Sunday, 16 February 2020

Evensong and Epiphanytide 2020


Choral Evensong on the 3rd Sunday of Epiphany at the Cathedral Church of All Saints in Derby (UK) 26th January 2020.


On Sunday the 26th of January 2020, I visited the Cathedral Church of All Saints in Derby for the Evensong service. Obviously not being a Christian; my attendance at church is a sporadic, rather ad hoc affair. The fact that I as a polytheist would choose attend a monotheist institution, does cause some confusion amongst acquaintances but that is easily explainable. I enjoy the sense of history, the heritage manifest, the ceremony performed, symbolism of an esoteric nature and importantly, I adore church music.


This church was founded in Saxon times but nothing from that period survives, as it was rebuilt in the fourteenth century. The decorative tower dates from the sixteenth century and has several interesting features. These include animal and foliate heads. The two largest foliates are placed on either side of the main entrance at a little above eye level. One is as expected a typical and a very fine example of a Green-man but the second is significantly, female. Whatever the origins of the foliates; whether they are purely Christian or incorporate an esoteric meaning from another source, their placement at Derby is remarkable. The female face is on the left side of the west door, the male is placed to the right. Think about that.


The main body of the church was rebuilt in the eighteenth century, replacing the now unstable medieval structure. Although much would have been lost, the more significant features were retained. These include the famous tomb of Elizabeth Cavendish, later Elizabeth Talbot Countess of Shrewsbury. A woman forever known to history as the great Bess of Hardwick. Her ornate tomb and monuments to her descendants can be found on the south aisle. Amongst her famous descendants was Lord Henry Cavendish, who was the first to measure the force of gravity between masses in the laboratory. This procedure now named the Cavendish Experiment in his honour, was the first to produce accurate values of the gravitational constant. This remarkable man rests in the family vault under the south aisle and there are other Cavendish family monuments along the north aisle.


The town of Derby was granted city status in 1977, as part of the jubilee celebrations of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II but Derby still does not feel like a city. Derby is really a country market town. All Saints is not a grand cathedral like Lincoln or Southwell, it was only granted cathedral status in 1927. All Saints still retains that provincial church atmosphere, rather plain inside bar the various monuments but painted throughout in an attractive cream. It is a very 'light' church, it is not at all gloomy and the colour scheme makes the interior appear much larger than it really is. It is a building that welcomes the visitor and then embraces them with light. All Saints has like Derby itself, retained a simple, uncomplicated air.


All Saints has the oldest ring of ten bells in the world. Most of the bells have been in situ since 1678, when the number was increased from six to ten. The largest bell weighs 19 cwt (965 kg) and at more than 500 years old, is older than the tower in which it resides. This bell is believed to have come from Dale Abbey, when that monastery was demolished during the Reformation.


Evensong is the common name for a church service of evening prayer, with a primarily musical content. It is similar if not directly equivalent to the Vespers of the Roman Catholic Church and the origins of both lie within the Catholic monastic traditions. There is no Rite of Communion. The prayers, the Psalms  and the hymns are led by the choir and the priesthood, singing in both Latin and English. There is without doubt a spiritual uplift to be found in the music alone. Obviously since I am not a Christian and therefore not a Communicant, my participation in any service is limited. I cannot participate in either the Nicene or the Apostle's Creed for example. To do so would not be appropriate, it would be an offence to the Church and to my Christian friends.


Epiphanytide was introduced or perhaps reintroduced into the Anglican Church in the year 2000, as an alternative to services found in the existing Book of Common Prayer. The season is defined as lasting from the Feast of  Epiphany to that of  Candlemas. Whether we call it Candlemas, Imbolc or lambtide as I do, it is of course that wonderful precursor to spring; that time of purification (spring cleaning) and a time to focus our hopes upon the future.


The optional Epiphany season of the Anglican Church begins with Evening Prayer on the Eve of Epiphany itself, which is the 6th of January or the Sunday falling between the 2nd or 8th of January.  Epiphanytide ends with an Evening or a Night Prayer on the Feast of the Presentation of Christ at the Temple; which is obviously the 2nd of February or with services on the Sunday between the 28th of January and the 3rd of February. The period forming an extension of the twelve days of Christmastide, results in a forty day Liturgical season. Forty is a number of significance within the Traditions of the Book but it is also a number of the Goddess in Mesopotamian tradition, this being based upon the observed path of the planet Venus. Because Epiphanytide is deemed an extension of the Christmastide, certain decorations remain on display during this time. The majority of us would of course, have taken down our decorations on the 6th of January. This is the reasoning why the Nativity Scene on display remains in situ and I can assume, it will be taken away in February.


Spirituality is a rather difficult concept to explain and I am not even going to try. It irks me however, that some play a rather pathetic and childish game of point scoring; by claiming they are spiritual but not religious. There appears to be a belief that one is superior to the other. If you support that definition of spirituality, then you lack it. It may be possible to have one without the other but whether that is desirable is another matter. A religion without spirituality is an empty vessel, devoid of essence and of virtue. A vessel containing plain water but not the wine.


Many different locations, places of worship and devotion have a spiritual essence, a genus loci or an atmosphere. This air of peace and power varies from place to place. I can sense this presence on a hilltop near where I live and at Castlerigg in Cumbria. I can feel this presence at the Rollrights in Oxfordshire and Arbor Low in Derbyshire; yet there are other stone circles and henges where it is sadly lacking. Christian sites are no different. In Glastonbury my necessary sense of place and presence, is found amongst the abbey ruins and not on the Tor itself. All Saints has that atmosphere but it is a sense of presence that not all churches contain.


One can only speculate what was lost when the older medieval structure was finally demolished. Did All Saints have like other churches greater decoration? Did the ravages of the tyrant Henry VIII or those of the near tyrannical dictator Cromwell, sweep the more obscure and esoteric away? There is little stained glass here and what is here, is relatively modern. Yet the plainness of the structure adds rather than detracts from the aesthetic. In many older church buildings there are still survivals from before those iconoclastic times. In Derby there is a distinct lack of the potentially Gnostic, Masonic or Esoteric in plain sight. The tower is the obvious exception but the interior is deceivingly plain. Yet there is of course a little; the Chi-Rho is the most obvious and significant symbol that has manifold layers of meaning but heraldry also hides multiple symbolic associations.


Sitting in a pew with my shoulder to a pillar and the magnificent golden organ behind me (sorry), I can experience the wonder of our world in the here and now. I listen to the music as I soak up the heritage, the history and the culture of civilisation, in one truly beautifully proportioned building. That is not to suggest that this building is a museum, anymore than any stone circle or any henge. All represent a link to the past but by being part of our present, they are also our future. All faiths, religions and spiritualities are or should be, inspired by the past but all must equally look to the future. To be living and breathing traditions, all must embrace both without any loss of virtue.

Friday, 14 February 2020

The Toxic Internet & Tall Poppy Syndrome



As I have stated in another of my posts, I did not have the internet at home and I did not join Facebook until 2007. I am a late comer to the modern wonder that is the world wide web and to quote Homesteading Off The Grid (YouTube 2019); "Everyone is an expert on Social Media" and that is important.

Those of you who have been following some of my recent posts and those not so recent, will be aware of my views regarding the Internet and modern life. My journey to become a grumpy old man is not yet complete. Behind the humour and rants however, if they really should be called that; are I hope some observations that will make the reader pause.

Language evolves, it can change and develop over time. We all know that and it is an observable phenomenon throughout history. The English language in particular has been enriched by the blatant appropriation of foreign derived words over many centuries. On the Internet and within our modern society, people appear intent upon redefining words to fit their own perceived agenda. This is a different form of appropriation and is far from appropriate.

For example, when I awoke this morning I got out of bed. It is something I do most days when I wake up. I am awake now but I am not woke. Woke is a verb it is not a noun. Science is a body of collected knowledge and it is a noun. You do not 'science' as it is not a verb. I have nothing in common with those who feel they are 'woke' or those who 'science' rather than research. The examples offered are a vacuous fashion trend that fully deserve ridicule but they are systematic of the politically correct nature of modern society, although political BS would be a rather more appropriate description.

Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners. -George Carlin.

The moment you step out into public view, you will attract supporters and detractors. The greater your public profile the greater both will be. Sound and unbiased critique should obviously be welcomed. However, simply by taking that step into the 'limelight,' you will attract those who take pleasure in criticism for the sake of criticism. Stand with your head above the parapet long enough and someone will take a shot at you. This is the politics of envy, this is tall poppy syndrome.


The term tall poppy syndrome is alleged to have originated after the Great War of 1914 to 1918. It is said to be based upon the spare time practice of British Tommies, taking pot shots at the taller flower heads of those poppies growing in No-Man's Land. This is a colourful anecdote but it is unlikely to be true. Armies don't like ammunition being wasted on such activities. The more likely origin lies with Herodotus writing around 400 BCE but he wrote about tall wheat. It was Livy writing 300 years later who introduced poppies into the equation but the meaning is the same. The allegory is that people who rise to the top, should be cut down to curb their influence.   

In this world; including that of the Pagan, the Occult and the Artistic, we have our share of tall poppies. Myself, friends and many professional contacts; frequently face the criticism of  persons who have to put it bluntly, achieved little themselves. Some of my network, including writers and those involved in charitable pursuits, have on occasion been deeply hurt by the toxic behaviour of their detractors. This has in some cases provoked a degree of self questioning and made them ask; is it worth it?

In modern usage tall poppy syndrome is nothing more than the politics of envy, manifested as acts of transparent resentfulness. People snipe at those doing well or in positions of influence, because they believe that they instead should have that position of authority. The observations and the criticism made are not always justified. I emphasise that those who offer this unwarranted criticism, have very often not achieved anything of noteworthy themselves. Their opinion would carry more weight if they had. Sometimes it is those who claim to be 'woke' who are the most vociferous in the debate. Perhaps they are not as enlightened as they believe but they are certainly special.

As a former Pagan Federation Officer I hosted moots, liaised with the media and Interfaith, I assisted in the organisation of events. I faced criticism on occasion. I stepped on toes to get things done. I have been a tall poppy and I have faced the same envious sniper. Was it worth it? In the short term, yes. In the long term I am not so certain but I did not do the job to make friends; I did the job to further a cause.

My message to those on my network still active in the service of our community and our society, those who write or are active in the artistic sphere, it to carry on regardless. I frequently look at what I have written and I dismiss it all as rubbish. I may even delete hours of work because of this. I have yet to meet a writer, an artist or an actor who is not painfully tormented by debilitating self-doubt. Those in the service of others, those actively engaged in trying to make a better world, are often equally self-conscious and my message is the same. Don't give up, don't ever give up.


Did Facebook Kill Witchvox?

The Toxic Internet and Misinformation


Sunday, 9 February 2020

Did Facebook kill Witchvox?


I did not have the internet at home and I did not join Facebook until 2007. I published my first blog post in March of 2011 and I did not have a photographic portfolio on Deviant Art until 2012. I am something of a late comer to the modern wonder that is the world wide web and to quote Homesteading Off The Grid (YouTube 2019); "Everyone is an expert on Social Media." We must all have noticed that.

In late 2019 it was announced that the pioneering Pagan website Witchvox would close at the end of the year and the announcement caused much comment on various websites since. Witchvox was founded in 1997 and by lasting twenty two years, it clearly cannot be dismissed easily. It made a significant impact upon the Pagan and Witchcraft community and many are saddened by its closure.

I am however, rather detached from this expression of sadness. Although I did have a Witchvox account, it was little used. I can't remember when I joined Witchvox but it was after I joined Facebook. I used the site to advertise the moots I hosted and the occasional charity picnic. I had a profile and a separate profile for the Hearth of the Turning Wheel. The use I had for Witchvox was identical to that of Facebook and it was soon apparent that any responses I received; came primarily via Facebook and not Witchvox.

In the decade (more or less) that I had an account, I received a small number of emails. Some were from genuine seekers and some from the media. They were few in number. I never once published an article on Witchvox and rarely if ever, accessed those available. Witchvox was for me an adjunct, an appendage and was never my primary organ of communication.

For others of my acquaintance however, Witchvox represented their first foray onto the Pagan based Internet. In the first decade of this century, Witchvox was the way that many found like minded souls. Members could share news of festivals, moots, lectures and of course, all had access to that free resource of study material.

What changed? Am I in my behaviour and my limited use of the site, indicative of how Witchvox ceased to be at the centre of the Pagan online community? Can my use of Witchvox or lack of use, be used as a marker to show how Facebook took over the role it once had? Perhaps and perhaps not.

It is too easy today to blame everything on social media in general or on Facebook specifically. Although in my own personal opinion, I do believe that Facebook is an important contributory factor but it is not solely responsible for the demise of Witchvox. The Internet has changed even in the short time that I have had access to it but it has most definitely changed. Facebook is not the only website, platform or whatever (I apologise but I am ignorant of the correct Internet jargon) to exist. Today we have Instagram, Whatsapp, Wordpress, Tumblr, Google-blogspot and a plethora of other sites that can be and are used, to share the same information that Witchvox once did.

Although Witchvox was a specialist site, these newer applications, platforms and media that have come into being, some specialist but most generalist; illustrate a change in social use of the web. What we are witnessing is the ongoing evolution of the World Wide Web. The websites and platforms that survive will; like species in the real world, be those that can adapt to their environment. Witchvox has become extinct like many before, because the Internet environment has changed and other, newer sites have evolved. Nothing is static. Witchvox was a pioneer and perhaps a victim of its own success, in that others learnt and then 'evolved' from it.


Saturday, 8 February 2020

WITCHCRAFT IN A WEEK?



This will be I hope one of my shorter pieces. Short because I do not wish to devote my time or my energy, on something so hopelessly pathetic and unworthy of deeper exploration.  Saying that, it seems that some of my readers do expect me to pass comment on recent happenings. In the middle of January 2020 a British newspaper who is far from as impartial as its name may suggest, published an article relating to the modern practice of Witchcraft. The article was titled 'I spent a week becoming a witch and the results were worrying' and this was penned in relation to one of the many light weight pop-craft books now on the market.

In the piece the writer describes seven days of her exploration, of the phenomenon that she calls Witchcraft. Some of her comments are amusing, some accurate and some rather pithy. The work has caused offense and resulted in complaints against the newspaper. Whether the offence or the complaints are justified is a matter of opinion. Personally, I feel that the piece isn't really worthy of comment. It is clearly a light-hearted piece and the book being reviewed doesn't sound at all appealing to a serious practitioner anyway. However, there are two or three points that do need addressing.

One disturbing point is the suggestion that practitioners of Witchcraft are deniers of science, equivalent perhaps to those who support the model of a Flat Earth. Now it is true that I am no fan of New Age Garbage (NAG) and the suggestion that all who practice Witchcraft fall under the aegis of the New Age, is mildly irritating. Her criticism of the NAG that abounds today is not an issue. Of far greater concern is the suggestion that practitioners deny science. Although it may be true that some may hold rather peculiar opinions regards science, in my experience the majority of the practitioners of Witchcraft and Occultism, are far more educated with regards the sciences than the average member of society.

What is clear is that the article and the book that it reviews, bear no relation to the Witchcraft Traditions with which I am familiar. I have been a practitioner for thirty years and if I have learnt anything at all in those three decades, it is how little I know and how much I still have to learn. You cannot learn to be a Witch in a week or on a weekend retreat costing hundreds of pounds. Sorry to disappoint those who thought otherwise.

Witchcraft is a calling, it is a path of devotion and a lifetime of study. It is not a hobby that you can pick up and put down on a whim. Witchcraft can be dark, it can be dangerous, it is not all blue skies and rainbows. Witchcraft should be worrying, Witchcraft should be challenging but it can provide comfort. Witchcraft can be empowering but none of this can be achieved in seven days.


The Toxic Internet & Misinformation


"Life confuses me, people confuse me. Sometimes I think I am the only sane person, adrift in a world of lunacy. Nothing makes me feel this way more, than what I see on the Internet and that pervasive part of our lives, Facebook." That is the opening paragraph from a previous post of mine 'Facebook and the Puzzle that are Friend Requests' and the link to that post is at the bottom of this page.

As I wrote in that same post, "It has often been observed that the Internet magnifies human behaviour, whether for good or ill; human social interaction is somehow exaggerated, becoming overblown and often ridiculous. It is also sadly true that we now live in an age when any fool can have their own website and thanks to social media, access a wider audience. This blog and the fool writing it is proof of that. It is some aspect of the Internet and in particular Facebook, that is able to bring the flaws of human behaviour so starkly into focus. It is remarkable how easy it is to make fools of ourselves on the web, without actually realising how foolish we are. How inhibition, etiquette and general good manners drift away from many users of the magic keyboard."


My article 'Musings upon the Internet,' the first in which I addressed the phenomenon that is the World Wide Web; was first published in the Hedgewytch magazine in 2013. As can be inferred by the above; I have begun to ask myself; what has changed in those seven years? I could easily make a list of rather peculiar websites and added to the same list that includes the wonderfully dysfunctional world of Facebook; is that other great medium for self expression, YouTube. The home like much of the Internet of the weird, the wonderful, the egocentric and sadly, the mentally unwell.

One of my more puzzling discoveries in recent months is the existence of people who believe in a Flat Earth or to be more precise, the extent of this Flat Earth movement. I had an awareness that these people existed previously but until recently, I had no comprehension that the movement was global (pun intended), that YouTube Channels existed and that Flat Earth conferences were held. Supporters of the Flat Earth idea (it doesn't deserve to be called a theory) do not believe in gravity but do believe in all manner of unusual conspiracies. This includes some rather outlandish fantasies that lack any proper scientific evidence, these may include Bigfoot for example.


In one YouTube clip a gentleman introduces himself as a successful and experienced lawyer. There is of course a difference in terminology between the USA and the UK, as lawyer is not a word of common or official use. Although we should recognise that it once was and due to the influence of American culture via television and cinema, its colloquial use has increased. In describing his role as a Practitioner at Law I am unsure whether here in the UK he would be described as a barrister or a solicitor. For the sake of this discussion however, it doesn't really matter.

The gentleman lawyer takes a desk globe, complete with all the continents projected upon it and a toy plane. He then flies the said toy plane from North America to Australia, keeping the bottom of the plane facing the surface of the globe. This appears to be quite normal. He then asks; apparently in all seriousness, why the occupants have not fallen out because they are upside down? This behaviour is surely far from normal.

In another YouTube clip British supporters of the Flat Earth are shown in a park, promoting their ideas to anyone who stops jogging long enough to listen. They are as the lawyer above, asking the same question but this time they address two designers of satellites. The two satellite designers are at first very patient and polite. It is clear that they think this is a prank. After a prolonged exchange they finally realise that the Flat Earthers are genuine in their beliefs and they make their excuses to leave while holding back the laughter.


Although the existence and the effects of gravity does appears to be the primary, contentious fact that Flat Earth supporters struggle with. There are other factors pertaining to physics that are of equal concern to them. Flat Earth supporters believe that Newton and Einstein are in conflict, they are not. Their theories complement each other, Newton describes the  force of gravity while it can be said that Einstein describes the cause. Any differences are relative to the forces of acceleration. Flat Earth supporters further dismiss the significance of immensely important experiments, such as that of Lord Cavendish and the Bedford Levels experiment when done correctly under scientific conditions.

Although some of those supporting the Flat Earth 'model' can be dismissed as harmless cranks, foolish, possibly stupid and hardly worth the energy of engagement. Others appear to be suffering from a mental illness, displaying a mixture of disassociation, paranoia and perhaps even a neurosis. I am not qualified to offer a formal and complete diagnosis on their behaviour, I can only speculate at this point. I do not hold a mental health qualification as I work in adult surgery. As a Registered Nurse however, I am qualified (and expected) to recognise, act on and report the abnormal. In the case of some of those that I have observed on YouTube, their behaviour is abnormal. If they were patients on my unit, I would definitely refer them to our in house mental health team and request assessment by a clinical psychologist.

There is a belief held by some that opinion carries the same weight as fact; not that I seek to devalue opinion but an opinion voiced without a proper supporting argument is often questionable. I am frequently irritated by the inability of people to provide references and shocked that people still believe nine million women were burnt at the stake. We are not discussing theology, political science, the future of the European Union or economics. History and physics are not open to the same form of open debate. Believing in something and repeating it a dozen times is not going to make it true. The Burning Times are a lie, live with it. Conspiracy theories are not true scientific theories, live with it. The Earth is not flat, live with it. It is an historical fact that Man walked on the Moon, live with it.


"The absence of evidence is not evidence for absence," is a quote that originated with the cosmologist Martin Rees and was later popularised by Carl Sagan. This same genius reworded the principle of Pierre-Simon Laplace namely; “the weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness.” This produced what is perhaps his most famous maxim; "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” It is worth remembering that the onus of proof is always on the claimant. We have the evidence for a Globe Earth but we do not have evidence to support a Flat Earth.

Are those who support a Flat Earth model mentally ill, are they confused or are they barefaced liars? Is truth and the acceptance of scientific evidence really optional? Science proposes an explanation for phenomena that is based upon observation and the best available evidence. The overwhelming evidence proving a globe Earth, is dismissed out of hand by supporters of the Flat Earth and their denial leaves me speechless.

As an aside, I have actually learnt some basic physics from watching YouTube. It was never been my forte at comprehensive school, which I hated anyway. Very different from my time at collage as a mature student doing the equivalent of A' Levels and later at university. As a mature student I loved higher education. I have never really grasped chemistry deeply but at least my understanding of science is greater than those proposing the Flat Earth scenario. No it was biology that was my favourite subject at school and at university; Anatomy and Physiology. I like the soft squishy things in life, I am a blood and guts nurse. I have given CPR to a patient who has soiled himself and I had to kneel in his excrement to do so. Blood, vomit and faeces doesn't faze me. Importantly we got him back but that isn't the point I am trying to make. The point is that my understanding of science, is enough for me to know that the earth is not flat and that gravity is real.

Reading so far you may be wondering where I am going with this post? I am using the examples above to introduce three points. The first is the display of poor intelligence or lack of understanding that is prevalent across the Internet. The second point is that of conflict. Those who support and promote the concept of a Flat Earth, are in turn countered by a scientific movement. There is conflict as this second body endeavours to correct and re-educate where necessary via their own blogs and YouTube videos. This second point leads me to the third, the appalling amount of misinformation found across the Internet.

"A lie that is half-truth is the darkest of all lies." Alfred Lord Tennyson.

With regard the second point above; it can be argued that it is in the interests of both sides of the debate to continue the conflict. Many YouTube channels are financed by advertising and paid subscriptions. People make money, people make a living out of arguments. This is one area that suggests an element of dishonesty and I have hinted at that by the use of the phrase 'barefaced liars' above. Although some of those supporting the Flat Earth model may genuinely believe the nonsense they promote, I firmly believe that some are not as stupid as they pretend. It is my proposition that some know full well that we live on a globe but choose to promote the Flat Earth model to feed off gullible subscribers. This is the horror of the web, this is the very height of dishonesty. This behaviour is both immoral and in my opinion criminal.

All three points outlined above are obviously linked, points one and two are so closely linked however;  that I address them together. Education and intelligence are not the same thing. There are many intelligent people in the world who have not been to university. There are many educated people who lack intelligence or common sense. Here in Britain we used to call them 'upper-class twits.' A lack of education is not an excuse for stupidity but it may be a mitigating factor in failing to recognise misinformation. Misinformation is rife across the web.


Every Easter and Christmas, many Pagan and Witchcraft Facebook groups are inundated by tired memes purporting, the true and undisputed origins of the two primary Christian festivals. These two memes have become famous or perhaps I mean infamous; for the lies, the inaccuracy and the lack of research. Easter is not derived from the name of the Goddess Ishtar. Nor are Ra, Horus or Mithras born of virgins, nor did they have apostles and they are not resurrected Gods.


People appear to choose to believe these ridiculous claims, perhaps because they have an immature desire to attack Christianity. Which is very different from those who support a Flat Earth model; as many are at least in the USA, Young Earth Creationists. Whatever the reasoning it raises the issue of how we should best address misinformation and offer corrective education? Is there an obligation upon the bodies effected, whether it is the historical, anthropological, Pagan, Witchcraft, Occult or Scientific communities, to do this? Do we as individuals have an obligation to become involved or are we wasting our valuable time, our resources and our energy? Is it important?

There are of course many important questions that are still worth the asking. Why when there is such a wealth of historical and scientific evidence available, are such fabricated lies (such as those outlined above), still believed? Why do so many people choose to perpetuate misinformation? Why is it easier to believe a lie than to accept the truth? I have asked these questions before and I am still unable to answer these questions in any satisfactory manner. I should not be so incredulous of human behaviour. I am a nurse and I have seen the result of many a foolhardy action. I have seen all manner of admissions to my ward, in all manner of mangled states due to gross stupidity. It happens and it happens every day. Why am I still surprised by human behaviour? Yet increasingly as I look at the World Wide Web and I see actions that I cannot condone; I no longer wish to be part of this Internet community.



Facebook and the Puzzle that are Friend Requests


From the archive – 'Musings upon the Internet' 2013

Musings on the Witch Hunts of the Early Modern Period

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Pagan Dawn No. 214 - Imbolc 2020


I am pleased to confirm that Pagan Dawn No. 214 (Imbolc 2020), contains my article 'The Ethics of Cursing and the use of the King James Bible.' An excerpt of a much longer article that is as yet unpublished.





Pagan Dawn can be purchased online here:


Sunday, 26 January 2020

MAGNIFICAT

 

Magnificat anima mea Dominum;
Et exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo,
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae; ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est, et sanctum nomen ejus,
Et misericordia ejus a progenie in progenies timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in bracchio suo;
Dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede, et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis, et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel, puerum suum, recordatus misericordiae suae,
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros, Abraham et semini ejus in saecula.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,: sicut erat in principio,
Et nunc, et semper: et in Saecula saeculorum. Amen.


My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour
Because He hath regarded the humility of his handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Because He that is mighty hath done great things to me, and holy is His name.
And His mercy is from generation unto generations to them that fear Him.
He hath shewed might in His arm: He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel His servant, being mindful of His mercy.
As He spoke to our fathers; to Abraham and his seed forever.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost,
As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.



Friday, 24 January 2020

Rudyard Kipling- The Four Angels



As Adam lay a-dreaming beneath the Apple Tree
The Angel of the Earth came down, and offered Earth in fee;
But Adam did not need it,
Nor the plough he would not speed it,
Singing: --"Earth and Water, Air and Fire,
What more can mortal man desire?"
(The Apple Tree's in bud)


As Adam lay a-dreaming beneath the Apple Tree
The Angel of the Waters offered all the Seas in fee;
But Adam would not take 'em,
Nor the ships he wouldn't make 'em,
Singing:--"Water, Earth and Air and Fire,
What more can mortal man desire? "
(The Apple Tree's in leaf.)


As Adam lay a-dreaming beneath the Apple Tree
The Angel of the Air he offered all the Air in fee;
But Adam did not crave it,
Nor the flight he wouldn't brave it,
Singing: --"Air and Water, Earth and Fire,
What more can mortal man desire:"
(The Apple Tree's in bloom.)


As Adam lay a-dreaming beneath the Apple Tree
The Angel of the Fire rose up and not a word said he;
But he wished a flame and made it,
And in Adam's heart he laid it,
Singing: --"Fire, Fire, burning Fire!
Stand up, and reach your heart's desire!"
(The Apple Blossom's set.)


As Adam was a-working outside of Eden-Wall,
He used the Earth, he used the Seas, he used the Air and all;
Till out of black disaster
He arose to be a master
Of Earth and Water, Air and Fire,
But never reached his heart's desire!
(The Apple Tree's cut down!)