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Athirat, Goddess of Creation

By Tess Dawson

A bare-chested woman graces a three-thousand five-hundred year-old ivory jar lid. Her full pleated skirt decorated with a riot of stripes and zigzags swirls about bare feet. Thick ringlets escape her coiffure and tantalizingly caress her shoulders. She holds her arms aloft, full of dignity and authority: in her hands she offers . . . → Read More: Athirat, Goddess of Creation

Girls Are Wicked: Gender and Magic

By Evelien Bracke

How would you react if you walked into the classroom one day to find your new teacher was Professor Dumbledore, Gandalf the Grey, or Merlin the Wizard? Would you fear their magical powers? Would you worry they might turn you into a newt if you failed a test? Of course not. You . . . → Read More: Girls Are Wicked: Gender and Magic

Theodish Belief

By Nick Ritter

[Snip] Théodish Belief, or Théodism, is one of a number of approaches to the practice of pre-Christian Germanic religion. There have been individuals and groups attempting to practice this religion since at least the late 19th century, but such attempts really took off in the U.S. in the mid 1970s. Théodism got . . . → Read More: Theodish Belief

The Case for Religion, by Keith Ward

Reviewed by Fionnchú

Relying on Bronze Age verses to critique religion’s essence is like analyzing astronomy through astrology, or chemistry by alchemy. So argues this Oxford professor of divinity. The paperback edition features a large heading on the cover telling how Ward confronts “Dawkins and the New Atheism.” Basically, Ward protests his fellow Oxford colleague . . . → Read More: The Case for Religion, by Keith Ward

The Mysteries of Teaching

By Nimue Brown

In any mystery tradition there can be tension between how much you tell the student up front, and how much is sprung upon them in surprising and dramatic ways, calculated to change their awareness. Initiations are a prime example of this. How much should be unknown and unexpected, and how much should . . . → Read More: The Mysteries of Teaching

Lammas Countdown: Make Your Own Smudge Sticks

By Patti Wigington

Smudging is a great way to cleanse a sacred space, and most people use smudge sticks made of sweetgrass or sage for this purpose. Although they are available commercially — and are fairly inexpensive — it’s easy to make your own if you’ve got herbs growing in your garden, or if there’s . . . → Read More: Lammas Countdown: Make Your Own Smudge Sticks

Dealing with Preachy Family Members

What to Do When Family And Friends Evangelize

By Patti Wigington

Here at About Pagan/Wiccan, we get frequent email from people asking for help with relatives or friends who insist on preaching at them. Typically this comes in the form of either really aggressive evangelizing (leaving Chick tracts on your dinner table, screaming that you’re . . . → Read More: Dealing with Preachy Family Members

Religion in context

By Nimue Brown

The converting tendencies of Christianity and Islam have given a perspective of the place of religion at odds with many perspectives. Most religions are not universal, nor meant to be. Judaism is the religion of a people, and I have recently discovered that Shinto is Japanese to a degree that would make . . . → Read More: Religion in context

Mixing Memory and Desire

The Re-Emergence of the Grail in the Industrial World

By Mary Jones

One of the most enduring elements of the Arthurian legend is that of the Holy Grail, that mysterious vessel found at the court of the Fisher King. Cup or cauldron, dish or stone, it plays a significant role in the Arthur of Romance, . . . → Read More: Mixing Memory and Desire

Lammas Countdown: Legends and Lore of Lammas (Lughnasadh)

By Patti Wigington

In many cultures, there are different legends and lore surrounding Lammas (Lughnasadh). Here are a few of the stories about this magical harvest celebration from around the world.

• In Israel, the festival of Shavout commemorates the beginning of the harvest, as well as honoring the date that Moses received the Torah . . . → Read More: Lammas Countdown: Legends and Lore of Lammas (Lughnasadh)