Thursday, 6 August 2020

I Am Mute (©July 2020)

I want to cry.

I don't have any tears;

And I don't know why

I want to cry.


I want to die.

I am afraid;

And I don't know why

I want to die.


I want something.

I have the words;

But I dare not speak them.

I am mute.

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Peter Green - Man of the world (1969)

Shall I tell you about my life
They say I'm a man of the world
I've flown across every tide
And I've seen lots of pretty girls

I guess I've got everything I need
I wouldn't ask for more
And there's no one I'd rather be
But I just wish that I'd never been born

And I need a good woman
To make me feel like a good man should
I don't say I'm a good man
Oh, but I would be if I could

I could tell you about my life
And keep you amused I'm sure
About all the times I've cried
And how I don't want to be sad anymore
And how I wish I was in love

Fleetwood Mac - Man of the world 1969

Peter Green - Man of the World

Songwriter: Peter Green

Friday, 24 July 2020

I'm Sick Of (Anonymous 2020)

I’m sick of covid-19.
I’m sick of black vs. white.
I’m sick of Labour vs. Conservative
I’m sick of gay vs. straight.
I’m REALLY sick of the media.

I’m sick of the language being used and plastered all over the media. I’m sick of no-one being allowed to think what they want & feel what they do without offending someone. I am sick of the people who are out there jumping on the bandwagon, to protest, to cause mass confusion, more hatred and to riot, loot and destroy. I am sick of blaming the world for the sins of a few.

I like meat, again your choice not to eat meat, my choice to eat meat. End of. I’m sick of people who think that sixty year  old history is our fault, it’s history; get over it!

We’re one race, the human race and we all matter! You want to support Boris Johnson, do it! It’s your choice. You want to support Starmer? Fine, also your choice! You want to believe in God? Ok, believe in God. You want to believe in magical creatures that fly around & sprinkle fairy dust to make life better? Awesome, just you do it!

BUT how about being mature enough to be able to deal with the fact; that everyone doesn’t have the same exact mind-set as you. Having our own mind is what makes us individual and beautiful. If you can’t handle that fact. Then I’m sorry for you.

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye (1932)

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

Thursday, 9 July 2020

The Whisper

Deep in the heart of England,
I search for a meaning.
I listen for the voice of the land
But I no longer hear.

The land does not want to speak to us
The land is tired of us now.
In a voice that is barely a whisper
I can sense the displeasure.

Look at what we have done to the World
Is it any wonder we can hear only the whisper?

©Daniel Bran Griffith the Chattering Magpie (09/07/2020).

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Perceptions - Misconceptions & Change

As a continuation or as a supplement to my earlier written pieces 'Living in Two Worlds' and 'A response to - "Spare me this Pagan Revival." I wish to share with you my thoughts on the misconceptions and the many preconceived expectations, which people have towards those of us engaged is esoteric study.

It is a common human frailty to make an assumption and of course it has a benefit as a behavioural trait. It saves us expending unnecessary time and energy, exploring every nuance of our interactions with others. Psychologists recognise this as a necessity and it is very often, part of our normal day to day existence.

There are however, other times when such presumption is not beneficial. There are instances obviously, when such actions can be a source of misunderstanding. I as a Pagan and a folklorist face this almost daily, as people often think that because of how I self-identify and because of my publicly known interests, I may share many other interests automatically.

As an example I share a telephone call that took place on the 5th of November 2019. I was at home and the time was a little after 5pm. A young lady called me and asked, "Do you do spells?" I asked, "Whose calling?" She had not even given her name. She replied "Yasmin" and asked again, "Do you do love spells?" I told her, "I do not provide services." I then ended the call. If I may quote the musical 'The Producers;' "How do they find me? They all come here." I do seem to attract them. and they sit next to me on the bus.

Seriously, I note that she did not start the conversation in what I consider a normal manner, such as by introducing themselves but instead she blurted out her question. This has led me to suspect that someone has my business card and may have called me as a prank, I do rather give them out like confetti. The example still has validity even if it was a prank and of course, I cannot be sure it was anyway. It still serves to illustrate how people make assumptions.

People will quite simply, wrongly assume that because we share opinion or values regarding for example, subjects A, B & C. We all automatically share the same opinion or values regarding subjects X, Y & Z. This is intellectually and emotionally immature. The reality is that people often fall somewhere in the middle of our imaginary alphabet, sharing opinion and values on for example; P, Q, R, S & T. What however, does become apparent, is that often we do not know people as well as we perhaps thought. Often we have far less in common than we hoped for or expected.

As I have got older I have changed; as we all do. The result of this maturing is that I have become increasingly intolerant towards the New Age Garbage (NAG) and the Mindless Bullshit (MBS) that is prevalent today. Gradually over the past decade and most certainly within the last five years, I have become aware that I have less and less in common; with so many that call themselves Pagan. That is outside of sharing that identifier in itself and obviously this raises many questions. Since I no longer feel at home within the community of the tree-hugging, crystal kissing hippies that many appear to associate with contemporary Paganism; am I still a Pagan? What does it mean to be a Pagan?

I postulate that Paganism can be defined as a Polytheistic or Pantheistic nature focused religion or collective of spiritual paths. Under that broad description then I am indeed a Pagan. If however, the required qualification is that I submit to the 'Three Fold law' or 'Harm None' then the answer is no. Of course the maxims referred to above are predominantly Wiccan but not even all Wiccans subscribe to them. This may come as a surprise to some people and does therefore, illustrate a further misconception.

The misconceptions we have of contemporary Paganism is not unique to those outside of the collective. The assumptions and the misconceptions are common within it. Many Pagans and perhaps Occultists to a lesser extent, will assume that other Pagans all vote for the same political party. The real life that exists outside of the echo chamber that we call Social Media, is simply not like that. Not all British Pagans vote Labour, many vote Conservative. Not all American Pagans vote Democrat, many vote Republican. Not every Pagan is a vegetarian and we don't all smoke cannabis. We don't all like Star Trek and we don't all read Harry Potter. To state that someone is not a Pagan because they do not vote a particular way, eat a certain diet, share the same interests or even enjoy the same hobbies, is beyond being a simple error. It is foolish, it is absurd. We do not all share the same opinion, the same values or the same principles.

In looking back at my own journey over the past thirty odd years, I sometimes feel that I have delved into contemporary Paganism and then passed right out the other side. The lack of commonality I have with that community today is marked. I am still a Pagan, I can still declare that Paganism is my religious standpoint. I am however, not the kind of Pagan that many appear to think I am or even expect me to be. I am my own man.




Saturday, 4 July 2020

It is hard (Poem)

It is hard to face a pain,
When you don't know why;
You are in pain
Or where that pain has come from.

How I want to sleep a peaceful sleep,
To have a mind at rest and uncluttered.
To have a heart that does not beat;
Loud and hurting.

It is hard to talk,
When you don't know who to talk to
Or whether anyone would listen
Or if anyone would care even.

How I want that sleep,
How I want my mind to rest; uncluttered.
To have a heart that does beat;
Loud and un-hurting.

It is hard to cry,
When you are cold inside.
Oh God, I want to cry.
Oh God, I want.

© D.B. Griffith the Chattering Magpie - 3rd July 2020

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Young Earth Creationism and the Televangelist Movement

Over recent months in an attempt to learn more regards the world's leading faith, I have been generally 'reading up' on the subject. As part of this ongoing study I have purchased a new Bible, I have attended church and I have watched on YouTube an assortment of programmes on the subject. What I have read, seen and experienced has been enlightening, educational but also at times, deeply confusing.

Nothing in this area has perhaps confused me more than New Earth Creationism and the total denial of evolution by some self identifying Christians. As I have stated frequently, there is no conflict between science and faith unless one chooses to create such. I am equally intolerant towards all those of extreme views, whether they be potty Pagans, mad Muslims, angry Atheists or crazy Christians. Young Earth Creationist take an extreme view and choose to create a dichotomy; which is both unnecessary and harmful.

The New Earth Creationists can in some cases be dismissed like the other childish extremists above but not always. Some are far too articulate, educated and professional, to be dismissed easily as foolish or stupid. Furthermore, some are unfortunately the promoters of dangerous opinion and they are overly aggressive in their educational approach.

It was not my intention in writing this piece to focus upon any individuals or to identify them by name. They are to be frank, all rather similar. They are all American and the majority are male. We have for example one 'Pentecostal or Baptist' style minister who presents YouTube sermons in both English and Spanish. Which is in itself impressive. This man I have named 'Mr Shout at the camera' as that seems to be his main style of educational approach. This wonderful example of Christianit is 'anti' so many things, I really do not know where to start with him. There is a puzzling focus upon the 'Rapture' even going so far as to claim that the end times will come anytime between 2021 and 2027. This is based on a remarkable exegesis of scripture that is in a direct contradiction to his forceful disavowal of Gnosticism.

As one would expect the majority of these preachers are not supportive of a homosexual lifestyle, this is to be expected within the broad Christian context. The aggressive attitude however, does rather take me by surprise. The Christian teaching of love appears to be nonexistent. There is as I allude above an anti-esoteric element and this leads further to attacks upon that great charitable benefactor, the Freemasons.

I add that I am deeply shocked by the stance of some of the 'Evangelicals' in the USA who are blatantly anti-Catholic. Some even going so far as to not consider Roman Catholics to be Christians. Such an opinion is barely credible but the lack of respect for the Mother Church of Western Christianity, the original and primary Christian Church; being shown in the 21st century is more than disappointing. One would have hoped that we as a civilisation had outgrown such opinion.

There is as one would perhaps expect an underlying Islamophobia present but compared to the homophobia, the chauvinism and the anti-Catholic rhetoric; this is relatively minor. What these so called pastors fail to realise, is that their 'preaching' is actually an excellent endorsement for Freemasonry, Catholicism and other Christian denominations. It is certainly not a positive endorsement for their own brand of 'Christianity' which is clearly less welcoming than many others.

Not wishing to pun but I do observe that the 'big name' televangelists, have come as something of a revelation to me. Thankfully here in the United Kingdom these people are little known but watching them, in a detached manner from the safety of the east side of the Atlantic, I can see the very worst of American society. They are conceited, egotistical, avaricious and manipulative.

Although it was not my intention name and shame, there are some notables that a brief internet search will soon identify. This includes one gentleman who runs 'Dinosaur Adventure Land' and hosts a YouTube show called 'Whack an Atheist.' Another gentleman, far more articulate and better educated; has built a full size replica of Noah's Ark in Kentucky. I have no idea what 'Dinosaur Adventure Land' is like but having seen videos of the 'Ark Encounter' I am quite impressed. If I was holidaying in the USA, this is one 'amusement park' that I would visit. Both of these gentlemen genuinely believe that dinosaurs walked with Adam and Eve. Taking the Bible literally they discount evolution and misunderstand the definition of scientific theory. 

A belief in evolution and in scientific knowledge, does not preclude a spirituality. Science does not disqualify a religious belief and religious practice does not exclude the acceptance of science as a body of knowledge. The dichotomy is artificial and unnecessary. I am a religious man but I accept evolutionary theory. There is no conflict.

There is however, one preacher I will name. He is unlike the ones alluded to so far, a televangelist. As such he has much in common, with many others that preach the so called 'Prosperity Gospel' live and on television. This man is Kenneth Copeland and I really do not know what to think of him. I have seen him boast of his millions, his private jets and attempt to blow COVID-19 away with the 'Wind of God.' Although what he actually did was blow a pathetic raspberry at the microphone. I have seen him act out divine inspiration and the speaking in tongues, badly but well enough to have his audience in ecstasy. While watching Kenneth Copeland I have formulated a question. Is this a man with senility or a man with a mental health issue? Perhaps the reader can answer that question but I know a charlatan when I see one.

To aid my research for this piece, I have spoken to work colleagues who are Christian. One of whom is the young man whose church I attended in February. I wrote a blog about that (see link below). He is a far better example of living the life of a Christian Pilgrim than any televangelist or many of those making podcasts. I can see the light of God in the eyes of my work colleague. I do not see the light of God in the eyes of these televangelists.

In the eyes of Copeland in particular, I see something quite terrifying. I look at these televangelists that claim to be saved and I think that many could be in for an unpleasant surprise. If the Rapture did ever happen in the way that they envision, it is they who will be left behind. Televangelists are a disgrace to the church and to Christianity as a whole, they do a disservice to the Christ that they claim to serve; with every word they so shamefully utter. They appear at odds with the Christianity that I know and their brand of Christianity is not one I wish to know further.

Evensong and Epiphanytide 2020

Derby City Church 2nd February 2020

The Toxic Internet & Misinformation