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In an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the character Data questions whether or not he, as an android, can lay claim to a culture. Another character assures him that he is a culture: a culture of one. I have always liked this idea, because I've often felt like a culture of one myself. I think everyone does at some point, though perhaps some of us more often than others. The richest, most fully developed "culture of one" that I can think of is that which took root in the mind of J. R. R. Tolkien. Last spring, I was able to see the exhibit, "Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth" at the Morgan Library in New York City, and just in the nick of time, too, because the artifacts were packed ...

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It is not hard to see where magic and food intersect. Most modern Pagan traditions hold that the planet we live on deserves reverence. "Earth-based spirituality" or "Nature religion" are common euphemisms for various forms of Paganism. Almost all magickal systems honor the elements as sacred participants and invited guests. Air, Fire, Water, and Earth are frequently invoked at Pagan rituals. Everything we eat comes from the earth. Yes! That includes organic vegetables, ethically-raised meats, and manufactured foods with additives and chemicals with a list of unpronounceable ingredients as long as your arm. We live here on the earth. The food we eat lives, grows, or is made here, ...

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The spiritual path is one of self discovery and exploration. There are times that this path may be smooth and easy, and there are other times that the path is challenging and difficult. The good news is that, no matter how hard the path may become, we aren't walking it alone. We can court relationships with deities, ancestors, and Fae to give support and guidance. Relationships with entities are just that: relationships. It is important to remember that it is a matter of give and take. You can't call upon any ally over and over again without giving something back. You wouldn't do that to a human, so don't do it to a spiritual entity. The beginning of a relationship with an ally should ...

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Honoring your ancestors, like any practice that deals with spirits, is a lot like cooking. Anyone can do it, not just people with special training. (That's a big part of the reason why I wanted to write a book about it!) But whether you're an amateur or a trained professional, you still need to stay in the moment and use your senses—or you might end up burning something. When you cook, you don't just put your food on the stove for ten minutes and trust that it's been cooked perfectly. Even if you're following a recipe and the recipe says, "cook for ten minutes," you need to watch the food change color, smell it as it becomes more fragrant, and maybe even taste it to know for ...

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FEATURED ARTICLE
A Culture of One: Creating Your Own Elfland
by Linda Raedisch
J.R.R. Tolkien created his Middle-earth with inspiration and imagination, and it continues to inspire us today. What if we were to create our own place of imagination? Linda Raedisch, author of The...
        
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