Notable and quotable 6

Ethical plant use, an animist perspective on evil, an overview of the LV-426 Tradition, asking for inclusion, sonnets for Mary on Lady Day, and complex societies, gods and morality.

Ethical plant use

Just as there’s a huge issue with crystals in nature-oriented spiritual practices, there’s also a massive problem with using plants, as many of them are becoming endangered due to over-harvesting. Dana at The Druid’s Garden suggests some ethical ways of engaging with plants.

I’d like to suggest that we take the wisdom of the “ethical consumer” movement and apply it to the purchasing spiritual materials.  This is particularly important for druidry and neopaganism, where it isn’t just about the physical, but also, the spirit. Ethical plant use, where we know where the plant comes from, how much of it remains, and how our own choice of using this plant is a necessary part. While I’m focusing on plants today, I want to add that this really applies to any goods we may use as part of our spiritual practice from two angles: the physical and spirit.

An animist perspective on evil

Beith at Anima Monday has written an excellent post on evil in the animist worldview.

In animism there is no such thing as a central authority. There is only the web. The collective consciousness that connects us all. And so if we are to make a moral decision, that is ultimately what we should consult. Every decision we make must start from the recognition that it will affect more than just ourselves.

And so this is where we bow to a greater authority: we look at the other we interact with, the ones that will feel the consequences of our decisions, and we allow them to have a voice. We allow them to take part in the decision process.

The LV-426 Tradition

Fascinating article about the LV-426 Tradition and why the film Alien is important to its members. It’s also a great study of how a group forms and sustains itself, even in a hostile atmosphere like the Bible Belt. I particularly liked the bits about Jones the cat, and the author’s identification with Ripley. Be sure to read the footnotes to the article. (The article is linked to from this post about a high school production of Alien that’s wowing the Internet.)

Though we tend to share Grant’s enthusiasm for the “many-worlds” interpretation of quantum mechanics, my coven mates and I have zero interest in contacting any of the horrific fauna that H.P. Lovecraft envisioned for his lurid tales. We instead emphasize execration, or the use of magic to repel negativity and misfortune from people’s lives. This is functionally similar in principle to casting a death curse on someone, save that the target of your spell is Apep, the true source of all evil, and not any human victim. As far as we’re concerned, walking with Set isn’t about getting chummy with Lovecraftian space monsters; it’s about ferociously defending the autonomy of all sentient beings.

Asking for inclusion

Beith at Wandering the Woods has posted a brilliant article on minorities, asking for inclusion, and privilege.

When you are part of a majority group, it is often hard to imagine that not everybody is sharing your life experiences, or that certain things which might be obvious and easy for you might cause a struggle for some others, for reasons that are largely outside of their control (which they may or may not be able to overcome eventually, but where a failure of doing so cannot be blamed on these people exclusively.)

Poems for Mary

For Lady Day (25 March), poet and vicar Malcolm Guite has posted five gorgeous sonnets for the Virgin Mary.

Gods and morals

Melas the Hellene ponders the idea that as societies become larger and more complex, they perceive a need to ascribe morality to their gods.