Saturday, May 28, 2011

How my Pagan Children Grow...

With all of the drama ensuing over the Circle of Mom's Top25 contest as of late, I've used my quiet moments to ponder just how much my faith influences my choices as a Mother. 

You will never hear me claim to be perfect in this role.  Much as I'd like to tell those snooty-boot blog moms [who turned their noses up at Pagan motherhood] that "Anything you can do I can do better" -- Go ahead.  Sing the lyrics.  You know you want to!  ;) --

the truth is I'm not always confident and I'm not always composed in the rearing of my two young boys.  I get frustrated.  I get angry.  I make mistakes and damned if they don't see me make them.  But in the midst of these short-comings, I am always there.  I am always honest.  I am always Me, their mom: nose-wiper, booboo-kisser, #1-supporter, Eat all your veggies-mandator extraordinaire!  My sons have seen me lose my cool.  They've seen me pause to take a deep breath so that I can avoid losing my cool.  They've seen me cry.  They've heard me swear.  They know that I am not perfect.  But they still believe I'm SuperMom.

What a beautifully splendid lesson they learn just through watching their mom during a meltdown -- I don't have to be perfect to be Super.  No, my children don't count rosary beads or kneel at their bedsides before sleep.  They don't attend Sunday school.  And no, they weren't baptised.  Yet their precious little lives are filled daily with faith...

They wake each day and thank the moon for keeping them safe in the night.  They welcome the sun who they know will power them with energy during their day.  They learn repeatedly the quick and unbiased authority of Karma and her laws.  They light candles and blessing sticks -- not for toys or slurpees, but for a sick baby or a missing pet.  They understand that people are different and wouldn't want it any other way [how boring would that be!].  They love the earth and help to keep her clean just as passionately as they do their most prized possessions [which presently is a growing collection of action figures from the Super Hero Squad Show]. 

In our home there is no rigid, obedient family structure [like something out of the 17th century].  We don't need this to find spirituality.  We don't need labels.  We don't need collection plates.  We don't need scripture written by ancient minds long since gone to tell us what we feel within.  We need only a guidance inspired by Pure Faith [one that comes by direct path: through the heart and into the world that surrounds it].

My five year old is learning to read and write.  Before bed I pull out his black and white journal and give him a new word to copy.  Tonight, before I got the chance to jot down 'bonfire' -- which was going to be my choice [seeing as we'd just finished roasting marshmallows over a gorgeous one], he stopped my hand and said "Mom, I want to learn to spell my favorite word... Namaste!"

For those who are unfamiliar, 'Namaste' translates to mean that there is a light in you, there is a light in me and we bow in honor of one another's light.

I asked my child why 'namaste' is his favorite word and he replied "because if everyone has a special light inside, then we are all shiny together."  Yes friends, a humble reminder from a preschooler!

You can bet that after kissing his forehead and turning off his light, I walked into my bedroom and balled my eyes out.  Such sweet innocence. 

Yes, my Faith is different.  And it's so very very right.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Different Faith

I've been MIA from my cherished laptop for a few days -- busy with the tasks of leaving work for the summer, running my boys to and from their many activities, getting the garden in working order and keeping up with the housework [which also includes the exterior now that Father Winter has finally decided to kick up his feet for a rest-bit].  Finding myself with a rare, quiet moment last night I popped onto Facebook to check out the happenings with some of my favorite Pagan bloggers. 

Much to the dismay of my tired eyes [it was afterall that moment when you allow yourself to finally sit after running about all the long day -- that moment when the last ounce of energy drains from your every pore into the comfy cushion of choice]-- so, much to the dismay of said tired eyes, drama was in full encore in Paganville.  There were those [as there always are] who made claim that Paganism, being a "different faith", was a "wrong faith"--

                                      "Different faith is wrong faith. You have a right to believe it, but believing it doesn't make it "right," It makes you lost and without salvation."  {Darlene S, Time Warp Wife}

Many of us were very excited to see how well Mrs.B and other known Pagan bloggers are faring in a Top-25 Faith Blogs contest over at Circle of Moms.  A very self-righteous few, however, were less than thrilled to see that Pagan blogs could be considered for this online event.  Or that [gasp!] we are even mothers at all!!  While claiming to be good, loving women of faith, this vicious handful set out to attack and belittle those that are different [ie, Pagan].  The most significant Offensive came courtesy of Darlene Schacht, author of the Time Warp Wife blog ["A Return to Biblical Womanhood"]. 

Darlene's blog post, All Roads Do NOT Lead to Rome, was one of the most judgmental and disrespectful pieces I've encountered by an author claiming to encompass "Good values" as "threads that weave into the fabric of friendship."  Her words, laced with Snarkiness [note the capital S], sought to depreciate others, mock their family life and spread feelings of hate and fear-- 
     "Evil will and does present itself as beautiful, harmless, and alluring--even moreso than it did 100 years ago. Instead of black hats and bad teeth we see blondes with great smiles and white teeth convincing us all they're the "good witch," ready to dispel any preconceived notions you might have.

The lines between good and evil are so blurred that even witchcraft itself is accepted as "norm" in many Christian families today. If we want our children to have a healthy understanding of who Jesus is and His purposeful death on the cross, we need to see the weight of sin for what it really is. Scripture clearly makes a stand against witchcraft."

I come from a Catholic background.  I have studied the Christian faith.  I have read the bible.  All that I have learned derives a conclusion that Jesus Christ, were he walking this earth today, would be utterly disgusted by the expressions of people acting in His name.

Just as Pagans have nothing at all to do with the Christian entity of Satan, our faith is also not the "witchcraft" described in scripture.  Even a Christian man offered the following explanation [via his Pagan wife's blog, The Pagan Mom]--

     "While many of you of a Neo-Pagan or Wiccan faith path claim to be witches and practice witchcraft, I have yet to find one who can cast a curse that causes harm as the term is used in the Old testament and surely don’t want to meet the one who uses poisons to kill as the term is used in the New Testament."   

While all roads do not indeed lead to Rome, there are a good many that do.  And just like the construction we see on our highways today, the paths to Divinity are ever-changing [minus the orange cones of course].  It is your right to believe as you will.  I have the same right.  Religions grow and evolve just as we as human beings grow and evolve.  There was civilization before the biblical Word of God.  Does the Creator just ignore this?  How were those souls accepted into a Kingdom of Heaven?  People find their own avenues to "Rome", just as they have before we arrived and just as they will after we are gone. 

Rather than argue over the road map, why not just enjoy the ride [and maybe even wave to the other drivers as you pass them by].  We could do so much good "travelling" together.  Already we send out similar prayers & blessings. We support many of the same charities when disaster strikes the people of this earth.  We have empathy & compassion for the plights of others.  We treasure our friends.  We care for our homes.  We are women.  We are moms.  Why the line in the sand?  Why the separation simply because of the different names we give our greater source? 

I end today with a fitting quote--

     "People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost."
~ Dalai Lama

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award

Humbled again!  My red-cheeked and bashful 'THANKS' to my 'Green Witch' friend for bestowing upon me a very exciting Versatile Blogger Award.  Per the instructions at Polly's Pagan by Design blog, it is customary to provide readers with a few quirks about oneself while also choosing to pay-forward this honor. 

There happens to be some curious connection between this award and the number 13.  And being one who does not wish to tamper with any karmic repercussions [by altering such a bond], I too will follow suit -- providing you with ten tidbits about myself [or something of interest to me] and then selecting three most notable blogs with which to share this very exciting honor:



1.   Em has followed a Pagan path since 1996, while a junior in High School.
2.   Em refuses to cut the lawn since a 1994 incident involving a very unfortunate frog.
3.   Em is a third generation Cleveland Browns fan and attends one home game per year.
4.   Em once managed to lock herself in an old latch-style refrigerator during an apparently competitive game of Hide-N-Go Seek.
5.   Em works at a local University as a Captionist for the Deaf.
6.   Em's two favorite authors [Poe & Emerson] despised one another in life.
7.   If Em could meet any person, living or dead, it would be Jack the Ripper [because, come on -- who doesn't want to know?].
8.   Sticking with The Ripper theme for one more response, Em's hometown hosts the grave of a Top 5 Ripper Suspect, Francis Tumuelty.
9.   Em is afraid of the dark.
10.   Though afraid of the dark, Em has a secret desire to attend a ghost hunting investigation with a local crew [and has even been invited on multiple occasions but has backed down each time].


And now [enter soft drum roll]...
The 3 blogs that have continued to impress me with their intriguing choice of subject matter and exceptionally witty writing styles...

      1.   Inciting a Riot
      2.   Outside the Lines
      3.   Paranormal World Blog 

Congratulations Bloggers!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pagan THOR Controversy... It's All Made Up

I happened across an article today that caught my eye rather quickly as it staked quite the all-encompassing claim: "Pagans voice concerns about THOR". 

The article, literally titled "Pagans Voice Concerns about Thor" [by Sarah Pulliam Bailey for the USA TODAY] cites one blog [yes, only one] in which a Pagan individual finds himself taken aback by the plethora of THOR merchandise he encounters during a quick trip into a local Wal-mart.

After reading both the article and its within-mentioned blog [by Eric Scott], I have to say that I believe Ms Pulliam Bailey, in her USA TODAY article, grossly exaggerates the message Eric is expressing in said blog, titled "Valhal-Mart" [which by the way is quite clever and I rather enjoyed that].  In more than one instance Eric explains his understanding of the difference between the Hollywood depiction of the character THOR from Marvel comics and the Thunder God of Norse Mythology.  At the same time, he was a bit disturbed to see hints of his religion's past plastered all over action figures and foam accessories in the toy section of America's largest department store chain.

He writes "At worst, it’s harmless and ephemeral; at best, perhaps more people would learn something about the myths. But it’s not that simple. The truth is, I looked at the toys in my hands and I saw the result of millions of dollars of development and thousands of hours of manpower, put into something bearing the name of a god, my god, and it had nothing to do with me."

Our Faith & Reason column writer at the USA TODAY took this personal bit of disappointment and warped it into a mountain where-in Pagans across the country are sharing concerns about this Marvel box office hit.  Um, do you have other sources to cite that would perhaps lay down credence to such claims?  I failed to see them in your article.   And I will tell you why...

Most Pagans don't, in-fact, have a problem with fictional Hollywood depictions of ancient Gods... or should I more accurately say 'fictional Hollywood depictions of fictional comic heroes inspired loosely by ancient Gods'.  We don't get all up-in-arms over movies such as this because we recognize them for what they are -- FICTION and ENTERTAINMENT.

To claim that we as an entire community of faith have a problem with a particular film because ONE individual faced a moment of surreal creepiness in the toy section of a department store is at the very least bad journalism and at its worst-- embellished propaganda.

Would you, I ask, take the unique account of one preacher or one rabbi or one priest and claim in a nationally distributed news medium [such as, oh I don't know -- the USA TODAY] that this is the opinion of Monotheism followers everywhere?  No!  Because it would be an outright lie.  Shame on you and shame on your editor[s] for choosing to print such an inaccurate piece of work.

A more honest title might have been "One Pagan Feels Somewhat Slighted by Masses Of Thor Merchandise but Understands Thor of the Movies is Not the Same as Thor of Norse Mythology".  Yes, I can see the reason for your embellishments as there is nothing here that is actually newsworthy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

God Answers Snail Mail

It's not often that I find myself in agreement with Damian Thompson, [editor-in-chief of The Catholic Herald], but when, via the medium of the wonderful Mrs B's facebook blog [Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom], I was introduced to a particular post of Damian's on The Telegraph, I found myself smiling with surprise.  

The religion writer retells the warming story of a young girl with a hefty school project -- writing a letter to God to ask the almighty how, in fact, he came to be invented.  Typical brainwashing of innocent young minds, you might be thinking, but this is where the story takes an interesting turn.

The father of this young six-year-old happens to be Atheist.  When he was approached by his daughter, Lulu for his opinion on this particular writing assignment, the non-believer was left wondering how best to handle the situation.  Might he halt any blooming spiritual connections within her heart with an outright admittance in his lack of belief in any God?  Does he lie about his feelings on faith?

Uncertain, he chooses to email copies of his daughter to a handful of religious organizations.  One such email correspondence [sent to "the head of theology of the Anglican Communion, based at Lambeth Palace"] was received and answered personally by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.  

His reply, which I will provide below, touched me unexpectedly.  I anticipated it to be the usual Christ-centered, scripture-heavy rambling typically provided by the heads of the Christian faith.  The Archbishop
Rowan's return letter to Lulu however is a breath of fresh air -- words that can be embraced by all.  He approaches the concept of god from the viewpoint of a young, open-hearted mind and his words are enveloped with all of the innocent curiosity of a learner brand new to the generic umbrella of spirituality.

I particularly love that he includes the beauty and wonder of the earth as inspiration for discovering divinity.  And I most assuredly cracked a rather impressed smile when he pointed out to little Lulu that humans invented ideas about god, some sensible and others well, not so very sensible after all.  Precious words.  I smile even now as I review them.

I hope you enjoy the response letter as much as I. 

The Archbishop writes:

Dear Lulu,
Your dad has sent on your letter and asked if I have any answers. It’s a difficult one! But I think God might reply a bit like this –
‘Dear Lulu – Nobody invented me – but lots of people discovered me and were quite surprised. They discovered me when they looked round at the world and thought it was really beautiful or really mysterious and wondered where it came from. They discovered me when they were very very quiet on their own and felt a sort of peace and love they hadn’t expected.

Then they invented ideas about me – some of them sensible and some of them not very sensible. From time to time I sent them some hints – specially in the life of Jesus – to help them get closer to what I’m really like.

But there was nothing and nobody around before me to invent me. Rather like somebody who writes a story in a book, I started making up the story of the world and eventually invented human beings like you who could ask me awkward questions!’

And then he’d send you lots of love and sign off.

I know he doesn’t usually write letters, so I have to do the best I can on his behalf. Lors of love from me too.

+Archbishop Rowan

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tarot Poetry Project: Two of Cups

Two tap their Cups
to honor the truce.
Clinking of glass
brings together this deuce.
A union, healed, walks
the common grounds
and shares in reclaiming
the peace that's been found.
It attracts an agreement
to forgive and forget.
What was severed
is bonded as linked opposites.
Connected, they sip
til the waters run thin
and permit themselves,
open, to be drawn in.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sifting Through the Comments: Unfiltered Honesty

I always make a point of reading through the comments section of an article -- this is because it is here that I find the heart of the matter; all of the brutal, unfiltered honesty from the conveniently faceless yet outspokenly opinionated.  And try as I might to review such bitter rantings without getting too emotionally involved [because really, what good could come of it], in the instance of a post I stumbled across today, the protective guard that was my Steadfast Insensitivity crumbled, leaving me beyond exposed.

Said post, Are the Quakers Going Pagan [provided by Christianity Today, May 2008] is followed by comment after comment of judgmental, demeaning, inaccurate and often unintelligent ramblings against both Paganism itself and also the idea that Pagans and Christians may be merging to share values, ideals and even rituals.

Why such hostility?  Such labels?  None can claim with any fraction of certainty that 'they' entertain the singular truth about divinity.  Without evidence, none have the authority to discount the beliefs of another.  [And no!  Old texts written by ancient men, long since dead, cannot be counted as any sort of proof.  Man is flawed.  His written word too will be flawed.  To claim it as the word of any supreme being is just another level of your faith.  Nothing more.  And if that is what you choose to embrace within your heart & soul, I respect such a right to that belief.  Why then must I fight to receive such a reciprocated right?  Why am I snubbed in return?]

Sparing my fellow Pagan readers the heartache of going through these long-winded lashings on their own, I will select a few at random and provide them below, joined by my very charged [in fact, blazing] rebuttals.


[Matt]:  "I can't believe the Quakers are allowing these Pagan dogs to commune with them. What does the kingdom of God have to do with the kingdom of Satan? Throw these Heathen dogs out on the street! We should never allow these servents of the devil to come into our church to bring in all sorts of ghastly doctrines from the pit of hell. Jesus is coming quickly, he better not find us in a drunken orgy (see Luke 12:45)."

          How many times must the Pagan community explain that our divinity has nothing whatsoever to do with the Christian entity of Satan?  Not only am I no one's servant, I am certainly no servant to the evil being of a religious movement that I do not even follow! And for the record, I own no doctrines-- let alone any from the pits of hell.  I also do not drink the blood of "behbehs" nor bathe in the blood of virgins.  Nor do I partake in drunken orgies for that matter.  

          I do however pick up litter when I find it lying about.  I wrap my children in a soft, warm blankie and cuddle them when they're sick.  I send donations to aid those affected by poverty and destruction.  I plant flowers and pet puppies. I make a mean chili and always make a point of smiling politely at strangers.  

          Wow, re-reading my last few sentences I can certainly see how one would label me "heathen".

[Pr. Bill Borch LtCol USAR]: "An Orthodox bishop attending a ministers' group heard each saying something like: Our view is- We believe- I think- The way we see it- etc, etc. The bishop said: "It doesn't matter what you think. I'm a bishop and it doesn't matter what I think. The only question is: what does "the" Church teach?" If you don't know don't waste your ink or our time."

           It is claimed that nothing matters but what the Church teaches -- not opinion, not personal spirituality, not what one believes at heart.  And yet, the Church teaches from a book crafted by man.  Man -- who has opinions, personal beliefs and a sense of what is true to his own unique mind. 

          LtCol, what I feel in my heart matters.  And I challenge you to find a single soul on this earth that will tell you otherwise [sans those who have been brainwashed into self loathing or self depreciation].  What is true within the hearts of any individual matters a great deal to that individual.  And because each of these individuals is so very unique, there is naturally going to be an immeasurable variety of opinions on what is believed.  The fact that we as a species can create such an infinite number of personal connections with the divine is, to me, a beautiful wonderment.  Imagine the rapture of being loved and worshiped in a million different ways.

[Brett Blatchley]:  "People are not being drawn to Jesus; rather they are fading into the nothingness of a formless, impersonal god (which is just a gentle path to eternal separation from the true God, Jesus)."

           Anyone with a genuine connection to the Pagan path [and not those merely dabbling for the sake of rebellion from all that is Mainstream] can tell you that there is NOTHING impersonal about their connection to god.  Whatever form of divinity -- be it a god, goddess, nature, celestial bodies or light-- the intimate sense of oneness with that source is felt and cherished.


And finally I leave with you a posting that kept the tears of frustration from spilling forth.  Thank you anonymous "Kelly".


[Kelly]: "A religion is either alive, relevant and pointing people to divinity or it's the dead husk of one that used to do these things. If it is alive then by definition it's changing and growing, just like its members. Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Fox-- they all understood this. As did Jesus himself. All of these wise ones saw things they felt were wrong with religious establishment and sought to change them. What they may not have said, or what others didn't record of them, is that no matter the church, you have to find god for yourself. If there are quakers that will use pagan ritual to reach out to God or if there are pagans who sit in meeting and reach for the light within, then at the very least they are doing it for themselves and according to their own conscience. They are not leaving their souls in the hands of some priest. Well done."


Report Abuse