Pagans, Integrity and Forgiveness


The following article on forgiveness was originally published on Our Pantheons Way on Father’s Day, June 16th, 2013.

Paganism is a living religion - Always changing, always growing! - Forgiveness
Paganism is a living religion – Always changing, always growing!

Happy Father’s Day to all my fellow Dads out there as well as moms who are having to be both mom and dad to someone. Expect today’s blog post to be somewhat convoluted as I have several things that have been bouncing around in my head that I wanted to write about today but no clear plan going forth as to how to go about writing on them. So bear with me as I juggle the duties of writing this along with my dadly (yes, I created a new word) duties of helping a young child who fell asleep on the living room couch last night and had an accident. Oh! and get him breakfast too! 🙂 So anyway, yes, as the title suggests I would like to talk a little bit about how Pagans in general (based solely on my own experiences) treat the concepts of integrity and forgiveness. A lot of Pagans seem to feel that forgiveness is a predominantly Christian concept and that people should be held accountable for their actions to the bitter end. Now, I am no expert by any means on the teachings of all the traditions out there and I write just as much so that perhaps some of you who are more knowledgeable can have an opportunity to enlighten me as I do to express my viewpoints. Anyway, whether forgiveness is a concept that comes from our own lineage or not my question is shouldn’t it be? One of the graphics I see come across on the book of face quite a bit that I usually share when I see it says that we forgive someone not always because they deserve it but because we deserve peace. Another says that holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. It just doesn’t work that way. Believe me, I am very much human and very much struggle with these ideas myself but ultimately I do see the wisdom in them.


Moving on to integrity. I also see a lot of posts, and have probably shared some myself, along the lines of “I do whatever I want and screw what you think about it.” Certainly our individuality and rebellious nature is a thing to be celebrated I think but there comes a point sometimes when the actions we decide to take might become harmful to others or show a lack of ethics or integrity. If we make an oath, take a vow or otherwise give our word on something then later take an action that shows we have not followed through on what we’ve said, whether we like it or not, others judge us on those actions. Whether they say it out loud or not the thought is still in their mind and they will deal with us accordingly. Sometimes our actions come with a price. They might cost us a great deal of trust and respect. So, certainly do what you want but understand that what you want and what is right may or may not be the same thing and consider what the consequences of your actions might be. But, since we are all human, we’re all going to slip up once in awhile. Let’s try to work on that forgiveness thing. Agree? Disagree? Please share your thoughts. I have to go do more dadly stuff.

Many Blessings All,

Cianaodh

 

References:

Starhawk On Forgiving – Thank you Vense for reminding me of this one.


What’s Going On With DFW Pagan Pride Day?

As the year progresses and people are looking forward to September and October while many of us hope for cooler temperatures folks are thinking and wondering once again about Pagan Pride Day and because I have, in the past, served as a volunteer and one year as a Co-Coordinator of the event a few are asking if I know anything about it.

I asked Philosophy Cat what is up with DFW Pagan Pride Day but he doesn't know either.
I asked Philosophy Cat what is up with DFW Pagan Pride Day but he doesn’t know either.

Unfortunately, the answer is that I do not. Since I departed from the planning committee following the 2014 DFW Pagan Pride Day event I haven’t been in touch with the Local Coordinator or the Regional Coordinator for Pagan Pride Day. according to the international Pagan Pride Project page the Regional Coordinator for this area is still Virginia Darkelf as she was when I was serving on the volunteer staff for DFW Pagan Pride Day in 2013 and 2014. An email link is provided there for her. Perhaps she can answer folks’ questions about DFW PPD. I don’t see a listing at the page there for a Local Coordinator but as recently as last year it was Mr. Bryan Lankford. Whether he still holds the position or if it is open I do not know. As I said, I haven’t kept in touch with him so he would be the person to ask about his status with Pagan Pride Project. I do know that last year he posted the following to the DFW Pagan Pride Day Facebook Page:

Three years ago when I became the Local Coordinator of PPD I knew I was going to have several years of being really busy on the horizon. My plan was to get a good team together so everyone knew their job and could function without me needing to supervise. I succeeded in getting a great team together but unfortunately the year that I got too busy to devote a lot of time to PPD so did the rest of the team. This year I am working on my master’s degree, fostering three boys, working with two soccer teams and two Boy Scout Troops as well as now being Lead Teacher for my school and still performing magic shows. I have postponed making this announcement because I kept hoping I could squeeze in time to get PPD together but it’s really apparent that that’s not going to happen at this time. I really wanted to continue our run of successful PPD events and there were several people who volunteered to help, which I appreciate. However, I can’t devote the time to training new people this year so I’m sorry but we are going to have to call it for this year. We might be able to get something together next year if life slows down a bit. I will miss the event this year but I just don’t have the time to put it together.

Bryan

He and I have both been very busy pursuing our own lives and taking care of things we need to do and neither he nor I have made an effort to stay in touch with one another so other than what has been posted publicly I am just as in the dark as any of you on the matter. My tradition was asked to host a ritual at the alternative event DFW Pagan Unity fest last year and this year which was put together by a team of local volunteers spearheaded by Becca Shugart. I think part of her reason for holding Pagan Unity Fest in the spring this year was specifically not to draw the attendance away from Pagan Pride Day in case it happened this year.

The DFW Pagan Pride Day website is still up at http://dfwpaganpride.org/.  I know because I pay the hosting fees and domain renewal to keep it there. I set that up in 2013 while I was the Promotional Coordinator for the event and I stated when I departed that I had no problem with continuing to host the website and offer any technical assistance needed by anyone who would be taking over the running and promotion of DFW Pagan Pride Day. It doesn’t cost me much to keep it online and I have no problem doing it. If anyone who is officially with Pagan Pride Project would like for me to do anything with the website I would be happy to do so but so far no one has asked me to update any information on the page, transfer the domain elsewhere or anything along those lines so it sits pretty much as it did at the end of DFW Pagan Pride Day 2014.

I have no problem working with anyone who has a desire to put on a DFW Pagan Pride Day event. Admittedly, like anyone else, there are people who I like personally better than others. But I am willing to set aside any differences for the better of the community and work with whoever may take up the ball and run with it. I am still too busy to be a Local Coordinator or anything as demanding as that but, maybe next year? We will see.

We Are Indeed, The Other People Part 1

Oberon Zell Ravenheart wrote a story which changed my life.

I'm not Oberon.

A long, long time ago in a galaxy not so far away, I think I wrote once about how one of the earliest things I ever read that was of a Pagan nature was a little pamphlet made as a Pagan answer to the Chick Tracts that used to adorn car windshields in parking lots and pay phone booths everywhere where I grew up. What’s a “Chick Tract” you ask? I’m actually surprised by how many people I speak with who honestly don’t know. I used to see them everywhere. The Wikipedia entry for Jack T. Chick, the creator of them, begins thusly:

Jack Thomas Chick (born April 13, 1924) is an American publisher, writer, and comic book artist of evangelical fundamentalist Christian tracts and comic books. His comics have been described by Los Angeles magazine as “equal parts hate literature and fire-and-brimstone sermonizing”.

Most of them were elaborately illustrated with tales of “This Is Why You’re Going To Burn In Hell!” and usually filled with text about the evils of watching television, listening to rock music and playing Dungeons & Dragons or some such.

So, in answer, some enterprising individuals at the Aquarian Tabernacle Church printed up a bunch of similarly styled tracts with Oberon Zell Ravenheart’s article We Are The Other People printed in it. One day, I happened across one of these and read it. Having, up until that point, only been exposed to the concepts and philosophies offered by mainstream religion and predominantly in the region I grew up in that was fundamentalist, evangelical Christianity with a hefty dose of hellfire and brimstone, what I read between the pages actually made a lot of sense to me. Here was a counterpoint argument that laid out exactly why there wasn’t just one right way to live. At that point in my life it was what I needed to see but as I have gotten older I do find the tone a bit too caustic for my now more coexistent, live and let live point of view. I even recall Oberon saying in later years that he felt, if someone were to choose to include Jesus Christ in their personal pantheon and be both Pagan and Christian then, why not? If it works for them, who are we to judge? A lot of the objections I have previously had to such an arrangement stem from words that are prevalent in the modern interpretations of the bible. Words which I believe were put there by men, not gods. Most everything attributed to be the words of Jesus himself though, I generally have no issue with. Anyway, I have long wanted to take just the points made in the original article and separate them from the picturesque scenery of the visit by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, their reactions, the decor, etc. You know, just look at the facts. But before I dive into that, here’s a link to the original article so you can see where we’re starting from.

Church of All Worlds – We Are The Other People

Let’s start with the visitors, shall we? I, too, get the occasional visit from the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses or others going door to door to share their tales. Generally, if there is time, I try to share some tales of my own. Unfortunately, I often find they only want to speak, not listen. That happens a lot in verbal communication these days I’ve noticed which is why I have a preference for blogging or other formats that allow me to speak my full thoughts without interruption. I don’t mind listening to what others have to say and quite often do because I love learning new things. But, sadly, when my turn comes to speak I often don’t receive the same courtesy. Interesting conundrum that, isn’t it? Anyway, a great deal of getting people over to their way of thinking comes in the form of the concept of “Original Sin” and their idea of “Salvation” to escape the repercussions of this “sin”. As Oberon says in We Are The Other People Though:

“But none of that applies to us. We have no need for salvation because we don’t have original sin. We are the Other People.”

What? How is that possible? This story applies to everybody! Not so fast, let’s take a look at the first chapter of the book. Again, as Oberon puts it:

Genesis 1:26 – The [Elohim] said, “Let us make humanity in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild beasts and all the reptiles that crawl upon the earth.”

Elohim is a plural word, including male and female, and should properly be translated “Gods” or “Pantheon.”

I have a few Jewish friends who are very open minded and I’ve spoken with them about this. One, in particular is a Rabbi who explained to me that one thing people often don’t know about ancient writings is that, unlike today, there really weren’t any punctuation rules and even spaces between words. So, a lot of what has to be considered when interpreting these texts is the context the word is used in. Elohim is a word that can be interpreted as either Gods or Pantheon as stated here or can refer to a singular God which embodies both masculine and feminine form. But, whether Oberon’s interpretation is correct is irrelevant. As the story continues, many other points are made as to why there were clearly people who were outside the sphere of influence of this particular creation myth.

27 The Gods created humanity in the image of themselves, In the image of the Gods they created them, Male and Female they created them.
28 The Gods blessed them, saying to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all living animals on the earth.”

I would like to interject something here while we’re on the subject of “conquering” the earth and “mastering” all of the creatures within it. Daniel Quinn, in his book ‘Ishmael’, advances an interesting theory with regards to this concept by dividing the cultures of the world into ‘Taker’ and ‘Leaver’ cultures. The ‘Takers’ are those who have eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and have taken it upon themselves to assume the role of gods; choosing what is to live and what is to die. Determining what is good and what is evil. The ‘Leavers’ leave such matters up to the gods and live in harmony with the world rather than seeking to dominate it. It is said that this story of Genesis was originally a ‘Leaver’ culture story which was adopted by the ‘Takers’ as their own. Anyway, Oberon had this to say regarding the above two passages.

Now clearly, here we are talking about the original creation of the human species: male and female. All the animals,plants, etc. have all been created in previous verses. This is before the Garden of Eden, and Yahweh is not mentioned as the creator of these people. The next chapter talks about how Yahweh, an individual member of the Pantheon, goes about assembling his own special little botanical and zoological Garden in Eden, and making his own little man to inhabit it:

Sure enough, if you look up various versions of the bible online this is what it appears to say. Take a look at this one for example: NIV Genesis 1 26-28

Then in Chapter 2…

Gen 2:7 – Yahweh God fashioned a man of dust from the soil. Then he breathed into his nostrils a breath of life, and thus the man became a living being.
8 Yahweh God planted a garden in Eden which is in the east, and there he put the man he had fashioned.
9 Yahweh God caused to spring up from the soil every kind of tree, enticing to look at and good to eat, with the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden.
15 Yahweh God took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden to cultivate and take care of it.

At this point Oberon said:

Now this next is crucial: note Yahweh’s precise words:

…and indeed it is crucial.

16 Then Yahweh God gave the man this admonition, “You may eat indeed of all the trees in the garden.
17 Nevertheless of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you are not to eat, for on the day you eat of it you shall most surely die.”

As the original article states:

Fateful words, those. We will refer back to this admonition later.

So what happens next? As Oberon put it:

Then Yahweh decides to make a woman to go with the man. Now, don’t forget that the Pantheon had earlier created a whole population of people, “male and female,” who are presumably doing just fine somewhere “outside the gates of Eden.” But this setup in Eden is Yahweh’s own little experiment, and will unfold to its own separate destiny.

As Genesis states:

21 So Yahweh God made the man fall into a deep sleep. And while he slept, he took one of his ribs and enclosed it in flesh.
22 Yahweh God built the rib he had taken from the man into a woman, and brought her to the man.

Humorously, Oberon interjects here:

Right. Man gives birth to woman. Sure he does. But that’s the way the story is told here.

So, here they are, these newly formed individuals in the Garden Of Eden and the story goes:

25 Now both of them were naked, the man and his wife, but they felt no shame in front of each other.

To which Oberon says, and I agree:

Well, of course not! Why should they? But take careful note of those words, as they also will prove to be significant . . .

In my opinion, significant indeed and it speaks to one of the many reasons that most traditional practitioners to this day still hold skyclad initiations and other rituals. But anyway, this post is getting long and I need to attend to some other things so I think I will continue with my review of ‘We Are The Other People’ in a later article. It is a rather lengthy article in it’s own right but well worth the read I think. It gives a great incite into our worldview versus mainstream thinking.

I’ll catch ya on the flip side with part 2 of this saga.

We Are Indeed, The Other People Part 2

Cianaodh

Picking Up The Pagan Pieces

Cianaodh Pagan Syndrome
Cianaodh Syndrome

Many of us who had the pleasure to be involved with this past Saturday’s DFW PPD are still basking in the glow of what a marvelous event it was for our community. Tommy Elf and I had been talking for some time about the need for folks to set aside what separates them and embrace what brings them together within the community. Sure, we come from a diverse and wide ranging collection of beliefs and traditions but there are some tangibles that do tie us to one another and when we recognize and respect one another’s differences but support each’s right to follow their own spirit we can do amazing things together. Saturday proved that. We had folks from Wiccan, Sumerian, Druid, Hellenismos (and I am not sure I am using the proper form of the word there, perhaps Conor can help me out?) and many other traditional backgrounds all putting on workshops, rituals, vending, performing and mingling together and enjoying one another’s company. We raised an estimated 17 pints of blood for Carter Blood Care and took in 110 pounds of donated food for a local charity. All in all it was a great day to be a Pagan or as I sometimes like to say Paganesque as there are some within the realm of Paganesque thought who prefer other descriptives such as Heathen, Polytheist, etc. Which is fine, I just usually use Pagan or Paganesque as an umbrella term in the interests of saving time and simplicity. When I say it I really mean, just about everyone who believes something other than the gigantic mainstream monotheistic viewpoint.

Anyway, while riding the high of the positive energy which our community raised this past Saturday I happened to get an email from someone starting a new Pagan Network. He has been in touch with Carla Smith who is Vice President of PPP international and through her is getting in touch with various Pagan Pride Local Coordinators to try the new network out. Essentially a social network for Pagans kind of like Facebook but not like those NING based sites you might have seen already. I thought, okay, cool let’s check this thing out. I have to say, the user interface is pretty clean and easy to navigate but could use a few more features which most people these days tend to take for granted on social networking sites. The name leans heavily toward Witches or Wiccan based Pagans but I saw a post by one of the network’s architects saying that they recognize this fact and are planning a name change to something a little more inclusive so I thought, cool, they are thinking ahead. I joined the Founders Club group within the network because I am as of this moment one of only 40 members in the network. I was reading through the posts there and commenting in agreement to some of the things said there then simply dropped the line of something like. I can see where the current name might seem rather slanted against Heathens or Druids though. (Now mind, this is after I have already seen a message posted elsewhere on the site that a name change is already in the works.) The very first response I get back, indeed the very first response I have had back from anyone at all on the network so far is “They will just have to pick up the pieces and move on.” WTF?!?! What’s that all about? What kind of an attitude is that anyway?

You know, I remember some of the conversations we had right here on this blog with Isadore about how many in the Heathen communities don’t care for taking park in community wide events because they are often shouted down and not given an opportunity to speak their piece but this is the first time in my recollection that I had actually ever been on the receiving end of such derision. Seriously! WTF?!?! Pick up the pieces and move on? I don’t know. I guess some folks in the community still have a way to go. Now this wasn’t someone here in the DFW area, don’t get me wrong. But I personally can’t get behind that kind of thinking. I believe everyone should be entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and whether you are Wiccan, Heathen, Druid, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Spaghetti Monsterologist or whatever you might happen to be, if you are respectful of others you are welcome here.

Bíodh sé amhlaidh,

Cianaodh

Ya Work With What Ya Get! Represent Yo.

Did You Represent Yourself?
Did You Represent Yourself?

Conor O’Bryan Warren made an excellent point in his blog article at Under The Owl’s Wing recounting the experiences he had at DFW Pagan Pride Day 2013. In it he says that there are many within the hard polytheistic (meaning folks who see the gods and goddesses as individual deities rather than aspects of one god and one goddess) who see Pagan Pride Day as a mostly Wiccan or Eclectic Pagan event. Well, if these are the only folks who show up then what do you expect? When one is putting together an all volunteer event you work with who shows up and what they bring to the table. I, personally, can’t pull a workshop on Hellenic Household Worship out of my ass because I have only a smattering of knowledge on the subject. So if someone like Mr. Warren who has taken the time to educate himself on the subject doesn’t come to share his knowledge where else would it come from? He is dead on right about the folks who complain that this event is all this or all that but don’t show up, roll up their sleeves or do anything to change it. But there is always time to change that. If you would like to have greater representation in the overall community, no matter what your tradition or spiritual path, get out there and participate in it. There are events like this going on all the time and if there isn’t one, put one together. Oh! It is a lot of work, sure. But very rewarding work when you see it all come together and get to see smiles on lots of faces because they have all been touched by something magickal that you were a part of.

DFW Pagan Pride Day will happen again in 2014. If you would like to be a participant, get in touch.

Bíodh  amhlaidh,

Troy

Evangelical Pagan Not Really A Thing

My God Is All About Love
My God Is All About Love

Ya don’t really run into many Pagan people who are out to try to convince others that their way is the only way and you have to believe what they do or terrible things are coming your way and your immortal soul is in danger and, and, and….Gasp! Yeah, you get my drift. It’s just not the way we think. Now when I first discovered that I was Pagan many years ago I got really excited about it. It was amazing for me to learn that there were others who believed so many of the things that I believed but kept to myself for years and years. I was so excited I wanted to share it with others because, surely if others learned about it they too would feel that they have finally come home and it would set their spirits on fire too. But, not so much for most folks. Most people are quite comfortable with where they are spiritually and aren’t looking to change the path they are on. Sometimes people are seeking and that’s why we say, let the seeker seek. Our spiritual path is our spiritual path, other people’s paths are their own responsibility to walk. Others may walk with us but no one can walk for us.

I can only remember one time running across a young, relatively new to the path Pagan person who actually expressed an opinion that he thought Pagan folks should go out and evangelize. Spread the good word of the gods and goddesses, our ancestors and the nature spirits. Ah, youthful exuberance! I wonder how that ever worked out for him? You know, it’s rather ironic, when you think about it, that you don’t see Pagans out going door to door, canvassing neighborhoods, making movements to bring our religious views more prevalent in the public sector, the classroom, the sporting event, etc. But oftentimes some folks will point the finger at us and say we are out to recruit people, indoctrinate their youth and all that. Hypocrisy anyone? But all that aside, no, we’re quite happy to live our way and let you live yours. If someone is curious about our way I and many others are usually happy to talk as long as the discussion is kept reasonable. But I don’t even force my religious views on my own kids, why would I care to take the time to force them on yours?

Rockin' at J. Gilligan's - Pagan
Rockin’ at J. Gilligan’s

Anywaze! With that said, I thought I might throw a little out there about what we did last night. (No! Not that part! Get your mind outta the gutter!) Em’ and I went to see Riddick last night at the AMC over at The Parks Mall. It was good! If you liked Pitch Black and The Chronicles Of Riddick then you’ll probably enjoy this latest installment too. Afterwards we wandered up to Groovy Goods (formerly Feed Your Head) where they were having their 4th Friday Drum Jam and reopening of the store with a great 30-50% off on everything sale. We bought some stuff. I was wishing I had my stack of DFW PPD 2013 Postcards with me to leave but I will be heading back up there today to drop some off so do get up there and say hi for me! 🙂 Then we decided it was time for a bite to eat so we journeyed up to one of my favorite places in Arlington, J. Gilligan’s where we found Jeremy Norvelle and Chad Cocuzza and Brendan M McGeehan along with a great saxophone player, whose name I didn’t catch unfortunately, jammin’ in the bar. They were really on last night too. It was a perfect night to catch them, Chad came over to our table and chatted with us a bit while they were taking a break. We talked about their trip to Burning Man a few years ago, an awesome Cruise Ship takeover they had and some of their upcoming shows. Spoonfed Tribe will be playing at C.M.A. on October 19th by the way! Go catch them, you won’t be sorry! Brendan tells me they will be playing tonight at Quaker Steak in Plano. So, if you’re up that way, go check ’em out.

Bíodh  amhlaidh ya’ll,

Cianaodh

Ya Know What I Like About Pagans?

No matter which symbol you follow, if you respect mine, I'll respect yours. Pagans
No matter which symbol you follow, if you respect mine, I’ll respect yours.

I’ve been knocking around in this Dallas / Fort Worth Pagan Community since 1998. Longer than a lot but not nearly as long as some others I know. In that time I have had a great opportunity to learn and grow spiritually just by hanging around the very wise, knowledgeable and sometimes crazy folks who make up this diverse community of many faiths we have here. From the time I was 8 years old and my dad passed away from a heart attack brought on by complications of “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” til I was about 30 years old I declared myself basically agnostic. Agnostics are very often confused with atheists. For those who do not know, basically an atheist has made up their mind that there is no god at all while an agnostic still questions the existence of one. So I believed pretty much in what could be scientifically proven and said, okay, if there is a divine presence out there somewhere, prove it. My mom wasn’t one to push religion one way or another. She too had become disillusioned with the church at an early age when (I am told) the pastor in the small community church she and her family went to got caught having an affair with one of the women of the church. Both were married. Mom read from the King James Bible and her parents, like my Dad’s parents were very committed members of their churches but she let me choose my own way spiritually. There was an occasion when I was about 7 that I went to the church of some neighborhood kids a few times to see what it was all about. I remember a little bit about Sunday School and playing Red Rover in the yard with the kids. I also remember morning services and the collection plate being passed around but that’s about all I can recall. Then, as a teenager I became interested in a T.V. Preacher who was kind of a rebel. He drank whiskey, smoked big cigars, wore a leather jacket and tied a necktie around his head like a headband the first time I saw him. He talked about things like how the pyramids in Egypt were perfectly aligned with certain stars and constellations and other interesting things.

Mom, never encouraged or discouraged me in my explorations but over time I lost interest in following the teaching of this guy and went back to my world of science and what man has learned through research and critical thinking. There is a great deal of knowledge and wisdom to be acquired in this way too but science can’t answer all of man’s problems.

DRAGON RITUAL DRUMMERS – Masters of Chaos:

Now, in my younger years I have always been what they call a lucid dreamer. My dreams were always in color and had great amounts of detail to them so I was accustomed to that sort of thing but one night something very different happened to me and I had the first of only two encounters I have had in my life of direct communication with The Goddess. It wasn’t a mere lucid dream, I refer to it as a vision because it is all I can explain it to be. First appeared a roughly 4 foot tall half man, half peacock creature who spoke to me in a language I did not understand but I could still get the gist of it’s meaning as if he were speaking to me telepathically. Then appeared, in all her glorious splendor, the Goddess Hera of the Greek pantheon. She told me in no uncertain terms that my path was to gather all of the knowledge and wisdom of the ancients that I could and then my task was to become a teacher and pass this on to future generations later in life. No more, no less. She did not tell me, I will become a priest of this particular tradition or that particular tradition. She did not give me any specifics on what to learn and later teach she only set me on this path to learn what I can, then teach it to others. So I have, as best I can until I took my sabbatical for a couple of years after my mom’s passing. Then the second vision came and this time she appeared more as what I can only describe as “Mother Nature” as she has been depicted on things produced by hollywood and that old Parkay commercial from the 1980s. She reiterated in no uncertain terms what I am supposed to be doing and seemed rather annoyed with me that she was having to repeat herself. So, I am back on my path and seeing that the way is being cleared before me to do the things I am supposed to do. I have learned to accept it and go with it when I realize this is what is happening to some extent but still that Irish, rebel lineage of mine tends to want to buck the system from time to time. 😉

So, if I speak of “the Goddess” a lot and not “the God” don’t take it that I do not believe in both aspects of the divine or even that I am necessarily purely duo-theistic as most Wiccans are. For me the jury is still out on the whole “hard polytheism versus soft polytheism debate) as Isadore refers to it. I only speak of “the Goddess” a lot because she is the one who has spoken directly to me. I also must clarify here, directly. I pull a rune for divination every day, I receive signs of other types all the time. I know the Kindred spirits are there guiding me if I only still my mind, pay attention and listen. I feel the presence of Cernunnos, Lugh, Dagda and others in my life. But only twice have I received direct, one on one communication with the divine and both times it was a Goddess who appeared. So far and for whatever reason. I figure if more is to come later it will but I will continue on my mission because I do think the old Parkay commercials were right about one thing. It’s not a good idea to piss off Mother Nature! (Well, maybe they didn’t say it quite like that.) 😉

So, that being said how about I talk a little about what I really wanted to say this morning at the moment I jotted that title down at the top before I wandered down the rabbit hole of this tangent I ended up on regarding my history. I do think some of that background will help people who are interested understand me a little better and see where some of my viewpoints come from. I still have some of those agnostic tendencies of, okay, prove it that show up from time to time for one. But I have learned, not all things can be proven. Some of them have to be experienced first hand. Which is why Contact is one of my favorite movies of all time.

I really enjoy the company of Pagans. I mean all Pagans, and when I use the term I am referring to people who do the digging and research into what their ancestors believed and why they believed it. For the most part, you don’t run into many spiritually lazy Pagans. Most of them know exactly why they believe what they do because they have taken the time to figure it out and not just say things like “Well my mom and dad did this, their mom and dad before them did so I do too and leave it at that.” Most Pagans know their history and it’s not like any history that is taught in the public school system. They know the stuff that gets glossed over or missed completely in the teaching from other sources but often times they can point to references and citations to back up what they know. I love hanging out with these people and hearing their stories, their wisdom and learning from them. Pagans tend to enjoy life and have a good time with one another. I love the energy of most gatherings, circles and rituals I have been to. I love getting closer to nature, the ancestors and the overall inter-connectedness of all things. I have had the occasion to go to American Tradition Of The Goddess gatherings and meet some very wonderful people there, I have, of course been to Alexandrian Wiccan circles, Council Of The Magickal Arts festivals, drum jams, Witchstock, Sumerians gatherings (Oh! I love my Sumerian peeps!), ADF Druid gatherings (I love my grovies from my ADF days too) and a bunch of types of gathering that probably are slipping my mind. Of course Pagan Pride Day get togethers. Pagans are, at the heart of it, very friendly, loving and accepting people for the most part. Yes, they are people and as most people they have their differences and sometimes don’t get along but most of them believe if you’re not harming them then they will accept you for what you are and Co-Exist with you. These are a few of the many things I love about Pagans. How about you?

Ramble On About PPD, ADF, OBOD…

Mine’s a tale that can’t be told, my freedom I hold dear.
How years ago in days of old, when magic filled the air.
T’was in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair.
But Gollum, and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her, her, her….yeah.

 – Led Zeppelin

So, today I thought I might have my own publisher’s clearinghouse of sorts and sweep a few random things out that have been bouncing around in my brain for some time that I kept thinking would become the topic of entire blog posts one day. Who knows, maybe they still shall but as we get closer and closer to DFW Pagan Pride Day my mind is going to be increasingly focused on preparations for that, especially considering the extra responsibilities I took on at yesterday’s meeting which I will talk about shortly. As one of my favorite authors, M.R. Sellars, likes to refer to such stuff, prepare for the brain pan drippings! 😉

Fairy Flower Girl
Fairy Flower Girl

One thing I have thought about a lot over the years is that if one is going to be a Pagan one should curse like a Pagan. What do I mean by that? Well, growing up in a primarily monotheistic society we all have picked up the colloquialisms of the mainstream society and will use exclamations like Damn it! Or What the hell? Etc. which are references to places and concepts that don’t really apply in most Pagan religions. We generally don’t go around damning people nor do we have a concept of hell as most modern day Christians understand it. Like many Pagans I tend to replace hell with Hel, which is the name of a Norse Goddess. But I also use phrases like Balor’s Eye! Balor is known in Irish legend as the king of the Fomorians who fought the Tuatha De Dannan. You should really check out the Celtic Myth Podshow to learn of these tales. It’s a very interesting show! Anyway, Balor is said to have an Evil Eye which will strike dead anyone it gazes upon. Thus, I might say Balor’s Eye where others would say damn it or something like that. I have also been known to say things like By Dagda’s Club as a general exclamation of agreement or resolute action. I once in awhile say something like Blessed Mother Goddess but then people tend to think you’re Catholic. 😉 Anyway, just a few random thoughts on that. Anyone else have some Pagany exclamations they would like to share? Please comment!

Onward!

ADF Druid ritual at 2008 PPD
ADF Druid ritual at the 2008 PPD

Okay, I might as well talk about Pagan Pride Day because I love the thought of Pagan Pride Day and what it could mean for the DFW Pagan Community if our project actually works the way I hope to see it work. Notice I say OUR project here. That’s very significant. There is a tendency among folks to assign someone as the leader of something and then all responsibility and all blame falls upon said leader. I never signed up to be in charge of everything that pertains to Pagan Pride Day. That is not my role. But as the promotional coordinator I am the one everyone sees posting about PPD, sharing news about PPD so I have become the PPD guy in most people’s eyes. We have a very large and diverse committee of volunteers from several different traditions represented putting PPD together this year. We have individuals from CUUPS, we have a couple of O.B.O.D. Druids, an A.D.F. Druid, A couple of Wiccans, a few solitaire’s, a Sumerian and I’m sure a couple of other’s that have slipped my mind at the moment. We have a contacts page on the DFW Pagan Pride website with volunteers (another important word) who are filling various roles to help people with things like Vending, Kids area, Volunteers, Entertainment, Workshops, etc. Folks! This isn’t a one guy show by any means. It is a community effort run by volunteers and if something that is important to you or your tradition is not represented then why not volunteer, there’s that word again, I told you it was important, to do something about it. Nothing has ever been accomplished by sitting at home, complaining about how things are. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi. Just my two cents.

Like me, most of our volunteers have real jobs which occupy a large portion of our time during the week, we have families who need our attention and care and we have other things going on in our lives as well. So please be patient if we can’t help you right away but if you get in touch with us someone will try to help you as best we can.

Nature Is My Church
Nature Is My Church

About those extra responsibilities I mentioned. So, yeah. The meeting yesterday was, in my opinion, the best one we have had to date. We got a lot of ground covered and a lot of things accomplished I think. Earlier this week our Entertainment Coordinator quit but we have two volunteers who have stepped up to fill in that role so hopefully I will have exciting news soon on our entertainment front. I have become not only the promotional coordinator but also the treasurer for our group. I should have a lot of new content to add to the DFW Pagan Pride website this week as reports come in on our vendors, sponsors, workshop and entertainment lineup. Unfortunately there will be no more Open Mic fund raisers at Charlie’s Bar but we are talking about doing an Open Mic fundraiser at a place in Arlington instead. Also, there will be a Pagan Garage Sale in September, look for news on that soon. The working group we have together now seems very focused and serious about the roles they are filling. I have a good feeling about how things are progressing now whereas, as I mentioned before, I had my doubts. Later today I will be getting together with my friend Gwilym The Bard to record a 25 second ad spot for Tommy Elf to get out onto the Podcasting circuit for us promoting PPD. Listen for that too! 🙂

Well, that’s about all I can think of for now. Have a great week and be good to each other out there!