Nine Things I Think

Nine Things I Think September 27, 2016

Nine Things I Think is an irregular feature whenever I have a list of things I want to talk about that aren’t long enough for their own individual posts.  There’s no theme, just nine things I want to bring to your attention.  Feel free to expand on any of these topics in the comments section.

1. The Wild Hunt’s 2016 Fall Funding Drive began last Thursday. They’re trying to raise $18,000 to pay for web hosting expenses and to pay their writers for the work of investigating and reporting the news of the Pagan world. While the mainstream media will occasionally run an article of interest (particularly if it’s controversial) The Wild Hunt is the only media organization dedicated to reporting on what’s going on in the Big Tent of Paganism.

I don’t always agree with The Wild Hunt’s editorial choices, but even when I think they’re wrong, they’re still bringing us news no one else will. I’m supporting them again this year, and I encourage you to support them at whatever level is right for you.

Practical Astrology2. I don’t usually review books in Nine Things I Think, but this time I’ve got two books I want to bring to your attention.

The first is Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans by Ivo Dominguez Jr. Subtitled “Using the Planets and the Stars for Effective Spellwork, Rituals, and Magickal Work,” it was released by Weiser on January 1, 2016.

I’ve never paid a lot of attention to astrology, but lately I’ve been convinced that was a mistake. Astrological influences don’t rule your life, but they do have an influence on it, sometimes minor and sometimes very major. I have three books on astrology on my shelves – they were dense and I don’t think I finished any of them. Ivo Dominguez Jr. not only knows a lot about astrology, he knows how to use it in practical applications – I thought his book might the one I needed.

I was right. This moderately sized (216 pages) book presents the concepts of astrology without getting bogged down in all the minutia (and I had forgotten how much minutia is in astrology!). It won’t teach you how to be an astrologer, but it will tell you how to incorporate astrology into your magical workings and into your life.

I’m going to need to read it again at least once and probably two or three times for it to really sink in, but now I have the general Pagan introduction I need.

Fairycraft3. The second book is Fairycraft: Following The Path Of Fairy Witchcraft by Morgan Daimler. It was released by Moon Books on June 24, 2016. This is not one of their Pagan Portals series of very short introductory books – it runs 272 pages.

Morgan Daimler probably knows Celtic literature as well as anyone in the Pagan community, and it shows in this book. These are not Disney fairies she’s writing about – they’re the fae of Irish legend and lore, some of whom will deal fairly with you if you’re scrupulously honest with them, and some who would just as soon eat you for dinner.

The book covers some complicated (and at times, controversial) material in an straightforward way. It doesn’t make it out to be deep and dark and scary, but it makes it clear that it’s not safe, particularly if you don’t respect it. It adds enough witchcraft and polytheism to make it a complete system (thus “path” in the title), if one was inclined to make it their primary spiritual path.

This is an “advanced beginner” book. It shouldn’t be the first book you read on witchcraft, or on fairies, but if you’re interested in either – or if you need a reference to shut up people spouting naïve crap about the Good Neighbors – it will make a good addition to your library.

4. The book I’ve been working on for the past couple of years and have mentioned in passing a time or two now has a publication date. The Path of Paganism – An Experience-Based Guide to Modern Pagan Practice will be published in May of 2017 by Llewellyn.

This is a “200 level” introduction to modern Pagan religion. It’s intended for advanced beginners and intermediate practitioners. In addition to presenting an introduction to modern Pagan beliefs and practices, The Path of Paganism also examines the unstated assumptions of mainstream beliefs and practices. It looks at the tension they create, the difficulties they cause for Pagans, and how we can resolve the conflicts within ourselves… and how we can live lives that are authentic, meaningful, and virtuous.

I’ve seen the cover mockup and I love it, but it’s not final so I can’t share it yet. As soon as it’s official, I’ll pass it along.

5. I watched the first debate last night. Let me start by saying I understand why some people are voting for Donald Trump. They’re not all racists. They have some legitimate concerns and if we don’t address them, whoever comes after Trump will be worse.

That said, how anyone can listen to Trump for five minutes and think he’s capable of being President is beyond me. I don’t care how much you don’t trust Hillary (I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary), Trump as President would make you long for the good old days when George W. Bush (a good man who surrounded himself with some very bad men) only embarrassed the country once or twice a week.

The second debate will be October 9, and the third and final debate will be October 16 19. The Vice Presidential candidates will debate October 4.

The winner will be the candidate who can get the most of their supporters to the polls. Democrats outnumber Republicans, but Republicans turn out at a much higher rate. Do not sit out this election.

6. Is Libertarian Gary Johnson a legitimate candidate? He didn’t reach 15% in the polls so he was excluded from the debates, along with Green candidate Jill Stein. That sounds reasonable, until you learn that the Commission on Presidential Debates was formed specifically to enable the exclusion of third party candidates (previously, the League of Women Voters had managed the debates). The US political system is set up for two parties – that’s why Bernie Sanders ran for President as a Democrat, even though he’s been an independent since 1979.

I voted for Gary Johnson in 2012. I was unhappy with Barack Obama’s first term, Mitt Romney was going to carry Texas no matter what, so I voted to support a third party. My hope is that conservatives who cannot bring themselves to vote for Hillary will vote for Johnson instead. I have issues with libertarianism (especially in its extreme forms), but Gary Johnson would make a decent President.

Unlike the Republican nominee.

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7. Earlier this month, Denton CUUPS took a weekend and retreated to the woods. James Stevens was a member of Denton CUUPS until his death from cancer in 2010. We’ve stayed in touch with the Stevens family and they’ve graciously allowed us to continue using their land.

It was hot on Friday night, but a storm moved through early Saturday morning and cooled things off. That’s the second time I’ve been through a thunderstorm out there – there’s nothing quite like knowing there’s nothing but a couple thin sheets of nylon between you and the elements… particularly when the rain is pouring and the winds are over 30 MPH. But we all came though it fine and Saturday was beautiful.

It was hazy Saturday night, so we didn’t get the benefit of the dark skies, but we watched as the mists rolled in across the fields and into the wood. It wasn’t entirely a weather thing, either…

There is no substitute for spending time in Nature.

8. I’ll be speaking at Pathways UU Church at 10:00 AM on Sunday, October 9. The service title is “The Two Obligations of Good Religion.” Pathways is located in Hurst, northeast of Fort Worth and west of DFW airport. If you’re in the area, come out and say hello.

9. In response to several questions I’ve had, no, I won’t be at Pantheacon in February. Pantheacon is an expensive trip for me – I can’t afford to go every year. If my book was going to be out in time, I was going to go anyway, but since it won’t be out till May, I’ll wait and go again in 2018.

I’m still thinking about my 2017 Pagan travel schedule. There are a couple of events I’ll almost certainly do, but other than that I’m going to try to spend less on travel next year.

That’s what I’m thinking – what about you?

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