“Pagan” Values: or, Pax gets something off his chest

So I have finished the major work on the Pagan Values page, compiling links to  as many of the posts from the International Pagan Values Blogging Month as I can track down.   This compiling has been delightful because it has forced me to re-read the many posts and blessed me with finding some essays I missed the first time around.  I suspect I sill keep finding a few more until next years event, as I re-read and tweak the page and links.

I am also reading the excellent book The Other Side of Virtue by Dr. Brendan Myers, and a Penguin Classics collection of the writings of Cicero.  So the topic of Pagan values is still very much present in my mind and life right now.  I am also processing some ideas, and feelings, raised over the course of the IPVBM event.  I have been having some trouble with, and having a realization about,  the reactions that some folks had to my use of the word “Pagan”; and with my pairing the word “Pagan” with the word “Values”.

Cavalorn seemed to think that by using the word “Pagan” I was trying to imply that there is, or should be, or historically was, some sort of over-arcing “Pagan” religion?!   I tried to address this in a previous post, but as I say I’ve had a further realization.  Patti seemed to think that by merely discussing  the virtues, values, and ethics of the many forms of contemporary Paganism that it was implied or suggested that we should (or must) all have the EXACT SAME values, virtues, or ethics.  Labrys seemed to be of the opinion that in claiming certain values as being inspired by or present in contemporary Paganism some how ripped them out of the hands of other faiths or paths, or denied the fact that these paths have values (or value) themselves.

What I have realized is that what these articles and, coincidentally and deliciously, all of those tired old “our form or branch of Witchcraft/Heathenry/Hellenismos/Paganism/etc… is better/purer/right(as opposed to wrong) than yours” agruments… what ALL of them have in common is that they are firmly rooted in the dualism and dichotomy mindset of monotheism!

This is to be expected as most of us are currently residing in over cultures of monotheism, but still… ( Note to Self: what Sannion said…) Now that we’re Pagans do y’all think you could at least start examining pluralism,  as a world view?!?

This is to be expected as most of us are currently residing, and have been raised, in over cultures of monotheism, but still I am of the firm belief that Paganism in its many forms is more naturally inclined towards pluralism!

As Deborah Lipp wrote in one of her contributions…

“Fundamental to our values, I believe, is pluralism. Everything we believe, even the lines we draw in the sand, must be rooted in plurality. There are many gods, many paths, many truths.” ~ Pagan Values Month: Putting the “poly” in polytheism

Many Gods, many paths, many truths, many values, and many Paganisms!

(Pax heaves a happy and breathy sigh)

“I feel SO much better now!”

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Notes on the Journey (or Getting off my fanny once more…)

Dear Friends,

I took a walk today, for the first time in a long time.  Just a few blocks.  A few hot and sweaty blocks, even on an overcast afternoon.  Even though there are scrub pines throughout our neighborhood I was surprised at the scent of pine needle in the air.  I shouldn’t have been, but then again I have been so much of a slug since moving to Orlando, compared to all the walking I did in Anchorage.

I keep writing about, and thinking about, physical exercise and metaphisical/spiritual practice.  Yet when it comes to actually doing it I am making what I like to call intermittent progress.  Like the walk today, and the efforts I’ve been making to at least do a few laps in our pool each day.  And writing this entry…

I need to be writing regularly, especially if I am hoping to make some money off of this skill.

I did the first interview in what is going to be a regular series for the Thorn magazine website, and am getting to work on the next interview for the site, and my next column for the September issue.  I have been puttering away on different pages of the site.

I have not been getting scheduled very many hours at all at the cooks job at the park, no hours the last 3 weeks in fact, and have been filling out the applicable applications and looking at ways to improve my situation.  I am getting a food handling certification next month, or at least taking the class for it.  I am also going to be revamping my resume, and trying to arrange some informational interviews at companies I am interested in working for.

I will be writing here more regularly, now that I have a functioning computer and am in rehab for my recent encounter with the new version of Sid Meier’s Pirates…

Peace,

Pax

We Have Dreams Too…

So I was mucking around on Facebook and was turned onto this by Willow Witte from Join The Impact.  It’s a portion of a speech given by President Barack Obama at the NAACP’s Centenial Convention…

Some folks commented on the Facebook some things along the lines of “Why not now?”

I responded with…

“Presidential, or High Court, rulings are meaningless until we can get a clear majority of support across the Nation. Not that it wouldn’t be NICE mind you…. but still…. head to head, heart to hear, one on one until Freedom truly rings for us as well.”

I truly believe that.  The struggle for Civil Rights, whether for GLBT rights, or for Freedom of Religion, is not one that will be won solely through the declarations or rulings of law; Civil Rights and Equality will come about when our neighbors and friends and co-workers have an understanding of who and what we really are.

Whether the “we” is Queer or Pagan Truth is our sword and our shield in this struggle.

In looking through the net about Obama’s Speech I have also just found out about the National Equality March

Our One Single Demand:

Equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states. We will accept no less and will work until it is achieved. Equality Across America exists to support grassroots organizing in all 435 Congressional Districts to achieve full equality.

Equal Protection encompasses many issues, including:

  • Repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) so that every marriage in every state has the same federal rights.
  • Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell so that LGBT persons may serve in the military openly and with the same rights as their straight counterparts.
  • An end to workplace discrimination for everyone with an Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that protects everyone.
  • The right to adopt children and raise families like any other parents.
  • Hate Crimes legislation that includes LGBT people and protects us like any other targeted group.
  • Immigration reform that recognizes same-sex couples and ends the needless separation of families.

Our philosophy:

As members of every race, class, faith, and community, we see the struggle for LGBT equality as part of a larger movement for peace and social justice.

~From the Equality Across America website

Veritas, Justitia, Libertas,

I Invoke You,

Uncle Sam and Columbia,

I Summon, Stir, and Call Ye Forth,

Let Freedom Ring with the words

“Equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states.”

So Mote It Be!

Blog Consolidation and Opening to more topics

So I am thinking of consolidating my GLBT Civil Rights Blog Gay Marriage (or something like it) into Chrysalis…. I am also realizing how one dimensional my blogging has become, I need to bring all of my interests and passions to bear here, and IRL if I am to achieve my goals and dreams.  So expect some things on GLBT rights, and on Culinary Arts, and Unitarian Universalism, and Paganism and Community Building and all sorts of stuff…. right here.

I tend to focus on this blog, which was my first, anyway and I feel like if I write everything here I will end up writing, and thinking about all of my passions and interests, more.  So Heads up People!

Peace,

Pax

There’s a reason it’s called “Practice”

An not just because it helps us to perfect ourselves either, it’s because you have to keep doing it.  Whether it’s meditating in silence, or deep effective breathing, or going to the U.U. services, or Circling, or chanting, or praying… you’ve got to keep going at it and doing it… even on the days when you are tired or when time or money make it difficult…

Which is to say that this last Sunday I had to hammer down parts of myself and just GO to service.  I know I keep talking about it, but I think tomorrow is the day I stretch some of my spiritual muscles again.

The biggest hazard of the Solitary path is that the encouragement and example and inspiration of other grove members or coveners or church members is absent.  There’s this mix of eagerness to share and sense of responsibility with spiritual work in a group; it just makes it easier to get off one’s butt and DO!

At least it does for me, so expect more than a few posts of ramblings about my practice… in addition to my meditations on community, and some expansions into my other passions and interests….

Peace,

Pax

“Being part of a community involves building relationship.”

So I’ve started attending a Unitarian Universalist Church (info about the U.U.  here, here, and here) in my area.  They have a Pagan group but not a CUUPs Chapter.  There’s another U.U. Church in the area that has an active CUUPs chapter, but I know folks at the first Church through local Pagan events already. I’ve needed some real-world spiritual fellowship for a while now, and I hope that the U.U. will help me find it… so far I’ve been enjoying the experience.

I’ve tried finding that fellowship in my local Pagan community, in part through a local Pagan church / community organization; but while there are a number of good folks involved in that organization I really just haven’t found a good fit for myself in that group.  So I am still seeking fellowship.

I’ve tried attending a local meet-up or two but haven’t had much luck.  Some of the problem has been that my school and work schedules haven’t left me much time for anything else, now with the hard times hitting the theme-park industry I am being scheduled one or two days a week, if at all; and I have to very carefully pick and choose what I want to attend.  Some of this has also been due to the fact that all of the meet-ups in my area are of the ‘let’s-attend-a-lecture’ style of meet-up or social, which I cordially dislike.

The title for this essay comes from a sentence on the website of my chosen “local” U.U. church’s fellowship page.  I’ve been thinking about it a lot in the last week or so.  I have attended a few of the U.U. Sunday services and was made to feel welcome by everyone I encountered and it was obvious that there was a lot of thought and effort put into the newcomers experience of the service for those attending and for welcoming new folks.

I haven’t always encountered the same level of welcome, and ease of interaction, in Pagan venues.  This has me thinking about how we in the Pagan movement seek to build community.  It sometimes seems that building community or group relationships is one of the biggest challenges we in the Pagan movement have in creating Pagan community.

This sentence has me thinking about Paganism and the communities I have been in and encountered and of the building of relationships.

More on this theme soon…

Peace,

Pax