Author Archives: thesseli

When Religious Teachings Become Immoral

AwayPoint

duggarsReligious teachings that once made sense sometimes become harmful under changing conditions. That can put believers in the awkward position of defending practices—either historical or current—that are now widely perceived to be either immoral or questionable at best.

Some of the world’s largest religions emerged during the Iron Age, and the rules in their sacred texts likely helped families and communities (or at least some subset) to thrive under Iron Age conditions. Today, we live under very different conditions. We know things our ancestors didn’t. We hold powers and face challenges they could not have imagined.

Here are a few of the moral mandates from the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) that some people still practice on religious grounds but that a growing number of others consider morally dubious given our current circumstances and knowledge.

Hitting children—The Hebrew Bible instructs parents to beat their children, most explicitly in…

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The Multitude and the Myriad

GODS & RADICALS

 

emerald-tablet

The sun is not the brightest star, but it is the closest, the loudest.

The sun is so close that it blinds from our eyes all those others who, by mere virtue of distance, must wait for the darkest of hours to remind us of their light. Without that garish ferocity, we cannot live, but it is at the cost of the myriad that this one Truth shines upon us.

If these words were in German, her warmth could bronze and perhaps sear your skin with rays of feminine brilliance. Were you reading this in French, his beckoning light might bring you instead to think on his mannish illumination gently coaxing out the life of plant from soil. The sun is feminine in many Germanic languages, while masculine in many Latin-derived tongues, and the moon is likewise gendered. It is female in French and male in German.

Is the…

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A Mystic Guide to Cleansing and Clearing: a review

True Pagan Warrior

Genre: Wicca

Title: A Mystic Guide to Cleansing and Clearing

Author: David Salisbury

In this work, Salisbury draws on research into several traditions, seeking to distill the essence of cleansing practices for use in a Wiccan context. In that, I believe he succeeds. Moreover, based on the one tradition he references with which I am deeply familiar, I daresay he provides an accurate overview of how these practices are used, and is mindful of concerns about cultural appropriation which get raised more and more frequently in these cases. In five relatively quick chapters, the author touches upon tools used in cleansing, practices for cleansing people and places, how to deal with negative energy situations such as crossing and hexes, and his understanding of spirit entities which might be problematic.

Salisbury’s selection of tools is substantial, and I like the fact that he acknowledges what he’s used and…

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Paula White Gives Great Headache

In The Desert Of Set

One of my guilty pleasures is watching televangelist shows, and one of my favorite pastors has always been Paula White. And I’m going to be totally honest with you here: my appreciation for Paula is completely superficial and has absolutely nothing to do with anything she thinks or says. After all, we’re talking about a person who sees nothing wrong with doing aerobics and pointing her nicely-toned posterior toward the camera while she’s preaching the Good News on her show. (Can I get an “Amen?”) That isn’t what I expect to see from someone who claims to believe the Bible is 100% inerrant and should be taken completely literally; but let’s give the lady some credit. She’s much more fun to watch than John Hagee.

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Trust the Knowledge that Comes through the Body: Heal Yourself, Heal the World by Carol P. Christ

Nurture life.

Walk in love and beauty.

Trust the knowledge that comes through the body.

Speak the truth about conflict, pain, and suffering.

Take only what you need.

Think about the consequences of your actions for seven generations.

Approach the taking of life with great restraint.

Practice great generosity.

Repair the web

In Rebirth of the Goddess, I offered Nine Touchstones of Goddess Spirituality as an alternative to the Ten Commandments. The Nine Touchstones are intended to inform all our relationships, whether personal, communal, social, or political.

Though several of the touchstones are influenced by indigenous teachings, the third touchstone, “trust the knowledge that comes through the body,” is a response to the separation of mind and body common in western cultures. In the Symposium, Socrates taught that the journey of the soul begins in the appreciation of physical beauty, but ends in the contemplation of unchanging transcendental beauty…

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Garlic Bread of the Revolution

GODS & RADICALS

According to a former lover, I make a garlic bread so good that “it could start a revolution.”  It’s pretty damn good, I’ll admit.  And maybe it could.

Cooking is kinda revolutionary in its own right.  It shouldn’t be–it’s something humans have been doing for thousands of years.  But we’ve all become alienated from a lot of the things humans have done lately, and there’s no better place to start recovering this than the kitchen.

Besides, cooking is pretty close to witchcraft. So, I’m gonna tell you how to make my garlic bread, and give you a little revolutionary history and theory behind some of the ingredients.

First, let’s start with what you’re gonna need. Ingredients don’t have to be organic, ’cause I’m assuming you’re probably as poor as I am and most of the people I know. Organic food, at least in the United States, is so…

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