I read in another blog about Paganism not having solid organizational skills. I would say that a few have this and have maintained a steady membership over the years. While others seem to congregate around a sole teacher or High Priest/Priestess and these groups usually split or die over time. Many as this blogger put it find home in the UUA (Unitarian Universalist Association Churches), which after a small part of time many pages may mike it though a year or so of membership, then they fall away looking for a new Coven, Tribe, or Group to associate with. This brings me to my own point, which is, that like many I have gone through this cycle and even after climbing up the ranks into positions of leadership, I tend to get bored or somehow find a stumbling block which causes me to fall away. Now that I am in my mid 30s and am married to a devout Christian w/ 3 children who are active in a Christian Church, I have different ideas. I find that group practice is very over rated. I celebrate the changing of the seasons in my own way. I Celebrate Easter as a Pagan holiday, the same with Christmas. You see my wife belongs to a Church that does not endorse these holidays to begin with. So to her Easter and Christmas are secular and have nothing to do with Biblical Christianity. So for me, its a win-win situation. I give gifts and do my own thing, and no harm / no foul. However, this may not fly with the more hardcore pagans out there. But I am firm and secure in my Paganism which is driven by my humanism. So now power struggles or hoops to jump through. I just live life my way and leave the power trips to others. I make friends and I share my pagan humanity with others. No secrets, no mystery, just a good person sharing experiences with other good people. I admit, its very low jack / low tech paganism, but I don’t need a very complex ritualistic set of things to make me feel more pagan. Somewhere people have got caught up in rituals, degrees, pagan orthodoxy, and who is who is not a real pagan. The message boards out there are full of arguments of people who share their own created traditions and act as if the rest of us have to follow their lead. I mean, I am glad if someone has found their path and are making their lives better and the world a better place because of it. However, when we start to preaching to others, we totally miss the point of why we became pagan in the first place. For me, it is about true Witchcraft, meaning, Witch (Wise Person) and Craft (To Make or Build), I became pagan because something inside me knew that being a Catholic was not the right place for me, it was the search for knowledge and truth that my ancestors had. I think the ancients had a life where they knew how the world was and it made their lives complete or a least it allowed them to survive the harshness of wilderness or hard village or farm living. I see that for myself. I want to be a wisecrafter, a maker of wisdom. I look inside myself at my own personal experiences of living in my environment and to the lives of others. I gain wisdom from looking at how the world works and how I can incorporate such things into my life. It seems to be that most of what I have experienced over the years ( and forgive my brutal honesty) is people getting books from the library and local occult bookstore / internet and make up a pagan background of how they are generations deep into a secret family lineage of occult knowledge. They produce a few books which are overtly Wiccan minus their dislikes with this Gardner based system and they gather some followers. However, they show little wisdom or believable truth. They say that one is not to simply believe what they say or accept, however what they present ideas as if it is accepted truth. Their hodgepodged ideas are a mixture of Freemasonry, Eastern Philosophy, and Western Occult philosophy mixed with Witch Trial lore. I am not saying this to ruffle peoples feathers, but after spending nearly 18 years in study both in High School and at the University Undergraduate and Graduate levels, I can tell you that most of what I have read out there is the above. I wish I could tell you different. Historical Writings can give you an idea of what European Indigenous Religious Beliefs were. And to be truthful, not a whole lot is known, and most of the stuff is written after the fact. My paganism is more philosophical in nature and more grounded in reality than in myth. Though I do use the imagery of myth to create aesthetics for myself. My ideas are always in flux and when a better ideas come along I update and evolve. I admit, my paganism is not for everyone, but it is naturalistic and grounded in reality, which, in my opinion offers a way for me live an ethical life and offers me a way to navigate this world and to explain things. Well that is all for now. And when you can do nothing else, just Abide!
It is Sunday and my wife and 3 kids are off to their Church, while I the ever so humble heathen am sitting on the love seat with my laptop perched upon the arm. One thing I have noticed over the past few days is the drastic change in weather. The 50-60deg temps are a welcome change because I love fall and spring like weather with their mild temps. Most people start thinking about the Gods or Goddesses in their myths, I on the other hand start pondering the land, the streams, and the sky above me. You see, as I left the concept of actual Gods/Goddesses behind, I wondered what else could I look to? I always liked the concept of the Land, Sea, and Sky as presented in many a Celtic theme. I changed the Sea to stream, because I leave near streams and not an ocean or sea. So my Land, Stream, and Sky concept allowed me to connect with the land in which I lived. The land is not exclusively owned by a particular group or race of people in my book. Sure we may be generations deep in a particular locale, but that does not mean that others were not here before us. For me as a Humanist, I get my ethics from humanism and my aesthetics from my paganism as I define it. As a pagan (non-worshiper of the God of Abraham or related faiths), I don’t worship anything, but I do honor nature and people. I use Pagan symbols from Celtic / Germanic sources to replace the symbols I use to have as a Catholic. My Triquetra, Triple Spiral (Triskele), and Pentacle makes up the majority of jewelry I wear these days, along with some nature stuff (tree pendants). For me the number 3 is sacred, my Triquetra and Triple spiral remind me that all is connected in the world. The connections effect everything. Like the small corn farmer whose crops fail having an effect on the price of Gas and the cost of Corn at the market. 3 is the Land, Stream, and Sky for me also. The pentacle which I wear under my shirt represents the light of reason. Like the popular nautical 5 pointed stars which represents the star lighting the way home for sailors. To me my humanist reason is the light that guides me home. Sure any star could be used, but for me, I am reminded of the classic pentacle definition of Spirit over the 4 classical elements. For me there are way more than 4 elements out there, so for me the star takes on a greater meaning to me. It becomes My Will/Spirit guiding me home away from dark places of delusion. Although I do not buy into the light is good and darkness is bad concept, cause we all have in us both positive and negative ways, just as nature does. We are Micro = Macro… I think how we see the world, is how it appears to us, thus what we are on the inside affects how we view things… Anywho, my time is up for today. I hopes this gives you a few things to ponder about who this Zen Istao guy is. I hope this helps you in some way. And as always, when you have done all you can do, just Abide!
Well this is my first of many post. I wish I knew where to begin. Well I am a guy, who is sharing tid bits about my path. Hope it helps you and strengthens your own path. Till next time. Peace.