PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
I've been following the Facebook conversation around my first post in this series, and I'd like to address a few things here that I hope will help to facilitate a more congenial conversation around this topic going forward.
First, to my fellow vegan Pagans: If you've allowed yourself to be baited into flaming on Facebook, you're not helping the animals, the Earth or yourself. Difficult as it is to do, you need to remain calm when you address non-vegans in cyberspace, even when you're treated unfairly. Remember what you believe in, and let your ethics guide your responses, not your anger. Thank you.
Second, to my fellow omnivore Pagans: Many of the arguments you've made on Facebook are addressed via the links I provided in my first post, so I would encourage you to peruse them. I would also encourage you to remember that I wrote my introductory post for the very reason that I was concerned about the possible tone of the conversation around this topic. So please think carefully before you comment. Thank you.
Third, to Witches & Pagans: I understand the need to foster a balanced environment around difficult topics, but I ask you to remember that I have not yet made an argument of any kind. When I do, it will certainly be appropriate to point interested readers to "the opposite argument". Further, I hope to provide the sort of pro-vegan information you can point to for balance when others write anti-vegan blog posts. Thank you.
Finally, to the peaceable Pagans who commented thoughtfully in the aforementioned Facebook thread: Vegan or omnivore; thank you, thank you, thank you....
Inspired by the recent publication of an environmental statement by the Covenant of the Goddess, and spurred on by the increasingly urgent need for personal and societal reform of our relationship to the environment, I am gathering interested parties to prepare a draft Pagan Community Statement on the Environment. Our intent is to a prepare a draft statement which will then be made available for public comment and then finalized for signatures. Among other things, I would like to see this statement published by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation, which already has published similar statements by many other religions. If you would be interested in helping to write the first draft of the Pagan Community Statement on the Environment or if you would like to participate in any other way, please email me at your earliest convenience or respond in the comments. Thank you for your attention to this important issue. If you would like to read more about the thoughts that prompted this effort, see my recent post at The Allergic Pagan....
I’m late with this post. I normally aim to blog in the first two days of the month, and in truth this time I nearly forgot. The 1st brought me a handfasting, the 2nd a political launch and as I swapped hastily between celebrant and press officer hats, the Druid blogger hat didn’t get a look in. I wear a lot of hats, so this kind of thing happens now and then.
When you have one identity defined by one thing you are doing, it’s much easier to steer the course of your life and pace yourself in line with the year. The more hats you have, the harder it is to keep an overview. I frequently end up running from one kind of job to another, so busy trying to be in the right headspace for the task in hand that I don’t pay as much attention as I might to the bigger picture. So here I am wondering how it got to be September already, and nearly missing a post....
I keep joking that I'm redoing my house in Early Green Man.
My friend Gary has a Green Man wall in his house. There must be 50 different Green Men in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and mediums on that Wall. You can't hardly help but bow. Me, I've got them all over the house, peeking out from the most unexpected corners. One of the hazards of 21st century consumerist paganism, I guess.
The Green God: Earth's Firstborn and, they say, favorite. (But maybe, like in my family, she just understands him better.) She does give him that incomparable Coat of Many Colors every year as a sign of favor. And so his brother becomes a kin-slayer, most terrible of crimes. But that's never the end with the Green Man. “Cut me down,” he says, “I spring up high.” Irrepressible.
Continuing my story of my personal journey on my heathen path, my spiritual experiences in college continued both my newfound heathen path and the experiences with animal totems I had been taught as a child. The first day I moved into UC-Santa Cruz, I saw my spirit animal watching over me.
The quotes in this post are quotes from my memoir, Greater Than the Sum of My Parts, which covers my first 30 years on the Earth. (I'm now 45.)
“I had never ridden a [city] bus before. I was afraid I wouldn’t recognize my stop, and would end up down in the city of Santa Cruz, wondering what to do in the big scary city. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a cat out in the field, but when I turned to look there was nothing there. “A cat spirit,” I thought. “There’s a cat spirit watching over me.”
I started having past life memories. Two of the three of them were in Russia, and I started to think that maybe it had not been purely the coincidence of seeing that someone was studying some exotic and challenging language at the point in high school where I was expected to start learning a foreign language that had led me to learn Russian and to go on to study Soviet Political Analysis at UCSC.
“I had three images in my head that seemed more real than dreams, but belonged to the wrong context to have been this life. I cast them in poetry. Memories from Nowhere #1, “I stand in a reddened room./ Gold stone glitters on the wall/ Lacquered sandstone lying lies/ Of wealth no one has ever known.” I danced in this desert temple to the music of “the pipe gourds of peasants/ and shaking metal sheaves.” In #2 “I am the root woman, the old witch of the woods” in the far south of old Russia, by the look of the house and the weather; such a wooden peasant cot with its painted shutters could have been built in the 9th century or the 19th. In the third vision I am some type of wanderer, also in old Russia by my felt boots, searching the Steppes for evidence of the second lifetime, and finding the old stone foundations of a village fallen into ruin for 300 years. “Stone and pottery, beads of glass/ Were yielding to the growing grass.”
Poetry and writing were the way I related my dreams and visions to others, and they were also the way I worked through how I thought and felt for myself. Most of my poetry and writing were hard work using my skills, but sometimes I felt my poetry was inspired. It was a special feeling, and I can only describe it as a state which is part meditative trance and part compulsion, with a splash of religious ecstasy. Because I primarily related to my heathen path through poetic inspiration and rune magic, which are both powers of Odin, I felt closest to Odin. I also related to him in his warrior aspect, since I had grown up in a martial arts school. I still practiced both the physical forms and the meditations I had learned in kung fu, and I was comfortable with the idea of a god who was both warrior and wizard.
I was sure that he was the god who would become my patron. I was both wrong and right, but I would not know that until thirty more years had passed. I'll tell both the story of how wrong I was and the story of how right I was, when I get to those parts of my tale. Taking my story in chronological order, my next post will be about my spiritual experiences when I spent the summer of 1987 studying in England.
Since I've been talking about writing poetry and the fall equinox is coming up, I'd like to conclude this post by sharing a short poem. This was first published in The Sonoma Index-Tribune in the early 90s and reprinted in my poetry chapbook Renaissance Woman.
Light goes before dark and follows after,
And now suspended from a rafter
In the great barn which covers Earth
Is a lamp of Death and a lamp of Birth.
The farmer opens the barn door wide,
And in walks springtime's loving bride,
Grown old and wise and full and fat,
And on the Birth-lamp hangs her hat.