Somehow it's encouraging to see that all religions have political disputes ...
A Hindu Temple of Discord. For three decades, the Hindu Temple Society of North America has been a peaceful refuge, but a bitter dispute over leadership has shattered the temple's calm. By Robert F. Worth. [New York Times: NYT HomePage]
8:29:29 AM comment 
There are Some days when perhaps it's not the best idea to use your runes
7:33:04 PM comment 
Maybe they're getting wise ....
If there was a historical Jesus (and that's a big if), and he was born following a Roman census, then odds are he was born in September, not at the winter solistace. Christianity has had a nasty habit for millennia of stealing other folk's religious celebrations - Samhain becomes "All Saints Day", Yule and the Mother Night became Christmas and Passover is now "Easter" - complete with bunnies and eggs!
Odd too, how the Sabbath became Sunday: 7 = 1, eh?
I did get kind of a kick out of the priests characterization of Santa as both "pagan" and "commercial". I wonder if he's aware that of all major world religions, only monotheists from the Middle East (Christians, Jews and Muslims) set a fixed amount that each believer is to "give to god"? Since god typically doesn't cash his checks, of course, it is necessary that this remittance be given to his (self-appointed) representatives on earth! How commercial can you get?
Arrgh ... this time of year always makes me a bit religiously cranky!
9:43:08 PM comment 
When I win the lottery tonight I'm buying tickets to Athens ...
The World Congress Of Ethnic Religions (W.C.E.R.) invites you to attend its 7th International Congress, which will be held in Athens, Greece on June «2004». This congress will be organized locally by the Supreme Council of the Gentile Hellenes (Y.S.E.E.) on behalf of the W.C.E.R.
Following the success of the previous congresses, all held in Lithuania, the 2004 Athenean congress will allow W.C.E.R. members from various countries to address topics of concern about their Ethnic Religions, Traditions and Ways. A full day meeting will be held in the first day of the congress on the subject of "The High Values Of The pre-Christian Ethnic Religions", and also interesting subjects will be discussed concerning the future of Ethnic Religions facing the modern Globalization and Monotheist dominance.
11:36:57 AM comment 
OK, now my blood pressure is really up!
I'm not much of one for "pagan unity" ... I don't feel that heathens have much in common with wiccans (in fact, I cordially despise wiccans) and don't see too many opportunities to work together religiously with such folks.
Working together politically is another matter - on occassion things do come up which are so patently offensive to non-monotheist religions that they practically demand a response from all off us.
The press release reproduced below from the The Pagan Unity Campaign highlights one such example:
Date: Nov. 26th, 2003
Subject: Offensive bigoted prejudicial quote by James Towey on behalf of the White House.
Contact: Ginger (828) 230-1273
James Towey the White House Deputy Assistant to the President and Director, Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives hosted a Q and A session on Whitehouse.gov web site today, and amazingly answered a thoughtful question for a PUC staffer, with this idiotic bigoted reply:
---------Quoted from www.whitehouse.gov--11/26/2003---
Colby, from Centralia MO writes:
Do you feel that Pagan faith based groups should be given the same considerations as any other group that seeks aid?
Jim Towey: I haven't run into a pagan faith-based group yet, much less a pagan group that cares for the poor! Once you make it clear to any applicant that public money must go to public purposes and can't be used to promote ideology, the fringe groups lose interest. Helping the poor is tough work and only those with loving hearts seem drawn to it.
-------------------------end of quote--------------------------------
The Pagan Community needs to make the administration aware that not only do members of minority faiths have "loving hearts" But that we in fact DON"T EVER try to promote ideology like the Christian faiths who base their whole religions on 'saving' others. We also need to snow under this man's office with introductions of the varied and numerous Pagan faith-based groups that of course "care for the poor."
PUC encourages all Pagans to send him Yule cards this Yuletide season, along with PUC. Together we shall try to educate this man who is supposed to be a religious expert for the current administration, about the various Faiths who have followers in Lady Liberty's land!!!
Address your cards, letters, telephone calls, and faxes to him at:
Jim Towey, Director
The White House
Washington, DC 20502
(202) 456-6708 (phone)
(202) 456-7019 (fax)
He probably hasn't "run into a pagan faith-based group yet" because most of us are not busily sucking cash from government coffers to serve our pet projects, unlike a great many Christian/Muslim/Jewish groups. We're too tied up doing things to help our communities to worry about getting paid for it.
We generally don't have "professional" clergy - folks who suck blood and money from their "flock" for a living. Few heathen groups have bothered to get the requisite 501(c)(3) status to even do tax exempt fund raising.
This obviously means we don't have "loving hearts" and that we couldn't care less about out communities. BULLSHIT!
This is truely an outrage: I personally served on the board of directors for the Hamilton County, Indiana chapter of the American Red Cross for two years while godhi of Ravenswood. The kindred itself collected and donated food and supplies for their relief efforts. I know of a great many heathen groups who participate as full members of their respective communities in charity work.
But apparently, we don't have "loving hearts" and are only interested in promoting our "ideology". Somebody needs to tell this idiot that it's the monotheist groups who have the "Great Commission" and the One True Way who are the ones interested in spreading their ideology!
There's a letter on the way to this bozo from me, and also one to his boss. Not that I think it'll do much good, but I'm not gonna sit on my hands on this one.
10:45:42 AM comment 
Evolutionary biologists have waded into the stormy debate over when and where Indo-European languages originated. ... Their findings were reported in today's issue of the journal Nature and support the theory that Indo-European languages arose around this time among farming communities in Anatolia, now known as Turkey.
Marija Gimbutas must be spinning in her grave ....
Pagan Temple in Akranes?
Members of the ‘Ásatrú’ (pagan) religious group have expressed their interest in raising a temple in Akranes (southwest Iceland) for their own worship. Temples to worship the ancient Norse gods have not been constructed in Iceland for a thousand years. Artist Haukur Halldórsson came up with the idea of the temple and has already made a model of it. It is circular, with symbols from Eddic poetry on doors and walls.
According to the Akranes Town Council, a formal application for the temple has not been received, but the matter has been discussed and has received a positive response.
[Original source is unknown - I cribbed it from a post to a Heathen email list (and the poster is usually a very reliable source, but there are no "real" news refs that I can find. I'll keep my eyes open, though!]
6:38:05 PM comment 
I don't do runes very often ... but not because I don't think they're useful. Rather. I think they can be overused, and often are.
I've given much thought to the runes over the years - for those of my readers who are not heathen, suffice it to say that despite popular opinion to the contrary runes are not a system of divination. They don't "predict" the future, and anyone telling you otherwise is selling snake oil. Nothing can tell you the future - not holy books, card decks, dropped stones or symbols carved in wood. No one knows what will be. Forget it - "divination", as conceived of in the popular mind, is hokum.
So why the Hel would any serious, sober minded engineering type monkey about with a bunch of carved slips of wood if they don't predict the future? Because I believe that they show you something far more important that what will be - I believe they show you what was, what is and, consequently, what may be.
Runes tell you the past.
I've my own little theory about how this works. It really has little to do with gods. Notice that, in our lore, Odin "won" the runes, and the gods are often said to "consult" them ... to me, this says that the runes are natural phenomena - or rather, they're reflective of natural phenomena - the sum of the events, word and deed, that have been laid into the Well.
There's not enough space to expand on this here - I've been thinking a lot about this for a while, and it will be expanded into an essay, and I'll link it here when it's complete.
For now, however, I'll make do with recording the "reading" I drew tonight. Call it what you will - it seems at once accurate, daunting and hopeful.
Reading from left to right, from Urd's domain (the past - "fate") comes Fehu, wealth. From Verdandi's realm (the present - "necessity") comes Perthro - the dice cup. And Skuld (the future - "being") shows forth Wunjo - joy.
In truth, I have enjoyed wealth in the [recent] past - suffice it to say that while there have been times in my life when I have been "dirt poor" the last two decades have not been among them.
The present - what more accurate symbol than the dice cup? Truely I face a bewildering array of chance, fate and hard work in the weeks and months ahead, regarding the farm, my career and the determination of how the remainder of my time in Midgard will play out.
But the future shows joy - and that is hopeful. Not guaranteed, not determined, not "ordained" - only possible. But oft when one faces a dark night, hope is the commodity in shortest supply and deepest need.
I got a recharge in my hope batteries from a set of simple carved staves.
11:40:27 PM comment