Spirals and Arcs

“Let us remember that the arc of a moral universe is long

but it bends toward justice.”

~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 1962

In this season when so many of us will be remembering our own Ancestors and a variety of Honored and Beloved Dead, casting Circles,  dancing in Spirals; it is both funny and synchronous I now find myself contemplating an Arc.

It started as I was surfing through FaceBook  the other day, and someone had posted about how they couldn’t believe that they were seeing GLBT folks being added to Federal Hate Crimes legislation here in the U.S.  They were surprised, and amazed and overjoyed, to see it happening in their lifetime.  I am glad for them, and a little saddened that it should come as such a surprise to folks.

I am really not all that shocked or surprised at this development.  As a Pagan and a Gay man I have seen a lot of changes already in my lifetime.  I was born in March of 1972.  Later that year the American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, its authoritative list of mental disorders and illnesses.

Surprised?  No.  Gladdened, yes; and heartened, and inspired to pick up some torches I had dropped recently,  but not surprised.  I AM surprised that it took so many average people of conscience so long to see the rightness of equal rights and human rights, but we humans can be pretty dense sometimes.   I am something of an idealist, or so I have been told, and I have every expectation that I will see true GLBT equality, and Gay Marriage, in my lifetime; because these  are right and true causes rooted in morality, honor, love, and justice.

As the example of Dr. King, and the U.S. Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s shows, when people of conscience and faith gather around shared values they can change the world for the better.  We can change the world for the better.  So now, in this season of Samhain,  when I remember and seek ways to honor the memories and spirits of my Beloved and Honored Dead; I find my mind turning to those causes of equality and justice and rights that some of them lived and died to help bring about.  I find myself wondering…

“What can I do?  What can we in the Pagan community do?”

(And YES, as a matter of fact I did go there, I DID say that oh SO scandalous “C”-word!)

I have said here before, among other places, that Paganism is a religious, spiritual, and social movement made up of several overlapping and intertwined religious and regional communities.  Recently I am debating about that definition with myself.  Juniper from Walking the Hedge made some excellent points in An Open Letter to the Pagan Community that, Yes, we are a community actually and could we please stop arguing that point and look at how we could be a better and more functioning one please?

Yewtree over at the dance of the elements bog, in her post on Community among Pagans and Unitarians, makes the point about how Unitarians (British cousins to the Unitarian Universalists) who, like U.U.’s are of many faiths, gather around and covenant within and are unified into beloved community by shared values and principles and moral beliefs.   I know that part of why I have become a Unitarian Universalist is that going to Services and seeking to covenant around the Principles of Unitarian Universalism allows me to better act upon and live  the virtues and values I have embraced as a Witch.  These facts and this ability of U.U.’s to covenant and create beloved community based on shared values was, I now realize, part of what inspired the 2009 IPVBM.

We are a Community and we share similar and interwoven and interconnected values.  We do not all share the exact same list, nor should we, but our lists and their key points have enough in common that I think we could engage in a little forgiveness about past infighting and Pagan drama and work together in service of our many Gods, living our values and faiths, and stand up for what is right and honorable and true and loving and good; so, inspired by the example of some of the Honored Dead, what should we do?

Beth Owl’s Daughter reminds us that Freedom of Religion is one of those Rights that is not simply handed to us, we must be willing to stand up and invoke and protect our rights.  Even with legal protections in place we can face hardship and injustice simply for our faiths.

In a similar vein, T. Thorn Coyle in her blog post for IPVBM 2009, observed that we in the U.S. have let much of our public policy debates fall to the arguments of (predominantly) Christian Conservatives and Secular Liberals.  Where is the diversity of voices one would expect in the Great American Melting Pot?

Here in the U.S. 1 in every 8 people is going hungry, and across the U.S. and the world, poverty and the recession are hitting folks harder and harder.

Then too, there are those who seek to line their pockets and fill their pews while stepping over the blood and bones of children and helpless old women.

What would our Ancestors think of thse things?  What DO our many  Goddesses and Gods think of that?   Do such things serve the All That Is?  Most importantly, what are WE as people of conscience, and values, and many faiths; what shall we do about these things?

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Happy Samhaintide!

Hey folks,

This is especially aimed at dear Jonathan, who mentioned he hadn’t seen Fantaisia 2000 !?!

So of course It racked this down online, watched a few times, wept like a baby for a little bit, felt better and now I am going to bed…  maybe I need to get a bunch of sad movies and be weepy for a bit?  Might do my spirit some good!

and… YES… I KNOW that the Springy vibe might strike some of you as more Beltainey and weird for Samhain (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) but living in this Sub-Tropical Wonderland that is Florida, somehow the Springy vibe fits with themes of Life, Death, and Renewal.

Peace

Pax

Still here…

So I am trying to blog here regularly, and to work through my journaling and self-improvement efforts.  I am also trying to pull together an article for Thorn.

…I just have been having trouble finding my creativity or my passion….

I breathe deeply, in through the nose and out through my mouth, taking in breath and energy into my heart chakra and into my Center, somewhere in between my base and my sacral chakras.   I see myself in my Witches Cottage, my own special place of imagination and magic… that I sometimes flatter myself to believe is on the Astral Plane.  I see myself sweeping and cleaning and moping and picking things up and … somone else is doing some work on the door and part of the roof… as big storm came through but its still there.

…and so am I.  So is my creativity… even if I am having trouble reaching into it.

I am also listening to my podcasts, including the new Spiritscast from Feithline Stuart, the podcaster formerly known as Darkly Fey of the Darkside of Fey with her fabulous new podcast….  And I’ve lately been listening to the Pagan Centered Podcast.

… I’ve started taking an interest in things again… been trying to catch the news again, and searching out the blogs… and just trying to get involved in things again.  I made it back to services at Church recently, and had a delightful conversation with Mama Rhaevyn recently….
Things are getting better and going good!

Spreading the word on a couple of items…

First off, news that Isaac Bonewits has been hospitalized, send prayers and spells for those that do them!

Next up there’s a story over at Wild Hunt that details a lawsuit by a former Bath & Body Works employee who was fairly clearly fired for her Religious beliefs is stirring up comments and a good argument for the Pagan community examining how and were we spend out Pagan dollars.

(Note to self, rant on building a Pagan Economy….)

Technicolor Morning, a remembrance.

Dear Friends and Pagani,

So, as previously mentioned, I am re-reading and working through the journaling and meditations in Kissing The Limitless by T. Thorn Coyle.

One of the journaling and thought excericises in the book relates to examining what, when, and how we are discouraged or allow ourselves to give in to fear and discouragement.  In addition to taking a moment to breath, and to examine these impulses and then move forward anyway, one of the things Thorn recommends is to find an image that inspires you and think upon it when wrestling with these moments of self-doubt or self-defeat.

Here, today, in the interest of writing again and getting of my Blogging-self’s butt, is mine.


Anchorage, Alaska.  September 2001.  It was a week or so after September 11th.

I had woken up early and taken the bus to a local tea shoppe that I was frequenting at the time.  I stepped off the bus and into Glory….

Anchorage is a town situated between the Cook Inlet and Mountains, in a glacial bowl valley.  The sun was rising from behind the mountains to the East, and there were two cloud banks, one in the sky above the mountains, and another laying low at the mountains base.  The rays of the dawning Sun were bouncing between the two cloud banks and were gently and perfectly diffused bathing every atom and cell in the Anchorage bowl in a glorious golden Technicolor light.  Shapes were more defined, colors were perfect and vivid, the light just penetrated my body and bathed my very soul in light, and hope, and a moment of Grace. Everything… Every.  Blessed.  Thing.  Looked new and clean and beautiful!

I call this the Technicolor morning and I mean it, it was like an image from a movie, the only thing missing was an orchestral and ethereal choir singing of the wonder and beauty of the world.


So these days when I feel discouraged or doubtful, I turn my mind to my Technicolor Morning.  Where do you turn your mind?

Peace,

Pax

October, Autumn, and Samhaintide

So, of course, it’s been Autumn here in Orlando for a while now…. but because of an unseasonably warm September and October we haven’t really felt it until a recent cold front brought the sudden onslaught of overnight temps in the 50’s and daytime temps in the windy 60’s and low 70’s..

Now I realize that some of you are reading that last sentence and shouting at the computer screen…

“Cry me a river, Pax!”

…you must understand that to have the change occur suddenly, is most of the shock effect.  Mind you it is quite amazing how chilly those temperatures, once spring timey and delightful to my Alaskan raised self, can seem after a few summers of daytime highs in the upper 90’s with 90% humidity!

Never the less Autumn has officially arrived and the Live-Oaks are dropping a few of their leaves in subtle reference to Autumn and Winter and the Turning of the Wheel of the Year.  Samhaina nd the Holidays are approaching and I am looking forward to finding some new ways of celebrating them both on my own and with dear friends old and new.

(and yes, Jonathan, the fabulous new bf too!!)

With the Autumn has also come some changes in my work situation.  I am now working the Night Audit at a Motel.  This means working from 11pm-7am on a regular basis.  I am actually welcoming this as it is not only much less strenuous, and more educational, than my previous Theme Park job; but it is a regular schedule.  That set schedule will allow me time to get involved in things in the Pagan and Gay communities locally and also some room to follow my bliss.

I have mentioned re-reading and working through T. Thorn Coyle’s book Kissing the Limitless.   For me Samhain has always been the season where I start turning inward…a mark of growing up in Alaska where by Samhain some years Winter is in full force with inches to feet deep drifts of snow.  I am enjoying this contemplation and excercise and being surprised at some of the realizations that are bubbling up in relation to how I view myself and also in how I have grown and changed over the last few years.

Peace,

Pax