I’ve only been blogging here since 2012, but that’s been plenty of time to have some great conversations, especially with my fabulous co-writer Yvonne Aburrow. So, with no further ado, here are the top five most-read posts written by each of us for Sermons from the Mound. Happy Anniversary, Patheos!
5. Erotic Ethics and Pagan Consent Culture – In times of crisis, we often focus on what we DON’T want. But if we are to create a healthy consent culture, our vision of our erotic ethics must be framed in positive terms. What does a Pagan consent culture look like?
4. The Future of Paganism: What Pagans Can Learn from Pioneer Mormons – For Pagans who are interested in growing community and wielding political power in the service of minority religious rights, Mormons could be our teachers—particularly if we focus on nineteenth-century Mormons and the practice of gathering.
3. Pagan Theology: Recommended Resources – Looking for resources that explore the theoretical and theological bases for contemporary Pagan practice? Look no further: here’s an annotated list.
2. Three Legs on the Pagan Cauldron, or Must Pagans Be Polytheists? – In 2013, I think the three legs of the contemporary Pagan cauldron are these: polytheism, Goddess worship, and earth-based spirituality. These three focuses for belief and practice have all made a huge impact on what we think of as Paganism.
1. Theology Is Not Religious Studies – Theology can and should involve logic. Ultimately, however, logic is only a means: theology is religious conviction supported and shaped by reason. Religious studies, on the other hand, must always let reason win.
5. Pagan Sacred Texts – A fluid and interactive relationship with sacred texts is an important feature of contemporary Pagan traditions. We have all seen the dangers of people taking texts literally—let’s hope Pagans don’t slide down the same slippery slope.
4. Wiccanate Privilege and Polytheist Wiccans – We should dismantle Wiccanate privilege as soon as possible. Let’s have devotional polytheism, liturgical Paganism, Wiccan (rather than Wiccan-flavoured) ritual, revived Eleusinian mysteries, Heathen blots, Druid rituals… And let’s not have assumptions about what Pagans believe.
3. What Is Cultural Appropriation? – What is cultural appropriation? It’s about power, and context, and histories of persecution. The Native Americans had their land and livelihoods taken away, their cultural identity erased and derided, and now people are taking their spiritual practices.
2. What Is Magic and How Does It Work? – A friend on Facebook asked, how does magic work? My immediate response was, it depends what you mean by magic.
1. Silence Equals Complicity: Making Pagan Groups Safe for Everyone – We are supposed to be a community that values women, that believes women are the embodiment of the Divine just as much as men, if not more so. We are a community that celebrates all acts of love and pleasure. Well, let me tell you right now, anything less than enthusiastic consent is not an act of love and pleasure. Love and pleasure are sacred. Rape and abuse are the most horrible violations of the sacred integrity of the human body.