Gender is a difficult concept. I literally have no idea why some activities, clothing styles, thoughts, and behaviours are labelled “masculine” and others are labelled “feminine”. It all seems very arbitrary to me. In some languages, objects are assigned a grammatical gender. The designation of assertiveness as a “masculine” trait, or receptiveness as a “feminine” trait, seems just as arbitrary to me as saying that a car is “masculine” and a table is “feminine”. [Read more…]

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Hex The System, Bind The Perpetrator

If a man assumes he is entitled to physical contact (sexual or otherwise) with a woman, do you challenge this assumption? If another man treats your partner as your property, do you challenge that behaviour? If you saw a woman (unconscious or otherwise) being raped, would you intervene? If you saw a woman in a hijab being vilified and attacked, would you intervene? [Read more…]

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Heresy is Good

Heresy means choosing a path. Isn’t that what Paganism is meant to be all about? [Read more…]

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