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A Pagan's Blog

A Pagan's Blog

Pagan Spirituality Archives

Earth Day and the Sacredness of the Earth

posted by Gus diZerega

I think Earth Day is a particularly important moment for contemplation and commitment by us Pagans.  Often American Christian critics accuse us of “pantheism,” and in a important respect they are right.  We do find the sacred, most of us, […]

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The controversy over Pink Slime – and what it means.

posted by Gus diZerega

The controversy over pink slime is helping educate Americans to the fact that corporations are as beneficial to agriculture as they are to politics. Tom Laskawy put it pithily: “What pink slime represents is an open admission by the food […]

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Bees, pesticides, and environmental ethics

posted by Gus diZerega

For me, all our interactions with nature have an ethical component. None are purely with a insensate object to be used simply as a tool.  For example, I buy organic not because it tastes better – although it can – […]

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“Unparalleled” ancient Pagan sanctuary found in Norway

posted by Gus diZerega

Very cool.  The article say a lot and gives links.

PantheaCon 2012: Politics and the controversy over women’s rituals

posted by Gus diZerega

Thought on the Pantheacon controversy I imagine there are few Pagans who have spent more time studying, thinking, and writing about politics in all its various forms than I, and for those of you who have, you have my sympathies. […]

The heart is stronger than the mind: tales of personal and political transformation

posted by Gus diZerega

A Facebook friend just posted the following very interesting and courageous speech  by Maureen Walsh, a Republican legislator who voted in favor of Washington’s new law allowing gay marriages.  Her speech is eloquent, heart felt, wise, and courageous. Everything that […]

The case against “Pagan Clergy” 4.0

posted by Gus diZerega

There has been considerable discussion within our community for many years about whether or not we should have a “Pagan clergy.”  I think this is a very positive development because it gets us thinking positively about who we are as […]

Where to in 2010?

posted by Gus diZerega

I have not been doing much political posting for many months, ever since I finally gave up hope that the Democrats, with a few exceptions, amounted to anything  more than a somewhat more humane version of the moral filth that […]

Delving into the meaning of Brigid

posted by Gus diZerega

In 2010 I wrote in this blog “Imbolc is one of the less intensely celebrated Sabbats, I think because it has fewer real world connections in our lives.  In most places the coming Spring Equinox, Ostara, is well suited to […]

Secret Circles Hidden Prayers

posted by Gus diZerega

Secret Circles Hidden Prayers is a new video about Pagan families which, surprise! are very much like other families, only hesitant to be know for who they are.  I once lost a job over my religion.  It was bad, and […]

Monotheism and Monism

posted by Gus diZerega

Over at Patheos I have just posted a column on whether it is possible to coherently think of a monotheistic God as an individual.  Not surprisingly given that I am a polytheist, I argue it is not.

Pandora turns out to be a better description of forest life than most anyone thought

posted by Gus diZerega

Suzanne Simard of the Dept. of Forest Sciences at the University of British Columbia has a delightful short video reporting that multi-species forests are connected in complex communicative networks with “mother trees” serving as the nodes in these networks. Her […]

Today is a day for Xango

posted by Gus diZerega

I was delighted to discover a long discussion of the African Orixa Xango (in Spanish, Shango or Chango) in Daily Kos, and want to pass it on. Years ago when I first encountered the African Diasporic traditions I was identified as […]

The important Spiritual dimension to “Occupy Wall Street”

posted by Gus diZerega

How does the current worldwide focus on bringing the ultra-wealthy banksters and corporations under more effective control relate to traditional spiritual concerns, particularly Pagan ones? Quite directly, actually.

Pagans and the more-than-human world

posted by Gus diZerega

Today I read two thought provoking pieces that cross traditional divides while addressing key issues in environmental thought. In both cases I think a Pagan sensibility brings new and valuable insights to the table.

Pagan Circles and Abrahamic Lines in “The Wolf at Twilight”

posted by Gus diZerega

I was started along this line of thought while reading Kent Nerburn’s powerful, moving, painful and hauntingly beautiful The Wolf at Twilight: An Indian Elder’s Journey through a Land of Ghosts and Shadows. There are many levels to this book, […]

The meaning of Mabon

posted by Gus diZerega

The Fall Equinox is upon us.  It is giving us all an opportunity to focus on the question of balance, and I hope also on what Pagan religions generally offer the modern world that the dominant Western and Eastern faiths […]

Thinking about what the Yukon taught me

posted by Gus diZerega

One of the most unexpected aspects of my Yukon adventure was the very different ‘feel’ of country where humanity’s technological imprint is an unpaved road with no dwellings or other roads for over 100 miles – and for many hundreds […]

A Pagan lesson for an evangelical

posted by Gus diZerega

I was having a coffee and some fascinating discussions about the implications of thought forms with a retired physicist friend  at Starbucks today, Saturday.  As we began to wind our conversation down a young man sitting nearby indicated he enjoyed […]

Shamanism and Paganism

posted by Gus diZerega

One of the most interesting aspects of Paganism for me is that it stretches back to the very beginnings of human spirituality, so far as we can tell.  The Axial religions of monotheism, Buddhism, and Hinduism connected to sacred texts […]

Ethics of the Universal Potlatch

posted by Gus diZerega

My first Patheos post has been put up.   Again, Patheos will have little essays addressing the various implications of Pagan spirituality but I hope no purely political analysis. But as readers will see, I intend that many will have […]

Atheists again

posted by Gus diZerega

Atheists have been popping up and in some cases rudely intruding of late, most recently on Facebook.  Last night I “unfriended” someone on FB because I was tired of putting up with his mix of rudeness, arrogance, and his thinking […]

Summer Solstice meditations

posted by Gus diZerega

Since I pulled way back from writing blog posts on politics, and radically reduced by attention to the day to day activities of the sociopathic crowd who dominates the news, I have found my outlook  improved even if my view […]

Suffering and Evil III: spiritual nastiness and malignancy

posted by Gus diZerega

This is the final and for me most difficult installment of the four little essays I have written exploring the nature of evil and bad things happening in a good world. So if you are a confirmed skeptic you might […]

Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker and Thought Forms

posted by Gus diZerega

UPDATE below As I was writing my promised discussion of spiritual evil I found myself being drawn more and more into an amazing series of incidents that took place during the 1980s. I was a complete newbie in matters Pagan […]

Responding to an atheist’s challenge: Do the Gods exist?

posted by Gus diZerega

Ryan Benson when closing his blog over at Patheos sent a challenge out to his religious readers: “convince me God exists.” Benson is an atheist. Star, who is doing wonderful work for us Pagans at Patheos, suggested Pagans respond, and […]

A magickal working by Thermal

posted by Gus diZerega

Thermal sent me an email including some magick he is working in response to bin Laden’s death.  I pass it on.  I think his message is a wise one.  I am working on a lengthy post on the spiritual dimension […]

Earth Day 2011

posted by Gus diZerega

Today is Earth Day, and For the first time many in modern America decided to honor their home and make a personal commitment to protect it.  Some have kept that commitment. Most of the powers that be, Democratic and Republican, […]

Bolivia adopting “Law of Mother Earth” recognizing Nature as having Her own rights

posted by Gus diZerega

Bolivia is preparing to boldly go where no one has gone before, although Ecuador started the ball rolling.  Asof this writing Ecuador is on the verge of passing a kind of Bill of Rights for Nature, a series of laws called […]

John Perkins: Former Economic Hit Man and Shamanic Advocate spoke in Sonoma

posted by Gus diZerega

Last night I drive to Sonoma to hear John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, and of a number of other books, give a talk sponsored by the Praxis Peace Institute.  The audience was filled with people more […]

Evil and undeserved suffering, Part III: The human dimension

posted by Gus diZerega

If undeserved suffering is not a sign of imperfection in nature, or of an immanent divine being less than good, what are we to make of human misbehavior and malice? Whether at the retail level of people deliberately hurting one […]

Individuality and Coercion

posted by Gus diZerega

I had planned to post a series of essays on how we as Pagans can look at the horrors around us and see that they do not reflect badly on the sacred. However, several of my readers expressed concerns over […]

The importance and need for initiation in America

posted by Gus diZerega

The issue of initiation in modern America was a major theme yesterday in a book group to which I belong.  We had been discussing  Barry Spector’s Madness at the Gates of the City. Spector uses a Jungian polytheistic approach to […]

Why magickal thinking isn’t crazy

posted by Gus diZerega

Cherry Hill Seminary is offering a fascinating course by York Dobyns, a Ph.D. in physics at Princeton as well as a Wiccan since 1992.  The link explains everything briefly, so there is no need for me to duplicate it.  Find […]

Pantheacon 2011: Contrasting Tolerance and Pluralism

posted by Gus diZerega

This isn’t quite the write-up I anticipated doing because I left my notes somewhere or other.  A drag, but maybe a blessing in disguise.  Now I have to search my memory about what impressed me most.  And a great deal […]

Reply to Randi on suffering and life

posted by Gus diZerega

This post repeats my reply to Randi’s comment on my “Abortion, Slavery and Women” post.  It does not deal with abortion because she raised more important issues. With clarifying revisions here and there added at 9:20 PST. More cleaning up […]

Mythos, logos, the Bible, and abortion

posted by Gus diZerega

In her book The Battle for God  Karen Armstrong distinguished between mythos and logos in a way that sheds light on both Pagan spirituality and current irrationality on the part of the religious right. The abortion issue is a good case […]

Indian commentary on right wing ignorance and racism over Tucson prayer

posted by Gus diZerega

With thanks to Makarios for calling my attention to it, here is a response from members of America’s Indian community to the  bigots and worse on the right.

Musings On the Meaning of Brigid or Imbolc.

posted by Gus diZerega

While most of the country is still deep in snow, the days have grown noticeably longer since the depth of Winter’s darkness.  In California along with brighter days the first flowers of the year are already blooming.  In this strange […]

Myth as a way of knowing

posted by Gus diZerega

I have been struggling with better understanding what Karen Armstrong calls mythos in her book The Battle for God, on religious fundamentalism worldwide.  I think it is essential towards developing a deeper appreciation of what Pagan spirituality brings to the spiritual […]

Martin Luther King’s Day and the energy of violence

posted by Gus diZerega

As we observe this day honoring the life of Martin Luther King, jr., two thought come to mind as particularly relevant, and I hope worth sharing.  The first has to do with violence and the second with the intertwining of […]

Alex Mar’s “American Mystic” – a beautiful film

posted by Gus diZerega

Alex Mar has produced American Mystic,  a beautiful and most unusual film, one I hope receives many viewers, for many will be the better off for having seen it. In her film Mar describes the lives of spiritually committed people […]

Happy New Year and the Day of Iemanja

posted by Gus diZerega

I got up this morning and after my injection of caffeine picked up some molasses and corn meal and drove to Portuguese Beach to make my annual offering to Iemanja, Orixa of the ocean.  It was a cold. grey, blustery […]

Sol Invictus

posted by Gus diZerega

This is a beautiful piece someone sent me long ago in a Winter Solstice Card.  I have no idea who wrote it, and would love to know.  I’ve inserted copies myself into Yule cards and used it in Yule rituals, […]

Open Thread for Winter solstice and Yule

posted by Gus diZerega

A reader asked me on Facebook  I’ve decided to do Wiccan rituals until Yule to help foster democracy & openness & send the strongest energies I can to help fight the grotesque negativity (e.g., the Wikileaks situation). To save me […]

Las Vegas- in the realm of Pluto and Mammon

posted by Gus diZerega

Last month, after spending nine days amid the canyons, high mesas, soaring cliffs and natural arches of the Colorado Plateau we descended into Las Vegas.  For our final night my friend had gotten us a room at the Bellagio,   one of […]

People of the Earth Gathering

posted by Gus diZerega

The Saturday before Thanksgiving the United Religions Initiative’s People of the Earth   gathering took place in San Francisco’s Presidio.  This was the third in a series of meetings seeking to build mutual awareness and respect among the practitioners of many […]

A Samhain Script

posted by Gus diZerega

I was asked to show our script for Samhain.  I think it is appropriate as it gives a sense of what many Wiccans do tonight or tomorrow night.  So below the fold I have reproduced our script.

Preparing for Samhain

posted by Gus diZerega

I’ve been busy polishing our ritual script for Samhain (pronounced “Sow-win”), which we will celebrate the 30th.  I hope every other Pagan reader of this blog will have an opportunity to observe and celebrate this time as well.  I think […]

Samhain meditations on the Rodota Trail

posted by Gus diZerega

I took a walk a few days ago out on the Rodota Trail, a lovely foot and bicycle path linking Sebastopol and Santa Rosa.  It goes mostly through a oak savannah filled with big spreading gnarly old oaks.  This time […]

David Abram’s “Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology”

posted by Gus diZerega

Books can be great in several ways.  Some encapsulate the spirit of their time.  Some grow in profundity, as the reader returns to them again and again, marveling at how much the author is saying that had been missed in […]

Theurgicon and Pagan Neoplatonism IV.

posted by Gus diZerega

To my mind the presentations by Tony Mierzwicki, Brandy Williams and Don Frew constituted the meat of the Theurgicon gathering, but two other presentations added additional dimensions.  Diana Young (I was unable to find a link to her – perhaps […]

Theurgicon and Pagan Neoplatonism III.

posted by Gus diZerega

Don Frew  made the third Theurgicon presentation, on “Gardnerian Wica as Theurgic Ascent.”  Frew’s use of the single ‘c’ was deliberate, as the coven from which Gardner learned spelled the word with a single ‘c.’ It also helps remind is that […]

My Talk at the Interfaith Observance at the Presidio

posted by Gus diZerega

I was asked to give a talk this afternoon, October 3, at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio chapel in San Francisco.  This was an annual gathering celebrating its founding, and this year’s topic was “Reclaiming the First Amendment,” a […]

Theurgicon and Pagan Neoplatonism II.

posted by Gus diZerega

Brandy Williams  was Theurgicon’s second presenter.  She focused on the second set of texts most associated with this branch of Neoplatonism, the Chaldean Oracles. They were the final part of the Hermetic tradition to develop, during the 2nd and 3rd centuries […]

Theurgicon and Pagan Neoplatonism I.

posted by Gus diZerega

I took a day off from the chaos of beginning my move when Theurgicon convened in Berkeley Saturday, August 21.  The disruption of the move plus the wanting to do justice to the richness of the presentations has kept me from […]

Modern Paganism, Tradition, Secrecy and the Net

posted by Gus diZerega

Don Frew has just sent me another contribution to this blog.  I am happy about this for two reasons.  First is that Don is one of the most knowledgeable people I know about the Craft and its history.  I have […]

David Abram’s New Book – Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology

posted by Gus diZerega

I have begun reading a wonderful book, David Abram’s Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology. No book I have ever encountered does as good a job of describing what it is like to be fully aware of our immersion in the […]

Pagans, Christians, and Muslims Together – Oh My!

posted by Gus diZerega

The current uproar over mosques and American Muslims is reminding me of my first serious encounter with a religion towards which I had considerable hostility: Christianity. And how I finally overcame it while remaining 100% Pagan.

Theurgy and Drawing Down the Moon: Theurgicon 2010

posted by Gus diZerega

Theurgy is the late Classical Neoplatonic practice whose closest modern equivalent is Drawing Down the Moon.  In both cases the practitioner achieves temporary unity with a deity, and is to some degree transformed in the process.  These similarities, along with […]

Wicca 101: From Class to Coven

posted by Gus diZerega

Not quite a year ago I decided to offer a Wicca 101 class  here in Sonoma County.  Its focus was “generic British Traditional Wicca.”  Not Gardnerian or any other particular British tradition, but one in harmony with their basic approaches. […]

Lammas Musings

posted by Gus diZerega

Lammas, or Lughnasad, is fast approaching.  As long as I have been Pagan I have had a special fondness for this Sabbat.  For me it speaks to the essential mystery of life more eloquently than the others.  On the one […]

Saviour

posted by Gus diZerega

This elegy and poem about what has happened in the Gulf was contributed by Thermal, a local member of the Northern California Pagan community whom some of you might remember from his past comments. It speaks for itself.

The Myth of Monotheism

posted by Gus diZerega

My essay The Myth of Monotheism has just been published on Witchvox. It’s longer than what I write here, and in its Witchvox form has no documentation because I was too inept at uploading the manuscript. But the documentation exists. […]

Encountering Deities and Spirits: first post

posted by Gus diZerega

Our discussion of Pagan atheism prompted me to write something on Paganism’s theistic side.  Speaking for myself, no argument convinced me to follow a Pagan path, it was concrete experiences that did: encounters with a Pagan deity.  Not surprisingly, if […]

Pagan Atheism: a second look

posted by Gus diZerega

The apparent paradox of Pagan atheism has prompted me to do a lot more thinking about atheism than I ever have before.  In the process I picked up a copy of the British philosophical journal Philosophy Now,  which had a […]

Litha – Summer Solstice 2010

posted by Gus diZerega

Midsummer, the Summer Solstice is fast approaching those of us in the northern hemisphere. The solstices are probably the most anciently celebrated holidays world-wide.  They fall on the same day everywhere, except for the hemispheric reversal.  And outside the tropics for […]

Initial Speculations On Pagan Atheism

posted by Gus diZerega

Earlier this week I was down visiting Pagan friends in the Bay Area.  Our conversation  ranged over a lot of topics, as it always does.  This time we ended up discussing a discovery that had surprised a close friend when […]

Why We Need to Recognize the Divine Feminine: A Crime Against Decency

posted by Gus diZerega

The Catholic Church has no lock on covering up for sexual depravity.  A fifteen year old girl raped by her church’s deacon and then forced by her pastor to apologize for being raped to her church’s congregation? 

Philip Heselton on Gardner and Spiritualism

posted by Gus diZerega

We recently had a discussion of Gerald Gardner’s involvement with Spiritualism, and it’s possible influence on the Craft.  Robert Mathiesen made some very interesting observations about this issue, and not being an expert on Gardner, I contacted some who were. […]

Jalapeno Peppers and Sacred Texts

posted by Gus diZerega

Do the words we use to describe something powerfully influence what it is we actually experience?  Years ago, when I was first studying German, I was amazed to learn their word for the taste of a hot pepper was ‘scharf.’  […]

Drawing Down the Moon

posted by Gus diZerega

Tonight my Wicca 101 class nears its end, with my first female student experiencing Drawing Down the Moon for the first time.  In subsequent classes other women will have their own opportunity to encounter the Lady.   It’s been most […]

An Insight On Magick Circles

posted by Gus diZerega

I am one of many who have wondered about the traditional directions we initially learn in casting a circle.  The image we are often told to use, but I doubt anyone actually does, is a sphere. Given that a traditional […]

Environmentalism, NeoPaganism and EcoFascism: Here We Go Again

posted by Gus diZerega

I recently have come across some arguments about a supposed “eco-fascist” threat to America.  It is usually paired with claims that Paganism has fascist implications.  Both the secular Left and the classical liberal and religious Right have been making these […]

Beltane 2010 – Why We Celebrate

posted by Gus diZerega

Wiccans along with most other NeoPagans celebrate the sacredness of all natural cycles.  These cycles are particularly clear within regions with four distinct seasons, and I think it is natural that we, whose origins most recently hail from the British […]

Modern Pagans and Indigenous Religion

posted by Gus diZerega

During last year’s Parliament for World Religions a dispute arose over whether Pagans were properly considered indigenous religions.  One person prominent in our community insisted he qualified by virtue of his membership in a “FamTrad,” that is, a family held […]

Wildflowers and a Poem by Robinson Jeffers

posted by Gus diZerega

Today I am headed off to Bear Valley, a place northeast of here famous all around for the beauty of its spring wildflowers.  Here are some photos a person posted on Flickr.   Here’s another set I discovered (scroll down).  Going […]

A Good World and Undeserved Suffering: the Tough Cases

posted by Gus diZerega

This post fulfills a promise I made to discuss the tough examples readers raised in my post on beauty and suffering.  I do it from a Pagan perspective, one emphasizing the sacredness of the world and of the basic processes […]

Spirit, Power and Women

posted by Gus diZerega

Maureen Dowd hits a home run on women, religion, and power today.  The most important single truth we Pagans have to offer the broader spiritual community is our view of women and the feminine.  Dowd explains why – though she […]

A Pagan Perspective On Beauty and Suffering

posted by Gus diZerega

I had an wonderful talk with a friend who was for some time a Buddhist abbot before he decided Buddhism was not his final path, and began exploring other spiritual traditions and practices. Whenever our conversations shifts to these kinds […]

Personal Reflections on the Existence of Chi

posted by Gus diZerega

A couple of days ago I came across two Youtube videos of Qigong masters using chi to perform extraordinary feats.  One, in which I have enormous confidence, is from China,  and was linked to by a man I worked with for […]

Teaching Energy Healing

posted by Gus diZerega

My workshops on Energy Healing at Pantheacon were simultaneously great successes and great frustrations.  I’d done it for several years, the numbers slowly growing.  Then, in 2008, the turnout more than filled a room, leaving me space about the size […]

Universal Polytheism

posted by Gus diZerega

This is a small essay that tries to show how polytheism is universal in all theistic religious traditions.  I pick Christianity to make my case, but I think Islam or Judaism would also ‘work.’ In the process those who wonder […]

On Being a Spiritual Warrior

posted by Gus diZerega

As I meditated this morning I found myself wondering how to keep an open hearted attitude towards the depraved individuals who spend such efforts attacking our religion and making life miserable for other people in general.  

Avatar a Hit With Indigenous People

posted by Gus diZerega

Avatar is a hit with Amazonian indigenous peoples, who were invited by the Pachamama Alliance to a showing translated into Spanish.  They loved it and felt a close connection between themselves and the threats they face and the Na’vi.  There […]

Invocation to Brigid

posted by Gus diZerega

Here is an invocation to Brigid we will be using tonight in my Wicca 101.  It will be my students’ first Sabbat.  I modified it from the wonderful Hail Brigid which is on Youtube.

Imbolc Poem II: A Different Heaven

posted by Gus diZerega

Another that speaks for itself, and more. A Different Heaven Who will remember the truth, behind the way morning glories devour fences and telephone poles, is life hunger and the way it feels to stretch out delicate green tendrils and […]

The Winter King

posted by Gus diZerega

I asked J. L. Stanley, the woman  whose poetry often moves me more than almost any others, to suggest a poems for Imbolc.  She sent me many. I cannot choose among them, for they all bring me to beyond myself. […]

Musing on Imbolc and Brigid

posted by Gus diZerega

Imbolc or Brigit is fast approaching.  My Wicca 101 group will soon learn about candle consecration as we prepare new quarter candles.  This year we’ll do the altar candles as well, for there isn’t much left of them.  

A Voudon Ceremony in New Orleans

posted by Gus diZerega

Pat Robertson’s is receiving well deserved if still insufficient condemnation for saying the Haitian earthquake may be a “blessing in disguise” and is the result of a “pact with the devil” Haitians made long ago to drive out French slave […]

My ‘Wicca 101′ Group Had Our First ‘Real’ Circle Tonight

posted by Gus diZerega

And it felt SO GOOD.  I’m not sure there is much that is better than a good Wiccan circle.  I mean no disrespect to any other spiritual tradition, not at all, but after several years without people to work with […]

Some Thoughts on Spells and Spellcraft

posted by Gus diZerega

Tonight my Wicca 101 class will cover spells and related stuff, so it’s interesting that my “Open Thread” has focused in part on issues of spellcraft.  This is an area where I am pretty cautious of “book learning” myself, but […]

The Day of Iemanja

posted by Gus diZerega

On January 2, millions of Brazilians go to the beach and make offerings to Iemanja, Orixa of the ocean.  The teacher I studied with for six years  did it on New Year’s Day for some reason, and so for almost […]

Real Men, Republicans, and the Sacred Masculine

posted by Gus diZerega

UPDATE below. The strutting masculinity, steely eyed attention to a brutal reality, and courage under fire that the Republicans and culture warriors in general like to project is showing itself as the posturing of craven bullies.  As it has always […]

Avatar and the attack on Pantheism

posted by Gus diZerega

Catholic Ross Douthat is bothered – more than bothered – by Avatar’s pantheism. If one were looking at an attack on Pagan sensibilities, Douthat’s column would be a good place to start.  Beliefnet’s own Rod Dreher of “Crunchy Con” fame […]

Pagans at the Parliament of the Worlds Religions

posted by Gus diZerega

I have been so focused on my own work that I failed to pay any attention to the Pagans presence at the Parliament of the World Religions, held in Melbourne, Australia.  My bad.  One of the best pieces of news from […]

Avatar and the resurgence of Pantheism

posted by Gus diZerega

I had come across so many right wing and Christian attacks on James Cameron’s Avatar that I made up my mind definitely to see it, and to write on it after doing so.  But I haven’t seen it yet.  The […]

Winter Solstice 2009

posted by Gus diZerega

Last night we celebrated the Winter Solstice in Berkeley.  Old friends and newer gathered together to invoke, dance, sing, and burn the boughs of last year’s celebrations in a brilliant conflagration.  I hope the Yule Fire’s enthusiastic flames will prove […]

Open Source Religion?

posted by Gus diZerega

I’ve known Sam Webster for years as one of the brightest most energetic forces in the very broad Pagan community within the San Francisco Bay Area.  But until today I did not know how central he was to something called […]

Reinventing the Sacred by Stuart Kauffman

posted by Gus diZerega

Books exploring the philosophical implications of science by contemporary scientists tend to fall into two categories: those that assert and explore the implications of scientific reductionism and those that explore the implications of quantum physics.  Neither is directly relevant o […]

Polytheism and Monism

posted by Gus diZerega

One of the nicest things about Pagans is that in general we do not get into hot arguments about theology.  What unites our smaller communities are common practices, not common beliefs.  We are little worried if others are not Wiccans […]

Are the Gods in Us?

posted by Gus diZerega

Some interesting comments about my “Drawing Down the Moon” piece in “12 Things…” have prompted me to offer a longer discussion, based mostly on my personal experience. 

Twelve Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Pagans

posted by Gus diZerega

Pagans are among the newest and oldest of religions. The earliest Pagans were among the hunting and gathering peoples at the dawn of history, while today’s NeoPagans arose within the modern world and work within cutting edge businesses and sciences. […]

Of Rocks and Ruins

posted by Gus diZerega

I have just returned from a wonderful road trip to Utah’s canyon and natural arch country in and near Arches National Park  and the Anasazi ruins in and near Mesa Verde National Park.    A wonderful trip it was, though […]

Samhain Thoughts

posted by Gus diZerega

At Samhain we confront that mystery, and honor it.  In contrast to most earlier Pagan traditions, most NeoPagans do not spend much time honoring their ancestors.  Samhain is our most fitting opportunity to do so.  Usually we have pictures on […]

Death and Life

posted by Gus diZerega

Sabbat. Maybe because I was born in early November. Maybe because I have always loved Fall over all other seasons. Even that quiet waiting period I learned to love in upstate New York, between when the leaves have fallen and […]

Men, Masculinity, and Spirit

posted by Gus diZerega

There has been a lot of  good stuff written about the Goddess, Goddesses, and the Divine Feminine,.  The Wiccan Goddess is first among equals in traditional Wiccan circles., and in my view, should be.  Certainly She has been the most […]

Two Die in New Age “Sweat Lodge”

posted by Gus diZerega

UPDATE on sweat lodge sacrilege. The words of a survivor. Among us Pagans, a popular joke is “what is the difference between a New Age and a Pagan workshop?” “Two decimal places.” When I read of the deaths of two […]

Going Native, Part 2.

posted by Gus diZerega

Magick? This brings me to Pitch’s second point, that in many ways really underlies his first.  Wild species are more magickally powerful than tame.  When you have a message from Spirit that your work should focus on native species, as […]

Going Native, Part 1

posted by Gus diZerega

When I posted on Mabon,  I suggested we need to get in better touch with the energies and denizens of the places where we live.  Only then could we really honor the spirits of the earth.  I mentioned salmon, grapes, […]

The Wiccan Rede and the Ten Commandments

posted by Gus diZerega

Last night we discussed the meaning of the Wiccan Rede: An It Harm None, Do as Ye Will.  Its tone and message is very different from much monotheistic teaching, such as the Ten Commandments.     Superficially read the Rede simply says, […]

The First ‘Wicca 101′ Session

posted by Gus diZerega

We had our first Wicca 101 class last night, on Mabon, the Equinox.  Along with the Priestess who is co-teaching, we had five students: two with previous experience, the others without.  A sixth, also a newbie, will join us at […]

Of Sabbats, Wheels, and Place

posted by Gus diZerega

Our Mabon and Samhain discussions have prompted this post.  Wicca’s roots are in northwestern Europe, a land of strong seasons like those in much of the US.  It was easy to integrate the agricultural cycle in the British Isles, and […]

Mabon – The Fall Equinox

posted by Gus diZerega

The Fall Equinox has arrived, and with it the final Wiccan Sabbat celebrating the harvest, the reaping of the riches produced throughout the year.  Like the Spring Equinox, Mabon is a time of balance, but balance with a different flavor.  […]

A Pagan Take on Liberalism, Part I.

posted by Gus diZerega

The political posts that have often filled this blog have led me bit by bit into wondering how a Pagan perspective, taken seriously, changes the way we think about politics and society.  The more I delved into this, the more […]

The Nature of Myth – And More Good Stuff by Robert Bringhurst

posted by Gus diZerega

Pagan cultures have always made use of two sources of knowledge about the world, which Karen Armstrong defined in her book The Battle for God as mythos and logos.  Modern societies, including most modern religion, limits itself to one, logos.  […]

A Pagan Take on Conservatism’s Contribution to Modern Irrationality. Part I.

posted by Gus diZerega

The argument I am making about modernity’s intimate connection to nihilism and irrationality is in many respects a classic conservative argument.  Yet conservatism is as infected with the virus of nihilism as the strains of modernity it perceptively criticizes.  (This […]

Wicca 101 Outline

posted by Gus diZerega

Here is the projected course of instruction for my Wicca 101 class, starting this in September.  Each numbered section will be at least one week long, sometimes longer.  It is biased towards a broadly British Traditionalist approach, and also is […]

Wicca 101

posted by Gus diZerega

Friday a friend and I are getting together to plan our Wicca 101 class this fall.  Some time ago I discussed how Pagans nationally lack teachers who have had experience in what they teach.  I had thought about starting up […]

Grumpy Musings on Lineages

posted by Gus diZerega

I’ve been thinking about what lineages mean and don’t mean in Wicca.  In a world where the Sacred can be approached from almost any direction, what does being Faery or Gardnerian or Alexandrian or Reclaiming mean compared to being self-initiated? […]

Spiritual Pluralism

posted by Gus diZerega

I have long been intrigued by the fact that so many religious traditions have believers who, like me, are a part of that tradition because of powerful personal spiritual encounters.  Mine was a close encounter with a Goddess at a […]

A Lammas Song

posted by Gus diZerega

Our Lammas ritual was the best I have attended in years.  Among its many charms was a song we sang: The Harvest, by Rick Hamouris.  It really captures the spirit of the time for me, and I pass it along.

Wiccans and Opposing Evil

posted by Gus diZerega

David E. Oliver asked whether Wiccans would cast a curse to ” stop someone who is going to committ murder?  Sometimes doing harm is only way to fight evil. Do pagans believe in evil?”  I promised him a thread, and […]

Thoughts About Lammas

posted by Gus diZerega

Lammas, or Lughnasad, has always been one of my favorite Sabbats. It is celebrated from July 31 to August 2, generally, and we are fortunate this year that all the dates are on the weekend. Lammas is the first and […]

Spirits All Around

posted by Gus diZerega

“Ex-Pagan” managed to get a lot of confusions and errors into a short snark in the ancestor thread, but by doing so raised an interesting issue. Ancestors are not Gods in any tradition to my knowledge.  But they are potentially […]

The Ancestors

posted by Gus diZerega

  Caroline Kenner has a guest blog over at Wild Hunt, and has provided a fascinating post on the ancestors .   Kenner raises an issue that I think has been under addressed in our community.

Sexuality and the Sacred

posted by Gus diZerega

Frances Kissling over at Salon has a good discussion of fallacies in the views held by kinder gentler “pro-life” proponents who loudly oppose abortion but support Obama.  They are people who have expanded their moral and spiritual compass to be […]

Paganism and America’s Future, Part III: The Sacredness of Nature

posted by Gus diZerega

This is the last of a three part post where I am trying to suggest how we as a community can contribute the most to our wider society.  Along with the Sacred Feminine and role of women, the other religious […]

Paganism and America’s Future, Part II: The Divine Feminine

posted by Gus diZerega

Beginning in the ’60s there has been a marked change in the way many people view women and the feminine, and this shift quickly influenced American religion.  After a lull, feminism began to regain its moral energy in the 1960s.  […]

Paganism and America’s Future: Part I.

posted by Gus diZerega

New Age Cowboy sparked some additional thoughts through his comments in my previous post, thoughts that I think merit a post all their own.  Or rather a series of three.  This one as foundational, another will follow on the Sacred […]

Pagan Musings on the Modern World and Nature

posted by Gus diZerega

When I read these two articles about how we are emptying our oceans  and exterminating sharks not even on purpose, but as thoughtless “bycatch” while we exterminate other things,  I was led into musing about the kind of world we […]

Thoughts on Forgiveness

posted by Gus diZerega

The forgiveness thread Cheryl started is a wonderful one, and I want to give it special placement.  Forgiveness is a fascinating topic.  I have a remarkable story that offers an inspiring perspective on that issue.

Midsummer: the Summer Solstice

posted by Gus diZerega

This weekend marks Midsummer, the Summer Solstice celebration.  Pagans of many different types will be celebrating Summer Solstice 2009 in small and large groups across our country.  Because we focus on the Sacred as immanent in our world, everything that […]

Spirituality and Empathy

posted by Gus diZerega

We now have quite strong statistical evidence that conservative Republicans are way out of step with the rest of the country with regard to how they see empathy as a virtue.  Daily Kos commissioned two polls, with fascinating findings, here  […]

Who Are We Pagans?

posted by Gus diZerega

Rabbi Brad Hirschfield over at Windows & Doors has a good post from a Jewish perspective on Newt Gingrich’s latest idiocies regarding Pagans. He makes the very astute observation that it seems to me that many of what we might […]

June: Pearls and the Moon

posted by Gus diZerega

Pagans are famous (infamous?) for taking seemingly mundane occurrences and finding something deep and meaningful in them. We can take just about any occasion and turn it into a sacred, festive celebration. Whether it’s an ancient seasonal festival, the feast […]

Impermanence and Divine Nature

posted by Gus diZerega

Hello, this is T. Thorn Coyle, stepping in for Gus today.   One of the things I do in life is act as a spiritual director. Recently, one of my clients was talking about a struggle with the fact that […]

Common Practices vs. Common Beliefs

posted by Gus diZerega

The first open thread is wonderful.  I will try and stay out of these open threads, but occasionally ‘mine’ some themes for my own purposes.  This is one of them. I want to reverse one of the arguments given by […]

To My Readers: My Blog, the “Other Religion,” and Related Matters

posted by Gus diZerega

Meical ab Awen and then some others as well ask a legitimate question over my recent posts dealing with Christianity – why have I recently focused on the crimes and shortcomings of some Christians?  Would I be better off and […]

Atheists, Christians, and Pagans

posted by Gus diZerega

The recent plethora of books by militant atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens is beginning to generate a good deal of return fire from people writing within the Christian tradition, either as sophisticated adherents or writers […]

May Pole Magic

posted by Gus diZerega

Last Saturday we raised a Maypole in drizzling rain on a hill top in Sonoma County.  The day was soggy, still, a  heavy mist turning often to light drizzle putting the dampers on some traditional revelry.  But our setting was […]

ChristoPaganism Reviewed

posted by Gus diZerega

Joyce and River Higgenbotham have written a new book, ChristoPaganism,  that I think will interest any Pagan concerned with the broader boundaries of our community, or any Christian interested in the long-term compatibility of Pagan and Christian spirituality.

Pagan Celebrations of Beltane and May Day

posted by Gus diZerega

Tonight is Beltane, and tomorrow is May Day.  Two good discussions of this time are by Circle Sanctuary and Witchvox.  Beltane and tomorrow is May Day.  Beltane and May Day comprise one of our two most important Sabbats, the other […]

Feeling Energy

posted by Gus diZerega

When I offered my post on seeing ‘energy,’ one reader told me she would like me to write about how to feel it.   This is my answer to her request

Digging Deeper on Starhawk’s Call for Apologies

posted by Gus diZerega

When I was reading Starhawk’s argument  for why the Pope should apologize, for past crimes by the Catholic Church, I was bothered by a key paragraph  that raised other issues.  When I wrote my piece in response  to David Gibson’s […]

Thoughts on Power and Spirit

posted by Gus diZerega

Trying to integrate spirituality and politics as this blog attempts gets frustrating.  Real frustrating.  Politics is a little context compared to spirit, but it can so easily come to dominate our attention. It’s sort of like when I hit my […]

War on Drugs Leads to Religious Persecution

posted by Gus diZerega

Hecate reports on how the war on drugs in Mexico has spilled over into indiscriminate attacks on shrines to Santa Muerte “Saint Death,” whose shrines are popular among those who live in violent neighborhoods, including some drug dealers.  Because of […]

On Spiritual Experience

posted by Gus diZerega

When I blogged on Rowan’s suggestion, I was not sure what would happen.  I am delighted.  I’ve learned a lot.  (Thanks, Rowan!)   I was struck in particular with one comment made in a response to my last post, a […]

Thoughts on Mythos and Logos

posted by Gus diZerega

Referring back to an earlier post, some people have suggested that Pagan ‘theology’ was through myths.  In a sense this is true, but in a sense that I think is deeper, it is not.  Perhaps this is because of how […]

Will the Real Pagan Theology Please Stand Up?

posted by Gus diZerega

Troy Camplin’s quip “I’ve always told people there are in fact 6 billion religions on earth” in a recent blog comment inspires this post. When I first became a Witch I was bothered by the existence of ‘traditions’ considerably younger […]

Ostara Dawn

posted by Gus diZerega

I got up this morning, well before dawn but too late to drive down and join friends in Berkeley for their coven’s Sabbat.  So I walked out into the Laguna de Santa Rosa area,  just east of town.  It turned […]

Ayahuasca Legal Victory

posted by Gus diZerega

Mark Kleiman over at the Reality-Based Community has a hopeful story  about a recent legal victory by a Santo Daime branch in Oregon which uses ayahuasca as a sacrament.  If you, like me, believe that psychedelics have a valuable role […]

8 Ideas for Celebrating Ostara

posted by Gus diZerega

Ostara, the Spring Equinox, is always especially beautiful here in Sonoma County, California.  This year seems especially nice.  Winter’s rains have been lighter than we would like, but they have been gentle and well timed.  My farmer friends with whom […]

The Perils of Pagan Clergy, Third (and Final?) Argument

posted by Gus diZerega

I wonder whether many people’s interest in having a Pagan clergy is because we have yet to really separate church from state adequately in this country.  Other than legal issues caused by not adequately separating church and state, can any […]

The Perils of Pagan Clergy: Second Argument

posted by Gus diZerega

This is my second reason for being very skeptical about the interest on so many pagans’ part in our having a “clergy.” Words have enormous power.  We do not even need to go into a discussion of magick to see […]

Good Sex, Great Sex, Sacred Sex, and Pagans

posted by Gus diZerega

A fracas is brewing  in Good Hope, Alabama over the issue of God and sex.  Seems some Christians are upset with the effort by other Christians to publicly discuss God and Great sex.   I’m glad I am a bystander […]

The Perils of Pagan Clergy: First Argument

posted by Gus diZerega

This is my first post on the issue of why I am very skeptical of having a Pagan clergy.  I will come at it on an angle. To have an official ‘clergy’ is to have some organizational structure with authority […]

Religious Decline and Pagan Renaissance?

posted by Gus diZerega

USA Today reports  the American Religious Identification Survey reports the number of people reporting they have no religion continues to increase in the United States. Fifteen percent of those replying said they had no religion.  In 2001 the number was […]

Of Divine Love, Monism, Monotheism, and a Reply to Ali and others

posted by Gus diZerega

I spent yesterday flying back to California.  It’s weird to take off from Paris at 10 am, and arrive in San Francisco at 1 PM.  My body also thought it was weird and is still catching up.   One of […]

Serial Monotheism

posted by Gus diZerega

From earliest recorded times many people have sought to understand as best they could the foundations for spiritual reality. Throughout the early ancient world from at least India to Greece, ‘monism’ appears to have been the most favored model.  It […]

New Article in Gobekli Tepe, Nature, and Conservation Today

posted by Gus diZerega

I just discovered a good account  Gobekli Tepe on Stephen Schwarz’s  often fascinating site.  Not only does it give a good account of the place and its discovery along with great pictures, it also discusses in greater detail than I […]

A Wiccan’s Reply to a Mormon’s Query

posted by Gus diZerega

Dave Banack over at Mormon Inquiry   is wondering what the deeper spiritual meaning might be for the growing toleration of Wiccans and other NeoPagans in America today.  On the one hand, we demonstrably aren’t particularly dangerous to anyone, but on […]

More Discussion on Spirit and Buying Local

posted by Gus diZerega

I will return to Pantheacon   issues shortly, but Holly Liebowitz Rossi over at Fresh Living   wonders whether I am using the word ‘spiritual’ appropriately in my blog on shopping locally.  This gives me an opportunity to explore this interesting question […]

A Pagan View on Sacred Authority

posted by Gus diZerega

The abortion and the Bible thread has high lighted two issues where I think we Pagans have valuable insights for the spiritual community as a whole.  These are how we determine spiritual authority, and the issue of death.  This post […]

Emergent Order in Science, Society and the Sacred

posted by Gus diZerega

I’ve been spending the weekend at a conference on spontaneous orders, also known as complex adaptive, emergent, or self-organizing systems.  In the human world what those terms, and some equivalent ones, point to is how certain kinds of order can […]

Are Wiccans Infiltrating Churches?

posted by Gus diZerega

This morning a friend of mine in Denmark wrote asking me what I thought of an article titled ‘Wicca Infiltrates the Churches,’ by Catherine Edwards.  Its author is quite alarmed at what she sees as unchristian influences seeking to undermine […]

Listening to the Earth

posted by Gus diZerega

We are having a fearfully dry winter here in northern California.  Summers are all but rainless, with only the coastal fog keeping this region from total desiccation in the summer.  You can tell where the fog gets when you visit […]

Meditations on Imbolc

posted by Gus diZerega

This weekend many Pagans will celebrate Imbolc, or Brigid.   Imbolc is one of the less  emphasized Sabbats in our Wheel of the Year.  We are emerging from the regular frantic holiday season, combining Yule with Christmas, Hanukkah,  and Kwanza […]

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More Blogs To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting A Pagans Blog. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy: The Latest on Pagan and Earth-Based Religions Happy Reading!!!

posted 9:39:40am Jul. 06, 2012 | read full post »

Earth Day and the Sacredness of the Earth
I think Earth Day is a particularly important moment for contemplation and commitment by us Pagans.  Often American Christian critics accuse us of “pantheism,” and in a important respect they are right.  We do find the sacred, most of us, in the earth without reference to any transcendental sp

posted 11:57:03am Apr. 20, 2012 | read full post »

Instructive examples on why interfaith work is a good idea
I deeply believe the problems in our country are more of the heart than of the head. Here are some youtubes courtesy of John Morehead of the Evangelical Chapter of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy on Facebook. They speak more eloquently than anything I can write that interfaith work is a good

posted 1:08:25pm Apr. 12, 2012 | read full post »

The controversy over Pink Slime - and what it means.
The controversy over pink slime is helping educate Americans to the fact that corporations are as beneficial to agriculture as they are to politics. Tom Laskawy put it pithily: “What pink slime represents is an open admission by the food industry that it is hard-pressed to produce meat that won’

posted 4:03:07pm Apr. 11, 2012 | read full post »

How the "war on religion' backfired into a war on women
Here  is a really good article by Tina DuPuy on how the Republicans got themselves into such a mess with America's more intelligent women.  Left undiscussed is how the extreme pathological masculinity of both their deity and their leaders made that slip so very easy.

posted 12:12:35pm Apr. 11, 2012 | read full post »

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