Each Thursday, I share three tidbits with my readers. These could be books, movies, documentaries, podcasts, etc that have informed and inspired me. This week, I’m sharing three educational opportunities I benefited from. Maybe they’ll interest you?
So You Want to Talk About Race – Google Talk
Last month, I recommended the book “So Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo in one of my Three Things Thursday posts. I recently had one of those uncomfortable conversations with a friend and member of the Pagan community. We have to address these things head on, even when they put us at odds with people we’d otherwise not want to argue with. I owe it to my Black friends, neighbors, and students to do this work within my own circles. I suggested he read the book to help him work through some misunderstandings he’s having about the Black Lives Matter movement (particularly where our positive intentions and tone deafness can get in the way of making the positive changes we actually desire). He said he’d check out the book when he got paid. This reminded me: I’ve seen posts and headlines about books on race by Black authors on back order! So even if he ordered it right now, it may not reach him for months. There’s always the library, but there’s likely a wait list, too. Kindle books aren’t as expensive, but I get it. It still costs money people may not have. So in the meantime, if you’re in that situation, here’s a free video of the author giving a talk at Google. It’s just shy of an hour, but very worthwhile. As a white Pagan, I say this with love and concern to other white Pagans – we need to better educate ourselves so that we can create truly inclusive places and not say something that will be hurtful, whether we mean to or not. This is more general than Pagan, but human rights impact all of us.
Throughout spring, I had the privilege of taking a 12 week course on reclaiming our liminal power as magical practitioners from Althaea Sebastiani. In fact, my ability to join in was given as an anonymous gift – something that continues to touch and humble me. If my mysterious benefactor is reading this, you have my gratitude. Feral Witchcraft: Reclaim Your Right to Practice a Witchcraft Sharp of Tooth and Claw came just as Covid-19 became a pandemic. While some of the content was more of a review for me as a long-time practitioner, I’ve found that cycling back is just as useful as progressing forward. Reflection is a powerful tool, and Althaea returned to that again and again with thoughtful journal prompts. Revisiting some basic energy work during the weekly exercises initially was like sitting down with an old friend. I actually found it comforting during this uncertain period of our history. Speaking of friends, the course came with weekly discussions via Discord. These were fun, engaging, and insightful. As the weeks progressed, I learned new methods of experiencing energy flow that truly blew me away. The author inspired me with new perspectives and methods on such topics as thresholds, containing your energy, and warding, and I’ve returned to them since. While the course is currently unavailable, Althaea offers many self-paced opportunities that may interest you. They’re thoughtful, well-organized, and deeply needed in our community.
On Sunday, I attended an online class all about the Irish tradition of rosc poetry through Irish Pagan School. The instructor, Geraldine Moorkens Byrne, is both an Irish poet (File) and a practitioner of traditional Irish magic, or Draiocht Ceoil. I learned so much from this course as both a polytheist, student of Druidry, and writer. Byrne very generously shared culture and language relating to one of the most potent forms of indigenous Irish magic – the rosc poetic tradition. If you’ve read much Irish mythology or history, you’re aware of the power and prestige possessed by the File. Particularly feared was their ability to satire and maim an unjust person’s reputation. Byrne explored the history and characteristics of rosc poems as magical tools, and discussed how modern practitioners can respectfully utilize them in matters of social justice and advocacy. This was such a powerful course that will deepen and guide me on my path. I’ve said this before, but I’ll repeat myself – if your spirituality is inspired by Irish culture, you absolutely must get over to Irish Pagan School and check it out.