A third way

Had a lovely trip to the Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat in Suffolk with the students today - stunning statues and a wonderfully tranquil courtyard garden. Wish we'd had time to stay longer. Helped to stop me stressing about a very elderly dog who was under anaesthetic for extensive dental work (he survived and is sleeping soundly as I type).

Anyway, here's an end-of-term semi-conscious meander through ideas building around Nietzsche's concepts of the Master-Slave dialectic and developing beyond it to what I consider a more balanced polytheist/animist approach (with some inspirational help from economic theorist Jane Jacobs and American philosopher Lester Hunt). Oh, and for those of you missed the kitchen videos, we're back to baking!

Money, money, money

This is a philosophical meander around issues of value and market worth within paganism, exploring some economic issues and speculating about what (if any) models of economics the various pagan religions could offer to the wider world. I'll probably add to this later, but I'm hoping to generate some constructive interaction with listeners as to how they address the issues raised in this podcast about the ethics of how pagan morality impacts on ways to earn a living - and upon how money should (or should not) play a role within the pagan religions themselves.

What's in a word?

This is another in the series of meandering druidic philosophical reflections (for once not in the kitchen), this time contemplating the nature of language and what we understand by the truth of words. A brief bit of Wittgenstein (but not so much as to make your brain bleed). I'll probably follow up on this at some stage in the future, and see where the musings on linguistic determinism go to.

Telling Tales

I recorded a podcast for my students to help them with an assignment based around mythology, and thought some of it might be of interest to others - so have recorded a similar one here (minus the assignment-specific details). There are lots of ways to understand mythology, whether you approach it as a sacred tale of pagan deities and other figures or are simply interested in stories and better understanding them. This recording doesn't attempt to cover every possible angle, but is a more general introduction to the subject.

Play that funky music, Greek boy

The PF virtual moot, organised by their disabilities team, has a theme of music - not a subject I know much about, being tone deaf and unable to carry a tune in a bucket. So instead I recorded a story for them which, admittedly, doesn't add much of anything to the sum total of knowledge about music and paganism. But it might kill half hour for a housebound pagan having a dull day.
The tale of King Midas and his second big mistake (he only ever seemed to learn the hard way) which, I suggest, is perhaps a tale reflecting that the music of the ethereal realms was (still is?) more highly valued than the music of the natural world. From a philosophical viewpoint, you can argue about that till the cows come home. Maybe a pagan precursor to the sorts of divisiveness that festered in Manichean dualism.

Satyr on Satire

Jo suggested I record another in the "Druid Ramblings" series on the theme of satire, partly as she had seen the reaction of comedian Jonathan Pie to a court case involving an attempt at humour involving a pug (I don't think many people laughed, so a bit hit-and-miss as comedy goes).
Anyway, cutting to the chase this is a ramble upon that subject to the usual standards of incoherence, flitting between Early Medieval Ireland and the 21st century pagansphere, whilst attempting to bake a Black Forest Gateau. At the end people arrived home early and I attempted to pause the recorder but ended up switching it off entirely (I am a tad shite when it comes to technology) and could not be bothered recording the whole thing all over again - so it just ends a bit suddenly. Pretend this is the last episode of The Sopranos. The way my body is going, I will end up looking like a Godfather soon anyway. Oh cake, why must you tempt me so?

Favourite poems

As promised in an earlier post, here are readings of some of my favourite poems (by people with a gift for bringing them to life)

First off the glorious Maggie Smith lending her cut glass tones along with the nasal rolls of the engaging Kenneth Williams reading a poem from the lovely John Betjemen. In interviews he always comes across as such a gentle, self-effacing, warmhearted man.

Also by the same poet, a toast to Oscar Wilde (read by Tom O'Bedlam).

Speaking of whom, the glorious Vincent Price reads the sumptuous The Harlot's House by Oscar Wilde. Fantastic arabesques indeed.

Stevie Smith reads one of her poems and talks about the inspiration for it.

I am including Robert Browning's murderous My Last Duchess more, I must admit, for the wonderful voice of the late James Mason than for the poem itself (though it is a great example of narrative, first person poetry).

In a similar vein, here is the equally late Richard Burton reciting John Donne's Go and Catch a Falling…