Defining Paganism III: Prototypes of the Pagan

In the last post I laid some linguistic groundwork by talking about what word meaning was, and what it wasn’t. In brief, a word is not a clearly defined area of conceptual space, but a set of prototypes: classic, perfect, typical examples of the class. For example, the prototypical house is a a single-family home, free-standing,…

Defining Paganism II: Foundations of Word Meaning

In the last post I posed the problem: what is the meaning of the word pagan today? It’s an issue much more difficult than deciding on the meaning of, say, cabbage, both because of the complex history of the world and because of the high stakes. Deciding who is a pagan, and who is not,…

Defining Paganism I: Word Wrangling

During the Festival of Lights that Ali and I attended this February, one of the big issues discussed during many of the presentations and workshops was the very definition of paganism. Pretty much everyone there, if you asked them, would agree that they were pagan, and not a cabbage or something. But it turns out…

Pagan Values: Ecology, Environmentalism & Practical Pacifism

A Guest Post by Ali, of Meadowsweet & Myrrh Back at the beginning of April, I wrote a blog post ostensibly about global warming, but also in part about the various forms that our own complicity in and justification of violence can often take. I was amazed, and pleased, when this theme of violence was…

Uprooted

Like a silent thunderclap The sun strikes a blade of grass, — A sharp thrusting blade it is, a defiant green punch Out of the soil at the sky — Now struck and smelted with gold leaf, Humming with new life and power, Slow and ruminous the photosynthesis. The Long Hand of Lugh Has painted…

Pele: Fire in the Water

Well, first, of course, Obama was elected, and he grew up in Hawaii. And then my friend Slade (of sladeroberson.com) went to Hawaii for angelic training and, as it turned out, met essential people for his life path. And then I stumbled onto a fascinating podcast called “Jedi trainer” (hunatrainer.com), which is really a tutorial…

The Coligny Calendar

The Coligny calendar was discovered in Coligny, France (near Lyon) as little more than a pile of bronze fragments in 1897 – most likely smashed by Roman authorities during the suppression of druidic practice – and painstakingly restored piece by piece. It was originally the size of a rather cramped doorway. Less than half of…

The Druid Zodiac

The Gundestrup Cauldron, an intricate silver bowl composed of plates depicting fantastic figures and scenes, may be a representation of the ancient Celtic Zodiac.

The God’s Whisper: Guest Post from Odin

Odin told me a story: his own story. I offer here a shortened version, in his own words. In it, he gives an answer to an ancient riddle; and you may judge for yourself the truth of it.

The Future of Neopaganism in the West, Part II: Going Organic

In the previous post, I outlined a model of prestige and stigma which predicts whether a language or religion will grow or wither in a society. Now let’s take the prestige/stigma model and look at Neopaganism today. By these measures, Neopaganism is in trouble. Stigmatized Neopaganism Imagine trying to revive the Latin language. Imagine speaking…