A Remeniscence…

So,

Once Upon A Time,

N–, one of my oldest and dearest friends, used to go by the nick-name and nom-de-net The Incubus.

Now N– had moved away, to Florida actually, and then was moving back to Alaska.  We were all thrilled of course, N– is wicked smart and funny and a delight to be around in many social situations, and I determined to find something amusing and warped for his return.  Inspired by his infernal nick-name and the many ongoing jokes and routines that he and I and our circle of friends had come up with over the years, I typed up and printed out a bakers dozen of contracts, with the signer granting full possession and control of their Immortal Soul to N— to do with as he saw fit.

Now, I am not sure if it is a tribute to N—‘s popularity, my ability to seem quite innocuous, or the lack of forethought of people in their late teens and early twenties, BUT when he stepped from the plane I was able to present N— with 13 SIGNED contracts granting him full ownership and oversight over the immortal souls of a bakers dozen of our friends and acquaintances!

The best of the incidents was with J.H., a fine piece of American military manhood, who quite proudly insisted once he had signing the contract (1)…

“That’s ok, its not like I really  believe in an immortal soul so its no big deal.”

“Well,” said young Pax, who while he wasn’t a piece of military manhood  HAD lettered in Speech&Debate (2) after all, “obviously you DO believe in your immortal soul because you just signed a formal document pertaining to it.”

“For that matter,” he continued cheerfully, whilst discretely tucking said signed contract into the folder with the others and carefully backing away out of lunging range, “by signing the contract you not only admit belief in your  immortal soul but give ownership and control over it to N— all in the same moment!”

J.H. stood there a moment, blinking, and working his jaw as if to speak…

“Uh…uh…Damn It!” he said.

“Well, that’s really no longer your decision, now is it?”” said young Pax as he merrily bopped off into the crowd at the Java Joint in Spenard, Ak.

ah, the folly of youth….


Footnotes…

(1) – In ink, for those that are interested.  In the interests of expediency, and given that the contract was printed on a dot-matrix printer, blood seemed a bit over the top.  It WAS red ink though.   Although I suppose you could use a mixture of Pomegranate Juice and Red Wine and Dragons Blood Ink in a reduction as a substitute…

(2)- Technically speaking I lettered in Drama, Debate, and Forensics… Forensics as in formalized informative or opinion based speeches.  I figured though, that this explanation might distract from the narrative flow, and telling people you lettered in Forensics can get you some really odd looks, especially if inserted into the above…

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Three Ripples from within the Well of Memory

(names have been changed to protect, well, ME!)

Incubus: “______ has just informed me she’s a Priestess, of ~The Celtic Religion~….

Pax: (blink, blink) “Am I to take it from your tone that she isn’t referring to some sort of Celtic Reconstructionism?”

Incubus: (shaking head sadly) “No, no she is not.”

Pax: (sighs)  “I see….”

~~~~~~

My Older Brother S___ visiting my Dad and I one day enters my room, takes a look at something on my books shelf and begins to shake his head.

S___: “Oh, Geoff…Geoffrey, (disappointed sigh) I can’t believe your involving yourself with such… paganism.”

Since I had been out as a Pagan for a while and it was MY bookshelf I looked up at him confused.

Pax: “S____, you’re going to have to be a little more specific.  There’s actually a whole lot of Paganism on that bookshelf.  What is it you’re objecting to exactly?”

He proceeds to pick up a copy of the Book of Mormon, of all things, that I had gotten for free from some missionaries on campus at U.U.A. and was reading out of curiosity.  And give me a worried and ashamed look, as only a student of our Father’s could.

Pax: “There’s surprisingly little begetting, all things considered.”

~~~

Pax: “What’s wrong?”

Nightbird: “So at the property I work at there are these rent paying bottom feeders who think they’re Witches and have figured out that I’m one and now they think that we have some sort of special connection, and their apartment is a nasty…. Pax, I mean NASTY.  They keep complaining about how there’s something not right and bad vibes and I’m like ‘why don’t you try cleaning it?’ and they are all ‘well we tried burning some sage…’ yeah, sage… or something….and I’m ‘No, I mean cleaning, like with a vacuum and a mop and a shovel?  And try NOT having 7 people in a 2 bedroom apt….’ and they get all offended and scuttle off.”

Pas: (Gasps as the lighting of inspiration floods his warped mind) “Do all of the apartments have individual air ducts,.separate from each other?!”

Nightbird: (smiling curiously) “Yeah, why?”

Pax: (chuckling evilly) “Well, have maintenance go in while everyone’s out and put some strobe effect in some of the lights and a hidden camera and speakers and a fog machine.  The next time they are trying to be Witchy hit the strobe and the fog and have this scary ass voice coming at them from all directions ‘GEEEEHT OUUUUWT….’, better yet wait till they’ve ‘smudged’ to do it.”

Nightbird: (smiling delightedly and clapping her hands together in front of her like a delighted child on Christmas morning as the fierce fires of unholy glee glow within her eyes) “Our Head of Maintenance is an ex Theater Tech….this could work!   Pax I love you!”


The Importance of Manners

Dear readers,

So on this one blog that I read, in the comments section, I have been getting into some vigorous exchanges with others a bit lately…

Pax~“Well, Much like a turd in a punch bowl, _____’s very negative opinion of other religions outside, and inside, of Paganism do seem keep popping up to the surface now don’t they?”

Unfortunately this simple, honest, and heartfelt expression of my humble opinion, was apparently misconstrued!!

One of ______’s online compatriots~ “I do not wish to “report” the above statement by Pax, and I very much hope it does not get deleted. But I do want to call attention to the rude, insulting and highly personal nature of what Pax is saying about ______.

In particular note how a vague, negative and personally insulting characterization of ______ substitutes for any attempt to respond specifically to anything that _______ has actually said.”

I must admit, I was a bit shocked to see my simple comment taken so wildly out of context, as I’m sure you dear readers are too!  I have tried my humble best to correct the situation…

Pax~“_______’s Compatriot,

“But I do want to call attention to the rude, insulting and highly personal nature of what Pax is saying about _____. ”

My characterization of ______’s ongoing and very broad and negative statements about religions outside of, and inside of, Paganism – and his comments that regularly praise the idea of violence against Christians as a solution to various problems – and ______’s habit of making vague (and admittedly sometimes not so vague), negative, and potentially insulting characterizations of those who disagree with him; which in point of fact was one of the contributing factors to your being able to make reports on comments – as being like turds in a punchbowl in no way reflects an opinion of ______, merely aspects of the opinions he is espousing and the way in which he espouses them.”

Thankfully, this dreadful confusion seems to have abated.

I mean really!  I wouldn’t dream of comparing ______ himself to a turd in a punchbowl.  That would be rude?!

That would be like putting up a line of T-shirts and Bumper Stickers on, say, cafe-press saying with some sort of forest green gothic italic lettering ….

“________, the turd floating to the surface of the punchbowl that is Paganism”

and starting to market them with the profits going towards donations to a large Interfaith organization working for Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion and Separation of Church and State.  Then encouraging some of those whom ______ has victimized on that particular forum before to wear said T-shirts on the festival circuit, and get some of their close personal friends on the circuit (as both attendees and presenters) to wear said t-shirts until _____ was widely regarded within the Pagan community as nothing more than a scatological joke of a human being.

I would like to think that I can’t be pushed into being either that rude or that cruel.  A part of me does sometimes long to vent my spleen in such an unseemly manner, but I strive to be better than that base instinct.

After all, manners are the lubricant of social intercourse!

Peace,

Pax

An open Letter to the Pagan community… (or, I have had it up to HERE…)

(humor… or something….)

Dear Friends, and Pagani,

I am writing to you on behalf of many, many, of your fellow Pagans and (I would like to think) many of our Elders.

From now on if you expect us to take any of you Pagans out there seriously you will have to start studying your own faith, and other Pagan and Non-Pagan faiths in depth.  You will have to demonstrate a reasonable willingness to study and learn and grow.  You will have to show a reasonable grasp of History.  Your public statements about Paganism and your conduct as Pagans should have NO trace of “Take that Mommy and Daddy!” or “Take that Jesus!” about them.  You will not mistake, in words or action having an axe to grind against your parents or Religion of origin for being a proud Pagan.

If you are working in a community organization you will ESPECIALLY work to be knowledgeable, informed, and professional in your conduct within and on behalf of your community!

You will also look into the fact that there are more Christians (and other folks mono and poly theistic) involved in Interfaith work trying to protect and defend Religious Freedom and Separation of Church and State than there are Pagans, both in the Parliament of Worlds Religions and in organizations like the Interfaith Alliance.

Furthermore you will at least explore the idea that good folks like the gentleman interviewed below are AT LEAST AS ~IF NOT MORE~ representative of Christianity than some of those jerk-off talking head types that some folks love to rant about and to try and equate every Christian with…

Please take this post under advisement or So Holy Powers Help Us, we may have to start Gibbs-smacking folks upside the head, or something….

Thank you,
Pax and many, many, many of your fellow Pagans

PS- we really mean it!!

Stand up, or Shut up!

Dear Friends and Pagani,

Like so many of you, I am following the news posts at the Wild Hunt pagan news blog, and at the Pagans at the Parliament site, about the participation of many members of the Pagan Movement in the Parliament of the Worlds Religions (here, and here , and here, for information).

And, of course, as they invariably feel that they must, some folks have posted messages around the internet to the effect of…

Well who elected THEM to represent us?! Nyah-nyah!! Who says they get to  speak for us?! Whine, whine!!”

… insert an assortment of snide and snotty commentary and observations and opinions about the Paganfolk who have gone to the Parliament here…  Ed Hubbard of Witch School, had a very polite response in one of the Wild Hunt comment streams…

“Actually the Parliament believes in self-representation, meaning that each individual chooses to attend, either through their own means or their community support. This is not a popularity contest, and those who make it to be speaker or volunteer or trustee do so because of merit shown to the Parliament. Each tradition could send someone, or no one at all. No one can or does claim to represent all of anyone. Certainly not the Pagans, who have many trads present, and many organizations.”

Polite, and well spoken.  Which is part of why Mr. Hubbard is where he is in our movement.

I am not nearly the luminary he is, and am feeling much less polite…

“And where in the ~BLEEP~ did you get the idea that Paganism is a Democracy?!?”

…Ahem..

(clears his throat and takes a deep and calming breath…)

Now certainly the democratic process is used in many of the Traditions and Organizations within the Pagan Movement, among a number of other organizational/power distribution structures, cause lets face it some paths are VERY Hierarchical and some groups strive for Consensus.  Quite frankly and honestly, Virginia, Paganism is NOT a democracy!

I can tell you from years of participation and observations that the Pagan Movement is, over all and in the long term, what is called a Meritocracy.

Say it with me know… “Mare-it-ok-russ-eee”… VERY GOOD!!

What does that mean?  Well in the case of the Pagan Movement it means that…

It is those individuals who are willing to shut up, stand up, and do the work; the people who lead rituals, organize groups, who seriously study,who willingly teach, those who give of their time and energy NOT for “fame” or attention (certainly NOT for money) but for their Gods, and quite simply because they see a need and sincerely believe they can fulfill it – and who do so, and do so well over time; THOSE are the leaders, the powerful, the respected in our Pagan Movement.

Unfortunately this doesn’t sit well with the folks who envy the popularity and ability of our movements Elders and Leaders.  All too often voices of pettiness, jealousy, insecurity, and fear will clamor to obscure the good work being done by folks in our communities.

Well I say ENOUGH!

If you don’t like what your local leaders or groups are doing.  Instead of trying to tear them or their efforts down, get off your butt and DO SOMETHING USEFUL OR CONSTRUCTIVE!!  Run for Board President or volunteer to steer a committee, or start your own project and do it better!  Stop whining and stop trying to tear others down!

NOT that the envious and insecure are the only ones whom, I believe, need a loving “SNAP OUT OF IT!!” slapping.  On one of the lists I am on I saw in an exchange between two Pagans whom I respect and admire for their schollarship and experience.  A couple of good folks who are respected within their Traditions, and in the course of a larger discussion there was an exchange along the lines of the following…

Respected Pagan A: “As for my local community, I find that what passes for the the general level of social skills and emotional maturity is at the level of high school on a good day…”

Respected Pagan B: “… Sigh, yeah.  That is why I finally decided to back out of being involved here!”

NO, NO, NO!!!  Naughty respected Pagans!!!

Not that I haven’t felt the same way in the past.  But I am realizing that it is Adults, of both body AND mind, who are supposed to model correct and mature behavior for Children.

It is not easy, nor is it fun, but I truly believe that if we are best to serve our Goddesses and Gods and our many Pagan Paths, that we must be willing to participate in our local and regional Pagan communities.  It doesn’t matter how many books you’ve written or how much you’ve done for the movement if you aren’t involved in community; not just your coven or grove or kindred, not just you and some of your fellow Pagan friends hanging out socially, active involvement in your local community Pagan and otherwise.

and you want to know a secret?!

All of our most respected Elders and Leaders, the people who are referenced in our own conversations about the Pagan Movement, folks like those who have chosen to attend the Parliament of World Religions; they are the ones who NOT only have decided to stand up and do the work, they also have worked hard to surround themselves with a beloved community of friends and teachers and students and co-conspirators, and they continue to be willing to engage their local Pagan communities as well as engaging the larger community.

Stand up or shut up folks!

Yours,

Pax

Introspectacles…

So I spent some time today re-reading all of the posts Ive made here on Chrysalis.

Some of the earliest mentione this blogs first incarnation on Blogger.  I love some of the formating and layout and design tools on WordPress, I just wish I could post the Metapagan Widget!!!

I write this blog as, in part, a spiritual journal, heck a just-a-journal journal even.  I think that my desire to write about Paganism has gotten in the way of that.  That and my own fears of what might happen if I share too much…

It’s funny the things we learn about ourselves when we examine a journal, or a blog.  My desire to write, to be an author, to express my thoughts and feelings and ideas about… everything, but spirituality and Paganism especially, has in some ways gotten  in the way…

Blogging as bully-pulpit vs. blogging as journaling…  I know I am not alone in this little tightrope walk.

So let me just journal here…

Well I had a lot going on this Summer, a lot of ups and downs.  I was hired as an assistant manager at a fast food place and then the guy who hired me retired and a new guy came on and decided to go in another direction and let me go.  That hurt, and sucked, but you have to choose whether you are just going to lay there and wallow ~ or whether you are going to get back up again when life knocks you down.

I have learned, in my late 30’s to get back up again.  Woo-Hoo!  I may actually be learning!!

From there I went into working Seasonally, which in the theme park world translates to exceptionally part time; and looking for a second job in one of the worst economies in my lifetime.  That also has been rough.  But, on the plus side, they have put me back on as a Casual (permanent part-time, so more hours a week and benefits!) employee at Universal.

I am at least back where I was in January… Although I take it as a good sign that they gave me more hours and benefits in an economy like this.

On the spiritual side of things there has been a lot of good intentions, and good ideas… and while I haven’t followed through on everything, I am praying more and making more offerings… building my relationship with the Gods as best I can.

I am still not earning anywhere near enough to start paying my share of the bills around here.  (back to the physical rather than the spiritual world… maybe I should think about this pull or focus, hrm?!)  My partner is very understanding and all, but it bugs him.  I had to defer my student loans and am trying to find a second job and praying and making magic in hopes of finding a way through.

I really hope that poverty isn’t some sort of lesson I’m supposed to deal with in this lifetime because, quite frankly, having experienced it for a few years now I think I can authoritatively say that it sucks!

In other news, I have had a sign recently that I should actually pick up my blessed Tarot Cards, dust them off, and work with them.  I am now on Facebook, and signed up for this Tarot thingy… it gave me the Emperor.

This is the second time in the last year or so, that I have been assigned that card by an online Tarot card pseudoracle… I think I am smelling a sign!

Anyhow, that’s all I have for now…

Peace,

Pax