Goddess, Education, Magick and Spirituality

When you hear someone say anything about the Feminine Divine, what do you think of? What does it mean to our contemporary society in all the various stages and aspects of life?

The Feminine Divine is about returning to nature, about harmony in both the masculine and feminine, yin and yang re-united in balance, about moving forward in our community together.

The Temple of the Feminine Divine is a church located in Bangor, Maine that was founded with the belief that only when the feminine divine is revered equally with the masculine divine there can be balance and equality in human relations, in nature, and upon Mother Earth.

In 1998 Kay Gardner (1942 -2002) and Ruth Barrett co-led 26 women on the Magic, Music and Mystery Tour to England and Ireland. One of their stops was the Fellowship of Isis at Clonegal Castle in Eniscorthy, Ireland. After returning home, Kay decided to start a formal priestess/priest training program in Bangor.  The Temple of the Feminine Divine was officially established and recognized as a church by the State of Maine on November 1, 2001. It was Kay’s dream for the Goddess to once again be worshiped equally with the God. Today, the Temple of the Feminine Divine continues to be a source of support, worship, balance, learning, growing and support to our community.

On November 9th, 7:00 PM at the Next Generation Theater in Brewer, the Temple of the Feminine Divine’s Iseum Musicum class of 2013 is proud to bring you, “G.E.M.S-Goddess, Education, Magick and Spirituality,” an evening of talks, song and drama illuminating the aspects of the feminine divine. G.E.M.S. will be featuring: Reverand Anu Dudley, Ph.D.; Hugh Curran, Ph.D; Women With Wings; Cynthia Swan, M.Ed., LMT, Storyteller; and Veronica Moonstream WolfEagle, RSW, MSW, BFNAC. The night of entertainment will be: “Defining ‘Feminine’ in the Feminine Divine”, “Feminine Divinities in Celtic Tradition”, “Feminine Tradition in the Modern Context”, Songs and Chants of the Goddess, and a dramatic reading featuring some of the members of the current Iseum Class.

Tickets are a suggested donation of $10, more if you have it, less if you don’t. Pre-sale tickets are available by calling the Temple at 207-941-0261 or by speaking to an Iseum Musicum class member. There will be refreshments and a cash bar available.

The Temple of the Feminine Divine is a legally recognized church with ordained clergy and offers public ritual for the eight Pagan seasonal celebrations, as well as a library, meditation space, and religious counseling. They also host the Iseum Musicum, a three-year program culminating in legally recognized ordination. Trained clergy are available to do hand-fastings, welcoming newborns, funerals, and all other rites of passage.

Public rituals on the eight Pagan seasonal celebrations are held at the U.U. Church in Bangor, Maine. Rituals follow the Wheel of the Year, and are generally held on the day of the festival at 7 p.m. All genders, faiths, and ages are welcome. For more information, www.templeofthefemininedivine.org; or on Facebook; email webgoddessess@templeofthefemininedivine.org or call TOFD 207-941-0261.

 

 

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Ethical Consuming

I have been meditating on the ethics of consuming. We as living beings have to consume to live. It is in our nature to use tools, to feed, to create art, to procreate, to preserve and pass on knowledge to the next generation. We are part of the cycle of life. We consume. It is natural.

That said, as a species, our consuming is creating massive environmental disaster. Currently, the rate of species extinction is 100 – 1000 times higher than what we see in the fossil records. There is no place on Earth where the effect of humans isn’t felt. The human population just keeps growing. In my short life of almost 46 years, the population has doubled! Three and a half billion is now seven billion! And everyone keeps consuming. As I said, it is in our nature to live – and living requires consuming.

So where do we draw the line, ethically speaking, when it comes to consuming? Obviously we can’t continue as we have. Within a few decades we will reach the limits of Mother Earth, and then will come the inevitable collapse (and it will be ugly). So how to live now? What is okay and what is not okay? What is the ethical question we need to ask when we consume? My mentor posed this question: “Would it be okay if everyone was did what I am about to do?”

Think on this in all aspects of your life. What if everyone bought what I am about to buy? What if everyone took out of the environment what I am about to take? One quickly realizes that almost everything we consume is unethical.

So how do we live? That I can’t answer for you. Sometimes I wonder if we should live at all. Obviously Nature cannot support the current population; much less the geometric growth we are achieving. But to me, while I have something to offer, while I can make a difference, living is the ethical choice. When I don’t have these things anymore, it is time to stop living and give my body back to the Earth.

We as a species need to fight our own nature when it comes to consuming and procreation. We can do this. We do this all the time. The sex drive is huge. Do we sleep with anyone who says yes? No, we don’t. We negotiate relationship. Most everyone is monogamous. We control the instinct. So I know we can control the urge to consume. We need to separate need from desire. And the most important place we need to do this is in the desire to have children. There is no need to breed. Giving the current state of our beloved Earth, we have to stop procreating. We can do this consciously or we can let Nature do this cataclysmically. Either way, we will have to lower the population. All ethics aside, we have no choice.

These are heavy truths that most people just do not want to think about. We do everything in this country to avoid talking about it. We still have fertility clinics for people to whom Nature has said, “don’t breed.” And we interfere. We add more people when all over the globe there are millions and millions of children who need a home. We have a cult of life in this country. People spend endless resources to prolong life. This time is paid for by the environment. We fear death so much, we sell off our children’s future to avoid it. It is time for this culture to stop making death the enemy. Death is a friend that allows the cycle of life to continue. I forget who said this but it is so wise: “Life shouldn’t be measured by the length but rather by the breadth.”

Why I am writing this depressing stuff? What does this have to do with Druidry? For me it has everything to do with my spiritual life. Learning to live in sacred relationship to the Earth is what this is all about. And the Earth is telling me something. I think we as Pagans can lead the culture in establishing a new paradigm where we walk within the bounds of Nature; considering our actions; considering the future generations; working to restore the ecosystems; ending consumerism; and honoring all aspects of Nature as sacred (especially the importance of death which is currently the enemy of the cult of life). We can do this. We as people whose entire religion is based in Nature, should lead the way forward. If we don’t, who will?

Blessings of peace and simplicity,
Snowhawke /|\

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Review: The Enchanted Map Oracle Cards

The Enchanted Map Oracle Cards by author Colette Baron-Reid and artist Jena DellaGrottaglia is a fairly new deck with a strong presence. It was released in 2011 and is distributed all over the world, and it is easy to see why! The cards represent concept words/phrases with vivid, dream-like images. These image and word pairings invite you travel to a different world and delve deeply into your psyche to guide you.

This deck contains 54 cards and a small guidebook. The cards are gilded and laminated with a silky finish. The art on the back of the cards is a drawing of a compass with astrological symbols etched around it and bursting with light from its center.

Truthfully, this deck is worth owning for the artwork alone. The images are so captivating that I highly suggest that you read through the guidebook once, and then just put it away. I have found that the magick of this oracle is that the artist’s fantastical landscapes will draw you in and show you possibilities and pathways.

I recommend that you shuffle the cards well and then spread them all face-down on a table. Run your “receiving” (non-dominant) hand across the cards slowly until you come to a card that makes the tips of your fingers tingle. Select that card, because it has a message for you right now.  Read the card’s guiding words or phrase to ponder as you relax into a comfortable seated position and close your eyes.

In your mind’s-eye, imagine the card slowly expanding into a portal or doorway in front of you. You can step into the card’s realm through the portal and journey to its far-away land. Spend some time here, looking at all the creatures, plants, people, and the landscape itself. What messages do you receive from them?  How does what you see relate to the words on the card itself? What are the connections to your life?

When you are ready, imagine the card’s portal opening once more. Step across the threshold, and you will be returned safely to your own sacred space, carrying with you the new insight and personal revelations your card has shared with you. Allow these images and ideas to settle into your mind for a few minutes, and then write them down in a journal. You may not fully understand them at first, but with time, their meaning may become more apparent.

Of course, you can look up the card’s “meaning” in the guidebook that comes with the deck, but I guarantee you that your journey experience within the card is going to be far more relevant than what any booklet can tell you. Not to say that the “meanings” that the author has attributed are wrong or not thoughtful, but that your mind is the best interpreter with an oracle reading of this nature.

Feel free to share your journey with us here at EarthTides! We’d love to hear from you!

Here’s some links for more information about this oracle:

Author’s website: http://www.colettebaronreid.com/en/

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Samhain Prayer

 

In this night

where veils are thinnest

and the cries of our Beloved Dead

can be heard across waves of time,

think upon the past,

see where your feet have trodden,

and learn from the landmarks and trail blazes you left behind.

 

In this night

when Harvest is over,

abundance is gathered and cold awaits,

look to the future,

plan and ponder,

but lose not yourself in the dreaming that is so tempting on these long nights.

 

In this night

where past and present linger

and beings open up to the worlds beyond,

pay homage, do honor,

and count your blessings,

for the waves of time roll on with or without us as we pilot our own boats on this sea of life.

 

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Samhain

 

Today is Blessed Samhain,

And harvest-time is done.

The leaves and fruits have fallen;

Less warmly shines the sun.

The days are crisp and windy,

The nighttime brisk and clear.

Full bellies and full larders –

We slumber without fear.

 

We light the sacred fires

To celebrate this time

And drum the Earth’s own heartbeat

With songs and chants in rhyme.

We sing the Mother’s praises

And send Her off to sleep

And speak of our ancestors

Safely in Her keep.

 

The Reaper does his duty,

His sharpened sickle bright,

His bony charger treading

The quiet streets this night.

The souls of dear departed

The Summerland to find –

And Death collects them, one and all,

So none are left behind.

 

Cry welcome to the spirits

Of our Beloved Dead –

We share with them sweet water

And break the new-made bread.

We share as well the stories,

The memories and tales

That make our dead ones live again

With love that never fails.

 

This last day of the old year

To neither time belongs,

And in a place that’s not a place

We chant the sacred songs.

And in the holy Circle,

From first light unto last,

With laughter and remembrance,

We speak of times gone past.

 

So come ye now to Samhain,

Elder, youth, and bairn.

With loving thoughts and kindness,

Set a stone upon the cairn.

Then clasp the hand beside you,

For soon we shall depart,

And keep the days of Autumn

Full deep within your hearts.

 

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Freedom in the Darkness

In many pagan traditions, Samhain is the New Year. In my own tradition of Druidry, this is not the case. As Druidry is a religion of Nature, all our holidays are but a time to gather to honor its tides, and the flow of the seasons. And our holidays reflect what is happening in the landscape. They are designed to bring us into a more conscious awareness of the cycles of change that are happening all around us in Nature.

For the druid, the new cycle of growth begins at Yule with the return sun at the Winter Solstice. The days begin to lengthen and we are infused with hope for a new cycle of growth. The long darkness begins to abate. Yes a long Winter is still ahead but after the tides appear to stand still, a tiny shift happens and we can begin to see a new current flowing in the landscape, each day bringing a little more light.

In the Druid tradition, Samhain is viewed as a tide. I often refer to this as the Samhain tide instead of just Samhain, as it denotes a period of time instead of just a moment. Nature isn’t beholden to our human calendar. While we may celebrate Samhain on October 31st, that isn’t usually the case for the druid. The Samhain tide begins when Natural death comes to the landscape. It begins when the first killing frost hits. While at Alban Elfed (Welsh/Brythonic pronounced elved, it is the autumn equinox, meaning “light of autumn,” the celebration of the harvest), we consciously kill as we harvest the food we have planted, slaughter the animals we have raised for food, or gather wild mushrooms in the forest. This killing is a choice. At Samhain, Nature does the killing. The growth cycle has ended for the year – no matter if we would have it be otherwise. It is done.

Yet as Nature brings death to the year of growth, a new cycle has decidedly not started. Nature doesn’t work that way where one moment it is one way, then the next it is another. Nature moves in tides. The returning of the sun isn’t for another few months. Yet the days are still growing darker. The power of darkness so prevalent in these Northern climates becomes palpable. It is the strongest force of Nature moving through the landscape – ignore it at your own risk. And it continues to gather strength until we begin to doubt the days will ever grow longer. We feed the fire and ride out this time of unknowing. The time of growth ended, yet no new cycle has started. In Druidry, the Samhain tide is viewed as a time of chaos.

Chaos is powerful energy. At the edge of chaos is where we find the most complexity in Nature. This is a scientific observation. And I also see this within my own soul – at the edges of it are all the complexities of relationship. Diving into the processes of my own psyche and into the processes of my own soul during the Samhain tide is so freeing. As I dream in the darkness, not needing to worry about beginning anything, simply mirroring Nature and what is going on in the landscape, I frequently discover much that was hidden. I don’t dream small. I dare to dream without limits. I can completely let go of preconceptions of what is possible in life. This is the gift of the Samhain tide. This is the gift of chaos.

We dive headlong into Cerridwen’s cauldron of transformation and we are transformed. We let go of the past. Like a serpent sheds its skin, we shed our outdated images of who we are. We let go of the preconceptions we have in our relationships as well, letting others be free from the boxes we try to hold them in. The Samhain tide is an opportunity to go back to source and come out the other side freed from chains of our own creation. Samhain is death. And death is the source of all that is. Metaphorically speaking, the Samhain tide is our chance to walk willing into death and free ourselves of the constraints of all the fixed patterns of our life. Samhain, more than any other of our holidays, is about freedom.

We are often like leaves shaking in the wind, holding on to all that is known. During this Samhain tide, I invite you all to let go. Nature will force us to anyway, but there is power in choice. So my pagan brothers and sisters, let’s flow with Nature, let’s stop fighting the currents, let’s dive headlong into the darkness and embrace this time of change. Let’s swim in the liquid Awen held within her cauldron. Let’s dream without limits and let go of the need to ‘know.’ Now is a time of chaos and unknowing. Let’s dance with forces of death. Let’s be free.

Blessings of transformation,
Snowhawke /|\

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Faerie Tidings: A Feast for the Faerie Kin

The rain sounds like a thousand footsteps, all around the edges of the clearing. Fog drifts through and among the standing stones. We can feel the tangible presence of our ancestors. Finishing our rites, we carefully pack up our baskets and satchels; there will be no stargazing this Samhain Eve. It’s cold, wet, and windy, and our cozy cottage beckons us back down the hill.

We spy some moistened mushrooms at the edge of the path, gleaming in our lantern light.

During our meditative communion with our ancestors, we were inspired to create a delectable feast for them. As we crunch our way back to the cottage, we eagerly imagine all the delicious dishes and desserts we’ll be making tonight to honor our faerie kin.

We spy some moistened mushrooms at the edge of the path, gleaming in our lantern light. We harvest a few as accents for the feast, leaving a shiny silver coin as an offering. Nearer the stream, we find patches of fresh greens still poking their heads out amongst the copper pine needles and brown oak leaves. As we near the cottage, we gently pluck bronze pears from one of our favorite trees, thanking it for the pie we’ll soon create.

The three cats are huddled in the barn door, mostly out of the rain, awaiting our return. We share a pear with Maude the donkey, making sure she’s all settled in for the night. Then we open the cottage door for the rain-bespeckled cats, who twine happily around our feet in greeting, wiping their damp fur on our legs. We give thanks that we remembered our water-resistant cloaks, as we shake them off and set them by the newly-rekindled fire to dry.

We put on hot water for steaming mugs of vanilla tea, and then begin to take an inventory of the pantry, preparing for our marathon in the kitchen. We nibble a few roasted nuts as we merrily discuss our plans. We have apples and honey for pie, and plenty of squash, potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, and beets. It sounds like a root stew is in order! We’ll also bake some bread, as we know our ancestors love to break it with us. And we’ll crack open the new wheel of cheese that Farmer Brown brought us yesterday, cutting through its beeswax shell.

We start chopping the veggies and sliding them off the wooden cutting board into a big black cauldron. Flour flies as we prepare the crusts for the apple and pear pies. A stray rolling pin slips off the table and makes its way across the floor, startling the orange cat into licking his paws in surprise. The greens and mushrooms we found will be sautéed into a wilted salad and dressed with our own apple cider vinegar and dried chives, fennel, and walnut.

Our bellies rumble, so we slice off a wedge of the cheese to share. As the dough rises and the pies bake and the stew bubbles, we prepare our dining space. We pull our best table linens from a nearby trunk and shake them out. One of the black cats finds a comfy spot inside the trunk, so we decide to leave the lid open for now.

Placing the tablecloth on our long table, we add place settings, napkins, and our centerpiece – Great-Aunt Eleanor’s crystal ball. Next, we add an arrangement of colorful candles and a garland of yellow mums. We put out our best fluted glasses, to be filled with some honey mead we saved for just such an occasion.

Soon, as if by magick, the fantastic feast is ready to eat! We serve out generous helpings onto each plate and pour the mead. There are no lively musicians and excited neighbors joining us this time; this feast is to share with our ancestors beyond the veil. As we sit down at our places, we can hear a distant haunting melody as if coming from the hills around the cottage.

We propose a toast to the ancestors and offer them their places at this Samhain feast. With blessings said, we quietly enjoy our own portion of the delicious meal we’ve prepared. The cats are all asleep by the fire, and we too soon begin to drowse. Dimming the candles, we make our way upstairs to bed and say a fond goodnight to our faerie kin. We leave their plates full, to be enjoyed at their leisure.

As morning dawns, we hear noises from downstairs. The cats are all snuggled up with us, sleeping soundly. Deciding to investigate, we tiptoe down the stairs. All the plates on the table are empty now, and sparkling clean. Noticing a gleam on one of them, we discover a bright shiny silver coin. We laugh in delight – the faerie ancestors have enjoyed their Samhain feast!

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Samhain

 

The season of death and of endings is here

And with it comes doubtfulness, worries and fear.

But trust in the Lady and trust in the Lord

As we all move toward Samhain with a single accord.

The pumpkins we carved, now all glowing and orange,

The grand, creepy sound of an old creaking door hinge.

Slithering shadows and sneaky black cats,

Whispering breezes and high-swooping bats;

Fairies and monsters with wings on their backs,

Ghosties and goblins are running in packs.

Kids all in costumes who run door to door –

Pagans, we know what this night’s really for!

Do divination and play party games,

Knowing that folks ‘round the world do the same.

Visiting ancestors’ gravesites and mounds,

Blessing the Earth and Her soon-sleeping grounds.

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On Pagan Politics: Weaving Together Our Communities, Lifestyles, and History

Here in the US, we are nearing election day. Many of my friends in the Maine Pagan community are working tirelessly in various campaigns they believe in – some are supporting the “Gay Marriage” initiative on the ballot, others are supporting candidates they believe have the best chance to give them the future they envision, and a few are even running for office themselves.

But this is not the “pagan politics” I wish to address in this article. Rather, I wish to begin with an image. It comes from an extraordinary gathering, a recent event called The Weaving, which was to be a visioning for the Maine Pagan community, in how we come together as a tribe.

Photo by Aracos, www.bardtographer.com

This photo shows the fire from the event, and will serve as a metaphor for this discussion. By the time this photo had been taken, it had been burning for hours and hadn’t required anyone to tend it. This style of self-feeding fire is called an upside-down fire (I’ve also heard it called a pyramid fire and a council fire). Once it is built with the proper structure and the tinder is ignited, the fire will burn unattended for several hours. In an upside-down fire, the largest logs are at the bottom, with the next largest logs laid perpendicular on top of the bottom layer, and so on, all the way to the top which contains twigs of kindling and then the tinder bundle at the very top. The key to an upside-down fire is structure; the logs must come together in the right way, leaning on one another. When this structure is accomplished, and with a good tinder bundle to get the fire going, the fire becomes self-sustaining and will burn for a long time – several hours – without requiring maintenance.

I beg your indulgence at this clumsy extended metaphor – but I see the pagan community in the same light. If we come together with the right structure where we lean on one another, the smallest spark of inspiration will ignite the community and allow it to provide warmth and light with very little additional labor.

How a society is structured – even a disparate, “herding cats” society such as the Maine pagans – is the most fundamental question of politics. But I shall take this a step further and say that “paganism” is inherently political; indeed the very name “pagan” was created, and came into widespread use, as a result of politics.

I take great delight in the phrase: “Pagan” is Latin for “Redneck.” The humor in this expression is both a resonant, truthful image, and a great icebreaker for those “oh, so you’re a pagan… what’s that?” conversations. The Latin paganus means “country-dweller” – the term was created and came into widespread use during the Roman Empire, to describe those alienated from civilization and the great city of Rome. “Country-dweller” means more than just one who lives in the country. It also involves “dwelling,” which is a certain way-of-being, an attentiveness-to and attunement-with one’s natural environment; the meaning is much deeper than just where your primary shelter happens to be. There is a connection between one’s daily existence and the location; the land, with all its rhythms and cycles, becomes a sacred place within which to dwell. In urban environments, attunement-with the land and its natural rhythms is the most fundamentally pagan way-of-being to disappear. Nature began to be systematically abstracted within the new urban Rome. The term “pagan” began to describe other people, who had either already been, or would be conquered next.1

For more than a thousand years, use of the term grew, laying the groundwork for systemic oppression for the pagans, the witches, and the savages. We became Other, and suspicion and fear of pagans was rewarded in the dominant monoculture.

Labeling and persecuting those connected to Nature culminated in The Burning Times, which were also a monumental time of transition at the very birth of present-day Western culture:

In this “century of geniuses”—Bacon, Kepler, Galileo, Shakespeare, Pascal, Descartes—a century that saw the triumph of the Copernican Revolution, the birth of modern science, and the development of philosophical and scientific rationalism, witchcraft became one of the favorite subjects of debate for the European intellectual elites. Judges, lawyers, statesmen, philosophers, scientists, theologians all became preoccupied with the “problem,” wrote pamphlets and demonologies, agreed that this was the most nefarious crime, and called for its punishment.2

The Witch hunts. Wholesale slaughter of entire populations, mostly women, put to horrible deaths and suffering. Why? What was behind the witch hunts? Why was it so important for the Establishment power structures to cultivate a deep, cultural, and popular fear of the witch—much like the “terrorist” of today? At the same time that the prevailing worldview was turning to those core values we hold so dear today—the scientific revolution, the Enlightenment, the Reformation, and the rise of capitalism—there were also some of the most brutal examples of oppression and genocide ever witnessed, a fact that remains the paradox of our age.

In addition, the witch hunts were one of the first examples of a globalized assertion of power greater than the nation-state, as they occurred all over Europe in a time of great national division and antipathy:

“both Catholic and Protestant nations, at war against each other in every other respect, joined arms and shared arguments to persecute witches. Thus, it is no exaggeration to claim that the witch-hunt was the first unifying terrain in the politics of the new European nation-states, the first example, after the schism brought about by the Reformation, of a European unification. For, crossing all boundaries, the witch-hunt spread from France and Italy to Germany, Switzerland, England, Scotland, and Sweden.”3

Together, these shifts in thinking, along with the accompanying violence and oppression justified by the new thinking, banished the pagans from their sacred lands, and forced them into urban domesticity and wageslavery. Since the witch hunts, to be pagan is, by definition, to be political, in the sense that we have resisted – and must continue to resist – the centuries-old history of genocide, oppression, torture, displacement, enclosure, slavery, and coercion that has been imposed by force. The smell of smoke lingers even today from this extraordinary turning point in our history.

It was not the theology or the “faith” of the pagans that were targeted in these systematic repressions. Indeed, evidence of pagan traditions and beliefs are too numerously extant for this to be the case, from Easter-egg hunts to Christmas trees to Yule logs to maypole dancing to Halloween to Groundhog’s Day. No, the target of these attacks were the very structure of society, the pagan values and ethos that people had lived under for centuries. Most of the countless “witches” burned at the stake4 were single women, who owned land and practiced the old ways of healing, spiritual mentorship, public counsel, in competition with the clergy of the church and the aristocracy. After their burning, with the acrid smoke fresh in the air, their lands and property were seized, and over time their practices were wiped out as allopathic medicine and capitalist modes of production became dominant.

In 2012, we pagans are more than ever a conquered people. Our “paganism” has been reduced to a pale reflection of the old ways in the form of rituals, most of which were re-imagined in the 20th century, with a handful of competing claims of unbroken lineages of pagan groups or families. For many of us, once the romantic appeal of these forgotten rites wore off, we began to see that they have a certain air of antiquatedness to them. It’s not that the rites are not historically valid (I will leave it to others to continue this debate), but today we live in a very different context than did our ancestors, the pagans of old. Nearly all modern pagans are domesticated urbanites, who would struggle to survive without the conveniences of civilization. The old ways are, for us, an abstraction, something we must apply our skills of imagination and visualization to bear on if we wish to engage them. Yet when we manage to listen to our inner voices and relate authentically with our ecosystem, we hear the same consistent, steady whisper: get closer to nature. Something is wrong. You have forgotten something very important. Not only do the power structures of civilization dominate all facets of our being, but they are destroying the planet to sustain themselves.

The fact that relationship-with-Nature is fundamental to our metaphysics, ethics, and theologies demands that we “dirty our hands” with politics, even if we ignore our history and reject the understanding that we as pagans are a conquered people. We pagans have known for centuries that the dominant paradigm is not sustainable, is irreverent and careless with the gifts of nature, seeing her as something to exploit rather than to be in relationship-with.

Political dialogue and practice in America is broken, at least to the extent that it all-too-quickly decays into partisan bickering and name-calling. While politicians on the Left and the Right blame one another, the system marches on, and 200 more species on the planet go extinct each day.5 Paganism offers a bottom-up politic that will, if we lead the way, offer a path forward to restore the pagan values that have been lost and suppressed for 500 years, stop the assault on our planet so that our ecosystems can begin to heal, and have a prayer of restoring balance to the world.

Whatever forms pagan ways-of-being will take in 2012 and beyond, they must begin and end with relationship. The existing top-down political system does not serve us, and will not be there for us as things continue to deteriorate. We pagans will need each other, and this need will only be foregrounded as more and more people are left with fewer answers and less support from the infrastructures of civilization. We pagans are suited toward bottom-up community building, and this sort of Pagan politics, where people lean on one another to sustain themselves like a long-burning fire, can be a beacon of hope to the wider world.

Notes

1   I am acutely aware of the complex relationship between modern pagans – especially white pagans who are part of the dominant culture – and indigenous people. In many ways, I don’t differentiate much between the two groups, because despite the history of brutal oppression the indigenous people have suffered, I believe our goals now are complementary at the very least. My broad conception of paganism – those who seek honorable relationship with nature – welcomes anyone for whom this is the case, no matter their racial heritage, personal history, etc. I will leave deeper analysis to others; it is beyond the scope of this article.

2   Silvia Federici, Caliban & The Witch, (New York: Autonomedia, 2004) p. 168.

3   Federici, 169.

4   Burning at the stake was both an unimaginably horrible way to die as well as a public spectacle, designed to incite fear about what happened to people who practiced the old ways.

5   This theme of mass extinction is explored in detail in Aric McBay, Lierre Keith, & Derrick Jensen, Deep Green Resistance (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2011).

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The Reaper

 

Autumn has come in all of its glory;

The evening shadows grow deeper.

Bounty is won, and low sinks the sun

As everything waits for the Reaper.

 

Turkey and pheasant and duck on the wing

Never know when Archer’s arrows will sing.

Deer in the field stand ready to run,

Waiting the sound of the Huntsman’s gun.

 

The sun starts His yearly descent into death

As Earth turns from giver to keeper.

Like a child at the breast, we start into our rest —

And everything waits for the Reaper.

 

Apples stand waiting in bushel and sack

To someday be applesauce, cider and jack.

Wheat turns to flour and barley to beer –

The Green Man has done all His growing this year.

 

Cellars and larders are bursting with bounty —

Nothing on branch, root, or creeper.

Growing is done; the harvest begun —

Now everything waits for the Reaper.

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Filed under Pagan, Poetry