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  1. The Village Square

    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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      Veggie dancer
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  • Posts

    • atky90
      Thank you for your answers, Even though some didn't really answer lol
    • Veggie dancer
      Saw a last sheaf standing alone in a field the other day. I think it was a little patch missed by mistake but I thought of john barley corn perhaps it had been left intentionally who knows. John barley corn song. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1qcDfB6Rgog  
    • UK Pagan
      As an adult, we deal with boxes pretty frequently.  They are mundane trappings of life most of the time.  They mean very little to us.  When we were kids, boxes held such magic.

      My daughter is enjoying boxes that I haven't been able to recycle fast enough. They are spread across the living room, and she's made them her own little world.  One is a tunnel, another a house, and a third is a car.  Earlier today, she pretended to nap in one.  One of her favorite pastimes is to sit in the box and let her 11-year-old brother push her around the apartment. 

      Boxes are magic because she hasn't learned to associate them with limitations, organization, or conformity.  She sees possibilities everywhere, and better than that, she embraces them.  Watching her create with boxes makes me want to try it out.  I'm inspired to see new possibilities in the world around me.  An empty candle holder is looking like a great place to put a plant.  The hula hoops look like really big wreath forms. The clutter catching top of the armoire in my living room seems like a great place to start an indoor garden (I'm still working out how to water it, as it's over my head).

      Let yourself look for possibility and fun in your ordinary, everyday existence.  You might be surprised at how much inspiration and positive change is right at the end of your nose.  Be a kid, just for a few moments and forget "should" in favor of "could". It's a completely magical experience. View the full article
    • UK Pagan
      Lughnasadh (aka Lammas) is one of the 8 festivals that are held within the modern Pagan Wheel of the Year. It marks the first harvest – that being the wheat and barley within the fields that has grown from the green of the Summer Solstice, to the gold of Lughnasadh. In old folk songs of Albion the spirit of the fields has been called ‘John Barleycorn’, and the whole dying and resurrecting God story was made popular by James Frazer’s book The Golden Bough. It’s interesting that this was one of the must reads when I first discovered Paganism, along with Robert Graves’ The White Goddess. These days I hear people say they are two of the books people new to the Path mustn’t read, but I got a lot from them myself. I’m not sure advice of avoidance is that useful – maybe just read them with an open mind, and know that some of the scholarly aspects may well be suspect. Yet still to me the Awen sings through some of their pages. But I digress… Lughnasadh was the first Pagan festival I remember celebrating. Me and some friends organised a picnic on the hill below the Long Man of Wilmington (a hill that some years later would see the foundation of the Anderida Gorsedd open rituals, that continue for every festival to this day). I had recently founded a business, so during the ceremony I stepped away from the picnic, and held a magical ceremony. The business needed extra finances, so I wrote a ritual asking that, if it be for the greater good, some extra finance came our way. I still have the little bottle that contains the ritual herbs, parchment, and magical words. Paganism was also new to many of the people on the picnic, so I brought along some information about the festival. It was a great day. Below the hill the fields still stood golden in the sunshine, but in other fields you could hear the sound of the harvesters bringing John Barleycorn in. No fields full of people now, coming together in community with scythe and cord, cutting the crop by hand. Would the last sheaf, the ‘neck’, still be left standing to be honoured, cut and raised aloft with the call “I have the neck!” Probably not, but somehow the spirit of the fields still spoke to me that day, and heard the words of my magic. The next day I received a call in the office, and our newly-formed company gained it’s own Business Angel. I love Lughnasadh, but I have mixed feeling about what it brings next. I’m a Child of Summer, born near the Summer Solstice, and I know that when the gates of Lughnasadh open, they bring the first stirrings of Autumn, and thus with it less daylight hours, and the change that will then bring the dark, wet, and cold of Winter. So although Lughnasadh feels like the culmination of the Wheel, and brings the celebration of the first harvest, it is also tinged with sadness. Which again is only right. The God who was born at the Winter Solstice, a tiny light in the darkness, has grown, the land has reflected that with the blossoms of Spring, the heat of the Sun increasing as he aged, and reaches his height of power and strength. But now he stands in the fields, an old, bearded man, with a crooked cane, ready to make that final journey into the halls of the Otherworld. I absolutely get that not everyone who walks the Path of Paganism appreciates this tale of the dying and resurrecting God. I understand that for some the duality of God and Goddess of the Land is problematic, but it still works for me, and helps me to understand my place in life. And there are some of the 8 festivals where this tale/metaphor/truth/whatever it is, stands there, tall and proud, and I cannot deny how I relate to them. The spirit of the fields is sacrificed to the blade, be that scythe or machine, and is gathered, so that we may have our bread, our beer. Luighnasadh is a time to be thankful, a time of honouring, a time of reflecting on our own harvests – how well have the seeds within our own lives grown? Have we nurtured them, or have some lain dormant, and just didn’t germinate? Should they be sown once more for next year? Those three men from the west have done their work, and now many of the fields around here lay bare. The Corn King has returned to the feasting halls of the Otherworld, whilst the Lady remains, growing with fruit and berry, to be harvested around the Autumn Equinox. Then she too will change, as the crows call across the land, and the breath of the Caelleach brings the cold winds of Samhain. And thus the Wheel continues to turn. View the full article
    • UK Pagan
      We all have some modicum of psychic ability, regardless if we receive messages through gut instinct, or talk to the departed, or sense the energy of others. But what if we were to hone these skills and capitalize on the amazing information that awaits us? Lisa Anne Rooney, author of A Survival Guide for Those Who Have Psychic Abilities and Don't Know What to Do with Them, explains. View the full article
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