Pagan Voices: Starhawk, David Salisbury, Ocean, Teo Bishop, and More!

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  October 25, 2012 — 4 Comments

Pagan voices is a new spotlight on recent quotations from figures within the Pagan community. These voices may appear in the burgeoning Pagan media, or from a mainstream outlet, but all showcase our wisdom, thought processes, and evolution  in the public eye. Is there a Pagan voice you’d like to see highlighted? Drop me a line with a link to the story, post, or audio.

David Salisbury

David Salisbury

“Celebrating Pagan youth doesn’t mean we have to shun our elders. Instead, we can recognize the value of both ends of the age spectrum and what each has to offer. There’s still a strange view in some Pagan communities that our youth are temporary expendables. That we’re only interested in the surface fad of an “alternative lifestyle” or are coming from a shallow, uninformed space. Looking at blogs about the recent news that MTV would like to profile occultists 25 or younger reveals a pessimistic view of young Pagans. “The under-25 age limit ensures this will be a disaster” is a frequent comment going around. My young coreligionists frustrated with this type of dialog have a wish for our communities. We want to let the Pagan world know that we’d like an equal seat at the table. If you give us a chance, you might be surprised by what we can accomplish.”David Salisbury, from his new PaganSquare blog NextGen Pagan: Paganism for the Next Generation, advocating for younger Pagans to have a seat at the table.

Ocean from Deaf Pagan Crossroads

Ocean from Deaf Pagan Crossroads

“Somehow I’m just not sure how much confidence I can have in a diversity officer who seems to allow the teachings of her church to influence her in engaging in actions that might be counterproductive to the role she is expected to carry out on the campus. Don’t get me wrong – it doesn’t bother me that Dr. McCaskill is a Christian. I just hope it doesn’t bother her that I happen to be a Pagan. Or that it bothers the Office of Diversity and Inclusion should a group of Gallaudet students show up with a letter requesting to perform Full Moon Esbats on the campus, or asking to invite yours truly to lead a Dreaming the Dark ritual during the Sabbat of Samhain.” – Ocean at Deaf Pagan Crossroads commenting on the controversy involving Dr. Angela McCaskill, Chief Diversity Officer for Gallaudet University, a federally chartered university for the deaf and hard of hearing located in Washington, DC. McCaskill was put on administrative leave after signing a petition opposing same sex marriage, a move that some believe put her at odds with her position as a diversity officer.

Starhawk at Occupy Santa Cruz. Photo by Matt Fitt, Santa Cruz IMC.

Starhawk at Occupy Santa Cruz. Photo by Matt Fitt, Santa Cruz IMC.

“Here in California, there’s only two more days to register to vote.  And if you haven’t, I urge you to do so.  Now, I have to say my circles of friends and acquaintances include few if any potential Romney voters.  But they do include people who are so disaffected, or feel so frustrated, angry and disempowered by the political system, that even the sheer raw theater of it doesn’t move them to participate.  And others who enjoy saying, “Don’t vote, it only encourages them,” which is funny but patently untrue in an election year when the far right is working so hard to discourage people from voting.  If they’re going to such lengths to keep people from the polls, there must be something there that we want! […] Elections are not the arena where I express my ideals–I do that in the garden, and in my writing, and in the streets.   Elections are where I get pragmatic, because they do matter, and the differences between the candidates can mean life or death to folks like Shawna and to me.” – Pagan author and activist Starhawk, at her Dirt Worship blog, endorsing Barack Obama for President, and explaining why voting is important, even if you’re disillusioned.

Teo Bishop

Teo Bishop

“But we just created an out there by casting this circle. We closed them off from us, shut them out, but only symbolically because they could see and hear all of what we were doing. Play it like we’re the victims, but we just created — through ritual — the same kind of alienation that we feel in relation to the greater society. We just became The Church.” – Teo Bishop, at his newly independent Bishop In The Grove blog, explaining his discomfort at a recent Pagan Pride Day in Colorado. You can read a follow up, here. Also – be sure to stay tuned for a special column from Teo here at The Wild Hunt exploring these topics further.

Jason Mankey

Jason Mankey

“I just don’t think the gods, any gods, care at all about politics. I don’t care if that god lives near the star Kolob, once resided in the Holy of Holies, or was worshipped on the Acropolis in the Parthenon of Ancient Athens. I just can’t see gods, divine beings with memories that span millennia, getting all worked up over things that would feel like seconds to them. I think my gods care about me (and that your gods care about you), but I can’t picture Cernunnos reading the latest misleading headline over on The Huffington Post or spending his morning watching Fox and Friends. It’s not that the gods aren’t worried about this world, it’s just that some decisions are made by people, and some things are controlled by higher powers, voting is not one of those things.” – Jason Mankey, at his Raise the Horns blog, opining that perhaps the gods don’t care all that much about politics.

T. Thorn Coyle

T. Thorn Coyle

“We cannot control our lives. What we can do – by noticing, engaging, and releasing –  is stay in active engagement with our lives and the process we are in. We can adjust attitudes, habits, actions, thoughts. We can come into right relationship with emotions. We can learn how to better be a part of community. We can of better service. Control can be a useful concept, but more often than not it becomes a stand in for what actually helps. Think of muscle control. An athlete wants this. But really, what the athlete wants is to engage heart, breath, attention and muscles all at once, so as to move precisely, with strength and flexibility, in the moment. Eventually, this becomes a state of pure presence, the athlete is one with herself and the water, the track, the grass, the mat. We can call that control. I would rather call it engagement. Relationship. Presence. Why? Simply because the concept of control can turn into rigidity of form and attempts to force an outcome.” – T. Thorn Coyle, explaining how “Liberation is a Process.”

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

Jason Pitzl-Waters

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