What should we do when fascists and extremists appropriate spiritual symbols? I examine the issue in my latest Patheos post…
Monthly Archives: January 2016
My first article is now up on Patheos – “How I found the Shinto-Pagan Path.” Please do have a read 🙂
I’ve been a little quiet as of late on this blog. And the reason is….I’ve just joined Patheos, the multifaith publishing and information website! The application has taken a while, but now it’s all gone through and so I will be blogging there very soon (I’ll post on here when I publish my first article). I’ll be blogging pretty similar articles on what I write about now, i.e. living the Shinto-Pagan path.
I’m not sure exactly what will happen to this, my original blog. I might still use it for more personal articles – it depends how busy I end up being with the Patheos blog.
Stay tuned for more updates!
The world is reeling from the sudden news that David Bowie has died from cancer at the age of 69.
I don’t think there is a single person in the UK who has not in some way been inspired by Bowie. His long career spanned so many genres and identities – rock star, fashion icon, actor, producer, painter – that he transcended all of these different personas to become an icon of epic scale.
As a musician, Bowie seemed literally out of this world – an unreachable, fae creature set apart from the rest of the human race. In his acting career he continued in this theme of otherworldliness, cast repeatedly in the role of an outsider within humanity; as an alien in The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976), a vampire in The Hunger (1983), and, in a role very familiar to most Pagans, the Goblin King Jareth in Labyrinth (1986). In all of these roles, Bowie exuded an aura of sublimity and mysticism, but what I find most surprising is that, conversely, he succeeded also in portraying a quality of human poignancy. Delivering his lines with a trademark softness and Zen-like calm, combined with a shy, typically English humour, Bowie brought that same sense of fragility and melancholy to his acting that we also hear in his music. Bowie would go on to demonstrate that he was just as capable of capturing the essence of humanity in his more earth-bound roles, including Nikola Tesla in The Prestige (2006), and as the prisoner of war Major Jack Celliers in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence (1983).
I think it is this talent for creating ethereal, otherworldly artistry combined with all the delicacy of the human spirit that has given David Bowie so many fans among the Pagan community. We too are proud of our status as “outsiders” from the mainstream, and our connection with that which lies beyond reality and in the infinite realms of the imagination. But what Bowie reminded us is that all outsiders are still only human and just as fragile, vulnerable, emotional and passionate as anyone else. And that’s fine.
Bowie has stated,“Questioning my spiritual life has always been germane to what I was writing,” and showed a keen interest in Buddhism. He also said he was “…in awe of the Universe,” which was no doubt an influence on the themes of space and extraterrestrials that come through in his music and films. Only Bowie knows whether or not he found what he was searching for spiritually (although judging by the quiet manner in which he released his final album just days before his death as a parting gift to his fans, I personally suspect he might have). But through his music, acting and other art, he certainly helped others along their spiritual path, myself included. He will be truly missed.
The Dark Angel Design Co, who specialise in Gothic and Fantasy wear and are a favourite among UK Pagans, is one of many businesses who now face permanent closure due to damage caused by the recent floods in the North of England.
This is the company that made my Wedding and Handfasting dress (their stunning Avalon dress) and my husband’s Groom’s jacket (this velvet jacket). They are a wonderful, unique company and mean a lot to us.
Here are some ways you can help them:
- You can donate via GoFundMe – https://www.gofundme.com/5pe9ak
- You can also make donations via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org
- You can buy a beautiful poster featuring the photography of Lunaesque (a frequent collaborator with Dark Angel) from Magical Times, the proceeds of which will go Dark Angel until Feb 1st: http://www.themagicaltimes.com/a4-posters/4591450401 (I’ve already ordered my Imbolc poster!)
Shogatsu, or New Year’s Day, is probably the most important day in the Shinto calendar. But celebrating it in the Japanese way in the UK can be rather challenging, partly because there are no Shinto shrines to visit and food and goods associated with Shogatsu are hard to come by, and partly because the British was of celebrating the New Year can be difficult to mix with the Japanese customs. In Japan, New Year’s Day is a time for getting up early and celebrating with the family by eating a large meal and visiting the local shrine. [Read more...]