Posts tagged pagan
Posts tagged pagan
Each Week I’m going to try to round up some of the best podcasts on subjects of interest to Witches and Pagans. Some will be recent, others will dig back into the archives of older programs.
Main Street Universe: Andrieh Vitimus and Servitors- Hosts Daniel Michael and Genise White discuss servitors, egregores, and artificial thought-forms with Chaos Magicial Andrieh Vitimus. They discuss the process of their creation, use and the ethics one must consider when doing so,
Carlos Museum Podcast- A series of podcast in which museum curators, archeologists, and religious scholars discuss the religious and cultural significance of artifacts in the Carlos Museum. Artifacts come from ancient Greece, South and Central America, India, Egypt and other pre-Christian cultures. Also available on iTunesU.
Sounds True:Insights at the Edge “Plant Spirit Medicine”- Eliot Cowen believes that the way to tap into plants’ healing energies is to develop relationships with them. He discusses his new book and shares his experience as a plant spirit healer.
That’s all for now. Happy Listening!
Last Week’s episode of This American Life, “Magic Words” contains the fantastic history of an outrageous New Age self help book. The other stories in the radio show/podcast are less metaphysical in nature but include the magic words that can get you out of debtor’s court (“show me the paperwork”) and how play, pretend, and the magic of listening can help people with Alzheimer’s.
When Jonathan Goldstein was a kid, his father gave him a book that promised to teach you how to shoot mental laser beams, win the lottery, move solid objects with your mind, make others obey your command – all through the use of mental power and magic words. This week, he revisits the book to try to unlock the secrets within. And we have other stories where people recite words that have the power to change their lives, with no magic or mumbo jumbo at all.
So how about Gobber’s prayer to Odin and the Valkyries during the funeral scene! Does anyone know where I can find a transcript? Probably not traditional but it was perfect for the scene. If you did not cry you are not human.
Just got back from seeing How to Train Your Dragon 2 (which BTW, was AMAZING!!!) and the movie left me with some interesting thoughts.
Hiccup spends a lot of this movie trying to figure out who he is and how he relates to Viking society. He sees himself as peace maker and his approach to solving the impending invasion by an evil, self-proclaimed “Dragon Master” is to attempt negotiation. His father, Stoic, on the other hand wants to strengthen the defenses of their home village Burk. It’s a bit of a repeat of the same father/son conflict in the first movie when Hiccup wants to make peace with the dragons and his father wants to fight.
So what does this have to with the modern day gender role/gender transgression discussion in the larger Heathen and larger Pagan communities?
The role of peacemaker in Germanic and Scandinavian culture was often played by women. This is seen a lot in the epic Beowulf where Wealtheow is often described as peacemaker. In fact, the old English term freodu-webbe meant both woman and peacemaker. Hiccup’s mother, Velka (her being alive is only a spoiler if you missed every single trailer for this movie) also describes herself as a peacemaker.
Throughout the movie, Hiccup tends to identify more with his mother than his father. It’s often said that he takes after her. And he describes himself, at the end of the movie, as a peacemaker.
In the end, Hiccup solves the crisis like he always does—his own way. With a combination of compassion, brains, courage and his signature deadpan humor. He finds a balance between the strength of his father, the compassion of his mother, and his own instincts.
Now I’m not one to stick strictly to the binary of “feminine principle” and “masculine principle.” However, I feel like this film plays out a part of the dialogue the Pagan community has been having on the subject of “male” and “female” virtues over the decades. On the one hand, the division of ideologies between Hiccup’s parents (Stoic’s warrior approach in the first film and Velka as peacemaker in the second) could seem to imply that there is a divide along gender lines. From the perspective of Feminist Theology one might say that this shows men are inherently war-like and women are inherently peaceable and compassionate. A conservative Heathen view might interpret this as males and females serving equally important but different roles in their tribe. The more mainstream view might argue that these principals and abilities can be found within each individual and like Hiccup we must heed the wisdom of both.
So lets stir up some discussion. If you’ve seen the movies, how do you feel like the traditionally gendered (or stereotyped) roles of warrior and peacemaker are shown or subverted. Obviously Dreamworks did not set out to make any sort of Lore-acurate movie, but how does it mesh with your view of the roles of men and women in Viking culture?
Does Hiccup subvert those roles?
What do the fruits of the “masculine” and “feminine” principals or gender identities mean to you?
If you are a Heathen, how do you interpret the idea of Sedir and gender transgression in Lore and practice? How do Hiccup’s reactions compare to your ideals of leadership and heroics?
Lately I’ve been watching ther1980s series Beauty and the Beast staring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman. The show is decidedly sappy, but it fills a void for Urban Fantasy in my life that will be there until Netflix gets season 3 of Lost Girl. It’s best described as Law and Order meets Gargoyles and follows assistant DA Catherine Chandler and Vincent, a man with the features of a lion who lives in a colony of orphans and misfits beneath the Manhattan sewers. Together, they solve crime, protect the innocent and save each others’ butts from kidnapping at least once per episode. I’m about to start episode 9 and so far the show has gotten off to a slow start, but there have been some gems.
Episode 8 of Season 1 was one of those. It focused on a murder committed by a man accused of being a Voodoo sorcerer. Cathrine’s boss thinks that this is an open and closed case, until the accused man dies after spending days in a trance. Police and news media in the real world could take a note from Catherine who keeps digging. She goes to scholars of Voodoo and also people in the Haitian community who know the accused to get a better picture of the Voodoo religion and finds a lot to suggest that while he was a practitioner of the religion, his using it to murder another individual is unlikely.
Now the real kicker (spoiler alert) is when the perpetrators are revealed to be the white professor Catherine turned to for help and his also white assistant. Suddenly, the villians are not superstitious forigners but white academics who have appropriated Voodoo for their own means and who have their own cult which summons Baka, a vengeful Lwa to take out those who threaten them. Baka’s appearance (in the show) is half man/half lion and there is some obvious resemblance to Vincent. The professor is content to frame other practitioners of Voodoo, all of whom are people of color, for his own actions. He relies on the very stereotypes the media promotes for his own cover.
I wish i knew enough about Voodoo to comment on the accuracy of it’s portrayal of the episode. They talk about ritual possession by the Lwa, and the belief that the mind and psyche control the physical body. If someone more familiar with Voodoo practices wanted to write a followup post on that subject, I would read the heck out of that. Beauty and the Beast is on Netflix. The episode in question is episode 8 of Season 1: Dark Spirit.
Having realized that most of the networking sites for Pagans on the Cape are geocities sites that have not been updated since the late 90s, I’ve decided to put together my own. If you’re on the Cape, know about local Witchy/Metaphisical bushiness, pagan workshops, events, covens, temples and groups, are planning on visiting the area, or are just curious about the goings on in that giant Hippie colony that is everything south of the Sagamore Bridge, feel free to check it out and contribute!
Eventually, I hope to organize a few meet ups, Sabbat and other holiday events and maybe even a pride event.
Every time I try to access them, I get a message saying “Sorry, we are taking a break”. It does this when I click on a link on their twitter account too. The only way I can see what they post is if someone else reblogs it.
Send me a message. Tell me what the best books I should read, what are the best ways to go about learning more. Teach me please!
With a post like this, you are going to get 10 billion diferent answers answers from 10 billion different people. My best advice for reading is “Drawing Down the Moon” by Margot Adler. It is an overview of the entire Neopagan movement, and covers everything from Wicca to Reconstructionist religions. You’ll get a broad view, and get an idea about what groups, religions and philosophies interest you.
Not all Wiccans are Pagan, and you are going to find that there is a huge difference even between traditions that fall under the same banner. There are lots of different types of Wicca. Learn about different Wiccan and Pagan traditions from different sources.
Be careful when you ask for a teacher. Not everyone who wants to teach is worthy of your attention, and not every teacher is honest. Get to know people before you are willing to learn from them. I made this mistake when I first started out, and I was given bad information by some teachers, and taken advantage of by another, who convinced me to work for a business owned by the head of my tradition for little and at times, no pay. When you are first starting out, it is easy to put people on a pedestal. It is easy to be awed by people who have more experience than you, by clergy who make a living out of appearing wise and powerful but do little to deserve their titles. Trust your gut and remember that everyone is human in the end.
Also be cautious when someone charges for teaching, or to participate in religious services. Asking for donations is one thing, and some people will charge for classes and workshops, but be wary of people who require you to pay in order to enter the priesthood, or to achieve the next “degree” or who say that you can not become a student of their religion without buying a certain book or paying dues. And in my opinion, you should never be required to pay to participate in a ritual or religious service.
You will find a lot of books that say you need to own this and that to have a proper altar or do proper spells. These things are merely tools and your access to them should not limit your ability to practice. If you want these tools, many of them can be made out of household objects or things found in nature. Others can be found in thrift stores. There is no need to drop $50 on a chalice or to purchase a wand from a store. And you don’t need to have these things to start practicing. None of them are essential to building a relationship with the gods.
Let me know if you have any questions.
There’s always going to be a huge circle of self-proclaimed Wiccans patting each other on the back saying, “It’s okay. You don’t really have to be initiated. Wicca can be anything you want it to be.”
And that infuriates…
Can I just say (while I do not actually know the trads of the posters who responded) that the people who participate in and put out these rants are almost never members of Initiatory Wiccan trads. So many of them are begun by the statement “I am not Wiccan but…” I would like to hear what someone who is actually actually practices Initiatory Wicca has to say on the subject.
Also, might I put forward the idea that Wicca, like every other religion out their is in a state of flux and that perhaps we have simply seen a schism within the religion when it comes to initiatory vs. self initiated as opposed to something new entirely? I mean take any single religion, weather it be Christianity, Hinduism, or Hellenic Recons—there will be different sects with different practices and different schools of thought and different practices. Gardenarian Wicca is not Faery Wicca, which in turn is not Cunningham’s Wicca, but all fall under that banner term. Just as Mormonism is not Catholicism which in turn are not Baptist Christianity, but all are Christian. Just like Zen Buddhism is not Tibetan Buddhism, but both are Buddhism. Wicca is increasingly becoming more of a banner term rather than a name for just one specific set of practices. This is the history of religion the world around. When people get hold of an idea, they in turn add their own ideas, and new sects are formed. Whether Gardner wanted it to or not, Wicca is becoming a world religion, and is going to change as people in new circumstances interact with it.
Winter, by Ms. Graveyard Dirt
* Sovereignty, unsurprisingly, comes at a price: to be ruled by what you rule, and to serve those that sustain you.