I have had some (relatively) slow time lately and have been reading much of interest on various pagan blogs and sites. These aren’t all necessarily ‘new’ but they are of engaging interest. Here are some stimulating reads:
“The Allergic Pagan” offers a scheme for understanding different types of contemporary paganism, namely Earth-centered, Self-centered (Self as in the Jungian/Hermetic liberatory sense) and Deity-centered. An interesting discussion follows in the comments. I found that for myself it shed light on some of my own internal tensions (as all three are important for me), and think it will for quite a few of us with complex or multiple practices.
Dver at A Forest Door discusses her experience of bringing the Delphic Oracle and its attendant complex of deities and spirits to Oregon. While specifically about her oracular practice this is relevant to whatever type of practices one might be establishing in locations far from that of their historical origins.
Faoladh waxes lucidly on the what and why of Celtic reconstructionism, a topic that apparently has become more and more vexed and confused. I know I keep hearing people use the term with the copula. He writes, “First, CR is a process, not an identity. I know that a lot of people call themselves “CRs”, but they’re wrong to do so. If they insist on using the ugly term, then they should call themselves “CRPs”, for “Celtic Reconstructionist Pagans/Polytheists”. There are many, many problems that keep cropping up from using the term as an identity.”
“What is Celtic reconstructionism—why do we do it?”
Lupus of Aedicula Antinoi and the Ekklesia Antinoou is offering a whole load of interesting online classes, one of which is on reconstructionism as a methodology. See
Ryan at Pagan Reveries discusses “communing with the statues” in museums, specifically on his visit to the Louvre, where he has seen some of my favorite statues of Antinous and Dionysos among many others. Art museums are such treasure troves for pagans, and I am surprised at how little attention they seem to get from many. There’s also a good post on fountains.
Phil Hine at enfolding.org has a fascinating essay about an urban sacred site in London that was a cemetery for ‘outcasts’ like sex workers going back to the 14th century. Since the 90s it has become a place for ritual activities.
Cross Bones: queering sacred space
It’s also worth checking out ”The Goose, The Crow and the Cross Bones Portal” by
John Constable aka John Crow, the urban shaman heavily involved with Cross Bones and what he has named the Southwark Mysteries. The Goose is a medieval sex worker/genius loci who speaks through him in his ecstasies.
Another important piece from Hine is “Jottings: On queering deity”. I think this is very timely as so many harden the deities into concrete ‘identities’, such as in the ‘henadic’ Neoplatonic doctrines that have gained currency recently. Hine writes, “Both approaches have difficulty with contingency, contradiction and the paradoxical – the “queerness” of deities, if you like – which resides in their protean instability – so often found in Greek narratives of desire – look at Zeus becoming a swan for Leda, a bull for Europa, an eagle for Ganymede, and a shower of gold for Danae. That last one is particularly “queer” don’t you think?
There’s a tendency, I think, to seek in our conceptions of deity an idealized reflection of our own preferred conceptual categories and in so doing, to lose sight of both their historical origins and contexts and, importantly, their instabilities and excesses.”
While I am a great fan of gnosis, imbas, poetic wisdom and related forms of intuitive knowledge at times I am dismayed by all the people out there claming what was once called ‘idle chit chat’ with the deities.
Ian Corrigan’s piece about the importance of doubt in one’s spiritual practices is timely.
He includes this wonderful bit of acidic discernment wisdom by Crowley:
“I slept with Faith, and found a corpse in my arms upon awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt, and found her virgin in the morning”
Doubt even if thou doubtest thyself.
Doubt even if thou doubtest all.”
“We place no reliance on virgin or pigeon,
Our method is science, our aim is religion.”
And Corrigan writes, “I suppose I’ve succeeded in internalizing Crowley’s advice, above. I ‘believe’ (i.e. it is my opinion that) that I live in a world constructed by my perceptions within my mind – by my sensorium and my neurological editing functions. I would like to think that humans have some deep, innate, perhaps divinity-linked ability to bypass sensory awareness and gain direct perception of reality. But I doubt it. I remain an agnostic, in that I don’t believe humans have the equipment to arrive at a certain and uncorrectable knowledge of reality.”
Or if you think the Morrigan is giving you laundry tips and the Dagda likes to chat you up in the cereal aisle at Safeway you might consider some discernment training.
That’s all for now.