Column: Rituals for Grieving Change

Pagan Perspectives

Ritual gives words to the unspeakable and forms to the formless. It brings the non-physical into physical form so we can see it, touch it, feel it, and process it. -Terri Daniel
In our exploration of grief, we have looked at the impact of grief on us as individuals and as communities when loss happens. While there are many types of loss, we have focused in our last two columns on the loss of a person. This is the most common loss we talk about within society, and we often do not see other types of loss with the same level of priority.

Bang a gong: rock music rocks rituals

TWH — Terry Riley, high priest of the Southern Delta Church of Wicca (part of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church), is preparing a Grease ritual for an upcoming new moon. It will be a “special circle” that will have “a double high priest and a double high priestess so we can get both movies in,” Riley says with a chuckle. “We’re planning on using ‘Greased Lightnin’ ’ to raise the cone of power.”

Movies? “Greased Lightnin’,” that John Travolta song? Grease the movie musical and not Greece the birthplace of Aphrodite, Persephone, Hekate and all those classical goddesses and gods?

Column: Pagan Mistakes

Angus McMahan is a gregarious solitary who can usually be found playing strange drums strangely at various rituals. He is a tarot reader, lego sculptor, cross-country marcher, crop circle inspiration, breathtakingly slow tri-athlete and, time permitting, a writer. Find more info about him here.  If you like guest writers like McMahan, consider donating to TWH. Every month, we feature new writers with various backgrounds and traditions, who share their perspectives and add their insights to the larger conversation in the community. If you like this feature, consider making a small monthly donation or make a one-time donation toward this vital global community venture. It is your help and your support that keeps daily and dependable news coming to your doorstep each day from wherever its origin.]

And no, we’re not talking about the bundles of joy that arrive every year at Imbolc because of throwing caution to the wind during the previous Beltane.

Column: Ásatrú Ritual and Climate Change Ethics, Part One

The Ásatrú religion can offer new perspectives on climate change ethics via examination of the modern practice of historically grounded ritual known as blót – a rite that foregrounds reciprocity with the earth, inherent value in the natural world, transtemporal human relationships, global connectedness, and the consequences of human action. In addition to discussing Ásatrú textual sources and examples of ritual, this column offers a new ethical model for responding to issues of climate change. Ásatrú is a religion with a life that already relates to reality in a way that addresses major issues raised by climate change ethicists. Practitioners are both certain and competent in a life-practice that directly engages relationships within the transtemporal human community and with the wider world. Through study of lore and celebration of ritual, the practice of Ásatrú reinforces understanding of reciprocal relationships with the natural world, inherent value of living things, connections to past and future peoples, interrelatedness of all human actors, and consequences of human actions.

Multiple reports of ritualistic torture in New England leave Voodoo practitioners cringing

MASSACHUSETTS –Two apparently unrelated cases of child torture and murder in this state have been attributed to Voodoo by the perpetrators, which has led to precisely the sort of negative attention in the media that practitioners of African traditional religions seek to avoid. The word “voodoo” is often used in the mainstream to refer to spiritual practices of the African diaspora that emerged in the Caribbean, and have strong elements of animism and magic use. The practices are also sometimes syncretized with Christianity. That six-letter spelling is mostly associated with Louisiana or New Orleans Voodoo, while practitioners of the Haitian variant prefer to spell it “Vodou” instead. Regardless of the spelling, it is a tradition that has been sensationalized in film and on television for close to a century, which leads many adherents to avoid interviews about their practices even if it’s for a positive reason.