The gods are powerful, as are many other entities and beings. They have the power to begin a series of events that culminate in a coincidence that is also a deliberate sign. They have the power to bump that algorithm and make it do what They want to give us that sign. They have the power to make the wind blow a certain way so that all those birds act in that natural but slightly unusual way that grabs our attention and makes us go, “It’s a sign!”
It’s not just these unsure signs either, but the more awesome obvious things. Consider John Beckett’s green glowing bird. A rather noticeable thing, and he admits to reaching to find an explanation for what he was seeing, some mundane reason for it. Because that is what we do – even when we believe deeply in the “supernatural,” we still reach for mundane reasons.
–Bekah Evie Bell, Maybe it’s a Sign, Maybe it’s Just an Oddly Specific Facebook Algorithm
Greed loves monopoly. Monopoly is fed by centralization. Centralization has gotten worse. The more greedy corporations can get away with centralization, the more they will, until no one creates online content except those with the big bucks to produce corporate-driven, insipid “culture.” Social media corporations want advertisers. Advertisers put their money on watered-down content, mostly. If corporate media can get away with it, the only online “Paganism” will be as mindlessly numbing as most television.
Paganism tamed! Imagine if wildly witchy articles no longer existed? Imagine only corporate media “Pagan” blogs, as milquetoast as the fake Christianity that dominates media to suppress robust, responsible Christianity?
–Francesca De Grandis, Social Media and Pagan Culture
Let’s go back to the basics: the acronym stands for Unusual (or Unverified) Personal Gnosis. It’s unusual if it isn’t corroborated by the collective past experiences of others. It’s personal if it is revealed to one person alone during the course of their active worship of the gods. But gnosis – I think we need to remember that gnosis does not mean simply an idea or thought or piece of information, it’s a (mystical, spiritual) insight, the kind that typically comes as a revelation (often after prolonged study and practice).
When you’re just pondering the ways of the gods and you have an idea about something new – maybe you think, for instance, that a god might like a certain offering not attested to in the sources, or you see a connection between one myth and another that you never noticed before and haven’t seen discussed – that idea might be entirely valid and true and interesting, but it is not really the same thing as when the gods themselves reveal something to you during ritual, or when in a deep state of devotional mind you have a sudden and profound insight into their natures.
–Dver, Some thoughts on UPG
There is no escape from yourself. There is no escape from pain. There is no escape from this moment. There is only what is in front of you and your choice of how you face it. When you are faced with a challenging person or situation, do you find yourself wallowing in the toxic miasma of the situation? Unable to let go of the muck. Do you find yourself complaining to your spouse or friend or relative? In a way, what you are doing is scooping a little of that sludge and flinging it at someone you love, hoping some of it will stick. Misery does love company.
–Rúndaingne Ash, My truth about happiness
I have never understood why, when others speak to us about our faith, it sounds like they believe that we just decided to put on the black hat and pointed shoes because we had nothing better to do. The truth is, that for many who proudly call themselves Witch, they are simply finding their way again. I have taught and known many spirited Witches over my life, and many who have recently discovered their magickal ways. They describe it as a returning to a life they knew they were a part of, rather than something new or something they just started. It is simply who we are.
–Lady Abigail, Samhain and the ‘Witch Questions’
The thing that makes deep time difficult for many people to cope with is that it makes self-evident nonsense out of any claim that human beings have any uniquely important place in the history of the cosmos. That wouldn’t be a difficulty at all, except that the religious beliefs most commonly held in Europe and the European diaspora make exactly that claim.
–John Michael Greer on the anthropocentric nature of time
There seems to be a sentiment among some Pagans and polytheists that being a good person isn’t important. That as long as we give offerings to the gods, ancestors, spirits . . . that we can be whatever kind of person we want.
I’m not here to tell you otherwise. You practice your religion in the way that you feel is right for you and your powers. But for me, personally, I believe that my religion is ineffective or incomplete if it is not making me a better person. If I am not becoming kinder or more compassionate to others, especially the poor, outcasts, downtrodden, hungry . . . I don’t see my religion as being complete. I need to be making the world a better place for others in some way, shape, or form. . . .I understand that this may seem very Christian to Pagans. Meekness and compassion are not often seen as important values to polytheists, and perhaps to ancient Pagans they weren’t.
–R.M. McGrath, Good People
To demand my vote is to demand my consent for the horror that America does in my name, be that the imprisonment of millions for property and drug crimes here or the obliteration of children to get at the oil they’re living atop in the Middle East. Insisting I must “play” in order to “win” is a sick joke at best when the jackpot is only the hope of less slaughter of others and a little less poverty for myself. At worst, it’s the language of the abuser and the rapist. If you don’t say no, it means yes–yet even if you do say no, it still means yes because they have power.
The mass ritual of voting for who will be the new face of the Leviathan sucks everyone into a vortex of celebrity-worship, displacing radical political actions onto candidates resembling our hopes and dreams. Meanwhile, some get richer, drowning in revenue from campaign advertisements, just as state coffers swell with sales from lottery tickets. That the same massive media corporations who shape our perception of the world and the urgency of our vote make the most money from the election frenzy is hardly accidental.
–Rhyd Wildermuth, Editorial: I Won’t Play
Local and state elections – who we vote for matters more than who we vote for for president. Congresscritters usually filter up from state and local governments. Presidential candidates come almost exclusively from Congress and state governments. If we want different candidates for president, we must put different candidates in office down ticket. That’s where our vote truly matters. That’s where the change begins. If we help put someone in office who turns out to be vile, we need to work to unseat them. Whenever possible, pick candidates for are for term limits for Congress. That forever candidate and seat holder is dangerous to public welfare. Once ensnared in the political machine, they spend most of their time and decision making energy on staying there, rather than doing what is best for citizens.
Change from ground up – that’s how I vote, in every election. I encourage you to do the same.
–Boneweaver, The downticket shifts the upticket
A polytheistic relationship to truth forces us to see plurality as a fundamental feature of the world. We produce truth through a process of living and engaging with the beings that surround us. Truth becomes participatory. The tension between competing truths is recognized as powerful and real, and our choices, adjudicating between these truths, have real and meaningful consequences. The world is full of complexities, and as we move through it, we only produce more and more. We make the world a stranger place with every passing day.
–Julian Betkowski, I Believe that Polytheism is Important Right Now