Why I’m Boycotting Lughnasadh Again

If I went to a public Pagan ritual this weekend, most likely someone would give a little homily about the meaning of the day.  They would begin by explaining the meaning of the names “Lughnasadh” or “Lammas”, either etymologically or historically, and then explain how Lughnasadh is about sacrifice or some other harvest analogy.  But the whole process is completely backwards.  Instead of attuning ourselves to the actual cycles of nature, we end up trying to attune ourselves to an artificial cycle derived from a hodgepodge of Celtic lore and rural British customs.  Rather than the seasons turning the Wheel of the Year, we are letting the Wheel turn the seasons.  As a result, every explanation of a Pagan holiday has to begin with a disclaimer about why the holiday doesn’t match up with what our senses are actually telling us.

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10 Books that Shaped My Spiritual Journey (Paganism and Beyond)

I love books.  I probably feel more at home bookstores and libraries than I do in my own house.  Books have had a profound influence on my spiritual evolution.  In fact, I can mark certain spiritual transitions by the books I was reading.

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An Earthseed Solstice: Festival of the Teacher

The summer solstice coincides with the birthday of Octavia Butler, June 22.  So we celebrate Butler’s life and work, as well as the beginning of summer.  Through the ritual, we will seek to deepen our understanding of the words of the Book of the Living: “God is Teacher” and “Partnership is learning and teaching”.  The ritual will involve song, like Peter Mayer’s “God is a River”, and call-and-response. The center of the ritual will be a “meditative teaching” and the construction of an altar or “focus” to honor teachers who have inspired us.

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How a Hobbit Would Celebrate the Summer Solstice

When we light our solstice fire this year, I will be thinking of shadows. I will be thinking of ruined landscapes. And I will be thinking of Hobbits. Little people who took up farm tools and kitchen implements and drove out the shadow of desolation from their homes.

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How Wonder Woman Both Perpetuates and Challenges Christian Dualism

The movie Wonder Woman is a Christianization of Greek myth, with Zeus taking the role of the Christian God and Ares taking the role of Satan, making Wonder Woman a female Jesus. A certain kind of Christian dualism has worked itself so deep into our collective psyche that it seems we can’t even tell a story about pagan gods without replicating that dualism.

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What American Gods Tells Us About the Need for Religious Ecstasy

American Gods possibly reflected and probably magnified a dissatisfaction among many Pagans with popular forms of Paganism. And it offered one possible alternative: literal belief in the gods and devotional forms of worship. Popular Paganism was failing to produce the kind deep religious experiences that many of Pagans craved, and devotional polytheism promised to answer that craving. There is a lesson here for Godless Pagans and other Religious Naturalists. If we want our religions to thrive, and if we want to experience the depths that spirituality has to offer, we must find ways to tap into the experience of transcendence and ecstasy.

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Literal Minded Atheism

Whether the gods are objectively real is the least interesting question you can ask about a person’s religious experience. What is much more interesting is the subjective reality of their experience. What was the experience was like for them? And what does it mean to them in the context of their life? People’s religious experiences aren’t going to help us put a person on Mars or cure cancer, but they can help us understand why we want to put a person on Mars or why should try to cure cancer.

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