Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It ain't nothing new, but it is to you because you are thicker than a mule when it comes to learnin'

We are going to shift gears, since the turning of the wheel is in flux and now talk about the next Wiccan Holy day/Sabbat that many of us will celebrate Lughnasa.  While I have been told my many of my readers, that they read my blogs for different reasons I think we can all agree that when it comes to “Sabbats” no matter what your path, many of us celebrate them or adapt them for our own use.  If you did not know, my path is Egyptian and so it would seem that with a Celtic oriented wheel of the year I would be left out.  However, like anything on this path I have been forced (it’s a figure of speech) by the Universe to observe and celebrate Sabbats in a way I would not necessarily do in my personal practice for the greater good of others and in the service of the God's and Goddesses' Temple.  We all know there is a lesson here, but that is not the what I want to talk about today…today I want us to re-discuss and re-examine ONE god…Lugh.

Years ago, when I first discovered this path I started off primarily a nature observer and working with primal nature forces. The people I knew (including my Mamaw) that used “nature magic” or “dirt magic” did not pray to a particular deity just “mother” or “goddess” or “god”.  So it came as a wonderful “extra surprise” to me when I figured out that there were thousands of deities out in the world that had been worshipped; many had been forgotten and many were living and breathing and walking around. I loved the act of “discovering” and “getting to know” these new spirits, and I still do!  The biggest problem I found I had to overcome once I was older was transferring and translating the “ancient portrayal of a God or Goddess” to “modern times”.  As a teacher, I find that establishing an intimate relationship with deity is often thwarted by this same “issue” that I had to learn as I grew up.

So I am going to tell you a story, you may have heard it, but I am hoping to flesh it out for you in a new way.  This is the story of Lugh.  Lugh, was a “wright” and this means in a modern terms a man who created, built, and repaired things.  He could have been a playwright or a carpenter, an electrician, or a roofer, a captain of a barge, a maker of jewelery or a mechanic but one thing he definitely was…was a worker and I am sure he tackled all of these previous jobs at one time or another in his life.  Lugh is the God of work and the Master of all arts and crafts; and like many of us living in the 21st century it seems that he sought out jobs he was interested in and  mastered them. Once he "leveled up and out" in that job, he got bored and then applied for another job and started a "new career" thus his life would be full of various careers ever shifting and growing like most of us now.  Today, we live in the modern technological age; and there is Lugh who seems as if he stepped right out of the agrarian age and wants access to a new world that has left him behind…..or has it?

There was a HUGE house party being thrown in Memphis,Tennessee that all the cool Pagan people were invited to come and participate in thrown ironically enough, on Lughanasa.  However, for some reason it seems that the Host and Hostess of this big shindig forgot to invite the God Lugh.  It was a serious oversight, but an understandable one since not many of us really believe that Gods walk and talk amongst us anymore like the “old ones” did.  And so it was that Lugh decided to make the Host and Hostess and the community aware of this oversight gently.  He decided to come to Memphis, Tennessee that weekend and participate and throw down at the HUGE Pagan party.  Lugh came up and knocked on the door of this “happening place”.  He was greeted at the door, by one of the local Pagans and told that “he was not cool enough” or “what they were looking for” in the area so he best be going since they did not know him.  However, Lugh being deity and not a typical human decided to argue the point; whereas most humans would slink off and be “shunned” by their peers.

“ So what is it that makes one cool enough in this Pagan community to come and be part of your group?”  Lugh asks.  “Well you have to have a perfect lineage that we can track; and you have to be wear the right clothes, and have the same kind of hair as all of us, and you have to do things “our way” though we do not share that way with outsiders; and well you better be able to prove you have some ‘mean skills in the magick department and brag about them constantly’ for you to be one of us.”  Lugh was told by the doorman.  Lugh laughs, “I see” he says while scratching his beard.  “Well, I am a blue-collar man primarily who comes from no place you have heard of, who possesses the skills of just work.”  Lugh says.  The Pagan at the door looks at him and says….”what kind of skills, and where did you get them from?”  Lugh says, “I posses the skill of going into any situation and sizing it up, and seeing what needs to be done and doing it without instructions.  I work for others well and enjoy working for and in groups. I get my skills from the Universe, this physical plane, and myself.”  The Pagan looks interested but says…”Well we have plenty of Clergy already in this community, Highpriest’s and Highpriestesses galore, Elders aplenty, and I do not know you so (even though you look older than me)  none of those skills count.” 

“I possess the gift of story telling in a way that makes people learn and hear the words of the Gods they could not hear or comprehend before, and people love to learn through stories you know. I came by this skill through listening to spirit and by plugging into the Universal station of thought.”  Lugh says to the Pagan door man. “Well, we have plenty of people in our community that have been published, and like I said I do not know you at all so you aren’t really convincing me here.”  The Pagan says arms crossed across his chest.  Lugh smiles and winks and then says “Well, I posses the gift or ritual and magick, I can raise energy and cast it in ways you have never seen…I am willing to share these skills with your group because I love to share.  I learned these skills through years of hard work, practice, discipline, and dedication but none of your people in that room have taught me.”  “We have plenty of people that can do magick here; surely you know that we are all Pagan” the young Pagan says with a sneer.  “I posses the skills of song and dance, I can sing you to tears or to joy, I can show you how rhythms underlie everything and how when faced with challenges how to dance through them all.  I share this skill with some of my brothers and cousins, it's sort of a lineage thing, ”  Lugh adds.  The Pagan getting irritated says…”I have no idea why those skills would add to a community and I would like to get back to my group would you please hurry up.” 

So Lugh, being a God and clever, looks the man straight in the eye and says…”Do you have a person who is master of all theses skills amongst you?”  The Pagan hesitates and starts to take time to think…and realizes they do not.  “No sir, we do not…and this means?”  Lugh takes his hand, and extends his index finger and thumps the young man on the third eye….”this means, you need to include me in your gathering Young Pagan for this is my day; and I am the God that should be honored above all others in your crib.”  The Pagan looks at the middle aged man before him, in dirty jeans and a “not traditional hippy pagan clothing” and says…”Okay, but if the others don’t agree with your claim out you go.”  Lugh smiles, and saunters in and the party becoming instrumental in changing the landscape of that community completely and moving it into a more positive progressive direction.  For Lugh is, after all, a God and the master of work and all trades and he is determined to prove to us all…that he is not antiquated just not recognized that often.

Now I know, this is not my typical Southern Fried fare; and I hope you find yourself smiling at this tale because Southerners do love a good story.  Most importantly though, I want you this Lughnasa to celebrate and look for this “god” in the men and women around you.  He dwells in the workers; he is clever, funny, and smart.  He is always striving, growing, reaching, and mastering a new thing.  May we all grow to be more like Lugh, and may he come to all of our community gatherings this Lughnasa.  Lastly, but most importantly.....

Thank you, as always, for the gift of your time!

Friday, July 22, 2011

I'm finer than a frog's hair split four ways

Yesterday, I was saved by a Christian.  Well, not “converted saved” as people of this Common Era tend to think of that phrase meaning, but I was saved nevertheless.  Please, let me explain.  Not ALL Pagans dislike Christians and not all Christians dislike Pagans; in fact I have a long history with Christian friends and Christian ministers who the “spirit has spoken through” to me and I heard it as clearly as if Isis (my personal deity) were speaking to me.  It takes time, to get to a point where you can hear spirit anywhere where you can let it love you or touch you even if you are in the middle of a Rabbi speaking but it can be done and I have gladly come to know and associate myself with Spiritual friends who do just that…hear and see spirit everywhere.

Yesterday morning, I was almost at the end of my rope and the knot I had tied in it was unraveling.  I was frustrated, angry and fed up.  I am used to the concept that “not all people are going to like me” and if people don’t like me that I do not know it "rolls right off my back".  But, there was a person who I had considered a loyal friend who was going so far out of her way to “hurt me” that it froze me up; I was puzzled as to what was proper protocol…and since her “dislike for me” was also trying to affect people's perception of my church (I felt); I had to find a way to resolve it.  Resolution, even with wisest people I know trying to mediate has not been possible and yesterday I had to realize…it would not be.  I was given the advice to get “legal council” on this issue, and so with great trepidation and hesitation I picked up the phone and called a long time friend who also was a great lawyer.

First, he answered the phone with warmth and happiness in his voice; the sheer pleasure in which he conveyed the joy of talking to me and with me balmed my soul.  I realized I did not see him enough, and I missed his smile.  We small talked, and shared things…and then I came out with my issue.  He listened, and then laughed.  Not because my problem, was silly and petty but because he had a different perspective on it all..and why is that?  Because he knew me, and had watched me at many stages of my life; he did not treat me like a client he was Clergy for me that day. “Did you really think that if you travel through life getting things done there are not going to be people that are like that?  I am a lawyer, if you are one of us you better get used to the idea that most people just do not like you because of your job description”…he laughed.  I realized he was right.  “Heck, add to that I am a Liberal Christian with Conservative political views and you have a great mix for people to dislike me…” once again he laughed “BUT, I know that to change who I am, and stop doing what I am good at, won’t make a difference, it achieves nothing.  It doesn’t even make the people who don’t like me any happier.” he states.  

For the next thirty minutes Gregg outlined for me methods for dealing with life and “haters” as he put it in an effective way that did not include the method I was thinking was my only avenue.  He explained to me that he recommended I try these methods first, but his reasoning behind it choked me up.  “Sonya, I am sure there are many people in your spiritual community that are going through some of the same stuff you are going through; and they are looking to you to see how to deal with it.  You do not only teach people through classes and counseling, or by trying to live your life ethically.  You teach people how to survive and manage and deal with difficult stuff by getting through it yourself.”  “But, Gregg, I don’t know how to do this yet (I whined) but I will take your advice and try” I said.  “Then pray, ask for wisdom, ask for guidance, people are called to be clergy…it’s not easy but remember what got you there in the first place…your faith.” he reminded me and  I smiled and almost cried at the same time. 

I knew that my friend was right, that from first grade to graduating high school I had always had “haters” as he called them and when I had tried to step back and not achieve as much it had not made me more popular.  I knew that when I went to college I had people accuse me of plagiarism and start all kinds of rumors about me and that I had to stick really close to professors and counselors to navigate through that rough phase of my life…but it did not stop me from writing and still winning money to go to college (though it almost did).  When I went to the workplace, I would have people that “did not like me”, when I went to Beauty school years later the same, when I did runway models hair other stylists would “criticize or tear down my work”.  So what?  I went on.  My ex-husbands I am particularly sure “do not like me” that is why we got divorced in the first place (though it should be stated I highly encourage people to get two divorces like I did before the age of 23). You see I was saying "I don't know how to do this!" (getting upset and angry at my Gods) and they were saying, "Girl, look at your life! Look at all that mess you have navigated through, you KNOW how to do this, just do it."

I am not young, and I am not old, I am in the valley of life looking at the mountains ahead of me and taking pride in the fact I have already scaled the mountains behind me and survived them.   

“Be the example to the Clergy with you and the people coming up of how to deal with things like this.  You are in the firing line; the Gods put you there because you can take it (though you do not think you can).  Learn, grow, and fly, make it easier for others. But, if you do not want to take that hard route I can very quickly and easily walk you through how to fill out the paperwork to do a ‘slander and harassment of character lawsuit’ and let you ‘sue that person for damages’ it would only take about a day and cost you nothing since you can prove they have ill intent and are “damaging your character” the judge would favor in your side and I will be there for you.”  Gregg quickly spouted out falling out of the spirit mode and back into Gregg the bad-ass lawyer man I had known for about ten or more years. 

“I will pray for wisdom and guidance.  I might fall down, but it will not be because I am failing it is because I am learning how to ride this bike.  I will do this first and learn how to manage it because you are right it is a good learning lesson for me and for others.  I will trust that the Gods chose me for a reason and though I do not understand why; I am in the firing line…that I can take it. But Gregg, if all of this does not work I can still come back and file right?”  He laughs, and I know the answer is yes.  “There you go, I knew the woman I knew would not give up or let this get her down you just needed an outsider not in the situation to see it for what it is and who knows how you are to guide you to your next step.”  He said.  We chitchatted some more, got caught up then we hung up.

“Isis and Thoth I have no idea why I could not hear you speaking to me and giving me advice, but I heard you through Gregg, I apologize…and Jesus you know that guy Gregg that a lot of people are “hating on” because he is a lawyer and a liberal Christian with Conservative political values who supports his friend the Pagan Priestess? Yeah, that guy! That man is a good man, Jesus, I want to thank you for loving him and putting him in my life.  I am sorry if sometimes I forget that you too, are the same spirit and that you love me also.”  I say.

Last night, as is my practice, I lit candles and thanked my deities.  I also sent up a prayer for Gregg because he asked me too, and because he believes that “no matter who the prayer comes from and goes too it is all the same and he can use all the prayer he can get.”  Me too!  Yesterday, a Christian saved me from losing my faith he buoyed my spirit when I needed it, he instructed me and taught me methods on how to deal with my conflict issue,  he reminded me how important I was to the Gods and that I was doing good work, and he did it all with compassion and laughter.  I know he is always there for me….in short Gregg reminded me on what I am aiming to become as Clergy, of what I am aiming for as a Spirit-filled human being.  It is friends like Gregg that make the world a better place.

So just for today, remind yourself it “ain’t all bad”, “focus on what you are doing that is good” and never ever give up because you are always going to have a few “haters” you SPIRIT FILLED being you.

Thank you for the gift or your time!

Monday, July 18, 2011

She looks madder than a wet hen, and more ashamed than a dog that messed on the rug!

It should be stated that here in the United States of America poverty is directly linked to the Bible Belt.  What is the Bible Belt exactly?  It is a part of the United States where strict fundamentalist Christianity dominates and dictates life, school educations, and social norms. The Bible belt are the “slave states” that changed into the Bible belt in the latter half of the second century.  Of course, we all know that these same states fought it out publicly on television and with the court systems refusing to give other races equal rights, and genders; even after the laws were passed it was not until 1970 that full integration of schools occurred in the South.  Because of this, hundreds of churches overnight started and founded schools so that they could keep their white children segregated from the other races.  Of course, they argued it was to teach them fundamentalism…but funny thing, I never went to school with anyone of any other race until college.  NEVER.

That being said, ashamedly so, I am going to delve into a personal issue that I have this week also shared with the Pagan friends around my age (we are all ashamed of how our parents and grandparents speak of other races and it seems we cannot control them or stop them from doing so).  Yep we are ashamed of a part of our Southern heritage, many of us wish we never ever had to see another confederate flag (because it represents to us our ancestors fighting for slavery) or ever have to see another movie about civil rights, or see another collection of “aunt jemima” dolls, or better yet the “slave boy” statues that many people here of means still place in the yards.  I wish I could tell you that people in the south do not still try to “recreate the war” but they do, and I cannot figure out why…why won’t they just dig a big hole and bury that part of our history…it is shameful to the future Southerners.  We might could forget all about it, if they would let it go and move on with their lives…and I pray to the Goddess the “south does not rise again Hank Williams, Jr!”.  Because IF the south won the war, one race would be slaves and I am against slavery.

You see, this is something no one wants to touch or talk about our parents that still say the “N” word or say “colored people” and talk about the good old days; and explain how all the problems in society (meaning the south of course) started happening the day we let “them” go to school with us…because of course they made our children more like “them”.  “They” (meaning all other races than white) have also taken our jobs, and caused all the crime, “ all the stereotypes that are negative I can think of are associated with THEM”.  Yes, you can still over hear people here saying words that make you blush, or cower in shame.  This is why many of us moved away at a young age (me and many others I know), because we were ashamed of our southern heritage, we were not proud of that hicky slang, of the civil war, of segregation, racism, and sexism…we were MORTIFIED and more shamed than a dog that messed on the rug!

I am not mortified any more; nor ashamed of my drawl.  I hated the south and my heritage so bad though I tried as hard as I could to get rid of my drawl, and went out of my way to raise my child in a different environment and never use “bigoted words” about other races.  I found to my greatest irony that out of all the places in the world I hated I could think of not place I hated more than…Memphis, Tennessee there was a reason for this but once again that is another blog.   REMEMBER the Gods have a great sense of humor.

I was angrier than a wet hen about living here, so angry that I could not stop clenching my jaw or gritting my teeth every time someone asked me  “what church I went to”* (the latter being one of the top three questions people ask you around here to supposedly get to know you better)  I was so angry about being here, that I stayed where I was renting most of the time, and re-decorated that house and yard every day working up a sweat hoping that in between the hard labor and my job I would finally get that anger out of me. I felt there was no one I wanted to meet here, no one I wanted to learn from here (pagan wise remember my Mamaw had died and my pagan buddies not living here), I cockily thought I knew what all southerners were about because I had been raised here, and that if I was angry and pouted about living here long enough the Gods would transfer me. None of this of course worked, but PRAYER eventually did. 

I was so angry about being “forced by the courts and life and I felt the Gods” to be here that I even refused to work in the industry I loved but made sure I got a job that would work me physically long and hard. It was if I thought if I were “angry enough” maybe the gods would get the hint and move me out of here, but that anger changed to maybe if I were “mean enough” to myself and did not enjoy anything in the city of Memphis the Gods would pay attention and get me out of here.  Ironically enough, the shift of anger and energy was not something I was really conscious of, but was something that naturally transitioned within my being because anger when held on to, and nurtured grows like a virus within you transforming you and making you a person you do not recognize.

I found that when the anger transitioned from clenching the jaw to just digging in a shovel and sweating it out I then was able to cry.  Cry, I did as I shoveled, and planted Irises, moved buttercups, and transplanted azalea bushes. I thought I was crying for myself because I felt sorry for myself being forced here…but what I was really crying for was to heal the wounds that I had received or imagined here from childhood that had “skewed” my vision about this area of the United States.  When the yard was done that hot, steaming summer, it was gorgeous and I was done being angry; and I was tired of talking about it and crying.  I got busy, and  I truly and earnestly asked Isis to help me not help me move. Later that day, when I was thumbing through a senseless car magazine a sticker fell out and when I read it I cried and it gave me the shivers it said BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED.  I immediately placed the sticker on my car and wrote the words out on sticky notes, and placed them all over my home.

So I asked the Gods and Isis to help me and they told me instead to “Bloom where I was planted” they weren’t going to make my ex-husband move again and transfer me out of here?  What was that all about?  But instead of being a selfish maiden and demanding my way from the Gods…I stopped, took a breath and listened.  I looked at that phrase, saw the challenge and knowing they knew how hard that would be for me took it up.  I started going out and doing things I knew I would enjoy, art museums, seeing bands, film festivals.  I went to the book stores and started hanging out in the new age section, and the next thing you know I met someone, and she introduced me to another someone, and then I realized I was enjoying myself, having fun, and was able to worship with another group of people once again.  BTW that girl’s name was Brenda Waldron and she will never have any idea, how pivotal she was to changing my life at that point on my timeline. 

We all started going to open meetups looking for more people to join our group, and then started looking for churches…telling them we were “new to the whole Pagan church thing” because we were, but I was growing, and I had friends, and I had no idea that was how easy it was…because you know I was certain that growing in Memphis, Tennessee was near to impossible.  Eventually, I got a job I loved.  Eventually I met my husband (at a meetup), eventually I met elders (on a board at a library was a index card which made me call Trudy Herring way before I knew about her church), eventually I started to slowly bloom where I was planted.

Seven years later, almost eight I am married (not buried) a co-founder of a church, own a home, have a new baby, have a pagan community just as good as or not better than the one I knew before, and the Gods and Isis was right.  If I stopped ruminating and letting anger tear me up…I would discover my secrets.  Guess what?  I am not ashamed of being southern anymore!  I don’t tell cynical sarcastic jokes about southerners (well unless I have had a few margaritas and I think I am funny which I probably am not)!  I find that the drawl that once annoyed me soothes me, especially rolling off the lips of my friends and my lover Brian.  If I can do that, anyone can…and I find now that when I am angry it does not well up in me and drive me like a fire…it fizzles out like a match that I struck and the wind blew out.  Life is good for me here, I am glad I planted roots here, and proud that finally I am blooming in more ways than one.

SPELL TO TRANSFORM NEGATIVE/ENERGY to POSITIVE energy (originally shared with me by Anne Pelloth)

  • let it be noted that originally this spell was created to help you transform energy that is negative beings sent to you and make it positive but I have used it to transform my negative angry energy to positive and it worked just as well*

Items needed:  One BLACK jar candle, One BROWN jar candle, and One WHITE jar candle (Table salt or Sea salt whichever you prefer)
I burn sage for purification during this spell on charcoals in my cauldron

Draw a line pointing going from left to right and at the end of that line (this would be the right make a arrow sign >) so it should look like this ---------------à
Place the Black candle first on the left
Place the Brown candle next in the middle
Place the White candle last above the arrow or even after it

*Draw a circle
*Invoke your patron deity tell them the point of the spell and ask for their assistance
*Take the Black candle and pour all your pain and sorrow and anger into it ask your deities to make sure you do not miss a speck of it!  SEE the black particles of anger and negativity leaving your body and entering that candle when done place it back on the altar.
* Now light the Black candle and say “this is all my hate, anger, and negativity and I am asking the universe to transform this energy into positive energy…So mote it be”
*Now light the Brown candle and say “this candle transmutes and changes all my negative energy into positive energy to better assist me and the universe…So mote it be”
*Lastly, light the White candle and say “this candle is what my energy will look like once it has transformed and as this candle burns it will release all my positive energy back into the universe and to me, making me the best person my higher self, and deity want me to be…So mote it be”

Have the candles burn all the way down ( I put mine in the shower/bathtub a lot to be safe and because I have to leave and go places) after they have burned down know that everything is better, and that you have within you the power to change negative things into positive.

Lastly, if you were like me and feeling angry, frustrated, or stuck in a situation place or job…remember this one thing.  You can always find the best, You can always bloom anywhere even in sand, and Your Gods love you no matter what…but they are not going to give you what you “demand like a petulant child stomping his or her foot” that is not the point of a relationship; and you have to put in time, prove yourself and do it consistently for years until they hand you more responsibility.  Hang in there though, life can and will get better and try the spell and tell me how it works for you! I hope that like me, you too learn how to BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Just between you and me and the Fencepost....

Everyone has something they are ashamed of.  I have pondered with age, where shame comes from.  Is it something the Gods plant in your like a seed?  Is it your culture that hands it to you in bushels?  Is it what your momma uses on you to get you to “remember your raising”?  The truth is as elusive to me as “How many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop”.  But here in the South, digging up people’s shame and displaying it for the entire world to hear and see has been a past time for as long as I can remember. The joke being it usually starts with the line "bless her heart, or my my my..."

I would like to tell you that this only happens in the Baptist churches, or the Methodist ones.  Just like I would like to say that only Baptists and Catholics fight like the Yankees and Rebs did…but that would be a flat out lie.  Pagans, are no different than any other religion; for some reason they too have fighting, and feuding, they also have  people that “are slicker than snakes” and people that are “meaner than a wild boar”.  Of course, we cannot use the “normal” reasons for our issues or gossip that you hear other religions having so we name it something fancy like “a witch war”.  But, in reality “Poo is Poo no matter what you name it” (most southerners would have used a cruder word here but you catch my drift). I am ashamed of this.  It is the huge boil on the face of this community; and we need to create a cure!

Yep, that is right.  I think that a people that have so many other people picking at them for their religious choices like blackbirds looking for scraps on bones should not “fight amongst themselves”.  It is ridiculous.  However, no matter where you look there are always people “stirring up the shite” and the more you stir that we all know the “worse it stinks”.  Now, if you expect that when you found a coven, or church here in the South you are going to get a pat on the back…you would be wrong.  Instead, you are usually met with outsiders asking you about “your lineage” and “who are you to do anything” but like most things in life…you have to let it roll of you like water on a “duck’s back”.  Of course I would claim regularly oiling your feathers (practicing your own faith) will help it roll of more quickly and surrounding yourself with people who believe in you and you can trust will get you far…but you know it should not be this way.

I am calling a “tater a tater” because that is just what it is.  Everyone knows it happens in our communities it is what drives people to become solitaires or what motivates people to start their own covens or Churches.  I guess the thinking is that if you “form your own group” then you can ignore the mess being created around you.  But, you cannot.  Now, I am not saying that I am “better than anyone else” that I have “never wallowed in the pig pen” because that would be a flat out lie…and you may not like what I say here or anywhere else; but I am not a liar; I am known in over four counties to be about the most flat spoken “southerner” you have ever met.  Remember, I told you I was ashamed, but to be ashamed means you have identified that you “did something you think was wrong” and I think “spreading rumors and lies about your own kind” is something you should be ashamed of.  I am stating here for the record I am not nor have I been "spreading lies" about my own anymore but like every human being I know I have engaged in "mudslinging" in my past which gives me a right to talk about it.

Now, I am not your momma and I may not be your Highpriestess and granted this is my blog and my opinion and truth is considered relative to the individual in the perpetual state of existential reality…but I say Pagans slandering other Pagans damages a community it does not build it up.  Our community is small, and growing larger and breeding faster than a rabbit every day.  We are a religion/philosophy/theology/spiritual path (pick one that does not rub you the wrong way) that promotes living in harmony with the earth/spirit/energy/others (pick one that you feel resonates with you) and teaches that we what you send out comes back (and we all know this is just common sense whether you call yourself witch/pagan/wiccan/new ager/etc).

I am worried we have become so “individualized” and “stylized” and “big nosed pagan” that we have forgotten what brought this movement out of the “broom closet” to begin with and made most of us fall in love with it.  Words like “community” and “family” are used most often by people who are either elders here or “happy in their “coven/church/triad” and while we all may be in different families there is no reason for us to feud like we are in a Hillbilly movie, we are not living out the comic strip Dogpatch and I know none of our names here are Hatfield or McCoy.

Sometimes shame is a good thing…sometimes shame stops us from repeating our actions, sometimes people telling an elder or Highpriestess or a friend “I am ashamed of you” makes them embarrassed and stops them cold, makes them turn red, and slowly but surely melts the anger in their heart and transforms it into and apology. What I am worried about, is the people that feel NO shame at being mean, spreading rumors and lies about others who drink from the same well of the Goddess and God as they do. 

“Let me tell you a story…” was a famous line used by an Elder here who always told a story with a moral lesson.  She is not with us now, but she more than anyone I know taught me (and many others who she called her children) that while we were from different families what we had in common is what should make us be decent to one another.  So, what if the only thing we have in common is that we are all Pagan?  What if the only thing we have in common is that we are a minority religion in a place called the “Bible Belt” for good reason. What if every time we thought of that other Pagan, or saw that other “witch” we saw the God or Goddess in them…rather than note how they said “such and such” or we “heard this or that” about them?

Do you know how this all stops?  I do, with us.  We all start acting like “we have some raising”.  We stop, take a deep breath and think before we say something, or post it on a public forum.  We stop individualizing and categorizing ourselves to the degree that we create a feudal system where solitaire is “less than” triad and triad less than coven and coven less than church, and so on. We, myself is in this we…take a vow, and say…I love my Goddess, I love my God, and today and every day for the rest of my life I am going to strive to do something that sounds simple but is very very hard.  I am going to try my best to love the God and Goddess in every person I meet, talk with, listen to, read on Facebook, Twitter and I will give my fellow sister and brothers a “break” and stop “trying to be the God or Goddess” and judge them…I am going to promote harmony. It’s that simple, and yet that hard.

 Just between you and me and the fencepost, once you take a shame or guilt and expose it to the light it dissipates and “poof” reintegrates into the original source.  It’s all energy folks; we are the ones labeling it.  I label you and yours God and Goddess…will you do the same for me?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

You are dressed slicker than a greased hog on fourth of july!

Here where I dwell in Memphis, Tennessee there will be a few things consistently done to celebrate Fourth of July.  There will cookouts, which can be family or friend gatherings; setting off of fireworks and some will be going to Pickwick or Sardis to hang out at the lake, and water ski or fish.  What any of these things have to do with the fourth of July I have never figured out.  But surely enough half of your elderly relatives will wear shirts or pins that have the American flag on them like getting together over a picnic buffet is really celebrating the Declaration of Independence.  Now, don’t get me wrong I shore do love me some potato salad, Pork Barbecue, slaw with mayonnaise, deviled eggs, homemade ice cream, blackberry cobblers, chocolate meringue pie, and fried whatever you can fry (but typically chicken) along with the best of them.  But none of this reminds our children of what the fourth of July is really about.

I am told by the old timers, that there used to be huge parades downtown on Beale Street in Memphis where there were floats, and the veterans came out and waved flags, where school bands used to play, and children ran around with sparklers…but those days are behind us in the south.  You will find smaller versions of these in “neighborhood associations” or “counties” where many will drive to observe but not participate in the small parade of a county that they cannot afford to live in; or would never choose to live in for personal reasons.  But what, if anything, does this have to do with the Declaration of Independence?

You do all realize that the fourth of July is not the day we “won the war” or “got our independence” but is the day “some of the founders of our country” declared war?  So why do we celebrate it?  I think it is because, deep within each of us we are proud that we as a nation stood up for our rights, yes we were greatly outnumbered, and really not trained to fight.  But, after awhile we got tired of being doormats and being told what to do by someone that did not seem to have our interests at heart (England and the monarchy) and we said…”NO MORE”!  When the common people, the farmers were picking up pitchforks and saying "no more", the aristocrats finally had justification to say “no more” and so they eloquently transcribed and alliterated for the rest of us what they imagined we were feeling since the majority of Americans at the time could not read or write.

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”  The Declaration of Independence.

I thought I might remind some of us what this weekend is really about.  Reading this document I realize that our own government, and political leaders need to read it and re-read it, and we as citizens should be reminded that deep in our bones, seeped in our marrow is a DNA that says…”We have rights, and if you violate these we will dissent”.

Did you know that in the year 2007, the Federal Government and military finally legally recognized our spiritual path as an equal and valid religion?  That they finally allowed us (Wiccans, Pagans, Witch's, etc) to have our military buried with our various symbols?  That was four years ago, and now we find we are entangled fighting for the rights of people in prison to be able to worship just as the other faiths.  On Jon Stuart not too long ago, David Barton a history revisionist openly stated that “other strange minority faiths like Wicca” should not be protected under the first amendment.  He feels that only the Judea-Christian faiths are what the founders had in mind.  What?  What do you mean?  Yeah, he said that…and of course Jon Stuart made him sound foolish, and yet he has not invited any of our political speakers like Starhawk, or Jason Pitzl-Waters, or even Selena Fox on his show to show the minority view.

Would you like to do something small to help independence today?  Would you like to really declare yourself independent today from the government that is now “doing to us almost all the things that the Monarchy of England was doing to the original Americans?”  Try this, start small.  Copy and paste this link and ask John Stuart to let us be represented… (I hate the concept of people making laws for us when we aren’t even represented don’t you?)  

Or support Patrick McCollun, there are many sights that are collecting for his legal fund join one and donate!  Did you know that he went to court and was met with this…”In January 2010, an amicus brief was filed by a group called the Wallbuilders, which asked the court to say that McCollum's suit has no merit at all, because the First Amendment applies only to monotheistic religions like Christianity, so a suit filed by Pagans should have no standing.” The courts listened to the Wallbuilders.  He has appealed, and now we have to wait and see what, if anything, will occur.  If you are Pagan you should be scared, and worried if this trend continues no matter what is on the books; we are being told by our own government that because we are not Christian…we do not matter.  If you are of any other minority faith, you too should be worried and scared because this can happen to you also!

Practice your faith, take the steps more than lighting incense or praying to deity…ACT on it, please walk your talk!  If we do not act, very quickly those little rights we acquired in 2007 will be swiftly taken away.

Eat fried chicken, enjoy a beer, ride water skis on the lake (not while drinking of course) get a tan, drink martinis, hug your Mamaw, shoot fireworks and hope the children don't burn down your house…but remember to assert your independence, and celebrate the spirit of America.  Make your forefathers proud!

Thank you for the gift of your time,

Rev. Sonya Miller