The Vernal Equinox/Ostara

It is the season of spring and life is placing its hold on the earth once more. It is planting time, a hopeful time of renewal for all things.

The Maiden Goddess is at the peak of her power, both physically and spiritually. She is the seed and the soil, the planter and the planted. She is the Initiator, the Free Spirit, and the Holy Virgin.

At this time the Goddess seeks a mate and finds one in the Horned Lord who is a Son of Nature, a Keeper of Life, and a Man of the Goddess.

They are drawn to each other in a cosmic dance older than time itself. He is of her and one with her in spirit. She invites him now to become one with her in body as well.

The Goddess and her Stag-Horned Consort come together at this season of balance to learn about love and to create the child of light which will be reborn at the Winter Solstice.

With their joining new life enters the world, symbolized by the festive eggs and blooming flowers on our altars. The flames of our candles represent the sun which will continue to grow warm and heat the Earth, encouraging growth throughout the coming months. We also offer water, a representation of the cleansing and nourishing rains of the season.

We gather now in this sacred space to circle together in honor of the Goddess, the Lady of Light and Life. We gather to celebrate the beginning of spring and the coming warmth.

We rejoice in the joining of the Maiden and her Consort. May the light of their love shine on us all and bring the fertile promise of renewal.

Religion Taught in Schools

In response to Newsweek's On Faith question: Should teaching about religion be mandatory in public schools? In colleges and universities?

Click the linked title of this post to read the responses of others, including Starhawk.

I have a serious problem with my child being taught religion by other people. I believe that everyone has the right to believe in and practice whatever they choose so long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. In saying that, I believe I have the right to keep my child from being exposed to those religions that I don't believe in or disagree with.

I know a lot of Pagans these days who say things like: "I don't have a problem with Christianity. It's the people who push it on me that I don't like." I can echo those sentiments, but at the same time I am honestly going to come clean and say that I have a problem with the religion itself. And I'll tell you why...

What are some of the things Christianity preaches?

Original Sin: I don't even want my kid to hear of this idea until she is old enough and not quite so impressionable. Are you kidding me? This idea teaches that people are inherently bad - evil even. Take a child and tell them are evil every day. Eventually they will believe you and start living by that label. They may even decide to use it as an excuse to do harm. They believe they're evil after all. Why would they think twice about committing evil acts?

Original Sin Stems From Woman: Oh Eve. Bless her for wanting to know the truth. Eve is a prime example of what the Biblical stories do to people who pose questions and look for answers in places that "god" finds less than desirable. They demonize them and make them the originators of the sins of all humankind. Women who are surrounded by these archaic concepts are still trying to break free of them. This led to the ideas that birth, breast feeding, menstruation, and female sexuality are dirty and bad. In reality all of these are natural and sacred. This even leads to men feeling guilty for being sexually attracted to women because women and "sins of the flesh" will cause their downfall into damnation. Viola, we've now sexually repressed the entire human race into being Puritans.

God Should be Feared/The Concept of Hell/Non-believes Will Suffer Eternal Damnation: I think we can all agree that a society based on fear causes little more than an advance in consumerism and panic. No thanks.

"Man" Has Dominion Over the Earth: Uh. What? We own the Earth? What makes us so special? We can see where this has led with the effects of pollution, global warming, endangered species, the rainforest, etc, etc, etc.

So, I don't have a problem with Christians (at least the non-evangelical ones). I have a problem with the ideas that they are led to believe are truth and the consequent effects that have wrought destruction, guilt, fear, misogyny, etc. all over our world. (The ideas that make people believe they are evil for being human.) But, I still believe they have the right to believe what they choose and I admire those that keep faith within them, honoring the loving aspects of their religion and their god. The problem is, I expect the same from them and their "god" doesn't permit it.

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