My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.
“…it takes a lot of effort to be pagan – to be really pagan. I don’t consider myself Christian, though…I believe in, I suppose, the nature of sorts. Yeah…and I do believe in rubbing soil upon your naked self every once in a while and talking to the moon–and the seasons being very important. Things like that, yes. I don’t believe in men with beards in the sky.”
He already sounds more Pagan than many Pagans I have met. You need to lower your standards a bit Graham!
“In the crowning episode of this excellent series, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas explored the oh-so-metal pagan and folkloric roots of Stravinsky’s Le sacre du printemps, whose premiere – May 29, 1913, at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees, under Pierre Monteux – goaded its Parisian ballet audience to howl for the composer’s blood (as well as that of the choreographer, Vaslav Nijinsky). It would seem that the Entombed-style downstrokes of the “Augures printanieres” section and the proto-doom-metal trudge of “Rondes printanieres” were too much for even the most hardcore of top-hatted headbangers to handle.”
For more, there is an essay on the piece at the Keeping Score web site.
Stephen Prothero, Chair of the Department of Religion at Boston University, takes time to answer the question of if America is a “Christian” nation for the Washington Post blog “On Faith”. His answer strikes a welcome inclusive note.
“What intrigues me about this new notion of a Judeo-Christian-Islamic (aka Abrahamic) America is how it manages to be both inclusive and exclusive at the same time. Obviously, it admits Muslims in what had once been a Protestant-Catholic-Jewish club. But by stressing such Western religious staples as monotheism, it obviously excludes religions that affirm no God (Buddhism) and those that affirm many (Hinduism). I see both the Judeo-Christian model and the newer Judeo-Christian-Islamic one as rear-guard efforts to keep the Christian America model alive—efforts that will likely fail. We live in a country where Buddhists and Hindus are now asking for a place at the table of American faiths—where the sort of “faith-based” social services lauded by the Bush administration are delivered not only by Christians, Jews, and Muslims but also by Hare Krishnas and Zen Buddhists.”
In other words, American will inevitably move beyond monotheism. A cultural sea-change that can’t happen too soon. Also, don’t miss Starhawk’s reply to the same question.
Speaking of Starhawk, activist and retired teacher Shepherd Bliss quotes the Pagan activist for a meditation on the nature of darkness in our culture.
“In darkness we can dream, revealing parts of ourselves that are otherwise hidden. “We need to dream the dark as process, and dream the dark as change, to create the dark in a new image. Because the dark creates us,” social activist Starhawk writes in her book Dreaming the Dark. Starhawk later adds, “How do we find the dark within and transform it, own it as our own power? How do we dream it into a new image, dream it into actions that will change the world into a place where no more horror stories happen, where there are no more victims?” Sometimes I conceive of the Dark as a dance partner; it feels more feminine than masculine. I do not try to lead, but rather to follow. Weaving the multiple benefits of darkness into my life (and avoiding its pitfalls) seems to be my main Winter task here at the end of 2006, as 2007 approaches. In the darkness one can rest and be renewed. Spring may come again, with a different set of abundant gifts.”
On a final note, just in time for the holidays Nancy Humphrey Case reports on the history of mistletoe for the Christian Science Monitor.
“In ancient Scandinavia, people believed that mistletoe had special powers. They thought it would keep witches away, heal diseases, make peace between enemies, and ensure that a bride and groom would have plenty of children. The druids, ancient Celtic priests, also prized mistletoe. In a yearly ceremony on the first day of winter, a druid priest climbed high in an oak tree to cut mistletoe with a golden knife, while the other priests sang and danced around the tree.”
Something to ponder next time your standing under a sprig! That is all I have for now, have a good day.