Monday, April 23, 2007

Pentacle Accpeted by VA

From Fox News:,2933,267887,00.html

Wiccan Pentacle Added to Emblems Allowed on Headstones

Monday, April 23, 2007

MADISON, Wis. — The Wiccan pentacle has been added to the list of emblems allowed in national cemeteries and on goverment-issued headstones of fallen soldiers, according to a settlement announced Monday.

A settlement between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Wiccans adds the five-pointed star to the list of "emblems of belief" allowed on VA grave markers.

Eleven families nationwide are waiting for grave markers with the pentacle, said Selena Fox, a Wiccan high priestess with Circle Sanctuary in Barneveld, Wis., a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

The settlement calls for the pentacle, whose five points represent earth, air, fire, water and spirit, to be placed on grave markers within 14 days for those who have pending requests with the VA.

"I am glad this has ended in success in time to get markers for Memorial Day," Fox said.

The VA sought the settlement in the interest of the families involved and to save taxpayers the expense of further litigation, VA spokesman Matt Burns said. The agency also agreed to pay $225,000 in attorneys' fees and costs.

The pentacle has been added to 38 symbols the VA already permits on gravestones. They include commonly recognized symbols for Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism, as well as those for smaller religions such as Sufism Reoriented, Eckiankar and the Japanese faith Seicho-No-Ie.

"This settlement has forced the Bush Administration into acknowledging that there are no second class religions in America, including among our nation's veterans," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which represented the Wiccans in the lawsuit.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the agreement also settles a similar lawsuit it filed last year against the VA. In that case, the ACLU represented two other Wiccan churches and three individuals.

VA-issued headstones, markers and plaques can be used in any cemetery, whether it is a national one such as Arlington or a private burial ground like that on Circle Sanctuary's property.

Wicca is a nature-based religion based on respect for the earth, nature and the cycle of the seasons. Variations of the pentacle not accepted by Wiccans have been used in horror movies as a sign of the devil.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Healing, Dolls, and Magic(k)

I recently read a post from an email list that I am on that spoke about healing dolls. I've been making dolls for about a year now and really enjoy it. I guess it never struck me to make them with the purpose of healing.

I make Goddess dolls, so I thought perhaps each Goddess could be identified with a certain type of healing and could thus be given to those who have certain ailments. For example: I have a friend who is experiencing a difficult pregnany and I thought Brigit might be a good choice for her. Brigit is known as a midwife and is frequently called upon to aid labor. The main color I would choose would be green - perfect for healthy growth during pregnancy. I may even stuff the entire doll with lavender to give her a soothing quality. Including this with a bit of bath salts, some incense, a candle, and perhaps even some post partum items like cloth pads, nursing pads, cloth diapers, a knit blanket, etc. and I've got a really great gift basket. And it's all hand made.

Anyway, I'm rambling and I have a point to make.

I am not a spellcrafter. At one time I was very interested in spellwork, but over time it lost its luster and its meaning. So, I was thinking that making a healing doll - or making anything for that matter - with the intent to help or heal may be my kind of magic.

I think it's important to get to the practical root of what magic is and what it was always intended to be used for. In my opinion magic is most suited to two things - healing and prayer. You could throw protection and the like in there as well, but I tend to think of that as prayer too. Anything that creates peace of mind can constitute as prayer in my opinion.

Anyway, what do you think? Do you think Paganism, Wicca, etc. has gone a little overboard with the emphasis on spells and such? I mean why not just call it prayer (with props)? I think Witchcraft is a practice not a religion. How do you feel about that statement? What spiritual significance do spells, tarot cards, etc. have?

Can you tell I am trying to get a conversation going here? *wink*

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Triple Goddess Malas


(This first prayer can be used for the entire round or for the Divine bead.)
Great Goddess, Lady of Life
Whose Garment is the shining Heavens.
You are the white moon among the stars
And the beauty of the green earth.
You are the Oneness of all things
And the Completion of the Spirit
You are the mystery that if that which we seek
We find not within
We will never find it without
For you have been here since the beginning
And you are that which is attained at the end of desire.

(adapted from the Charge of the Goddess with Tridean influence)

Goddess, I am looking within and I see your light shining.

(white beads)
Maiden of freedom
You are the Eternal Virgin,
The Holy Bride of Nature,
And the revealing light within the shadows
Through you all that is good comes to birth.

(red beads)
Mother of Compassion,
Forever fertile, Lady of the forge.
You are the creating force of love
And the strength which nourishes all that lives.
Through you the cause of life is served.

(black beads)
Crone of Wisdom,
Ancient One, Keeper of the Cauldron.
You stand at the gates between the worlds
And carry the shining sickle of death.
Without you nothing can be transformed.

(divine bead)
Great Goddess, Lady of Life, Three that are One.
You are everything; the Earth under our/my feet, the Air which we/I breathe, the Water which purifies us/me, and the light within our/my soul(s).
All things are born of your spirit.

(to end)
By the power and will of She that is Three, So mote it be.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Pagan Prayer Beads

Small random rant warning...

Prayer beads pre-date Christianity and are theorized to go as far back as ancient China. It's well documented that Hindu and Buddhist Malas predate the Christian/Catholic rosary. So, now that we've got that straight let's makes sure that a Pagan who prays with beads is not mistaken for a Christo-Pagan or labeled as someone who can't "stick to their own stuff". There is no one religion who can claim ownership on the use of prayer beads.

Just in case you were wondering where that came from I was reading this article at the Wild Hunt and the subsequent comments that followed.

"The practice of using counters of various kinds for the purpose of reciting prayers is one that embraces the broad spectrum of historical religions in every age.

The repetitive Asian mantra was always dominant among Buddhist and Hindu monastics that developed circular beads on strings to chant continuously, night and day.

Their beads reflected various colours and substances that had rich, symbolic meaning related to their religious beliefs, including the numbers of beads on any given circlet.

Representations of western pagan religions likewise show worshippers holding what appear to be prayer-beads used for repetitive invocations."


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Friday, April 06, 2007

The Mother Goddess

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet expresses a lesson of the Mother aspect of the Goddess with his famous quote: "My religion is simple. My religion is kindness."

The Mother aspect of the Great Goddess is perhaps the most well known. After all, we all have mothers and are typically familiar with the qualities of a healthy mother-figure regardless of our own individual upbringings.

Hundreds of images of the Mother Goddess have been found that date back to the Stone Age. Characteristics of motherhood and fertility are commonly found in their design as they bare exaggerated breasts and bellies. The exaggerated belly conceptualizes qualities of the womb – creation, protection, etc. - as something present in the "creator" and something to be harnessed within oneself. In turn, the engorged breasts illustrate that nourishment is a necessity for all living things and is able to be provided only by other living things.

In myth the Mother appears to have many characteristics, but the most common are those associated with creation and nourishment. She is often seen as the Earth itself, producing and giving freely of the things that her children need to survive.

As with the Maiden, the Mother is not only found within beings who are physical mothers. She is in all things at all times regardless of fertility, gender, or age. Every person contains an "Inner Mother" - an aspect of themselves that is capable of unconditional love.

The Mother aspect of the Goddess is the Teacher of Compassion. After going through the processes and revelations brought on by embracing the Maiden within, the Mother suddenly surfaces and begins to take the reigns.

As you learn to remove judgment and accept Oneness you may begin to notice her voice inside your head, urging you to find compassion for that boss that drives you crazy or the clerk at the grocery store who seems to be taking too much time out of your day. The Mother teaches us to love all people and all life.

One of the most valuable lessons of the Mother is compassion for self. This falls right in line with the concept of non-judgment of self. The Maiden removes judgment and the Mother replaces it with compassion.

The "darker" (for lack of a better word) side of the Mother is one of destruction. She is willing to consume life back into herself when necessary while teaching us that death has a purpose as a part of life.

The Mother is also the archetype of a fierce protector who will defend the lives of her children with her last breath. In this way we understand that life should be fought for and defended.

The Mother is connected with the traditional interpretations of the element of Fire. Fire is transformational energy; destroying and creating all at once. Fire is the primeval force of creation. Where as the Maiden provides inspiration, the Mother takes those ideas and molds them in her fire, like a blacksmith with a fine sword, and gives them life.

The Mother can be felt with the heat of the sun or the warmth of your hearth. Allow her into your heart and she will show you all of the possibilities that come with the presence of unconditional love, kindness, and compassion.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Vernal Equinox/Ostara

It is the season of spring and life is placing its hold on the earth once more. It is planting time, a hopeful time of renewal for all things.

The Maiden Goddess is at the peak of her power, both physically and spiritually. She is the seed and the soil, the planter and the planted. She is the Initiator, the Free Spirit, and the Holy Virgin.

At this time the Goddess seeks a mate and finds one in the Horned Lord who is a Son of Nature, a Keeper of Life, and a Man of the Goddess.

They are drawn to each other in a cosmic dance older than time itself. He is of her and one with her in spirit. She invites him now to become one with her in body as well.

The Goddess and her Stag-Horned Consort come together at this season of balance to learn about love and to create the child of light which will be reborn at the Winter Solstice.

With their joining new life enters the world, symbolized by the festive eggs and blooming flowers on our altars. The flames of our candles represent the sun which will continue to grow warm and heat the Earth, encouraging growth throughout the coming months. We also offer water, a representation of the cleansing and nourishing rains of the season.

We gather now in this sacred space to circle together in honor of the Goddess, the Lady of Light and Life. We gather to celebrate the beginning of spring and the coming warmth.

We rejoice in the joining of the Maiden and her Consort. May the light of their love shine on us all and bring the fertile promise of renewal.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Starhawk on Sexuality

Goddess Tradition Sees Sexuality as Sacred

In the Goddess traditions, we see sexuality as sacred because we see the Goddess as immanent—embodied—in the world, as the great erotic, creative power of life itself.

Sexuality is clearly an expression of the life force, a powerful drive to generate more life. But we honor sexuality, as well, for the depth of ecstasy and pleasure we can find, sharing touch and connection with another.

Pleasure, in our view, is a good thing—something that affirms our joy and gratitutde for life, that brings us closer to the Goddess and to each other. Through our sexuality, we can open deeply and allow ourselves to be transported beyond our illusions of separation, to feel our oneness with beings.

Moreover, human pleasure gives pleasure, resonating through nature and invigorating all the creative, fructifying forces of life.

Because we open so deeply in moments of sexual intimacy, because we become so very vulnerable, the sacred erotic demands from us immense sensitivity, kindness and compassion. If we have a concept of ‘sin’, it would be the misuse of sexuality—for power, cruelty, abuse, or control over another. Sexual torture, as at Abu Ghraib is a crime against the Goddess as well as a crime against humanity,

The Goddess blesses all forms of love: Erotic love between lovers of any and all sexual persuasions, friendship, love of the natural world, passion for art, beauty and justice. “All acts of love and pleasure are My rituals,” She says in our liturgy.

The power of the erotic is not limited to sexual intercourse; we can experience it when we thrill to the beauty of a forest or allow ourselves to be transported by a piece of music. When we dance, draw, write, sing, compose, create, we become channels of that erotic life-giving force.

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Alice Walker Calls God Mama

Alice Walker has always known God. But she prefers terms like "Godness" and "Mama" to describe the divine—for her, it is everywhere, from the Japanese maples outside her window to the slow yoga she practices. Though her seven novels, including 1982's Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Color Purple," and many essays and poems have myriad themes—from feminism to race to class to love—a palpable sense of Mama's richness runs throughout. As well as fiery resistance to any force that attempts to control or contain this juicy, abundant, and ever-present divine. - MORE

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Tyra Banks Talks to Witches

pic from the Tyra Banks websiteThis Monday's Tyra Banks Show is called the "Mysterious Lives of Witches". Read the summary below for more information.

I'm counting on the show being a bunch of sensationalist crap. But who knows? Maybe this time will be different. Then again I may find myself writing a little letter to Ms. Banks by the end of the day.

Do you believe in magic? Tyra meets some of the 400,000 people in the United States who call themselves witches and explores their mysterious world of spells and rituals. Three women claim they are "white witches" or "good witches," but have been tormented due to their beliefs. Then the "good witches" agree to pull back the curtain for a first-hand look at a witches’ induction ceremony, and Tyra speaks with the woman who was welcomed into their coven. Tyra reveals the other side of witchcraft when she’s joined by three people who consider themselves "dark witches," and take you inside a ceremony where a blood-letting ritual is performed. Tyra also speaks with two members of one of the most controversial and feared groups in history, Satanists, including a man who claims he is the first child born in the "Church of Satan." Plus, a former witch who now believes witchcraft is evil.


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Monday, January 22, 2007

Women and the Goddess

Starhawk answers the recent "On Faith" question: Have women fared well or badly in the world's religions down through the ages? Why?

Read Starhawks comments on the subject below. What do you think of what she had to say?

I'll admit I was expecting a little bit more. While reading Starhawk's article I felt as though she were in a rush just to get it written. Which is not unlikely since she is a very busy woman. However, I am just plain completely thrilled and grateful that she is able to post subjects on the Goddess at all.

Women and the Goddess

Women have not faired well under most religions for the last five thousand years or so. But let’s take the long view: that’s just a blip on the timeline of human history. Before, and concurrently in many indigenous cultures, the divine was and is pictured in female as well as male form, as the Great Mother who was the creative, regenerative power in nature and life.

At the very beginnings of Western civilization, there were early cultures, egalitarian and peaceful, that honored the Goddess and whose arts and religious artifacts reflect their interest in the sacredness of nature and an orientation to life. These societies were long lasting—in places like Catal Huyuk they existed for thousands of years, and they originated agriculture, pottery, weaving, architecture—the arts and skills that were to be the basis of civilizations to come. But they changed when culture and religion became more and more focused on war. Myths changed—from celebrations of the sacred marriages and sacred images of food, plants—to the imagery of warfare, with Gods as conquerors and Lords of Battle. Law and religion changed as well—and the results are still with us.

I was raised Jewish and still feel deeply connected to those roots. But as a young woman deeply interested in questions of the spirit, and always at the top of my Hebrew school class, I saw nowhere to go in Judaism. At that time, there were no women rabbis, cantors, and few women scholars. Women could teach Hebrew school, or head up Hadassah, or marry a rabbi, but that was about it. Of course, all of that changed a decade later with challenges from the feminist movement, but in the meantime I had found a community of people practicing the Old Religion of the Goddess.

The Goddess is not just God-in-a-skirt, she represents a different spiritual orientation, one which locates the sacred in this world, in the cycles of nature, in the body and all its processes, that sees sexual communion, birth, maturation, healing, and even death and decay as sacred processes.

As a young woman, it was tremendously empowering for me to find a spiritual tradition that honored my body and that encouraged me to take on roles of responsibility and leadership.

In our tradition, we honor women without denigrating men, and there are also many wonderful, powerful and empowering men in our communities. But men do not have the automatic position of privilege—unearned, assumed authority—that they do in some other religions.

There isn’t space here to fully discuss this issue, but if you want to pursue this question further, I refer you to my own books, (see, especially The Spiral Dance and Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority and Mystery (HarperSanFrancisco, 1988) and our documentary on the work of archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, Signs Out of Time. (Available from Marija’s own books, The Language of the Goddess, The Civilization of the Goddess, The Living Goddess (with Miriam Dexter Robbins) are also excellent resources, as is Riane Eisler’s The Chalice and the Blade.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Women's Spirituality?

*Slight Rant Warning*

I was thrilled to see that there was a Goddess Temple operating in Orange County, California. I couldn't wait to head over to the website and check it out, but when I got there I was more than disappointed. Please visit the following link: and read through the site - specifically the beliefs page before reading my comments below.

Women's Spirituality? Where is the inclusiveness of the Goddess? The Goddess teaches connection not separation. Why is Goddess religion assumed to be for women only? The Goddess does not love her female children more than her male - or her four legged more than her two legged. Calling Goddess Religion Women's Spirituality or Feminist Spirituality is not only a misnomer, it also creates uneeded and unwanted separation.

We can not change the world by only exalting half of it. How can we create change throughout the entire human race by replacing male dominated religion with female dominated religion? The difference between Goddess Religion and those of Abrahamic descent are so vast that at some point the gender issues are no longer relevant. Just to sum up, one is based on fear and separation and the other is based on love and oneness. Huge difference!

I understand the need for women to come together and heal. I truly do. But men need that same opportunity under the Goddess. Men need to be able to find freedom from Christianity and Patriarchal institutions as well. If they don't what we'll continue to have in this country is a bunch of idiots who do nothing but grow fatter and watch football while calling each other gay for having emotions. There needs to be a new standard for the American male. The Goddess can create change for men too. Spiritual development should be more important than SuperBowl Sunday.

The Goddess is the center of the first religion of humankind. Period. Not womankind. Not mankind. Humankind. It's time we wake up.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Goddess Temples in Every Town

From the post Looking Back, Looking Forward at Medusa Coils:

"At the turn of the millennium, Abby Willowroot encouraged people to create Goddess statues and art in what she called "Goddess 2000 Project", whose aim was "A Goddess on Every Block!" Now that we are well into this millennium, I'd like to state another goal - a Goddess temple in every town!

I believe Goddess temples will bring us increased visibility and stability, lessen the perception of us as an unimportant or fringe group (or groups), and enable people to see contemporary Goddess religion(s) as a legitimate spiritual path. This, in turn, will help us reach other goals, such as having our research, scholarship, and writings published more easily, having our findings accepted in academic circles, and having Goddessian representatives included in "interfaith" programs and gatherings."

I have spoken on my desire to foster organization in Goddess Religion on a few occasions here at Panthea. It is no secret that I would build a temple in every town in a heart beat if the funds were available. But how can we meet this goal? How can we afford to build these temples if we can not yet organize ourselves? If I won the lottery the first thing I would do would be to purchase some land and build a nice neo-classic, round temple with the words "Temple of the Goddess" in bold letters on a sign out front. But, since the lotto isn't exactly a reliable source of income, where do you suppose we could come up with that kind of capital? Are there any rich philanthropist Goddessians out there? Anyone?

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Triple Goddess Debate

The essay, The Great and Sovereign Mother Goddess by Robin Artisson, had me nodding my head on many occasions. One specific point that I agreed upon was made with the statement:

"India makes a good place to look for traditions of Goddess Worship..."

Absolutely. Here we have a surviving tradition of the Goddess. It is however not found in its original form and has still been subjected, in part, to the "savage suppression" spoken of in the later part of the statement.

Another good point from the essay:

"Despite the very politically motivated over-simplifications that have been worked into the field of Goddess studies by radical feminists..."

I couldn't agree more. The Goddess is an equal opportunity mother. She doesn't love her female children more than her male ones or vice versa. Many aspects of her mysteries can be seen through the female body, but that does not automatically exalt women over men. It is about equality and respect and nothing more. I refuse to allow my religion to be a fading movement which serves someone else's political agendas.

"I do not believe in the so-called 'triple goddess' of modern mainstream neo-paganism."

"...I do not believe in the wiccan 'triple goddess'."

Robin feels strongly enough about the above statement to say it twice. It just so happens that it is probably the one point that I had the most conflict with. Within the essay itself are the following words.

"Alongside this virginal, pure and boundless condition..."

"...She has been approached as Earth Mother... and as a Goddess of the Underworld or a Fate-Weaver."

In the above statements the Goddess is demonstrated as being triplicate as in Maiden, Mother, and Crone which Robin says is a "modern construct" despite the "great religious truth that many of the Goddesses [he] worship[s] historically appear in triple form."

"...I do believe in the Goddess of Sovereignty, and in her triple force of power."

I'm confused. So I call the Goddess Maiden, Mother, Crone, and All Goddess and Robin calls her the Goddess of Sovereignty who has a triple power. What is the difference? I think we're talking about the same thing here.

Is it possible that Robert Graves coined the terms Maiden, Mother, Crone because it was a common way of seeing the Goddess: youthful, motherly, and aging? He didn't make up the myths of the Goddess which demonstrate these triplicate aspects. He simply classified her aspects into simple English. I'm not even sure Graves can take all the credit for it actually. These ideas have been around for millennia. It seems unlikely that one man could put into words what has always been. Or perhaps for him it was a moment of intuition and remembrance of the Great Goddess of ancient times. Either way, does it really matter? It appears that we believe in the same thing, but call it two (kind of) different things.

So, this leaves the Triple Goddess as a historical manifestation seen through the eyes of the myth writers and readers - the interpreters of the worship of our Ancient Mother. The Goddess in triplicate is not a new concept, nor is it solely a Wiccan one.

I admire Robin's writing ability and thoughtful approach. I hope to be given the opportunity to have conversations and debate with him in the future.

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A Short Note to Al Gore

Dear Mr. Gore

I recently watched An Inconvenient Truth and wanted to share a few things with you.

Firstly, let me commend you on your tireless work to save our Earth. You have continually placed the environment among your top priorities. For that reason alone you would have my vote.

Next, if you would like people to be more concerned about the problem of global warming and environmental issues, then people need to start seeing the Earth as sacred again.

Long ago our ancestors revered the Earth and all of Nature as holy. It was not something they felt separated from, rather something they felt wholly connected to. The Earth was their home, their source of food and shelter, their Great and Bountiful Mother.

In recent history people have removed themselves from Nature, though she is still our source of life. They have begun to see the Earth as something to have "dominion" over. That's a term coined from the Bible itself. Perhaps we have to start at the very root of people's beliefs and moral standards by examining their religion.

I believe by promoting Earth-centered religions and taking a stand with the people who still see the Earth as our Sacred Mother, you may be able to turn the moral standards towards the Environment in this country and save the planet. Teach that destroying the Earth is not only idiocy, but sacrilege.

What do you say? Can you support the Pagans, the Goddess Worshippers, the Wiccans, the Native Americans, etc? You won't find a better group suited to saving the Earth and protecting it for generations to come. Not to mention, most of us are Democrats.

LM Hutchings

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Should or Would Pagans Proselytize?

click here for your own church sign

In the most recent issue of PanGaia Magazine (#45) the question of Pagans proselytizing was raised.

Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D. had this to say:

"Why on Earth should Pagans proselytize? Let the Witnesses who have experience do it. If you want other religions to leave us alone, we should return the favor. Let us all live in peace together."

Well Barbara, my response to that is simple. If people think that Christianity is the only option, and believe the things they are told, our society will only continue to crumble under our feet and the Earth will have no option but to swallow the entire human race whole.

Think I'm being dramatic? Consider the idea of "Original Sin" or the "All People Are Sinners in the Eyes of God" model.

If you tell a child they are evil enough times they will begin to believe it and may even begin to use it as an excuse for their actions. When they behave badly or hurt another person the response might be "What did you expect? I am inherently evil after all." Or maybe the pious person will see the "inherent evil" in another person and use that as an excuse to punish or destroy them. (Re: Original sin, Way of the Master, Tim LaHaye.)

And that's just one issue. Throw in the concepts of:

- justified war in the name of god
- women being submissive to their men
- people being better than all other living creatures
- people being seperate from divinity
- people lording over nature

All of these ideas have a way of infesting the human psyche on a damaging level and thus contributing poorly to our society as a whole.

proselytize: to attempt to convert another person to your beliefs.

Okay, so we've established that proselytizing is the practice of trying to convert another to your way of thinking. Evangelical Christians do this through way of curb-side sermons and preaching about hellfire and brimstone. Is that the way Pagans would handle it? I think we need to realize that when Pagans do something they do it the Pagan way not the Christian way.

I understand that there are a lot of people out there who are concerned that Paganism is going to go the way of more mainstream beliefs - insomuch in the way that Paganism may begin to contain corruption and power struggles based on greed. That's a scary prospect, but again, we do things the Pagan way - a different way, and I dare say a better way. Our ways are based on ancient beliefs from a time of peace; a time before war was commonplace and a time when all things were realized as one.

Just because we form a church (and call it a church) does not mean that it will be a place where people feel they have to go out of fear of damnation. No one will stand on the pulpit every Sunday and tell you how evil you are. That is not the Pagan way. We must begin to re-imagine a new way of organization, of sharing what we have learned with others freely without fear.

So, if Pagans shared their beliefs with other people it wouldn't have to be hard-core evangelical proselytizing. It could simply be a sharing of beliefs - an advertising of faith without shame.

Before too many hairs stand up on the backs of reader's necks, let me specify that I do not feel there should be roving gangs of Pagans setting up shop on street corners, holding sandwich signs, and preaching about the End Times. When I say advertising I mean sharing events, classes, temples/churches on community bulletin boards, fliers, websites, etc.

Did the Buddha proselytize when he shared the intuitive lessons he had learned to those who chose to sit and listen to him? Do you even equate the concept of evangelism to Buddhism? I don't think so. So, why would Pagans - whom are intrinsically mystical like Buddhists - be any different?

Do you honestly believe Pagans would come anywhere near Christians in this area? Instead of "All sinners will burn in the fire pits of Hell" what would we yell? "Your Karma will suck if you're mean?" Seriously. There is no comparison. We're talking apples and oranges here folks.

I believe being able to share our knowledge without crossing the threshold of the "scary" brand of proselytizing is a step on the road to finding solutions to the questions of organization and standards for legal Pagan clergy. What do you think?


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pagan Kids and Public Schools

I woke up this morning thinking about the amount of information springing up about raising Pagan children. With the exception of different religious practices in the home, I don't see a difference between raising Pagan children and children of any other denomination.

I suppose some people have an issue with public schools and the worry of other religions being pushed on their children. Perhaps that is why so many Pagan parents decide to home school. In my opinion, home schooling can lead to a lack of social abilities and an overall stigma towards mainstream society. This could lead to all sorts of prejudices and problems in adulthood as people are forced to interact and function in a society that they were raised to be separate from.

In today's secular school system I don't see a problem sending my child to a public school. I am more worried about her being injured or shot at then being converted. I understand that there may be some areas in the country that are not so liberal, (and that everywhere you go in the Bible Belt is invariably laced with Christian overtones) but are we really raising our children with such weak beliefs that we have to shelter them from the beliefs of others in fear that the may be "tainted"?

Honestly, is reciting the Pledge of Allegiance really the deciding factor in what your religion is? Would anyone even notice if your child said "Goddess" instead of "God". Will it hurt anyone if children organize prayer circles? As long as the adults are staying out of it, and no one is being forced to participate or shunned for not participating, I could care less.

If a child celebrates with a Christmas party at school will they come home a Born-Again? I don't think so – not if you've done your job of giving your child a good background in your own faith. Isn't it better to explain that Christmas is what we call Solstice and point out all of the Pagan symbols and traditions still within the holiday? Ultimately, when your child is grown they will make their own choice about religion. You may as well educate them about multiple faiths in the best you can for now so that their choices will be informed ones.

We are the minority in this country, and as such, (at this time) we have to live in a society dominated by another belief system. No amount of sheltering or separating is going to change that. I believe the Goddess teaches Oneness not separation. In my opinion it is better to learn how to co-exist with those who are different than be taught to stay away from them altogether.

I honor parents who choose to homeschool. It is a serious amount of work for anyone to undertake. It may be right for others, but not for me and my family. I felt the need to express why that is the case for us. These are my opinions only. If you have differing ones please share them in the comments.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Should Pagans Be Vegetarians?

I have heard some folks say that Pagans should be vegetarians since we claim to honor all life. Most of these statements have come directly from Vegetarian Pagans. Honoring life does not mean that we can't or shouldn't consume the meat of animals.

I don't believe in animal cruelty and go out of my way and above my budget to buy animal products that are more respectful to the animal in question - such as cage free eggs and free range chicken. While I respect the Vegetarian life style I do not believe that it is a necessary choice in the eyes of the Goddess.

The religion of the Goddess is one of nature. In nature there is something called the food chain. Big animals eat little ones all the time. We are just fortunate enough to have the ability to be grateful for our food and respect the animal that it came from. This is more than the other creatures in the natural world can say. On the flip side we also have the ability to feel guilty about consuming another beings life, but I personally don't think it's a necessary emotion.

Nature (the only real bible the human race possesses) tells us that we need meat. We have big molars for shredding meat, and canines (passed down by our ape ancestors who also supplement their diets with meat) which we use to tear chicken from the drumstick. Our bodies require amino acids - some of which we can only find in meat.

Now, in saying all of those things I would like to specify that I do not believe we need to eat as much meat as we do in this country. It has been proven that all we really need is a portion the size of the palm of our hand once to twice a week. Cutting down on our consumption of meat, specifically cattle, can help save acres of forest a year. If there is less of a demand for meat products then there will not be a need for so many cows or the grazing lands creating by destroying forests.

So, human beings need meat, and as a person practicing a religion based on nature I see no problem with this. I do however see a problem with disrespect for the animals and inhumane treatment.

We're natural hunters so I don't mind hunting just as long as the animal is eaten and there are no trophies kept for the purpose of ego. That just makes me ill and seems like an act of complete disregard for the respect of the animal.

Below I have written a little Goddess prayer for meal times in order to show the reverence for life and the respect for the sacrifice of the animal.

Goddess, we thank you for the sacrifice of your plant and animal children whose lives were taken to provide us with this meal. We honor their spirits and will forever carry a piece of their memory within us. In reverence of life we feed our bodies and accept your blessings. So mote it be.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Goddess Religion not Feminist Agenda

pic by grian
The sun is setting and the fires are being lit as they were in ancient times. People all over the world have gathered to celebrate. They celebrate life, love, and the divine within themselves and each other. They reach towards the sky, open their palms in praise to the Goddess, and begin the sacred chant. Men and women, young and old, lock hands and begin to dance in honor of the Great Mother of all life.

The above scenario may never get a chance to become a reality. The current statistics in Pagan communities in regards to gender is aprox. 3 women for every 1 man.

While I subscribe to many feminist ideas, and I honestly believe that being born female makes one a feminist by default, I abhor the idea that Goddess Religion is a cleverly designed ruse created to perpetuate a feminist agenda (political or otherwise). I also detest labeling the Religion of the Goddess as "feminist spirituality". In my opinion it is not a good label to give to a religion whose ideas we hope to promote to both men and women. You can not create change among an entire society by only convincing half of it.

Before I continue I want to specify that I am not looking to actively convert people. I do not believe that is the way of the Goddess. I do, however, believe that Goddess Religion can have a beneficial effect on our society as a whole. Both men and women can benefit from a more balanced concept of deity. I can already hear people asking how going from Patriarchy to Matriarchy is balanced. Simple. The Goddess does not preach original sin or convince people to feel guilty for being perfectly imperfect human beings. She is existent in men, women, animals, fish, birds, plants, all of creation. Patriarchal relgions, at least those of the Abrahamic variety, have rather opposite ideas. Now, back on topic...

I have run across more than one person's opinion regarding Goddess Religion that eludes to the fact that every woman who practices it is a lesbian and/or a femi-nazi. (I absolutely hate that slur.) I am not simply talking about the opinions spewed by fundamentalists. These are everyday people that assume I must be a militant man-hater to believe God could be anything other than male. (This is certainly not to say that all feminists and lesbians are man-haters.)

They don't care about the historical and archeological evidence that support Goddess Religion in the past. And forget the evolutionary science that supports the male as the secondary sex or the plain medical fact that every human being begins as female in their mother's womb. No, all they hear is that I am a lesbian and a radical feminist who hates men (despite the fact that I married one).

I believe it is high time Goddess Religion broke free of the feminist mold and started working its way into the mainstream full time. That will never happen until we start making it more universal. It is an all encompassing religion that does not privilege one group of people over another, regardless of their gender.

One of the main differences between Goddess Religion and Patriarchal religions is that the Goddess loves all life as a good, natural mother loves her children. She does not love her daughters more than she loves her sons. For that matter, she does not love her canine children more than her feline ones. This is a pivotal difference that can change the way the entire human race perceives divinity and life on this planet in general.

I am all for feminism I just don't think it should be the defining factor of a religion that should (and does) encompass all of creation and all genders. I am all for lesbianism because I am all for love, but I don't think specific sexuality should be a defining factor of religion either.

Honestly I could care less if some random stranger thinks that I am a lesbian. I would not be ashamed of the fact if I was. But it's not about me. It's about the hope of what the future can hold.

Topics on Goddesses and Goddess Religion can be found for study in universities across the country. This is great, but why limit these topics to the Women Studies department? Why create more seperation between the sexes when we should be realizing the oneness we all share?

Hopefully I won't get flogged for my opinions. I am always open to conversation and hope that those of you who read this will have an open mind and approach this topic with the utmost respect and maturity. Regardless of any eventual floggings, I stand by my position while remaining open to other opinions.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Weekend at Pride

pic by grian
I spent this past weekend attending our local Pagan Pride. The day was wonderful. Everyone seemed to be getting along just fine and the weather cleared of rain towards the middle of the day. Our group performed closing ritual which went off without a hitch. Overall, I would say the day was a complete success.

I was not able to attend many workshops throughout the day but I did get a chance to speak with Trish Telesco about the current state of our communities and the need for steps to further organization. I've touched on this topic before in recent posts. She's an interesting woman and I enjoyed our conversation.

Gavin and Yvonne Frost were also present as guest speakers. I did not get a chance to speak with them at length, but I did have an opportunity to introduce myself to Yvonne. She seemed like a very pleasant woman. These two folks are quite controversial, but I suppose that makes them pretty interesting guest speakers.

My favorite part of the day was the drum circle. I just love the freedom of jamming on the drums with others and the spontaneous way people burst into song and laughter. It's the epitome of celebrating the sacredness of life in my opinion. Although my drum is little I manage to hold my own, though a bit more quietly than the others.

I've been thinking and learning a lot lately so I am working on posts to come. For example, someone on a list that I am on recently brought up the topic of mixed faith marriages and how it affects the home and the priest/esshood. They even went so far as to say a community elder should not be considered an elder if they are in a mixed marriage. Wow, that is a bold statement. I'll be thinking on this one for later. School, family, and a growing Circle have got me pretty busy lately. Bare with me and yell at me if too much time goes by between posts.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Not Enough Indians

How can we retain our individual identities while compromising towards the goal of organization? For lack of another model for comparison I will use my own group as an example.

We all have a singular identity simply by being members of the same group. The group has certain things that make it cohesive and whole. There are certain aspects that we must all conform to. We share a belief in the same deity concepts and assign the Goddess as our primary deity. We identify with a singular culture and utilize the myths and traditions of this culture in our workings.

That being said each individual in the group is encouraged to explore their own spiritual identity in a solitary form. In fact, this is an integral part of our training process. It is mandatory for a pending initiate to complete a "term paper" on their personal path. It may mirror the path of the entire group, but they still have to do it. It is not only a way for the group to learn about other forms of spirituality, but it fills a need for the individual to remain individual. The pending initiate is then asked to present their path to the entire group, explaining the details and answering any questions. It's a wonderful forum for conversation and learning.

So, I am left wondering why this can't work on a larger scale.

I'm a mother. Does that mean I have to be like every other mother? I'm an artist. Does that mean I have to be like every other artist? I'm a Pagan. Does that mean I have to be like every other Pagan?

There are a million and one ways to define someone, yet there are a million and one ways to define those definitions even further. I don't think the box people are trying to fit themselves into has to be so small. You can be part of a whole and still be a unique individual.

Maybe the key word here is compromise. Paganism seems to have the "too many chiefs" syndrome. Everyone wants to be the director in a play without any actors or stage crew.

I know I'm beating this topic to death. I will try to focus on something else in my next post.


Monday, September 18, 2006

To Organize or Not to Organize

The latest post at The Wild Hunt Blog has me thinking about organization within Paganism yet again. It seems that some UU members are having difficulties with Pagans making up a part of their congregations.

The fact that Pagans are attending UU churches to begin with is a sign that says (at least to me) that there are some Pagans out there who crave a little organization and structure. Perhaps it's even a telling sign that they are looking for some kind of standards in their teachers and leaders.

I have always been a fan of the idea of organization in Paganism but I am still at a loss as to how to accomplish it. You never can please everyone, but I think there is a genuine need and would like to brainstorm a little bit on how that need can be fulfilled.

So, what would be the first steps to organizing Paganism? Would the standards in training or the legal churches come first? If the churches come first who is to say that the people leading them are qualified to do so? Almost anyone can incorporate a church (if you have the means and the funds) but how will we know that they are qualified? How would our clergy system run? Will there be a degree system in place? Will the clergy be full-time and paid? Who will pay for the bills at the church and the living expenses for the clergy? Should dues be paid by members of the congregation?

And then there is the pressing issue of many Pagans protesting organization. The main argument I hear is something similar to:

"I left Christianity to escape churches and hypocrisy. Why would I want to create something like that within the religion that freed me from it?"

While I believe that this is a valid statement I honestly don't see how it's relevant. Let me explain. No one will be forcing Pagans to attend church. No one will be pushing organization on anyone. That kind of behavior would be considered proselytizing in my book and we Pagans just don't do that - or at least we're not supposed to. So, those individuals who would like some organization are free to create it and live in it. Those who do not are free to be solitary. I don't see the problem.

What do you think? Feel free to answer any of the questions in this article with your own opinions.

Note: the above image is something I worked on a few years ago. It's a working model of a bare bones temple for Pagans.


Friday, September 08, 2006

Pagan Clergy; Necessary or Not?

Yes, I've been caught listening to another podcast. To know what I am talking about in this post you should listen to the Eclectic Pagan Podcast episode here: Eclectic Pagan Podcast Episode 8- Pagan clergy, are they a necessity? and read Patricia Telesco's article sited in the show found here: Losing My / Your Religion.

My Comments to the Eclectic Pagan Podcasters:

Many times you say that the model proposed by Patricia Telesco is a Christian one. Where in her article does it say anything to that effect?

Quoute from Tom: "Our movement has gotten where it is without a professional clergy."

Tom, where is it? I would have to say that over the past few years the 'movement' has become stagnant. There is more separation between groups right now than I have witnessed over the past five years combined.

Christians revel in the fact that if you take six Pagans and ask them the same question they will have six different answers. In the opinion of the mainstream we are a bunch of whackos who can not make up our mind about what we believe. Instead of embracing the things that we have in common we spend hours bickering and back-biting over all of the things we do not agree about.

Another quote from Tom: "Center to the idea of Wicca is the notion that anybody who is called to can connect directly with the Lord and Lady without an intermediary."

Who is saying that with the birth of professional Pagan clergy there will be a death of the central idea that we are divine and need no other to connect with that essence? This is part of our faith and not something that can be stamped out without redefining our beliefs. This idea would certainly be integrated into a Pagan clergy framework. I think you are too hell bent on restraining any kind of clergy idea within the Christian framework. We are not Christian, therefore we would not use their model to create our clergy system.

Most of us have spent years learning how to think and see differently. This is one of those times where those skills come in handy. Reimagine the idea of clergy and leave the Christianity out of it. You'd be surprised what wonderful possibilities you can come up with.

To quote Patricia: "Organization provides the black and white outlines -- you can still bring your own crayons, and even color outside the lines."

Would it be so awful to have some sort of training standards where people must actually spend years of education learning and earning the title of clergy? Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to present a united face to the public where people are educated in their religion and can present it well? We need accredited institutions in which to gain our spiritual education from. This may never be possible unless we form churches, incorporate, etc. so that someone can pay for it - be it the government through faith based funding (not gonna happen at our present state) or through the community at large through donations.

As for the paid clergy issue: How in the world could someone serve an entire congregation of people, manage the building, etc. full time without some sort of monetary sum? Who will pay their bills if they can not work at another job because they are full time clergy? Who will pay the electric bill for the temple? Who will foot the bill for the ritual supplies?

All in all I think we should not be too quick to throw these ideas away. Patricia is on the right track and I hope that someday those visions come to pass for our sake and our children's.

By the way, I will be sure to mention your show to her when I see her at the end of the month. Who knows, maybe she'll want to come on and comment herself.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Responsible Gardening, Values, and Podcasting

pic by grianI was listening to an episode of Lance and Graal this morning. The topic of the show was 'Values and Virtues'. A few things left me feeling the need to opine.

One of the personalities on the show - I assume it's Lance since the voice was male - made a comment that went something like this: How can a Pagan, who claims to want to take care of the planet, have a weed filled, uncared for yard and expect to help clean up an oil spill in Alaska? That's just a summation and not a word for word quote. The basic gist of the comment had to do with responsibility and not being hypocritical. Like someone saying: "I want to save the world but I can't even care for my own roses."

What if you believe that nature can care for itself? What if you feel the so called 'weeds' have a right to flourish just a much as the cultivated plants do? Why would we assume that plants need us to care for them? Nature did just fine without being trimmed and pruned for billions of years before gardeners came along. Have you ever seen a proper English garden in the middle of the wilderness? Maybe you stumbled upon the gardens of Versailles tucked away into a clearing within a deep old forest filled with oaks? Not bloody likely.

I do not believe that just because you have a garden that doesn't capture the aesthetic norm means that you are not responsible enough or capable of caring for some other natural problem. If you can fly your ass out to Alaska to clean oil off of birds (even if your garden is overgrown) I say go for it. Make a difference, save some avian lives, and let the plants care for themselves as they have always been able to do.

This is just a silly argument and I wish that Lance (and/or Graal) would choose their words and analogies more carefully. I like pretty things and weeded gardens too, but this teeters a bit on judgmental and narrow sighted.

The Four Values as heard on Lance and Graal:

1.Get your physical space in order.
Some people enjoy living with a little disorder. They are quite happy that way and they function as healthy adults in society. I don't see how this applies to everyone. If an individual feels that they need more order in their lives (due to stress, depression, or an otherwise general malaise) then this 'value' could be a beneficial route for them to take. But not everybody needs to live in a perfectly ordered envrionment. Also, whose idea of "order" are we talking about here? Some people might be comfortable in a moderately picked up living space with a few piles of clutter on the kitchen table and a layer of dust on the furniture. Others might need their space to be, as my best friend and I say, "baseboard clean". This is far too subjective a topic to say what is 'right' or 'normal' for any one person.

2.Get your personality (your personal self) in order.
This is not a bad concept and I will say that I believe everyone could benefit from doing some shadow work and getting to know themselves completely. If nothing else this can benefit the individual in ways that could change the way they see the world and the people within it. The practice of shadow work or personal journeying can also help a person learn to love and accept themselves which in turn leads to compassion for self and thus the rest of humanity.

Okay, I'm not even going to debate this because I wholeheartedly agree. I'm not sure it can be called a value though. I think this is referring to values for Clergy (or Priests and Priestesses) which makes a little bit more sense. I believe one should never end the learning process.

4.You've got to engage in ritual practice.
Not sure how I feel about this one. They went on to say that ritual could be a lot of things during the course of the program so I am leaning towards agreement. Repetition leads to tradition which in turn leads to influencing belief systems. This is important but the individual ways to practice ritual are vastly varied.

Overall, I am grateful for the Lance and Graal Pagan Podcast. I appreciate their opinions and the guts they demonstrate to express them, though I might not always agree with everything they say.

Endnote: After writing this post I realized that Lance and Graal are not people. I believe the title of the show is representative of the symbols of God and Goddess. Lance=spear/athame/sword Graal=grail/chalice/cup/cauldron. Sometimes I'm a little slow on the uptake.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Gender Issues in Paganism

With the release of "The Wicker Man" and my subsequent disappointment in the film's portrayal of a Goddess culture I'd like to share this article from Witchvox; Dude, where are the Dudes?.

It's a well thought out essay on the way men and women function in our communities and the facts versus the fallacies of reverse discrimination in modern groups. It's well worth a read given that this seems to be a hot issue in some Pagan communities lately.

I promise to try and write up my own position on this topic in the near future.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Paganism a Nature Religion?

A response to this post by Sojourner at A Pagan Sojourn; Is Paganism A Nature Religion?

And this comment by one of the visitors:

Deborah said...
I'm not sure that Paganism is a religion at all. It's an umbrella term for a disparate group of religions.

Many Pagan religions ARE nature-based. If you are following seasonal cycles, if your holidays are marked by natural rather than calendrical events (i.e. the sun, the moon, the crops) then that's nature-based.

Paganism is a religion to be sure. Firstly, the "ism" clarifies it as a belief system. Secondly, it is an umbrella term no different than Protestant or Christian. I'm sure we can all agree that there are many religious traditions that fall under those umbrellas but that doesn't mean the umbrellas themselves are not religions.

Web definitions of Religion

As far as Paganism being nature based. I think it must be. Specifically because, in my opinion, one of the things many Pagans tend to agree on is the idea of Oneness and Divinity within the self. If all things are truly one than all things are sacred - especially the natural world which is the one thing we can say is truly Goddess given.

You don't have to know the latin name for every plant in you local forest. You don't have to grow your own food and harvest it at the perfect time according to the sun, moon, and stars. All you have to do is observe a sunset or listen to the sound the trees make as they dance in the wind. It's really very simple. If you're concerned about being more involved in nature but feel that you live in a way that makes that difficult (i.e. the city, an apartment, etc.) try some of these things:

- Get a pet. Communing with nature doesn't specifically have to mean the plant world.

- If you have no yard to grow plants in try using containers. Houseplants are wonderful for their energy and their decorative aspects. Tomatoes grow fabulously in a big pot on a patio or balcony. I grew roses, herbs, and various annuals every year on a balcony that was three stories up.

- Use purchased dried herbs to make teas, oils, and other nature-based concoctions.

- Give thanks for all that you consume. Whether it's food, water, or air - be grateful and thankful for all that nature provides.

- Take note of your surroundings as you walk into work, school, and basically go about your day. Chances are there are all sorts of plants lining the streets of your town/city. Take a moment to take in their scent and touch their leaves or petals.

- Create your own natural world through meditation and visit it often.

- Look within. See that you are of nature and you are divine.

The more you practice some of the small daily things the more you will begin to notice that nature is not living in a forest somewhere on a mountain top full of mysterious latin named plant folk. Instead, it is everywhere and everything around you.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

What We Share

The more I think about this organization thing, the more I have to wonder how we will be organized since there are so many differing traditions to organize. So, in lieu of this conundrum I would like to pose some questions to find out what we share in terms of our beliefs and opinions.

Since there is no official document or doctrine that defines us as Goddess people (unless you believe there is - in which case please tell us!) let's ponder what one would include. If the Goddess came down from some obscure mountain and spoke to us what would she say? Or, for those scholarly folks, what do you believe has been taught to us by the many legends of the Goddess. What should we already know according to the tales of Innana, Isis, Brigit, Cerridwyn, Pomona, Athena, Persephone/Demeter/Hecate, etc.? What are the things that you live by as people of the Great Goddess?

I think it would be very interesting to see how we compare to each other - how we differ and how we are so very similar. I look forward to some quality discussion, and if no one answers then I will simply spit out my own answers to these questions which would not be nearly as interesting.

Note: It would be lovely to see these lessons/ways to live by in the voice of the Goddess herself. So, when writing them why not use the first person so we can gain the full effect of your divine insights?


Monday, April 10, 2006

Time For Change

I was thinking recently that the reason Goddess Religion/Paganism/etc. is so misconceived and under populated is that there is a lack of people telling other people about it. Many traditions feel a need for secrecy that I no longer understand. Before we get too far in this I would like to make clear that I believe there is a difference between proselytizing and educating. I do have to wonder, however, that if we had been proselytizing for the last few centuries the world might be a whole lot different.

Many of us tend to complain about the state of the world and various political issues without doing too much to make a difference. Political avenues seem to be the only ones people are willing to walk down when concerning changing the world. Spirituality is pivotal when deciding how a person thinks and acts. If we could share a better understanding of our spiritual ideas perhaps people would start to think differently and the world would actually change - maybe even evolve.

Once education had spread far enough it could lead to some government funding, organized temples, becoming a voting block, etc. Isn't it time we stop hiding who we are and bickering about our differences in the back alleys of our communities? Is there anyone else out there who feels it's time to move to the next level or is it just me? I want more. I want an organized structure without corruption and a place to raise a family under the love of the Great Goddess.

My daughter asked me the other day why she has to be different. She thinks it's "cool" to be Christian because everyone in her class is. The other kids teach her Bible songs and tell her about going to church. Where are the opportunities for Goddessian people to offer those things to their children? I want a religion with top-notch, University accedited training facilities and the ability for paid clergy who can run the organization of our temples. I want the structure and influence of the 'Church' without the money hungry totalitarian rulers behind it. I want a place where the relgion of the Goddess can flourish for generations as more than just a "passing fad for militant feminists and lesbians" (this is what I believe the world thinks about us).

The time has come for change. The first thing we need to do is break free of some of the more modern labels we've taken on, most of which are slurs that were used against our ancestors millenia ago.

Quoted From Another Source:
"The word Pagan was given to the non christians by christians as an insult. It means country dweller which at the time equated to dirty, poor, uneducated idiot, now there's a name worth keeping! ... We are "pagans" because CHRISTIANS say we are!"

Am I barking mad up the entirely wrong tree? I'm willing to admit it's possible and I'm even more willing to hear alternative solutions.

Always in Her Service,


Sunday, February 12, 2006

What's the Point

I was wandering around the web, new to the Goddess-blogging community, and stumbled upon At the End of Desire. In Innana's post entitled The Circle Within 2 there is this:

"Someone once asked me, "What's the point of this Wicca thing? I mean, if you're not trying to get into Heaven or find Nirvana, what are you trying to do?" I couldn't help but comment on this subject.

Grian said... On the subject of "Heaven" and/or "Nirvana" and the point of it all: Aren't we striving towards some kind of enlightenment? Most Pagans believe in reincarnation in some form, so becoming enlightened seems to go along with that concept - moving from body to body and learning as much as possible. What would the end result of this be but enlightenment? So some people call it Heaven, Nirvana, The Summerlands - but enlightenment works for me. Conciousness is a good one too. At some point it would seem a soul would have to find its way back to the source after having learned all of the things that it was created for in the first place. Oddly enough I have a section written on this already in my "little project". Here is part of that section...

After the realization of One Mother, I examined modern Paganism in its various forms; most specifically Wicca. Unfortunately, what I found was a religious system that was lacking something – something vital. That statement will probably get me in trouble and I’m the last person who wants to get somebody’s proverbial panties in a bunch, but being honest is important enough to risk it. Anyway, Wicca left me wanting more, but what did the more consist of? Inspiration came from the east. Well sort of. It all came down to asking the right questions. I wanted to know what the purpose of being spiritual, religious, etc. was. I think some people go through life just assuming they’re supposed to follow a religion. Does anyone ever stop to ask why? What’s the point? For me, the answer to this question was (drum roll) enlightenment. A big word to be sure, but what does it mean?Merriam-Webster Online defines enlighten this way: to furnish knowledge to, to give spiritual insight to.This pretty much summed it up. Why bother practicing a religion that will teach you nothing? It would be pretty pointless to look back on years of religious study to suddenly realize you had gained absolutely nothing spiritually from it. So I looked towards the Goddess and asked myself what Her lessons where – what she could teach through practice. The answers to these questions are what make up this modest volume of words.


Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A Question of Faith

A list that I am on has been discussing the topic of faith and what place it has in Pagan spirituality considering a definition of having faith in something implies a lack of direct experience. Here is what I had to say about this:

Faith is a very important part of my life and my spiritual practice since I don't think we can really have the answers to those big Divine questions. People have been trying to come up with explanations and reasons since the beginning. And those things which I have had specific personal experience with still leave me questioning. I guess I sum up my faith in a few words from one of my favorite songs. Cheesy, I know, but bare with me here. ;o)

"What you don't have you don't need it now and what you don't know you can feel it somehow."

I can't claim to know. I only feel it.

So, I don't really know if I 'know' anything for sure and part of me likes being that way while the other 75% gets frustrated wanting all the answers. I think a lot of the way I think comes from experiencing other people who have become so attached to their beliefs that they have no room for anyone elses. I refuse to be like that. Then again, I am strongly rooted in Socrates - "True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing." - so who am I to talk?

No matter how many times I may have experienced something I only 'know' it from my own perspective. If there is any truth there it is purely personal. Once I break those experiences down to that personal truth faith is all I have left.