Tag Archives: Pagan

WAKE UP; THERE IS NO GOD.

WTF. Until the election of that ridiculous grouping of assumed human DNA in the States; for the most part – I figure, if people want to believe in some sort of Fairy Godfather or Godmother – omnipotent/omnipresent – whatever, then fine…dandy…cool, if said invisible friend(s) didn’t start talking to the individual and telling them to kill things or blow ’em up, then, their beliefs are not my circus and not my monkeys.

Come on. The Trumps and Clintons, Falwells, Bannons and Spences don’t believe in god; they are lying through their teeth at you. What about their lives corresponds with ANYTHING you have been taught about your faith? NOT. A. DAMN. THING.

If they were truly Christian – then they wouldn’t be politicians for a start. They would not be living lives of excess. They are not enjoying rewards referred to in the religious texts. The rewards referred to in spiritual literature are spiritual rewards – not owning 10 cars, chauffeurs, designer clothing – none of which enriches anyone, least of all the people who desire them. I believe that is called “greed” and is frowned upon by invisible friends, of all religions.

This god thing? Come on people – it’s a freaking tool. If the peons/proles/Mom and Pop believe that if they are really good, humble and hardworking, god(s) fearing pious folk – then there is a paradise a’waitin’ around the corner. They will eat the shit that is dumped on them and say thank you, please sir…may I have some more.

What there is, is this life and how you choose to live it. The elite, political – religious – corporate, do their level best to ensure that you (proles) continue to believe in this fairy tale because it is what keeps them rich and unaccountable. You go to your church, your synagogue, mosque or ritual – looking for comfort, looking for spiritual security and the false blanket of faith is pulled down over your eyes and you believe.

The work day arrives and you get up, even though you are exhausted, get dressed, slap back some coffee or tea…struggle into your clothes, schlep to work where you waste your life making someone else rich, at the expense of your health and happiness. But hey…its all good because when that heart attack comes, when that stroke fries your brain – y’all will be goin’ ta heavin wi’the angels….

Bullshit. No. You will just die.  There is no god.  And yes, they have lied to you.  That’s why they have it all and we struggle to pay our bills.  They use it as a threat and they use it as a carrot.  

Wake up. No god, the bible is a book – just a book and not a very good one. It is a tool to keep you schlepping to work, to keep you from looking around and seeing what is going on behind those false curtains of piety that surround the elite.

It isn’t too late. While I am no communist – “Religion is the opium of the people”1 – truer words never spoken.

1
Marx, K. 1976. Introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. Collected Works, v. 3. New York.”

Source: Opium of the people – https://en.wikipedia.org

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Merry Santa-Claus Day

Merry ChristmasPrepare yourselves, dear Merry Christmas-ers, the nutbars and self-righteous asshats will be coming out of the woodwork soon – screaming at you for wishing them a “Merry Christmas.” My heads up to you as a kind-of Neo-Pagan/agnostic sort. I know full well how obnoxious my brethren within the Neo-Pagan community can become at this time of year. They’ll come at you with:

“Christians STOLE our holiday!!” No, you didn’t but don’t pee on their parade. They so love their victimhood. Consider it your Christmas gift to them.

“Christ wasn’t even born on the 25th!!” Yeah, okay – we all know that and what’s your point? The day has come to represent a time of giving and much of the good things – like shortbread cookies. Nothing wrong with people around the world, of the Christian faith, hoping for peace on earth; it is an admirable thought, won’t happen but admirable none the less.

“Christmas is just a corporate sham!” And Samhain isn’t? How many Neo-Pagans think that the biggest deal at Samhain is going to some stupid Witches’ Ball? Or really have no true clue as to the deeper meaning and significance of 10/31? So people go shopping and buy shit for each other. Good on them, spreads a little happiness in an otherwise very sad world.

“Pfff, Christians only give to the poor at Christmas. Hypocrites!” Also not entirely true but hey…whatever. So the majority of charitable donations take place at Christmas. At least they take place. Once a year, kids all over a lot of cities are reminded that they matter. How many toy drives are organized otherwise? How many food banks benefit from Christmas time?

You know what – wish me a Merry Christmas, not a big deal to me. I understand the thought behind it. It is a wish for peace, for love and giving.

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Nekkid

panI’m really rather shocked that someone I know felt the need to write this blog: http://thepaganpope.blogspot.ca/2013/08/the-culture-of-clothing-optional.html

If you are unfamiliar with Neo-Pagan festivals? Nudity happens. It has always been a matter of choice. As I get older, nekkid is not my choice. I’m just not comfortable. Too much skin exposed to the natural world – too many areas open for sunburn (I’m so white, I’m almost transparent), too many areas for mosquitoes to feed, and far too much skin open for contact with poison ivy, oak, sycamore and stinging nettles. And hey, I’m not 20 anymore; I’ve had kids and I’m in my middle age. Gravity has taken its pound of flesh, apparently felt guilty and returned it to me, many folds over.

Are Neo-Pagans living in a dream world where nudity is nothing to get your sarong in a knot over? I’m afraid pervs will be pervs, regardless of their proclamations of Pagan beliefs. Dude, if you really wanna see boobs? Go home and perv a porn site. You aren’t fit to be among the evolved.

An area that is clothing optional means just that, optional. Nudity isn’t mandatory. This is removing freedom of choice as much as enforced clothing is removing freedom of choice. And the goddess or gods don’t truly give a rat’s ass if you’re naked or not; if you used this line? Lame pal. Really lame. I sincerely doubt any deity gives a rat’s ass what you are or are not wearing. Those words “be naked in your rites” were written by a human being; Charles Godfrey Leland. His book (Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches) is held by most scholars, at arm’s length and with nose pinched. Before I digress, let’s get back to the original topic – being nekkid.

Pagan festivals are not frat parties. The festivals are used as necessary time to re-connect with beliefs, with a sense of community that takes a severe beating in the “real” world. It isn’t a time to get rip roaring drunk and behave like an asshat. You can do that in the outside world and not infringe on the true purpose of the event. Oh sure, we bring alcohol with us. My companion is a worshipper of the gods of Molson. I enjoy a cold Smirnoff Ice. Alcohol does lower inhibitions but too much alcohol also drowns all sense of propriety, common sense and courtesy. Combine alcohol and nekkid? Some succumb to alcohol induced idiocy. Fights break out, inappropriate comments are made and bad feelings are quick to follow; the atmosphere of connection and community takes a hit. The hits can impact an entire event for everyone. That much negative energy is hard to combat.

Really? If you can’t handle your booze or your hormones? The festivals are not for you. Wait until you grow up, if that ever happens. You have no right to infringe on the ability of others to take out of the festival, its intent; re-connection, community and learning.

Pagan festivals seem to be getting larger; more and more attendees and when you have that many people, when a festival is all-inclusive? You are going to attract the undesirable elements; people who drink far too much, voyeurs, predators and your general run of the mill morons. Most festivals have security and sadly, the onus is on the festival attendees to report these idiots. Security can’t be everywhere. We need to step up and get over the whole “tattletale” mentality. These people are adults. These people have no business taking advantage of the venue to behave badly and perhaps ruining an event for all. Everyone is sorry the morning after; the only way to truly reinforce the message of unacceptable behaviour is to be escorted away and a requests made for the individual(s) to “enjoy” themselves elsewhere, anywhere but the festival.

One more thing, actually; babies. Kids are our future. We had a lovely little girl across from us; all of 9 months old. A pure joy, she was loving the surroundings, exploring and smiling; waving at anyone who walked down our path. An angel baby, but not all children are angel children. We had a rather naïve couple behind us; a newborn. Not a very well thought out decision on the young parents’ part. The infant cried…constantly. Day, night, morning, afternoon – the child cried. Not the child’s fault that he/she woke us up or began to grate on the nerves; the blame for that lies solely on the shoulders of the parents. Parents absolutely have the right to enjoy themselves with their child/children but you have to know your child. Not all babies are suited to camping and large group situations. Not all babies are old enough to adapt to the change in environment. As parents you don’t have the right to disturb others. I am all for family sections in festival situations. As the community matures, so do the members. I’ve done my kid thing, thanks and I do a little metaphorical happy dance that my crying baby stage is long gone. It isn’t a joy, to be quite honest. Your nerves can be stretched to the breaking point by your little bundle of screaming joy. It is tough enough on the parent, can you imagine how a stranger feels? Look, if your child does not sleep through the night; then said child is too young to be at a festival. Stay home and head out next year, when your child is able to adapt to the surroundings, is able to sleep through the night and not cause the inhabitants of neighbouring tents to contemplate ritual sacrifice. It isn’t your baby’s fault; it is your own poor judgment.

Come on. Use your heads. A festival is a fantastic thing but your poor choices, your lack of common courtesy or common sense can ruin an event. Festivals are not rights – festivals are privileges to be enjoyed by all. You don’t have the right to infringe on anyone, be that through drunkenness, inappropriate comments or actions, throwing your menstrual pads in the ash tins (Yeah, that happened; it was goddam gross and totally inexcusable!!) or packing your infant along with you to cry all night. Help the organizers keep the joy in the concept of “Pagan Festival”. Keep the fires burning and the sense of connection strong. Use your brain as more than a tool to keep your ears separated.


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Losing My Religion

Not a surprise to most of the people who know me well. It’s been coming for a few years. I was a Neo-Pagan. Not your “We all come from the goddess”, love and bunny kisses type of Neo-Pagan but a Pagan looking to find answers, which in retrospect, was a fool’s errand. Meh, not really – knowledge is never truly wasted, unless it is used to trick the unwitting or the foolish, as is so often the case in religions, all religions.

In order to find answers, one must search out knowledge – in the form of facts, not hearsay and wishful thinking. Actual facts. Most religions are pretty short in the whole facts department, that’s why they have something they call “faith.” And while most religions are short of empirical evidence, Paganism has them beat. They have no evidence aside from stories created by ancients trying to understand natural phenomenon or attempting to answer humanity’s eternal question: What about…“after”?

So I searched, and I researched and I read and I researched some more. I read obscure books, I read theological tomes, I read whatever I could get my hands on – the good, the bad..the REALLY bad and the ugly. What I discovered was that religion, all religions are basically, full of shit. A bunch of people gather around, create a whopper, call it good and then label it as a “religion”. Just ask L. Ron – his whopper has gone on to make a lot of people rich. Gardner should have stuck around a little longer, he could have had made some serious coin. Poor Aleister…so ahead of his time. A cult would have allowed him to not only live the life of a Golden Magus but he could have had all manner of sycophants just dancing to his tune, indulging his every whim. Instead, both men died pretty much, penniless. So much for the Gods and Goddesses providing…

While religions are bullshit, some of them contain some pretty high ideals, good principles and quite a few parables with application even today. People being who they are, after all. Good stories, illustrating moral standards and encouraging ethical behaviour does not a religion make and so, you have to come up with some larger than life characters. Even a high school kid knows that any really good story must have a protagonist or protagonists and their opposite, the antagonists. Plots, settings – equally as important..oh and a theme. The conclusions are all pretty nifty – if you follow the instructions, you get to go to Heaven, Arcadia, Canaan, Elysium, Shangri-la, Utopia, Zion, Nirvana or if you don’t quite measure up? You are on your way to: the bottomless pit, Pandemonium, Abaddon, Domdaniel; jahannan, sheol., purgatory, gehenna, the abyss or maybe Tartarus, Hades, Avernus, Styx, Stygian creek, pit of Acheron, Cocytus.

Personally? I figure when we go…we go. I toss around the Universal Unconscious theory when I’m on the bus and bored. Or lying in bed with “the scourge of the older than crowd” – insomnia. It’s a possibility, on a positive day; you may even hear me say that it is a remote probability. I don’t need to believe nor am I so arrogant as to think that “the wonder that is me” will continue on, brightening the universe or whatever. I believe, the wonder that is me will be cremated and be so much ash scattered on the trade winds in the Caribbean. That’s it, that’s all. Been real, had a time, what a slice!

And that’s it, isn’t it? This is our life. We need to toss aside the childhood thing that is religion and faith. We need to take control and accept responsibility for our own actions. There is no dessert at the end, if we’re good. There is no eternal torment if we are real shits in this life. Instead, we will have lived a good existence, something of which our family and friends may remember with fondness or we will, if remembered at all – have the mention of our name precede lung butter hitting the sidewalk. Our choice.
There may be a universal unconscious or conscious, who knows? There’s no proof either way but gods, goddesses? Come on. You may as well believe in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, same premise but far less judgmental.

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Fox News and Neo-Pagans; exercise in stupidity

Admittedly, I do not watch Fox News and consciously try to avoid their channels whenever possible. It is the dumbing down of an already moronic form of media. However, someone posted this link to a group where I happen to be a member; take a look http://mediamatters.org/embed/static/clips/2013/02/17/28929/fnc-fnf-20130217-wiccan

Kind of funny and requiring pathos at the same time: imagine the difficulties faced by these three in their attempts to walk and chew gum at the same time; they need our pity…

They keep referring to 20 Pagan holidays and how few Pagans can name them – I wonder if they are aware of all the Christian “holidays” and if they can name them? Not all Pagans observe the same holidays just as not all Christians observe their entire plethora of holidays. I’ve, personally, never booked off work due to a Sabbat but that’s me. And Halloween is a holiday? No. Samhain is a Sabbat – there’s a difference. Of course, the concept would be a little too difficult for these three refugees from intelligent society.

Christians are entitled, by virtue of their Judeo roots – to keep their Sabbat holy – that would be every Sunday. I would say, seeing the parking lot at any Wal Mart, on any Sunday…very few Christians follow that edict. God and religion is apparently relative to sales and shopping.

I take it that the entire kafuffle has to do with exams scheduled on Neo-Pagan sabbats at the University of Missouri…a state not exactly known for their tolerant attitude toward anyone not Christian and white. Now, to the people who raised the stink about this? Get a life. Few of us take time off for a Sabbat and this is just a pathetic excuse to time off or addition time to cram. Way to hold us all up to ridicule…Do us all a favour and shut, the hell up, write your exam and get a life. Neo-Pagans are NOT required to follow any rules regarding Sabbats – we do not take the day off, like other systems – we know that outward play-acting is not indicative of faith. Most of us are little beyond that, intellectually and spiritually. This whole day off thing is primarily a Judeo-Christian tradition in order to garner paid time off and an excuse to fake a little piety. They do so love to do the latter.

These three bozos should remember the old adage about stones and glass houses; while they may have their ignorant interpretation of Neo-Paganism…here’s an interpretation of Christianity from the point of view of a non-Christian:

Christianity

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Thankful? What, the hell, for???

It is the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Unlike the Americans, our Thanksgiving is reflective of our Anglo roots, we are thankful for a successful harvest. How very Pagan of the early settlers 😉

But as the majority of us no longer live “off the land” so to speak – we live in cities, in towns – we don’t till the good earth. Most of us wouldn’t know what to do with a seed if it came with instructions and a diagram but that doesn’t mean that we don’t all enjoy a successful, if metaphorical, harvest.

I look back over the past year and I am astounded by the changes. Some were devastating but tools toward growth and harvest. I have so much for which I am thankful.

I live in a country of freedom, of opportunity, of open spaces. I am surrounded by family and friends. I have a roof over my head, food in the fridge, in the cupboard. I have a job that I enjoy. I have co-workers who make going to work a little less daunting, especially at 6:30 in the morning. A time I used to think was the domain of birds alone.

I am thankful for my children and their ability to take the high roads offered to them, more times than not. Happy that they do this of free will, not because they are in fear of some imaginary god waiting to punish them for transgressions.

I am thankful for my parents, my father, who too recently passed over and to my mother – a force of nature. I am thankful for my brother and all his little eccentricities; they make me smile and remember that life is good.

And my husband. We’ve climbed mountains, he and I; we’ve weathered storms and in doing so, the calm is so much more meaningful. I’m thankful for his smile, his sense of humour, his wit and intelligence. I’m especially thankful for the patience he has developed over the years…not due to me, of course… Nooooo. 😉

I’m thankful for Pfizer..yes, Pfizer the pharmaceutical company because, if not for their Aerius? I could not be thankful for our dog – Chico who has brought so much to our lives. The stresses of a day magically melt as soon as we walk through the door and he treats us like the SINGULAR MOST IMPORTANT people in the world.

I’m thankful that I am able to express myself on this simple blog; a pleasure that is denied so many. I’m thankful for you, whoever you are, for taking the time to read this.

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Ethics and Morals

So, I have come to a conclusion; we cannot look to government for development of ethics. Ethical government is an oxymoron. One of the biggest. Christians, Jews, Muslims and all the other religious colours of the world can’t look to their various theocracies for ethical instruction. Again, ethical religion – oxymoron or relative to the particular arm of the clergy , depends on who is doing what to whom.

And what about us, holier than thou, Pagan-types? Stick a pin in your self-righteous, inflated egos, my friends. We are no better. We have no ethical structure; we have the tools but few are willing to take them up and build something solid. Something workable.

You see, ethics are relative and there is no changing that particular little harsh bit of reality.

I’m not a friend of Wicca nor have I been for many years now. I think the whole Wiccan Rede thing is a pile of crap. It’s a poem for chrissakes. It wasn’t handed down from on high. It was poem, written for a magazine (Green Egg) by a Gwen Thompson. Not a bad piece of work but it is poem. It isn’t a Law. It isn’t a commandment. It was not bestowed by a god or a demi-god. It was one woman’s feelings and experiences in her belief system. End of story. And Gerald Gardner? Alex Sanders? I refuse to even entertain the thought that either of them were leaders in ethical standards.

Do what thou wilt an’ it harm none. Yeah, ok. Not exactly earth shattering stuff and absolutely impossible to incorporate into life in a literal sense. The thought behind it has been said before and before and before. “Do unto others” sums it up in a far less pretentious manner.

Witches have another little saying: “A Witch who cannot kill; cannot heal.”

Some like to believe that this relates to our knowledge of herbs and plants. Folksy medicines. Seems to make us far more palatable to the general public., but, in reality? No. It actually reflects a Witch’s ability to understand both side of the life coin – light and dark. If you can’t summon up a good old fashioned hex? Well, then – you are missing 50% of the whole deal. We are about cycles; night, dawn, daylight, dusk, life, death, re-birth, good and not so good. The light and the dark. Male and Female. Demons and Angels. It’s a package deal.

You need a firm grasp of ethics to know when each can or should be applied. But life is about free will. All religions seem to agree that we have been given free will. In a most bizarre turn of events? Most religious adherents/clergy feel it is their right, their obligation to remove that free will from us. Free will is our right, no one should have the power to take it from us; it is what we do with it, that is important.

Applying our personal ethics with consistency as opposed to applying them when it is personally convenient to do so is a key to this gift of free will. Knowing that with freedom of any kind, comes responsibility. Free will is the root of all freedoms, of all decisions we take. It is deciding our own destiny, our own future and is serious, serious work. More and more young people are finding their way to Paganism, by and large for the wrong reasons but regardless, they are finding themselves in our midst. Stupidities like the movie and television shows like Charmed or even Twilight have left their scars on the psyche of the young. A good lot of the time, they come to us because they feel powerless, in a big world that is less than kind toward the needs of youth. In a world where there is precious little actual interaction with parents anymore, where parenting is relegated to daycare workers, teachers and sadly, even sports’ coaches. And we’re condescending to them. Their opinions are of no importance. How strange for adults to be feeling this way, seeing our own coming of age, included the demand to be heard regardless of our age.

Hobbes – an old debating foe pointed out that we love to tell young folks what to do, all the while doing the opposite. Don’t tell him I said so, but he is absolutely right.

* Don’t do drugs, we tell them as we reach for a cigarette, a doob or a drink.

* Don’t steal as we walk out of the office loaded down with office supplies or call in sick to catch a ball game.

* Don’t drink and drive as we turn the ignition of our vehicles, after a bull session in a local pub or watching the ladies do their pole thing.

* Don’t have unprotected sex, while the joys of our lives may well be the result of our own little foray into the barrel of monkeys that is sex.

* Don’t kill as we watch the latest Die Hard flick or CSI episode.

We are a morass of contradictions ourselves; no wonder the young folks are confused.

So, the million dollar question; how do we explain Pagan ethics to the young people flooding our ranks, our public rituals, our festivals, when we have no idea what Pagan Ethics would entail ourselves?

What would Pagan Ethics be?

For starters, it is based on Free Will. The right to choose, to decide, with no interference from government, church or community. Free Will? Why is the concept of telling these young people about the concept of free will so terrifying? Free will is an extremely rough road to walk. It involves the words that seem to send shivers down our collective spines, personal responsibility.

Let’s take an example – we’ll go with abortion as this one is one far too many young men and women face every day.

  1. Determine what an abortion is – let’s not get stupid – we all know it is the termination of a pregnancy. But pregnancy is what? For some of us, it is the creation of life. So to undergo an abortion is to terminate a life.

For others, it is relative to the stage of pregnancy. From a scientific point of view, the embryo is, actually, a parasitical life form. Feeding off the mother, unable to sustain outside the host.

2. Determine the pros and cons of the situation. Is this a life threatening pregnancy? Was it the result of a violent, invasive act? A rape or incest? Or did it occur the usual way, an act of passion between a man and woman? Accidentally. What’s done is done.

Now the consequences of irresponsible behaviour must be faced.

3. What is the point of view of the individuals involved, beyond the whole her body, her choice rhetoric. The point of view should be as equal as possible. Yes, the man has a stake in this but it is the woman who has to undergo the physical transitions. This will be a life time commitment, not necessarily to each other but to the child.

4. Should the woman decide to go ahead with the pregnancy, and the man is adamantly against this decision? Then, his free will must be respected and his obligation can then be removed. That’s it. Game over for his parental status. But this also means, said woman CANNOT come back on him 5 years down the road, seeking child support. She made her decision as is her free will to do but he also made his decision, as is his free will to do. Any future change must be of mutual consent.

5. Should the woman decide to go ahead with termination? Free will. Unfortunately for the man in this position, a man who is opposed to the abortion? His free will must take a backseat to hers. All options discussed, as openly as possible of course, but in the end? It has to be her free will that dominates. And perhaps lesson learned, albeit a very painful one.

No one is going to get this perfect each and every time. It is a pain in the ass, admittedly, to consider a decision from every possible ethical angle and then execute the choice based on this brain burning exercise. And young people, may the gods love their impulsive little hearts, are not patient enough to examine all the angles. Which is why, as elders, we have a very huge responsibility of reminding them of the burden of free will. Screw the Rede and the whole “An it harm none” bullshit. These young people aren’t stupid. They can spot hypocrisy a mile off.

Before teaching rituals or tools or spells or invocations…all the neat-o stuff; it would seem to me that good old fashioned discussions on ethics and applying them in life, from a Pagan perspective, should be the first order of business.

Follow that up with some history – true history, not the mythical Avalon crap or that we date back to Stonehenge. History that states, organized religions as we have known them are in their terminal phase in the Western World. Paganism has grown out of them as a result of the refusal to accept the concept of free will.

Some of our forbearers were less than stellar in their motivations to create something new but create they did. We have the choice, the free will to build on the constructive aspects and toss out the stupid stuff. The secrecy thing is a real bother to me – makes sense within the context to magickal teachings, invocations but not-so-much within the greater society aspects of it all. We all know or know of, some piece of pond scum who has found a way to exploit the secrecy aspects for their own personal gain. Applying personal ethics to this kind of situation has the greatest degree of offering protection. If it is wrong as per your sense of right and wrong? Tell ’em to stuff it and walk away. Free will.

Above all. Feels wrong? Then your sense of free will is being threatened and you need to step back, examine, think and re-apply your views to the situation.

Ethics are determined or should be determined by the responsible application of Free Will. This is what we need to teach young Pagans. Not what side the chalice goes on, not what size, colour, shape or sharpness and Athame should be – that is just nonsense. Paganism 101 should focus, in all paths, on the concept of free will and the burdens that this will entail.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Canada License.

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