Review: The Rebirth of Witchcraft


The Rebirth of Witchcraft
The Rebirth of Witchcraft by Doreen Valiente
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an excellent biographical story of the founding of modern Wicca through the eyes of one of its most significant founders – Doreen Valiente. The text varies between scholarly research to journalism to gossip and speculation. Overall it’s a fascinating read.

I liked Valiente. She had a lovable mix of scholarly intelligence and gullibility. I can only assume it was due to a desire to believe the best in people and willingness to take them at their word, which came through in her writing. She obviously also, like many of her contemporaries, sincerely believed in the existence of original hedge witchcraft and continued to seek it out through research and even channeling.

Whether or not you share her faith in such a thing (I do not,) her work is still interesting as she discusses interaction with other Craft leaders and traditions as well as such details as where the use of certain tools came from and how some customs developed.

I was amused to see that the same snobbery and Witch Wars that seem to be a part of the modern community were also present at witchcraft’s beginnings; “traditional” witches questioned the legitimacy of Gardner’s initiation; Gardner’s followers questioned the legitimacy of Alex Sanders’ initiation; both BTW groups questioned the legitimacy of the initiations of any “traditional” group they encountered. And everybody questioned the North American traditions. Doreen herself was of the opinion that making up a ritual from scratch in no way determined its legitimacy as long as it worked. I think that’s an excellent lesson for modern witches. Perhaps our initiations are all only as valid as we believe them to be.

Valiente also strongly approved of feminist witchcraft; but cautioned that men are needed also. Again, these are sentiments that I share.

I have deep respect for Valiente as a Witch, a teacher and a poet, knowing how much of the modern Wiccan liturgy she wrote (which, by the way, she admitted to in her book, when it was to the advantage of most witches of the time to claim ancient descent of their Book of Shadows passed down through generations). Her prose writing, however, suffers from a little rambling and wandering off topic. This is the only reason I did not give the book five stars.

Every witch everywhere should read this book for posterity if nothing else, and it made my list of books that I think every Witch should read.

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Cosmic inflation appears to have shifted from settled science back to speculation



You can get background on what I’m talking about in this post here and here.

Probably the best thing to do is let the experts weigh in on this.

It’s interesting to note that the empirical evidence from BICEP2 has never been called into question…

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The Technological Applications of New Scientific Thinking


Okanagan Okanogan

I promised I would talk about practical applications for science based on observing the world in its own language. (This is commonly called phenomenological science, but I’m trying to find a simpler expression for that.) Better just to jump right in! OK, so here’s my wasp and her grub.

P1490820There are a bunch of different ways of thinking about her.

1. We could talk about the wasp laying her eggs in the living grub, so it can incubate her eggs and then provide food for her larvae. This is an evolutionary strategy. Discussions of this kind of science have so far lead to methods of using wasps for pest control.

2. We could talk about how the wasp is doing on a multicellular level what cancer does on a cellular level. This is an ecological strategy. It means a couple things. First, that the wasp has randomly found a successful approach…

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Review: ‘Make Comics Like the Pros: The Inside Scoop on How to Write, Draw, and Sell Your Comic Books and Graphic Novels’


Comics Grinder


“Make Comics Like the Pros,” really cuts to the chase with common sense advice on how to join the ranks of the professionals. Start with the golden rule: Treat others as you would want to be treated. It’s a pretty simple rule but an essential one. It’s time to get over yourself because the comics industry involves a multitude of skills, including people skills. You’ll need them not just to pitch your project (hold on, don’t get ahead of yourself) but to create your project in the first place as this business of creating comics is very much a collaborative activity.

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Your cosmic address: The edge of the Laniakea supercluster



This is pretty cool: New Map Locates Milky Way in Neighborhood of 100,000 Galaxies.

A new map of the Milky Way’s cosmic neighborhood shows where our galaxy lives in relation to thousands of others nearby, with scientists giving the newly discovered “supercluster” of galaxies a name: Laniakea, which means “immeasurable heaven” in Hawaiian.

Throughout the universe, galaxies tend to clump together in massive structures that astronomers call superclusters. According to the new map, Earth’s galaxy lives near the edge of the Laniakea supercluster, which measures 500 million light-years in diameter and includes roughly 100,000 galaxies.

The region is just a small slice of the visible universe, which spans more than 90 billion light-years.

As someone who spends his share of time reading about astronomy, I’ve often wondered why most astronomical literature rarely identified the galactic supercluster that we live in, despite mentioning others like Coma or Perseus-Pisces.  I’ve occasionally…

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