Tags: india

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

UK Police get Pagan Holidays, Dalits Build Temple to English

Pagan police get right to take festivals as holiday
Times Online, May 10, 2010
" Being serving police officers, they would no doubt leave their sun worshipping, mead drinking and naked dancing for their days off, not to mention the annual practice of leaving food out for the wandering dead.

As of today, however, pagan police have the right to take their festivals as official holiday after their support group won formal recognition from the Home Office.

The Pagan Police Association was announced by co-founder PC Andy Pardy, who, when he is not patrolling the beat in Hertfordshire, is a heathen worshipper of Norse gods including Thor and Odin.
Pagans, including druids, witches and shamans, will have to take their official religious festivals as holiday days, but each day is given the same respect as Christmas for Christians, Ramadan for Muslims and Passover for Jews.

Pagan officers will also be allowed to swear upon their own religion in court now, pledging to tell the truth not before God but by what “they hold sacred”.
One officer, who did not wish to be named, said: “When they talk about political correctness gone mad, this is exactly what they are talking about.

“I mean, what has it come to when a cop gets time off so he can sit about making spells or dance around the place drinking honey beer with a wand in his hand?”

A Home Office spokesman said: “The Government wants a police service that reflects the diverse communities it serves.” "

Pagan cops get eight new hols
The Sun, Monday, 10 May 2010
A PAGAN police support group which gives cops the right to take EIGHT oddball holidays each year has been launched today.

Tolerance of paganism now a symbol of civilised society
Times Online, May 11, 2010
"For centuries, Christianity, Judaism and Islam were regarded as the marks of civilisation in Western Europe as they supplanted the beliefs of ancient civilisations. But these beliefs never disappeared. Even in the City of London, with nearly 50 churches in one square mile, the ancient guardians — the giants Gog and Magog — housed at Guildhall, are carried in procession in the annual Lord Mayor’s Show as they have been since the reign of Henry V.

Today the wheel has turned full circle. Practitioners of witchcraft are no longer burnt at the stake — and it is a mark of civilised society that those who follow these beliefs are accorded the same rights as those who follow mainstream faiths.
In some quarters, paganism is gaining in its appeal to younger generations, disillusioned or bored with mainstream faiths.

Although the precise dateline is contended, many New Agers believe the world is moving from the Age of Pisces — the fish became a symbol of Christianity — to the Age of Aquarius.

This is in tandem with the rise of the green movement. Paganism fits well into the lives of this generation, where belief in a transcendent, male God is rejected for a feminine earth force or Gaia, seeking to right the injustices to nature wreaked by rampant materialism.

The election of Caroline Lucas, the first Green MP, is just one sign seen in some pagan circles as marking a new dawn. Internet forums have been debating whether volcanic eruptions and earthquakes are Gaia’s revenge."

Wicca's World
Times Online, May 11, 2010
"The Pagan Police Association stands alongside similar sub-groups for Muslim police, black police, Jewish police, gay police, Sikh police, though not yet Jedi police. Might this not be a good moment for police officers to go back to just being police?"

D is for Dalits and E is for the English Goddess
D Shyam Babu, The Times of India, May 9, 2010
""Had Ambedkar not learned English, he would not have gone abroad," said Eash Kumar Gangania, "and had he not gone abroad, he would not have become Babasaheb for us."

Gangania, a teacher from Delhi, was speaking to 1,500 dalits in Bankagaon, a nondescript village near Lakhimpur Khiri in UP. The crowd was rapt as Gangania added that it all happened "because Ambedkar learned English," finally ending with a powerful and surprising message: "If you learn English, you too can scale the heights Babasaheb did."

Gangania's speech came on a special occasion — April 30, the day Bankagaon's dalits pledged to learn the English language as well as worship it as a goddess. It was the day they laid the foundations of a temple dedicated to "English, the Dalit Goddess".
As more dalit parents insist on imparting English to their children, the market will do the rest. At some point, the supply of English teachers is bound to meet demand, helping educators like Kamal Kumar offer English-medium education. However, two questions remain unanswered. One is the colonial taint of English. The lone foreigner at the temple event, Sussex university professor Marcus Wood, offers an answer. The British empire was responsible for the standardization of English, which paved the way for its emergence as a global language, "but now English does not belong to the English anymore". The dalits' quest for English is their attempt to find a voice. It has all the ingredients of an epic struggle. This goddess may not join the Hindu pantheon of 330 million but it could usher in an era of cultural rejuvenation for dalits. "
goddess and god

Box Office Pantheism, Islam and the civic state, The Lesser Path

Box Office Pantheism
ChristianityToday.com, March 5, 2010‎
"C.S. Lewis thought pantheism—the belief that a non-personal God and nature are one, that there is an all-inclusive divine unity—was more corrosive to Christianity than atheism itself.
A conventional love story bolstered by dazzling visuals, the film follows ex-Marine Jake Sully as he joins forces with the Na'vi, Pandora's natives, to defend their ecosystem—which is also their god, it seems. The blue humanoids revere all life, believing that each creature is interconnected and charged with divine energy. We see the Na'vi bowing and worshiping before the Tree of Souls, their holiest site. Eywa, an unseen female deity, holds it all together, responding to their prayers for protection against American mercenaries.

What all this amounts to, grumbled New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, is Cameron's "long apologia for pantheism," which has been "Hollywood's religion of choice for a generation now." It's the spirit that animates such classics as the Star Wars saga and The Lion King, along with the teachings of Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra. Vatican Radio criticized the film for "cleverly wink[ing] at all those pseudo-doctrines that turn ecology into the religion of the millennium." Movieguide said the film "has an abhorrent New Age, pagan, anti-capitalist worldview that promotes goddess worship and the destruction of the human race." The only clear religion in Avatar is White Messianism, scoffed David Brooks at The New York Times, since "the natives" need a white man, Sully, to lead their crusade."
Islam and the civic state
Al-Ahram Weekly, 4-10 March 2010, Issue No. 988
"Every religion has its own genius for finding a universal meaning or value that serves to carve its niche in history. This genius might be inspired by the challenges it faces, by the aims it aspires to, or by the historical role it seeks to play. Islam appeared in a tribal and pagan environment, one characterised by the lack of a dominant religion and by the absence of an overarching political society -- an early Arabian without tribal protection had little chance of survival. Islam thus encountered a three-fold challenge: a crisis in creed in the face of prevailing paganism; a social crisis fed by prevailing tribalism; and a civilisational crisis in light of the backwardness of life in the Arabian Peninsula in comparison to the overwhelming superiority of neighbouring civilisations."
The Lesser Path
by Lewis S. Rutherfurd, The New York Times, UDAIPUR, INDIA, March 5, 2010
"I encountered Father Lesser at the hotel buffet, where my dad had assembled his mutinous table, including his fiancé, her 20-something son, my agnostic wife and our three glowingly pagan children.
Father Lesser has become a genuine Indian holy man. He’s paid his dues. Everyone in Udaipur knows this, Christian or not. But I asked him what he thought a missionary could bring to India, with all its riotous, ancient religions.

“It’s a valid question,” he said, as we sat in his small, cluttered room at a Catholic high school. “But if I believe in Christ, he tells me to go and preach. He doesn’t tell me go and convert.”

As we spoke, the noxious traffic of urban India clamored outside. “For instance,” he continued. “You came here, and I must try and give you something of Christ. But there’s no compulsion. How can there be?”
He’d come to love Indian spirituality, he said, especially the poetry of Indian saints. They made him a better communicator, and a better priest, and so he wrote books about them.
“If you really want to live — you’ve got to relate to God, and you’ve got to relate to people,” he said. “You cannot live a proper life without these.” The worst sins were selfishness and pride."
goddess and god

Witches and Witch Hunts

Low-Caste Women in Nepal the Target of Horror Witch-Hunts
MedIndia, February 08, 2010
"Hundreds of Dalit women are thought to suffer a similar ordeal every year in Nepal, where superstition and caste-based discrimination remain rife and where most communities still operate on strict patriarchal lines.

Human rights campaigners say the perpetrators of such crimes are rarely brought to justice, with police viewing the persecution of Dalit women as a matter for the community to sort out itself.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has pronounced 2010 the year to end violence against women as Nepal makes the transformation from traditional Hindu monarchy to modern secular state.
Experts say superstitions about witchcraft are often merely a pretext for victimising women, and sociologist Suraj Kafle points out that it is almost always low-caste women who face such accusations.

"It is always socially and economically vulnerable women who suffer," said Kafle.

"This is simply an excuse to torture poor women who lack support from the rest of the community. Poverty and lack of education make them an easy target.""
Indian government hopes to ban witchcraft
by Ibtihal Ahmed, DC World News Examiner, Examiner.com, ‎Feb 7, 2010‎
"In an effort to stop witchcraft and witch-hunting, the government of India plans to make witchcrafting illegal in the near future.

Much of witchcrafting practices take place in rural India, including in underdeveloped states such as Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

The United Nations has expressed concern over the murdering of women who are accused of being witches.

According to statistics, between 1987 and 1993, 2,556 women were branded as witches and were murdered as a result. Presumed witches, especially women, are displayed for fellow villagers and seen beaten naked.

On January 2 of this year, three masked men stormed into a village and killed a man and a woman on charges of witchcraft, leaving their children orphans.

Many people claim that a lack of jobs and pensions drive them to perform witch-crafting. Many widows also complain that their pensions were not given to them.

The Indian government hopes to start education campaigns as well as improve the living conditions of most villagers since financial instability is a breeding ground for the problem.

Advash Kaushal, chairman of Rural Litigation and Entitlement, Kendra says, “Lack of access to justice is the main problem. But there are many other barriers too, such as of distance [and] attitudes toward rural people.”"
'Somebody hurled a grenade inside'
Sapa-AFP, Independent Online, South Africa, February 10 2010
"Bujumbura - A Burundian man suspected of witchcraft and his three children were killed in a grenade attack on their home, officials said Wednesday.

The attack occurred late Tuesday near Itaba, a village in central Burundi, local official Evariste Nzeyimana said.

"Somebody hurled a grenade inside the kitchen where Emmanuel Nyandwi, his wife and three children aged seven to 15 were gathered," he said, adding that only the mother survived with light injuries.

"We haven't yet arrested the culprit but we believe this crime is connected to a family feud involving witchcraft," Nzeyimana said, adding that Nyandwi had recently been accused to causing a relative's death by sorcery.

Grenades can be found easily for as little as one dollar in the central African nation. They are often used to settle land disputes and family feuds and killed more than 130 people in 2008.

Varying estimates put the number of weapons owned illegally at between 100 000 and 300 000 in a nation struggling to emerge from years of civil conflict.

The government claims that a recent campaign enabled the recovery of 70 percent of those weapons but rights groups contest the figure."
'She threatened to burn me like a witch'
by Zelda Venter, Independent Online, South Africa, February 10 2010
"A family feud during which the sister-in-law of a Kameeldrift woman allegedly threatened to burn her "like a witch" and said her "bones will be picked up on street corners" resulted in the Kameeldrift woman approaching the Pretoria High Court for an urgent interdict.

The court provisionally interdicted Monica Pretorius of Leeufontein not to threaten or harm her sister-in-law, Anneke Bosman, or her family. Pretorius is married to Bosman's brother."
Wife-slay suspect Lippe testifies he made up confession to end 'witch hunt'
by Rebecca Baker, The Journal News, LoHud.com, Lower Hudson Valley, NY, ‎Feb 8, 2010‎
"Lippe, a 68-year-old jeweler, is on trial on a second-degree murder charge in the death of Faith Lippe, his wife of 18 years. He is accused of knocking her unconscious during an argument Oct. 3, 2008, and burning her body in a 55-gallon barrel behind their Little Lake Road home. Werner Lippe, who was married twice before, was going through a divorce with Faith.

Lippe confessed twice to a friend, who was wearing a police wire, and once to state police. He claims the confession was false. There is no forensic evidence linking him to his wife's death."
goddess and god

Gerald Gardner, Anglican Crone Ritual, Widow Accused of Witchcraft and Raped

Day For Gerald Gardner
Centre For Pagan Studies, 15 January 2010
"What: ‘A Day For Gerald Gardner’ Including an Exhibition of his Artefacts.

* A full day with Lois Bourne, Zach Cox, Philip Heselton, Professor Ronald Hutton, Fred Lamond, Celebrating the life and work Of Gerald Brosseau Gardner – ‘Father of Modern Witchcraft’
* With contributions from Doreen Valiente, Patricia Crowther, Dayonis and Gerald Gardner himself.
* Introduction by John Belham-Payne
* Brian Botham – MC, Entertainment by Paul Mitchell – ‘A Far Better Pagan’
* In House Catering by Green Gastro Delight
* Quality Stalls, Books, Jewellery, Ritual Items etc.

When: Sunday 12th September 2010

Where: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Sq, London WC1R 4RL Doors Open at 10 am Programme Starts at 11 am. Information Hotline: UK 07733581504

All Funds are to help the Doreen Valiente Legacy Trust

N. B. We sold out before the day last year and anticipate that this event will also sell out before the day. To purchase your ticket(s) now online please use our e-shop facility.

Tickets £20 in advance £25 on the day."
Wicca's Invitation
by Jeff Walton, Virtue Online, The Voice for Global Orthodox Anglicanism, January 14, 2010
"Wrapped around a rite for "croning", the meditation embraced a history of mystical women and offered prayers to "Mothering God" and "Eternal Wisdom." But the article was not in a new age publication or Wiccan blog: it was on the pages of the September newsletter of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.

Entitled "Crone Power", the meditation innocuously sat opposite a story about choosing a children's Bible and next to a column on St. Jerome. The newsletter quickly drew the attention of Anglican bloggers, many of whom found the placement of what appeared to be a Wiccan ritual to be jarring in an official church publication. But intentionally or not, the publication and placement of the rite were reflective of a new reality: one in which practices drawn from or inspired by pagan belief, including witchcraft, are increasingly finding acceptance within the ranks of the Episcopal Church.
While the croning ritual was notable for its prominence in a diocesan newsletter, such pagan-inspired practices are not new in the Episcopal Church. In 2005, Pennsylvania Episcopal priest Bill Melnyk was outed as a Druid (he belonged to the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids) after posting a druid ritual to an Episcopal Church Women's website. Melnyk, who had taken the name "Oakwyse," was forced to resign by his bishop.
"A lot of these women are looking to affirm something that they don't think is being met," Saunders said. Quoting author Arthur Lindsley of the C.S. Lewis Institute, Sanders surmises that sometimes "people are interested in neopaganism because of the unpaid bills of the church."

One example that Sanders cites is the church's lack of a response to miscarriage or stillbirth. While the Episcopal Church has historically offered no rite acknowledging these traumas, Wicca does."

I want to point out the contradiction in the Christian view of pagan theology. On the one hand they keep saying we have no "personal" god. On the other hand they think our gods are much to human.
"The evangelical author notes that many of the pagan rituals do not focus on a personal God, since they presuppose a god revealed or contained only in natural forces.
In contrast, Scripture does not describe God as possessing reproductive organs or giving birth, traits common in depictions of pagan deities. "Obviously God is not human, he is wholly other," Sanders said. "
Widow raped for practising witchcraft
by Kumar Rajesh, Times of India, ‎Jan 19, 2010‎
"On Saturday evening, when the victim was returning to her home after selling vegetables at a village market, five persons -- Anil, Faujdari, Sikander, Mikki and an unidentified person -- intercepted her near a field under the Rajaun police station in Banka district. Anil and Faujdari then raped her and shoved stone pebbles into her private parts. They also snatched all the money in her possession, the victim alleged in her statement before the Barari police. Somehow, she managed to reach a phone booth and informed her son-in-law and daughter, who resides in Gangti village under Goradih block in Bhagalpur, the victim stated, adding she sometimes used to stay in the night at her daughter's

She said about five months ago, the six-month-old daughter of Anil, a resident of Gangti village under Goradih block, had died of some unknown disease. Suresh, a village "ojha", had then alleged that the widow is a witch and the baby died because of her black magic. Following the allegation, she was thrashed and threatened by Anil and some other villagers. The Saturday incident is a sequel
to past events, she alleged."