Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Admin: Contemplating migration

I discovered recently that my domain server provides me access to WordPress for no extra charge. Blogger's not a bad site, but I find it a little restrictive. I also dislike how people can report blogs here as offensive and, with enough votes, get them dropped from Blogger's promotional areas for no reason other than personal sentiment. So I'm curious if anyone reading this has performed the migration and whether they have any suggestions for how I can do it in a relatively painless fashion. I'd like, ideally, to transfer the posts. I know I'll need to get my LiveJournal RSS feed redone, as it'll be a new URL, but that will be the easy part.

Also, any pros and cons of WordPress would be useful for me to hear if you'd be willing to share. Thanks.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A bit of history for your Solstice

The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind points out in his unique style how the timing of the celebration of Jesus' birth came about. It also supports my belief that Emperor Constantine did far more to reduce the influence of pagan beliefs in Europe than St. Patrick. But I guess it's easier to pick on an itinerant bishop in the same way that some animal rights groups bellow more about socialites in fur coats than bikers in leather.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Seasonal fare

Isaac Bonewits' latest project on his blog reminded me that my husband produced a T-shirt design to point out a truth about any shift in the seasons.

Axial tilt is the reason for the season

To keep within the theme of this blog, his pagan-specific designs can be found under Woo Beach Designs. He's done some interesting work with bindogam.

Carnival time

The latest Pagan Carnival is up.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The failing which market, now?

There was a lot of chatter in the pagan blogosphere about Phyllis Curott's claims that the big-name booksellers were abandoning pagan books in the face of pressure from the Moral Mafia (to resurrect Playboy's term for them). I found her claims to be somewhat unlikely, but I wasn't entirely sure why. It was more of an instinct than something I could throw facts at.

Until this week, at any rate. I received an early Christmas present. Sitting amongst the gift book section at Barnes and Noble, I spotted The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells by Judika Illes. Not just one, but a stack, sharing space with the coffee table books on ancient Rome and Monty Python. My traveling companion bought it for me when he saw how intrigued I was by it. And the word on the street is that Illes did a fair bit of good homework in putting it together.

If Barnes and Noble is too scared to sell pagan books, they have a funny way of showing it.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

My first fisking

I had the idea at the start of this blog that I'd do “I Read This So You Don’t Have To” reviews of bad Celtic books. This is related to that idea, but it’s a website instead. I’m usually mellow and balanced, but false claims are not the same as differing opinions. That said, I present a personally annotated history of the Celts and Druidry as presented by the Druidic Craft of the Wise.
The Cwmry, or Celts, are a collection of tribes that descended from a fair-skinned People who survived the Great Flood on the western slopes of the Himalayan Mountains.
The book of Genesis says that the waters completely covered the planet. Ararat only emerged long after the rains stopped. Or are Celts really merpeople? Can't be that. He didn't mention Atlantis.

As for the name of the people, I would love to cut them a little slack, but I can't seem to find enough rope. I know Welsh is a language that divorced itself from Hawaiian and lost the custody battle over the vowels, but it does have rules. And amongst them is that “Cwmry” anglicizes to Cumbria.

And trust me on this one, even if I am merely an amateur anthropology geek. “Pale-skinned” and “Himalayans” match as well as “Swedish Bikini Team look-alikes” and “Bantu tribesmen.”
When asked who they were, the teachers replied, "We are Pan," meaning "We are all of one mind," for this is the meaning of the name. These bearers of ancient Wisdom are commemorated with the head of a goat and the pipes of music to remind us of the age when the Old Wisdom Religion was first introduced to the Celtic people.
This would then mean that Wikipedia got it wrong when it says:
His nature and name is alluring, particularly since often his name is mistakenly thought to be identical to the Greek word pan, meaning "all", when in fact the name of the god is derived from the word pa-on, which means "herdsman" and shares its prefix with the modern English word "pasture".
The Encyclopedia Britannica would probably love to know that, too.

After about 2,150 years, the Sun moved into alignment with the stars of Sagittarius and the Celts befriended the horses who had multiplied and flourished in the mountains.
Wikipedia freely grants that the domestication question is up for considerable debate. But even if you take the Ukrainian evidence that page mention as proof of riding, it still places DCoW’s claims in the wrong millennium and about a thousand miles too far to the west, as you will see in a moment.

For the record, I’m polevaulting over a couple of paragraphs to spare you more than a passing mention of how Aescalapius (sic), the “man-teaching serpent,” was a Celt. It proves I care.
By the Age of Gemini, about 8,500 years ago, the Celts had migrated across the European continent.
Doing the math, this places our stalwart Celts as a flourishing culture about 6500 BCE. The early Greeks had only just started domesticating animals. There’s no sign of this activity in central or western Europe for another millennium or so. Our friends here claim the Celts civilized the Greeks at least 1,000 years prior. The archaeologists must be doing their math wrong.
At that time a new priesthood of Wisdom arose to lead the tribes of Cwmry (the traditional name for the Celtic people). With their guidance they entered into a time of peace and prosperity that lasted for nearly 6,000 years.
Why, of course the original Celts spoke Welsh. Never mind the Gaulish inscriptions behind the curtain! The great and powerful Father Eli has spoken.

And do I have to mention that the Celts didn’t emerge as a unique cultural group until sometime between 1200 and 600 BCE? No? Didn’t think so.
The Druids were the teachers, historians, physicians, counselors, musicians, seers, artisans and warrior chiefs of their tribes and villages.
Oh, damn. They almost got one right. I was so hoping.
In 432 A.D., the Grand Council of Druids met for the last time at Stonehenge.
I think he means the first time.
The Archdruid, Agricola, had received a vision that the Old Wisdom Religion preserved by the Druids throughout the past three ages, must yield to the revelations and traditions which were to become prevalent in the coming Age of Pisces.
Any relation to Cnaeus Julius Agricola? Georg Agricola? Coca-Cola? Hey, I know! It's Agri-Cola, the pause that refreshes your awen and awakens the fires of imbas forosnai!

More seriously, tell me how any druids at the time were only discussing Christianity in 432 when there were priests of that faith in Ireland before Patrick showed up. And he wasn’t even the first bishop the Pope sent. That honor goes to Palladius, who showed up the year before and worked an entirely different section of the country. And yes, sending a bishop to a country means you already have priests there. Do you really think the Church would send an officer to do an enlisted man’s job?
A vast majority of the Druidic Council shared Agricola's vision, and disbanded the Council to re-form as the Orthodox Celtic Church. (original link theirs - ed.)
Wow. So the Eastern Orthodox Churches are really Irish? Oh, right. The Greeks are really Celts, so the rest of them have to be. I forgot.
A young Druidic priest named Patrick was sent to Ireland, and a descendant of his mission has survived as The Church of the Culdees.
The particular church they link to seems to actually be descended from Polish Old Catholicism. As for the real Culdees, I think those anchorites from France would’ve been surprised to hear they were Druids.
In later centuries, when the Roman Inquisition found the clergy of the Celtic Church guilty of heresy for their differing philosophical beliefs, the teachings of Druidic wisdom were preserved with the rites of secret societies such as the Freemasons, and "The Knights of the Star and Garter."
An inquisition started in 1542 to combat Protestantism was really aimed at Catholic churches that were too Druidic, so an organization that existed in some form over 400 years earlier was created in retaliation to protect their teachings.

Pull the other one. It has mistletoe on it.
After 432 AD, the Old Wisdom Religion no longer had the Druids to guide them, but many families and clans preserved the ancient teachings in what has come to be called the Old Religion, the "Wiccan" or "Wisdom" religion, also known as the Craft of the Wise, or "Witchcraft."
And lo, the Celts of antiquity, who spoke bastardized Welsh since the waters of the Great Flood receded, switched to Anglo-Saxon.
In the Golden Age of Knowledge, the spirit of Chiro, the Lord of Time...
And the patron of bonesetters.

OK, OK, I just swiped at a typo. It was a straight line the width of a freeway.
The Age of Knowledge dawned over the center of the American continent at the Winter Solstice of 1971, as Jupiter, Mars and Venus moved into a conjunction in the sign of Scorpio, forming a brilliant star in the heavens during the early morning hours that Christmas Day. Three months later, astrologers watched in the dawning hours of the Equinox as the rising sun's rays touched the first stars of Aquarius. ... Perhaps the perspective of where we have been might provide a light for what path we should take in this New Age, as the Christian Era of Belief yields to the new Era of Knowledge in the Age of Aquarius.
The Age of Aquarius actually started in 1997. No, 2000. Um, wait, maybe it’s coming in 2150. Or is it 2638? Oh, if only I had the wisdom of Chiro to show me the way!

Well, I could, according to that site. For a small fee. But I think I’d be better off going to a chiropractic college and learning something that’d earn me an honest living. And no hating on chiropractors. Mine’s a peach and hasn’t pushed any snake oil on me the entire time I’ve been seeing him. Unless there’s some in the massage lotion he uses on my neck.

And thus concludes my first foray into “I Visit Websites So You Don’t Have To.” Any bets on how long it’ll take for a member of that organization to email me or leave a comment about how I just don’t get it?