Pagan/Christian

Why?

Yesterday I wrote “Burning Aj”. I posted it without a word to explain it. I won’t link it here but, you can look it up. It was, from this side, the writing side, the most painful thing I have ever typed…including writing about my own monsters from being an addict.  By the end of that “story” I could, and still can see my very best friend burning …by my own hand. To be clear, that hurt. It was supposed to hurt. I knew when I was writing it that it would…I didn’t know how much.  It was intended as allegory. It was supposed to try to explain the Burning Times and how that could happen again. It was an attempt to try to understand how someone could do something that horrific to their best friend. What it did was to scar MY soul. I’ll probably be paying for it for a long time…

There are 2, two, people in the world that I am sure that I would trade places with if that story were true, my wife and Aj. Period. I am NOT brave or noble. I am not “sure” that I would even make the trade for my family. I am a coward. Two lives that I know are more valuable to me than my own…and I burned one of them to make a point…and I can still smell the gasoline…and see the match…and hate myself for doing it.

Why did I do it?

Because we follow The Crowd. I did it to try to understand how we could see a neighbor or a best friend and allow that to happen. How it is possible to depersonalize someone?How can we participate? How can we subject someone else to that? How is it possible to ignore what someone is?
“She’s a witch, That means she’s NOT a person. It doesn’t matter what I do to a witch because they don’t matter. It’s not like they’re “real people”. Besides, everyone else treats them like shit. What does it matter what I do to one? They’re. Not. Real. People. .. Even if they were, it doesn’t mean anything, she’s just a witch. She’s gonna bun eventually, this is just a head start. Practice, in a manner of speaking…”
That IS how it happens. The Crowd says that and we come to believe it. We teach ourselves and convince ourselves that “they” are not real people…We willingly blind ourselves to what we know to be true.

Another of the most coldly horrible things I’ve ever seen quoted was the Camp Commandant at Auschwitz saying that he punished guards for tormenting the people they were going to send to the gas chambers because their job was to execute them, not to torture them. He explained that it was like killing rats…” our job was to exterminate”.

I have tried to use this page as a way to help show the humanity of people that are seen by some others as less than human. I want to convince people to see ALL of someone, Aj. I wish you could see what I see. I wish you could share the memory of a hug that I got from her. I wish you could hear her voice. I hope you never have to know what writing something like that does to you. I wish you may see that she’s not “just a witch”. She never was. She never will be. She IS my best friend and happens to be a witch. I love her dearly.

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I’m a Snake

Well…here we go again…

My best friend is a witch. My best friend is a woman. My wife is a woman. My closest friends are women…and witches. My bias is that I’m a “bit scared” of them…because they are women and any semi-sane man and husband should be. I am not scared of them because they are witches. My general response to finding out someone is a witch varies between “ok” and “cool”…

My best friend’s best friend is a man, me. If I were her, I’d have probably picked a different best friend because I’m a bit of a bonehead…sometimes more than a bit but, I digress…and I’m Christian.

From a historical standpoint, the story about the snake should apply. You know the one, where a guy nurtures a wounded snake back to health and after it’s bitten him and he lays dying he asks “why did you bite me?” The snake replies, “what did you expect, I’m a snake, it’s my nature.” From my best friend’s perspective, she has no reasonable expectation of not, at some point, being bitten…

I got mad at Google and typed a rant at the AI into the search bar. It sent me down a trail that I didn’t expect. It sent me to prayers binding against Witches. It sent me to articles telling me how to find out if I’m “under attack” by witchcraft. For what it’s worth, an allergy attack fits those symptoms, as does a Cold,  food poisoning, and being depressed…

Hmmmmm…

So I started looking into what else Christian articles say about witches. Every single one I found cited OT references why we should shun witches and the “evils” of them but, NONE could give an NT cite to back those up. Here’s a tiny theological tip, if you’re a “Christian” and can not cite the NT to make your point, you should probably either re-think your pint or which religion you claim to be. Meaning, Christians follow Jesus and if He didn’t say it, then you’re not following him…

Are there witches that are evil? Well, ask this, are there Christians that are evil? ANY group of humans will contain both “good” and “evil” humans. Do “I” think that being a witch makes someone inherently “evil”? No more than “I” think that being Christian makes someone inherently “good”.

I read a bunch of nonsense by Christians that claimed to be “authorities” on the topic. I came to this conclusion, not one had actually sat down and asked a witch. I read a bunch of stuff that could have been drawn from popular fiction…or from watching “The Wizard of Oz” but, no actual conversation.  One used “Lord of the Rings” as a reference…Really, you cited LOTR as a source for your article?

*sigh*

I have done “some” research. I have a biased perspective. *just re-read the second paragraph* I know that there are some points of congruency between Witches and Christians. I also know that despite those points, there are views and practices that, while appearing to be similar, are not. Christianity and Witchcraft aren’t the same. The references may “look” the same to an outsider…or even me trying to understand, they just don’t translate…at all. To try to impose a Christian World View on someone that does not share it is a HUGE mistake. Yes, moral people share some traits. Yes, good citizens share traits. Those are secular and not spiritual.

There is a point to all this…It was back up there when I was going on about trusting a snake. There is an insidious persecution that still happens to Witches. It is far more overt in the Middle-east and Africa but, that is not in the scope of my writing. My best friend, if directly asked, will tell you she’s a Witch. She will, given some very specific circumstance, volunteer that, not often but, she told me unasked. *read some other posts for the reasoning* I know someone else that was told that her “kind” were what’s wrong with this country and that she’d be the “downfall”. I read an article with a prayer against witches that bound every part of the person’s body including the endocrine system. Really, you think your endocrine is under attack?

…yeah, my point, Christians have a bad habit of attacking what they don’t understand. They are of a “damn to hell and ask questions later” mindset. I “think”, from what I’ve read, that there are still people that would merrily burn witches. I KNOW that they don’t see a person when they persecute. They think they are not causing harm to a living person. *editorial, de-personalization is the only way a semi-rational person could do the things they did to humans*

*sigh*

I’m really not out here Christain-bashing. I know the vast majority of us either don’t care or are too busy with our own lives to even look as far as I have. The biggest majority of Christians do not use our faith to persecute but, “some” do. Enough do to make the Witches hide or at least keep a “low profile”.

*sigh*

I really don’t care if The Witches EVER publicly tell anyone. By looking at them, you wouldn’t know… of course, by looking at me, you wouldn’t know I’m Christian. What I DO care about is that they don’t HAVE to hide if they don’t want to. We’ve done enough nonsense and b.s. to them in this century and enough physical harm, burning and hanging ring a bell?  They’ve well and truly earned the right to be left in peace…

Yeah, if I were my best friend, I probably wouldn’t be. What should she expect? I could be a snake…

I Shouldn’t Do Research…or…How To Scare The Pee-pee Outta Myself In One Easy Step…or…What A Long Winded Ramble…

I gotta laugh at myself. I was doing research…well what really happened is this…

There I was, minding my own business when a mutual friend…
*as an aside, when I use the word “friend” it has contextual meaning to me that means quite a bit more than the casual social media form of the word, in other words, I know a bunch of people. I talk to quite a few. I have very few friends. K, got it?*
…mentioned how odd it was that a Water Witch lived in the Desert. I knew who she was talking about but, it had never really occurred to me that that would be an odd thing…

With me so far?

Anyway…there I was minding my own business all skinny and stupid, yes I’m “skinny as all hell:, and I decided to go to some sites and blogs and find out why it would be odd that a Water Witch would love the heat and enjoy the desert. I’m not sure I agree with the reasoning they used. They said she was “supposed” to be a winter person but, that doesn’t make sense to me cause it takes heat to get water to move. Don’t believe me, the heat in the oceans gives rise to hurricanes. Those and the storm surge that comes along for the ride is a bunch of moving water…

Holy smokes, writing is easier after coffee but, don’t wanna wake anyone up…

So…like I keep trying to get to… minding my own business doing research in blogs and stuff, articles and s**t when I got to an article or a blog or a site that wanted to talk about what “rituals” to use…and I ran like a rabbit being chased by a coyote…

Here’s an odd tidbit of thought as another aside…I never asked Aj what rituals she uses. She would answer, she said she would but, I have boundaries. I don’t invade people’s privacy. Her practice is HERS. If she decided that I needed to know, she’d tell me. In the meantime, I won’t ask because I don’t really have any need. A person I used to know would say, “didn’t I tell you? Must not be any of your business”. Sometimes, when I want to ask someone a question as background for writing, I ask permission to ask…

…and back to where I was going…

I understand the principals of the Practice, I get the basic tenets and have a sort of basic grasp of what the elements represent. I know about “energy” and its uses. Those things are like chemistry or physics. You don’t have to “believe” in them or “do” them. They happen. It’s the “doing”, the Practice and Ritual, the “work” for lack of a better term, that makes me quail. I have roughly zero desire to know how that goes…let me clarify, I don’t really have a problem with energy transference, that’s physics. Healing and Empathy have direct correlations, if not actual similarity, to things that are in my faith. Using food as a part is similar to, not the same as, Communion.

Still wandering along with my ramble?

What I don’t want to know but, in the vein of facing what I don’t know that I probably should in order to gain insight into what I write about, are the details, not of any one person’s rituals but, as an overview. Hmmmm…I’m not even sure that makes sense to me…I don’t need to know the tools used. I don’t particularly need to know the spells. I don’t need to know what happens in a coven. I don’t need to know what someone involved with tarot or divination is thinking or even where they make contact. I don’t particularly care what clothes are worn during any of these processes…in point of fact, it is not my business. Why would it be? I’m not a Witch nor will I ever become one…and Rituals, Pagan Rituals, Christian Rituals, rituals in general, scare me. Praying or the Pagan analog is something I’m comfortable with but, I don’t particularly tell people how I pray…

Yes, I am using a Christian phrase to describe a Pagan practice. Don’t beat me up. I am merely using a construct, an imperfect one, that “I” know…

Heaven help me, this is getting wordy and I still haven’t gotten to the point…*laugh, very small laugh, at self*

…so, given everything I’ve written so far, why? In the words of the Bard, “that IS the question”…Ignore for a moment My Favorite Water Witch. Ignore also, My Favorite Hedge Witch”. Ignore also that I say my motives are selfish, and they are because these women are my friends. Why would I go out of my way to find out about some things I don’t understand? Why would I tend to be so protective of them?

Truth be told, I can not “ignore” those things. I am protective and curious because of them. If it were not for the Witches I know, would I be writing this, looking at things that scare me, facing my own cultural and religious bias against them, seeking out other Witches to gain perspective on a  very non-homogenous group, asking questions and trying to understand?

No, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t even bother to be asking if I would. Probably, knowing the way I think, I’d be mocking and deriding. I’d be using words that tend to p**s me off when they’re directed at people I like. I’d be on some stupid page being a jerk. Also, given that The Witches are women, and I am “not a woman”, further that I tend to be a bit of a “Richard” towards things I think I have permission to bully, I’d probably use sexist phrases that offend the crap out of me when they are directed at women that are in my group. I know me, sarcasm is my default. I love being condescending. It’s a “sport” or a hobby to me…They are also the way I deal with things I don’t understand…

…and again, The Witches are a couple of things, no snark intended, that I really don’t understand. I have no true understanding of people that find the Spiritual World to be as tactile as the Physical World. I also do not understand women, again, not being sarcastic or sexist, I just don’t. Kipling explained “why” I don’t far better than I may,
“She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity—must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions—not in these her honour dwells—
She the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else.”

Aside from my selfish motives, and I am not “entirely” able to set those aside, why? What point is there in even trying to understand? I mean, if I NEVER asked another question, if I never even made any further attempt at writing out these posts so that I might see my own words and think through the thoughts The Witches provoke, they would still keep me around…I hope…*tiny joke*…but, I would not be true to myself if I were to abandon the questions and the introspection that facing myself brings up.

I suppose I could ask them, “what would you think if I were to publicly make some smarta$$ comment about a witch being ‘some ugly old hag that can’t get laid’?”…

…Except for a few “tiny” problems… First, I think that would hurt them. I wouldn’t do that for the world. Second, doing that as a test, without warning them that the comment is coming, would be untrue to me because I don’t believe that. Third, I know better than to believe the stereotypes. Witches come in all forms and sizes and ages and sexualities and every other variation that women are. So, that is several lies for the price of one…

…and if I hit them with it un forewarned, my life would be FAR less complicated because, poof, no more Witches, no more looking beyond my own construct, and no more Water Witch… no more Hedge Witch… just asshole Miller wondering why he did that…but…at least I wouldn’t have to be afraid of Ritual and Practice, right?

I don’t particularly “enjoy” fearing Ritual but, I don’t really want to not fear it, either. I DO want to protect The Witches with my words because, if someone that LOVES them is afraid of them then, what about the people that don’t love them and will never attempt to understand them? They know that I will keep trying…for them…and for me…to understand. They also know that my grasp will be imperfect. It’s ok.

*****

I wrote this entire post and added this afterward because it is the Truth I don’t want to face…

This is “what” scares me. To Practice, as I understand it, you must allow yourself to be a “conduit” for energy, be it for healing or divining or whatever. To be an Empath, you must feel what others feel. That flow means that you allow something into yourself and become a medium. My limited grasp thinks that you could possibly allow something inimical to yourself in…and not be able to control it. To be a Healer, you have to directly contact the “unhealthy” and that it could do you harm. Leaving you subject to the whims of something or someone that not only doesn’t care about you but, actively wants to hurt you.

Does that also explain my being “protective” of The Witches? That they would willingly take that risk in order to help someone, to make themselves vulnerable to harm, that sounds distinctly like “no greater love…than to lay down your life for another…” I SHOULD want to protect someone that would do that. I should be “concerned” that people I love do that…and will again and again…and they are my friends. I do not ever want to even contemplate them being harmed, not physically, emotionally, or spiritually harmed. I would rather be hurt myself than see The Witches, or my wife harmed.

If I got this section wrong, I’m sure they will tell me. I’ll give it this, though, if I have the mechanism right, I do not want to stop being scared for them. I know this bit also if I’m right, they will let me know…they’d better because I’d rather know the Truth and be scared than be a “happy idiot” not knowing…

*****

It really is ok that I don’t understand. It’s ok that I remain scared. It’s also ok, better than ok, that they don’t fear me for what I represent. I mean, male Christian, isn’t that the group that made a few, 15 or so, centuries of hell on earth for their faith and a few more centuries of b.s., if you subtract the “Christian”, for their gender?

This is enough introspection for one morning. I’m not doubting myself. I’m not doubting The Witches. We’re there for each other.

It’s what we do. In that case, I think I’ll end with a quote from my favorite, sarcasm, blogger…me…”Hell…f**k it…who really cares? Roll with it and just enjoy the ride, huh?’

Dear Aj,

Dear Aj,

By my estimation, I’m about 85% unafraid of you and about 15% scared spitless of what I don’t understand. I don’t really stress that last bit of afraid because it just doesn’t matter…

No, Aj, I am REALLY not stressing. We’ve been dealing with this for years, you and I… I may not ever get past those last “ghosts” of my conditioning but, to quote me, “so what?” We have come a very long way since that beginning, right? Since a very afraid and confused me met a Witch. Since I set aside my “Searsucker Fundie” thoughts and wandered into Heresy. Yeah, a very long way since I had to reconcile what I thought about where I KNEW your soul was going and where I am convinced it isn’t, now. You know these things. They’re just here so that we may see them again.

Herein lies the problem, Dear Friend. I worked against centuries of conditioning. I had to fight “The Wizard of Oz” and a raft of Disney. I had to overcome the fears that prompted the Salem Trials. The thing is I wanted to. I really wanted to be what I am, your best friend. I wanted it so badly that I knew that I had ZERO choices in the matter. I was at a spot where being “scared spitless” met “you’ll lose your best friend” and “spitless” lost…

I love you to bits. You don’t scare me. What “concerns” me is that people don’t see that. I have sent you to Hell in a blog post to make the point that I think that is a lie.  As an aside, you do realize how hard that was to write?  I’ve told friends about you in conversations, blogs, “FaceCrack” aka “your daily dose of dopamine” statuses and, every other method I can think of and I’m still worried.

I know that all you want is to be left alone to practice in peace. That’s it. You don’t want to proselytize. You aren’t out to change anyone’s beliefs or moral construct. You haven’t done that to me. We’ve never even talked about it except for tiny bits when I asked, about sending energy and I know you keep a candle lit for my house, just like I pray for your safety. You see, I’m not trying to change you either but, you knew that, too. My worry isn’t “you” but “for you” because people don’t see you, the person, they see “godless heathen Witch” or they see a caricature from movies and comics or they see”my darkest fear of demons and evil”. None of which are the Truth… You aren’t evil or a joke.

So, the question remains, what do we do? How do we teach people to look beyond? How do we give the unwilling a reason to take the harder path and confront themselves and what they think like I did? How do we teach the kids because “most” adults have their prejudices formed? Not everyone is as willing as I am/was to be open. Most of them don’t have an “Aj”. I suspect that most of them would have told you to get away as soon as they suspected that you weren’t like them. I’m not saying that makes me “special” or, in any other way, some kind of a Good Person. In fact, my reasons were, and are, ENTIRELY selfish. Everyone needs a Best Friend and when someone picks you to be theirs, you…or I…accept with gratitude.

I digress…

I don’t think we’ll change the world. I really don’t think anyone cares what a middle-aged Water Witch and a balding Heretic think. Sigh. I do think that we might change one person. We could possibly teach two or three if we’re lucky. We, I, still gotta try. We have to keep showing you to them and hoping for the best. At the End of Things, Truth and Love overcame Fear…and that’s all that counts. That and that if I can overcome my fear and gain my Best Friend, every bit of the work, all of the soul searching, all the dumb questions and neurotic phone calls and texts were worth the effort…

Love,
Miller