Pagan Voices: Ivo Dominguez Jr, T. Thorn Coyle, Liz Williams, and More!

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  August 21, 2013 — 4 Comments

Pagan Voices is a 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.

Ivo Dominguez, Jr.

Ivo Dominguez, Jr.

“Regardless of whether I see something as unhealthy or evil, my response tends to remain the same. In fact I usually find it a waste of energy or a distraction from the task at hand to make that determination. I find it more useful to see if there is something that can heal or mend the damage to the world.  And by the world, I mean the small world that is each individual, the larger world that is their family, larger world yet that is their community, and all the greater worlds that we can envision. My response usually means changing myself as much as it means changing the situation.  Generally those responses that break repeating cycles of violence or suffering require a multidirectional approach.  Lest you think that I’m pacifist, I’m not. I prefer peace and strive to seek it first, but it is not always an option. To continue the comparison to healing work, sometimes surgery or harsh herbs or medicines are the only remaining recourse. If the severe option is the road taken, then there is a need for healing on top of the healing. As a Wiccan, I do not believe in a being that is the chief summation of evil. I think of pure evil as a conscious and willful intention to stay out of harmony with the universe and to flow in a contrary direction to the unfolding of evolution.” – Ivo Dominguez Jr, on morality, ethics, good, and evil from a Pagan perspective.

T. Thorn Coyle

T. Thorn Coyle

“It is time for the religious left to become a stronger force for equity and justice in the U.S. We do our best: We take to the streets. We volunteer. We feed one another. We vote. We work for fair wages. We give back. Yet despite these varied efforts, the sand keeps eroding beneath our feet. What are our ethics? What is the firm ground we can stand on? As a Pagan, my ground is a profound experience of the Sacred infusing all things. It is a sense of divinity here with us, in every face, voice, tree, insect, drop of water, and distant star. This causes me to seek out connection and to center my actions around love as much as I am able. The radical Christians I work with — and the Muslims, Buddhists, and Atheists — may not use the same language as I, yet we share a common ethic of action based on equity and justice. In each of them, too, I see the great returning to love. We can carry this love outward and take a stand for the disenfranchised, the poor, the oppressed, and those whose voices — singly — do not carry far. Together, our voices can become a harmonious concert singing a song for the present and for the future we are orchestrating.” – T. Thorn Coyle, on voting rights and the Religious Left.

Rachael Watcher

Rachael Watcher

“I am all for any work done in the name of social justice, but social justice outside of the framework of religious practice leaves spiritually behind, as was pointed out by one comment made when the respondent claimed to be conflicted about the idea of this practice outside of his spiritual way of life. Social Justice through the lens of interfaith allows people from any spiritual path to walk their talk, and in particular those who beliefs are based in orthopraxy (right doing) vs. orthodoxy (right thinking or right writings). Social Justice is often the key that opens the door to interfaith practice, allowing a community where there is no previous foundation in interfaith relationship to come together to find common ground. Many groups will begin by working on some issue of social justice together. In working thus, shoulder to shoulder these community members get to know one another on a much more personal level and develop a trust that allows them to enter into deeper relationships with one another.  Social Justice is the window, through which different religions may come to view common issues of poverty, and injustice which they can work together to resolve. Social justice has been, since the beginning of the interfaith movement, the common ground upon which people of differing religious beliefs can join together to create a healthy community.” – Rachael Watcher, on how interfaith and social justice are intertwined.

Liz Williams

Liz Williams

“The usual criticism, that paganism constitutes some form of lunatic escapist fringe, is an increasingly old-fashioned view: pagans are found in every area of life – granted, there are some who are hippies on road protests, but there are also academics, physicists, doctors, writers and veterinary surgeons. It’s not a particularly marginal path any more and the most recent census reflects that […] the growing demarginalisation of the movement is ensuring that neither amusement nor persecution are the only options. There is an increasing awareness that paganism does have something to say, and that it plays a role in the gradual interconnectedness of spiritualities within the UK. Recent initiatives by the Church of England to draw more pagans into its ambit have been both misrepresented and sensationalised: knowing several C of E members involved in the “forest churches”, such initiatives more greatly represent a growing perception of commonality and thus inclusiveness. So, is contemporary paganism coming in from the cold? In a sense, it’s been interwoven into the various strands of British society for at least the past 300 years: perhaps we’re only just starting to realise it.” – Liz Williams, on modern Paganism “coming in from the cold.”

Donald Michael Kraig

Donald Michael Kraig

“There are several books and teachers who either imply or explicitly state that intention is the key to magick. The entire basis of the Law of Attraction as popularized in The Secret is that intention is everything. This concept states that if you have an intention and focus on it strongly, you attract to you the heart of your intention. One of the most popular books in history virtually says this in its title: Think and Grow Rich. I have encountered this same, “intention is everything” attitude among Pagans and ceremonial magicians. I have attended many hundreds of rituals where we are instructed to “write our intention on a piece of paper” which is then burned or returned to us to be collected in a pile or thrown out with the trash. From what I’ve seen, there is often great joy from these “intention is everything” rituals but little magickal success. Intention Isn’t Everything Achieving goals magickally or non-magickally is similar to following a map. You are at point A where you lack your goal. You want to get to point B where you have your goal. Having the intention of obtaining the goal is the design of the map for getting from point A to point B. Do you see the problem with this? Maps are not the real world. They are merely representations of the physical world. Having a map and using your fingers on it to trace your path ten million times will get you nothing other than a worn-out map. To achieve the goal you have to move from the map to the real world and do something!” – Donald Michael Kraig, on the superficiality of intentionality.

P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

“The problem with monism that I wanted to address originally, and which was annoying me more in late July than the present matters, is that monism is a philosophical choice that is often adopted in order to relieve the necessity of getting the details on the differences between things correct, and doing adequate research on and accurate accounting of those differences. If everything, ultimately, “is one,” then to pay any regard at all to those differences would be a further indulgence in the “illusion” of separateness and difference. So, because anything that might be considered wrong or faulty from within the viewpoint of “convinced by the illusions” is by definition “incorrect” from the monistic standpoint, all gets subsumed in the monistic view to being, still, “just one,” which more often than not almost gives license to getting things wrong than to actually paying attention to matters like historical facts or individual opinions–monism trumps all, ultimately. It’s unfortunate, I think, that this kind of philosophical argumentation does get adopted because it is so easy, and so apparently undeniable and cannot be argued with–monism provides its own justification for feeling superior and non-threatened by other viewpoints and any and all material that they can muster to their own defense, because it’s already right and anyone else is deluded and will eventually be as enlightened as one is oneself because that’s how it works…” – P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, on one of the problems with monism.

Elani Temperance

Elani Temperance

“I take issue with the groups on Facebook and all that is posted on them, but I have a bigger problem with Facebook itself which had the opportunity to enforce their own laws, and failed to do so. This issue is no longer about free speech: that limit has been reached the second Facebook chose to disregard their own rules. It is now about a company willfully ignoring the rights of a specific group that make use of their service. That is a criminal act […] Paganism has come to a junction in its formation. In all honesty, we have been moving towards it for a while. We are coming into our own as a movement, and while our religious rights are still frequently tramples upon, we have also had our wins. We are ready to take on the greater responsibility of speaking up when we are done wrong. We have gotten the confidence for that, earned through long years of being laughed at and disregarded. We do not have to sit by and be silent. We are entitled to more and better than having to substitute ‘Jews’ for ‘witches’ ourselves, just to see how bad the situation is. Some of us in the Pagan community practice a religion–a true religion–with true Gods, no more but also no less important than God or Allah. We have the power and the right to stand up for that towards the outside world, and we have the right to be regarded as a movement that matters. Facebook–or any other company–cannot keep us from that right.” – Elani Temperance, on free speech and Facebook.

HecateDemeter

HecateDemeter

“Many Pagans — whether we call ourselves Kemetic or not — have a spiritual and emotional attachment to Egypt.  And we’ve watched with sorrow the events of the past week, often not even sure which “side” to support. I suspect that Ma’at supports the people:  the women, and children, and old people simply trying to live in the midst of violence and chaos.  I suspect that Ma’at supports the fathers, trying to do the best they can for their children, to bring in a crop, to grow old.  I suspect that Ma’at supports the land.  A friend of mine suggested a ritual, which may be all that we can do from afar, but which is something we can do.  I’m going to perform it this weekend and, should you feel so inclined and should your Goddesses and Gods approve, I invite you to join me. Print or draw a map of Egypt.  Add any symbols or inscriptions that will help you to focus your energies on peace.  Imagine the angry passions cooling down enough so that people can talk instead of shoot.  When the map is imbued with cool, peaceful energy, fold it up and put it in a small container.  Cover with cool water (which you may also want to charge with peaceful energy), place in your freezer, and let it freeze until things calm down again in Egypt.  Then, you can put it into your compost pile. May peace come to Egypt.  So mote it be.” – HecateDemeter, sharing a spell for Egypt.

Sam Webster (with Herm), photo by Tony Mierzwicki.

Sam Webster

“To forbid abortion requires taking a theological stance toward a fundamental biological function that we know results in more miscarriages than births even without human intervention. We know it is a theological matter since the medical profession, having developed safe and effective procedures, is having these restrictions imposed upon it over its objections: it is not a scientifically or medically driven law. We know it is a theological matter since there is no civil threat that requires all births: our population is neither too small nor lacking in diversity for every child to be necessary to the survival of the species. There is no scientific reason, there is no civic reason for imposing this restriction upon access to abortion. There is only a theological, religious reason. The problem is that to impose a theological position by law upon anyone in this nation is to violate the First Amendment of our Constitution which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”. These laws establish a theology by legislating access to abortion on the basis of a religious position.” – Sam Webster, on abortion rights being a theological battle.

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

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • http://www.walkofthefallen.com Labrys

    I love HecateDemeter’s very physical magic for Egypt…might not be a bad idea to emulate a version of that for the wild-fiery West right now, too!

  • JB

    “Monism is a philosophical choice that is often adopted in order to relieve the necessity of getting the details on the differences between things correct, and doing adequate research on and accurate accounting of those differences.”

    This argument is intellectually lazy. No two ice crystals are the same; and yet, they’re all made of water. There is no incompatibility between recognition of apparent differences between things and phenomena and the position that all are essentially comprised of one substance or essence.

    “…monism provides its own justification for feeling superior and non-threatened by other viewpoints and any and all material that they can muster to their own defense, because it’s already right and anyone else is deluded and will eventually be as enlightened as one is oneself because that’s how it works…”

    Generalizations such as these further weaken Lupus’ rhetoric.

    • Nick Ritter

      Did you read Lupus’ article? If not, I would recommend that you do before criticizing it further. The first of your points is actually addressed, in the commentary if not in the article itself.

  • Deborah Bender

    Great set of quotations.