Shady Oaks

All Monsters and Dust

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Earth Magick: Sooo



If other Pagans can’t poke fun of Paganism, and people who aren’t Pagan can’t poke fun at Paganism, then I’m really not sure I want to identify as Pagan anymore. I have no interest in being put into a group of stuffy, uptight dicks who think their religion is super fucking…

I really don’t get it. I mean, many people I’ve talked to who have converted to Paganism have said that their old religion was too uptight. Then, no one will joke around about our religion and laugh a bit.

I’ve heard many times from other Pagans: be happy, laugh, your life will be better. Really? The best way to live happily is to learn to laugh at yourself and not take yourself so seriously. Because then when you mess up, you can just laugh and move on. Paganism isn’t perfect either. 

Just…learn to laugh, people. It’s good for you.

following PaganSnark just because of this. Always love to follow people who can take a goddamn joke.

(Source: , via pagannews-deactivated20130221)

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Is Barefoot Contact With the Earth Necessary For Health?


By Sayer Ji

Wake Up World

The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Feeling “grounded” is an increasingly uncommon experience in this day and age, and it should be, considering we no longer regularly touch the groundwith our bare feet, as nature intended.

It is no great mystery that the human foot was designed, over countless millenia, to be in direct contact with the Earth, the literal and symbolic ground of our being. And the Earth is no inert substance, but rather a living and breathing entity (of which we are but a mere part) capable of infusing us with its life, ‘singing the body electric,’ as Walt Whitman once mused.

Indeed, the Earth breathes life into us through a continual stream of free electrons…

It is well established, though not widely known, that the surface of the earth possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons as a consequence of a global atmospheric electron circuit. Wearing shoes with insulating soles and/or sleeping in beds that are isolated from the electrical ground plane of the earth have disconnected most people from the earth’s electrical rhythms and free electro

—James L Oschman, Can electrons act as antioxidants? A review and commentary.

The effects of which James Oschman speaks are not simply theoretical. There are a wide range of measurable changes in the body associated with this “grounding” including changes in pulse rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygenation, perfusion index, and skin conductance which have been clinically studied.

Grounding has also been shown to reduce delayed onset muscle sorenesslowers and synchronizes cortisol levels during sleepreduce inflammationmodulates neurological function, and reduce oxidative stress.

new study published last month in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health covers this topic in greater depth, and is well worth the read.

(via pagannews-deactivated20130221)

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It’s Not a Fairytale: Seattle to Build Nation’s First Food Forest (The 2012 Scenario)


Seattle’s vision of an urban food oasis is going forward. A seven-acre plot of land in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood will be planted with hundreds of different kinds of edibles: walnut and chestnut trees; blueberry and raspberry bushes; fruit trees, including apples and pears; exotics like pineapple, yuzu citrus, guava, persimmons, honeyberries, and lingonberries; herbs; and more. All will be available for public plucking to anyone who wanders into the city’s first food forest.

“This is totally innovative, and has never been done before in a public park,” Margarett Harrison, lead landscape architect for the Beacon Food Forest project, tells TakePart. Harrison is working on construction and permit drawings now and expects to break ground this summer.

The concept of a food forest certainly pushes the envelope on urban agriculture and is grounded in the concept of permaculture, which means it will be perennial and self-sustaining, like a forest is in the wild. Not only is this forest Seattle’s first large-scale permaculture project, but it’s also believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. 

“The concept means we consider the soils, companion plants, insects, bugs—everything will be mutually beneficial to each other,” says Harrison.

Read more at The 2012 Scenario

once again, Seattle gets all the cool shit! Hopefully this’ll catch on.

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Dolphins deserve same rights as humans, say scientists (BBC)


Dolphins should be treated as non-human “persons”, with their rights to life and liberty respected, scientists meeting in Canada have been told.

Experts in philosophy, conservation and animal behaviour want support for a Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans.

They believe dolphins and whales are sufficiently intelligent to justify the same ethical considerations as humans.

Recognising their rights would mean an end to whaling and their captivity, or their use in entertainment.

Start Quote

Science has shown that individuality - consciousness, self-awareness - is no longer a unique human property. That poses all kinds of challenges.”

Ethics Professor Tom White Loyola Marymount University of Los Angeles

The move was made at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Vancouver, Canada, the world’s biggest science conference.

It is based on years of research that has shown dolphins and whales have large, complex brains and a human-like level of self-awareness.

This has led the experts to conclude that although non-human, dolphins and whales are “people” in a philosophical sense, which has far-reaching implications.


Ethics expert Prof Tom White, from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, author of In Defence of Dolphins: The New Moral Frontier, said dolphins were “non-human persons”.

Read more at BBC

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Faith or Experience? (Witchvox)


Once upon a time, a skier was swooshing down a steep mountainside when he missed his turn and flew over a dangerous cliff. With quick reflexes he grabbed the limb of a tree that grew out of the side of the cliff and caught himself. Down a thousand feet below he could see jagged rocks poking out of the snow. He looked up and shouted as loud as he could, “Hello! Hello! Help! Is anybody up there?”

Suddenly a bright cloud appeared over the top of the mountain and a voice from the cloud said, “Do you have faith?” The skier said, “Yes, yes! I have faith!” The voice said, “Do you believe?” The skier replied, “Yes, yes! I do believe.” Finally the voice said, “Then let go.”

The skier blinked for a second. He looked down at the jagged rocks below him and up to the cloud above. Then he said, “Is there anybody else up there?”

This little story illustrates the difference between faith and experience and serves as a convenient introduction to an examination of Wicca as an experience based religion and not a faith-based religion. To begin the examination, we must first take a look at what exactly is included in these two terms and what is not.

Faith believes in things for which it has no proof. There may be proofs out there that have not yet been discovered – at least not yet discovered by the believer – but the believer doesn’t care. He or she accepts faith for its own sake without proof and makes decisions based upon it. Faith accepts as fact outcomes to which no natural, logical, or scientific path leads. Sometimes the word “faith” is used incorrectly as in “I have faith that my car can safely get over the pass without chains.” That is not really faith. That is an informed judgment based upon past performance of the car and the weather report – in other words, that is experience.

Read more at Witchvox

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We Knew It! Reading A Book More Than Once Has Mental Health Benefits (The Mary Sue)


I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that The Mary Sue readers have read at least one book twice. If not three, four, ten times. So it’s nice to know it’s not just for fun, it actually benefits your health! 

“The habit of watching films or reading books multiple times encourages people to engage with them emotionally. The first time people read – or watch – through, they are focused on events and stories,” writes the Daily Mail. “The second time through, the repeated experience reignites the emotions caused by the book or film, and allows people to savour those emotions at leisure.”

The information comes via a study conducted through interviews with readers from both the United States and New Zealand. The emotional benefits gained from reading a book for a second time help people become more in touch with themselves they say.

“By doing it again, people get more out of it,” said author Cristel Antonia Russell of American University. “Even though people are already familiar with the stories or the places, re-consuming brings new or renewed appreciation of both the object of consumption and their self.” The same effect can be had by rewatching films or visiting favorite vacation spots.

The title of the paper in The Journal of Consumer Research is “The Temporal and Focal Dynamics of Volitional Reconsumption: A Phenomenological Investigation of Repeated Hedonic Experiences.”

It’s funny, whenever I go back to re-read a book, I always second guess myself thinking I should spend the time reading something new instead. Perhaps now I won’t feel as guilty. Which book have you read the most?

(via Daily Mail)

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Theories and Systems, Old And New (A Heathen’s Path)


Every time I think I’m out, they just pull me back in.

So, the wonderfully entertaining Helwig-Larson at Gospel According to the Romans, a man who has supplied me with entertainment and knowledge of the situation between Romans and Jews that I didn’t know, posted the other day about Teaching Both Theories.

Magic vs Science?

He even had the fun little picture above! I am borrowing it for this article.

It’s a pretty well written article, so I encourage people to read it. That said, there are a few things which I’d like to humorously poke at. Because I philosophize with a hammer.

Read more at A Heathen’s Path

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Anonymous Woman Sues City Over Prayers, but Judge Won’t Proceed Unless She Reveals Her Identity (Friendly Atheist)


The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors in Virginia has a nasty habit of beginning meetings with prayers explicitly referencing Jesus Christ. (That’s even worse than the typical non-denominational prayers local government officials often get away with…)

So one local resident filed a lawsuit against the city with the help of the ACLU.

The city tried to have the lawsuit dismissed, but Judge Michael F. Urbanski has denied that dismissal. The case has merit, he says.

“Every time the plaintiff attends a board meeting and comes in direct contact with an overtly Christian prayer, she experiences a recurring First Amendment injury,” Urbanski wrote in his opinion.

The injunction is not permanent, but it does order the board to stop praying until the case is settled.

“This is an important first step,” said Kent Willis, the executive director of ACLU of Virginia. “With a very strong opinion from the judge indicating that we are legally on the right track.”

There’s just one caveat to the whole thing…

If “Jane Doe” wants to proceed with the lawsuit, she has to give up her anonymity:

According to Willis, the ACLU’s next steps are to speak with the plaintiff about how to proceed. They requested she remain anonymous because of the hostile environment over the issue and because she feared for her safety if her identity were released. “Jane Doe” is a county resident who regularly attends board meetings, Willis said.

“Given the degree of anger this lawsuit has engendered in Pittsylvania County, we are disappointed that the judge did not grant request for anonymity,” said ACLU of Virginia legal director Rebecca Glenberg in a news release. “We are consulting with our client about how to best proceed.”

The ACLU can appeal the judge’s decision denying anonymity, but if “Jane Doe” does not appeal or disclose her identity, there is no plaintiff and no case, according to Willis.

Read more at Friendly Atheist

do some people just NOT understand what “separation of church and state” means?

The woman was smart to try to remain anonymous because highly religious folks of all kinds tend to be kinda rabid about it (not always but often). 

(via pagannews-deactivated20130221)

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