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    1. Around the Web

      News from other sites around the Web.
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    1. Starters Orders (basics)

      Ground work, foundations and basics. A good place to start for those new to paganism.
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  • Our picks

    • I've just read an interesting article about a research project which has used artificial means to keep pig brains functioning (with capacity for normal brain activity) for up to 36 hours. 

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-43928318

      The ambition is to apply this to human brains to enable scientists to study the living brain more effectively. 

      Personally I can see the potential for benefits to humanity - future generations could have a better quality of life without succumbing to degenerative neurological conditions - but it opens up a huge ethics debate around the nature of the research itself and the potential for misuse in practical application down the line. At present we have no way of knowing if there is any form of consciousness in the test subjects and if so whether it causes distress or suffering to the individual. Is it just a functioning organ or is it the vessel for a conscious being? Surely the only way of knowing would be if scientists were to conduct a successful human brain transplant, and this research has arguably unlatched the gate to that path. 

      I found the research exciting and fascinating, and a little bit frightening. I imagine many people of a religious persuasion will have very strong opinions.

      What's your thoughts?
      • 9 replies
    • Right then how best to phrase the question......

      I've noticed on here there's quite a number of different belief sets(as you'd expect!)and although some seem to have set rituals and celebrations many are (as mine) an amalgamation of different"paths" and I'm curious as to whether people consider there beliefs" religious"..... for my own part I don't consider my beliefs religious,they are opinions formed from what I'd term spiritual experiences but are not in and of themselves religious

      Secondly how do you all define " religion" (don't go to Google I can do that myself I'm looking for your personal definition,how YOU define what's religious and what's simply belief).....does religion require texts,if it has them should they (the word of God/god's/deities ect)be followed to the letter and if you believe not then why when the instructions come from what you believe to be a higher,sacred source?.....if you don't follow the teachings or doctrine of your chosen path( if it has such) how do you justify discarding the parts you deem wrong?
        • Like
      • 42 replies
    • A bit of a clumsy question but I'm at the end of a long day with my two young children so my ability to articulate is a bit limited.

      I've just caught up with an old thread about Christian pagans and something said by Moonsmith got me thinking about belief in deities and how/why people interpret them in the way that they do. I consider myself to be an atheist and a pagan but Moonsmith's description of him/herself (sorry, I don't want to presume gender) as believing in a non-anthropomorthic deity struck a chord with me and now has me questioning my understanding of my own beliefs. I'm beginning to think I must have a very narrow view of what constitutes deity.

      I respect the belief in anthropomorphic deities but I've always struggled with the idea, particularly the notion of interventionist gods. And for that reason I've defaulted to self identifying as atheist. But now I'm wondering if that's lazy of me; if the connection I feel for the natural world is a connection to something that could be described as deity - energy, life force, creator, connecting all things - without it being anthropomorphised. 

      I'd really love to hear the thoughts of others on this subject. What's your perception of deity? Have you always felt that way? Have you challenged your own beliefs? Why does your belief (or lack thereof) make sense to you? 

      Thank you x 
      • 17 replies
    • What is sacrifice in the Pagan world?

      What does it achieve?

      Who or what initiates it?

      How do you decide what to sacrifice/do/give?

      Stuff like that!

      [Blame Ellinas]
      • 19 replies
    • We all went through the shiny new pagan phase. Very occasionally, I see someone post on a pagan forum asking "what next?"  They've read the books they found in their local New Age store, found a few online groups, and then, one day, realised that what they know isn't enough for them. They want to go deeper. But deeper into what? And how?

      So this is really about how you dealt with that stage. Did you ask for advice? What was the result? What did you pursue? Where are you now?

      Back when I was a new pagan, I was accidentally mainlined directly into initiatory Wicca, through a relationship and working with the Pagan Federation Committee. That stage lasted about two years. Back then, there were only email groups - but the participants of the two or three groups I was on were all people who had been pagans for years and knew their stuff. And each other.  The discussions could be mind blowing. As a result of those, I began to realise Heathenry was a good fit for the things I felt. Plus, my paganism was always an aspect of my relationships with gods, and one of the gods associated with Heathenry began a working relationship with me.  All the recon religions involve reading the old texts of that religion, so that occupied a fair amount of my 'study' time. Since then, I've realised I could so easily have followed the breadcrumb trail to follow various other pagan religions and become Greek, Roman or Kemetic. But I'm happy as I am. 

       
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      • 18 replies
  • Popular Contributors

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  • Posts

    • UK Pagan
      Shownotes for DruidCast Episode 135 Be More Kind – Frank Turner – http://frank-turner.com/home/ Philip Carr-Gomm telling of the Chosen Chief succession plan – http://www.philipcarr-gomm.com Flower Power – Greta Van Fleet – http://gretavanfleet.com In Her Name – Arthur Hinds and the Round Table – https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/arthurhindstheroundtable The Tale of Sir Balin – Roland Rotherham – https://www.rolandrotherham.co.uk DruidCast theme – Hills they are Hollow – Damh the Bard – https://www.paganmusic.co.uk For more information on the Druid tradition, membership to the Order, and its courses – https://www.druidry.org View the full article
    • UK Pagan
      Being both sensible and being intuitive may seem like an oxymoron, since those two adjectives fall on seemingly opposite ends of a spectrum. But, from the body's point of view, they're really one and the same. While being sensible implies being practical, grounded, and level-headed, it's really about living in accord with your inner knowing or intuition. Curiously, being sensible depends more on information from your aware body than your rational mind. Ann Todhunter Brode, author of A Guide to Body Wisdom provides information and exercises to help you strengthen both your internal and external intuition and harness the body's wealth of information. View the full article
    • UK Pagan
      But as promised this article finishes the Tales from the Road series from my recent mini tour with our trip to the OBOD International Camp in the Netherlands. I organise the two OBOD Gatherings in Glastonbury and have done for well over a decade, so it’s a real blessing when I can get to go to an OBOD event where I have nothing to do with the organising team. I can just turn up, and be an OBOD member, and our trip to the Netherlands was one of those rare times. I’d been to two OBOD International Camps in Germany, but this was my first in the Netherlands. We hopped onto a plane at Vienna airport – just in time for the captain of the flight to let us know that the fuelling system for the “entire airport had just broken down”, and that “he had no idea how long it’ll take to get it back up and running”, and “by then there would probably be a backlog of flights to re-fuel”. So we sat on the plane and waited. In the end it was only about an hour before we were sorted and on our way to the runway, so not too bad I guess. Soon we had landed in Amsterdam and easily found Gerard who had volunteered to pick us up and get us to the campsite. As we drove across the land of the Netherlands we were told on many occasions that the land we were driving upon was under the sea just 50 years ago, and had been reclaimed. The fields now full of arable crops, and almost countless wind turbines. So green, lush, with no hills. A landscape very different to the one I’m used to seeing. I think I need hills. I even find East Anglia and parts of Lincolnshire just too flat, but it was a nice change. The campsite was an island on a large lake, land once again reclaimed from the sea barely 50 years ago. We arrived at the site late and only a little while before the opening ritual that we were a part of, so were shown to our ‘Grasshopper’ – our accommodation in what looked like a converted horse box – very snug and comfortable, then straight back for a run-through of the ritual. It was a bit of a rush, but I knew things would calm down pretty quickly after that. It was lovely to see OBOD friends from the UK there too. Penny, author and editor of the Order’s Journal Touchstone, the Pagan bluesman Arthur ZZ Birm, Adrian, JJ, and Mel. We were the opening ritual crew and the ritual had been written by JJ. Because of the plane delay and the rush I had a little bit of an ‘albatross landing’. That’s what me and Cerri call it. When you arrive at a spiritual event and seem completely out of sync with the vibe, just for a couple of hours, then you safely land, and slip into the flow. The Order of Bards Ovates and Druids is a Mystery School the backbone of which is still the Bard, Ovate and Druid courses. Membership is linked to those courses and that means that no matter which OBOD gathering you attend, anywhere in the world, there is that shared experience. This means that whether it’s the Glastonbury gatherings, the Australian camp, the East Coast or Gulf Coast Gatherings in the USA, it always feels like coming home, and I felt that once again at the International Camp. Because anyone can do the course, ego just doesn’t get in the way – we are all OBOD members, sharing the Journey. I love that so much. So after I had spread my wings, judged the distance from the water, stretched out my legs and ran for just a little while, I gently came to rest on the calm surface of the water, and allowed the flow of the current to guide me from that moment, and it felt good. The camp was really well organised, and I was so thankful that they had invited a fresh coffee merchant to the event. To me he was the Merlin whom I sought out each morning for his sacred elixir. Me and Cerri ran our workshop over the course of two days, with one session of preparation, and the next the ritual itself. Based on work done by our Druid Grove and inspired by words written by Dion Fortune it worked wonderfully, but I think I will leave the magic back in that field and say little more about the process. Sometimes these things need to remain mysteries. My concert was on the Saturday night and although my finger injury was nearly two weeks old, I still couldn’t play that pesky Dm chord, so once more I played some of my songs transposed up the fretboard. I also didn’t know until I arrived that the gig would be completely acoustic. It was ok. The problems I’d had in the Czech Republic and Vienna with my chest had lessened a great deal. The gig was great. Lots of singing and laughter. I played the same set as I’d played in Vienna and it worked beautifully again. As the sun set on the final day we gathered around the central fire for an Eisteddfod. Time and again we were entertained by people who had come to camp. Just as with the Bardic evening at the BMWC a week before I sat there stunned by the amount of talent there is within the Druid and wider Pagan community. The power of the Bard is alive and well, and thriving. But soon it was time to leave. We said our goodbyes and were taken to the airport by one of the people at the camp. He went out of his way to get us there, and once more I was struck by the generosity I had felt throughout this two week trip. I’m back in the UK again now for the rest of the year. My next overseas venture is to Paganicon in Minnesota next March, and then a few weeks later we’ll be returning to Australia. But I promise we will be back to BMWC and Vienna soon – it won’t be so long this time, and we are already booked to go to the next OBOD International Camp next June in Germany. Good times. View the full article
    • UK Pagan
      What makes queer magic so powerful? At the end of the day, magic is magic, right? If a straight person utilizes their magic to manifest something in their life, and a queer person uses their magic to manifest the same thing in their life, is either one any more or less powerful? They got the same end result, and really, the end result is why most people utilize magic anyway, no? Tomandaacute;s Prower, author of Queer Magic, details why queer magic is so powerful. View the full article
    • UK Pagan
      It is not the length of time you spend in a place that is important; it is what you do in that place, in the time you have, that counts. After eight months living in this Valley (and additional months here and then on visits) I have decided to move on, and I mourn that I am leaving after such a short time, when there is so much to discover here! But I have decided that rather than feeling sorry to be leaving after a short amount of time, I will instead gather up what I have learnt here and pass View the full article
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