midsummer – litha, plans?

Hey,

If you celebrate midsummer/Litha, what have you planned for it?

I’m working on 21/6 but I want to observe the sun at 05.24 (sunrise for me) and at 17.54 (exact moment solstice for me).
I also want to take a few hours in the evening , light some candles and think about Sunna and Balder and sacrifice some seasonal food to them.
I also want to start reading in a book about ‘ritual plants and herbs in Europe’. For food I’m thinking about fresh bread, potato salad, berries …

So it’s certainly not a formal ritual – more a bunch of activities.

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ADMIN: New site for The Cauldron — Take Two

In early April (2019) we made an attempt to move to a new site (see this thread for details). It combined a wordpress/buddypress site for our Special Interest Groups, a forum (phpbb instead of SMF) for our discussions and a wiki for member content. T+it had a complex layout and a single-signon (one account and one login for all three parts). This had a large number of problems and was abandoned within a few days. (Members are logged in can read the postmortem in this thread.)

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve a been recreating a much less ambitious “new site” built around our existing SMF forum — the forum you are reading now. Like April’s aborted completely new site, this site takes our current wordpress frontend and gives it a new theme facelift and adds Buddypress so it can handle the member-created SIGs — the most popular part of the aborted April site. It also adds a wiki. The major difference is the three parts of the site (wiki, forum, and SIG area) are not nearly as well-integrated visually or otherwise.

The main method of visual integration is similar top menus on all three parts of the site. Logging into the forum portion will also log you in to the wiki portion. If you are logged into the forum, you can test this now by clicking the Wiki button in the top menu, you should go to Cauldron Wiki and be logged in there (avatars from the board are currently broken on the Wiki, however.) The SIG area (using WordPress/Buddypress), however, will require a separate account and a separate login. Unlike phpbb, SMF forums simply are not designed to have their membership system merged with the WordPress system in a reliable manner. Signing up for the WordPress/Buddypress SIG area requires an invitation code. Once we open the SIG portion officially, the current invitation code will be available in the private Cauldron Community forum. This will mean that people cannot sign up for the SIGs without first being a member of the main part of our website — THIS FORUM.

NOTE: Logging into the SIG portion of the site WILL NOT login you into the forum or wiki. Logging out of the SIG portion will not log you out of the forum or wiki. Logging in or out of the forum with not log one in or out of the SIG portion of the site. Creating an account on the forum will not create an account in the SIG area.

I’m sure this will sound like a complex mess to some, but it provides a way forward that meets most of the goals when we trying moving to the completely new site in early April. Just without most of the drawbacks. If all you are interested in is this forum, you will be able to continue use it just as you have been and ignore new SIG and wiki parts of the site.

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The new American religion of UFOs

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According to Diana Pasulka, a professor at the University of North Carolina and author of the new book American Cosmic, belief in UFOs and extraterrestrials is becoming a kind of religion — and it isn’t nearly as fringe as you might think.

More than half of American adults and over 60 percent of young Americans believe in intelligent extraterrestrial life. This tracks pretty closely with belief in God, and if Pasulka is right, that’s not an accident. Her book isn’t so much about the truth of UFOs or aliens as it is about what the appeal of belief in those things says about our culture and the shifting roles of religion and technology in it.

Read the entire article

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How to think about Christian terrorism

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We now know that the suspect in the Poway synagogue attack is Presbyterian. His pastor and his family have condemned the shootings, and certainly, his fellow congregants are horrified at what authorities say the young man who worshipped with them has just done.
…..
Thanks to the privilege Christianity has in our culture, Presbyterians (and Christians in general) will have an advantage that Muslim Americans don’t get when a shooter is Muslim. Most of us will take seriously the fact that this terrorist is not representative of Christians in general.

This editorial goes on to talk about the beliefs of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and how they may have played into this shooting.

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Soviet power gone, Baltic countries’ historic pagan past re-emerges

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While pagan and folk religions may seem archaic to the wider world, they are thriving across the Baltic states. The Maausk community, along with Estonia’s other prominent neopagan group, the Taaraists, tripled in size from 2001 to 2011, the latest figures available from the national census. Meanwhile, a 2014 study from the University of Tartu indicated that 61% of Estonians believed that neopaganism was the “true” religion of Estonia.

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Challenging religious liberty in public square could open door to Satan. Good.

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Satan has been having a hell of a year. Just two months ago, the IRS announced that it now recognizes the Satanic Temple (TST) as a bona fide religion, qualifying the Salem, Massachusetts, based organization for tax exempt status.

In Penny Lane’s documentary “Hail Satan?” (released in April) viewers learn how TST has challenged the Christian domination of public life in the United States. When government puts up a Ten Commandments monument on public property, TST might ask to put up its own goat-headed monument nearby. When government starts a legislative session with a Christian prayer, TST might apply to give a satanic invocation at a later session. When the Christian Evangelical Fellowship starts up a Good News Club to proselytize public elementary school students, TST might seek to introduce an After School Satan club in a classroom down the hall.

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