The Wheel of the Year

The beginning of February is marked by Imbolc, a traditional Celtic festival which heralds the start of spring. I swear winter gets later and later each year, and there are few signs of spring yet here in the UK. Personally I love the cold dark seasons, so this suits me fine, but I feel for my friends who find the dark days disheartening.

Back when I lived in Sussex as a teenager I’d go walking across the downs in February looking for Imbolc snowdrops, but now that I live in London it’s less easy to find time to head into the countryside, although I do live near several parks and a nature reserve on the river Thames.  Read more

Augustine: Conversions and Confessions

Robin Lane Fox,  Emeritus Fellow of New College, Oxford and Reader in Ancient History, University of Oxford, has recently released a new book about Augustine. I picked it up the last time I went into Waterstones, because it had a pretty cover and because I find Augustine’s views generally interesting.

Winner of the Wolfson Prize for History 2015, the book charts Augustine’s life up to and including his writing of the Confessions. It compares and contrasts his path with those of other thinkers of his time, including the pagan Libanius.

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Some thoughts on truth, lies, and belief

A couple of weeks ago, two of my friends came over for dinner. One is a committed atheist, the other a vague Christian. And me, a… well, a scar.

The conversation turned to religion at one point, and my atheist friend said that she didn’t understand how anyone intelligent could possibly believe in a god. How she is stunned to see scientists and people like them expressing beliefs in entities whose existence can’t be empirically proven.

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The Occult Tradition by David S. Katz

The Occult Tradition by David S. Katz is a book I read a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed, mainly because it didn’t just discuss dubious claims of current witches dating back their ancestry to ancient Egypt, but took an in-depth look at ‘occult’ concepts in a very literal sense – in the sense of discussing hidden or obscure material.

A lot of the book focused on Jewish and Christian mysticism, which was interesting because again this isn’t something that’s always heavily discussed in books on occult themes.

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