July 8, 2015

Both the Order and the Kindred met in the New Forest area, the same area as Gardner’s supposed coven. Both groups practiced nudism (or “naturism”), used rituals based on bits of old British folklore, and took “Kin names” or “Woodcraft names,” a practice similar to the Wiccan use of “Craft” names. Gardner was known to be friendly with members of the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry, and was sighted at their meetings in the 1950s. This has led to speculation that Gardner’s “coven” was in fact the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry. Read more

July 5, 2015

The basic plan of agricultural hierarchical society and its associated religious practices had endured for thousands of years, through the Neolithic, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age, from the Sumerians through the Roman Empire to the kingdoms of medieval Europe. But in less than three centuries we went from the medieval manor to movable type, the fragmentation of the dominant religious system, mass production, and the beginnings of modern science and technology. Read more

June 29, 2015

Southern Baptist Samuel James has posed “7 Questions for the Victors” on the marriage equality issue — but forgot to turn comments on for his post. Fortunately, I have this forum to reply. So: seven easy answers. Read more

June 27, 2015

If the heritage you receive from an ancestor is one of hatred or ignorance or violence, it’s your responsibility to not accept that heritage. You don’t have to accept a gift, you know. If someone walks up to you with a big box of dog crap and tries to hand it to you, you can say, “No, thank you.” Read more

June 27, 2015

By all means, raise a toast if you like, change your Facebook profile picture to something rainbow if that’s your thing. Enjoy. But later, maybe it should be time for a serious discussion: shouldn’t we be trying to get beyond marriage? Read more

June 26, 2015

The speculation is this: that both the Boy Scouts and modern Wicca can trace a significant part of their heritage to a naturalist, mystic, author, and advocate of Native American culture who was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but mostly unknown today. In the case of the Boy Scouts the history is clear, though largely forgotten for political reasons. For Wicca, it’s a foggy connection at best, but there is evidence for some sort of connection. Read more

June 25, 2015

Screw that. We’ve got fire, we’ve got people, we’re going to have so much frickin’ Fire Circle we’re gonna be smiling out our…er, third eyes. Yeah. Read more

June 19, 2015

Not every instance of touch is a threat to one’s boundaries. The stranger who bumps against you on the subway has not violated your rights. I do not violate the rights of the man in front of me in line at the bank when I touch him on the shoulder to get his attention and say “Sir, that teller is open.” When a lover puts her arm around me without asking, or her hand on my thigh, or snuggles up against me in bed in a more intimate fashion without a by-your-leave, I have not thereby been assaulted. Read more

June 11, 2015

We are talking here about a change in human existence as significant as the dawn of civilization, when we went from gatherer-hunters to agriculturalists. And just as that was accompanied by a shift from shamanistic, direct religion to priestly, indirect religion, so this transition will need a new sort of spirituality. Read more

June 5, 2015

Boundaries in their role as both endings and beginnings are also on my mind because this is both my last column for Agora and my first post for The Zen Pagan as its own full-fledged blog here at Patheos Pagan. But this change too is the crossing of a line, a passing of a boundary. The Romans had a god for that: Terminus, the god of boundaries. Read more

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