PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
In order to change we must facilitate change. Change doesn't just come, no matter how much we desire it. Change is often painful, jarring us out of a comfortable, though dissatisfying existence, forcing us into molds that don't fit who we are, but will eventually turn us into who we wish to be. Change in our lives is not the gracefully seamless flow of color and scent we see in nature as the Wheel turns around us. Do trees suffer as they burst from summer's green to autumn's golden splendor? How does the goldenrod and the Michaelmas daisy feel as their colors brighten beneath the cooling autumn sun? Of course we can't know; nature's children keep their secrets to themselves.
It often seems that as much as we welcome change we are at the same time resisting it, fighting and forcing it back until opportunity has passed us by, only to leave us wondering what went wrong and wishing our circumstances (or we) could change. Why is this so, I wonder? I am as guilty of it as anyone, and like most others I recognize it, yet I still have to consciously remind myself that what I am doing (or am meant to be doing) really is to my own benefit, regardless of how much I detest it. Case in point: that excruciating half an hour on my elliptical machine every day, that half an hour I skipped this morning and will no doubt try my best to avoid doing tomorrow even though I know exercise is healthy for me, and if I want to do a 5K color run next summer I need to begin training now....
As a writer who prides herself on speaking truth to the powerful and uncovering inconvenient truths kicked to the curb by the patriarchal status quo, I wonder if other writers have also noticed the integrity lacking in the columns of so many colleagues? Is cowardly reporting a pet peeve of yours too? Do you share my disdain for shallow and unbalanced reporting? Like me, do you appreciate writers who really stick their neck out and get their hands dirty rather than playing it safe? Seriously, don’t we have enough sheeple?
For instance, when we have sports figures involved in domestic violence as they so often are or women being raped by their male counterparts in the military or we find out men who have killed women left behind writings showing their hatred of females, all too often writers will ask the question in their column, "What's wrong with our culture?" Interestingly, they don't ask the more obvious question - "What's wrong with some men in our culture?" Often it might even be the victim who is assaulted again in the media as writers avoid naming the real bully - so when did the press stop naming the real bully? Does the female writer not point to the obvious because she's afraid she'll be labeled an angry feminist in our patriarchal world and might get fewer jobs ? Is the male writer who ignores male domination and oppression in our society simply unaware of male privilege or is he being disingenuous? Is it okay to be a self-interested reporter or a columnist who skirts the actual underlying problems? Or should a writer's commitment be to delving deep and getting to the real issues, not just what's comfortable to speak out about? Should a writer challenge his audience and try to inspire her readers by sharing insights or facts, even if they might upset the proverbial apple cart?
Likewise in politics. I'm so tired of reading Democrats and Republicans are all alike. Surely that is a false equivalency. When it comes to social issues, it's not Demorats voting against the Consumer Protection Bureau, equal pay for women, extending unemployment insurance benefits, fixing broken bridges, or spending tax dollars to create jobs. It's not Democrats who are forcing women to be subjected to vaginal probes if they want an abortion or closing abortion clinics across Red States. It's not Democrats engaging in voter suppression or not signing legislation to help prevent domestic violence. It's not the liberals on the Supreme Court voting that corporations are people to allow rich Americans and corporations unlimited campaign contributions, effectively buying our country, or as recently as last week, giving corporations religious rights over employees. It's not at the Democratic National Convention where one sees only see white Christian faces peering back. It's not Democrats trying their best to do away with Unions that helped build the Middle Class, nor is it Democrats who are against raising the minimum wage. It's not Democrats who deny science, practice homophobia and always put corporations before people. I could go on and on but maybe you get the point. It's pretty obvious Democrats and Republicans are NOT the same, so why continue to perpetuate that false idea? We read this "false equivalency" description all the time. Are columnists not doing their homework to know better? Are they trying to be politically correct? Have they gotten lazy? Are they really partisan and pushing the propaganda of one party over another under the guise of being fair and unbiased? Even my beloved Jon Stewart played this game once, presumably in an attempt to help dispel polarization among people, but isn’t it a disservice to low information voters who might not know all the aforementioned points and turn to him for their news?
Authors are sometimes guilty of this kind of writing too. I can think of one in particular who writes about a particular woman of the Bible. She elevates the biblical woman and gives us new insight as she uncovers this biblical woman's story but she never has the courage to tell us who's responsible for disappearing this woman's story from history. Of course it might mean getting some Christians angry to learn the truth. So is this error of omission about self-interest? Does she want it both ways? She wants to tell about this biblical woman, but stops short of telling the whole story lest she ruffle some feathers and sell fewer books for speaking truth to power.
Unless we are writing fiction, what's the point of writing about important issues of the day or claiming to uncover secrets of the past unless you're going to tell the whole truth? What kind of writer do you want to be? One who makes a difference or one who plays it safe. If you're the latter, maybe you should stick to writing about celebrities, cooking and fashion. If you can’t name the real bullies on the playground, then go write children’s books. And if you’re being paid to promote a certain agenda, whether it be political, patriarchal, etc., then full disclosure should be shared or your omission compromises your integrity. At least that way you inform your readers you’re coming from a biased viewpoint. At least that way you won't perpetuate misinformation or waste valuable column space that might have been used by someone who could use their bully pulpit to educate, raise awareness and inspire some worthwhile conversation.
Know thyself and if you're a Goddess Advocate, find your sacred roar!
Though we know the First Amendment by heart and have the Establishment Clause tattooed on our wee Pagan hearts, it's pretty tricky to belong to a minority religion in some parts of this country. Like gender, race and class, following a spiritual tradition that marks you as "Other" isn't always comfortable in the Land of the Free.
The recent Supreme Court decision about employers freedom to impose their religious views on their employees has been another blow in women's on-going quest for something approaching autonomy in this country. We've been talking about the "glass ceiling" for decades and every few months, someone trots out the pay inequity that seems to be endemic in the American economic system....
Fire-- the element we celebrated this year at Where Womyn Gather! In my June 13th Full Moon Share I wrote about how this year’s fire energy allowed me to work on my relationship to anger. Yet the fire energy manifested for me in other ways as well-- through love and courage.
I loved the fiery hugs I received from sisters dressed in reds, yellows, oranges and golds! Love for my sisters at festival-- many of whom I only see in person at this time. Love for the sacred space created on that beautiful land as I prayed in the sweat lodge. Love for new found friends as I met sisters for the first time who I had previously only known virtually. So much love for my Goddess Sister tribe!
So much love. Love and courage-- freely given and received for 4 magical days.
I found the courage to speak up for myself and make my needs known! Courage witnessed in sisters sharing their stories-- in the Red Tent Temple, the Sweat Lodge, or while I painted their bodies. Courage to facilitate my Connect to Your Inner Fire workshop. Courage to hold sacred space for sisters who journaled, cried, shared and connected to powerful parts of themselves. Goddess sisters who gifted me the courage to continue on my calling, knowing I am making a difference!
Gratitude-- something we celebrate every year at Where Womyn Gather! Gratitude for the opportunities to experience love and courage in the sacred sister space. Gratitude for continued opportunities to offer my Connect to Your Inner Fire workshop. Gratitude for fire-- fire that feeds the love in my heart. Gratitude for fire-- fire in my belly lighting my path.
Our circle is open but never broken sisters. I let go with love and light. Blessings to you my Goddess sister tribe! ❤
This image was in my feed on Facebook a few days back:
I've been seeing a lot of messages lately about choices, as well as messages conveying that good and worthwhile things require a fight, a struggle, much striving and difficulty. Our culture collectively values difficulty (you could throw a rock and hit 10 internet pictures with savvy sayings about how a person needs to strive/fight/work/etc. for fill-in-the-blank-with-your-own-awesome-hard-won-thing) and thus we humans often forget that we can choose something other than the "good fight."
I've been doing spirit animal work with Fox, and Fox has been telling me yes, the humans love to believe in a noble struggle...but transformation can be easy...one just has to choose to let go and let the Flow decide the course, the direction, the meaning, the life. Fox has been telling me it is time to embrace this lesson:
Finding happiness/meaning/worth/your own awesome thing just requires transformation. Transformation is surrender in disguise, and the secret to the whole shebang is this: surrender is easy, and powerful.
Sometimes it is easier to just sit back and not try to take that step forward. Maybe dealing with the negativity that has become so common in my life is easier than stepping into the unknown. But by dealing with this negativity I have noticed that over the pasts two years my health has declined, my motivation has declined, as well, my positive attitude and outlook has declined.