Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hiding My Faith

Do you ever find yourself hiding your faith simply because it's just easier at times to avoid the glances, comments or conversations that it may spark?  I'm quite shamed to admit my guilt in doing so. 

I have identified as Pagan since my late teenage years and am wholly content with the religious path that I've chosen.  Having said that, I do find that after a decade and a half of proudly defending this often unfairly mislabeled faith of mine, I've grown rather tired of the tireless tango toward tolerance.  [Oh my! Alliteration overload!!]

The other day I took my children to visit a local farm that is funded and operated by a Christian foundation.  Wonderful place!  Not only free range, well cared for livestock, but also an establishment that employs adults with developmental disabilties as a means of both therapy and skill-building.

So, as we're heading in to pick up a map and kind, welcoming word from the managers of the Visitor's Center, I find myself tucking my much-beloved pentacle pendant into my shirt.  As I was doing this I scolded myself and yet, even so, I couldn't muster up enough will power to pull it back out.  Great Goddess in the Sky, how dare I?!  What witches of the past have gone through in order to permit me the freedom to wear my silver symbol proudly!!  How could I simply think "meh-- not worth the hassle" and drop my shoulders with deflection?

Is it shamefully repulsive that I wanted to avoid yet another stereotypical comment, sideways glance or conversion attempt?  Should I always be ready to galantly ride into action with my Witchy flags flying?  Maybe.  I suppose that would be the honorable thing to do. 

Still, I'm just a mom hoping to take her children for a visit with baby goats without the need to face significant stand-offs or righteous causes.

Perhaps it was cold and calculating of me to assume the worst of these Christian farmers.  Maybe, just maybe, they would have intriguingly embraced, or at the very least accepted my different path.  It's possible.

Are we as Pagans so beaten down by constant questioning and fearful or hateful reactions that we would form our own possibly inaccurate assumptions of others and in turn live by avoidance? 

[ *holding up her palm with purpose and honor* ]: "I, Em Graves, vow [going forward] to never secret away that which I am and to portray the world of love & light permeating the Pagan heart by living always as a manifestation of its beliefs."

Sunday, August 21, 2011

INTERVIEW: Circle of Moms Top25 Faith Blogs

I am very excited to share with you the interview [as recently posted at the Circle of Moms site] highlighting Pagan Presence as the number 15 slot in the Faith Blogs Contest.  My very genuine thank you to those who voted and a very warm CONGRATULATIONS to all winners, including the well-loved Mrs. B [who quite rightfully took the number 1 position]!

Why I Started Blogging
I have a very strong — sometimes irritating, always passionate — need to write. And while the desire is there, it most definitely does not come without struggle. I am easily (and on many occassions intentionally) distracted; suffering in addition the teasing, fickle 'inexplicability' of Writer's Block.  Pagan Presence is a way to combat that which might otherwise keep the creative writing hidden from my impatient fingertips.  Like most talents & skills, writing flows most freely when practiced routinely.  The faith blog acts to keep my "flood gates" open.

The blog is also an excellent source for connecting with others who share my love for this Pagan path I walk.  Paganism is often very personal, and while there are covens, groups and churches in existence, many who identify as Pagan do so in solitary fashion.  Faith blogs have been an amazing avenue for permitting such Pagans to connect with one another. 

How Faith Inspires How I Raise My Children
When I first learned that I was Expecting and allowed the many lessons I would instill in my child to run through my mind, there was one subject in particular that unnerved me — Religion. The fear was not the result of a household conflicted by many faiths — my husband afterall is, on rainy days, Atheist and on most others, Agnostic. I'd be able to raise my child on the spiritual path of my choosing. And yet, in doing so, I still would never be able to spare him from the intolerances of the world. Would it not be simpler to just skip over this controversial subject all-together?
No. Easy is not always best. Though it is likely my children will face the judgements of others, it is far more important that they experience the fulfillment of Divinity than to forfeit such a connection merely to spare them from challenges.
Since the births of my boys, I take every opportunity to shower them with the purity, joy and wonder that my faith bestows upon me. They learn routinely about the special light that each of them holds within and why such a light makes them a beautiful part of the connected whole.  They welcome each day with open hearts and open minds, and it is my deepest will that they grow to always see the world through compassionate eyes, no matter the intolerance they may both come to face.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

HBO portrays Wicca: Should we Rejoice or Recoil?

I am a True Blood fan.  Hugely so.  I enjoyed the Southern Vampire collection [by Charlaine Harris] that inspired the popular HBO series and have found myself equally joyful over director Alan Ball's very naked portrayal of the story's deliciously supernatural characters. 

Season 4 has offered viewers access to the inner circle of a powerful Wiccan coven.  Communing with the spirit world, levitation.  Necromancy even!  So now the entertainment world wants to know what is the opinion of a real witch on the religious accuracy [or lack of] by the show.

Well, real witches, how do you feel? 

Personally I think it's ridiculous to even ponder over expectations of religious accuracy given this is a series entertaining the existence of vampires, werewolves, fairies and shape-shifters-- none of which hold any factual form of presece in the average mainstream mind.  The show is pure entertainment, and not even by any realistic means.  Giving one's opinion on the verifiable accuracy of a show that is undiluted fantasy is as pointless as a condom in the Vatican [vulgar?  Possibly.  But it makes my point].

Writer Laura LaVoie of The Juggler had this to say: “people with fantasy-novel sounding magical names with inexplicable extra vowels respond with great dismay to the way a fictional series portrays Wicca...  I think as soon as you add vampires and werewolves to a story, all bets are off. Sure, Wicca is real but it now exists in this fictional world created by Charlaine Harris and the writers and producers of the television series."

I'm in complete agreement.  We simply cannot consume ourselves with concern over the way witchcraft is portrayed in a series created without regard for reality.  Consider how the show has depicted Roman Catholicism and its men of the cloth -- as sexually ravenous monsters preying on innocence.  Oh wait!  No, kidding... sort of.  * She winks *

Putting things into proper perspective, what are your thoughts on the HBO series and how entertainment as a whole has painted the Pagan faith?  Should we worry over bad publicity even if it's fictional?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Intuition or Just Imagination?

Finally returning to Blogspot for this curious event-inspired post as the organized chaos of a summer with my children begins to draw to its conclusion...  the days are growing shorter; the wheel of the year slowly turns.

So what of this "curious event" I speak of, you ask?  A moment of calm and compassion in the midst of a tearful meltdown [in other words, just when I needed it most]... and it came from beyond the grave.  Indeed!  The boys were in bed.  The house, quiet and dark.  And there I sat on an arm chair in the shadowed corner of a room, despondant and giving in to tears that had wanted to fall for hours.

I didn't speak aloud of my desparate desire for love and support.  I didn't have to.  Suddenly the tic-toc of my grandfather's handmade pendulum clock grew loud.  Louder.  And louder still.  Impossibly loud.  I pulled my face from tear-dampened hands and sat for a moment, perplexed.  Was this happening?  The rythmic clicks were so loud I feared it would wake the kids! 

That's when I laughed.  I even startled myself upon doing so.  And as I continued to laugh I felt the wave of calm I knew was needed before heading up to bed.  Somewhere within-- maybe my mind's eye-- I could see my late grandpa, in all of his witty spunk, winking and chuckling along with me.  


I've come to consider myself an Empath-- picking up on the feelings of others by experiencing them as though they were my own.  I no longer question the validity of just such emotional bits of information that I encounter.  Nor do I try to explain them away.  

There is no longer an internal need for proof of accuracy because of the strong collection of personal success stories supporting the existence of empathic and other intuitive possibilities.  

Noetic Science is proving [by no small feats] the seemingly limitless potentials of the human mind, including its connection to a network of energy fueling the flow of thought and intention.  It isn't much of a stretch of the 'imagination' then to consider it a likelihood that there are those minds sensitive to such a flowing interconnective force.

Call them what you will-- 'psychic, jedi, freak, hack'-- the truth is... Science is catching up to spirituality.  And rather than debunking it, as most believed, it seems to be supporting the existence of a soul and intuitive access to such a Higher Self.  We might only need to train our minds to listen. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson said "A man should detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across him mind from within."

Was my grandfather truly with me in that darkened room the other night?  That I cannot say for certain, but there's no questioning the change in my demeanor that such a possibility created.  To me, that speaks to more than just imagination.