Note: This essay was originally published in multiple posts at Atheopaganism and is copyrighted. It has been published here with the explicit permission of the author.
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For atheists new to the “pagan” part of Atheopaganism, the frequent question to crop up is: what’s up with these rituals? Why do you do those?
And to speak to the rational parts of their minds which are commonly what they most rely on, I answer that ritual enables us to enter the Ritual State (limbic/”trance” brain state, also known to artists as “flow”). It’s pleasurable. It adds depth and meaning to life. Read More
Last November, geneticist He Jiankui announced at a conference in Hong Kong that he has proudly edited the genes of several embryos, two of which (twin girls) have been born
Is the surface of Mars criss-crossed by lines so long and straight they can only be constructions of an advanced alien civilization? Many astronomers in the late 19th and early 20th century thought so. Join us in this jaunt into the frailty of human perception.
Learn all about it in this episode of Dead Ideas.
Be sure to support the show at www.patreon.com/deadideaspod to get your portrait drawn!
Music and graphic design by Rachel Westhoff. Maps, pics, references and more at www.deadideas.net.
… continued from Part II.
Hidden life beneath the snow and ice…… What discovery could fit Imbolc better than this? Scientists in Antarctica have discovered living bacteria, as well as animal bodies, in the permanent darkness of pockets of water beneath hundreds of meters of ice in Antarctica! Unlike our winter which is months long for most of us, these have not seen the light of day for thousands of years!
The life exists, hidden beneath the snow. Gathering strength, yet hidden in many ways. How long and harsh will this winter be? Can traditions of groundhogs or candles tell us? I recently saw a Pagans personalized Wheel of the Year, and they had Imbolc labelled as “Brightening”, opposite the sacred holiday of “Dimming”. I think these are great names – though the change does start at the Solstices, it’s later that the change begins to be noticeable. These and many other themes join with the making of candles and wintertime celebrations.
The Winter Thermstice is the time of the deepest cold (on average). This year, our Earth (with an assist from climate change) brings us very deep cold at this time, with the Polar Vortex! Temperatures of 20 below zero F before the windchill, and the special temperature of -40 with the windchill spread over the Midwest here. Negative 40 is special because that’s where the two temperature scales cross, so -40 F = -40 C! Here is my Imbolc altar, with the temperature outside (top temperature of -15 F is on the deck, 2nd one is a little warmer at -14 F down at the lakeshore). Brrrr!!!
Some of the ways many of us are celebrating were published a few weeks ago, and I’m in the process of getting both the candle making supplies and ritual materials ready. My kids (and I!) are looking forward to making snow cream for Imbolc as well. However you are celebrating (including Summmer Thermstice/Lammas celebrations in the Southern Hemisphere), may your be celebration be blessed.