This Disease Cannot Be Excised: Countering Patriarchal Religion

August 28, 2017

Update August 31st. The Return to Mago website is back up and you can read this article here.

Painting of Virgin Mary
Jan van Eyck 1432

It is clear to many feminists that the most important and challenging avenues for pursuing women’s liberation in the twenty-first century are elimination of poverty and freedom from violence. Violence and poverty are heavily gendered, with men the overwhelming perpetrators in these areas and both women and men the victims. As access to government has been achieved in Western countries while male violence and feminized poverty remain, the advancement of women’s rights has stalled and stagnated. A multi-pronged approach is rightly seen as the only way to break through millennia of patriarchal oppression. [article continues…]

Feast of Vulcan

August 23, 2017
Please don’t cook me! Go vegan. Photo: Cassandra Tiensivu.

August 23rd is the Roman Feast of Vulcan. The god was propitiated on this day for a long life. Fish were thrown into the flames as a substitute for human lives. The concept of the fish as a metaphor for the human soul is much older than Christianity.

You can always make paper fish for the Vulcan fire. They burn better anyway. Photo: Pedroserafin.

Solar Eclipse 2017

August 18, 2017

Photo: NASA
Fear around eclipses has been recorded since Babylonian times, and in fact many of the Babylonian advances in mathematics and astronomy were inspired by a need of rulers to anticipate and prepare for eclipses. What’s so bad about an eclipse? It’s a stressful time on the planet, where health, mental health, and relationships can break down. Violence can also be a manifestation of this breakdown. Maintaining stasis is difficult.

Another way of looking at the stress of an eclipse is that some things do need to be leveled. Both the violence in Charlottesville which occurred last week and the subsequent groundswell against white supremacy are manifestations of an eclipse. Decisions to step up the leveling of statues glorifying the era of slavery in the United States are also influenced by the energy of the eclipse.

A solar eclipse is a clearing energy, so working to clear bad habits or uproot problems in a relationship is a way of working with this energy. This is not a time for starting something new, not until the clearing energy of the lunar/solar eclipse combined with Mercury retrograde exhausts itself by the next new moon in late September. It is a time for taking extra precautions regarding personal safety: people are driving a bit crazy right now.

In my own life, the eclipse window has coincided with dental problems, the flu, and an irrepressible compulsion to literally clean house. If you have anything you wish to clear out, literally or figuratively, this is the time.

Goddess of the Harvest

August 11, 2017

All Hail the Winsome Freya

Photo: Jerzy_Strzelecki

All Hail the Mighty Cerridwyn

Photo: Joshua Lutz

All Hail the Nourishing Demeter

Photo: Myrabella

These triple goddesses have traditionally been worshiped in porcine form. The pig embodies the generating, nourishing, destroying aspects of the Triple Goddess.

What’s in Your Harvest?

August 4, 2017

I’ve been eating very well lately. Here is my Lammas offering of food from my garden and local farmers: lettuce, carrot, radish, cucumber, tomato, blueberries, basil, bread. Thank you Goddess!

Raining Mice

July 28, 2017
Photo: US Fish and Wildlife

There is a curious section in Aradia: Gospel of the Witches by Charles Leland that describes the goddess Diana’s incarnation in human form and her marvelous spellcasting to impress the witches. The passage says that “she declared that she would darken the heavens and turn all the stars into mice.” Diana duly accomplishes this feat, the heavens rain with mice, and Diana is crowned Queen of the Witches.

So why does Diana make it rain mice, of all things, to impress the witches? The answer lies in the dual roles of Apollo, as god of light and god of mice. Possibly these roles became syncretized with Apollo as he absorbed many other gods, but at any rate Diana was turning the stars (light) into another of their forms: mice. This is why Diana once chose to make it rain mice.

Cats and Dogs

July 21, 2017
Photo: Brocken Inaglory

Ever wonder about the phrase “It’s raining cats and dogs”? Most people recognize this as a description of a fierce rain shower, but have you ever seen cats and dogs pouring down from the sky?

The folklore behind the saying has two parts. A lightning strike in European folklore (and in some other places, such as the Philippines) is associated with a dog bite. That makes sense: electricity has a bite to it, so being struck by lightning probably would feel like a dog bite.

What about the cats? There is also a longstanding belief in folklore that cats cause it to rain by vigorously washing their faces.

So, raining cats and dogs refers to a type of storm where there is torrential rain (caused by the cats) and lightning (biting dogs).