Tuesday, April 28, 2009

On the Road

I will be on the road or in the land of longleaf pine for the next four days, so posting will probably be non-existent until around May 5th.

Yes, vitamin C and oshá are on the menu. I have a magical faith in oshá, especially from the Taos Herb Co. I just squirted some tincture into my wine, which makes it taste sort of like retsina.

Meanwhile, links:

Fifty things every 18-year-old should know. Some of them would have helped me, for sure.

•Here is a Web page of re-creations of ancient statuary -- which was not all white marble! (One of the small details that I appreciated in the Oliver Stone's Alexander, for all its other goofs.)

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Romae Dies Natalis

Happy birthday to Rome. Lots of great photos.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Jack Chick, the Movie

I have my own collection of Jack Chick pamphlets, but to make collecting more sporting, they have to be found in public places: left inside a library book about Wicca or on a public park bench, that sort of thing.

Maybe God's Cartoonist: The Comic Crusade of Jack Chick will create more collectors of "all things Chick including the art, artists, writers, controversies, death threats, witch spells, Illuminati, Catholic assassins and more!"

(Hat tip: Jason's other blog.)

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Pomegranate 10.2 published

The new issue of The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies is now back from the printer. This issue, vol. 10, no. 2, is not yet on the Web site but will be soon.

Table of Contents
"The Love which Dare not Speak its Name: An Examination of Pagan Symbolism and Morality in Fin de siècle Decadent Fiction"
Kelly Anne Reid

"Landscape Archaeology, Paganism, and the Interpretation of Megaliths"
Jessica Beck and Stephen Chrisomalis

"The Goddess and the Virgin: Materiality in Western Europe"
Amy Whitehead

"The Prevailing Circumstances: The Pagan Philosophers of Athens in a Time of Stress"
Emilie F. Kutash

"Polycentric Polytheism and the Philosophy of Religion"
Edward P. Butler

"Re-crafting the Past: The Complex Relationship between Myth and Ritual in the Contemporary Pagan Reshaping of Eleusis"
Maria Beatrice Bittarello

"Expanding Religious Studies: The Obsolences of the Sacred/Secular Framework for Pagan, Earthen, and Indigenous Religion, Part 2: Re-thinking the Concept of ‘Religion’ and ‘Maturi’ as a New Scheme"
Mikirou Zitukawa and Michael York

Individual articles can be ordered from the Web site. Book reviews may be downloaded for free in PDF form.

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Yahoo Group for Pagan Veterans

Some American Pagan military veterans feel that established organizations such as the American Legion and VFW are too heavily Christianized, so they have started a Yahoo group as a first step towards forming a separate organization.

It is the old dilemma -- change from within, or go outside "the system"?

If you are a Pagan veteran and wish to participate, there is more information here.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Boy and his Dog

Jason Pitzl-Waters blogs on the PanGaia-newWitch merger, a sign of the times.

I knew the announcement was coming but decided to respect the publisher's embargo, something that I prided myself on not doing back when I was a reporter in a two-newspaper city (which now feels like saying "back when I rode for the Pony Express.")

For those of you who read the newest--and last--PanGaia and the article "The Brightest Lights in Our Sky: Today's Most Influential Pagans," let me say that I am humbled to be included.

And the "friend" in the photo is Jack. Chesador's Hardscrabble Jack, to use his full name, which no one ever does. He will, however, answer to "Jack--yes, you, damn it--do you see any other Chessie named Jack?"

Today was his thirteenth birthday, and M. and I toasted him with champagne at dinner.

In about two weeks, I will be at the Florida Pagan Gathering, where I am scheduled to give a couple of talks, which prospect is fairly terrifying. Must write, must write.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Paganism 101 -- A Complete Curriculum

We joke about "Wicca 101" or "Paganism 101," modeling teaching Pagan religion on a university course syllabus, but such a thing actually exists.

A group of Canadian Pagans affiliated with a Unitarian church in Vancouver have produced a detailed curriculum, which may be purchased on CD for $75 Canadian (about US $61).

The authors are Louise Bunn, Fritz Muntean, and Kara Cunningham, all of whom I know or at least have met. They write,

Paganism 101 is an experiential curriculum that will enable participants to conduct Pagan rituals on their own as aindependent practitioners. It introduces the practices, beliefs, and history of Modern Pagan spirituality, a nature-based worldview that is deeply rooted in Western Esoteric traditions.

Because of the Unitarian connection, they add, "We’re working to develop a religiosity that is entirely compatible with, and complimentary to, modern Unitarian rationality," which sounds like a sop to the humanists, but this is actually a detailed workbook in CD form and worth looking at if you are a teacher.


Geomagnetic Dreams

Talk about your "earth energies" — based on his own dream records, a researcher believes that the solar wind might influence dreaming.

Looking for an explanation for recurring nightmares of leaving the house without your trousers on or losing your teeth? New research suggests you can blame the Earth's magnetic field, rather than a repressed childhood.

Darren Lipnicki, a psychologist formerly at the Center for Space Medicine in Berlin, Germany, found a correlation between the bizarreness of his dreams, recorded over eight years, and extremes in local geomagnetic activity.

Commenters are skeptical about his methodology.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Difference between Santa Fe and Taos

Looking back to the artists and writers of 1930s-40s Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico writer Paul Horgan observed,

Between Santa Fe and Taos there was a sense of rival constituencies, and sensitive persons tended to be loyal to the powers, virtues, and dangers of one place or the other. Santa Fe was more worldly, more sophisticated. Taos believed itself to be animated by an energy that was actually occult.

Blame D.H. Lawrence and Mabel Dodge Luhan for creating much of the "Taos energies" narrative.

Having lived briefly in Taos and having visited both places off and on since my teens, I think that Horgan's distinction still applies.

Put me in the Taos group: Santa Fe's Spanish-imperialist past still lingers.

I stop for coffee in Taos, and the guy at the next table is talking about how parallel universes influence ours. In Santa Fe, it's where they came from and what glamorous destination awaits them next.

In fact, I became a capital-P Pagan in Taos. Actually, it was in the nearby village of Talpa--but still Taos County. (I see I said that once already. Where are the adobes of yesterday?)

Horgan is quoted in Barbara Harrelson's Walks In Literary Sante Fe: A Guide to Landmarks, Legends and Lore which is itself an extended bibliographic essay-with-maps about the former provincial and current state capital.

The next time I visit, I want to follow some of her walks.

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

View from a Parallel Universe

M. and I are on the road, looking for books, brew pubs, and botanicals, so blogging will be sporadic for a few days. So far we have covered two out of three.

This interior view is not a brew pub, however, but one of our favorite coffee shops.


Polytheism and the Empowered Individual

An interesting article from a Hindu writer on polytheism, monotheism, and contemporary politics in India: "The March to Monotheism."

This paragraph caught my eye:

If the upside of monotheism is universalism and egalitarianism, the downside is that it admits of no rival. There can be no middle ground, no compromise. Reality is binary. It's either one or zero. It's my god or your devil. The aversion to idolatry and icons emerges from the same logic: an icon or idol is a personal god; it empowers individuals. It is democratic. It allows any individual to fashion his own god.Which is why iconoclast kings and priests have gone out of their way to destroy idols: the idea is to destroy the spirit of the empowered individual.