F is for Facts

Welcome to this week’s Pagan Blog Project post.

First, a quick practical note: I’m at Paganicon this weekend. If you’re reading, and I don’t already know you’ll be there, I’d love to say hi! You can find me running madly around being useful in various ways (despite living in Maine these days, I’m still the hotel chair for the convention), but you can also find me presenting at 1pm on Saturday on “Seeking Knowledge, Finding Wisdom” – specifically about how to use a variety of research tools for Pagan goals. There’s lots of other awesome stuff on the schedule, too.

This week, inspired by a question online about how to evaluate things, I want to talk about facts. This started with a question on an online forum, from someone who was curious about learning more about the equinoxes, and then about how they might be celebrated. And it … Continue reading

E is for Education

[Part of the Pagan Blog Project]

I’ve been thinking this week – well, I do many weeks – about education. And what it means. Now, don’t get me wrong: I am fond of formal education.

(With the exception of the year I was not working, every year of my life has been lived by the academic calendar: I was the child of a professor, worked for my college after graduation, started grad school while working for a year in corporate America, and then worked for a school, and now for a college. I work year-round now, but there’s still the ebb and flow of the school year that  changes what I do at work on a regular basis.)

Anyway. I think there’s a lot of value in formal education, when it’s done right. I think that for a lot of reasons. I think that there are a lot of subjects … Continue reading

E is for Evaluation

[part of the Pagan Blog Project]

Evaluation is one of those words that seems to scare people. Which, all right: people don’t like feeling like they’re being judged. And for a lot of people it’s a word that has a great deal of formality and weight behind it – job evaluations, school evaluations. Senses of being weighed and found wanting.

But at the same time, evaluation is something we do every day.

Do you want to see this movie this weekend? That takes evaluation. Do I want to talk to a friend about going to a concert in a sort of nearby town? What should I eat for lunch? Should I spend twenty minutes working on this project or reading this thing or petting the cat? (The last, says my cat. Always.)

Evaluation, in short, is about making choices. Which we talked about last week. More specifically, it’s about … Continue reading

D is for Decision

[Part of the Pagan Blog Project]

I was going to go somewhere else with this, and then was talking elsewhere online yesterday about making decisions and choices – that our religious identity isn’t, shouldn’t be a “Well, I feel like I’m X”, but rather a “I choose to be X, I am making a deliberate decision to be X.”

And that reminded me of a conversation in college, when I was very actively Catholic. I went to a women’s college, one of the Seven Sisters, and we had both a priest (male, as per Catholic requirement) who was part-time, and a full-time female chaplain, who could and did everything other than directly consecrate communion. She was awesome. And from time to time, she’d say things that really stuck with me.

In this particular one, she was talking about being at a friend’s wedding (which I think she’d officiated at, … Continue reading

D is for Detail

[part of the Pagan Blog Project]

One of the things I’ve been thinking about recently is details. How many are useful. How many are too many right now. Which ones matter.

And I’ve been thinking about which of those details we notice, which ones we pay attention to (but aren’t fully aware of) and which ones just pass us by.

Here’s my theory: we, as humans, build up a vast library of stuff we pattern match against. Some of it most humans get sooner rather than later (this thing will burn you, that thing hurts when dropped on your toe, this furry purring cat thing is pretty awesome unless you’re allergic.) But a lot of them are very individual – we are going to be much much better at dealing with patterns we’ve spent more time around than ones we haven’t. And knowing that, and paying attention to what it … Continue reading