Saying what you think

2 01 2008

This isn’t as easy as it appears.

There’s a widely-held view in the Pagan community that seeking to engage in a character debate, or any other kind of debate on the validity of the Pagan faiths, is a bad idea. And then there’s this, from The Wild Hunt, this morning – ‘aw, shucks, ma’am, it’s not a religious insult, I was only drunk’.

Mix it up? Don’t mix it up? Come out fighting or stay in the cupboard with the spiders and that broom, which doesn’t look like such an effective weapon when arrayed against the might of the Fundamentalist Right?

Do we rise above all this, and turn our backs and walk away? Or stay, fight and get tarred with the same brush? Does it matter that there are more of them than us? Surely the whole point, particularly for Wicca, is that we don’t seek to witness and to enrol new members.

I’d like to think that there can be a new method of worshipping, one that doesn’t involve getting as many people as you know ‘into the gang’. This is what I practise – personally, it’s a direct reaction to the Born Again mentality I was asked and then forced to adopt when young and a member of the Christian Church.

I have an enormous amount of respect for those of other faiths who seek to go about their lives and days, first attending to the beams in their own eyes; face it, we’ve all got a few. Looking to their own shortcomings first, wrestling with their own demons and not seeking to impose their religious reasoning on every person they meet.  They live their lives by their faith, it shines though every pore. These are the people, of whatever faith, who can lead and therefore inspire by example. They have my admiration; and frankly, who would you rather emulate?

The broom cupboard is an enormously vexatious question for me. I’m not in it, but neither am I out and prancing around clanking with pentacles. There are people who know and there are people who don’t. There are those in my family that know, and those that don’t.

 And really – know what??! It’s not like I grow an extra head at full moon, or whatall.

In recent years I have been doing a good line in not thinking about it and therefore not having a problem, but that’s just not a useful means of dealing with the situation. My thoughts turn to militancy. Where would feminism have got to if the girls hadn’t stood up to be counted, bras on fire? We’d be in a right old mess. And none of our generation, so carefree, so blase about our respective freedoms that we don’t even see them as such, would have the chance to ask a question like I am today, because we’d be too busy fighting in the trenches and trying to be heard. Underground movements only stay underground for a limited amount of time.

And then there’s the possibility that we could learn from the mistakes of past generations and superseded faiths and look critically at what might be the best way to move things forward, so the majority would be happy. Two problems here of course; you’ll never please all the people all the time, and the obvious one – we are NOT organised! Just like Mrs Tweedie’s chickens, we are a loose convocation at best; all autonomous, all slightly different in our approach, but I would argue none the less strong for that. To be seen as divided and therefore weak is not so much of an issue in this case; it is our very difference whilst all being roughly on the same side of the fire that gives us our strength – the ability to be polytheistic and truly interested in who and what others worship, to accept that your view isn’t the only one, to know that everyone’s path may be different. Perhaps we have moved forward, after all. 

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6 responses

2 01 2008
Mereth

I saw the article on the Wild Hunt and wondered if it wouldn’t have been less provocative to have NOT telephoned the Police. Let’s face it, you are either sorry you did it and should add your name to the confession or you are not sorry and are being increasingly provocative – just to make sure people knew it wasn’t an accident.

Christianity is declining and, as such, is on the defensive; recruitment methods are vigorous and anyone seen as the enemy is fair game. Does that mean we should stay in or out of the broom closet? I don’t know. I think we have progressed from being a fear based belief system to one that works on a principle of taking responsibility for one’s own actions, though that raises another question. If we are responsible for our actions and create our own Karma, is it not for us to take responsibility to stand up for what we believe in?

If we hide away, and I don’t mean the normal daily discretion one would exercise whatever faith one is, do we give a system based on fear bigger, scarier bogey men, because that’s what we are to them?

I still say that living an exemplary life is the only way to do it. I’m far from exemplary and have far to go, but I hold on to that notion as a safe path for me.

3 01 2008
wiccanwanderings

I have to agree on the exemplary life – though mine is far from it also! All we can do is try our best, I suppose. I’d rather lead, if I lead at all, by example and not by dragooning others to do what I think is right. Where’s the value in faith under duress?

I suppose we are hiding to a certain extent; over and above usual discretion. However, playing the long game, by which I mean not caring if the thing isn’t accomplished till long after I’ve died, appeals. Let them add up their converts and tick their boxes and bump their gums. Those who worship the earth and the moon, the rocks and the trees and the deities within and around them have been here a long time in whatever form, and will be here after Christianity has passed away. If they’re scared, well; perhaps they should look a little closer!

4 01 2008
Mereth

You’re right about playing the long game, though I’d agree with a proviso. There won’t be much planet left for anyone to live on and march around upon if we don’t get out and do our bit for it. I know it’s way off topic, but whether we want to peek out of the closet or not, we have to poke a toe out to do our bit for ecology and saving this planet. The beardy-weirdy eco warriors always get equated with Witches anyway, so we have to take that risk. Let’s face it, 10 tonnes of carbon per person in the UK is sure annihilation before you can say ‘beardy-weirdy’ twice! Either that or the cockroaches will be partying long after we’re died out.

4 01 2008
wiccanwanderings

Despite agreeing wholeheartedly with you that our responsibility to hand the planet on to those who come after requires us to treat Her better; I still think we’re far too anthropocentric about the whole issue. Humans as you know have been here for a vanishingly small amount of the planet’s history, and there’s nothing to say we either will or deserve to last much longer in geological terms.

I’d rather be an eco-warrior than a BAC!

5 01 2008
Mereth

No argument there from me! We are Johnny-come-latelys and I do feel certain that we won’t be the last thing about. What worries me is how we have managed to create such dreadful, rapacious societies that cause such change. No other species has perpetrated slash and burn, no other species has mined into the earth and extracted minerals that have created poisons.

No, we don’t deserve to last any longer than the blink of an eye, the way we’re carrying on, but I’d like to think that my son and his children to come will have a good place to live and one that can be shared with other creatures, rather than leaving what has survived for millennia as a toxic and barren wasteland.

It took me a while to work out what BAC meant. I don’t think I was born one in the first place – a heathen through and through and happy to be so. I may not have the beard (thank the Goddess for electrolysis) but I’d rather be out hugging trees than pulping them into bibles!

6 01 2008
wiccanwanderings

Too right. I tried for a long time but my heart just wasn’t in it. I was always searching for something else and now I’m sure I’ve found it.

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