Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Crane Dance: Walking the Worlds

Walking the Labyrinth can be a moving experience, but what if the Labyrinth itself was a dance? Today's blog post over at The Minoan Path is about the mysterious Crane Dance, the ritual performed by Theseus in gratitude for surviving his encounter with the Minotaur...or is it something more? Click the title below to get to the post.

The Crane Dance: Walking the Worlds

If you're interested in the ancient Minoans, how they lived and worshiped and how we might bring their spirituality alive in the modern world, please join us at Ariadne's Tribe.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How to Love Your Neighbor

I’ve recently been thinking about compassion. All the great spiritual traditions of the world speak of having compassion for others – all others, no exceptions. Jesus told us to love our enemies. Buddha reminded us to have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike. Rabbi Hillel counseled us to refrain from doing to anyone else those things we find hateful ourselves. You get the picture.

In my meditations on compassion, and in my effort to actively include it in my daily life, I’ve hit upon the usual stumbling block: How am I supposed to have compassion for those people who can honestly be described as Bad Guys? You know the ones I mean – the people who not only put themselves over everyone else, but actively do harm either to get what they want or just for jollies.

It’s the old paradox of being tolerant of everything except intolerance, right?

So I started trying to figure out why the heck anyone would purposely do the kinds of things I define as evil. I completely understand the reflexive lashing out we do when we are hurting (the wounded animal effect). That’s not what I’m talking about here. I mean people who think about doing something, know it will do harm, understand that all the great world traditions say it’s wrong, and either don’t care or are actually pleased at the thought.

I finally came to a conclusion that startled me, but I think I may be on to something. Please bear with me as I do my best to explain.

First of all, I firmly believe that we’re all part of a grand whole, connected together with everything and everyone into a great All-That-Is. You might call that all-encompassing thing God, or True Nature, or Quantum Foam. No religion necessary here, but many spiritual traditions do speak of this quality of the cosmos.

In other words, separation is an illusion. You are my other self, as the Maya say. (That’s the Maya people of Central America, not the Hindu term Maya which refers to the illusion of separation I’m talking about here. Confused yet?)

I think some property, some effect of living in a physical body makes us tend to forget the connection, the All-That-Is-ness of things. We believe the physical separation we experience with the body’s senses is the ultimate reality of space/time.

But somewhere in the far back recesses of the psyche, we vaguely recall that in spite of appearances, we are still part of the greater whole. And every now and then, that knowledge erupts, overwhelms us with a feeling of oneness with the cosmos. It happens when we look up into a starry night sky, or hold a newborn baby, or stand alone in a forest full of birdsong. Then we remember who we really are, that we are coterminous with the infinite cosmos.

I think, though, that some of us never make that connection, never recognize that memory. How horrible to feel forever separate and alone in a universe that dwarfs the human body on a scale that’s hard to comprehend. How could anyone cope with such a situation?

By making themselves feel bigger, that’s how. Stepping on everyone around them. Manipulating their way to power, on a small or large scale depending on ability and drive. Doing harm on purpose to reinforce the feeling of control over something, anything.

OK, now I get it. And suddenly I feel great compassion for those people, in spite of all the horrible things they’ve done.

Because I, too, have had moments of loneliness, of separation from everything and everyone, moments of feeling so dreadfully alone that I would have done almost anything to rid myself of the feeling.

But for me, and probably for you as well, those times were just shorts moments we could recover from as soon as we saw a friendly face, heard lovely music, accepted a hug.

I can’t begin to imagine a whole life lived in that kind of darkness. I can understand how it would drive a person to hurt others in an attempt to assuage their own pain. Of course, I know better than to invite damaging, dangerous people into my life, and I’ve gone to great lengths to remove friends and family members who fell into this category. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care about them.

If I’m right, I doubt any of those people even have an inkling why they do such horrible things. But I can have compassion for them. I can hope with all my heart that they find what they need to heal, because they are part of the cosmos just as surely as I am.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Baking from Scratch, Minoan Style

Today's blog post on The Minoan Path blog over at PaganSquare is about the collective project we're working on in Ariadne's Tribe, building a liturgy for modern Minoan Paganism. It's quite a challenge, but with the goddesses and gods of ancient Crete to whisper us along our way, we're taking it one step at a time. Click the title below to get to the post.

Baking from Scratch, Minoan Style

Please feel free to join us at Ariadne's Tribe, either to add your own voice to the conversation or simply to cheer us along. We'd love to meet you!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Paganism on the airwaves and Interwebz

Looking for some great interviews, discussions, or music with a Pagan slant? Look no further than the radio shows and podcasts that come out of the Pagan community every day. I've listed some of my favorites. What are yours? Please comment with any great Pagan podcasts or radio shows I've missed.

ATC Pagan Information Network
Podcast show with interviews, information about festivals and gatherings, roundtable discussions of Pagan topics and more. Run by the Aquarian Tabernacle Church.

Discovering the Male Mysteries with Mel Mystery
“This podcast is for and about gay and bi pagan men. My podcasts are about what it is to be gay, what it is to be pagan, what it is to be men.”

Down at the Crossroads: Music, Magick, Paganism
Interviews and discussions with writers, musicians, teachers, artists. Lots of music and edgy conversation.

Good Morning Goddess
“Begin each week motivated, inspired and affirmed in your spiritual journey with uplifting advice and inspiration to guide you on your spiritual journey. Hosted by author Krystal Madison, The Witch of Sleepy Hollow and founder of The Pagan Circle and Pagan Parents Online.”

Inciting a Riot: Lighting a Fire Under Comfortable Thinking
Interviews and discussions about a wide variety of Pagan and Wiccan subjects, with a view to finding deeper meaning and exploring heavier concepts than are usually addressed on podcasts.

Pagan Musings Podcast Channel
Weekly shows with a wide variety of content and a large following. Includes news, interviews, music and more.

Pagan Perspectives
Interviews, news and opinions about contemporary Pagan issues. Includes information about a wide variety of groups, traditions and practices.

Pagans Tonight Radio Network
Long-running daily Pagan radio show including interviews, instructional activities, music, trivia, and even shows in Spanish.

Prairie Land Pagan Radio
Hosted by Lynn (SilverWolf) Williams from the Pagan Mystical Paths Center located in Coralville, IA.  A source of news, information, music, special events, and happenings that involve anyone who follows an earth-centered spiritual path. Find all the archived shows under “More” then “Interview Archives” on the menu at the top of every page.

Scroll of Thoth
Hosted by James L. Wilber and Colleen Kelly. “About Magick and Change – Epizeteo Eschaton.” Interviews with a wide variety of leaders, writers, and practitioners from the Pagan and occult community.

The Secrets in Plain Sight
Weekly podcast on a wide variety of Pagan-oriented subjects, from seasonal celebrations to ethics to practical applications of belief.