belief

Divination Scares the S**t Outta Me

Divination, in all its forms, scares me from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. I mean, the idea of it, even this mention will cause nightmares. A few of the people I love are Witches. In point of fact, with one exception, the closest of the handful of people that aren’t related, are Witches. The Witches keep reassuring me that divination is nothing to be feared…and I still fear it. I suspect I always will…

So what?

To The Witches, divination and their spiritual life,  are a part of them as much as the physical parts of themselves. So, if I love The Witches, if they are as dear to me as I say they are, what choices do I have?

Well, I could reject them. Just kick them away from me. You know, “Hey, y’all are just a bunch of trash. If that’s a part of you, y’all are going to Hell anyway, keep away from me. Besides that s**t scares the crap outta me. Damn Sinners…” Yeah…NO. Not an option. First of all, I’m a Heretic and figure that my God is capable of many things that I don’t know or understand. Also, the Bible says it isn’t MY place to Judge the condition of anyone’s soul. Besides, The Witches are my friends and are the Wise Women I go to when I need advice from wise women. Aj prefers the term “crone”.

I could ignore it but, that option doesn’t work because their spiritual life IS a part of who and what they are. It would be like going to an exhibit of paintings and only look at the frames, missing the image you came to see. Seems fairly stupid to me.

That leaves the third option, I could just realize that THEY are not to be feared. That if I don’t run from them or push them away, my choice is to live with the fact that one of MY deepest fears is in error…or at least, try to convince my hind-brain of that even if my “thinking brain” knows they aren’t a  threat.

I KNOW The Witches.

I don’t know their every thought. I don’t their every thought. I don’t want to. I don’t know their rituals and practices. It isn’t my business. I don’t know what god(s) they follow and, again, unless they make it my business, it isn’t my business. What I do know is their character. I know that I can trust them with my fear of some of their Practice and they will, patiently, try…one more time…for the zillionth time…to explain and reassure. I know their love.

You know, it’s “odd” to be me. A Witch taught me some of the life lessons I needed to learn. The first woman that wasn’t a blood relative or a dog that I told I loved I married. That is my Lady Wife.

The second woman I ever said that to is a Witch. SHE, Aj, taught me that it is possible to love someone that you are not obligated to. To love a friend. She taught me that I don’t have to understand to be able to accept. She taught me that “different” is not the same as “threat”. She taught me that her beliefs and mine are not the same but, they can exist in harmony. She helped to teach me, read kick my a$$ in the right direction, that “I” am worth trusting, even if I didn’t believe it about myself. She gives me advice on difficult subjects like “how does my wife think?” She taught that sometimes you have to risk a great loss to have a great gain but, that’s a different story for a different time.

It seems kind of mercenary to me to not just kick The Witches out. I mean, I gain from them and they have to deal with my b.s. I mean, I see what MY upside is. I get to be around people I love and like and admire. What’s in it for them? I’m no great shakes. Just some random Heretic from a faith that pushed them underground and persecuted them for the better part of 2,000 years…I really don’t get it…That loss that is in the paragraph above, Aj told an, at that time, Evangelical Christian, now Heretic. that she was a Witch. She had decided she had found someone that could be her Best Friend…while I was realizing it…and KNEW that she had to tell me the Truth about herself, to remove any assumptions I may have, rather than to let me live with Illusion…and if I just decided that I should kick her aside, that would hurt but, not as much as the Lie would.

The Witches are NOT a threat. The first Witch I ever knew taught me that. The others I know reinforce that. Our beliefs are NOT the same but, the way we live our lives are.

You don’t have to agree with my faith…or theirs but, before you so readily dismiss someone as worthless, consider who they are. Don’t look at the frame and miss the artwork within…If all I see is what I fear, I lose The Witches. THAT loss is a price I am unwilling to pay.

Advertisements

Granola or Neo-Pagan?

Well…Happy Easter…

I haven’t written in a long time but, like it used to do when I wrote frequently, something has to get under my skin for me to write…

One of my closest friends was called “granola”. That is a term I had to look up. In context, it means, “to not really care but to be in it because it’s fashionable”. It pissed me off because they were calling a friend “false”.

I really don’t like a different phrase, too. The phrase “Neo-Pagan” bothers me. I know too many Witches. Neo-Pagan is a phrase used by mainstream society to imply a current construct. That overlooks one tiny point…

WE taught the Witches and Pagans that WE would persecute, harass, and disparage them at every opportunity. We forced them underground. Then, when they had the temerity to assume that times had changed, we made up a term that makes light of their traditions.

Huh? We did what? We treated them like they were trash and then when they finally got the nerve to begin to be more open with their faith WE called them “granola”.

*sigh*

Pardon my language but, that seems kind of chickens**t and decidedly un-Christian. We can acknowledge the right of every other set of beliefs in the World to exist and not even take seriously the oldest set? Christians claim persecution. In this country, OUR faith, Christianity, is the majority faith but, it is not the ONLY faith or set of beliefs.

Look, *calms fingers* there is room for more than just Christianity here. I’m not really here to debate the merits of which is “more valid”. For me, Christianity fits. For the very closest of my friends, they are Pagan. So what?

Here’s what one of them says about her beliefs, “it’s not hocus-pocus … it’s about mindfulness and living with the harmony vs … ego bs and taking…we don’t take. we don’t need to. there is none of that …that’s forcing your will upon another … and whatever you put out comes back 3 fold … so … how do you think that will turn out. Do no Harm is my professional code and it suits me in my personal and spiritual practice.”

That sounds quite a bit like “do to others what you want done to you” with a dash of “love your neighbor” implied in there, too…

Anyway, I started writing this because, if we want out faith treated with respect, perhaps we shouldn’t make light of a set of far older traditions. We should “do to others” the respect we want. We pushed them under the covers. We taught them that “the only time a submarine gets in trouble is when it comes up for air” a few centuries ago and now that they have decided to come up into the Sun, we told them “well…since you went away…now that you’ve come back, you aren’t what you were…or have been while you were hiding from us.”

There IS room. We can each learn from each other. There are tenets of Christianity that directly correspond to Pagan tenets. Some don’t but, again, so what? The World is full of individuals and we ALL look at it through our own eyes. Just don’t assume that everyone is “granola” because YOU think that they’re false…unless that’s what you want to be treated like in return.

Have a happy Easter. Have a blessed Eostre.

Which One Is Pagan?

I want to try something. I want you to guess which one is Pagan. Is it the pharmacist that fills your prescription and is a single mom or is it the middle aged lady that works in the library? Could it be the quiet clerk in the deli and gives you a sandwich? Lastly, could it be the Goth girl that nannies the kid down the street and cooks for her boyfriend? Those are your choices…

Here’s a story about a “crisis of conscience”. A few years ago, I had, still have, a friend named Aj. Because I was sick. pneumonia, I was spending time sitting on the couch talking on Facebook. Aj and I had been friends and were becoming closer friends. I was learning that I had a “best friend”. Hadn’t had one in years. I think I realized that she was when she actually said it. We shared the same attitudes and values. One day, being my usual smarta$$ self, I made a status that was a Monty Python paraphrase about burning a witch. Her reply was that my closest friend was a witch, a real Pagan witch…

That caused a huge problem. I thought though we had not discussed it, that she was Christian. Her values were the parts of Christianity that I valued and still do. She lived the “love your neighbor” parts. Her walk was peace toward everyone. She took in a child that was not hers and later adopted the child because it was the right thing to do. She lived out being a good wife and mother. She forgave me for being a complete jerk when we met and looked past my faults to see the good in me. Like I said, all of the parts of Christianity I hold close…and my beliefs said she was going to Hell because she didn’t believe in Jesus…

That’s a bad place for me to be. I was given two choices. I could condemn to an eternity of suffering a person I had come to love or I could adapt. No middle ground there. Either I judge or not.

I adapted. I came to realize that, even though she had a strong sense of right and wrong, “sin” is applicable to my faith but, not hers. That I HAD to quit trying to make her a “Christian like Pagan” and accept her the way she is.

This is what I am trying to convey. My belief is that “judge not lest you be judged” is that it is not my place to judge someone’s soul. I go on with my belief that God created everyone the way He wants them to be. He puts people in our lives for His purposes. not ours. She, Aj, was the same person both before and after I knew. She had not changed. The only change was my perception of her. If I didn’t think she was going to Hell before, why would I have to think she was going after I found out. She stayed the same.

When you think about someone, what do you see? Do you see a person, or do you see your own concept of what they should be? If you meet someone, do you decide to impose your views and baggage and conditioning on them or do you take them at face value for who they are? The face value was and is that Aj is someone I love. Her being Pagan changed none of the things that are intrinsic to her, merely my perceptions of them…and not for long as I realized that my perceptions of worth were incorrect. I could not write off the human and friend because I couldn’t live with a difference in faith given that I was the one that had changed…

Aj is my “best friend that is not my wife”. She will be for as long as she will allow me. She answers all my silly questions about her beliefs. She corrects my mistakes and lives with some of my misgivings and uncomfortableness with some aspects of her’s. *editorial, tarot and divination make me uncomfortable* She puts up with a bunch from me because I overthink everything. She also teaches me to understand the parts of Paganism that I am comfortable with…and a whole bunch of other stuff like, how to be a good husband when I need advice. *grins* If she weren’t a Pagan, you’d think “what a nice Christian Lady”. *editorial, she’ll give me some static for “nice” because she wouldn’t use that word to describe herself* Anyway, unless she told you, you wouldn’t know she’s not Christian…

Remember the quiz? I’ve just been talking about the pharmacist. The second, I’ve known for some years and found out a week ago that she’s Pagan/Wiccan. I had no idea. We never talked about it. I thought that anyone that loves Christmas as much as she does must be Christian and gave it no more thought. The nanny is a “nice young lady” that was my first impression and I’ve found no reason to change it. Yeah, she’s also Pagan. The quiet girl that gives you the sandwich, I worked with. Cute as a bug when she wears a sundress *editorial, I think that’s what it’s called, she can correct me if she remembers the day we visited when I was cooking ribs* very smart and, again, Pagan. You’d never guess any of these if you looked at them. They might wear a necklace or something but, they don’t carry a banner that says “Hey, look at me, I’m Pagan”. They just go about their lives and leave it to you to like them as humans or not. None of them were what I expected them to be. I was surprised every time that they were not Christian.

In the end, I keep learning that there’s no stereotypical witch. People are people. They are the many varieties that, my belief, God made. They are unique and wonderful. They have an infinite ability to surprise me with the depths of their belief and convictions. To presuppose that if they do not conform to my faith and worldview denies me their insights. I have learned from Pagans. I have learned from Aj. I am a better Christian and husband for knowing some of the ones I do. I am far more accepting and far less prone to judge.

*exhale*

I realized it comes down to this, I choose to see people with faith. I learned that having  a different basis for that does not remove the basic idea of belief in something greater than yourself. I don’t like every Pagan I know but, I don’t like every Christian I know either. Paganism is “wrong”…for me but, not them…I should have realized that from the start. In the end, I did. I sleep better at night knowing that Aj cares and light candles for me. I’ll give it this, the soul searching was not wasted because I did grow. It wasn’t fun but, it was needed. Out of that pain came insight. I learned that my path is not the only path and the sole lock on morality or faith. Now, and you may ask anyone after Aj, when I find out that an unexpected person is Pagan, my first response is very probably, “cool”…and it is because of the people that God created to live that faith. Caring and compassion, kindness and love, independence and individuality are keystones to Paganism, as is a willingness to accept others the way they are without trying to change them. Proselytizing and evangelism are not, they will live their lives as they are called to and, if you join that path, it is because of their example, we Christians could learn from that, too. We could learn that, if we want someone to “convert”, the best way is by sharing our lives and not our dogmatic views of Sin and Hell.

*exhale again*

Please think on that. You may disagree with my conclusion about Aj…and the rest but, that’s yours to deal with. For me, I’ll gladly take the humans that have offered to let me know them and not judged me. I have gained and I have been blessed for knowing them. It hurt to change my views but, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Humans…that happen to be Pagan…