How to Choose a Religion IV: Common Pitfalls: Community, Fear

If you read the summary of this series available at Shift Your Spirits, you saw the list of ways you should not choose your religion: DON’T choose your religion based on details like food. A ritual is participatory drama. If the drama speaks to you, resonates with you, it’s a good ritual. If it provides…

Respect for the Dead and the Living

My father-in-law recently had a remarkable experience, one which strongly shows the mutual affinity between all shamanistic religions, as well as the value of religious diversity and tolerance.

How to Choose a Religion III: Why Be Religious?

Why choose a religion? This post is addressed to agnostics — those who haven’t decided what they believe, or who have decided not to decide. If you believe strongly that there is no God, or that science is the ultimate answer, then I count that as a religion too (see this post for why). But…

How to Choose a Religion II: Definition of Religion

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of choosing a religion, we have to do some groundwork. Three issues deserve some thought: 1. What is a religion? 2. Why would you want to have one? 3. Pitfalls to avoid before you start looking.

How to Choose a Religion I: Intro

This is the first of a series on how to choose a religion. It’s a remarkable age we live in. At any time prior to this in human history, your religion was chosen for you. Your religion was simply the common knowledge of your tribe. Everything your tribe thought it knew about the universe was…

One Little Taboo Word…

Quite some time ago I wrote about taboo words and euphemisms, and what they can tell us about a society. The gist is that a taboo word is one which causes offense, for whatever reason. If you identify the taboo words in a languge, you can find some of the more sensitive parts of a…

Samhain 2006

Samhain, the old Celtic pagan holiday underlying Halloween, has recently passed. It’s the old New Year, and it’s a time of endings and beginnings. It’s also a time when the residents of the other world — gods, sidhe, and the dead — are more able to reach out of their realm into ours. For most…

Predicting the Future

Someone once famously asked, “Where we all going? And what are we doing in this handbasket?” Predicting the future is an old game. It’s popular because it’s fun and frequently profitable, especially if you are sufficiently vague or incomprehensible. The Book of Revelation is a good example. John’s vivid accounts of horn-blowing angels, floods, devastations,…

The Eight-Circuit Tarot Deck II: Medium and Message

The other day, I said to my anima, “Look — I need to talk to the guy who wants me to make this Tarot deck.” She nodded. “All right,” she said. “Sit down, and let’s get started.” I’ve been able to talk directly to my anima during meditations for about a month now — ever…