continued from part I.
What is wrong with libertarianism as a philosophy for Pagans?...
PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
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.
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....
Recently 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.
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....
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?
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.