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Top 10 Posts on Under the Ancient Oaks

Top 10 Posts on Under the Ancient Oaks December 29, 2014

Beaumaris Gorsedd Circle, Anglesey, WalesThese are the Top 10 posts on this blog as measured by page views.  Yes, I did another Top 10 Posts back in March – that was the all-time Top 10.  This is the Top 10 of 2014 – anything that was written this year.

10. Why I Worship the Gods.  As the Anomalous Thracian likes to say, it’s damn fine time to be a polytheist.  But in a culture where monotheism dominates and atheism is growing, the idea of worshipping many Gods can seem odd.  It all boils down to one thing:  I’ve had good experiences of the Gods.

9. Unfortunate Effects of Joseph Campbell.  Joseph Campbell was incredibly influential in shaping late 20th century American thinking on mythology – his impact on George Lucas and Star Wars is legendary.  But his concept of monomyth turned our rich cultural and religious diversity into “a (Joseph) Campbell soup of myths that loses all local flavor.”

8. Proselytizing, Secrecy, and a Better Way.  Writing prompts sometimes come from unusual sources – this one came from an overheard conversation in a restaurant.  Proselytizing is offensive, secrecy is a recipe for oblivion, but public religion is a viable and ethical alternative to both.

7. The Four Centers of Paganism.  Modern Paganism is impossible to define, but it is possible to describe.  This model focuses on Nature, the Gods, the Self, and Community.  Individual Pagans aren’t in or out of Paganism, they’re closer to or farther from these four centers.

6. Sacrifice and the Fear of Real Gods.  Let someone mention animal sacrifice and watch the overreaction go wild.  Most of the complaints don’t come from vegetarians.  They come from omnivores who don’t like to think about where their meat comes from – and who are afraid of people who take their religion seriously.

5. A Pagan View of Suffering.  That there is suffering in the world is an undisputed fact.  But why is there suffering, and what does it mean?  Suffering can be educational and it can be transformative, but insisting there must be some grand cosmic purpose for suffering is not compatible with polytheist theology.

4. A Reasoned Defense of Paganism.  Pagans are used to being proselytized by Christians, but what do we do when atheists try to convert us?  This reasoned defense of Paganism is unlikely to satisfy aggressive atheists, but it doesn’t have to satisfy them.  It just has to satisfy me.  And it does.

3. Winter Solstice – A Solitary Ritual.  My ritual posts usually aren’t very well read.  I don’t know that this one was all that different, but for what ever reason it was extremely popular.  We’re past the Winter Solstice now, but keep it in mind if you need a solitary ritual next year.

2. I’m Not OK With This.  In case the folks who look like me (or anyone else, for that matter) have any doubts where I stand, Black Lives Matter.

1. Dude, It’s You.  This post is the closest I’ve come to having something “go viral.” It was shared far outside the Pagan community, and it has almost twice as many page views as the others on this list combined.  It was written in response to the murders of six people by a man who thought women owed him sex.  Guys, if you think women owe you anything at all, the problem is you.

It’s been a very good year on Under the Ancient Oaks.  Here’s to another year of exploring the Big Tent of Paganism.

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