Om, Pagan, Paradise

My old blog, the Word of the Day, is defunct, and I’m getting ready to take it down. Before I do, though, I’m going to repost some of the best words here over the next few weeks. Enjoy!

Om

From Wikipedia:

OM is a mystical or sacred syllable in the Dharmic [i.e. Hinduism, Buddhism, and other closely related] religions. It is placed at the beginning of most Hindu texts as a sacred exclamation to be uttered at the beginning and end of a reading of the Vedas or previously to any prayer or mantra.

Wikipedia also compares Om to Amen; in this connection it’s interesting to add also the Revival Druid exhortation Awen.

It first appears in ancient Vedic Sanskrit manuscripts, meaning something like “yes”, “verily”, “so be it” — much like Amen. As time went on and Hinduism developed, it came to mean something much more profound. It is variously described as

  • a magnificent syllable for meditation
  • the goal of all spritual practice
  • the utterance of the perfect soul at death
  • the voice of God
  • the mystic name of the union of Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma
  • the principle of three-in-one
  • the sound of the universe’s vibration

Continue reading “Om, Pagan, Paradise”

Survey: What Do You Want?

Dear reader,

I’ve been blogging since Midsummer 2006 — almost five years now. During that time I’ve moved three or four times, changed jobs, been divorced and affianced, and gotten a cat. I’ve written about spirits (evil and good), phonosemantics, choosing your religion, tossing your television, the Law of Attraction and the laws of humanity, the purpose of the universe and the best way to make a buck, children and gods, the Tao and Tolkien, the Lakota and the fairies, paganism and language.

And don’t you worry — I have no intention of stopping! I have a pile of articles waiting to be written — stuff on why things seem to come in threes, the difference between justice and fairness, the role of divine inspiration in capitalism, the place of fiction in druidism, an analysis of Harry Potter’s magic, pacifism and anarchy in the natural world, a treatise arguing against the rule of law, the history of the Ghost Dance, the relationship between love, hate, and violence…

abyssBut enough about me! What do you want?

You see, this blog is an essential part of my druidic practice. It’s not just a soapbox where I rant into the ether; it’s a place where I try to reach out and connect with like-minded people such as yourself, and to help you, if I can. That’s why I have a huge page full of downloadable meditations, stories, and other resources. You can meet a spirit guide, find inner peace, release your fear, increase abundance, or just deeply relax. You can get astrological readings, spiritual name analyses, books, calendars and journals. All of it’s available for a donation of any amount (including $ZERO). Thousands of people have benefited from my materials. I’m really proud of what I’m offering, and I want to keep adding to it.

But that’s all stuff I personally decided to make. The question is, what do you want to see?

Continue reading “Survey: What Do You Want?”

A Sufficiently Advanced Religion: Magic, the Ringworld and Clarke’s Law

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. — Arthur C. Clarke’s 3rd Law

Do you agree with this statement?

I think that it’s true, in a certain limited sense, if you take “magic” to mean “something without rules, that can make anything happen.” I suppose it’s conceivable that technology could someday reach something like that point. I think that’s the meaning Clarke intended.

comingbackI also think it’s true in a very deep sense: technology, sufficiently advanced, really is magic. Magic — real magic — is a very powerful engagement with the world, spiritually and physically. It’s a way of finding that sweet spot where your personal goals and the patterns of the universe merge and align. Technology is really the same thing.

But Clarke’s Law is profoundly false if you think of technology as most people do: a non-spiritual exercise, in which the world is played with, manipulated as if it were nothing but raw material, rigidly bound by scientific law — and our own will. That has nothing to do with magic.

Continue reading “A Sufficiently Advanced Religion: Magic, the Ringworld and Clarke’s Law”

Language and Gender: the New English Pronoun

Something in the English language is changing, but not many people have noticed it. Maybe a teacher, here or there, has noticed it on one of their student’s papers, and thought it was an error. Or a pundit has railed against it in their column, or someone has written an angry note about it on their facebook page. But the average person is just making the change naturally, by themselves, without even noticing what they’re doing.

A reader of English in 1900 — or even 1950 — would have read the above paragraph and cringed at the horrible “mistakes” I made. It wasn’t a mistake, though; it’s a fundamental change in the English language. You’ve probably spotted it, given the title of this article. If not, here’s the way I “should” have written it:

Something in the English language is changing, but not many people have noticed it. Maybe a teacher, here or there, has noticed it on one of his student’s papers, and thought it was an error. Or a pundit has railed against it in his column, or someone has written an angry note about it on his facebook page. But the average person is just making the change naturally, by himself, without even noticing what he’s doing.

Continue reading “Language and Gender: the New English Pronoun”

Nature and Social Insanity

I’ve been talking with Alison a lot over the past week about insanity — particularly insanity in societies. Obviously individual people can be insane — usually broadly defined as mental or emotional distress that interferes with functioning normally in society. But what would it mean for a whole community to be insane? Is that even possible?

Alison recently wrote a post on this over at Pagan+Politics, with some thoughts on the recent shooting in Tuscon. I’m not going to repeat everything she said there, but to summarize, some recent thinking suggests that aggregates of people can indeed collectively suffer from mental illness. In such a situation, the sane person is one who experiences mental or emotional distress.

Continue reading “Nature and Social Insanity”