The 4 Best Posts of 2015 You Didn’t Read

The 4 Best Posts of 2015 You Didn’t Read December 22, 2015

Bryn Celli Ddu - Anglesey, Wales - 2014Some of you read and share everything I write. Thank you, thank you, thank you. In general, the blog posts that do well (i.e. – the posts the friends of the regular readers like and share) are posts that talk about current events, that build up Paganism, or are controversial. While I frequently weigh in on hot topics, I leave being controversial for the sake of being controversial to other bloggers.

Not every post is intended to go viral. The Nine Things I Think series isn’t well read, but it lets me cover shorter topics without adding filler. Reviews don’t do particularly well, but if I like a book or an album I want to tell everyone about it. I write what the Gods tell me to write and what I feel like I need to say, and after that it’s out of my hands.

While I’ve come to accept that sometimes the Pagan community just doesn’t care about something as much as I do, there are times when I find myself screaming “this is important! Why are you not reading this?!”

Here are four posts from 2015 I think have some really important concepts in them, but that weren’t well read. Take a look at these summaries, and if you didn’t read them the first time, check them out now.

Fish Is Not Just Fish (August 2015, #111 in readership). This post starts with my experience of ordering fish in a restaurant in Sweden and trying to get past the language barrier to figure out what kind of fish it was. The story illustrates the fact that not everybody who says “I’m a polytheist” means the same thing, as the comments sections of a couple recent posts demonstrated. Differences matter, and so does clarity around our differences.

Reading it again after four months, I see this isn’t my most succinct writing – I probably should have cut it back by about a third. But the story is good, the point is critical, and it’s got what I think is the flat-out coolest photo of the year. This was taken in the New Orleans Aquarium in 2010, and the only photoshopping was turning the contrast up a bit.

New Orleans Aquarium 2010

Deep Magic (December 2015, #113 in readership). It may be unfair to put this post on the list, since it’s only been up for a little over two weeks. But it didn’t get a good start and it shows no signs of having a “long tail,” so I’m including it.

Deep Magic is a spiritual model of the way the world works, in the ways that we actually experience it. Here’s a key excerpt:

The materialistic worldview has led to viewing everyone and everything as things, whose only value is their utility to humans. This approach has brought us technological wonders. It has also brought us climate change, environmental desecration, slavery and oppression.

Deep Magic sees everything as inspirited beings with inherent worth and sovereignty. It sees the world not as a hierarchy of ownership and control, but as a reciprocal network of mutually supportive relationships. And it understands that while we can control nothing, we can – and do – influence everything.

Who Sets the Boundaries? (August 2015, #115 in readership). This post was inspired by two presentations from Many Gods West, one by Sobekneferu on “Worshiping Deities Whose Mythology Was Written by Their Antagonists” and one by Elena Rose on “Loving Our Monsters.” Like Deep Magic, it asks us to reconsider our basic assumptions about the way the world works, and in this case, about the way the world should work.

A casual look around the Pagan and polytheist communities reveals a greatly disproportionate number of people who have been marginalized, excluded, called monsters, and physically attacked as monsters by the boundary-makers of the mainstream society … And yet, these are the people the Many Gods have chosen to restore Their worship.

Will we let other people define us and set boundaries for us, or will we insist on setting our own boundaries?

fence at Marksville Historical Site

This Land Is Your Land (October 2015, #126 in readership). More than just about any other group of people, Pagans understand the need to honor the land and to live in relationship with the land. But the vast majority of us who live in North America don’t have the same deep ancestral connections to the land and the spirits of the land as our friends who live in the Eastern Hemisphere. And we are rightly concerned about how we came to hold this land and the way our not-very-distant ancestors treated the people who were here first.

But the history of humanity is the history of migration – it’s what we’ve done ever since our ancient ancestors started wandering out of East Africa. We’re here, we’ve been here, and we’re going to be here a good while longer. It’s time we started acting like we belong here.

Start forming relationships with the land where you are.  Not with some elemental concept of Earth (though there is value in that as well) and not with some vague idea of The Planet, but with the land and the spirits of the land where you are.

And listen to the YouTube of Woody Guthrie singing “This Land Is Your Land.” We never sang the fourth verse in elementary school.

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me.
A sign was painted, said “Private Property.”
But on the back side it didn’t say nothing,
This land was made for you and me.

Thank you for reading and sharing, for commenting here and on Facebook, and for generally supporting Under the Ancient Oaks. Next week I’ll talk about the posts you did read: the Top 10 Posts of 2015.

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