I’ve never quite understood the conventions surrounding the terms “midsummer” and “midwinter.” Each is used to describe the solstice – June 21st or so and December 21st or so – which are, as you know, the beginnings of summer and winter, not the middle.
Today is Imbolc, which we popularly celebrate as Groundhog Day.(I’m not sure whether Punxatawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, but if he were in Seattle with me he wouldn’t be able to see as far as his nose for all the fog, never mind his shadow.) In Gaelic cultures it’s called St. Brighid’s Day and the Catholics, in their campaign to appropriate all things pagan, call it Candlemas. Whatever you call it, today is the middle of winter.
Pagans of all sorts, both historical and contemporary, celebrate Imbolc as one of the eight Sabbats, or high holy days. Read more
It’s May Day, and it’s safe to dance.
Part three of a series.
In the days following the murders at Columbine High School I visited the school and the grounds of Clement Park. Those walks produced this piece, which was originally published ten years ago today.
We have learned a great deal about the events that took place at Columbine since this essay was written (for instance, we now know that the “Cassie Said Yes” story never actually happened, and we also know that the whole “Trenchcoat Mafia” thing was also a media-propagated fiction). But it seemed to me that going back and revising to account for new information would damage the fabric of what I wrote in late April and early May of 1999. I have therefore elected to leave the factual inaccuracies in place. I do, however, note the spots containing errors with an asterisk (*).
Salon.com and Westword.com provide as thorough and accurate a picture as we are ever likely to have of the shootings and the aftermath, and I recommend them highly.
Sunday, May 2, 1999
It won’t stop raining, and nobody seems to care. Read more
Pastor Dan has an absolutely must-read piece on faith and politics over at Street Prophets, and while I feel wholly inadequate for the task of matching the depth of his analysis, he raises a number of issues that got me to thinking. So to use a sports analogy, he’s just crushed an overhead at me, and I’m going to see if I can get a racquet on it in hopes of lobbing something weak back over the net.
For starters, his thoughts on the history and function of civil religion are spot-on, and as I consider how dramatically our culture is changing, they lead me to an obvious conundrum. Read more