Archives For Eli Effinger-Weintraub

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.

Eli Effinger-Weintraub

Eli Effinger-Weintraub

“Even something as seemingly simple as asserting that we are a Goddess tradition is rife with pitfalls. Do we mean that we acknowledge Earth Itself as a divine living being, sexualized for convenience’s sake as feminine? Do we mean we draw our inspiration from a largely apocryphal but still-cherished dream of pre-Christian, matriarchal, goddess-worshipping cultures? Do we mean that we profess belief in The Goddess, or at least a goddess? Though many of us could answer “yes” to any or all of those questions in our personal beliefs and practices, others cannot. And as the PoU also states that we “balance individual autonomy with social responsibility,” each community Reclaiming community attempting to define its shared values and beliefs must ultimately decide whether the beliefs of the many outweigh the beliefs of the few–whether we should confine ourselves, in a statement of identity or list of shared values, to identities and values claimed by allmembers, or whether we are justified in listing attributes shared by most of our members.” - Eli Effinger-Weintraub, on trying to define her local Reclaiming community, at PaganSquare

Crystal Blanton

Crystal Blanton

“While I am not a slave, my family members were. The intergenerational trauma created by Americanized slavery has crossed into behaviors and understandings that I am just now tapping in to. The way we are raised is very influenced by our history. Our customs and understanding of the world is often passed down effects of slavery and oppression that us modern day people don’t even know to connect to our history. We don’t know our history or our ancestry. I am learning it. I refuse to raise my children in a society that erases their historical and intergenerational trauma in order to “get along”. Knowing our history allows us to heal from the ways that slavery is still present in our lives. I don’t hate white people. I married one. Accepting my history does not turn me against anyone else. It is our truth. I shall embrace it.” – Crystal Blanton, on learning her history as an inclusive part of her spirituality, at Patheos.com

Damh the Bard

Damh the Bard

“Over the years I have also had a few magical names that I have only ever used within the privacy of my Druid Grove. These names changed as my life-flow changed. For instance, when I needed to feel freedom the Seagull came to me, and for a very difficult period of my life I took one of the names of the Gull as my magical name, as the bird taught me to fly free, to survive. When I had learnt that lesson the animal left me, and I gave up the name. Similar things have happened at other times, when I needed the energy of a particular animal/God to walk very closely with me. Taking a magical name has a deep and real effect on our lives. Some people scoff at some of the names people take within the Pagan community. I try not to. If somehow the Path has led a person to take the name Raven Morrighan (if a Raven Morrighan is reading this, I’m not referring to you by the way), so be it. Having lived with the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, consequences of taking a magical name I just always hope that they have done their homework and deeply considered the name, before taking it as a mantle. Words and names are powerful things.” – Damh the Bard, on the importance of magical names, at the Bardic Blog.

Board of Trustees Chairperson Imam Malik Mujahid with Board Emereti Andras Arben-Corthen in Guadalajara, Mexico. In February 2013, the Board met to explore future Interfaith efforts in Mexico.

Andras Corban-Arthen (left) in Guadalajara, Mexico.

“The measure of freedom lies in the ability to make choices; and whom we decide to love and share the rest of our lives with, is one of the most important choices we can ever make. In a truly free society, everyone should be able to make that choice equally, with equal rights and responsibilities – whether we choose someone of a different race or religion, or of the same sex; or whether we choose to share our lives with one other person, or with several. I am proud to live in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriages have been legal for almost a decade, the first state in the Union to take such a step. As I think of Ginny and Betsy, I can’t help but wonder if they stayed together living here throughout all these years. I’d like to imagine that they did, and that they stood in line at the courthouse in 2004 to be among the first to take advantage of the changed law, to finally legalize their marriage. And I’d like to imagine them now, two older women sitting close to each other on the couch at their home, tightly clasping their ring-bedecked hands while gazing fondly at the thin, multicolored cord hanging over their front door, the cord that we bound together forty years ago.” – Andras Corban-Arthen, on the freedom to make choices, and the freedom to love and marry who we choose, at EarthSpirit Voices.

Bress Nicnevin

Bress Nicnevin

“The Mjolnir speaks to a broader spectrum of Heathen and Norse faiths including Odinism.  Thor is the “working mans” god, and over the centuries has become the “free mans”  god.  The plight of Heathenism today is probably more on Thor’s shoulders than Odin’s in the modern age. Since the approval of the pentacle as a symbol of belief area Pagans have gathered at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery to honor Sgt. Jason Schumann and Specialist Daniel Schrankler as part of a Memorial Day observance.  Sgt. Schumann was the first soldier whose marker included a pentacle after the approval. With the approval of the Thor’s hammer we know how future Pagan symbols will be approved, at least under the current administration and Dept. of  Veterans Affairs leadership. The upcoming holiday is a reminder to honor our fallen soldiers for their sacrifices, and for relatives to know the desires for the marker image  for our aging and active duty veterans.” - Bress G. Nicneven, founder of Lodge Yggdrasill, on the Thor’s Hammer being added to the list of approved symbols for veteran’s graves and markers (PNC-Minnesota).

T. Thorn Coyle

T. Thorn Coyle

“When I look to today’s thinkers, activists, creators to reflect the world back to me, so I can better understand it, I miss him. He is such a teacher for me, one whose lessons I will likely still be struggling to learn until I die. I watch him speaking. I read his words. His insight, his fierceness, his incredible grasp of context, and his deep intelligence are coupled with such a searing compassion that tears spring to my eyes. This combination of gifts is something I have to cobble together from a wide variety of sources otherwise. Baldwin had it all. Even in the midst of fiery anger, Baldwin sought to teach, to open, to connect. A greater spiritual teaching, a greater human teaching, I do not know. I miss Baldwin when world events turn tragic, when the country I reside in seems on a collision course with disastrous greed and alienation. I miss his voice. I miss his intellect. Most of all, I miss that deep compassion.”T. Thorn Coyle, on missing American novelist and social critic James Baldwin.

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

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

“Continuing up the scale, as we are, what of the planet? What does earth-centered mean? Don’t get me wrong: I live here and have a profound love for this Earth, and encourage the worship of this Divine Being who some name Gaia. But however important the Earth is to us, we must remember to look up and know how much bigger the Universe is, and how the Earth is dependent on the rest of that universe being out there for its existence. Just as every cell in our bodies is part of our organs, and those organs aggregate into our bodies, and we consciously experience ourselves as the unity thereof, so are we but ‘cells’ of the larger organism of our bio-region and that aggregates to the whole of our planet. It is well and worthy for us to render due worship to the living world in which we are embedded. But there is more. We can look up to our Star, giving us the energy on which our life depends, and that Sun is but one of billions of stars in our Milky Way galaxy, and itself one of billions of galaxies arrayed in vast structures, only now known but little understood by humans. Knowing this, do we not need to remember to look up and worship? And this vast collection of galaxies, and of who knows what else Out There, what of the All? The Whole? The Unity the arises from and gives rise to all This? Do we not also need to remember in our worship the All?” – Sam Webster, on nature worship, and if it’s enough, at PaganSquare.

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

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.

Star Foster

Star Foster

“When I look at the trajectory of Jonathan Merritt’s life, I often think there but for the twist of fate go I. Had I stayed in that church, and in that culture, I don’t know that I would have become Pagan. My Pagan spiritual life was borne of having a vacuum, a space, in which to explore the concept of religion from a new perspective. If I had remained in that culture and church, I would likely be a frustrated minister’s wife today. I would have attended a Christian college and be putting in 20 hours a week at church. I read Jonathan’s writing, and sometimes it feels like the ghost ofthe-Star-that-might-have-been is speaking to me. In my adult life I have used Jonathan as a strange sort of window into the life I could have had.”Star Foster, on her shared childhood with Southern Baptist leader Jonathan Merritt, who was recently outed as being gay.

Dan Halloran (left) receiving the endorsement of the Queens County GOP. (Photo courtesy Queens County Republicans)

Dan Halloran (left) receiving the endorsement of the Queens County GOP. (Photo courtesy Queens County Republicans)

“I guess you asked the question by begging the question by saying your viewers don’t know about it, and it hasn’t impacted in my public life as a Council member [...] Again, race, religion, these are things that are non sequiturs to public office. I think, as Mitt Romney has gone through the machinations of his Mormonism being an issue, the more people turn it into an issue and sensationalize it, the more problematic it becomes for all of us.” – New York Republican congressional candidate Dan Halloran, responding to a request to explain his membership in a Pagan/Heathen organization. Halloran also says he hasn’t considered that, if elected, he’d be the only Pagan member of House, “because I look at myself as an American, so my concern is representing my constituents in the Halls of Congress.”

Jason Mankey

Jason Mankey

“If you want to connect with currents and thought-forms that take you back to antiquity, why not worship the deities that shaped antiquity? I’m sorry, but I’m always going to feel closer to my ancient pagan ancestors while doing ritual outdoors with the gods they worshipped. You can keep your air conditioning, and your lack of understanding concerning my religion. I don’t care whether or not people agree with my faith, but it’s certainly just as real as anything else.”Jason Mankey, responding to the same tired attacks that certain Christians always make towards Pagans, which they think are devastating, but really just miss the point.

T. Thorn Coyle

T. Thorn Coyle

“I want to continue to practice, to try, to live, as though your freedom is important. It is so easy to slip into self-centeredness. It is so easy to forget that we are connected, when all we can see is our own hurt, our own pain, our own needs. Restorative justice is not about subsuming my needs for yours. It is about saying ‘We are in this together. Can we remember that?’” – T. Thorn Coyle, from a tribute to Nelson Mandela on his birthday earlier this month.

Eli Effinger-Weintraub

Eli Effinger-Weintraub

“Here’s where I felt the deepest sense of spiritual connection: walking the two-mile mini-pilgrimage from my apartment to the Mississippi River, experiencing the wondrous aliveness of my body and humility in the presence of this ancient and majestic river. Ghost-writing letters to the editor for a conservation and renewable energy campaign, placing mind and hand in service to the Earth I loved. Making a game out of how many days in a row I could go without starting my car, challenging myself to do better, to be better, for Gaia.”Eli Effinger-Weintraub, from her Witches & Pagans blog.

Wendy Griffin

Wendy Griffin

“Most of what I did was deadly serious, and in the late 70s and 80s, pretty discouraging.  But I’m a fan of Saul Alinski’s and especially liked the part where he said something to the effect that you need to have fun while you are being political or you’ll burn out. Ok. He didn’t say exactly that, but that’s part of what I took from Rules for Radicals. A Zap action is one where you get in, make your point, and get out quickly. We decided that we would make a point about Bork’s stand against abortion and have fun while doing it. We had been so serious for so long. So, of course, three of us decided to attend as tap dancing sperm, performing a rousing chorus of Monte Python’s Every Sperm is Sacred.” - Pagan scholar Wendy Griffin, on being an activist, and having fun while doing it.

P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

“There’s a lot to recommend polytheism as a viable, sensible, and practical theological system to underlie one’s religious notions and spiritual practices. Star Foster has talked a bit about the fact that modern paganism is really the only modern religion that can lay claim to polytheism over and above all else (despite the disagreement with this assertion that some of the commenters on the entry had). The diversity it entails as a necessity; the mutual respect for other paths and multiple ways of doing things, even when it comes to approaching the same gods within the same overall cultural framework; the preference for multiple possible answers and a variety of truths as opposed to one singular, irrefutable, unquestionable, “my-way-or-the-highway” approach to most theological questions…and the list goes on. But, one thing that I also like about it, and that I think some people still tend to miss despite being polytheists in name, is that in a polytheistic framework, the gods are interdependent, not independent. No god arises in a vacuum, really, and thus no god is “bigger than” or “more important” than any other, because all of them rely on at least a few others, even for their very existence.”P. Sufenas Virius Lupus on the virtues of polytheism.

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