PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
Just thinking of digging out the old AVATAR DVD. That's part of my year end tradition, starting the new year out with a great movie that shows the under dogs beating the odds and claiming victory! What's yours?
I get teary-eyed every time I watch Avatar. I love seeing the hero kneeling before that great tree, a long-time symbol of Goddess. And he's praying to Her. He's telling Her the Sky People, otherwise known as us, the Earthlings, are coming for them, for Her and they're hell-bent on stealing the natural resources of the planet at any cost. Sound familiar? Sound like something ripped from the headlines as some multi-national corporation comes for the water or minerals on sacred land, never mind they'll devastate the local economy and the lives of people living there. Or maybe it reminds you of the United States going after the oil in Iraq....
“If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.” has been a trope since the 60s. The desire to change the world is something I understand. I want my fellow humans to be happy, healthy, and productive; creating and inventing, and following where the heart and intuition lead. But I have to ask if anger is really the best way to change the world. Certainly it provides energy that can move people forward through difficult challenges, and it helps people support personal boundaries, and can be an indicator of where those are located. But I’m not convinced this approach is the most effective largely because constant anger is horrific for the body.
Anger is a stress response. From a physical stand point, anger and fear provoke the same biological actions in the body. Coritisol is released in the blood. This hormone circulates, causing the heart to speed up and breathing to increase so that you will have enough oxygen to act. Blood thickens so that if there is an injury we will be less likely to bleed to death. Body chemistry changes so that fats and sugars are not stored and will be available for fight or flight. All of these responses will slowly kill us if we spend all our time living in them. And this eventually leads to burn out and perhaps worse....
In ever-increasing numbers women and men are seeking spirituality beyond traditional religious institutions and more and more their new normal includes the deities, ideals and archetypes of the Sacred Feminine. They have a desire to get beyond the patriarchal dogma that often perpetuates sexism, homophobia and the domination of Gaia and all her inhabitants, including the body of Mother Earth. Women in particular are hearing and heeding their calling, stepping forth to take on their mantle of leadership as rabbis, ministers, priestesses, Nuns on the Bus and Womanpriests. They are exercising their spiritual authority in circles at their kitchen tables, in their living rooms and classrooms, in brick and mortar churches and temples, in political arenas and groves. They are flexing their spiritual wings and allowing themselves to be guided by their intuition, innate female wisdom and inner-knowing and they encourage their congregations to know and feel the essence of Goddess and understand what that new knowledge might mean for themselves personally and the world.
Often their shared message is one of female empowerment, social justice and environmental responsibility sometimes referred to as eco-feminist spirituality. The liturgy may contain social, cultural and political messages of liberation thealogy using Goddess mythology, archetypes and metaphors as benchmarks and templates for a more just and sustainable future. Gone altogether or tempered is the message of the strict authoritarian Father whose mythology gives license for a male-dominated society with women in a subordinate role. Nothing less than peace, partnership, justice, equality and care for the planet are at the heart of this Sacred Feminine wisdom.
In answer to this collective call to restore and re-write our values and find a new spiritual path women and men are blazing a trail using their pink handled machetes to find their way. It might manifest in progressive churches using gender neutral names for God in prayer and song. Others include liturgy embracing the Divine Mother in equal partnership alongside the Father. Altars might not be dominated only by male images. Still others give themselves permission to conduct women-only services and exhibit only female images of deity at their gatherings. Congregants worship together in circles rather than in hierarchal configurations with a male intermediary between them and deity. In fact, these groups and gatherings might be leaderless, egalitarian or organizers might share leadership. In case it’s not obvious, there is no one way and no absolute right way to facilitate these gatherings or to worship or interpret deity. These are just some of the new guidelines being tried across the globe as spiritual people come forward to see what works for themselves or their communities.
Yes, there has been a plethora of academic writings restoring knowledge of Goddess and women’s history that has been swept beneath the rug. Some, myself included, have used this knowledge to occasionally re-construct or adapt ancient rituals for a modern context. We have gleaned inspiration from inscriptions and ancient knowledge and turned it into the seasonal ritual. Psychologists have explored the significance of Goddess archetypes. Theologians have examined why Goddess disappeared and patriarchy began to dominate. Some statistics show that when all earth-based or goddess-oriented groups are combined, Pagan, or non-Abrahamic religions is one of the fastest growing groups in the country and books have come out in equal measure to support that growing interest.
Yes, thealogy, not theology. The meaning of Goddess, as deity, archetype and ideal and her relationship to humanity, the planet and its species helps us find a new normal. Going beyond the wheel of the year, examining Goddess mythology and ideals of the Sacred Feminine would reshape values, society and culture, from cradle to grave, from the boardroom to bedroom, to the voting booth. Goddess ideals actually do provide a template for a more just and sustainable future. We can directly connect the dots between losing our Mother, the Great She, to exploitation of the planet and the oppression of our patriarchal world. Watch this space!
May Goddess Embrace You in Her Golden Wings,
Dr. Rev. Karen Tate
I was going to write about something related but different in my next column. But I read Shauna Aura Knight’s excellent post about her stance on the Frosts this morning, and the controversy she has encountered has encouraged me to change focus. It seems to me that much of the criticism and condemnation boils down to, "She's not playing nice." Well, here's the problem with "niceness." I must tread carefully to protect privacy so much of my language is deliberately vague.
One of our tradition members – an initiate of an initiate – contacted my husband and priest. She said that her teenage daughter had told her that her husband had sexually abused her. The couple have been married for many years; the girl in question is the man’s daughter genetically. The mother was, quite understandably, in tears. She wanted to know what she should do....
Author, tarot creator, and pagan leader Courtney Weber joined me on the latest episode of The Modern Witch Podcast. Our conversation was such a blast that I had to send her a few more questions. For the full interview head on over to The Modern Witch PodCast.
DH: The New York pagan scene has been exploding over the past few years. As a pagan Leader within that community what would you say are some of the major reasons for this renaissance?
It's FieryTuesday here at the PaganNewsBeagle with stories of activism and politics in today's news.
I know this isn't specifically Pagan, but it's certainly going to "fire up" the activists today: in a major blow to the Affordable Care Act, a Federal Court this morning struck down federal insurance subsidies EXCEPT to plans bought on state insurance exchanges. An appeal is virtually certain. http://www.scotusblog.com/2014/07/major-new-blow-to-health-care-law/#more-215691...