Penn Museum and Open Statues

Last weekend, I braved crowds of sportsball fans so I could spend time at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology with someone who is both a friend and a member of my religious community. They’d never been, and I always jump at the chance to visit because of how amazing the museum is. In addition to having one of the largest collections of Egyptian artifacts in the United States (including the first mummies I ever saw), their other galleries are equally interesting.
(Incidentally, I highly recommend anyone interested in Ur spend time at the Penn Museum – they always have some sort of exhibit on it (right now, it’s on the Royal Cemetery) and one of the world’s foremost experts on Ur is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
So, my friend and I visited the museum and were full of squee and religious discussion and overall joy. We talked about the Amarna period, and boggled over the timeline of Ancient Egypt as compared to what was going on in the rest of the world, and discussed the concept of soul and ma’at (and Ma’at, and the difference between the two), and I was in …read more

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Peace, War and My Druidry

veggiewolf:

A beautiful post, worth reading.

Originally posted on Treasure in Barren Places:

I’m currently having a hiatus from Facebook and other social media (though this post will no doubt automatically end up posted in some of those places), as a result of debates – if you can call them that – on Palestine and Israel.

At the same time, Cadno of the Druid Network has got me thinking about honourable debate. I do not think that honourable debate is actually happening on social media in response to this particular topic, at the moment. Nor do I think it’s happening much in person, although it may be slightly better face-to-face. But just barely.

I say this, writing on the verge of tears, because yesterday my wife SJ (who uses the pronoun ‘they’) and I were sitting in a cafe. SJ had a fancy coffee, I had a very nice cup of tea. SJ, who rarely gets emotional, was upset and trying to explain…

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Paludal Dilemma – Real World Ethics

I was listening to an episode of the Radiolab podcast this week called “For the Birds”, and was struck by the story they told. In short (from their website):
“…When the conservationists showed up at Clarice Gibbs’ door and asked her to take down her bird feeders down for the sake of an endangered bird, she said no. Everybody just figured she was a crazy bird lady. But writer Jon Mooallem went to see her and discovered there was much more to this story…”
The more to this story? Mrs. Gibbs’ husband had severe Alzheimer’s Disease and the only time he was present was when birds were in the yard and at the feeders. In the midst of her turmoil, Mrs. Gibbs found moments when she could almost forget everything she was going through – moments when her husband came back to her.
I recommend listening to the episode in full before pondering the questions I’m about to ask:

Where is the point at which the needs of many outweigh the needs of an individual?
Does that change when one side is human and one side isn’t?

There are a number of ways that I can look at this particular story, and …read more

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Working Through Trance-Portation: A New Approach

So, in March of 2013 I tried to do a work-through of Diana Paxson’s Trance-Portation on this blog. It was a dismal failure – on my own, I was unable to read past Chapter 3 and write past the Introduction. I put the project aside and figured I’d just never finish the book and would be forever branded as a failure as a Pagan.
Okay, that last bit is an exaggeration. Kind of. Maybe.
And then, the book came up again in discussion on The Cauldron and I decided to join a group of people in reading through it. Yes, I know, but I actually think I might be able to get through the thing if I have people to keep me accountable. I can do many many things on my own but finishing Trance-Portation is not one of them. Sorry, Ms. Paxson.
The organizer of the group effort posted the initial discussion thread, on the Introduction and Chapter One, here, and along with it came a questionnaire. I decided to bring that questionnaire over here to answer fully, and then I will summarize it in the discussion thread. So, here goes! Wish …read more

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(The) Ogdoad

I wanted to write a simple post explaining The Ogdoad of Hermopolis, with a larger plan of later writing one about The Ennead of Heliopolis, and then culminating in a compare-contrast post of the two. However, like so many thinks that seem simple from the outside, looking into what I thought was The Ogdoad turned into an exploration of ogdoads. As in plural. As in…this is a way more widespread concept than I thought, and it isn’t limited to Hermopolis.
(Spoiler alert – ennead isn’t any more cut-and-dried. Just sayin’.)
First, let me get this out of the way: Hermopolis is the Greek name for the city of Khmwnw (Khmunu – Eight City; City of Eight), just as Heliopolis is the Greek name for the city of Jwnw (Junu – House of Ra). In this post, I’ll be trying to stick to the Egyptian names, except when specifically talking about the Greek period and/or Greek thought.
An ogdoad (literally four, doubled) is a group of either four or eight deities that are worshiped together. They are often doubles of themselves (four deities, doubled) or male/female pairs (four male/four female). The Ogdoad that we know best, the …read more

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Octopus Handshake

There are days when being a Kemetic feels as overwhelming and endless as shaking hands with an octopus.

Nice to see you! Want a hug?

Octopuses are fascinating creatures, and I’ve been enamored of them since I was a preschooler. Seriously, my grandmother used to show me the pictures of octopuses in the encyclopedia every single day – I’d keep asking until she did. I still love them, and all cephalopods. I visit them at aquaria; I read about them; I watch nature programs dedicated to them. In a word, I’m obsessed. But this is not why I’m comparing half of my religious practice to being entangled in an octopus’ magnificent arms. I’m making the comparison because it works.
Let’s consider for a moment what modern-day people wanting to pick up the religious practices of Ancient Egypt have in store for them. First, there are at least ten defined periods to choose from before the Romans took control, and each has its own nuances and idiosyncrasies. The gods aren’t necessarily the same, and in some instances are quite different (The Aten, anyone?) The creation stories vary; the roles and bailiwicks of the deities vary; the …read more

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The Cauldron Cill Brighid Devotional Now Available!

As my readers know, I’m a FlameKeeper of the non-Brighidine variety; however, a Brighidine group of my acquaintance has just released a devotional to Brighid that I think you should check out!
The Cauldron Cill Brighid Devotional is a collection of essays, devotional poetry and photographs in honor of the goddess Brighid by the Flamekeepers of the Cauldron Cill. It is available on Lulu.com in three formats:
Hardcover Version – with beautiful full-color images: $29.53Paperback Version – in black and white: $3.79PDF E-Book – FREE
I highly recommend picking up a copy if you’re in any way involved with Brighid, Brighidine Flamekeeping, or are interested in further exploration. The people involved in putting this devotional together are intelligent and articulate, and it is well worth a read!

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Navigation While Adrift

For Fier and Finn.
********************
“…All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody Sun, at noon,
‘Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.
Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, no breath, no motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean…” – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Coleridge, Samuel Taylor.
Even if I weren’t a Coleridge fangirl, I’d admit that the above passage is a perfect description of the doldrums. In the case of the poem, the description is meant to describe the phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean…but I think it has merit in a religious context as well. To whit – that feeling that you’ve gotten into a ship and started an epic religious journey…only to stall out due to lack of wind.
I don’t know any religious people – pagan or otherwise – who have not experienced the doldrums at least once. (If you haven’t, please tell me; I want to know your SECRET.) Even my aunt who is a Lutheran minister and professor of Ancient Greek professes to go through the doldrums at least once a year. Sometimes she can see where she wants to be and cannot get there, and sometimes …read more

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TT – Reading 3

I used the Tattooed Tarot for this reading with a random significator and three questions:

What was the main line of thought before the event?
What is the main thread of the event?
What should be the focus when thinking back on the event?

In this case, the event was a dream and I did not ask for details of what occurred in the dream…so I may be WAY off!
Significator is the Five of Swords – Hidden enemies; Underhanded adversaries.
First question – Six of Swords – A long way to go; Distance.
Second question – Nine of Pentacles – Satisfaction; A successful business deal.
Third question – Eight of Pentacles – Apprenticeship; Discoveries; Craftsmanship.
Reading of the Cards
Watch out for misleading suggestions you may receive from someone. Sometimes it is necessary to go as far away as possible. A positive attitude will help you realize a project. Listen to those who can teach you in order to increase your skills.
Interpretation
There’s something going on with you right now that is making you suspicious of both situations and people. This was on your mind, along with a debate about how far away to move from the source of suspicion, when you entered the dream; the …read more

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Nope, nope, nope!

Most pagan blogs I’ve read contain information about what the contributor is doing in their religious/spiritual life. It’s a typical thing really – write about what you know, what you do or want to do, what you think, etc. Yet…how many of us actually write down the things we don’t want to do on our paths? We might note that something was tried and didn’t work, or didn’t fit where we’re trying to go, but how often do we go beyond that?
I’ve actually got a long (mental) list of things in mind, but to keep this post from going on and on (and on and on) I’m going to limit it to five:
In no particular order…
Casting a circle (and its attendant elements)
Where do I begin with this one? Well, for starters, casting a circle before doing ritual workings, or spells, or connecting with deity is not a Kemetic practice, nor is it related in any way to FlameKeeping. As it’s not of the paths I practice, it is natural for me not to cast circles, call quarters, watchtowers, or elements, or do any of the other circle-specific things.
This is not to say I don’t, at …read more

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