HELEN RIDING. It seems that my prayers are not good enough for some people. Once I got past the hurt from this realization, I started to wonder why that might be the case. The only logical explanation I can think of is that my God is not good enough for them. Yes I do believe in God. Generally speaking Pagans believe in God, otherwise they would call themselves atheists or agnostics. Yes I am aware that there are a few Pagans who also consider themselves atheists or agnostics but that is another topic for another day and probably for another writer too.
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MICHAEL BERMAN. “The Two Magicians” first appears in print in 1828 in two sources, Peter Buchan’s Ancient Ballads and Songs of the North of Scotland and John Wilson’s Noctes Ambrosianae #40. It was later published as number 44 of Francis James Child’s English and Scottish Popular Ballads, and it is this version that is presented below. The ballad tells the tale of a blacksmith. He threatens to take the virginity of a lady, but she vows to keep herself a maiden. A transformation chase ensues, differing in several variants, but containing such things as she becomes a hare, and he catches her as greyhound, she became a duck and he became either a water dog or a drake.
CHRISTINA ENGELA. We are all losing a little bit of our equality and freedom, a little bit at a time. All of us, in every social grouping, whatever the basis for discrimination or differentiation, are affected. We all belong to a race group, a gender, a sexual orientation, a personal expression, and have our own religious beliefs. How long before all of us are equal only in our disenfranchisement, powerlessness and despair? The looming Secrecy Bill which is, I am certain, designed to cushion the State and ruling party from ongoing Media criticism and scandals resulting from numerous and plentiful allegations and revelations of corruption, fraud, mismanagement and gross incompetence, it seems “some” newspaper Editors enjoy indulging in a little secrecy of their own.
HELEN RIDING. At a time when South Africans are collectively fighting to maintain the freedom of our press, I objected to the Sunday Tribune using the “witch” label to describe a murderer who does not identify herself as a Witch. Prior to the Sunday Tribune’s article, the murderer was linked with Satanism in the media and was later downgraded to an “occult killer” when, as quoted in the News24 article titled “Occult killer shows no remorse”, a social worker testified that she agreed “that satanism could not have played a role in the murder, but that occult practices *might* have had an influence”. As much of a stretch as it was, perhaps the “occult” label did not have the impact that the media had hoped for (I suspect many readers do not even know what it means), or perhaps the alliterative “Welkom witch” just had a much better ring to it? Why let the truth get in the way of a good story?
BRONWYN KATZKE. You have to admit it; South Africa is beautiful. Yes, we can be pessimists by nature as we focus on the crime rate, corruption and political faults. But South Africa the country, the land itself, has a wealth of natural beauty. From the lush rainforests of Knysna to the stark beauty of the Karoo, to the kaleidoscope of Namaqualand in spring; we are blessed to live in a land that is as rich as it is diverse. And yet, as Pagans, we generally ignore the details of this natural landscape as we stick to the Pagan traditions of our predominately European roots.
HELEN RIDING. Christians have a slogan “Put Christ back into Christmas” in response to the commercialization of Christmas. I agree that the true meaning of Christmas has been forgotten. The annual cycle of the seasons was at the heart of the festivals that were celebrated each year by our distant ancestors and co-opted by Christianity in an effort to make it more palatable to the original “pagans”, people who lived in the country and worked the land. Our ancestors understood the importance of living in harmony with Nature and a successful harvest of crops to see them through each year. My English ancestors from Staffordshire were agricultural labourers and market gardeners until the late 19th century, when my great-grandfather worked as a coal miner and my great-grandmother worked in paper mill. Today many of us have lifestyles that are artificially removed from the source of our basic physical sustenance, with little real concern for where our food comes from other than retailers such as Woolworths, Pick ‘n Pay, Shoprite Checkers and Spar.
NATHALIE BEULAH. This morning I was pondering about mankind’s quest for happiness and how we are meant to find it, it seems to be some kind of mythical creature at times. The magical dragon everyone is in search of. Of course, like many others, I did not find the be all and end all answer to everyone’s questions on happiness, but I did have a thought. Not having all the things I would love to have in life does at times make me feel unhappy. So surely having them will make me happy, or at the very least help me to feel it. Surely happiness isn’t all about the inward search.
EREBOS. While most monotheistic religions tend to view time as beginning and ending, most Contemporary Pagan religions view time as cyclical – as such many Pagans do not consider as likely the possibility of an apocalyptic end to the world. Nonetheless, many Pagans seem fascinated by the purported 2012 Mayan end of times prediction – especially the shift in consciousness which may accompany it. The irony when it comes to this specific end of times prediction is that it has nothing to do with paganism or Paganism – Mayan or otherwise. In fact the 2012 Mayan prediction is pretty much a Christian fabrication which New Age authors and pseudo-scientists embraced wholeheartedly years ago.