Tags: art

goddess and god

The Great Rite in Art

I was looking for a Goddess statue the other day and found this 9" Pagan Great Rite - Forest God & Moon Goddess - Lord and Lady. The "Forest God" is based on the Gundestrup cauldron Cernunnos holding a torc and a horned serpent. I'm unsure of where the artist got the goddess symbolism, she has a crescent moon on her forehead, a two headed snake wrapped around her calf, and is holding a small bird (possibly a dove). She puts me in mind of Inanna. I immediately recognized the position and style as the Shiva-Shakti, Yab-Yum, Yoni-lingam, Sacred union from Hindu Tantra.

Tantra has a reputation in the West as being just about sex, but actually it is a lot more like European Witchcraft. If you read about Tantra you will see many similarities to Wicca.

Compare this traditional image of Shiva-Shakti to my Tattoo

It is ironic that Wiccans are often accused of being dualistic because of our emphasis on The Lord and The Lady while one of Tantra's "most salient features... is that its nondual forms reject the renunciant values of classical yoga, offering instead a world-embracing vision of the whole of reality as the self-expression of a single, free and joyous Divine Consciousness." As does Wicca:
I who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars and the mysteries of the waters, and the desire of the human heart, I call upon your soul to arise and come unto Me. For I am the soul of nature who gives life to the universe. From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return.

Before My face, beloved by all, let your innermost divine self be enfolded in the rapture of the infinite. Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals. Therefore, let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you. And you who seek to know Me, know that your seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without. For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.
goddess and god

School Board Prayer, Art Opening in Raleigh, Knowing Right from Wrong

Backers of public prayer may regret ruling
The News Journal, Delaware Online.com, ‎Mar 1, 2010‎
"Farnan found that elected school boards are closer to a legislative body than a school, and therefore a prayer is permissible. Both Houses of Congress open sessions with prayers.

"Although reasonable people can differ as to whether the board's policy is wise, could be more inclusive or is actually necessary to solemnize board meetings, too much judicial fine-tuning of legislative prayer policies risks unwarranted interference in [a legislative body]," Farnan wrote.

That was a direct rebuttal to prayer critics' claims of a constitutional bias in favor of separation of church and state.
But in the meantime, local communities can lead the nation's high court on this matter.

Requiring scripted, non-offensive prayers omitting references to deities is disrespectful of any religion.

However, the nation's changing plurality is trending more to subpopulations of minorities, as opposed to monolithic majorities.

Up against the Constitution, only two options seem unlikely to offend -- moments of silence or the solitary bang of the gavel."
Spirituality and kitsch at Lump
"Worms Are the Words" by Joy Feasley and Paul Swenbeck, at the Lump Gallery, Raleigh, NC
Through March 20
by Dave Delcambre, The Independent Weekly, 3 MAR 2010
"The artists call upon Wicca, paganism and other unsanctioned nature-based religions, deeming them all equally fair game for exploration. A solar oven included in the show stands like a survivalist's reliquary: a clamshell pair of dish-shaped mirror-tiled circles fringed with assorted ceramic offering bowls. (One of Swenbeck's fortes is in fact ceramics, and here he bestows George Ohr-like funkiness to his terra cotta and Egyptian paste works at will.) Swenbeck and Feasley have also taken a unifying cue from the restrained design of the Shakers, the Protestant religious sect that dates to the 1700s and is renowned for their design simplicity and spare lifestyle. The Spartan Shaker aesthetic is exemplified in the gallery's wall-mounted wood railing with pegs and brackets supporting the paintings and a few mixed-media works. At the gallery's middle section, a Shaker-inspired wood stove with faceted angular faces has an exhaust pipe that runs up and through a wall. It transforms itself on the other side into a withering deflated balloon shape that winds it way into a freestanding, glowing fiberglass-wrapped form looking like a funky visitor from another planet. Call this the UFO portion of the show. Yet with a little suspended disbelief, it fits within the artists' quirky cosmic mysticism.

Another intriguing painting called "Orion" depicts the famed nighttime constellation. Rendered exquisitely in engraved resin, it expresses a spirit of cosmic ethereality, a certain awe of nature and wonder that has so often captivated the human imagination in art. Looking at this splendid little painting, I glimpsed our own primal spiritual fascinations at work, coaxing out at least a little of the magic on display."
What is interesting about this letter is that I think this is basically a nice person and I agree with him that compromise and getting along with people are good things. I think he doesn't understand the "everyone is right" idea. It's is not that everyone is simultaniously correct. It is that it is ok for different people to have different beliefs about what is right and wrong. Of course this means that people are going to disagree about what is right and what is wrong. In those cases we need to discuss our differences and work out a way to live together. That may involve compromise, or it may be an agreement to disagree.

Trying to lay down "absolute morals" is tricky. That would involve forcing one group's views on another. That is not compromise or even tolerance.

As a Wiccan I believe in allowing people to live the way they want as long as they don't force their beliefs and practices on me.

I believe that same-sex marriage is right. Other people believe it is wrong. I think making it legal is a good compromise because only people who want to get married. Other people feel that allowing same-sex marriages is somehow forcing them to participate in something they think is wrong. I think they are wrong about that, but I understand that they think they are right.

There will always be these problems. There is no way to please everyone all the time. We just have to talk it out.

Tolerance of All Beliefs Blurs Distinction Between Right, Wrong
Charles Anderson, letters, The Ledger, ‎Mar 2, 2010‎
"Wicca teaches that you can do whatever you will as long as it harms none. Christianity teaches to follow the teachings of Jesus. And so on with all religions. My question, though, is how can everything be right?
I would venture to say that if this country and this world would lay down some absolute morals, and they were enforced, this world would get better. We have to understand that not everyone can have one's way, not everyone is right all the time.

It's called compromise. It is something I hear is found when a couple get married. They learn to compromise for the better of the union.

If we learn to compromise more and not insist on having to have it our way all of the time, I'm sure a lot more would get done in this world, and a lot more good too."
goddess and god

The Jewish People, Witch-hunter Murders, African Polygamy, Religion in Movies, Witches' Hat

Wow! this is really controversial stuff.
"A leading Israeli historian shatters the national myth of the Jewish exodus from the promised land."
The Invention of the Jewish People by Shlomo Sand (Author), Yael Lotan (Translator)
Book Review: The Invention of the Jewish People
by Harry Clark, CounterPunch Feb 4, 2010
"Sand’s account of Judaism, from exclusive Israelite genealogy, to Hellenic proselytizing, to proselytizing and conversion on the margins of Christianity, in Arabia, North Africa, Spain, and among the Khazars and the Slavs, to defensive introversion amidst the final triumph of Christianity, is the interesting and compelling story of a religious minority subject to normal historical forces.

The contrary view of the unitary Jewish people expelled from its homeland, and wandering aloof in exile for two thousand years, until beginning its return in the late 19th c., is a reactionary myth which Zionism has deployed to conquer Palestine and compel support for it. The myth prevails unchecked today not only in Israel but worldwide. Nothing “has challenged the fundamental concepts that were formed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.” Advances in the study of nations and nationalism have not “affected the departments of the ‘History of the People of Israel’ (aka Jewish history) in Israeli universities.

Nor, amazingly, have they left their imprint on the ample output of Jewish studies departments in American or European universities.” The Zionist myth expresses a virulently racialized Jewish consciousness. In the canonical liberal view “anyone who argued that all Jews belong to a nation of alien origin would have been classified at once as an anti-Semite. Nowadays, anyone who dares to suggest that the people known in the world as Jews (as distinct from today’s Jewish Israelis) have never been, and are still not, a people or a nation is immediately denounced as a Jew-hater.”

Sand states in closing that “the mood at the end of this book. . .is more pessimistic than hopeful.” His final paragraph asks:

“In the final account, if it was possible to change the historical imaginary so profoundly, why not put forth a similarly lavish effort of the imagination to create a different tomorrow? If the nation’s history was mainly a dream, why not dream afresh, before it becomes a nightmare?”"
Three held for E Cape witchcraft murder
by SAPA, Independent Online, South Africa, February 04 2010
"Three men were arrested on Thursday for allegedly beating a woman to death they accused of practising witchcraft, Eastern Cape police said.

The trio, aged between 21 and 28, also faced a charge of arson and another of pointing of a firearm.

They went to a homstead in Bizana on Tuesday and allegedly assaulted a 60-year-old woman they accused of witchcraft, said Captain Mlungisi Matidane.

She died of her wounds. Her husband escaped.

"The same suspects later went back to the same homestead and set alight two rondavels. The 11 occupants survived with minor injuries."

The trio was arrested on Thursday morning and expected to appear in the Bizana Magistrate's Court shortly.

In a separate incident, three men accused of killing 65-year-old Nokitani Tshemesi and her three granddaughters, appeared in the Elliotdale Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

They had suspected the woman of practising witchcraft, police said. Their bodies were found in their home in Ntsingizi village on Tuesday morning. They had been stabbed to death."
Another take on Polygamy. Even with three wives he fathered a child outside of marriage!!

Union: Stop Zuma witch-hunt
by SAPA, News24, 2010-02-04
"Johannesburg - Critics of President Jacob Zuma are trying to re-engineer society into "one man and one woman for life", the Communication Workers' Union (CWU) said on Thursday.

"The media's obsession and interference at President Zuma's private life aims at re-engineering society to conform to the capitalist sex 'norm' of one man and one woman for life, thus denying the complexity of human sexuality," said the CWU.

Demanding that the media "stay out of the bedroom", they said if the media owners and opposition party leaders could not respect Zuma's privacy, they should declare their own partners and "throngs" of children.

"This puritanical witch-hunt against President Zuma waged by the bourgeois media and the opposition is a typical modern day version of Christian fundamentalist crusades against 'sin'."

"This witch-hunt directed towards President Zuma seeks to reinforce the idea in the public sphere that it is morally wrong for either President Zuma or women to be sexually intimate and impregnate each other outside the institution of marriage."

The union believed Zuma's private life was "none of our business".

Zuma had taken two days off to rest after confirming he fathered a child outside his three marriages and engagement.
'Avatar' draws controversy from the Vatican
by Joe Cramer, The Villanovan (subscription), Feb, 4, 2010
"Rev. David Cregan, O.S.A., a professor in the theater department who holds his doctorate in drama, feels that the Vatican newspaper is extremely important in the function exemplified by its critique of “Avatar.”

“It can be helpful in leading people toward the kinds of artistic projects that will enrich their spiritual lives,” Cregan says.

This would apply not only to films with a particular influence over pop culture at any given moment, but also those which challenge or reinterpret ideas that may be crucial to the religion in general. Yet the newspaper has remained silent on recent religious-themed films, such as “The Book of Eli” and “Legion,” both of which deal with religious implications and iconic imagery in a much more blatant way than the allegorical “Avatar.”
As often occurs when popular entertainment attempts to address topical issues, questions are raised concerning its place and significance within the issue, as well as its effectiveness in addressing those questions.

Rev. Joseph Farrell, O.S.A., doesn’t see the naturalistic ideologies as necessarily in opposition with Catholic or Augustinian views.

“What I was reminded of was a passage in Book X of the Confessions of St. Augustine when he asks himself the question, ‘What am I loving when I love my God?’” Farrell says.“He goes on a search questioning nature and all created things and keeps getting the answer from them, ‘We are not your God.’ He concludes by saying, ‘They lifted up their mighty voices and cried, “He made us.” My questioning was my attentive spirit, and their reply, their beauty.’”
Ultimately, “Avatar” is yet another example of the tension that will always exist between art and ideology.
When a form of popular entertainment attempts to address highly topical and divisive issues, even in an allegorical manner, it is sure to incite some criticism. Despite this, it illustrates the importance of having relevant and intelligent arguments on both sides to maintain a well-informed balance for viewers.

“Art can create perspective,” Cregan says. “But art is not doctrine.”"
South Lyon Cross Country--Witch's Hat Run
Apparently the race is named after a building, the Witches Hat Depot Museum
"The Witch's Hat Depot functions as a museum and the gathering place for the South Lyon Historical Society. It's distinctive roof line gives the building it's name: The Witch's Hat. The building was moved from the original location on East Lake Street to McHattie Park in 1976 as a bicentennial project and it now serves as the focal point for the historic village.

The interior of the depot has been preserved to show what a turn-of-the-century train depot would look like. The Historical Society uses the Depot and the nearby Freight Building to store historic documents. The Depot is an excellent resource for railroad buffs or those who simply want to know more about the history of South Lyon."