Where are the many voices?

Dear Friends,

This cartoon by David Sipress, flowed across my Facebook feed earlier this month…

I’ve mentioned before, that keeping abreast of current events is an important practice to me; I also mentioned that it wears on me, erodes some parts of me like a sandcastle meeting the incoming tide.

These are trying and complex times we live in, the specters of hate and ignorance and prejudice are rearing back to ugly life like the oh-so-fashionable Zombie Apocalypse in both our news events and political debates.  In the last several weeks the stories of  a boy in Kansas City, and Shaima Alawadi in California,  and most famously and closest to my home Trayvon Martin here in Florida, have struck my heart and sent me reeling.

I find myself sometimes just wanting to run away from the awfulness and selfishness and hatred and anger and ignorance and fear in the world.  It seems like the same sorts of struggles and same sorts of horrible things happen again and again and again.  At the same time I know that it is by too many people running away from such things, or seeking a scape goat, seeking an easy answer outside themselves, that that is why such things are able to have such a power to stain the Holiness of Creation.

The thing is that so often the discussions are mired in the either/or and One-True-Way-isms of the (still) Predominantly Monotheistic Overculture.  The discussions on these difficult and complex issues don’t always seem to genuinely speak to complexity and difficulty that issues of Race and Politics and Poverty and Systemic Change that seem to have bubbled up in the first decades of the 21st Century.  Too many times I find myself only partially agreeing with one side, too many times I find myself falling into the trap of trying to demonize one side or the other as entirely wrong or bad even when I have some guilty sense 0f “yes, but they have a point here…”

I like to think that the faiths and paths of Contemporary Paganism can bring new ideas and new ways of looking at difficult issues that are much needed in our world.  Whether it is by acknowledging the beauty and value of the world around us, or by trying to respect and resurrect the very Pagan idea of the worth and dignity present in the many points of view around us, or our intertwined communities increasing participation in Interfaith movements… I believe that Paganism -in all its faiths and forms- has much to bring to the table.

Are we doing so?

I’d like to think we’ve started.  Our voices are being heard in ways great and small.  We have shown Compassion to the peoples of Japan in a time of trial, we have worked to bring our voices to the table in the Interfaith movement, we are creating Community Centers to come together across lines of faith and philosophy and building stronger communities, we are acting and speaking to the complexities of Societal Change that are needed to meet the challenges of the 21st Century, and we are raising our voices in our own communities to speak to issues of fairness and equality.

Today, I pray that our voices will be heard.   I pray to the Holy Powers that our words and actions will change the world for the better for all.

I also would like to know…

Where and on what issues to you think Paganism’s voices are needed and could do good?

What voices speak to your heart and mind on the issues of the day, and are they reflective of your Values and experiences as a Pagan?

Peace,

Pax / Geoffrey

 

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Every day a Holy Day?

Dear Friends,

So I was running a little late Sunday morning after working the overnight, but feeling really good.   As a Worship-Associate-in-training for my U.U. Church I was asked to help with a reading for the first Service for Easter.   I navigated the bustle of Interstate 4 on Easter Morning and got home with just enough time to change clothes and take a moment to assess myself.  I changed into something nice, changed my undies and socks, splashed some water on my face and applied a little hair spray.  I then went to my altar to apply a little Crown of Success and just say a quick prayer…

This is when it occurred to me how odd it seemed to be running around getting dressed up for Easter given that even though I am Unitarian Universalist, I am also a Polytheist and Pagan and Witch.  I mused aloud to myself and my altar….

“Is today a Holy day?!”

and not even a moment later, I spoke again, my words feeling like an echo or like something moving through me rather than from me as I held onto my bookshelf/altar…

“But, then really isn’t every day a Holy day?!”

I smiled to myself.   Feeling strangely as if I had had an answer from somewhere, and not just an answer to the question I had asked but to a lot of questions lurking in my subconscious.  Thus I went to the 1U Easter Service and read the meditation portion of the Service, which was on the topic of the Equinox and balance and change.  It was a lovely morning and I got to see and say hello to a number of folks I hadn’t seen in far too long…

There was some unpleasantness later on in the afternoon, which I’m not sure if I will be discussing here or elsewhere, but for which I would welcome any and all prayers and well wishes….

Then the Fabulous Jonathan and I went out to dinner at a Chinese Buffet and came home and went to bed, both of us having worked the overnights and both of us having a long day after our work shifts ended.

The thing is that that echo of a message has stuck with me.

Every day as Holy, every day as Sacred; if we can but take a moment to look around us and experience it.  If we can set aside our personal blinders, the shouts and insinuations of the Over-culture, and unfascinate ourselves from the Ten Thousand Things; If we can allow ourselves to sense and interact with the beauty and possibility and wonder and sacred nature of each and every day.  What might we not accomplish then?

The Gods, in many forms of Paganism are seen as immanent within the world… not just within some of the Wiccan forms of Witchcraft, but in the ancient Polytheisms as well… for example as I understand it, the ancient Greeks didn’t say “Zeus sent rain..”, they’d say “Zeus rained down…” …. In Unitarian Universalism we talk about the Interconnected Web… what is a devotional practice if not trying to listen and pay attention to the Gods?  What is meditation if not trying to pay attention to the strands in the Web… what is spiritual practice if not trying to drink in and be inspired by the Holiness all around us?

Now, I’ve had some recent reminders that I have been running around with my own personal blinders on about a lot of things lately and letting myself be trapped in an unhealthy situation and a toxic environment.  It has been weeks, months really, since I seriously approached my practices and writing and journaling, I have been simply moving from one day to the next just trying to endure some situations until…. the next thing to endure….  That is no way to live.  Not even for a short time, and I am realizing I have been enduring it for a while now.

I will be working on that.

I am quite forcibly reminded of the 7th habit, Sharpening The Saw, and indeed the others as well.  I am reminded of those 6 breaths a good lady once discussed with me, I am reminded that I have friends and loved ones who will hold me in the light and in the comforting darkness as my soul requires.

When the Universe answers a question… you listen.

May you find the Holiness in this, and every one of your days,

Pax / Geoffrey