Tridean Winter Solstice Story

Preface

In the beginning was the Goddess; being completely female, completely male, completely balanced, completely whole.

Unto her were born the land, the sea, and the sky; the heat of the flaming sun, and the bright shining orb of the moon among an ocean of stars.

She brought forth the plants and trees, the flying ones, the life of the waters, and all manner of breathing creature.

She gave birth to sons and daughters who were the children of Nature. In time they developed culture, and the ability to create as she creates.

She is all things, the source of all that lives, and unto her all things must return.

It is her lessons we have come to speak of. It is her lessons that are taught to us by the living force of Nature. And so through the cycles of Nature do we find worship of her.

Winter Solstice Story

The Winter Solstice is a time of completion; a time of ending and of a new beginning.

Since the Crone's journey at Samhain she has been waiting in the Otherworld with the Child of Light growing within her womb.

She has waited alone, sitting hearthside in contemplation of her life with only her memories to keep her company. Tonight, the longest night of the year, she is joined by her sisters and, like the Solstice wreath; the circle will soon be complete.

Within the chill of Midwinter the aging Goddess labors in childbed. Her cries are those of the Earth itself, frozen in the silence of winter's slumber.

She fights to bring her child into the world. Her sisters, the Maiden and the Mother, attend to her as midwives, speaking in soothing tones and wiping her forehead lovingly. They have all, in turn, carried this child. Only the Crone, with the help of her sisters, can bring the pregnancy to completion. They have come to be together for the first time all year to witness this special birth.

The Crone's wrinkled face contorts and she clenches her tired eyes in a final effort. Suddenly the laboring woman’s cries are quieted and a child enters the world.

Tears of joy spread like a wave. The child is the Goddess reborn, the culmination of a year's worth of work and the total sum of the three aspects in one.

With the birth of this child comes the birth of the Sun. The Light has returned to the Earth.

The Goddess is eternal, like the evergreen that's boughs show life in the depths of winter's darkness when all other trees appear lifeless. She changes but never truly dies.

At this season we give gifts to honor the Goddess in each of us, to recall that in all things the Goddess is complete.

We come together to sing back the Light and feast in friendship; to remember the promise of rebirth, and to know that joy is never beyond our reach.

A blessed Solstice to all people and to all of Creation.

Book: Savage Breast

A note from this author's publicist was recently sent to my inbox. I have not read the book so I can not express my feelings on it just yet. It does look like something worth checking out though.

From my inbox: "Penned by Canadian author Tim Ward, Savage Breast, One Man's Search for the Goddess, is an honest and raw look at one man's growing awareness of his own deeply buried misogyny, his frustrated longing for women, and at the sametime his desperate fear of women and love. It examines how Western men may have damaged themselves by cutting themselves off from a feminine divine, and how earlier cultures viewed and worshipped their goddesses. Filled with amazing pictures of little known ancient Goddess temples and statues from around the world, Savage Breast is a fascinating mix of archaeology, travel, psychology, mythology ... and a love story as well."

The Goddess as Cheesecake?

Ah... well hello there. As I'm sure you've all noticed I've been rather uninspired as of late and finding myself hard pressed to type a single blogworthy word. Maybe it's all those Solstice cookies bringing out the sloth in me. Mmm... frosted cutouts and peanut butter kiss cookies. Or maybe all that present wrapping is giving me carpal tunnel. Maybe I'm just feeling quiet at this special time of year. Whatever the cause I was tickled out of my Yule-tide coma this morning by a cheeky article about an equally cheeky book by the British "Authors Benrik".

While the article and the authors are having some fun, I found a bit of seriousness to ponder. From the article: "Part of the problem is that a single God is too remote. Omniscience notwithstanding, we stand little chance of catching his eye, let alone interacting with him in any useful way."

Interesting comment. I don't think having one god is the problem. The conflict lies more in the concept of being separate from that god. The business of being "too remote" and whatnot can cause that disconnected, discontented feeling that is bound to come when people suppose that god is somehow outside of themselves. I think the Goddess teaches very different lessons.

The Goddess teaches that we are Her, that we are all one, and that we can connect to Her at any time without the need of an intermediary. Hmm... imagine that. Having a single deity doesn't seem so bad after all. Add to that all the interesting and inspiring manifestations of deity to learn from and you've got yourself one beautiful monotheistic, multi-layered, super-filling cheesecake. I say pop the button on your jeans and take another bite.

Killing the Infidels One Pixel at a Time

Tim LaHaye is the author of the Left Behind series of books about the End Times. Apparently he's decided to start targeting America's youngsters with a new video game all about destroying the forces of evil - i.e anyone who isn't a fanatical, evangelical Xtian. Go here for more on this: http://www.leftbehind.com. Then you can click the title of this post to sign a petition to get this video game removed from Wal-Mart. Too bad I also saw it at Best Buy the other day.

If you feel like upping your heart rate and making your palms sweat, while trying to hold in the urge to scream at the television, you can watch Tim LaHaye featured on the Biography Channel on December 18th.

Tim Exchanges Xmas Gifts with "The Big Guy"

Tim LaHaye: Happy Birthday Jesus. I hope you like your gift. It's the Left Behind: Eternal Forces video game where people actually get killed for not believing in you. Isn't that awesome?

Jesus: Um... well Tim, I've already told you how disturbing I found the ideas in your series of books. I don't think I really want to play this game.

TL: Oh come on Jesus. It'll be fun. We can kill all the Catholics, Muslims, and Pagans. Whoever you want.

J: Yeah, you see... that's sort of the problem Tim. I tried to teach people to get along. You know, the whole "love-your-neighbor-thing".

TL: Neighbor-schmeighbor. This is more fun. Plus, I'm making a ton of money off of the American public.

J: Hmm... it's seems you've become the head thief in the den.

TL: Huh?

J: Mark 11:15.

TL: What?

J: Dude, have you even read the Bible? What you should've started this conversation with was "Happy Birthday Jesus. I hope you like crap".

Peace Signs are Bad and Don't Say Merry Christmas

Seriously, have we become so bored that the only thing we have to worry about is what kinds of symbols people put on their holiday wreaths? Is the peace sign really a bad thing? The last time I checked peace was a good concept. It's not just for hippies anymore. Wait. I want that written on a shirt. "Peace. It's Not Just For Hippies Anymore." Read the article that spawned that bit of genius here: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/10399793/detail.html Thanks to Wren at Witchvox for telling us all about it and the many other articles she tirelessly notifies the Pagan public of.
My other question today is: Does hearing the words "Merry Christmas" really offend anyone? I don't care if you're an atheist because let's face it, the religion has really gone out of the Holidays in this country. At least it has in my part of it. It's all about family, Santa, and spreading cheer. Oh, and don't forget the PEACE on Earth part. Overall I think these are pretty good things to focus on. Now, if we could just get the commercialism part to slow down.
Anyway, my point is when someone says "Merry Christmas" this season just go with it. There are people starving and dying all over the planet. This little bit of life is simply irrelevant. Spend some time thinking about how you can help the world as opposed to causing more strife within it. There's a time to stand by your principles and a time to just let it go. Let this one go.
These are my thoughts. What do you think?
note: Tee-shirt is a proto-type created after the first publication of this article. I just couldn't help myself.

Shaktism/Hinduism

I've been reading recently on a Hindu tradition known as Shaktism. Shaktism has been defined as "... a denomination of Hinduism that worships Shakti, or Devi Mata -- the Hindu name for the Great Divine Mother -- in all of her forms whilst not rejecting the importance of masculine and neuter divinity (which are however deemed to be inactive in the absence of the Shakti). In pure Shaktism, the Great Goddess, or Mahadevi, is worshiped as nothing less than the highest divinity, Supreme Brahman Itself, the 'one without a second,' with all other forms of Divinity, female or male, considered to be merely her diverse manifestations."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaktism)

I've been wondering if perhaps Hinduism should not be something that is studied by all practitioners of Goddess religion. Could Hinduism with its ancient roots, being considered by some to be older than any other religion practiced today, be the closest thing that we can get to the original concept of Goddess worship?

Hinduism is certainly not without flaws and has obviously been touched by patriarchal ideas. Regardless of those facts, the practices and worship of the Great Mother in India should, in my opinion, be considered by anyone seeking the Goddess. This is to say, that we should go beyond studying the individual aspects of the Goddess in Hinduism and really become immersed (or at the very least study thoroughly) the religion itself.

I have also been thinking about visiting a Hindu temple in my area. I am concerned though that perhaps outsiders would not be welcomed. After scanning pictures on the site I noticed that all of the people within the images were of Indian descent. I wonder how they would feel about me showing up to services? Are there any Hindus out there who would like to chime in on this one?

image: http://shaktiwicca.tripod.com/ - and interesting site combining the concepts of Shaktism and Wicca.

Return of Panthea

Yes, I'm back online and my computer is functioning better than it did before. Thank goodness my mother is geek enough, though I did help just a little bit. She has successfully re-formatted the entire system and she even managed to save all of my files. Yay!

I am currently working on a few things - articles, podcasts (eventually), and maybe even a domain name for the site. I am still getting used to being able to be online and will have to get my newsfeed and blog reading routine going again.

I just want to thank those of you that have stuck with me and added some comments during my little hiatus. It really meant a lot to me.

So, look forward to blogging as usual to begin back here at Panthea.

Not Geek Enough

I am having severe computer problems which is the reason for the lack of posts. I will be back and running as soon as humanly possible. I am not sure just how I am going to do that yet, but I'm working on it. In the meantime, those of you who may have super powers with computers may have an answer for me. Here is the summed up issue: bad_pool_caller blue screen with Windows XP. Won't boot in safe mode, debugging mode, or last known configuration. Argh! I've even tried reinstalling the OS without success. I may have to bite the bullet and call the Geek Squad. Anyway, here's hoping my computer gets fixed soon. Thanks for your patience.

Atheists and Whether God/dess Exists or Thoughts that Catholic Priests and Christian Ministers Secretly Think About

This morning over my morning tea I found myself reading a three page spread in the web edition of the New York Times about Richard Dawkins new book, The God Delusion. What follows is a sort of mental diarrhea that will most likely make little sense and cause you a headache.

Genocidal Atheists

Dawkins takes every available opportunity to state how evil religion is. He goes so far as to say he suspects "there are very few atheists in prison." He provides no statistics or other evidence for this claim. The author also rationalizes that though Hitler and Stalin were both atheists, that their lack of religion was not a factor in driving their brutality.

Hmm... this statement seems ridiculous to me. Let me just put myself in the shoes of someone who has lost the belief in God and harbors hate towards other people.

If I wanted to destroy a lot of people the idea of there being no Creator would suit that - maybe even justify it in the mind of a delusional, insane person. Hell, it may even lead to the insanity in the first place. Without a god to see and judge your actions you may think you can take all sorts of liberty with human life. Why bother holding back your murderous impulses if no one will punish you for it? Now, I don't believe in the whole punishment thing in the traditional sense. I believe in Karma - which can be a real bitch for those folks who get off on hurting others.

Also, if I had spent my entire life believing in something, even devoting myself to it as in Stalin's case (a onetime Orthodox seminarian), I would be pretty pissed off to one day figure out that I had been lied to and had wasted my time on something fictional.

Are you there God?

I've been there, you know. I've been in that spot in the brain that causes doubt in all things not physical. I've been "Little Miss Doubty-Pants" and "The Queen of Rational Thought" before. If you asked me to explain how I got over it, I couldn't tell you. I'm not sure I ever closed the door on those thoughts, but I still believe in something greater. I don't care if it makes me a sheep in the eyes of Atheists, Secular Humanists, or Bob the grocery store clerk.

One day I thought to myself, "What if when we die we just break down into the planet and there is no consciousness?" That's the single most terrifying thought my brain has ever come up with. I can't say that I have completely reconciled this idea within myself. It still creeps in there every now and again when I least expect it, but I don't obsess over it.

One of the things I keep coming back to is the reality of cyclical transformation. Nothing is ever created or destroyed. All things simply change from one thing to another. All that exists now has always existed. This means that everything is God/dess if God/dess is the source. But, into what form do we get to be transformed? Is it as biodegradable waste or a spiritual, consciousness-having entity?

If the soul exists than it can not cease to exist. So, I guess the question is - how do we prove the human soul exists? Does it live in the brain? Does it die when the body dies? Is the brain the source of consciousness?

I believe in the Goddess and Nature. I don't know the answers, despite how many times I've tried to manifest them in my cerebral cortex. I only have faith and personal truth. That's just going to have to be enough. Will it matter if I'm wrong?

Of a Feather

I saw a flock of birds today. Not just ten birds or twenty, but at least a hundred. They were pecking about in the grass on the side of the road near the onramp to the 390 expressway. I was sitting still, waiting in a line of cars with my blinker on. As the cars moved a little, inched their way forward one by one, the birds took flight.

They moved as a unit, as a single entity with two hundred tiny wings. I watched them intently, chuckling as they swayed up and down then back up again. They landed in a meager patch of trees, long ago covered with exhaust fumes, and lifted up again to sway once more in the wind. They couldn't make up their mind about where they were going but they knew they were going to get there together.

Religion for Rent: Atheism

I've seen more than one article on the growth of Atheism lately. I've even listened to an entire series of Podcasts about a woman who was Wicca for 20 years and woke up one day to decide she was an atheist/humanist. Strangely, she says things like "The answers are within us". I had to stop myself from emailing her and asking how she had been Wiccan for 20 years without figuring that one out. I mean, has she even read the Charge of the Goddess? Besides the point, I've had similar experiences of questioning my faith and I know there are plenty of people who could echo the same.

Maybe this is evidence that the books on our shelves and the often vapid ways our communities can practice is wearing on us. It's time to go deeper into our religion(s) and find meaning that resonates without being too dogmatic.

Honestly, are any of you farmers? Sure some of us have our hobby gardens, but does your life and livelihood depend on whether or not the harvest is good? Not likely. I think farmers make up like 1% of the American population. Don't quote me on that though. My point is, what do the practices of an agricultural people have to do with modern, grocery store consumers? Has Wicca really ever made it out the 1800's? Rather, was Wicca intended to make it out of an antiquated mind-set when it was created by Gardner in the 50's?

Most of what I see from atheists is a backlash of Judeo/Christian religions - mostly people who feel the dominance of those religions in this country is detrimental. With books like The God Delusion and The End of Faith hitting the shelves, Atheism seems to be making a run for the top of the religion (or anti-religion) food chain. What could this mean for Pagans? What could this mean for religion in general in this country? Would your rather live in a world with some religion (even if it was not your own) or no religion at all?

Ancients Honor the Moon

A few weeks ago the New York Times posted a story on Chimney Rock in Colorado and how it is a lunar observatory much like Stonehenge in England and Callanish in Scotland. It is set up to observe the Lunar Standstill Period that happens once every 18.6 to 19 years.

My interest in this topic is the question of why. Why would ancient people be interested in watching the moon rise through its monthly cycles during this time? Why notice it's cycle at all? In my opinion, because the moon is seen as the Goddess - or at least she was way back when before the Goddess was all but wiped out from human conciousness.

Just putting it into the perspective we have today as modern Pagans - it would seem that these ancients wanted to take note of the Moon Mother's cycles and notice the end/beginning of her longest cycle. Could this be seen as a recognition of the concept of rebirth as we know it today?

While there is no substantial evidence to support a Goddess cult in this part of America, it can still be considered a recognition of nature as blueprint/bible and evidence of a nature based society. Most nature based people considered the Earth itself to be their mother. So even if they saw a man in the moon, the basic principles of Goddess-friendly worship are there.

Am I grasping at straws? What do you think?

Image: www.chimneyrockcolorado.com

Madonna on the Cross

Madonna has always been a shock-value personality when it comes to her expression. It seems there are some religious groups who aren't taking too kindly to her most recent shock attempt.

If her attempts to draw attention to the crisis in Africa are genuine, and I believe they are, then I say good for her. I hope she does all the shocking that is necessary.

"NBC said the mock crucifixion, staged during the song Live to Tell on the star's recent Confessions tour, would be cut from next month's transmission.

US and European church groups have condemned the mock crucifixion.

But Madonna has insisted it is not "anti-Christian, sacrilegious or blasphemous", and is part of an appeal for donations to Aids charities."


- BBC NEWS

Pagan Kids and Public Schools

I woke up this morning thinking about the amount of information springing up about raising Pagan children. With the exception of different religious practices in the home, I don't see a difference between raising Pagan children and children of any other denomination.

I suppose some people have an issue with public schools and the worry of other religions being pushed on their children. Perhaps that is why so many Pagan parents decide to home school. In my opinion, home schooling can lead to a lack of social abilities and an overall stigma towards mainstream society. This could lead to all sorts of prejudices and problems in adulthood as people are forced to interact and function in a society that they were raised to be separate from.

In today's secular school system I don't see a problem sending my child to a public school. I am more worried about her being injured or shot at then being converted. I understand that there may be some areas in the country that are not so liberal, (and that everywhere you go in the Bible Belt is invariably laced with Christian overtones) but are we really raising our children with such weak beliefs that we have to shelter them from the beliefs of others in fear that the may be "tainted"?

Honestly, is reciting the Pledge of Allegiance really the deciding factor in what your religion is? Would anyone even notice if your child said "Goddess" instead of "God". Will it hurt anyone if children organize prayer circles? As long as the adults are staying out of it, and no one is being forced to participate or shunned for not participating, I could care less.

If a child celebrates with a Christmas party at school will they come home a Born-Again? I don't think so – not if you've done your job of giving your child a good background in your own faith. Isn't it better to explain that Christmas is what we call Solstice and point out all of the Pagan symbols and traditions still within the holiday? Ultimately, when your child is grown they will make their own choice about religion. You may as well educate them about multiple faiths in the best you can for now so that their choices will be informed ones.

We are the minority in this country, and as such, (at this time) we have to live in a society dominated by another belief system. No amount of sheltering or separating is going to change that. I believe the Goddess teaches Oneness not separation. In my opinion it is better to learn how to co-exist with those who are different than be taught to stay away from them altogether.

I honor parents who choose to homeschool. It is a serious amount of work for anyone to undertake. It may be right for others, but not for me and my family. I felt the need to express why that is the case for us. These are my opinions only. If you have differing ones please share them in the comments.

Should Pagans Be Vegetarians?

I have heard some folks say that Pagans should be vegetarians since we claim to honor all life. Most of these statements have come directly from Vegetarian Pagans. Honoring life does not mean that we can't or shouldn't consume the meat of animals.

I don't believe in animal cruelty and go out of my way and above my budget to buy animal products that are more respectful to the animal in question - such as cage free eggs and free range chicken. While I respect the Vegetarian life style I do not believe that it is a necessary choice in the eyes of the Goddess.

The religion of the Goddess is one of nature. In nature there is something called the food chain. Big animals eat little ones all the time. We are just fortunate enough to have the ability to be grateful for our food and respect the animal that it came from. This is more than the other creatures in the natural world can say. On the flip side we also have the ability to feel guilty about consuming another beings life, but I personally don't think it's a necessary emotion.

Nature (the only real bible the human race possesses) tells us that we need meat. We have big molars for shredding meat, and canines (passed down by our ape ancestors who also supplement their diets with meat) which we use to tear chicken from the drumstick. Our bodies require amino acids - some of which we can only find in meat.

Now, in saying all of those things I would like to specify that I do not believe we need to eat as much meat as we do in this country. It has been proven that all we really need is a portion the size of the palm of our hand once to twice a week. Cutting down on our consumption of meat, specifically cattle, can help save acres of forest a year. If there is less of a demand for meat products then there will not be a need for so many cows or the grazing lands creating by destroying forests.

So, human beings need meat, and as a person practicing a religion based on nature I see no problem with this. I do however see a problem with disrespect for the animals and inhumane treatment.

We're natural hunters so I don't mind hunting just as long as the animal is eaten and there are no trophies kept for the purpose of ego. That just makes me ill and seems like an act of complete disregard for the respect of the animal.

Below I have written a little Goddess prayer for meal times in order to show the reverence for life and the respect for the sacrifice of the animal.

Goddess, we thank you for the sacrifice of your plant and animal children whose lives were taken to provide us with this meal. We honor their spirits and will forever carry a piece of their memory within us. In reverence of life we feed our bodies and accept your blessings. So mote it be.

Charge of the Green God

I am the Great Stag,
Horned God of the Hunt,
And the Green Man,
Lord of the living forest.
I am wild, untamed, and true to myself.
I sit beneath the great oak
And join with creation in enlightened ecstasy.

I am the Mystic, the Wanderer,
And the Sacrificial King.

I am the Sleepwalker,
The Shaman who moves between the worlds,
Brining prophecy and the knowledge of Self
From the shadows of the Revealer.

I am born of the Great Mother of All Things
And unto Her I shall return.

I represent the journey of the Spirit
And call upon your soul to seek oneness,
To seek the Goddess.
In knowing Her we know ourselves
And reach into the great void
Towards the essence of completion.

© 2006 Grian DeBandia

The Mother's Milk

The International Breast Milk Project saves the lives of African children orphaned by HIV by banking and distributing donated breast milk. It seems to me that this is something right up the alley of Goddess people. Saving lives by donating the milk from your own body is an amazing gift. I am amazed at the innovation and caring natures of these people. I only wish I were still producing milk so I could donate myself.

From the Website: http://www.breastmilkproject.org/

"We are a non-profit organization dedicated to providing human breast milk from US donors for babies orphaned by HIV/AIDs and to helping clinics facilitate and sustain local breast milk donations.

According to UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 11 million children die every year from preventable causes. During the first two months of life, a child receiving any food other than breast milk is nearly six times more likely to die from infectious diseases, compared to a breastfed child. If every baby were exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life, 1.3 million lives could be saved every year, while complimentary feeding (a diet composed at least in part of breastmilk) could prevent another 578,000 deaths. Breast milk provides complete nutrition for babies, as well as immune factors and helps provide the stimulation necessary for good development. (Click here to view the UNICEF Fact Sheet that includes charts and other information on how breast milk can help HIV-infected babies.)

Donated breast milk can help save the lives of children who would otherwise receive only replacement feedings. Our vision is simple: To ensure that not a drop of breast milk is ever wasted."

Wanderings

I'm sorry at my lack of posts lately. I guess school, group, family, etc. has me more busy than I like to admit. For this morning I post a tid bit from a group I am on. Special thanks to Satori Luna for the text.

All this time the Goddess, struck with grief,
had been looking for her daughter. Nothing
stopped her. In the dew-drenched dawn
she sought, and in the darkness too.
She lit her torches from volcanic fire
and walked through frost and night,
searching and searching, not stopping
when day smiled and cloaked the stars,
searching, not even stopping
to wet her lips at a clear fountain.
~Ovid, Metamorphoses

"At this time of year in ancient Greece, women celebrated several important festivals to the corn mother Demeter - called Ceres by the Romans, the Goddess who gave us the word "cereal." At the full moon in October, the Stenia was celebrated, with all-night dancing on the moonlit seashore. Such night rituals are common to other goddesses, especially the huntress-maiden Artemis, to whom each full moon was dedicated.

Like the moon, the earth moves through a predictable cycle. hemisphere is clearly dipping into the darker portion of the year. And this is the time when the ancient tale was told and retold of how the goddess lost her only daughter, and how she blighted the earth in her grief. Our hearts endure many winters. Dreams are lost, and loved ones, and possessions, and dear pets. Like the goddess, we mourn and grieve. And each time, we lose our faith that spring - that hope - will ever grow again. Yet each year, spring returns. Each dark time has its ending. Light will come again."

Goddess Religion not Feminist Agenda

 The sun is setting and the fires are being lit as they were in ancient times. People all over the world have gathered to celebrate. They celebrate life, love, and the divine within themselves and each other. They reach towards the sky, open their palms in praise to the Goddess, and begin the sacred chant. Men and women, young and old, lock hands and begin to dance in honor of the Great Mother of all life.

The above scenario may never get a chance to become a reality. The current statistics in Pagan communities in regards to gender is aprox. 3 women for every 1 man.

While I subscribe to many feminist ideas, and I honestly believe that being born female makes one a feminist by default, I abhor the idea that Goddess Religion is a cleverly designed ruse created to perpetuate a feminist agenda (political or otherwise). I also detest labeling the Religion of the Goddess as "feminist spirituality". In my opinion it is not a good label to give to a religion whose ideas we hope to promote to both men and women. You can not create change among an entire society by only convincing half of it.

Before I continue I want to specify that I am not looking to actively convert people. I do not believe that is the way of the Goddess. I do, however, believe that Goddess Religion can have a beneficial effect on our society as a whole. Both men and women can benefit from a more balanced concept of deity. I can already hear people asking how going from Patriarchy to Matriarchy is balanced. Simple. The Goddess does not preach original sin or convince people to feel guilty for being perfectly imperfect human beings. She is existent in men, women, animals, fish, birds, plants, all of creation. Patriarchal relgions, at least those of the Abrahamic variety, have rather opposite ideas. Now, back on topic...

I have run across more than one person's opinion regarding Goddess Religion that eludes to the fact that every woman who practices it is a lesbian and/or a femi-nazi. (I absolutely hate that slur.) I am not simply talking about the opinions spewed by fundamentalists. These are everyday people that assume I must be a militant man-hater to believe God could be anything other than male. (This is certainly not to say that all feminists and lesbians are man-haters.)

They don't care about the historical and archeological evidence that support Goddess Religion in the past. And forget the evolutionary science that supports the male as the secondary sex or the plain medical fact that every human being begins as female in their mother's womb. No, all they hear is that I am a lesbian and a radical feminist who hates men (despite the fact that I married one).

I believe it is high time Goddess Religion broke free of the feminist mold and started working its way into the mainstream full time. That will never happen until we start making it more universal. It is an all encompassing religion that does not privilege one group of people over another, regardless of their gender.

One of the main differences between Goddess Religion and Patriarchal religions is that the Goddess loves all life as a good, natural mother loves her children. She does not love her daughters more than she loves her sons. For that matter, she does not love her canine children more than her feline ones. This is a pivotal difference that can change the way the entire human race perceives divinity and life on this planet in general.

I am all for feminism I just don't think it should be the defining factor of a religion that should (and does) encompass all of creation and all genders. I am all for lesbianism because I am all for love, but I don't think specific sexuality should be a defining factor of religion either.

Honestly I could care less if some random stranger thinks that I am a lesbian. I would not be ashamed of the fact if I was. But it's not about me. It's about the hope of what the future can hold.

Topics on Goddesses and Goddess Religion can be found for study in universities across the country. This is great, but why limit these topics to the Women Studies department? Why create more seperation between the sexes when we should be realizing the oneness we all share?

Hopefully I won't get flogged for my opinions. I am always open to conversation and hope that those of you who read this will have an open mind and approach this topic with the utmost respect and maturity. Regardless of any eventual floggings, I stand by my position while remaining open to other opinions.

A Weekend at Pride

I spent this past weekend attending our local Pagan Pride. The day was wonderful. Everyone seemed to be getting along just fine and the weather cleared of rain towards the middle of the day. Our group performed closing ritual which went off without a hitch. Overall, I would say the day was a complete success.

I was not able to attend many workshops throughout the day but I did get a chance to speak with Trish Telesco about the current state of our communities and the need for steps to further organization. I've touched on this topic before in recent posts. She's an interesting woman and I enjoyed our conversation.

Gavin and Yvonne Frost were also present as guest speakers. I did not get a chance to speak with them at length, but I did have an opportunity to introduce myself to Yvonne. She seemed like a very pleasant woman. These two folks are quite controversial, but I suppose that makes them pretty interesting guest speakers.

My favorite part of the day was the drum circle. I just love the freedom of jamming on the drums with others and the spontaneous way people burst into song and laughter. It's the epitome of celebrating the sacredness of life in my opinion. Although my drum is little I manage to hold my own, though a bit more quietly than the others.

I've been thinking and learning a lot lately so I am working on posts to come. For example, someone on a list that I am on recently brought up the topic of mixed faith marriages and how it affects the home and the priest/esshood. They even went so far as to say a community elder should not be considered an elder if they are in a mixed marriage. Wow, that is a bold statement. I'll be thinking on this one for later. School, family, and a growing Circle have got me pretty busy lately. Bare with me and yell at me if too much time goes by between posts.

Not Enough Indians

How can we retain our individual identities while compromising towards the goal of organization? For lack of another model for comparison I will use my own group as an example.

We all have a singular identity simply by being members of the same group. The group has certain things that make it cohesive and whole. There are certain aspects that we must all conform to. We share a belief in the same deity concepts and assign the Goddess as our primary deity. We identify with a singular culture and utilize the myths and traditions of this culture in our workings.

That being said each individual in the group is encouraged to explore their own spiritual identity in a solitary form. In fact, this is an integral part of our training process. It is mandatory for a pending initiate to complete a "term paper" on their personal path. It may mirror the path of the entire group, but they still have to do it. It is not only a way for the group to learn about other forms of spirituality, but it fills a need for the individual to remain individual. The pending initiate is then asked to present their path to the entire group, explaining the details and answering any questions. It's a wonderful forum for conversation and learning.

So, I am left wondering why this can't work on a larger scale.

I'm a mother. Does that mean I have to be like every other mother? I'm an artist. Does that mean I have to be like every other artist? I'm a Pagan. Does that mean I have to be like every other Pagan?

There are a million and one ways to define someone, yet there are a million and one ways to define those definitions even further. I don't think the box people are trying to fit themselves into has to be so small. You can be part of a whole and still be a unique individual.

Maybe the key word here is compromise. Paganism seems to have the "too many chiefs" syndrome. Everyone wants to be the director in a play without any actors or stage crew.

I know I'm beating this topic to death. I will try to focus on something else in my next post.

To Organize or Not to Organize

The latest post at The Wild Hunt Blog has me thinking about organization within Paganism yet again. It seems that some UU members are having difficulties with Pagans making up a part of their congregations.

The fact that Pagans are attending UU churches to begin with is a sign that says (at least to me) that there are some Pagans out there who crave a little organization and structure. Perhaps it's even a telling sign that they are looking for some kind of standards in their teachers and leaders.

I have always been a fan of the idea of organization in Paganism but I am still at a loss as to how to accomplish it. You never can please everyone, but I think there is a genuine need and would like to brainstorm a little bit on how that need can be fulfilled.

So, what would be the first steps to organizing Paganism? Would the standards in training or the legal churches come first? If the churches come first who is to say that the people leading them are qualified to do so? Almost anyone can incorporate a church (if you have the means and the funds) but how will we know that they are qualified? How would our clergy system run? Will there be a degree system in place? Will the clergy be full-time and paid? Who will pay for the bills at the church and the living expenses for the clergy? Should dues be paid by members of the congregation?

And then there is the pressing issue of many Pagans protesting organization. The main argument I hear is something similar to:

"I left Christianity to escape churches and hypocrisy. Why would I want to create something like that within the religion that freed me from it?"

While I believe that this is a valid statement I honestly don't see how it's relevant. Let me explain. No one will be forcing Pagans to attend church. No one will be pushing organization on anyone. That kind of behavior would be considered proselytizing in my book and we Pagans just don't do that - or at least we're not supposed to. So, those individuals who would like some organization are free to create it and live in it. Those who do not are free to be solitary. I don't see the problem.

What do you think? Feel free to answer any of the questions in this article with your own opinions.

Note: the above image is something I worked on a few years ago. It's a working model of a bare bones temple for Pagans.

Instant Karma's Gonna Get You

John Lennon was a smart guy, especially when it comes to talking about Karma - more specifically Instant Karma.

A few years ago I did a good thing. There was a woman who lived in my complex whose father was dying in the hospital. Her mother was already with him and the young woman had no way to join them. Her car was broken down or something like that. So, I offered to give her a ride.

Before I continue let me give you a little background information about my relationship to this particular person.

The woman, I'll call her Tina, was a born again Christian - at least that was what she professed to me. I had seen her speak in tongues on more than one occasion and she often lectured me on the gospel. One time she even came to my door, at the request of her mother, to try and save my soul. They were well meaning, if not a little strange. I was always polite and did my best to explain my beliefs to her in the best way I knew how. It did little to convince Tina or her mother. I can still remember Tina's face when I 'confessed' that I didn't believe in sin.

So, back to the story...

I drove Tina to the hospital making polite chatter as we traveled. She insisted on giving me gas money since my low fuel light was on before we began our trip and it was still two days before I got paid. I refused and told her not to worry about it - that I'd make it home on my good Karma. I said this in a kidding way... well mostly.

As we pulled into the parking lot of the hospital she asked again if she could give me some money for my trouble. I assured her that it was no trouble at all. Just as I spoke I caught a flash of green out of the corner of my eye. There, lying in a puddle of rainwater and leaves was a five dollar bill. I jumped from the car, looked around to see if someone might have dropped the money then slid it into my pocket with a shrug.

"See," I said. "Karma."

Dancing with the Crone

It's been raining for the past three days and I haven't felt gloomy just yet. It feels like a cleansing of the summer heat and an ushering in of the Crone in all her power.

The rains seem appropriate for the time. A certain quiet has come over the earth. There is no thunder, no lightening, only the constant pulse of water hitting the ground. The animals are content to stay indoors. The dogs hate getting wet and the cats aren't clawing at the window screens to get out into the wild. I, on the other hand, would love nothing more than to dance naked under the thick, grey clouds. The air is still warm enough, though the cold rain creates a quasi-refreshing chill on the skin.

Perhaps tonight as the Crone moon rises above the cottonwoods I will venture out into the night to spin in abandon with a song on my lips and a prayer in my heart. I will take the time to usher in the Crone as the season of autumn approaches.

She will be dancing by my side, wrapped in her black cloak with mums in her long, grey hair - so like the rain clouds in color and texture. Her old eyes will smile, creasing at the corners. She'll offer me the pomegranate and tell me the time has come to look for wisdom within.

"Are you ready for the transformation of death to life? Will you allow a part of yourself to be destroyed to make room for something new to be born?"

When our dance is complete she will embrace me as her daughter, her granddaughter, and her sister,. With that embrace we will become one and I will realize that I was dancing beside myself all along.

The Last of the Monarchs

I saw the last of the Monarchs today flying low above the ground. Their wild orange and black wings stood out in gorgeous contrast against the serenity of the blue sky and white cotton clouds. They flitted about looking for summer's late bloomers only to find colorful cars and brightly clothed people instead. I wondered if they would find what they were looking for. How long would they hunt before finding the nectar filled ecstasy they so desperately sought?

In a short time the Monarchs will be gone like the flowers of the lilac that wilted months before. They will lay their eggs on the understated milkweed and vanish for another long, northern winter. For now they fly through the air searching, like lost souls, hoping to find a stray piece of heaven in one of the languishing red clover blossoms that once speckled my yard like so many stars.

When they are gone I will not mourn them. I know that in the spring I will see them in their splendor once more. Until then I will light a candle for the Monarchs, to remember their journey and that of all souls who have been lost and found their way home again.

Lessons in Mythology

This week marked the beginning of my third semester as a returning college student. So far, my mythology class holds my interest more than any other.

My mythology professor is young, female, pretty, and very energetic. She has an exciting way of exploring world myths that make me think of mythology in general as something more than just stories of ancient cultures.

Yesterday we were talking about truth. This came up after a few students gave definitions of the word 'myth' that contained things like 'fraudulent' and 'false'. She told the class about two Native American myths concerning what happens after death. The professor began by telling us that the myths were "thousands and thousands of years old".

The two nations of Native people lived across the country from each other but their afterlife myth was almost exactly the same. The myth stated that after death a person's spirit ascended through the atmosphere and up into the Milky Way. The Milky Way was then traveled as a labyrinth-like road that led to a black hole (a mystical portal) through which the spirit would go through to reach the otherworld.

I would say that most of us would see this myth as some kind of story full of symbols and obscure metaphors. I think that is how the bulk of humanity sees mythology - at least the mythology of others. (One person's mythology is another person's religion.) But it turns out that some years ago Astronomers found a black hole just outside the Milky Way in the exact place that the Native American tribes said it would be.

This blew me away. You see, I have a habit of "robbing myself of the magick" or at least that's what Raven Grimassi told me at last year's Pagan Pride. I am too analytical, too rooted in science. I want something or someone to prove to me what is real and what is false. This story made me realize that just because we have yet to find some way to prove a fact through the use of science does not mean that it can not be true. Let me rephrase. I had realized this before, but this experience made me believe it as more than a cop-out that allows us to hold on to our beliefs.

Truth is one of the most subjective ideas in existence. We all have our own versions of it - our own realties - and they are what is truly 'real' to each of us.

I think what my Professor gave me yesterday was hope. I no longer feel that I need to prove to myself or anyone else what is real to me. I see now that I can find the truth in anything within myself. I've always thought that I followed the "answers are within you" model. Now I see that I was only half right about that concept.

Thank you Mother
For the opportunities that you lay at my feet each day.
I am blessed with many gifts,
The greatest of which is the knowledge of your love.
I banish fear and doubt
And embrace confidence and faith.
I am one with the shining light that is the Great Goddess.

Pagan Clergy; Necessary or Not?

Yes, I've been caught listening to another podcast. To know what I am talking about in this post you should listen to the Eclectic Pagan Podcast episode here: Eclectic Pagan Podcast Episode 8- Pagan clergy, are they a necessity? and read Patricia Telesco's article sited in the show found here: Losing My / Your Religion.


My Comments to the Eclectic Pagan Podcasters:

Many times you say that the model proposed by Patricia Telesco is a Christian one. Where in her article does it say anything to that effect?

Quoute from Tom: "Our movement has gotten where it is without a professional clergy."

Tom, where is it? I would have to say that over the past few years the 'movement' has become stagnant. There is more separation between groups right now than I have witnessed over the past five years combined.

Christians revel in the fact that if you take six Pagans and ask them the same question they will have six different answers. In the opinion of the mainstream we are a bunch of whackos who can not make up our mind about what we believe. Instead of embracing the things that we have in common we spend hours bickering and back-biting over all of the things we do not agree about.

Another quote from Tom: "Center to the idea of Wicca is the notion that anybody who is called to can connect directly with the Lord and Lady without an intermediary."

Who is saying that with the birth of professional Pagan clergy there will be a death of the central idea that we are divine and need no other to connect with that essence? This is part of our faith and not something that can be stamped out without redefining our beliefs. This idea would certainly be integrated into a Pagan clergy framework. I think you are too hell bent on restraining any kind of clergy idea within the Christian framework. We are not Christian, therefore we would not use their model to create our clergy system.

Most of us have spent years learning how to think and see differently. This is one of those times where those skills come in handy. Reimagine the idea of clergy and leave the Christianity out of it. You'd be surprised what wonderful possibilities you can come up with.

To quote Patricia: "Organization provides the black and white outlines -- you can still bring your own crayons, and even color outside the lines."

Would it be so awful to have some sort of training standards where people must actually spend years of education learning and earning the title of clergy? Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to present a united face to the public where people are educated in their religion and can present it well? We need accredited institutions in which to gain our spiritual education from. This may never be possible unless we form churches, incorporate, etc. so that someone can pay for it - be it the government through faith based funding (not gonna happen at our present state) or through the community at large through donations.

As for the paid clergy issue: How in the world could someone serve an entire congregation of people, manage the building, etc. full time without some sort of monetary sum? Who will pay their bills if they can not work at another job because they are full time clergy? Who will pay the electric bill for the temple? Who will foot the bill for the ritual supplies?

All in all I think we should not be too quick to throw these ideas away. Patricia is on the right track and I hope that someday those visions come to pass for our sake and our children's.

By the way, I will be sure to mention your show to her when I see her at the end of the month. Who knows, maybe she'll want to come on and comment herself.

Responsible Gardening, Values, and Podcasting

I was listening to an episode of Lance and Graal this morning. The topic of the show was 'Values and Virtues'. A few things left me feeling the need to opine.

One of the personalities on the show - I assume it's Lance since the voice was male - made a comment that went something like this: How can a Pagan, who claims to want to take care of the planet, have a weed filled, uncared for yard and expect to help clean up an oil spill in Alaska? That's just a summation and not a word for word quote. The basic gist of the comment had to do with responsibility and not being hypocritical. Like someone saying: "I want to save the world but I can't even care for my own roses."

What if you believe that nature can care for itself? What if you feel the so called 'weeds' have a right to flourish just a much as the cultivated plants do? Why would we assume that plants need us to care for them? Nature did just fine without being trimmed and pruned for billions of years before gardeners came along. Have you ever seen a proper English garden in the middle of the wilderness? Maybe you stumbled upon the gardens of Versailles tucked away into a clearing within a deep old forest filled with oaks? Not bloody likely.

I do not believe that just because you have a garden that doesn't capture the aesthetic norm means that you are not responsible enough or capable of caring for some other natural problem. If you can fly your ass out to Alaska to clean oil off of birds (even if your garden is overgrown) I say go for it. Make a difference, save some avian lives, and let the plants care for themselves as they have always been able to do.

This is just a silly argument and I wish that Lance (and/or Graal) would choose their words and analogies more carefully. I like pretty things and weeded gardens too, but this teeters a bit on judgmental and narrow sighted.

The Four Values as heard on Lance and Graal:

1.Get your physical space in order.
Some people enjoy living with a little disorder. They are quite happy that way and they function as healthy adults in society. I don't see how this applies to everyone. If an individual feels that they need more order in their lives (due to stress, depression, or an otherwise general malaise) then this 'value' could be a beneficial route for them to take. But not everybody needs to live in a perfectly ordered envrionment. Also, whose idea of "order" are we talking about here? Some people might be comfortable in a moderately picked up living space with a few piles of clutter on the kitchen table and a layer of dust on the furniture. Others might need their space to be, as my best friend and I say, "baseboard clean". This is far too subjective a topic to say what is 'right' or 'normal' for any one person.

2.Get your personality (your personal self) in order.
This is not a bad concept and I will say that I believe everyone could benefit from doing some shadow work and getting to know themselves completely. If nothing else this can benefit the individual in ways that could change the way they see the world and the people within it. The practice of shadow work or personal journeying can also help a person learn to love and accept themselves which in turn leads to compassion for self and thus the rest of humanity.

3.Study
Okay, I'm not even going to debate this because I wholeheartedly agree. I'm not sure it can be called a value though. I think this is referring to values for Clergy (or Priests and Priestesses) which makes a little bit more sense. I believe one should never end the learning process.

4.You've got to engage in ritual practice.
Not sure how I feel about this one. They went on to say that ritual could be a lot of things during the course of the program so I am leaning towards agreement. Repetition leads to tradition which in turn leads to influencing belief systems. This is important but the individual ways to practice ritual are vastly varied.

Overall, I am grateful for the Lance and Graal Pagan Podcast. I appreciate their opinions and the guts they demonstrate to express them, though I might not always agree with everything they say.

Endnote: After writing this post I realized that Lance and Graal are not people. I believe the title of the show is representative of the symbols of God and Goddess. Lance=spear/athame/sword Graal=grail/chalice/cup/cauldron. Sometimes I'm a little slow on the uptake.

Gender Issues in Paganism

With the release of "The Wicker Man" and my subsequent disappointment in the film's portrayal of a Goddess culture I'd like to share this article from Witchvox; Dude, where are the Dudes?.

It's a well thought out essay on the way men and women function in our communities and the facts versus the fallacies of reverse discrimination in modern groups. It's well worth a read given that this seems to be a hot issue in some Pagan communities lately.

I promise to try and write up my own position on this topic in the near future.

Paganism a Nature Religion?

A response to this post by Sojourner at A Pagan Sojourn; Is Paganism A Nature Religion?

And this comment by one of the visitors:

Deborah said...
I'm not sure that Paganism is a religion at all. It's an umbrella term for a disparate group of religions.

Many Pagan religions ARE nature-based. If you are following seasonal cycles, if your holidays are marked by natural rather than calendrical events (i.e. the sun, the moon, the crops) then that's nature-based.


Paganism is a religion to be sure. Firstly, the "ism" clarifies it as a belief system. Secondly, it is an umbrella term no different than Protestant or Christian. I'm sure we can all agree that there are many religious traditions that fall under those umbrellas but that doesn't mean the umbrellas themselves are not religions.

Web definitions of Religion

As far as Paganism being nature based. I think it must be. Specifically because, in my opinion, one of the things many Pagans tend to agree on is the idea of Oneness and Divinity within the self. If all things are truly one than all things are sacred - especially the natural world which is the one thing we can say is truly Goddess given.

You don't have to know the latin name for every plant in you local forest. You don't have to grow your own food and harvest it at the perfect time according to the sun, moon, and stars. All you have to do is observe a sunset or listen to the sound the trees make as they dance in the wind. It's really very simple. If you're concerned about being more involved in nature but feel that you live in a way that makes that difficult (i.e. the city, an apartment, etc.) try some of these things:

- Get a pet. Communing with nature doesn't specifically have to mean the plant world.

- If you have no yard to grow plants in try using containers. Houseplants are wonderful for their energy and their decorative aspects. Tomatoes grow fabulously in a big pot on a patio or balcony. I grew roses, herbs, and various annuals every year on a balcony that was three stories up.

- Use purchased dried herbs to make teas, oils, and other nature-based concoctions.

- Give thanks for all that you consume. Whether it's food, water, or air - be grateful and thankful for all that nature provides.

- Take note of your surroundings as you walk into work, school, and basically go about your day. Chances are there are all sorts of plants lining the streets of your town/city. Take a moment to take in their scent and touch their leaves or petals.

- Create your own natural world through meditation and visit it often.

- Look within. See that you are of nature and you are divine.

The more you practice some of the small daily things the more you will begin to notice that nature is not living in a forest somewhere on a mountain top full of mysterious latin named plant folk. Instead, it is everywhere and everything around you.

Burning the Wicker Man

(warning: possible spoilers and some serious ranting)

My circle and I attended a midnight showing of 'The Wicker Man' last night. We were not impressed and I would even go so far as to say we were offended.

I'll admit that I have not seen the original, though I've heard from other Pagans that it's one of their all time favorite films with Pagan themes. I would be interested to hear what those individuals feel about this more recent version.

Let me begin with the bones of the movie itself. It is being billed as a horror film which it is not. There was nothing scary about this movie at all. If anything it was a bit humorous with Nicholas Cage's character screaming obscenities at every turn and trying to kung-fu his way out of a group of people. The script, the acting, the pace, etc. were not what I would have expected from a major motion picture featuring actors such as Nick Cage and Ellen Burstyn. This left me wondering if director, Neil LeBute, was trying to create a more B-movie feel. If so, he was successful. I have seen better acting from the no-names in the Saturday night flicks on the Sci-Fi Channel. Mansquito anyone?

Now, for the Paganism aspect. Let's start with a quote from the director.

"I said, 'I like the idea of honey and I want to make this a matriarchy.' So it all fit with the idea of honey because of the colony and the queen bee. I just shifted the entire gender and kind of central hierarchy to be this world of women. I thought that would be a really interesting place. In the original there was this clash of religions, of basically paganism and Christianity, and then this kind of look at fanaticism. I thought, 'Well, they did it very well and that's not something I necessarily (want to do).' While I'd been interested in religions, myself, I've always been interested in this loose clash between men and women."

- Neil LaBute, director of the 2006 remake of 'The Wicker Man'

Yes, LeBute shifted the power to the females. In doing so he created a group of women who were portrayed as nothing more than crazed fanatics who use little children to help them commit murder. Their reason for murder - The Goddess needs a sacrifice.

At this point in the film I thought my head was going to explode. All I could think was "Oh great. Now we'll be seen as crazy, man-hating murderers who cut the tongues out of our men to keep them from rebelling." That's right. Not one word was uttered by a man living in the town of Summersisle during the entire film. I may have heard a random grunt, but only once.

Bees and honey are sacred to the people of the island. At one point Sister Summersilse, played by Ellen Burstyn, mentions that her Celtic ancestors settled on the island. The only Celtic Goddess I can think of associated with bees is Brigid. How do you suppose Brigantian's would feel about this warped portrayal?

So, sweet Sister Summersilse is the Queen Bee in a colony full of crazy women and drone-like males. She claims that they love their men but evidently they are to be seen, sexed up, and never heard. I'm not even sure about the sexed up part since the women left the island to find mates and returned when they were pregnant. There is even a hint of infanticide cleverly injected by the writer. In one scene Sister Summersilse is asked what is done if one of the women on the island gives birth to a boy. Her reply; "That depends." In another scene we see aborted fetuses, presumably male, in jars of formaldehyde.

With all of the gender issues already flooding our Pagan communities did we really need this portrayal of Goddess women? The only reason to see this film is to be prepared when asked about its contents and to be ready to set people straight about what it means to follow the Goddess. While individual answers to that question vary, there are actually some things we can agree upon. This film, in my opinion, is a slap in the face to most (if not all) of them.

According to the earlier article I posted on this topic, Fiona Horne was an unofficial consultant to the director. If I was Fiona I would denounce the film as soon as possible as a dramatized portrayal of an ancient MYTH and its ANCIENT (as opposed to modern) practice. Hopefully it will help to simply tell folks that this is only a movie and nothing more.

Witches Send Blessing to 'Wicker Man'

Fiona Horne and Phyllis Currott chime in on 'Wicker Man' - a new movie remade from an original 70's era 'horror' film. 'Wicker Man' opens in theatres today.

Anyway, take a look at what Fiona and Phyllis had to say about it. The article could be better and poor Fiona is never well presented.

ABC News: Witches Send Blessing to 'Wicker Man'

View the trailer for 'Wicker Man'

The Way of the Master

Yeah, I know I have a big Kirk monkey on my back lately, but I just can't seem to get past some of the things he talks about on his program. With the help of his partner in crime, Ray Comfort, he has created the most watched Christian show on TV. At least that's what I've heard.

The main premise of the show, The Way of the Master, is to get people to come to Christ through the use of the Ten Commandments. I am often blown away by some of the material on the program. For instance, on last week's show Ray and Kirk tried to tell us that anyone who has ever harbored hate in their heart is a murderer and is thus guilty of breaking that commandment. Wow, now that is some serious straw grasping. I have never heard a bigger bunch of BS in my entire life. And, just an FYI, if you've ever just lusted after a woman you are an adulterer. They don't say anything about women lusting after men so you all-the-way-straight girls are apparently off the hook.

It seems to me that all these two men are trying to do is convince the human race how evil it is and how we are all just a bunch of no good sinners destined for eternal suffering in a pit of brimstone. I'm so glad I don't believe in the Bible or in sin. What a terrible burden to carry. "You're bad for being a person! Damn you human being! You make mistakes and act with emotions? How dare you!"

On the topic of not believing in the Bible, let's take a look at how Kirk and Ray advise people to minister to those of us who have less than a grand opinion of "Ye Ole Good Book". According to the Way of the Master website:

"Christians can't use 'circular reasoning' by trying to prove the Bible by quoting from the Bible!"

The "circular reasoning" argument is absurd. That's like saying you can't prove that the President lives in the White House by looking into the White House. It is looking into the White House that will provide the necessary proof. The fulfilled prophecies, the amazing consistency, and the many scientific statements of the Bible prove it to be the Word of God. They provide evidence that it is supernatural in origin. See also Psalm 119:105 footnote.


Hmm... I don't understand how you can compare something solid and tangible like the President and the White House to a supposed supernatural text and the supernatural claims it contains. It is a bad analogy to say the least. It still proves absolutely nothing other than the fact that Kirk and Ray think that the bulk of humanity is retarded.

A while back I found an answer that compared the Bible to an oncoming eighteen-wheeler. The gist of that statement had something to do with believing in the Bible being as simple as believing in death by Mac Truck. I can't seem to find the exact quote on the site anymore but if I do I will be sure to post it here for you.

A plain and simple message to Kirk and Ray: I don't believe in the Bible, the Ten Commandments, or sin. Without the tiniest shred of belief you have no argument. Convert me now boys. In my opinion you are spreading untruths. What does that make you? Come on you can do it. It begins with L.

p.s. You're welcome for the free publicity.

Kirk Cameron vs. the Devil

The most recent post by Athana at Radical Goddess Thealogy had me feeling the need to comment. Read the entire post by visiting this link.

My comments are below: (For those wondering what Kirk Cameron and Tim LaHaye have to do with each other - Kirk stars in the film adaptations of the Left Behind books by LeHaye. I would absolutely love to get stopped on the street by either him or Ray Comfort for a talk about the Ten Commandments. I've been planning my argument for a while now.)

Grian said...
I heard of LeHaye and the Left Behind series a few years back in Rolling Stone. He immediately freaked me out. I am even more disturbed since my dear sweet Granny is reading his books and being brain-washed by their ridiculous tripe.

What I have never been able to figure is why people can't see the Bible for what it is - mythology. Ask Christians if they believe Zeus really shot lightening bolts from the Heavens and they will snort and tell you that's silly mythology. How is the Rapture of Revelations and multiple headed monsters from the sea any different? Anyone who believes that crap is reality should be feared as crazy. At least that's what I think.

Grian said...
Oh, and I forgot to mention: I think Kirk Cameron might be the real anti-christ. :) For some reason I get caught up watching his show (with the equally crazed Ray Comfort) on TBN and at some point I've broken out in a cold sweat and I am screaming at the tv in crazed laughter.

By Oak Ash and Thorn by DJ Conway

I am currently reading this title for the second time which is something I usually do with a book that has many meditations and exercises. I read it once straight through and now I am going through and reading it more in depth and doing the journeys within its pages.

I must admit that I am fascinated by the idea of Celtic Shamanism. It's not a new concept to me, but it is one that I was not aware that I knew so much about. It seems Shamanism is something that most Pagans practice on a regular basis. It involves such things as "Know Thyself" (as talked about below) and Shadow Work that all spiritual people should complete - especially if they plan to be of service to others. There is much journey work involved as well which most of us are familiar with through meditation studies.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned so far is that Shamanism is universal. It is not for any one people to practice, but all people at one time practiced it and some still do today. Calling it Celtic Shamanism is simply an effective way for those of Western European decent to connect with the practice and the pivotal aspect of working with one's ancestors.

Within the book Shamanism is said to encompass many aspects; Healing, Divination, Bardic Arts, Warrior traits, Priest/esshood... It seems most practicing Pagans are involved in some form of Shamanism - connecting with the Earth and honoring ancestors, service to others through healing and education, knowing and accepting oneself and others, ect.

As I go through the pages again I will try to post my reflections here.

Know Thyself

I was recently asked to reflect on the first goal of the 13 Goals of a Witch: Know Thyself. When I did so my reflections were not as in-depth as I would've liked them to be.

While visiting Goddessing I saw that Sage had returned with a post entitled Solitary Life. In this post she describes herself as an extroverted introvert. I immediately saw these words as a good description for my own solitary habits and another way to find out more about myself.

I enjoy being alone and with my own thoughts. I can sit and read/write/draw/think for hours at a time. I like being with myself in part because (as egotistical as this sounds) I think I am an interesting person. I laugh at my own silliness and get caught in awe of my own brilliance. Of course I have many self-deprecating moments as well. These are the times when I am unsure of everything and afraid to fail at being a person. It's a good balance more often than not.

I sing and dance when I'm alone. The only times I ever feel truly free are when I am by myself - or at least within myself. There could be other people present but I am willfully stuck inside my own mind.

But then again, I also enjoy being with friends and family. I love a good conversation - the kind that draws you in and makes you think about "big" things - where profound epiphanies fly about the room. I love going out to dance and hearing music that is so loud it envelopes you in its sound like a thick fleece blanket. There is no way to verbally communicate with people so you are left with shared looks and amazing energy instead. One of my favorite things to do is to go to the movies. For two hours or so I can share the same experience with a theatre full of people - reacting when they react; laughing and crying at the same moments in the story. I talk to strangers just because I am comfortable doing so and I enjoy meeting new people.

I suppose these traits could classify me as a walking conundrum. They could also classify me as being someone who is hard to live with. I will deny neither.

Christian Da Vinci Propaganda on the Sci-Fi Channel

Last night I watched a special on the Sci-Fi Channel about the Da Vinci Code. I was expecting something like I had seen in the past; a program which would discuss the elements of the book in a non-biased way - scratching the surface of the truths and quasi-truths of the book - ultimately telling us that it was a work of fiction based on many factual elements. What I got from "Cracking Da Vinci's Code" was Christian propaganda.

I watched the almost two hour long program in utter disbelief. Every person interviewed for the special either had a book debunking the Da Vinci Code (thus furthering their own agenda and that of the Church) or was a Christian minister of some kind. The arguments were completely one sided and not at all objective. I had to double check to make sure that the program was indeed airing on the Sci-Fi Channel. I thought perhaps I had mistakenly hit the section of Christian Channels that I affectionately call "Jesus Row".

The main point of "Cracking Da Vinci's Code" seemed to be the claims of truth in the first pages of Dan Brown's book - speaking of factual and accurate representations of documents, architecture, and artwork, etc. Dan Brown himself is painted as an immoral man who delights in lying to the public as opposed to simply being the talented writer of fiction that he is.

The program goes on to say that there is no such thing as Gnostic Gospels. This is a complete lie. The parchments within the Nag Hammadi library are often referred to as the Gnostic Gospels by scholars and educated lay people alike. Complete scholarly books have been written on the subject of these lost gospels. (http://www.webcom.com/gnosis/naghamm/nhl.html)

At the very end of last night's presentation I, as the viewer, was told that the truth is within the Bible and that I should seek that instead of the entertainment of a fictional bestseller. Once again Christendom feels it is necessary to tell the world what to believe. Isn't this how Mary Magdalene was painted as a whore in the first place? Of course, in "Cracking Da Vinci's Code" they claim she was never known as a whore. In fact it is true that no where in the New Testament does it say that Mary Magdalene was a whore, but in 591CE Pope Gregory decided to tell the people what to believe about her and it stuck for almost 1500 years. People who know nothing of the Bible - who have never read it - still remember that Mary Magdalene is supposed to be a repentant prostitute. Yet more half truths told by the producers of the program.

To close I would like to tell the people of the Sci-Fi Channel to stick to what they are good at: UFOs, Bigfoot, and cheesy B-Flicks about Mansquitos, Chubacabra, etc. Oh, and Ghost Hunters is fabulous. Leave the Bible thumping to TLN - whose Executive Consultant for Network Development, Charles E. Sellier, happened to have produced last night's one-sided, Bible fueled TV program. Sellier has also done work for the PAX channel whose show Faith Under Fire was spearheaded by Lee Strobel. Strobel has also joined the mission against the DaVinci Code and Dan Brown. (http://www.leestrobel.com/)

For those of you not familiar with TLN (Total Living Network) their mission reads as follows:

"To direct people to Christ and to provide resources for a vibrant relationship with Him through the electronic communications media."
http://www.tln.com/mission.html

On Charles E. Sellier (CEO of Grizzly Adams Productions): http://www.tln.com/leadership_sellier_bio.html

Grizzly Adams Productions:
http://www.grizzlyadams.com/ http://www.grizzlyadams.tv/

Press Release for "Cracking Da Vinci's Code": http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/s06050073.htm

What We Share

The more I think about this organization thing, the more I have to wonder how we will be organized since there are so many differing traditions to organize. So, in lieu of this conundrum I would like to pose some questions to find out what we share in terms of our beliefs and opinions.

Since there is no official document or doctrine that defines us as Goddess people (unless you believe there is - in which case please tell us!) let's ponder what one would include. If the Goddess came down from some obscure mountain and spoke to us what would she say? Or, for those scholarly folks, what do you believe has been taught to us by the many legends of the Goddess. What should we already know according to the tales of Innana, Isis, Brigit, Cerridwyn, Pomona, Athena, Persephone/Demeter/Hecate, etc.? What are the things that you live by as people of the Great Goddess?

I think it would be very interesting to see how we compare to each other - how we differ and how we are so very similar. I look forward to some quality discussion, and if no one answers then I will simply spit out my own answers to these questions which would not be nearly as interesting.

Note: It would be lovely to see these lessons/ways to live by in the voice of the Goddess herself. So, when writing them why not use the first person so we can gain the full effect of your divine insights?

Time For Change

I was thinking recently that the reason Goddess Religion/Paganism/etc. is so misconceived and under populated is that there is a lack of people telling other people about it. Many traditions feel a need for secrecy that I no longer understand. Before we get too far in this I would like to make clear that I believe there is a difference between proselytizing and educating. I do have to wonder, however, that if we had been proselytizing for the last few centuries the world might be a whole lot different.

Many of us tend to complain about the state of the world and various political issues without doing too much to make a difference. Political avenues seem to be the only ones people are willing to walk down when concerning changing the world. Spirituality is pivotal when deciding how a person thinks and acts. If we could share a better understanding of our spiritual ideas perhaps people would start to think differently and the world would actually change - maybe even evolve.

Once education had spread far enough it could lead to some government funding, organized temples, becoming a voting block, etc. Isn't it time we stop hiding who we are and bickering about our differences in the back alleys of our communities? Is there anyone else out there who feels it's time to move to the next level or is it just me? I want more. I want an organized structure without corruption and a place to raise a family under the love of the Great Goddess.

My daughter asked me the other day why she has to be different. She thinks it's "cool" to be Christian because everyone in her class is. The other kids teach her Bible songs and tell her about going to church. Where are the opportunities for Goddessian people to offer those things to their children? I want a religion with top-notch, University accedited training facilities and the ability for paid clergy who can run the organization of our temples. I want the structure and influence of the 'Church' without the money hungry totalitarian rulers behind it. I want a place where the relgion of the Goddess can flourish for generations as more than just a "passing fad for militant feminists and lesbians" (this is what I believe the world thinks about us).

The time has come for change. The first thing we need to do is break free of some of the more modern labels we've taken on, most of which are slurs that were used against our ancestors millenia ago.

Quoted From Another Source:
"The word Pagan was given to the non christians by christians as an insult. It means country dweller which at the time equated to dirty, poor, uneducated idiot, now there's a name worth keeping! ... We are "pagans" because CHRISTIANS say we are!"

Am I barking mad up the entirely wrong tree? I'm willing to admit it's possible and I'm even more willing to hear alternative solutions.

Always in Her Service,
Grian

Kali the Mother

There was a time when I would have hid my face from the dark aspect of the Mother. I am glad that time is passed, though the ability to embrace death is still something completely foreign to most human beings. It is instinctual for us to fight to survive, not accept our mortality lying down - "to not go quietly into that good night".

I have found some information on Kali as Mother which I feel may help us understand this aspect of the Great Goddess a bit better, and come to a point when accepting death does not mean we have to give up our will to live.

Kali the Mother
by Sister Nivedita
(Margaret E. Noble)

The stars are blotted out,
Clouds are covering clouds,
It is darkness, vibrant, sonant.
In the roaring whirling wind
Are the souls of a million lunatics,--
But loosed from the prison house,--
Wrenching trees by the roots,
Sweeping all from the path.
The sea has joined the fray,
And swirls up mountain-waves,
To reach the pitchy sky.
Scattering plagues and sorrows,
Dancing mad with joy,
Come, Mother, Come!
For Terror is thy name,
Death is in Thy breath.
And every shaking step
Destroys a world for e’er.
Thou "Time" the All-Destroyer
Then come, O Mother, Come!
Who can misery love,
Dance in destruction's dance,
And hug the form of
Death,To him the Mother comes.

Internet Sacred Texts Archive: Kali the Mother

What's the Point

I was wandering around the web, new to the Goddess-blogging community, and stumbled upon At the End of Desire. In Innana's post entitled The Circle Within 2 there is this:

"Someone once asked me, "What's the point of this Wicca thing? I mean, if you're not trying to get into Heaven or find Nirvana, what are you trying to do?" I couldn't help but comment on this subject.

Grian said... On the subject of "Heaven" and/or "Nirvana" and the point of it all: Aren't we striving towards some kind of enlightenment? Most Pagans believe in reincarnation in some form, so becoming enlightened seems to go along with that concept - moving from body to body and learning as much as possible. What would the end result of this be but enlightenment? So some people call it Heaven, Nirvana, The Summerlands - but enlightenment works for me. Conciousness is a good one too. At some point it would seem a soul would have to find its way back to the source after having learned all of the things that it was created for in the first place. Oddly enough I have a section written on this already in my "little project". Here is part of that section...

After the realization of One Mother, I examined modern Paganism in its various forms; most specifically Wicca. Unfortunately, what I found was a religious system that was lacking something – something vital. That statement will probably get me in trouble and I’m the last person who wants to get somebody’s proverbial panties in a bunch, but being honest is important enough to risk it. Anyway, Wicca left me wanting more, but what did the more consist of? Inspiration came from the east. Well sort of. It all came down to asking the right questions. I wanted to know what the purpose of being spiritual, religious, etc. was. I think some people go through life just assuming they’re supposed to follow a religion. Does anyone ever stop to ask why? What’s the point? For me, the answer to this question was (drum roll) enlightenment. A big word to be sure, but what does it mean?Merriam-Webster Online defines enlighten this way: to furnish knowledge to, to give spiritual insight to.This pretty much summed it up. Why bother practicing a religion that will teach you nothing? It would be pretty pointless to look back on years of religious study to suddenly realize you had gained absolutely nothing spiritually from it. So I looked towards the Goddess and asked myself what Her lessons where – what she could teach through practice. The answers to these questions are what make up this modest volume of words.

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