PaganSquare


PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.

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Running for Public Office While Openly Heathen

I had been looking for a job for about a year when I decided that I was going to take the next opportunity I was offered, even if it was volunteer work. I sent out a very clear intent that I would accept whatever I was offered the next day. The universe having a sense of humor, the next day the Libertarian Party asked me to run for public office. So I did.

That's how I came to run for Nevada State Assembly in 2010.

I've been completely out as a heathen for a long time, and I've always published under my birth name, even as the publisher and editor of Berserkrgangr Magazine in the 90s. The print edition of Asatru For Beginners was just hitting the presses, and I was publicizing the new edition, so when I ran for office, I knew that a few seconds with a search engine would bring up the words Asatru, heathen, and pagan. Sometimes reporters covering the election asked me about Asatru, and included a short quote about it in the election coverage. Sometimes heathen and pagan reporters reported on my campaign as news of interest to heathens and pagans. Other than that, it didn't really come up as an issue during my campaign.

Most people were far more interested in what I could do for them than in demographic details of my identity. Other than organizations for a specific religion, ancestry, sexual orientation, etc., the only demographic that seemed to matter to most people in my local area was that I was a woman, and that was a plus. It was such a plus that I adopted a more feminine style for my campaign style than I use in my real life. In real life I'm a little non-binary. In the campaign, well, being female is good for an extra 5% of the vote, and one of my campaign's major goals was to show that women had a place in the Libertarian Party, so I made sure I always photographed as female. My hair was always down, and I wore a lot of pink.

I ran again in 2013, for Henderson City Council. Again, my religious affiliation didn't seem to matter much to anyone but other pagans and heathens. After the campaign was over, I heard that one group decided not to endorse my campaign because of my religion, but I only heard about it because a supporter told me.  I got support from a wide array of different local groups and individuals from various points on the political spectrum. The City Council race was a 4 way contest, and I received over 15% of the vote.

Over the course of my two campaigns, I became deeply connected to the local community, as well as becoming much more well-known in the heathen and pagan communities nationally. I don't know how much of my new fame came from my book tour and how much from running for office, since I did both in the same year. I learned a ton, influenced the local conversation on issues, and made lots of great friends, and I'm glad I did it, but I am never, ever, ever running again.

Last modified on

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Christ in the Cauldron

Inside the circle of empty chairs I began to set up my altars on the floor.  I have been invited to speak with The Sonoma County Pagan Network on how I live as both a Witch (very active in the Reclaiming Tradition) and a Christian (ordained as a minister and serving within the United Church of Christ). 

In the East/Air, I lay a white cloth and on it an Icon of Sophia/Wisdom, who in the Judeo/Christian mythology was there “...before the beginning of the Earth...”  Next to the Icon of Sophia I lay books full of wisdom that I have found fill my lungs with sacred breath and free my breathing of oppressive dogma.  I lay books full of words that entered my mind and helped my thoughts and intellect fly and wonder, piqued my curiosity and spun webs of connections.  I lay books like Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Parker’s “Proverbs of Ashes” which gave me permission to remain Christian even though I do not subscribe to substitutionary atonement theology, and Cynthia Bourgeault’s “The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three” which helped me see the Christian Trinity as a fluid and dynamic dance of all genders and forms. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I read a book called "The Samurai from Outer Space" about anime and it mentioned a shrine in Japan where Jesus is married to Otohi
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Your welcome Anthony - let me know if you come up with more on that shrine….
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    That sounds amazingly beautiful. I really wish I could have been there in person, but thank you for sharing it here!
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thanks Annika! We should create and co-lead a Christ in the Cauldron retreat sometime, maybe with Gina Pond as well....
  • Piper
    Piper says #
    Thank you, as a Gnostic Christian Priest, magician, husband to a Witch and father to two Asaturar I found this moving and beautifu
Pagan News Beagle: Watery Wednesday, May 27

One of the most important parts of building a community is making sure everyone has access to the necessary resources to keep them alive and comfortable. Water is perhaps the most fundamental of those. This week in Watery Wednesday we take a look at (among other things) communities around the world that are working to maintain easy access to water or those that have formed in areas where water is scarce. Continue below to find out more!

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Speaking to the Stars

 

One of the very first magical lessons I received was when I was about 16. One of my crazy mother’s crazy friends told me “when you want something, tell it to the Cosmos. You’ll always get what you need.” At first I thought this was just hippy-dippy wishful thinking, not at all grounded in reality. But, as someone who is (mostly) willing to try everything at least once, I remember tentatively trying to give my needs, wants, and desires over to the stars, to “tell it to the Cosmos.”  Throughout the years I’ve had mixed results, but they’ve been mostly positive.

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Last modified on

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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The 30 Days of May ecourse has come to an end and the month of May itself is drawing to a rainy and humid close for me here in the Midwest, but one of the lessons that lingers for me was identifying the call of the "May Queen" in my life this month.

I have been working on a lot of projects, many exciting and some stressful, and I was feeling tense, taut, stressed, unhappy, unsettled, depressed and discouraged. On one of these stressful days, The Judgmental Committee in my head not only decreed that I was a bad mother, but also a bad friend, wife, daughter, and overall person.  I was feeling pulled between the needs of my older children, my baby, my work, and my business and ended up feeling as if I was not doing a good job with anything. And, then in response to the prompts from 30 Days of May, the May Queen delivered her message: Discernment. Much of life about wise discernment. I have a tendency to become dualistic in my thinking, either I DO IT or I QUIT IT FOREVER. At the same time, I am very harsh with myself at my perceived inability to “flow” and surrender. 

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Ahimsa Grove: Is Veganism “Extreme?”

 

Hello again, and thanks for reading. Occasionally, though not always, I hear from my Pagan peers that veganism is extreme, or more to the point, extremely uncomfortable to talk about in omnivorous company. In general, I believe that the discomfort comes from simple lack of familiarity. I came across this quote today, shared by “The Thinking Vegan” (http://thethinkingvegan.com), and it helped me to find my way into this topic. First, the quote:

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Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
What's in a name?

One of the issues we face when reviving ancient spiritual practices is that we often don’t know exactly what the original people called their gods and goddesses. In the case of the Minoans, we don’t even know what language they spoke, and their deity names have come down to us only through the Greeks. Today I’m going to toss out some thoughts about some of the god and goddess names from ancient Crete. Maybe, if we put enough ideas into the pot, we can brew up some useful bits for modern Minoan Paganism. Let’s start with Rhea, the Minoan Earth Mother goddess.

First of all, there is no generally-accepted etymology for the name Rhea. It may be the Greek interpolation of the native Minoan name for their Earth Mother goddess. The Greeks often attempted to transliterate the names of foreign deities into their own language, but as so often happens in this kind of situation, the pronunciation changes to feel more comfortable to the speakers. Through this process we ended up with the Greek name  Isis for the Egyptian Aset and Greek Osiris for Egyptian Ausar. The Greeks said Rhea was the Mother Goddess of Crete; even among the Olympians, she was still considered Cretan. I’ve always felt that her name, however it was originally pronounced, was the word the Minoans used for the island of Crete, which was the embodiment of their goddess.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    I truly hope that someday Linear A will be translated.
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    I hope so, too. The biggest obstacle right now is that the amount of Linear A text we have is really too small to do any kind of d

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