Archives For Festival

[The following is a guest post from Erick DuPree. Erick DuPree is author of the popular blog Alone In Her Presence, and the book Alone In Her Presence: Meditations on the Goddess, as well as co-founder of Dharma Pagan, an online resource for dharma practitioners. He lives in Philadelphia, PA.]

They came by the blazing fire, circling and singing, invoking the Goddesses and Gods of old. There was dancing, merriment, deep reflection; even a few tears, all from the men of Coph Nia.

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Coph Nia is a mystical gathering of gay and bisexual men organized and sponsored by the Ordo Aeternus Vovin, a Thelemic, ceremonial magickal order for gay and bisexual men that was held August 6-10.

Founder of the event, Julian Hill explains,

“The organizers of Coph Nia started the festival with a simple vision based upon a verse from Crowley’s Book of the Law — “Every Man and Every Woman is a Star”.  Many of us had come out into a queer community that was far more united, compassionate, loving and respectful than what is typically experienced in today’s queer community.  We knew that if there was to be any hope of reclaiming a queer community that nurtured and supported one another, the process must start with those that feel a connection to spirit.  This year’s event definitely gives us hope that not only are there other spiritually minded men who feel as we do, but that they will be the vanguards for a new type of queer community that focuses on building each other up rather than tearing us down.” 

Open to long-time practitioners and new seekers, the event started with lighting an eternal fire at the drum circle, which burned the entire event. Here stories were told with master storyteller, Quill, dynamic drumming with Ben, as men raised voices in chant and song. With registration the festival includes a commemorative t-shirt, glow bracelet, and artfully designed program guide with poems and inspirational writing.

I had the pleasure of being invited as a featured presenter along with my colleagues Mel Mystery and Steve Kenson. Of the event, Steve offered this reflection:

“The element that rises most prominently for me at this moment is the connection we mentioned so often over the course of the gathering: the common threads that run between us, the experiences both shared and created, the back-and-forth and swirling dances of conversation, movement, thought, and interaction, the simple expressions of love and affection, and those unexpected moments of deep connection, where your soul says “Oh, there you are – I’ve been looking for you.”

The theme for Coph Nia: 2014 was Periculum, and focused on the risks or dangers of initiation. Each of the featured presenters, as well as the OAV presented workshops and rituals that explored initiation and/or enlightenment, empowering participants to bring their own risks and rewards and the process of conquering one’s fears.

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Mel Mystery and the men of Coph Nia explored the power creating Rites of Passage in three information packed workshops. Steve Kenson brought workshops on the intersection of magic and gaming, creating sustainable communities in the Aquarian Age, as well as his very popular Fires of the Queer Spirit. It was here that we saw some of the deepest and most heart opening sharing between men. For my part, I offered workshops in Tantric intuition and breathwork, as well as an exploration of Men in Goddess Community. From that workshop, the men of Coph Nia have developed a reflection for inclusion in the forthcoming anthology, Finding the Masculine in Goddess’ Spiral; Men in Ritual, Service and Community to the Goddess, being published by Immanion Press.

Travis offered this reflection on his experience.

“There was such a deep sense of inner connectedness which allowed my spirit to see beyond the veil of the mundane, that this is where I belong.”

10517544_10203235580664495_3779651843741708883_nRituals were offered nightly. Glen Velez opened the first night with a beautiful midnight Hekate ritual aspecting the Queen of Magick and serving as oracle. Supporting the theme of Periculum, OAV dedicants offered Tempting the Da’ath as a gateway into ecstatic practices in ritual with participants scrying, aspecting, and delving deep into mysteries, and Stealing the Me, a journey as Innana through her myths. The opening ritual invited the God Gugalanna who stayed present throughout the event. Gugalanna was also the focus of the main ritual, which breathtakingly invited participants to witness High Ceremonial Magick in true splendor. With drums and chanting, men came together united under Julian’s stellar priesting.

Of the ritual experience Monte shares, “The main ritual held on Saturday night is extremely powerful for those who have witnessed it at prior Coph Nia’s as well as equally powerful for those viewing it for the first time.  Even though we all experience the same happenings, each individual’s experience is unique and that is what makes it difficult to put into words.  What I experience will be completely different from what anyone else experiences.  However, three generalizations seems to come out of everyone’s mouths…a unique and positive brotherhood, a deep sense of connection, and an overwhelming sense of community.”

Radical Fairy, Eldritch lead a Heart Circle, Monte guided Tantric massage, and Queer Archivist, Rich Wandel reminded us of where we as gay men have been with an eye to the future.  But it was not all workshops and ritual, for we feasted sensuously and danced the night away, sang Queer-oke, and raised money for future Coph Nia festivals with a silent auction. The highlight of the silent auction was a limited edition RuPaul doll, needless to say, the bidding was fierce! (She went home with Glen Velez, naturally!)

From a logistic standpoint, Coph Nia is held at the beautiful 4 Quarters interfaith community in Artemas, PA. Camping with hot showers and flush toilets, 4 Quarters fed us like kings with food, both omnivore and vegetarian that was unbelievably delicious. The land was spacious, magical, and truly other worldly at times. Many rounded out the event activities with swimming at Hemlock Hole and nature walks.

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Each night brought us closer in community. One beat and one breath, culminating in a concert with enchanting harpist, Gaffer That Harp Guy, his songs and harp a serenade to Goddess herself.  “I feel like I found my tribe. I felt such resonance with the group.” said Mel Mystery.

“The experience of Coph Nia is more than can just be put into words.  It’s a feeling that comes form the connections you make with the people you meet, the people you reunite with, and/or the people you came with.  The energy created by throwing away the normal cliques and masks we hide behind creates an experience that provides a true sense of brotherhood.” said Monte. In the safety and love of brotherhood, the men of Coph Nia discovered that love is always stronger than fear. Love after all is still the law, unwavering.  Coph Nia was everything it advertised to be and more. “The common threads, stories and shared experiences of Coph Nia 2014 reminded each of us just how much we are alike.” said Julian Hill.

Coph Nia‘s dates are set for next year, August 5-9th 2015. For more information visit: www.cophnia.org.

“This is a Pagan event” a visiting California-based Pagan exclaimed to me at Faerieworlds this weekend, and she was not wrong. I replied as I have often replied: It’s a Pagan event, but it isn’t a Pagan event, which allows it to become something unique and special. Over the years I’ve been attending and working at the little faerie-themed mythic festival in my hometown of Eugene, Oregon many have tried to sum up what makes this event so special. How it isn’t a transformational festival, or a Pagan festival, or a music festival, or a fantasy festival, but contains elements of all of these. Perhaps like those magical fairy markets depicted so often in literature, it is the undefinable collision of everything that creates the liminal magic.

Fox Firemaker at Faerieworlds.

Fox Firemaker at Faerieworlds.

Though Faerieworlds has traveled to a few homes in its history, I have only known it existing at the foot of Mt. Pisgah, in an area dubbed the Emerald Meadows. Due to NIMBY-motivated political fights that I won’t get into, all large-scale events were forced out, and this past weekend would be the last year Faerieworlds would create its special magic in my “back yard.” Though I knew the festival had found a new home outside Portland for next year, and that Faerieworlds would rise again, I couldn’t help but feel a certain melancholy of an era ending. Here, I had encountered a new community, new friends, new family, and had been blessed with the opportunity of opening the doors to this realm to others.

Raven and Stephanie Grimassi at the Faerieworlds opening ritual.

Raven and Stephanie Grimassi at the Faerieworlds opening ritual.

While Faerieworlds is not an explicitly Pagan event, and is open to all who want to enjoy it, there is so much there for the Pagan soul. The opening spiral dance ritual, the workshops this year by individuals like Raven Grimassi, T. Thorn Coyle, LaSara Firefox, Morpheus Ravenna, S.J. Tucker, and Lupa, the main stage altar, the music of bands like The Wicker Men, Woodland, and Omnia, and much, much, more. All part of a liminal creative explosion of color, sound, and intense creativity.

T. Thorn Coyle and Stephanie Taylor Grimassi

T. Thorn Coyle and Stephanie Taylor Grimassi

I mention the bands and workshop presenters, but really, the spirit of Faerieworlds is how it inspires those who attend it, and how they create an event the goes beyond the easy borders of classification. There are very few passive viewers here, and instead, everyone is a part of the show. A cascade of costumes, wings, horns, fabric, and hide that can make you wonder if you’ve truly stepped through a gateway into another reality. Attending Faerieworlds, and then, being a part of the team the helps make it happen, has changed me, and my expectations of the festival experience. Faerieworlds is the flowering of thousands of souls that feel safe together, and that is powerful magic.

Spiral dance at Faerieworlds.

Spiral dance at Faerieworlds.

I know there are other great festivals out there, but I also know that the energy and excitement built here is unique. So, until next year, when the Realm rises again, please enjoy some photos I’ve taken in my travels through faerie this year. You may also want to read my coverage from years’ past.

A Merry May Day

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  April 30, 2014 — 1 Comment

This time, right around May 1st, are the traditional dates for many of the major Spring/Summer festivals in modern Paganism (in the northern hemisphere). Beltane, Bealtaine, May DayFloraliaProtomayia, and Walpurgis Night, to name just a sampling. These festivals herald the coming of summer, a time of merriment, celebration, and bounty, a liminal time when the barriers between our world and the otherworld were thin. In many traditions and cultures it is a time of divine union and fertility.

Spring flower. Photo by Jason Thomas Pitzl.

Spring flower. Photo by Jason Thomas Pitzl.

“You start in April and cross to the time of May
One has you as it leaves, one as it comes
Since the edges of these months are yours and defer
To you, either of them suits your praises.
The Circus continues and the theatre’s lauded palm,
Let this song, too, join the Circus spectacle.”

- Ovid, Fasti (V.185-190)

Here are some quotes for this holiday season:

“Dancing women in woad, waving antlers to ancient gods of fertility. Children wearing self-woven blossom and wicker May coronets roaming among picnickers. And, of course, the high point of the night – the burning of a specially built, 30ft-high Wicker Man, stuffed with scraps of paper on which we had written our hopes for the coming year. A large crowd, children perched on shoulders, pressed closer into the insistent heat for a better view as leaping flames licked the man’s torso and consumed his legs. And then he shuddered, buckled, and collapsed sideways down into the dark Hampshire earth. The Pagan watchers reveled in the grisly ritual. The Wicker Man is dead; summer is a-coming in. Afterwards, we all trooped home through a wet field, oddly elated.” - Victoria Lambert, The Telegraph

“Another world appeared with the fire, and vanished with it. It was the world of water and air, earth and mountain, sun and stars, clouds and sky, the ancient world which was always there and always had been, and which one never thought about. But fire came, you could see it. And once you had seen it, you couldn’t help seeing it everywhere, in all fireplaces and ovens, in all factories and manufacturing plants, and in all the cars driving around on the roads, parked in garages or outside the houses in the evenings, for the fire burned in them, too. Even the cars were deeply archaic.”Karl Ove Knausgaard, New Statesman

“As English May Day celebrations evolved the idea of a May King and May Queen evolved with it. May Day celebrations eventually became community gatherings, a time for feasting, games, and the like. May Kings and Queens served as “masters of ceremonies” over such events, and are probably not much different than the modern winner of a county fair beauty pageant. Like most of the things being written about here the idea of May Royalty went through various periods of popularity. In the Nineteenth Century the idea rose in popularity once more (though the tradition never ceased in certain areas), and was eventually linked to the ideas of fertility gods as popularized by Frazer. By the early 1930′s interest in May Kings and May Queens began to wane in England, but with the celebration of May Day essentially a pagan tradition linked explicitly to the turn of the seasons it got picked up by Modern Paganism in short order and has been a part of our Beltane celebrations ever since.”Jason Mankey, Patheos.com

Spring flowers. Photo: Jason Thomas Pitzl.

Spring flowers. Photo: Jason Thomas Pitzl.

“It’s Walpurgis Night soon! This is a very special event and a great way to experience local traditions like big bonfires and old folk songs, especially in Sweden. Walpurgis (in Swedish: Valborg) on April 30 is widely celebrated in Scandinavia and is a public holiday in Sweden [...] if you can’t make it to Scandinavia this year, celebrate your own holiday at home by indulging in a few traditional Walpurgis Night / May Day treats. When bonfires light up the night skies across the Scandinavian peninsula, families and friends gather for the season’s first picnics, enjoying dishes like gravlax, herring salad, and fresh strawberries. Finns welcome Spring on May 1st by frying up delicate, bird’s-nest-shaped Fritters (Tippaleivät) and drinking lemony Spring Mead (Sima).”Terri Mapes, About.com

“Beltane is fast upon us – here in Suffolk, the hawthorn is in bloom already, and I have heard the first cuckoo of summer.  The oak leaves are just coming out, and the beech and ash are lagging behind, sluggish after their long sleep.  The garden is abloom, and the forest is filled with bluebells, their soft energy shimmering in the sunlight. It is, indeed, Beltane.”Joanna van der Hoeven, PaganSquare

“Just imagine yourself waking at dawn to gather wildflowers from a meadow, in a basket to be left on a neighbor’s doorstep. At day’s end there would be a ritual of dancing around a maypole made of birch wood and decorated with flowers, then the crowning of the May Queen and the giving of May Baskets filled with flowers or sweet. A great way to celebrate the day this year is by reviving the old May Day custom of May baskets. They are a fun tradition for both children and adults, and a great way to surprise a friend or loved one. They can be inexpensively made, and crafting one with your children is a fun activity.”Laura Boulton, The Darien Times

“The highlight of the celebration is usually the burning of an effigy of the Winter Witch, who has brought cold and fallowness. Once she is gone, it is the time for planting and fertility. The April 30 holiday, exactly six months from All Hallows’ Eve, is called Čarodějnice in Czech and better known in Europe as Walpurgisnacht. The biggest organized celebration in Prague, and one of the biggest in Central Europe, is in Prague 6 at Ladronka. Other smaller celebrations — both official and ad-hoc — can be found in many Prague neighborhood parks, as well as villages across the country. [...] The Czech name Čarodějnice translates directly to “the witches.” Sometimes it is called by the longer name, pálení čarodějnic, or burning of the witches. The more universal name Walpurgis Night or Walpurgisnacht comes from Saint Walpurga, an 8th century English missionary. Her feast day is May 1, and over the years the eve of her feast day got combined with the traditional pre-spring feasts held halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice.”Raymond Johnston, Prague Post

“Regarding Beltaine–our modern (American) Pagan conception of Beltaine as a festival of peace and sex seems to come more from the unfortunate legacies of the 60′s than it does from the folklore.  John O’Donahue referred to Irish customs of burying an egg in the field of a wealthier neighbor (presumably a landlord) on the night before Beltain in order to rot all his year’s crops–that is, economic sabotage, an older equivalent to a general strike, and Walpurigsnacht celebrations on the continent are considerably darker than the neo-Pagan notion of lover’s trysts on bonfire-lit hills. I find myself wondering how much of our collective pastoral conception of Pagan traditions, particularly Beltaine, has affected our relationship to the urban.  Rather than a site of the sacred, has it become a world walled-off from the gods?  It’s undeniable that a few nights spent out in a forest does much for the soul, but such retreats are available only to those with the money for an automobile and the ability to take time off from work–that is, only to certain classes of people.  Is access to the sacred only for those with money?”Rhyd Wildermuth, Patheos.com

May you all be especially blessed during this season, and a very happy Samhain to those of you living in the Southern hemisphere!

“Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.”Rainer Maria Rilke

Today is the vernal (spring) equinox*. It is the astronomical beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Wiccans, Heathens, and various modern Pagans celebrate this day as OstaraLady DayShubun-sai, or simply the spring equinox (autumnal equinox for our Australian friends). Other Spring festivals include Holi, the Hindu festival that took place on March 17th this year, while in ancient Rome, March was packed with agriculture-related and seasonal observances. Several current secular Easter traditions including the Easter Bunny, and dying/decorating eggs are considered remnants of pre-Christian spring celebrations. It is a time for the celebration of the renewal of life.

A manifestation of Spring.

A manifestation of Spring. Photo by Jason Pitzl-Waters.

Here are some quotes from the media, and from community members, on our seasonal celebrations.

“Since the earliest times, the egg has been humanity’s obvious and essential symbol for the significant atmosphere of the vernal season: birth, fertility, growth, eternity. The purely primal power, which comes from the handling of eggs at the equinox, has been a principle influence on many popular spring ritual practices throughout time and across culture. Eggs dyed red as the womb were given as gifts at the spring festivals in ancient Egypt, Persia, Greece and Rome. Greeks still toast each other at the family Easter dinner by tapping hard-boiled red eggs, one person to the next around the table. The egg that survives the clinking go-round uncracked brings luck for the year to the person who holds it.”Donna Hennes, The Huffington Post

“At this time, as blossoms emerge from slumber, as leaves shoot out, birds play, and the earth awakes from a long winter, go out and let the cool breeze blow around you. Dig your toes into the dirt.  Let the sun peeking behind clouds kiss your face with its light. Draw in the moist air with slow, deep breaths.  Hold each breath for a moment and release them with gratitude. Once more, we seek renewal; for the year, the earth, the garden, and for ourselves. May we all take steps toward renewing our bonds with the natural world, its spirit and wonders. May we all grow a little further toward a healthier way of living within nature.”Raven J. Demers, SageWoman Magazine

“The Spring Equinox arrives this year on Thursday, March 20th—not a moment too soon for those of us who have struggled our way through a tougher than usual winter. And while spring on the calendar isn’t always reflected outside our windows, the energy of the season makes this the perfect time to reboot your body, mind, and spirit. The energy of the natural world varies with the seasons, and different times of the year can give our endeavors a boost if we work with that energy instead of against it. We’re just coming out of winter, which tends to be a slow and quiet time, where the land rests and the light is dim. This can make trying to get things done pretty difficult if your to do list doesn’t say: eat, nap, eat, read, go to bed. The spring, however, is an entirely different story. The energy in this season is all about coming up and out of hiding, new beginnings, and growth. It is the perfect time to start new endeavors, or to give yourself something of a personal reboot, if you will.”Deborah Blake, Witches & Pagans Magazine

“Ostara is the dawn of Spring, the entry way to Summer. At the Spring Equinox the Earth stands fresh and renewed. Let us all be like the Earth, let us cast away the darkness of Winter and embrace the wonder of green growing things. May we find delight in that which blooms around us and let us never forget our responsibility to this place we call home. This world is magickal place, may the power of our Lady and the beauty of Nature remind us of that everyday we draw breath.”Jason Mankey, Patheos.com

“It’s hard to notice the extra three minutes of light each day, but every sunset since the dead of winter, I rejoice for the extra time we get to see the sun. Like a half birthday for the seasons, the vernal equinox marks the day that the Earth’s axis is perpendicular to the sun’s light and receives almost equal parts day and night. Also celebrated as the first day of spring, March 20 is a day of celestial balance. [...] Many cultures use the alignment of light on the equinoxes to ritualize a new phase of the year. Located in the center of Chichen Itza, Mexico, El Castillo, a very classic looking Mayan pyramid, displays a large shadowy serpent that can be seen slithering down the steps only on the weeks surrounding the equinoxes. Other celebrations, from the festival of Isis to the Iranian New Year, Nowruz, celebrate this equality of light and dark as they recognize balance among the seasons and new beginnings.”David Broomfield, VailDaily / Eagle Valley Enterprise

“New Orleans Culture also has it’s own St. Joseph’s day customs that have been going on since the influx of Sicilian immigrants in the 1800′s. There are parades, altars, and even lucky fava beans. Altars created are beautiful and complex, featuring flowers, candles, medals, and food, specifically bread. Julie Walker writes in theTimes Picayune about the tradition of stealing a lemon from the altar to get a husband. There is another tradition associated with St. Joseph’s day in the Crescent City, and that is the Mardi Gras Indians. They traditionally “mask,” or come out in costume for the last appearance of the season on Super Sunday, the Sunday closest to St. Joseph’s Day. So enjoy your day, donate what you can, that is said to be key. This is a feast of beggars, it is said to have gained popularity when a great famine was ended by a bounty of fava beans from an unknown source. Happy St. Joseph’s Day!”Lilith Dorsey, Patheos.com

“On the right bank of the river Angi just two kilometers (1.2 miles) from Lake Baikal, the Ekhe Yordo mound rises above. It seems that it couldn’t be a natural formation, although geologists have not found any indication that the plates that make up the mound were brought here by people. After a 100-year break, the Yordyn Games Spring Festival of Indigenous Peoples of Baikal was finally reintroduced. Since then, the festival has been held here every four years. A main event at the games is a circular dance around the Ekhe-Yordo (Big Hill) that is a kind of marathon taking several days to complete. It takes 700 people to completely encircle the hill, and the festival has 2,000 to 3,000 visitors. The games take place over several days, and the sacred dance around the great hill continues day and night. During the festival, dancers wear out several pairs of shoes. During the festival only shamans are allowed to climb to the top of the hill.”Dmitry Sevastianov, RBTH

“I feel like an actor ready to step onto the stage.  What is that wonderful speech from Henry V? ‘I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, straining upon the start. The game’s afoot! Follow your spirit…’ That is how the Equinox feels to me–as though I am leaning forward, into this rich and work-filled time. I am eager to leave the winter behind me and to get out into the world of soil and manure and food so fresh it is beyond compare. There is sweat in this season, and joy, and companions in the fields. For a few moments, I live in Hardy country–a land of magic and terror, of hares and ancient tended earth.”Byron Ballard, My Village Witch

May you all enjoy a fruitful and blessed spring!

* Technically speaking, the 2014 March Equinox happens at March 20th 16:57 UT. Check your time zone for exact calculations.

Today is the festival of Lupercalia, the ancient Roman observance of fertility and the coming spring. Not to be confused with a certain commercialized martyr’s celebration held yesterday, Lupercalia is a holiday sacred to the god Faunus, and the mythical she-wolf who reared Romulus and Remus the semi-mythical founders of Rome. It was considered an important holiday of religious observance and purification.

“Lupercalia ” by Domenico Beccafumi

“Lupercalia ” by Domenico Beccafumi

There are many lurid accounts of what goes on during Lupercalia, some make it seem like an excuse for copulation and frivolity. One of the best descriptions I have found on the web comes from W. J. Kowalski’s excellent Roman Calendar page.

“The rites of this day included the sacrifice of a goat or a dog at the cave-grotto known as the Lupercal. With the sacrificial blood wiped across their foreheads, the youth partaking in this ceremony would then run the circumference of the Palatine hill, perhaps about 5K, tracing the traditional route of the city boundary traced by Romulus the day he founded Rome. In the process, girls who approached the runners would be brushed or splattered with the februa, thongs of sacrificial goatskin, presumably bloody, symbolically blessing them with fertility. Red is the color of the day as it is with Valentine’s Day, the day invented to replace the Lupercalia. Fertility and sexuality were likewise replaced with the puritanical pipedream of sexless Love.”

Most (non-Pagan) people wouldn’t even know about Lupercalia if it were not for the constant stream of Valentine’s Day articles in the press. The favorite trend amongst news-writers and editorial columnists seems to be talking about the ancient pagan influences of a particular holiday. While this has increased awareness of Lupercalia, P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, a modern expert on the festival and its celebration, is quick to point out the two holidays actually have little in common.

“The fertility here involved is not necessarily sexual fertility in women, though it was often thought to be such when the origins of the festival were eventually forgotten.  It was fertility represented by the goat skin itself, a fertility of an agricultural and livestock sort.  The young men running the race were symbolically committing themselves to the protection of their communities, thus their race around its boundaries which indicated their area of influence and the “home territory” they were protecting.  The young men who were Luperci underwent a part of the ritual earlier in which the blood from the sacrificed goat and dog were mixed together, dabbed on their foreheads with a knife, and then wiped off subsequently with wool dipped in milk, signifying their transition from a lawless, wild state into a settled and civilized mode of life.  The founders of Rome, the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, were raised by the Lupa (“she-wolf”) in the cave where this ritual took place, and in their lives after this, they were lawless hunter/raider warriors until their eventual foundation of the city.  This ritual commemorates this entire situation.  The success by speed and martial prowess that used to come to Romulus and Remus when they were hunter-warriors in taking anyone and everyone’s livestock–including goats!–while in that phase of their existence becomes the success of those same skills and abilities being put toward the protection of their community in their settled state.  The fertility of the community’s resources, through this protection, is what is being celebrated, not necessarily (nor exclusively) the fertility of humans in reproduction.”

The distinctions between Valentine’s Day and Lupercalia are also touched on by scholar Leonhard Schmitz.

“Modern attempts to relate the Lupercalia to Valentine’s Day because of the mere (approximate) date are at best very suspect. That the two occasionally get equated seems rather to be an indication of late 20c mentality, according to which a lovers’ festival must necessarily derive from the titillations of ancient fertility and flagellation by goats. More to the point, there is not the slightest shred of historical evidence for the connection.”

As for modern celebrations, Ekklesia Antinoou will be holding a public Lupercalia celebration today at PantheaCon in San Jose. A very blessed and fertile Lupercalia to you all!

Happy Imbolc

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  February 1, 2014 — 1 Comment

Tonight and tomorrow is when many modern Pagans celebrate the fire festival of Imbolc sacred to the goddess Brigid, patroness of poets, healers, and smiths. Today is also the feast day of Saint Brigid of Ireland patron saint of poets, dairymaids, blacksmiths, healers, cattle, fugitives, Irish nuns, midwives, and new-born babies.

Brigid: Saint and Goddess.

Brigid: Saint and Goddess.

In Kildare, Ireland’s town square, a perpetual flame is kept lit and housed in a statue that pays homage to the Pagan and Christian conceptions of Brigid. Festivities for La Feile Bride in Kildare started on January 31st and will continue through February 9th.

Here are a collection of quotes on this holiday.

“Highlights of this years festival include workshops in cross weaving for adults and children in the County Library, workshops in circle dance, poetry, painting and organic gardening, talks on the different aspects of Brigid by authors Dolores Whelan, Karen Ward and Kate Fitzpatrick. There will also be a day of healing and a special Eucharist at Faughart on St.Brigid’s Day, open to all, a pilgrimage walk from Dundalk to Faughart Shrine, a walk exploring the sacred sites of Faughart, and a ritual celebration of Brigid and Imbolc.”The Argus/Independent

“The fire of Brigantia was both the fire of fertility with the earth and the fire of the sun, which gradually gained in strength as the days lengthened. The lighting of bonfires or candles was an expression of magical encouragement to the sun, as well as a sign of rejoicing at the more abundant light. Traditionally, Imbolc marked the point after which it would no longer be necessary to carry a candle when going out to do early morning work.”Alexei Kondratiev, The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual

“When I lived in the Midwest Imbolc was often a bitterly cold holiday, and snow was the norm. Instead of despairing over that ice and frost it’s better to think about what those elements mean in the long-term. All of that cold and snow set the table for the beauties of Spring, Summer, and Fall (and sometimes there really is nothing more beautiful than a snowy night). Snow fertilizes the fields and fills our rivers and streams when it melts. For so many places it’s a vital part of the eco-system. Instead of lamenting the reality of the situation, celebrate it! Celebrate the snow, celebrate the cold! Curl up with a hot chocolate and be thankful your heater works.”Jason Mankey, Patheos

“Brigid is a time to honor how the potentialities hidden in the year to come, potentialities that can with skill and wisdom be transformed into what is visible.  If we are uncertain as to what they are (and how can we not be?) we can invoke Her in whatever aspect seems most appropriate, and ask Her to help them manifest in a good way, and as gently as possible.  But if the blows from Her hammer within the forge are mighty ones and Her fires overwhelmingly hot, know it may take such blows and such heat when the material to be shaped into its inner promise is strong and perhaps also recalcitrant.”Gus diZerega

“You might know her from the roses in her hair, the eye sockets in her skull, or the icy Voodoo hand there to hold if you need it. Maybe you don’t even know her name. It’s Brigitte, Maman Brigitte. She is the ancient primal feminine power.In Haitian Vodou she is honored as the first woman buried in every cemetery. Alongside her husband Baron Samedi, she guides and protects all who seek her blessing. Here devotees find wisdom, connection and healing justice. She is very often associated the Catholic St. Brigit and the Celtic goddess Brighid. Consequently her feast is celebrated on February 2, also known as Candlemas or Imbolc. St. Brighid is the patron saint of poets, healers, fugitives, midwives, blacksmiths, Irish nuns, and infants.”Lilith Dorsey, Patheos

Many blessings to you this holiday! See you at the lake of beer!

A Blessed Solstice

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  December 21, 2013 — 4 Comments

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” ― Edith Sitwell

Today (depending on where you live) is the Winter Solstice (unless you live in the Southern Hemisphere, then it’s the Summer Solstice), traditionally thought to be the longest night and shortest day of the year (though not actually).

Winter sky, from the top of Spencer Butte in Eugene, Oregon.

Winter sky, from the top of Spencer Butte in Eugene, Oregon.

This time of year is held sacred by many modern Pagan and Heathen traditions, and has a rich history in ancient pagan religion.

The solstice time was marked as special by pre-historic peoples in both Ireland and England. While there is scant evidence of specific celebrations, it is generally thought that the pagan Celts did mark the solstice time.

Germanic pagans and modern Heathens celebrate Yule at this time. During this holiday the god Freyr was honored. Several traditions we associate with Christmas (eating a ham, hanging holly, mistletoe) come from Yule.

The ancient pagan Romans celebrated Saturnalia which typically ran from December 17th through the 23rd. The festival honored the god Saturn and featured lavish parties and role-reversals. From Saturnalia we can see the traditions of exchanging gifts and decorating evergreen trees indoors that would be adopted as Christmas traditions. Following Saturnalia were the birth celebrations in honor of Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun) and Mithras both held on December 25th.

Many modern Pagans, including Wiccans, Witches, several Druidic traditions, and their many off-shoots hold this time as one of the eight Sabbats/holy days. Usually called Winter Solstice or Yule. It is a time when many of these traditions celebrate the re-birth of the god by the mother goddess.

Here are some quotes on our winter observances.

“The nights grow long but the the Winter sun – sharp angles – is still bright upon our faces. Do not forget this. We all walk into the labyrinth of darkness. We all return, born anew, in light. This happens moment to moment. Sometimes year by year. The Divine Twins stalk us, live within our skin, caress our minds, open our hearts. We are the dance of night and day, of frost and sunlight. We are the priestess, mediating every cusp and each turn. Do not forget this. The nights grow long and the Cosmos holds you in her arms. We are all the pregnancy of Night. We are all the possibility of Day. Do not forget this.”T. Thorn Coyle

“Darkness comes early as Solstice draws near. Lights are lit in windows, on trees, inside houses and along streets. We seek their comfort and warmth during these short days and long nights. The last month of the calendar is here and we eagerly anticipate the rebirth of a new annual cycle. We make merry during this time and yet, there is also an opportunity to acknowledge and honor the darkness: the darkness outside and the darkness within. Love, bliss and joy. Fear, anger and rage. All of these are part of being human. Positive and negative make a whole. Without our darkness, we are incomplete. “I must also have a dark side if I am to be whole,” Carl Jung wrote.”Lisa Levart, The Huffington Post

“We should all pause in appreciation of the sun’s warmth and spark of life each Solstice. Our ancient ancestors recognized this and lit bonfires to light a path and show the sun the way back north. Our next growing season and food stock depended on the return of our sun, just as our neighbors in the Southern Hemisphere depend on it bending their way. Their Winter Solstice is our Summer Solstice and vice-versa. This ancient dance of yin and yang between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere has been going on since time began. It’s a dance we can’t afford to have stopped. Old stonehenges in England and Salem, New Hampshire, among others sprinkled throughout the globe, track the celestial dance. On these sites ceremonies were held and rituals were preformed to ensure our sun stayed on track.”Joan Rusek, Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Through the ages, the fabled festival in honor of Saturnus had acquired various customs and traditions, many of which were adopted by the early Christians and persist to the current day. Our customary use in December of red and green, representing perennial foliage and berries, dates back to the Roman Saturnalia. During the festival, the Romans decorated their homes with evergreen wreaths, called serta, bearing red berries. The exchange of gifts, the singing of songs, and the dedication of specific foods at meals, all characterized the holidays. According to Macrobius, the celebration of the Saturnalia was extended with the Sigallaria, so named for the small earthenware figurines which were sold in Roman shops and given as gifts to children. The Temple of Saturnus, thought by many to be the oldest Roman temple recorded by the pontiffs, had been dedicated on the Saturnalia. After sacrifice in the Temple of Saturnus, the celebrants would enjoy a public banquet, then go out to the streets shouting the holiday greeting “IO Saturnalia!” for all to hear. The Saturnalia was an occasion for celebration, visits to friends, and the presentation of gifts, particularly cerei, wax candles, and sigillaria, clay dolls.”Mary Brown, Mainline Media News

“Icelandic children get to enjoy the favors on not one but 13 Father Christmases. Called the Yule Lads, these merry but mischievous fellows take turns visiting kids on the 13 nights leading up to Christmas. On each of those nights, children place one of their shoes on the windowsill. For good boys and girls, the Yule Lad will leave candy. If not, the Yule Lads are not subtle in expressing their disapproval: they fill the shoe with rotting potatoes. Don’t think well-behaved Icelandic kids have a sweet deal all around, however. They may enjoy 13 Santa Claus-like visits, but they also have to contend with a creature called Grýla who comes down from the mountains on Christmas and boils naughty children alive, and a giant, blood-thirsty black kitty called the Christmas Cat that prowls around the country on Christmas Eve and eats anyone who’s not wearing at least one new piece of clothing.”Rachel Nuwer, Smithsonian Magazine.

“Winter Solstice is a perfect excuse to wind down for the year. It is happily emphasized since I am on Winter Break for school– hibernating more and going out less. For the last seven years and counting, I have held some sort of Winter Solstice gathering for friends and sometimes family. I have hosted sit-down traditional dinners and the more informal drinks and appetizers only fiesta. We have mulled spiced-wine together, played an old parlor game entitled, “The Minister’s Cat,” and lit candles. One of my favorite theme ideas was putting a spotlight on the sun: I served spicy Indian food for snacks and the soundtrack featured all songs mentioning the sun. There are a seemingly endless supply of these to choose from.”Colleen DuVall, Witches & Pagans Magazine

“Though officially one of the “lesser sabbats,” Yule rituals have always had a special hold on me. There’s something special about the rebirth of the Lord of the Sun, and to see pagan imagery nearly every where you go this time of year makes it even more so. Of course I enjoy my ritual take on Yule, and I’ve been recycling bits and pieces of that ritual for over ten years now. I don’t write solitary ritual well, but many others do. I enjoyedthis solitary Yule Ritual over on Pagan by Design. I used to shy away from the Oak King/Holly King mythos at Yule, but lately I’ve been finding myself more drawn to it. Enacting an epic battle during ritual presents a whole series of challenges but when it works it’s pretty awesome. Yule was originally (and still is) a Norse holiday, and ADF has a whole page of Norse Yule Rituals worth perusing.”Jason Mankey, Patheos Pagan Channel

No matter what your religion or tradition, may this year’s winter celebrations and observances bring you peace and joy!

A Blessed Samhain

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  October 31, 2013 — 4 Comments

Tonight and tomorrow is when most modern Pagans celebrate Samhain. Samhain is the start of winter and of the new year in the old Celtic calendar. This is a time when the ancestors are honored, divinations for the new year are performed, and festivals are held in honor of the gods. It is a time of final harvest before the long winter ahead. It is perhaps the best-known and most widely celebrated of the modern Pagan holidays.

An ancestor altar.

An ancestor altar.

“[Samhain] marks the beginning of an entire new cycle. With the return of Darkness, the Year itself returns to the Otherworld womb from which it will grow to blossom again. All true growth takes place in darkness: the source of vitality is in the unconscious, before consciousness discovers the limiting forms of rationality.” – Alexei Kondratiev, The Apple Branch

This time of year also sees the celebration of Velu Laiks (“the time of spirits”) by Baltic PagansWinter Nights by Asatru in mid-October, Foundation Night in Ekklesía AntínoouFete Gede by Vodou practitioners, Día de los Muertos for followers of Santeria and several indigenous religions in Mexico and Latin America, Diwali for Hindus (November 3rd this year), and astrological “true” Samhain on November 7th for some Witches and Druids. In addition, Pagans in the Southern Hemisphere are currently celebrating Beltane.

It is a time when some communities acknowledge the Mighty Dead.

“The Mighty Dead are said to be those practitioners of our religion who are on the Other Side now, but who still take great interest in the activities of Witches on this side of the Veil. They have pledged to watch, to help and to teach. It is those Mighty Dead who stand behind us, or with us, in circle so frequently.”

Zan's memorial with Gary Suto (left, with flaming mandala) and parents Kay and Bruce Skidmore (to right of Gary).

Zan Fraser’s memorial.

Many who have been dear to our communities have crossed the veil this past year, joining the ranks of the Mighty Dead, including Layne Redmond, Nevill DruryMestre Didi, Zan Fraser, Allan Lowe, Peggy Hall, Lee Thompson Young, Barbara MertzRituparno Ghosh, Laura Janesdaughter, Victor Elon Anderson, Kyril Oakwind, Dennis Presser, Deena Celeste Buttta, George Lee, and Patricia Monaghan.

“I love that story about Susan Anthony that Zsuzsanna Budapest tells in her book. Some journalist asked Susan Anthony, because she didn’t believe in orthodox religion, I suppose, “Where do you think you’re to go when you die?” She said, “I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to stay around and help the women’s movement.” So even if I don’t live long enough to see these things, I’ll be around to make a nuisance of myself.” –Doreen Valiente, the Mother of Modern Witchcraft.

Below you’ll find an assortment of quotes from the media, and fellow Pagans, during this holiday season.

Joseph Mugnaini’s cover illustration for The Halloween Tree, by Ray Bradbury (1972)

Joseph Mugnaini’s cover illustration for The Halloween Tree, by Ray Bradbury (1972)

  • “It’s appropriate to do a saining of the home with juniper — a New Year tradition in the highlands of Scotland — and to set up altars or shrines for the ancestors. On the night of Oíche Shamhna, many of us hold a feast with our friends and family where we invite the honored dead to come and feast with us. A place of honor is laid at the table or on the altar, where the first food of the feast and cups full of drink are placed for the dead. This portion of the food is never eaten by the living, but is instead offered outside when the feast is done. Candles are often lit for the dead, and their names are spoken. Tales about their lives are shared and toasts might be made in their names. Divination is another common feature of this festival, and readings are often done to get a feel for the luck of the coming year.”The CR FAQ
  • “We’ve been doing the Ancestor Vigil here for about 20 years and every year it is a little different but the intention is always the same. It is not a Samhain ritual, it is not a celebration of Hallowe’en, it does not glom onto the trendy love of Dia de los Muertes. It is a ritual commemoration of the Recent Dead, the Beloved Long Dead and the Mighty Dead. We set up a central altar, a candle-lighting station and a place to get more info on Mother Grove Goddess Temple and to leave your food donations for the food pantry. People are invited to place mementos on the altar and there is a place in the ritual where we speak the names of the dead that are closest to us.”Byron Ballard
  • “We see the Hallowmas Woman in the stark November landscape, with its muted tones of olive, ochre, sienna brown. We find her in a cold statue in a graveyard, garlanded with dead roses, thorns, and blood-red rosehips. We see her in fogbound mornings when there is no distinction between sea, stones, and sky, and the Otherworld is just a step away. She lives within the brief days and long nights that draw us toward withdrawal and cocooning. The Hallowmas woman rests. She withdraws into herself. It is not a time of connection. She prefers her own company, turning down invitations to gather with others. The midwinter holidays will be here soon enough.”Joanna Powell Colbert
  • “In Afro-Caribbean Religions like Voodoo, Vodou, and Lukumi or Santeria the true spirits of Halloween are the ancestors. Festivities run from October 30th to November 2nd. There are delectable dumb supper feasts, elaborate ancestors altars and offerings galore. It’s a time for reconnecting, remembering and honoring all those who have gone before. It is their blood that runs through our veins, they are the primary reason we are here.”Lilith Dorsey
  • “When I think of Samhain I think of the thinning of the veil between the worlds. In my grand model of the Universe – the constantly revised mental map I use to orient myself and make sense of my experiences – the veil is less a thing and more a condition.  It’s possible to travel from this world to the Otherworld at any time.  Drumming, dancing, and ritual can facilitate a meditative journey, as can skilled guides.  But at certain times and places these journeys are easier than at others. Traditionally, in-between times and places are most auspicious:  twilight, seashores, doorways – neither day nor night, neither land nor sea, neither within nor without.  Samhain, which literally means “Summer’s end,” is neither Summer nor Winter.  This is an ideal time to journey to the Otherworld to visit with our ancestors, to gather knowledge and wisdom, and to perform divinations.”John Beckett

May you all have a blessed Samhain, blessings to you, and your beloved dead on this season. Let this new cycle be one of great blessings for all of you.

Happy Autumnal Equinox

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  September 21, 2013 — 2 Comments

September 22nd, 20:44 GMT/UTC, will mark the Autumnal Equinox which signals the beginning of Fall in the northern hemisphere (our friends in the southern hemisphere are celebrating the Spring Equinox). On this day there will be an equal amount of light and darkness, and after this day the nights grow longer and we head towards Winter. In many modern Pagan traditions this is the second of three harvest festivals (the first being Lughnasadh, the third being Samhain).

Setting sun at Spencer Butte, Eugene, Oregon.

Setting sun at Spencer Butte, Eugene, Oregon.

“The 2013 September equinox comes on September 22, at 3:44 p.m. CDT (20:44 UTC). In the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is rising later now, and nightfall comes sooner. This is our autumn equinox, when the days are getting shorter in the Northern Hemisphere. At this equinox, day and night are approximately equal in length. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, people are enjoying the cooler days of autumn even as preparations for winter are underway. South of the equator, spring begins.”Deborah Byrd, EarthSky

The holiday is also known as “Harvest Home” or “Mabon” by Wiccans and Witches, “Mid-Harvest”, “Foghar”, and “Alban Elfed” by some Druidic and Celtic-oriented Pagan groups, and “Winter Finding” by modern-day Asatru. Most modern Pagans simply call it the Autumn Equinox. Here are some media quotes and excerpts from modern Pagans on the holiday.

“I thought about how my brother died on the Equinox, on that day when light and dark exist equally. How they only really exist because of each other. Without death, the little and big moments of our lives, our loves, wouldn’t mean as much. And slowly, like drips of honey, this became my after. This life where we ache and love and die. This life where if we dive deep, we might come out the other side, dripping with light.”Lynn Shattuck, The Huffington Post

“As Ostara is balance tipping into growth, Mabon is balance tipping into decline.  Those of us in the temperate zones are fortunate that our climate is roughly in keeping with the symbolism of the Wheel.  Even here on the mild California coast hints of fall color are becoming visible even as the harvest is in full swing.  Some of the best peaches I have tasted in a long time are finally emerging at the end of our unusually cool summer.  But among the wild plants seed heads are formed or forming, preparing for the changes to come. But I do not really see much in the way of actual decline yet. The Sabbats of balance, Mabon and Ostara, do not usually get as much attention as the great cross quarter ones, or the equinoxes, but at the deepest level I think they teach one of the most profound Pagan insights: that the good life is lived in balance.”Gus diZerega, The Meaning of Mabon

“In the rhythm of the year, Harvest Home marks a time of rest after hard work. The crops are gathered in, and winter is still a month and a half away! Although the nights are getting cooler, the days are still warm, and there is something magical in the sunlight, for it seems silvery and indirect. As we pursue our gentle hobbies of making corn dollies (those tiny vegetation spirits) and wheat weaving, our attention is suddenly arrested by the sound of baying from the skies (the “Hounds of Annwn” passing?), as lines of geese cut silhouettes across a harvest moon. And we move closer to the hearth, the longer evening hours giving us time to catch up on our reading, munching on popcorn balls and caramel apples and sipping home-brewed mead or ale. What a wonderful time Harvest Home is! And how lucky we are to live in a part of the country where the season’s changes are so dramatic and majestic!”Mike Nichols, The Witches’ Sabbats

“Although the specific date of the Autumn Equinox was not marked by any ritual in Celtic tradition, there is evidence that, at some point roughly halfway between Lughnasadh and Samhain, communities would involved themselves with a ceremony that reflected the processes then at work in the Year. This was usually a conclusion to ritual themes invoked at Lughnasadh, and focused on the end of the main harvest activities (i.e., the grain harvest), although it did not imply the end of the entire Harvest season, which continued until Samhain.”Alexei Kondratiev, The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual

“With the feast of Mabon, the fall Equinox, we acknowledge the balance of light and dark, life and death, growth and rot. We honor all those things that enable our world to grow and restore itself. On this holy tide, we hail the hunter and the hunted, the predator and the prey, the plough and the scythe, the blessings of growth and of decay. We honor our resources, and the frugality and careful planning of every ancestor whose careful household management got their families safely through the cold constraints of winter. Mabon is a time of remembrance and of culling away, of honoring what we have, what we need, but also what we can provide to others. It is a time to look clearly at where we are weak in spirit, where we are strong, and where we stand somewhere in between, a time to take stock of our portion of gratitude and blessings for the coming season.”Galina Krasskova, Witches & Pagans

“Autumn Equinox (also known as Mabon or Harvest Home) is celebrated when day and night are of equal duration before the descent into increasing darkness and is the final festival of the season of harvest. In nature, the activity of the summer months slows down to the hibernation for the winter. For many Pagans, now is time to reflect on the past season. It is also a time to recognise that the balance of the year has changed, the wheel has turned and summer is now over.”Merlin, The Stonehenge News Blog

“When you give thanks for the bounty of the Earth, you are maintaining your connection to Spirit in a most elemental way. Without good water, good earth, good air, and healthy bees, there would be no crops to celebrate. Indeed, without these things there would be no people to create such a celebration. By honoring Mother Earth seasonally, we recognize not only our spirituality but also our place in the greater scheme of things.”Kate Braun, The Rag Blog

May you all enjoy the fruits of your harvest this season.

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

1892 Lithograph depicting a somewhat exaggerated presentation of the Salem Witch Trials.

1892 Lithograph depicting a somewhat exaggerated presentation of the Salem Witch Trials.

Image of Ann Tuitt and Cornelius Jarvis. Part of a larger photograph of people serving prison sentences for obeah in the Antigua prison, 1905. TNA CO 152/287. Courtesy of The National Archives, UK

Image of Ann Tuitt and Cornelius Jarvis. Part of a larger photograph of people serving prison sentences for obeah in the Antigua prison, 1905. TNA CO 152/287. Courtesy of The National Archives, UK

  • The BBC reports on the abolishment of punishments for the practice of Obeah in Jamaica, and whether this development will lead to a resurgence of the practice. Quote: “Until recently, the practice of Obeah was punishable by flogging or imprisonment, among other penalties. The government recently abolished such colonial-era punishments, prompting calls for a decriminalisation of Obeah to follow. But Jamaica is a highly religious country. Christianity dominates nearly every aspect of life; and it is practiced everywhere from small, wooden meeting halls through to mega-churches with congregations that number in the thousands.” More on Obeah’s history, here.
  • Is Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker, a favorite to win a Senate seat for the Democratic Party, a stealth Religious Right candidate? Quote: “Cory Booker is very, very tight with the religious right wing — but he’s also very careful about what he says, since he hopes to run for president one day and cultivates strong LGBT support. The problem is, he hangs with the Dominionists [...] So here’s the question: Does Cory Booker simply cultivate useful relationships with a lot of un-American, unsavory, pro-corporatist, right-wing religious extremists — or is he one of them? I can’t read his mind, but I’ve had enough of giving so-called Democrats the benefit of the doubt on this stuff.” Is this all mere speculation? Talk2Action has some more background. All I know is that the New Apostolic Reformation is bad news, and some deeper questions should be asked of Booker if he’s truly allied with them.
  • Welsh, one of the surviving Celtic languages, is in trouble. Quote: “Only half of 16 to 24-year-olds consider themselves fluent, compared with two-thirds of over 60s, and only a third of the younger generation use Welsh with their friends In the language’s stronghold of Carmarthenshire there were five electoral areas where more than 70% of the people spoke Welsh in 2001, now there are none. The statistics have led to calls to protect the language, and 84 per cent of people indicated that they would welcome the chance to use it more.” The article notes that living next to a “language superpower” makes preservation difficult. Let’s hope things don’t get as bleak as it once did for Cornish
  • Practicing Witchcraft isn’t actually legal grounds to have your children taken away, no matter how much some would wish it to be so. Quote: “‘Nobody was able to articulate specific crimes associated with the ideology,’ wrote one officer. ‘Nobody on scene was able to articulate specific reasons (to remove the daughter) besides the religious views of the (boyfriend). All parties were advised that religion was constitutionally protected.’” 
  • The Pew Forum asked various religious leaders about the morality of life extension, and while they didn’t talk to any Pagans, they do interview Unitarian-Universalist, Hindu, and Buddhist leaders. Quote: “According to Michael Hogue, associate professor of theology at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, a Statement of Conscience on life extension ‘would probably come down [against it].’ Opposition would likely stem from ‘ecological concerns as well as concerns about economic justice,’ he says, referring to the environmental impact of faster population growth and the possibility that only the wealthy would be able to afford life-extension therapies.” Hindus, on the other hand, maybe be OK with life extension. Quote: “According to Arvind Sharma, a professor of comparative religion at McGill University in Montreal who has written about Hinduism and life extension. ‘The normal blessing in Hinduism is ‘Live long.’ So why not live longer?’ he says.” 

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.