* You are viewing the archive for July, 2011

The Crone’s Illusion

Below is a repost, salvaged from the olden days, of my thoughts on the film Agora, which I most heartily acclaim.

My reaction to Agora was highly charged, and I wanted to let myself cool down long enough to write something sane, something that wasn’t a searing screed against book-burning fundamentalists. I finally got there, and lucky too, because what I ended up discovering in this film was enlightening for me.

I have a mighty respect for Roger Ebert, who has a keen critical mind, but when he calls Agora … Continue Reading

Hammurabi’s Muse

Below is a (very slightly edited) repost of something I wrote on the basis of morality, salvaged from the olden days.

It is reasonable to expect social animals to have social rules. It just makes sense – without a social contract, you don’t have a society. Human beings are social animals, and so of course we have a social contract. What religious people claim is that the social contract is the product of and dependent upon a divine contract – i.e., the relationship between humans and one or more supernatural agents. Knock out the divine contract and whoops! you’ve got no … Continue Reading

Travel Challenges in the Witchwood

I have been putting mental energy behind coming up with ways to make travel more fun and interactive. All the action right now takes place in a location called the Witchwood, so, you know, it’s woody. I started out doing the lame thing: You want to cross the woods you have to make Nature checks. If you fail you get lost.

This was not fun. Let me revise that. It was fun in only one way, which is that it made the elf ranger a very important person in one gaming session, because without her nobody was getting back to town. … Continue Reading

Red Riding Hood

After posting the bit on Genesis, I was challenged, jokingly I’m sure, to explain Little Red Riding Hood in the same way. Challenge accepted.

The redness of the girl’s cloak is a later embellishment. We don’t need it to understand the symbols, but it helps. This is another transformation story, only the subject matter is pretty well restricted to a young girl’s awakening to grown-up sexual experience. The wolf is an agent of transformation. One of Loki’s children is Fenrir, the Great Wolf who will kill Odin at the Ragnarok. The point of killing a god is to pass on his … Continue Reading

Genesis, Briefly

Reposting a post that I wrote on Reddit.

Standard interpretations of the first bits of Genesis are very badly done. It isn’t, and never was, a story about something that happened. What it really is, is a story about the beginning of agriculture (and also the economic triumph of agriculture over shepherding), and the abandonment of the worship of trees.

This is a very big topic, but I’ll try to do the brief version. The Tree of Life is Asherah, i.e., the Sacred Tree at the heart of the Sacred Grove, which is always deep in (or “in the middle of”) the … Continue Reading