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.
“It comes to me that practitioners of European polytheist traditions have a duty on us to take a clear stance against racism in our religious communities. Not to do so, I think, inevitably leads us into tacitly condoning racism, because of its ubiquity in the overculture and its history as an undercurrent within European polytheism. So here’s my stance: Though the form of religious practice I choose to espouse is largely based on Celtic traditions, I reject any ideology that says those traditions belong specially to me because of race. I speak often of ancestors and ancestral tradition, but I affirm that the ancestral root of wisdom belongs to all humanity. I reject all arguments that imply race should be tied to religion in any way or that racial purity is a relevant concept or worthy goal. I challenge my fellow polytheists to also step up and take a stance against racism in our religious communities, as publicly as possible.” – Morpheus Ravenna, discussing race, Eurocentrism, and ancestors at her blog.
“On the anniversary of this monumental moment in history, I remember my mother’s stories of segregation, my Aunt Thelma’s stories of cleaning the White woman’s house as a child, and my father’s desire to work all of his life to provide for a present that showed something different than his past…… opportunity. Our society has always had values that were fashioned for some, and not all. The social darwinism that our society has practiced for hundreds of years has become interwoven into the fabric of Americanized thought. Yet I believe we are ALL worth it. My Gods tell me that all people deserve the opportunity to live, love, prosper, worship, and enjoy this here life. And so I ask that we all take a moment, think about what this world could be for our children and our grandchildren, and push our energy towards a vision of equality that we have never had here. I will not leave my future family to fight a battle that I did not fight to stop.” – Crystal Blanton, on ringing a bell for freedom on the 50th anniversary of the I Have a Dream speech, delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. at the March on Washington.
“From the standpoint of traditional theologies shaped around the image of male power as power over and the concept of omnipotence, it might seem that the power of the process Goddess is “limited.” This is a mistake. The process Goddess does not voluntarily “withdraw from the world” (as in Kabbalah) or voluntarily “limit” her power (as in some forms of the free will defense) in order for the world and free individuals to exist. According to process philosophy Goddess never did have all the power, because Goddess has always been in relationship to some other individuals. To be an individual is to have at least a degree of freedom and at least a degree of power. This means that individuals other than Goddess have always and will always have some of the power in this or any other universe. Goddess cannot be omnipotent, because an omnipotent Goddess logically cannot be in relationship to other individuals who also have a degree of freedom and power.” – Carol P. Christ, on whether a relational god(dess) is powerful enough.
“Honestly, there is nothing “nasty” about sex or sexuality. There are many things in the world which are dirty, filthy, and disgusting, including corporate greed, social injustice, government corruption, environmental degradation, and the like, all of which involve not only figurative “filth,” but also spiritual miasma, tsumi, and other such terms of defilement on a moral and spiritual level. Sex, sexual desire, and sex organs, however, are not “filthy” or “dirty” or “nasty” in themselves. The fact that sex often is done in squalid conditions, secretly, in an embarrassed and lurid fashion, has contributed to the pathologization of it. This stems from religious arguments that see sex as the root of “original sin,” starting as early as 1600 years ago with Augustine of Hippo’s thoughts on the matter. [...] I have found the reactions to Sunday night’s performances more telling than the performances themselves about the neuroses of the modern American overculture. I suspect there was more calculation than the performers are willing to admit in terms of attempting to deliberately push buttons of the viewing audience in order to get attention, and it has worked spectacularly. The screen of a twenty-year-old young woman who was a former child star, a mid-thirties man attempting to re-start his singing career, and a bunch of teddy bears has been used to show a gag-reel of nearly all the sexual neuroses of our wider culture in the form of strongly-worded blog posts, Twitter messages, and Facebook memes. Many of the people commenting likely do not consider themselves Christian, and yet they are just as enthralled to the old ideas of Christian sexual theology and morality as the pope.” – P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, on a theologically mature approach to sexuality.
“I have learned so much from Unitarian Universalists in terms of including children in worship and/or ritual and in community, and working around parents’ needs–scheduling meetings that busy parents can attend and providing childcare during business meetings so that parents can be active members of religious communities! I learned that children LOVE ritual. Pagan traditions are really effective for positive experiences for children–from Sabbats to chants to the particular structure of circle ritual. The Unitarian Universalists I have worked with have been very supportive of my including Neo-Pagan traditions in children’s worship. Many adult services celebrate the Equinoxes and Solstices as well. In general, I have found that most UUs are either personally knowledgeable or at least very curious and interested in Paganism. Jessica Zebrine-Gray, UU-Pagan and religious educator, recently developed a brochure for the UUA on Unitarian Universalist Pagans, and of course I cannot skip mention of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans! Unitarian Universalists also have a program of liberal values-based sexuality education. The program is called Our Whole Lives because it ranges through the lifespan, regularly called “OWL” for short.” – Michelle Mueller, on what Pagan families can learn from Unitarian Universalists.
“The gods call who they call, and there are plenty of examples of deities calling people unexpectedly. If you feel the call of a deity, answer, even if that deity comes from an unfamiliar pantheon. Even if a particular goddess doesn’t call you to her formal service, there’s nothing to stop you from making offerings to her, praying to her, and asking her for help. Perhaps she’ll respond and perhaps she won’t, but honoring a goddess is always a good thing to do. Although I am a priest of Cernunnos, it would be the height of arrogance for me to tell someone “He would never call you.” On the other hand, if the way that person manifests Cernunnos’ presence is at odds with what is generally known about Him (from others as well as from me), I may question who he’s dealing with, or at the very least, his commitment to Him. If, to give what I hope is an absurd example, he cites the lusty aspect of the Stag as an excuse to rape, I will argue (among many other things) he is not properly committed to Him. The gods call who they call and we are free to respond to the calls we feel, but we are not entitled to respond in any way we like.” – John Beckett, on race and religion in the modern Pagan world.
“I’m going to offer a harsh statement here. If you call yourself Earth-centered…or if you turn and face the North in ritual and invoke or honor the Earth, and you are littering like this, if you aren’t sorting your trash and recycling, if you are drinking bottled water and not making any attempt to begin to live more sustainably, you have no business standing in ritual and calling Earth, honoring the Earth. It’s hypocritical. And that probably pisses you off. And, maybe instead of being ticked off at me, the messenger, you can acknowledge where you might need to do some work to use less resources. For those who called me a hypocrite for calling for the use of less resources, particularly not using styrofoam or plastic cups in a ritual, being a hypocrite would mean I’m not working hard to reduce my use of resources. If you are honestly, sincerely trying, then you’re not a hypocrite. But, we can all do better. We aren’t perfect. I’m not perfect. I’m using resources too. But, like many others, I am working hard to reduce my use. It’s hard, and my greatest fear is that it’s not going to have enough of an impact. But I’m going to try my best, because, I am Earth-Centered. I value the Earth and my relationship to it. I consider it a contract, a sacred trust. It’s my job to live in better harmony, to reduce my use of resources, and to help others do the same.” – Shauna Aura Knight, on not being a hypocrite when it comes to honoring the Earth.
“I sat and opened to the Spirit of Place once more and asked for a blessing from the Horned One. I went deep into a senses meditation where I opened all of my senses to the world around me. I sat there in the dawn sunshine. After moments I heard a movement behind me. A rustling through the long grasses of the marsh. I turned slowly to face the most glorious Roebuck. His coat shining in the dawn sun. Again we caught each other’s eyes. I looked into the eye of the Lord of the Wild, then he slowly, and quite calmly walked away from me. No fear. I watched as he disappeared into the green. I breathed in the experience. Felt the blessings. Felt blessed. The next night the concert was fabulous. The ritual was powerful, and as I walked once more into the land through the avenue of blazing torches I knew where my pilgrimage would begin. I spent hours in contemplation within the woods of Owl and Deer. I listened to storytellers within the roundhouse. I listened to the land. My night’s journey was a deeply personal one, bless by the events of the previous evening. I feel renewed, open, alive, ready to write even more songs.” – Damh the Bard, on receiving a true blessing.
“That’s the thing about new beginnings. The are necessarily shrouded. They are not transparent. There is mystery inexorably woven into every aspect of them. We don’t know where we’ll get our food, walk our dogs, build community. We don’t know how the weather will feel, how the land will look as the seasons change, or how we will be embraced by the people of Portland. We have no clear sense of what the future will bring. But I think that those are the conditions which make possible some real magic. So maybe when we get to Portland I’ll start blogging with more regularity. Maybe I’ll write about what it feels like to live around so much lush greenery. Maybe I’ll write about what it’s like to live so close to a river, or in a place that’s not dry as a bone. Maybe I’ll stumble upon some little metaphysical shop and spark up a conversation that leads to a post, or I’ll meet a Witch or a Druid or a Unitarian that I’d only known on Facebook, and maybe that interaction will shed light on something that has, unbeknownst to me, been hidden. Maybe I’ll discover a spiritual practice again. Maybe I’ll find the room to try something new, or better yet, to try something old, something forgotten, underutilized, or neglected. Maybe there will be more new beginnings than I know what to do with, and I’ll have to write about all of them. Or maybe I’ll do something altogether different. I don’t know.” – Teo Bishop, on moving to Portland, and the nature of new beginnings.
That’s all I have for now, have a great day!