“If anyone wants to hold the end of a chain which really goes back to the heathen mysteries,” says G. K.Chesterton in his book Heretics, “he had better take hold of a festoon of flowers at Easter or a string of sausages at Christmas.” Why?
According to Chesterton — himself a convert to Roman Catholicism — everything from from science to the French Revolution is “of Christian origin.” However, he says, “there is one thing, and one thing only, in existence at the present day which can in any sense accurately be said to be of pagan origin, and that is Christianity” — or, rather, Christian ritual and aesthetics. Continue reading “Remembering the Sacred While Celebrating the Season”
“Violence,” says Rene Girard, “is the heart and secret soul of the sacred.” This is perhaps a shocking statement, and one that flies in the face of the modern tendency to sugar coat certain religions, and to equate spirituality with peace, quiet, and love of humanity.
Girard makes the above statement in his Violence and The Sacred, in which he explores the history of human sacrifice, in particular, as a social phenomenon that binds the community together, and that is both “a sacred obligation” and “a sort of criminal activity.” Although often being treated as an honored guest, or even as a son, during the period leading up to his murder, it is the outsider (often a captive from an enemy tribe) that is usually sacrificed.
Here, in contrast, we will look at violence, the sacred, and the insider, i.e., the member of the tribe. In other words, we will explore violence as an aspect of initiation, especially into manhood or into full membership of the cult or fraternity. Continue reading “Spirituality And Ritual Violence: An Explanation”
In Phalanx’s most recent podcast, we talk with author Cody Dickerson about his recently-released book, The Language of the Corpse.
Dickerson is a student of the Germanic mysteries, Indo-European religious and linguistic studies, British cunning-folk magic, and is an initiated Braucher, or Powwow practitioner. He has also studies the rural folk magic and traditions of North America, Europe and Mexico. Continue reading “Podcast: Language of the Corpse — Death and the Body in Ancient European Magic”