Notable and quotable 14

This week, some interesting attempts to reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable: science and spirituality, the Bible and feminism.

A post drawing a much-needed distinction between beauty and glamour, which are all-too-often confused with each other. And a post about the often contradictory mythology and folklore of owls. And an amazing post about how magic, prayer, and visualization can be explained with the ideas of morphic resonance.

Science and spirituality

Beith at Wandering the Woods has an excellent set of suggestions about how to make science and Pagan spirituality mutually comprehensible. She concludes:

Let us not wait for the scientists to come round to accepting us. Let’s be proud of what we all are doing and build up our own science, until the evidence becomes so overwhelming that it simply cannot be ignored anymore. That is how we all have the keys to change the future. What it will require from us all is to have the courage to openly speak of our experiences, even if they risk being misunderstood. To have the humility to listen to and learn from different points of view, even if they radically differ from our own. To not be afraid to ask ourselves critical questions, and not to shy away from trying to understand the why of things. To be willing to sometimes back down from our high horse and admit that we got it wrong.

Let us all work together in reminding classical scientists of what a true scientific attitude should be like.

This is such an important topic. Both sides need to understand that there are multiple perspectives on it in both science and religion.

I wrote my MA dissertation on Pagans and science. I also turned the more digestible bits of it into a chapter in my book All Acts of Love and Pleasure: inclusive Wicca.

Feminism and the Bible

Kat Coffin, a liberal Christian blogger, feminist, and Inklings fan, has a post about being both a feminist and a Bible nerd.

I do have fond memories of the Bible.  I was a total nerd about the Bible, actually.  I read faster than most of the kids in my class and would inevitably get bored in my countless religion classes.  So I would read ahead and find obscure, gory, sexy, and passionate stories that terrified and fascinated me.

This reminded me of my 2015 post, A Pagan Perspective on the Bible, in which I pointed out that it is a multifaceted library of books, with multiple perspectives and ideas about the Divine, and some really badass heroines.

Beauty and glamour

Nimue Brown has a great post about beauty and glamour, explaining the distinction between the two. I like it very much, because I have always maintained that beauty comes from within, and a fair-seeming person who is not kind and compassionate is not beautiful. This post offers another word for that kind of “beauty”, and grounds it in folkloric tradition: glamour. It also reminds us that fairy gold turns into leaves the next day.

In fairy folklore, glamour is the magic fairies have that make them seem beautiful and alluring. Glamour hides the dirt and squalor, the mean faces, the bones… it struck me that this kind of magic is something some humans also seek.

I’m pro beauty. I think making and seeking beauty is a good use of energy – especially when there are more diverse possibilities around beauty. I like the beauty of twisted trees and older, more lived in human faces. I like the beauty that a warm heart gives a person. I like creative beauty made from innovation and joy in how we present ourselves. I don’t like glamour.

Blodeuwedd and the Owl-Kind

A fascinating post by Lorna Smithers, drawing together the disparate strands of the folklore and mythology of owls. Reading this, I was struck by the idea that mythology would be very different if it had been written down by women. So much of the folklore and mythology of owls seems to reflect men’s fears about women.

In modern Britain owls are, rightly, revered as symbolic of wisdom. Yet, appearing wide-eyed and innocent and slightly goofy-looking on bags, pencil cases, cushions, earrings etc. the darker side of their nature (which was emphasised for many centuries in British folklore) has been forgotten.

Fields of resonance

Saille Freeling at Anima Monday explores how magic and prayer can be explained through the ideas of morphic resonance.

It doesn’t matter what you choose, what matters is bringing yourself into contact with the energy, the frequency, the vibration of clarity by whichever way works for you. Because the moment you touch or connect to this field of energy, you start to resonate with it. That’s also why one method works with one person but not at all with another: our associations are very different.