Pagan Voices: Angharad the Pagan, The Wanderer, Melissa ra Karit and more!

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

"Rocks in Tree" 2016 by photographer Greg Harder, all rights reserved

“Rocks in Tree” 2016 by photographer Greg Harder, all rights reserved

“Ideally speaking, I would like to be one of those people who does worship every day, morning and night. In my mind, in my heart, I view myself as being a ‘mystic.’ ‘Of course I can do this indefinitely!’

However, the reality is that after months of doing that, I crash. I become emotionally burnt out. I get physically ill and then use my sickness as an excuse to take time away from my devotional practice or, often, any sort of religious practice.

This makes me feel awful. I feel like a failed devotee.

What this is telling me is that perhaps I should limit my devotional work to specific time periods. Six or 8-9 weeks, maybe, of daily practice. At the end of that time period, I can decide (or ask a diviner, procuring their services) whether to keep going or not for another set period of time.” — R.M. McGrath, on devotional work.

I like Jerome (something that causes several of my academic friends to raise surprised eyebrows): he’s curmudgeonly; I’m curmudgeonly. He writes in beautiful (for a Christian) Latin, I like Latin and wish I could write like that. He seems to value the spiritual wellbeing of the lay people with whom he corresponded and didn’t condescend to them or truncate his letters, instead he included a substantial and nuanced theology in his responses, even when writing to someone as insignificant in the Roman world as an unmarried teenaged girl. I was very impressed by that, even though I might not agree with the positions he was espousing. –Galina Krasskova, from What Early Christianity Can Teach Us About How To Be Good Polytheists

I’ve seen Christians who understand this experience far better than pagans. One is the author of the blog Beauty Without Bones, her harrowing account of recovering from anorexia and the constant vigilance to stop possible backsliding while at the same time educating others. There’s obviously no doubt in her that the Christian God is truly at the core of everything she does. . . . That somehow someone could narcissistically lose themselves and escape from the problems of the world via devotional polytheism makes no sense especially considering our gods are in this world. How can putting the Gods of the world in the center of your life not force you into real action changing the world? –Heather Awen on serving humanity and the gods.

Dear gods, don’t be complacent. White supremacy is still here. It never left – not during the last eight years, not during the last hundreds of years. Don’t allow your edge to be smoothed away by articles that want you to go back to being silent, ineffective, and a cog in the system.

Please, please – stop reading and sharing those articles. Don’t let relief overtake your new vigor to fight the system. Stoke that flame of resistance! It is tiny, extinguishable by a thimbleful of water — do not allow it! Stoke those flames of change!

It is the time to RISE, not sit. To keep our eyes open, to shout until we can no more, to stand with the disenfranchised and the marginalized. It is time to put our mouths, money, and bodies between the way it has always been and the world we want it to be! RESIST! –Boneweaver, writing on a sense of comfort emerging after the U.S. election.

I’m not – yet – comfortable aligning myself with a specific religious tradition. I was brought up EXTREMELY inside the box, but it has been over a decade since I stepped outside of that particular box. In that time, I’ve been almost exclusively drawn to earth-based spiritual practices. Yes, I feel there’s a difference between being spiritual and being religious, which is yet another reason I have continued to tick the “no preference: box. . . . While I’m not religious, I do believe in a spirit world, in energy, in the earth. . . does that actually make me Pagan? I’ve hesitated to use the term because I don’t feel I have the level of belief necessary to fit into that sphere. –The Wanderer, No Religious Preference.

Where are the gods? Well, it’s not like they’re all-powerful, and even if they were, it’s not necessarily their responsibility to get us out of the dilemmas we make for ourselves. I may have prayed and lit candles for the Goddess, and poured a libation for Loki, but I also voted, and encouraged other people to vote thoughtfully. I probably could have done more, but that’s a lesson learned. . . . If there are gods, they don’t always act. And they don’t always have the power to do so. Sometimes they are silent. And sometimes they speak out of the darkness. –Angharad the Pagan, from Polytheism after Monotheism.

The best creative thinking isn’t worked for, it’s allowed. When we let our dreaming, imagining minds play freely, the awen is most likely to flow. Try to force and direct it and you are more likely to get something that feels pushed and contrived. Mediation can make a space for unconscious thinking to rise gently to the surface. By letting the mind settle, space can be made for gloriously mad connections to be made, essential what-if questions to be asked and so forth. So we may start with some standard techniques for stilling and settling, but once ‘in the zone’ the last thing we want to do is notice and let go of our thoughts. Instead, we need to notice and explore what arrives. A deliberate wool gathering, daydreaming time, where we go with what happens. –Nimue Brown, from Bardic Meditation.

If you thought I was nasty before
You haven’t seen anything yet
Before you called me nasty for standing in the sun
For demanding my share of power

But now I’m standing in the shadows too
I’m right behind you
Everywhere you go
At the edge of your vision
At the edge of the world
Reminding you that there is more to be seen

Now I am standing in the darkness
And every time the lights go off
A chill runs up your spine
The darkness is vast and powerful
And the sliver of the moon
Only tells you that all things must wane

Of course, I have been here this whole time
But now your gut knows it
The vision haunts you
Until nightmares become a dream
A shimmer of possibilities
We are unfolding

–Melissa ra Karit, If You Thought I Was Nasty Before

That’s it for now. Please continue to recommend voices, art or photography you’d like to see featured here!