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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in ethics


continued from part I.

What is wrong with libertarianism as a philosophy for Pagans?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    I've looked into libertarianism at various times in my life and found the discussions of individual rights interesting and pertine
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Selina- Why do you ignore every actual argument I give? I do not quite know how to answer your first observation since it is ludi
  • Selina Rifkin
    Selina Rifkin says #
    Even the most cursory reading of the history of political parties shows that they often travel far from their roots. Going by your

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Today Connecticut is passing some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. Approximately 60 pages of details about which long guns are now illegal, and when, where, and how people who have criminal and mental health issues may or may not have access to a firearm of any kind. In wading through the legalese, I looked and looked for something that, had it been in place before Newtown, would have stopped the murder of 26 people. I can’t find anything.

A conservative commentator, Bill Whittle, says,

We want to blame something, anything that we can control. But what we really want to ban is violence and murder and insanity, and we don’t talk about that because deep in our hearts we all know that violence and murder and insanity are built into the human condition, and likely always will be.

And I have to consider what I, as a Pagan, think about that statement. Of course I don’t believe in some Angra Mainyuesque power that pulls us toward horrible, despicable acts. But if we did not have any pull to do these things, we would not need ethics. Pagan gods provide many more obvious behavioral models than the monotheistic religions. We have plenty of warrior gods and goddesses, we have deities that destroy creation, and deities that make trouble. But we don’t condone rape because someone was possessed by Zeus, and we would not excuse a bomber because they said Kali wanted something destroyed.

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    I am so sorry you had such a distressing struggle with your step-daughter and glad that some of that burden has been lifted for yo
  • Selina Rifkin
    Selina Rifkin says #
    This is the first I have heard about any other mass killer having an autism spectrum disorder, and if this is common in the media,
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Dear Selina, I was unaware you were a New Town resident. I cannot imagine how it feels to be a member of that community now. Just
  • Selina Rifkin
    Selina Rifkin says #
    I regret having offended but I would like to point out that I'm not the one who drew the connection. I live near, and work in Newt
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    As the daughter of a man diagnosed with aspergers, I, like Anne, wish you had taken a different approach on this subject. My fathe

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Help! Recently I went into a new age store looking for some supplies for my Wiccan altar, and a woman at the store told me Wicca was dangerous and I should stop practicing it right away. I’m new to Wicca, and this woman really freaked me out and got me worried that I could harm myself or my family. Is Wicca really dangerous?

Wicca is a life-affirming, celebratory path. Its focus is on understanding our place in the natural world and living better lives by being more in harmony with nature. In my opinion, it’s a path that can help seekers with self-empowerment and self-improvement. Most of the negative ideas about Wicca are born out of fear and lack of understanding, rather than knowledge.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Wicca is dangerous to Christians because we are non-Christian. Wiccans don't attend church and obey their ministers or Priests.
  • Joseph Merlin Nichter
    Joseph Merlin Nichter says #
    If we only had a nickle for every time we were told it's bad, we could all retire. Great post.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_MM900040941.GIFRecently I read an article by a conservative Pagan. It was a very different view point from what I hear from my community in the Northeast. The writer defined why his voting choice followed his religious principles. Since this blog is about grounding our spiritual principles into our everyday lives, I enjoyed reading how he approached that.

Certain branches of Pagan practice have been deeply influenced by the liberal Left. The Environmental and Feminist movements have been a good match for a religion that engages with Nature, and indeed, it would be fair to say that Dianic Wicca emerged from a human need to express deeply held beliefs in a group, spiritual setting. Liberal political attitudes are the norm where I live, and not just with Pagans. But as Mr. Taylor points out, there are plenty of conservative Pagans, and not only among those that practice Norse Traditions.

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  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    While the substance of these posts is valid and interesting, I'm surprised at the unnecessary crankiness. IME, dialogue is more pr
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    One final point. My blog here at W&P does make substantive points about how we should relate to our environment. I think your poi
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    There are people on the left and liberals (two different categories BTW) who dehumanize those who disagree with them, though since
  • Selina Rifkin
    Selina Rifkin says #
    "But I eat right wingers as appetizers over at dizerega.com. They lack in nutrition so do not quite qualify as a meal, but they cr
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Context should demonstrate I am describing a point of view written after considerable irritation with your initial post. My point

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

One of the most frustrating things that a professional reader can encounter is a client who expects them to do something that the reader does not know how to do. Just like any other trade, different readers work in different ways. Dr Phil and Dr Oz are both reputable doctors, but I wouldn't recommend going to Dr. Phil for open heart surgery!

It's very much the same with readers, too. I do not specialize in finding lost objects, and it is very frustrating when I get a client who wants to know where she put her engagement ring. This creates friction and tension, where, with a bit of forethought, it need not have happened.

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Last year a young man approached me at a sabbat and told me he was "of my line."  Huh?  I didn't know I had a line.  Then he told me he'd recently been initiated and one of his initiators was an initiate of one of my initiates.  My initiate had been a student of mine (and of others) for some years before any oaths were sworn. 

This incident brings up lots of questions, especially since it arises from a tradition (Reclaiming) that requires no initiation in order for people to participate as fully and completely, prominently and authoritatively (teaching, public priest/essing, et al.) as they choose.  An obvious concern in this scenario is accountability -- to students, to community, to tradition.  Another is whether, or how, one can assume a shared knowledge and capability.  Those are questions for another rumination; for now, let's stick with lines and lineage.

What do we mean by lineage?  Why is it important to us?  Or to those of us who may think it is important?  Or to anyone?

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  • Evylyn Rose
    Evylyn Rose says #
    Just wanted to share a quick, friendly message that the URL for the Ordains linked to in this article has changed and can now be f
  • Ro Reyburn
    Ro Reyburn says #
    I guess that I have to opt for a [i]functional[i] , for lack of a better word, definition. Lineage, to me, is the line of connec
  • Joseph Merlin Nichter
    Joseph Merlin Nichter says #
    Most teachers offer the answers, the wise ones simply ask the right questions. And you are asking the right questions. I think th

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I've been pondering hubris again. Hubris--to recap--can be described as the act of willful or ignorant refusal to comply by the will of the Gods. It's a serious offense to the Theoi, and the Theos Nemesis had and has a full time job in punishing those who commit it.

When I started out on the Hellenistic path, I took to the web. I visited several forums, some of which were completely Hellenistic. It was a short visit to most of those; Hellenismos can be very fledgeling-unfriendly. Those new to the faith are warned that they must not perform ritual until they fully understand what they are doing, they must not... well... do a lot of things. It seems most of those 'do not's' are linked to hubris; the Theoi will punish those who perform Their rituals wrong, because the fledgeling practitioner thinks they don't have to study in order to approach the Theoi.

It's a nice sentiment, but I don't think it holds especially true. This is personal opinion, but it is based upon our basic societal and biological structure--the same one the ancient Hellens helped build: it's not hubris if you perform the rituals to the best of your abilities and the best of your knowledge. This includes having done your research, of course, but we all miss things.

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