Monday, 23 March 2015

Week 12... I think: Home and Hearth

Happy Equinox Everyone. I wonder what you all got up to. If you completely missed the Sabbat, if you had a huge celebration or if, like me it was more subdued. Please feel free to share in the comments below.

I had planned a few small celebratory activities and observance but decided against it as I just wasn't 'feeling' right. As I sit here today reflecting on another Sabbat gone past (the days just run away with me) I've realised that I actually did spend the weekend in very autumnal activities anyway. Just like with Spring cleaning, Autumn cleaning is important. The change in seasons is a great time to physically cleanse the house in preparation for Winter. I cleaned this weekend and let a very gusty (and cold) wind blow through all corners of the apartment. After cleaning came the cooking. Cooking for family on both days and also preparing meals for future dinners and lunches. Though it's not quite the same as preparing for the scarcity of winter, it was a nice time to reflect on the changing seasons. Especially with the break in the heat with the cool wind.

Of late my pagan celebrations have been less overt but I like to spend some time reflecting on the meaning of the day and how it is relevant to my life. It might seem simple but I like that it can be like that. Big elaborate rituals are great but sometimes the more intimate personal thoughts can be just as powerful.

Oh and you may have noticed I've been a little slack with blog updates. It's not that I've thrown the New Year initiative out the window but rather I've amended it so that I'm not filling this blog up with inane junk. Also I've been rather busy with work and life so much so that while I still am writing (like that would change) I've not had the time or inclination to edit my writing to a standard that I would be happy to share it with the wider public. I'll get back to that when everything settles down here.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Pagan Unity and Councils

Yet again there has been a Council formed to represent Pagans and Witches.  Another American Council, planning to revisit the 13 Principles of Belief that was the only outcome of the 1973 Council before it fell apart due to internal divisions.

This one didn't make it that far before imploding it seems. 

You can see all the drama on this blog.  There is also a good discussion about it on The Wild Hunt I particularly recommend reading through the comments, although take care not to be drinking anything while using a screen that won't tolerate having liquid sprayed over it.  Repeatedly.  I also feel a need to share this blog because it's awesome and sums up many of my own personal feelings.

History has shown that such a venture is doomed to failure.  Any group that tries to speak for such a varied and disparate collection of individuals would make cat-herding look like child's play.

Not so long ago, there was an attempt to form a Council of Elders in New Zealand.  I received a call from a then-friend and was told I "needed to get on board so I could look after the South Island".  What was meant by "look after" was attempt to control.  I didn't really understand the purpose of such a group and didn't trust the motives of those who were trying to create it so I never got involved.  It never got past the discussion stage, it would seem because I wasn't alone in my reservations.  I think this is no different from what has been happening in America - just theirs is on a far larger scale.

Pagan Unity

Pagan Unity has been presented as a reason for this Council, or a justification for why it's believed to be needed by some. I'm afraid it just sounds like a cliched catch-phrase to me.

When Pagans cannot even agree on what 'Pagan' means or what it means to be Pagan, how can any kind of Unity be achieved?  Then let's throw in Witches - many of them aren't Pagan for a start - how are you going to gain Unity when we also can't agree whether Witchcraft is a religion or a skill set?

Personally, for all I'm both Pagan and a Witch, I reject unity in any form.  I frequently tell people off for referring to me as their Pagan Sister because that is something that's earned with me, assuming that kind of familiarity based purely on a shared label is something I find to be presumptuous and rude.

"Unification through Diversification" is the oxymoronic catchphrase of United Pagan Radio.  They claim "We CAN be unified as pagans and hold onto our unique diversity."  How exactly is that supposed to work?  Many bash anyone who disagrees with their own narrow view - be it harming none, karma, the Burning Times Myth, Christianity or whether self-initiation is valid - most of the time, agreeing to disagree isn't an option as both sides seem to think that the other has disrespected their path.  When rampant sexism (misogyny and misandry) is treated as a virtue in some paths, racism in others and paedophilia in others still, how can we want to achieve any kind of unity with these people.   I certainly have no wish to be associated with any of those groups, but I would be if this vague ideal were realised.  I have to question the values of anyone who would want that kind of association.

It is also my personal belief that even without the 'fringe elements', unity would mean a kind of homogenisation of belief.  A watering-down and dumbing-down that would render it meaningless.

Now don't get me wrong, I've run coffee meets and festivals, I am not against Pagans coming together, but there is a major difference.  In coffee meets and festivals, there is a place for people to meet and discuss ideas, to learn about each other and perhaps organically form connections with like-minded people.  There is no forced unity, there is no expectation of agreement or over-riding requirement to get along.  There is a requirement for manners, but if you don't like someone's path, you don't interact with them. 

For some people, this lack of unity is seen as a failing and one of the major flaws in the Pagan Community.  I choose to see it as a strength and a beautiful thing.