Spirituality – Living It vs. Reading It


The following article on living was originally published on Our Pantheons Way on July 7th, 2013.

Festival Drum - Living It!
Djembe By Campfire – Living It!

Each morning I start my day off in basically the same way. I wake up (hopefully) and look over at my altar which sits right next to my bed on a small shelf attached to the wall where most people would keep their night stand. If the spirit candle has burned out I light a new one. I light a tea light candle in the southern quadrant for the element of fire. I light an incense in the east for air. I check on my malachite and other stones in the north and my sea shell in the west. Sometimes I change out and have a chalice of water in the west or some other representations but these days that the basics of my altar. I light a healing candle if anyone I know of is in need of healing or other energies. Then I pick up my athame and cast an invoking pentagram followed by these words or something similar.

Great Goddess, Mighty God

You who are of me and around me

Guide me through this day

Show me the way through darkness and confusion

Grant to me peace, love, balance, courage, health and joy for this day.

So mote it be.

I place my athame back into it’s sheath (it’s a replica of a Royal Scottish Dirk which my wife gave to me as a gift) and lay it back onto the altar. I reach into my bag of runes and take out one for my guidance for the day. Write down what rune it was in my journal and a little about it’s meaning then go on to start my work day.

It’s a simple ritual and very Wiccan in style but I do it every day and it helps me to connect with the divine, ask for their guidance and feel I am off to a good start. If I were to miss it I would probably go through the day feeling lost because it has become an important part of my life and of my daily routine.


In the past I have done daily invocations in the style of ADF Druidry but since the Goddess smacked me upside the head nearly a year ago now and made it quite clear that I needed to get my butt back on my path this is the ritual which has been working for me. Later I may change it but I will likely always start my day with something like this.

We all have our own ways of reconnecting with the divine, the center, nature or however we describe what makes us feel….. for lack of a better word, right? That we belong? That we are a part of something?

I know that whenever I am out in nature I also feel the connectedness of the divine. Some of us need ritual, some of us don’t. We all have our preferred methods of divination. Some of us are heavily into magickal workings, some of us are more interested in learning our history and rituals. But we all, together are living our spirituality in our own ways. How do you live yours?

“Go out, go out I beg of you 

And taste the beauty of the wild. 

Behold the miracle of the earth 

With all the wonder of a child”

– Edna Jaques


Ugliness And Nastiness – No Thanks!

The following article on ugliness and nastiness was originally published on Our Pantheons Way on May 28th, 2014.

Be strong, but not rude; Be kind but not weak; Be bold, but not a bully; Be humble but not timid; Be proud, but not arrogant. No ugliness!
Be strong, but not rude; Be kind but not weak; Be bold, but not a bully; Be humble but not timid; Be proud, but not arrogant. No ugliness!

As I have mentioned in past blog posts,  in my 15 plus years hanging around in the Paganesque community I haven’t received nearly as much negativity from the people you might expect. No, not the hardcore fundamentalist Christians who dominate the region I grew up and live in. The truth be told, the most hateful, negative, ugly words I have ever heard directed towards my beliefs or those of other minority religion faiths have come from right within the Pagan, Heathen or Earth Based Spiritual communities.

It’s a bizarre phenomenon to me. Here we are surrounded, literally out numbered 1000 to 1 or more by people who wholeheartedly believe we are bound for a lake of fire and eternal damnation for daring to believe differently than they do, but some of us would rather cut one another’s throats, figuratively (hopefully), than understand one another and embrace our differences in the midst of mainstream dogma.

I remember a time, back in 2002, I was a freshly minted 1st degree Alexandrian Wiccan priest. I was proud of what I had learned in my past year and a day of study. I was proud of my new pentacle and robe. I was delighted to be a part of a Pagan community which I naively believed at that time to be all open minded, friendly, earth loving, ancestor honoring people supporting one another in their paths. I heard about this Druid gathering going on near Austin called Modron’s Gate. To this day I do not know who the organizers were or which Druid order was represented but I think it was ADF (the one I eventually joined many years later) and I think I remember Skip Ellison (former Archdruid of ADF although he was not yet Archdruid at that time I don’t think) speaking there.
I had really enjoyed myself there that first day and that night went to sit down by the fire with the others and listen to the drumming and story telling.
At one point the drumming stopped for awhile as people were resting their hands and refreshing themselves and someone, I don’t remember who, began to speak. He went on for quite some time about why he believed Druidry was superior to Wicca which isn’t bad in and of itself. Everyone is entitled to their opinion after all. But as he continued the stereotypical cliches about Wiccans came out. The stuff about how all Wiccans believe magick is powered by fairy farts and unicorns who shit rainbows. All Wiccans believe everything in the world is love and light and there is never any darkness. All Wiccans believe in a bunch of New Age (which rhymes with sewage) mumbo jumbo and don’t know their asses from a hole in the ground. You know, the kinds of things people say when they are stroking their own ego at the expense of others in an attempt to make themselves look superior.

Well, needless to say, I left that place thinking, if this is what Druids are about I don’t want anything to do with them. It was many years later that I bothered to look into it and find out there was much more to it than that person’s impression left me with. The founder of ADF was, himself married to a Wiccan and didn’t feel at all that way about Wiccans. But, how much more might I have been willing to learn about Druidry in 2002 had I not been driven away by that ugliness?

Also, back in the day I used to frequently make trips down to a popular Pagan festival ground to volunteer my time at work weekends. The land crew as it was called had their own camp ground and because I had helped out with the clearing of the land for camping places, I was invited to camp with them at the first festival held on the newly acquired land. My friends and I had a great time that night at land crew camp. There was drumming, dancing, story telling and camaraderie. No one was negative and I don’t recall a cross word being cast toward anyone. Then, the next evening, my wife at the time (ex now) went down to the medical tent area because she was experiencing some pain as she often did and needed some attention. While there another individual was in the area commenting about how there had been some “strange energy” coming from the land crew camp the night before and it just wasn’t good. I’ve come to learn that sometimes “strange energy” is used by some people as code for “I don’t like those people.” But I had no idea what the guy was talking about. I had been there the whole time and they all seemed like a wonderful group of people to me. Still, it stayed with me and showed me that this was not the cohesive, spiritually focused community I naively led myself to believe at first. But why can’t people talk to one another instead of about one another? It’s much as Tommy Elf said in his article, You Never Know Who Is Watching. You really never do and while most community leaders and organizers want to see their community grow, such negativity and divisiveness has the opposite effect on new comers. They see it and it usually makes them want to run the other way.

I, only recently started exploring the Reddit online community or the Front Page Of The Internet as they like to call themselves and I found out they have subreddits for groups like pagan, druidism, wicca, heathen, etc. I’ve known about Reddit for a long time and have been on the site a time or two but never really took the time to fully explore it and get involved. I used to spend a great deal of time on Digg reading news articles back when I was kind of a news junkie and the people on the Digg boards would frequently mention what was going on over on the Reddit boards because, at the time, I think the sites were very similar in style as far as what niche markets they were catering to. Apparently on Reddit, anonymity is a big thing. They don’t even let you put much personal info on your profile over there which has it’s good points and bad points. On the plus side under a cloak of anonymity people feel more comfortable expressing themselves and saying whatever they want. On the negative side under a cloak of anonymity people feel more comfortable expressing themselves and saying whatever ugliness they want. What I mean by that is, some people hide behind anonymity to say some of the most negative and ugly things they can think of which they probably would never say in a face to face conversation. Sometimes it’s just out of pure meanness, ugliness and spitefulness. Other times it’s just general trolling. I come from a long history of not feeding trolls that stretches back to the days before DejaNews got bought out by a search engine newcomer called Google. So, I don’t give the trolls the satisfaction of a response most of the time. But, if these people are not trolls but instead regular participants in their tradition’s particular subreddit board, I wonder if they realize their antics do their groups more harm than good or if they even care. Look at all the good Westboro Baptist Church’s ugliness has done for views on Christianity after all. (/sarcasm)

Health and Blessings!

Cianaodh

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.

Pagans Are People Too, See?

In the grande scheme of things Pagans aren’t that much different from everyone else. We may have different ways of viewing the world and different ways of interacting with it but we’re prone to the same lapses in judgement, self doubts, personality traits and character strengths and weaknesses anyone else might be. There’s good and bad in everybody to some degree.

The following article was originally published on Our Pantheons Way on July 28th, 2013

We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love... and then we return home. Pagans.
We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.

During this past week I have been visiting several blogs and finding new ones to follow. I’ve commented on some great posts that I have read by others and in those comments the topic came up again of the fact that Pagans are people too. As people we all have our own individual styles, personalities and ways of doing things. It’s not like there is just one big universal Pagan religion and we all adhere strictly to it’s path and teaching. Paganism is sort of the Linux of the religion world (for those into the techy side of things you might get the analogy). We all bring our own inherited wisdom and customs to the equations, piece it together and roll our own so to speak. Sure, there are various traditions within Paganism which have a more designed view of things and people will come together and work within a system that works for them. It’s a little more complicated than the myriad of denominations to be found within Christianity though. Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics, etc. all have different views, ritual styles, teachings about their “One True God” but they all call him by the same name and they all have variations of one sort or another of the same book. In Paganism the drift is much farther from, say, Wiccans and Asatruar or even from one Wiccan coven and another. There isn’t a universally accepted “One True” deity or set of writings that all must adhere to. Also, I should note, if you meet an Asatruar please don’t call him or her a Pagan, call him or her a Heathen. There is a difference and they will tell you all about it. I use the term Pagan to universally cover all paths that are outside of monotheism because it’s simpler when speaking or writing to do that than to have to say Pagans, Heathens, Animists, Magi, Reconstructionists, Hellenists, Druids, Lord High Mucky Mucks, etc. ad nauseum, blah, blah, blah. Sorry, but at some point ya just gotta grab one word and go with it or you’ll be all out of breath.

But that illustrates my point. Pagans are People. People in all walks of life have different ways of looking at things so labels just don’t stick all that well anyway. You really have to get to know a person before you can understand how their spirituality inter-relates with them as a person. That’s also why it’s a beautiful thing that there are some of us out there sharing our points of view. It’s good that there are many Pagans who are bloggers, podcasters, coven, group and tradition leaders out there doing their thing their way. Some people will come to my blog and say, well that guy uses profanity and tells bad jokes too much and isn’t “spiritual enough” (Yeah, I’ve heard that one before.) for me but they might go on over to another blog and find exactly what they are looking for and that’s fine. It’s good that we have that diversity because people have their differences but want to find other people who are more like them to relate with either as a friend, teacher  / student, or to get together with for spiritual ritual. It’s nice to have a fluid network within a community to allow people to shop around for what works for them rather than see a few that don’t fit, decide the whole thing is a bunch of hooey then drop out all together. I have several friends on my various online social profiles who love the stuff I post and share and others I know have dropped me from their feed or even unfollowed me. I don’t take it personally. I post what I like and those who are like me will enjoy it. That way I am happier because I am not trying to be someone that I am not and those who enjoy my posts are happier because they see someone else who thinks like they do. That’s true whether the people are pagans or something else.

In the shop where I work during the week I am an electrician / Industrial Waste Water Treatment Plant Operator. The people I work with are all facilities mechanics of one sort or another, Plumbers, Millrights, Electronic Technicians, etc. There are many personalities within our work group but one thing is certain, mechanic humor is different from admin humor. The folks working in the cubicles and offices don’t find the same things funny that those of us working on the shop floor find funny. It’s just the nature of the world. People are people. Some people like Coca-Cola and others like Root Beer. Me, I like Guinness. 😉

Anyway, I think I’ve rambled on long enough for this morning. I need to go mow the grass since we got all of that lovely rain last week and we have a double birthday party to go to later today. I hope you all have a blessed and wonderful week. Be good to each other out there and Hail The Gods! Whatever gods you believe in…

Damh the Bard – Pagan Ways live:

Quotational Quotes That Are Quotastic!

“Paganisms are not proselytizing religions.  We don’t have to proselytize.  Our job is to provide for ourselves a vibrant, flexible, and ongoing sustained pagan culture that is so beautiful, so rich with, and so sexy and so desirable that people will want to come to us because they see us and they say, ‘I want what they have.’”

– Steven Posch

– See more at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/2014/04/08/five-ritualists-id-like-to-invite-to-dinner-part-2-steven-posch/#sthash.rmIcXYpd.dpuf

Human Vanities - From the quotational Scott Cunningham
Human Vanities – From the quotational Scott Cunningham

“Perhaps it’s the greatest of all human vanities to assume that one’s religion is the only way to deity. Such beliefs have caused incalculable bloodshed and the rise of the hideous concept of holy wars.” – Cunningham – Wiccan Author

Those who read your book.
Those who read your book.

I promise I had not seen this picture before I wrote an article awhile back in which I referred to each person’s life story as “their book”. If I had, I most assuredly would have used it as the feature graphic for the article. But the day after writing it, this turned up in my news feed on the book of face. Who says the gods don’t speak to us each and every day?

image

If one dream should fall apart and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick up one of those pieces and begin again.

From Smart Witch on the book of face.

Prayer In School – Yours Or Mine?

image

So, this meme is making the rounds these days. It’s troubling in many ways and I am going to attempt to address them all in this post. First, I am assuming they are talking about the taxpayer funded, public school system here which is staffed by employees who work for the government. Therein lies the problem for me. I am, always have been and always will be an advocate for the separation of the powers of church and state. I believe history has shown again and again that it is disastrous to combine the powers of religion and government and therefore that religion should stick to the religion business and government should stick to the governing business. Now, if a Christian child wants to say a prayer or even join a group of friends in prayer before or after classes, sporting events, or even have after school bible study I see no problem whatsoever in that. They should be allowed to do so as long as they are not disrupting the course of study (reading, writing, arithmetic, science, history, art, etc.) which is scheduled to be undertaken. That goes for children of any other religion who attend the public schools as far as I am concerned. But when the school itself puts up biblical verses or an official of the school leads prayer of a particular type to the exclusion of all other religions then the state has established a preference for one religious school of thought to the exclusion of all others and that is wrong in my opinion.

The public schools are funded, at least where I live, by property taxes raised by home and land owners throughout their region. Those taxes are raised whether you have children in the school system or not and I am okay with that because a well educated populace is beneficial to us all. But it is raised from you whether your family is Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Wiccan, Atheist, or any other religious tradition or non-religious one. To take money from me for the public schools and then have me send my children to said schools and be instructed that their religion isn’t “good enough” to be represented on the walls of the classroom, or their prayers aren’t supported by the state is a form of indoctrination. That is really what it comes down to. It is an attempt by the majority religion to take advantage of the position of power and authority in the institution set up to mold young minds and leverage that to force their religious beliefs on others. In your homes, not problem, in your churches, no problem, out in the streets, go for it, but in the schools? Hands off of my kids or make me exempt from paying taxes to support your school. It’s as simple as that. What you are advocating is a misuse of power and funds and it’s wrong.

Now, let’s address some of these other claims. The Pledge Of Allegiance. I love America. I love what America was founded to represent and stand for. I love the opportunities of freedom and to pursue life, liberty and happiness for all. That is the ideal I believe all Americans should strive for. But the thing about the pledge of allegiance that seems to get glossed over in most history classes is that the original did not contain that phrase “UNDER GOD” which I have seen emblazoned in big letters like that on bumper stickers, stenciled onto the back windows of pickup trucks and on signs in store fronts. Why do you suppose that is? Because from 1956 on the Pledge of Allegiance has been converted to a prayer to a monotheistic God with a capital G. All other gods, goddesses, etc. need not apply. This was done during the height of the McCarthy era in response to the rise of hysteria over “godless communisim”. But the original, as it was penned in August of 1892 by a social minister named Francis Bellamy looked like this:

Pledge Of Allegiance
Pledge Of Allegiance

Dominionists don’t like that version. They want all the kids saying the other version so they can make all of the other kids who do not subscribe to the view that there is only one supreme being feel left out and awkward during the saying of the pledge. Basic peer pressure.

Reading from the bible? Do we really need to go into this again? State employees? Why not the Torah? Why not the Vedas? Once again, only one religion represented and given superiority status by the state. Read the bible in Christian private schools, home and in church all you want. Heck, as I said earlier, let the Christian kids have bible study after school in the public schools even if it isn’t disrupting anything. But led by the school staff? What do you suppose the reason for wanting that is again? Yes, misuse of power and funds again. Indoctrination again. Not right, again.

The Ten Commandments?  As a historical reference maybe. Alongside similar documents such as Hammurabi’s Code, Brehon Laws, the Wiccan Rede maybe. But once again, cherry picking from one religious text in a school that is not supposed to prefer one religion over all others. Not acceptable in my opinion.

Now, let’s move up to the original claim about not remembering any school shootings when they were a kid. For me, the earliest school shooting I could remember was Kent State in 1970. But I went in search of other school shootings and found many of them dating as far back as 1764. Unfortunately that earliest one was one which Lenape American Indian’s perpetrated against colonists. I have long supported Native American’s causes and feel that what they have historically endured has been atrocious. So sharing that bit of history is troubling to me but in order to truly understand history we have to look at all of it, not just the parts we like. We can’t gloss over the ugly parts and act like they didn’t happen if we’re going to be honest with ourselves and our descendants and if we are going to work to build a better world going forward. So, we have to recognize that there were terrible things done by both the Natives and the Settlers. There were also good things done by both sides. Anyway, for a more complete list of school shootings throughout U.S. history, take a look at this:

http://www.k12academics.com/school-shootings/history-school-shootings-united-states#.Vc12-XUViko

America Is A Christian Nation? There are those who claim it’s okay to do these things because America is a Christian Nation and they are only trying to preserve that heritage. While, certainly it is true that the majority of (but not all) Americans have always subscribed to one denomination or another of Christian thought, this nation was not founded as a theocracy and should not become one. Back when the United States was founded there were still many first nation tribes living on the land and practicing their native religions. There were Jewish settlers, Deists and some even who did not subscribe to a religious belief at all. The Declaration of Independence does not refer to Jesus one time but does make three references to “GOD” and in it he is called Nature’s God which can be interpreted many different ways by many different religions. The United States Constitution does not make one single reference to any deity whatsoever. Indeed, Thomas Paine said “As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of government to protect all conscientious protesters thereof, and I know of no other business government has to do therewith. ” ~~ Common Sense, 1776. Thomas Jefferson professed “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” ~~ Notes on the State of Virginia , 1781 – 1785 and “The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian Religion.” 1797, The Treaty of Tripoli, initiated by President Washington, signed by President John Adams, and approved by the Senate of the United States among other quotes by the founders of this nation. Majority Christian yes, but founded as a Christian Theocracy? I beg to differ.

Besides, ask yourself this. If your god needs government enforcement to back him up, what does that say about your faith in him?

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How To Find A Coven Or Group

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. Find your coven.

One question frequently asked by new seekers is how to go about finding a coven or group near them to meet with and possibly learn from. Well, there are a lot of worthwhile resources available actually and I’m going to talk about some of them here.

Witches Voice has been around on the internet since the 1990s and is still one of the best resources available for learning about Pagan groups, shops, events and other news around your area and beyond. Look through their listings for your state or country and see if your city or one nearby has a group you can contact.

The Pagan Informational Resources Topic on Temple Of the Standing Stones’ Forum is a great place to look for a coven or other group if you live in the Dallas, Fort Worth metromess or surrounding North Texas area. If you’re local, see what’s listed there.

CUUPS – The Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) is an organization dedicated to networking Pagan-identified Unitarian Universalists (UUs), educating people about Paganism, promoting interfaith dialogue, developing Pagan liturgies and theologies, and supporting Pagan-identified UU religious professionals. See if a UU church near you has an active CUUPS group.

Pagan/Wiccan About.com Group Listing By Patti Wigington is another great listing site for Pagans and Wiccans who might have gatherings in your area. It’s well worth the time to go have a look.

If you’re near Arlington, Texas there’s always our group of course. Temple Of the Standing Stones We have frequent open gatherings and are always happy to see new faces and help people find a path that fits them, even if that path is not with us.

I hope these help. Blessed Be!

Cianaodh

Flags, Flax, Fodder and Frigg! – Our Pantheons Way, an Arlington, TX Pagan Blog.

Psst! Hey, like this coven stuff? Please share with your friends via email, social media and such. I’m trying to build an audience here. Sharing is caring. Thank muchly!

Pagans Of A Certain Age – Community?

This community needs an enema! Community or maybe come unity?

Want To Hear This? Community.
Want To Hear This?

I know I have talked about this before but I feel it bears talking about again and most often when I hear it, it comes from the elders in our community. By elders I am referring to folks who have even more gray hair than I do and have been around in the community longer. I applaud people having opinions and them expressing those opinions but whenever a person’s name is mentioned or a particular author is brought up; it does not always require an immediate response of something negative. There are plenty of folks out there in the Pagan community doing things which they feel is bettering the community. Some I agree with, others I don’t and I am sure there are lots of folks out there who feel the same way about me.

But I know of one individual who, every time certain people are mentioned in any conversation, anywhere about anything, they feel the need to immediately interject, “Oh! That person is an idiot!” Or that author’s work is pure fluff and fantasy, this person’s tradition is based on characters in a role playing game or all that coven does is hand select people they want for their wife swapping and swingers group. Etc. Etc. ad nauseum.

Some or all of those claims may indeed be true, but on behalf of those of us out here who would like to welcome new seekers to the community and help them find a group of people to learn with that might help them on their path, could we keep the barbs, claws, slings and arrows put away until they are asked for? I get that you may or may not like this person or that person and might not agree with their way of doing things. But the mere mention of their name is not always the time to express that. At least give someone an opportunity to ask first. Please?

That “idiot” might be the only person in the state of Texas who is leading an international youth group for Pagan kids. We need more of that and I think their good work should be encouraged before bashing that one thing they did wrong that one time in their life.

That author’s works might not be your cup of tea but if reading them causes a person’s mind to open up to new possibilities and explore other paths which may or may not lead to the one you are on, so be it! There are enough folks outside of the Pagan community who are more than willing to tear us down, ridicule us, make us out to be something we are not. We really, really, REALLY, don’t need to be doing it to each other. Can we please focus on the positive more and build one another up. Criticize constructively when it’s needed or asked for later?

Just my two coppers for today.

Many Blessings,

Cianaodh (Key-Ah-Knee) or Troy if you prefer.

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