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Midsummer Day: A Once and Future Holy-Day?

Midsummer Day: A Once and Future Holy-Day?

That our modern-day holidays have been shaped by economic forces can prove a rather unsettling notion. We might find ourselves wondering not only about the new holidays we gained, but those we may have lost, in the commodification process. At the same time, it is worth acknowledging that cultural institutions are, like Heraclitus’ river, always in flux, always changing, and subject to any number of forces, economic, political, theological, astronomical, and even meteorological.

A Walk on the Wild Side: Introduction to a Goddess-honoring Tradition Where the Witch and the Tantrick Meet

A Walk on the Wild Side: Introduction to a Goddess-honoring Tradition Where the Witch and the Tantrick Meet

By Chandra Alexandre….
Today, a robust and dynamic complexity of religious thought and engagement is being achieved through new traditions in which symbols, deities, and rituals (some only recently constructed) inform by connecting to passions, devotion and a desire for engaged spirituality not contained by country of origin—practitioner’s or deity’s. Add to this a confluence of feminism, goddess-focused spiritualities, and access to various forms of Hinduism, as well as a growing Indian-American population with Hindu diasporic roots and bi-cultural sensibilities, and we find a Western Shakta Hindu perspective and related forms of worship and practice emerging that assert both authenticity and independence from the Hindu source. One such emergence is the countercultural religious tradition known as Sha’can, what I fondly call a (R)evolutionary Shakta Tantra

Retreating to Dzogchen Beara: Eastern Spirituality in Western Ireland

Retreating to Dzogchen Beara: Eastern Spirituality in Western Ireland

By Melinda Rothouse….
From the moment I stepped into the van, I knew I had entered a different world. The other passengers are already well-acquainted with the weekly O’Donaghue bus from Cork to Castletownbere, a little town somewhere far out on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork, Ireland.

Heading home from a day of commerce in the city, many passengers carried loads of shopping bags that filled the narrow aisles while others were making a weekend commute to the Peninsula. A musty odour permeated the vehicle, smoky—dusky, an infusion of cigarette smoke and body odour, perfume and food. Aromas left behind by the countless passengers who made the trip many years past.

Mary Magdalene and Female Authority in the Early Church

Mary Magdalene and Female Authority in the Early Church

By Kate Daley-Bailey….
Abraham’s article awoke anew many concerns I have had with the Catholic Church’s’ ardent fear of the possibility of allowing women into positions of authority in the church. As Abraham so astutely pointed out, the linking of female ordination and sexual abuse of children is startling. Is the Catholic Church launching a preemptive strike against what they fear will be a renewed interest in allowing women into the priesthood? This overreaction led me to investigate the origin of the Church’s fear of women in leadership roles.

Three Faiths, Yes, But Out of How Many?

Three Faiths, Yes, But Out of How Many?

The show, which has been assembled entirely out of gorgeous manuscripts from the Library’s own vast holdings, is intended to offset the more regrettable interreligious energies unleashed by this so-called (and somewhat poorly named) Mosque Controversy. The exhibit is designed to remind its visitors that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share a great deal, and it manages to do so while avoiding seeming preachy, or by cheating to making things seem rosier and more peaceable than in fact they are. Instead, the show offers the visitor a remarkable walking tour through sacred geography, religious history, and even the history of the technologies of the written word.

Easter – Christian, Jewish, Pagan?

Easter – Christian, Jewish, Pagan?

Easter (Pascha in Greek and Latin) is arguably the most important feast in the Christian liturgical year yet the modern Easter celebration is often associated with Jewish Passover as well as pagan imagery and deities. Is the modern Easter feast a purely Christian one or is there legitimacy in viewing Easter as a product of religious syncretism?