Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Divine Lessons.

I even have this sticker on my car...
I have to say, Divinity has a very beautiful way of passing along messages and lessons as I need to learn them. Today has given me a very wonderful lesson:

I sat at Starbucks, attempting very hard to complete some outstanding calculus homework I've allowed to pile up around me, when two Christians from a local church occupy the comfy chairs to my side. At first I was extremely annoyed by their back and forth banter about their church's politics and "God is taking me here" and "I know God will see me through this." The conversation wasn't conducive to successful mathematical calculations. So I put my math book and paper away and popped on Facebook. I have "liked" Pagan News Now and often read the Patheos.com posts that they pass along on their page. Today, a post really caught my attention and has made me realize just how wrong I've been.

Aliya bat Stam is featured on Patheos' Agora with a post called The Road from Hate to Understanding. In a nutshell it outlines Aliya's path away from anger at a Deity she once followed and at the community surrounding that Deity, to one of understanding and acceptance. She also shares an account of a Pagan group bashing Christians and their God.

*Smack*. What the... Oh, whoa... Crap...

It can't be coincidence that a couple of Christians (from the sound of it, a youth pastor and maybe a pastor's wife) come into the same Starbucks I was in, sit right next to me, talk loudly enough for me to hear their conversation (and for me to get annoyed at), and then I read a blog post about intolerance to Christians as Pagans.

I've often been on the soap box touting the need for tolerance, acceptance, and respect of others' religious beliefs and followings (I have the Coexist sticker on my car for crying out loud!), and yet I failed to realize my grudge against Christianity (especially Catholicism) has made me look like a bigoted ass more than a few times. Heck, even in this blog have I been a bit snarky when alluding to my religious past. Now, I can assure you, I was never more aware of it than I am now, and it was never my intention to cause offense, but jeez. I feel bad!

This is definitely a lesson I needed to learn, and what a wonderful way for Divinity to enlighten me. I came out of that Starbucks feeling a little lighter and wanted nothing more than to thank the two devout Christians as I walked out.

Old habits die hard, and I can't promise my enlightenment will take affect over night. But I can be trusted to try my hardest to remap and reroute the anger and frustration I have towards my religious past and work on the understanding Aliya's post encourages.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

South Puget Sound Pagan Parents (SPSPP)

I decided I'd try my hand at making a playgroup of sorts for Pagan parents and their children in my area (Olympia, WA). I haven't been doing any offline advertising yet, as I'm not really sure which direction I really want to go with the group (I'd really like it to serve for as a community that gets together occasionally and does family friendly Sabbat celebrations and rituals), so a lot needs to be figured out. But I feel I need more members before any big decisions take place. I don't want to be the big decision maker, I'd love it to be a consensus between members on how things are done.

At any rate, if any South Puget Sound residents who are Pagan and parents run across this blog then click the Yahoo Groups button and subscribe to the group! Hopefully we can get the ball rolling and form a really awesome community!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Why my practice doesn't involve Imbolc

I am a pretty much a newbie when it comes to dedicated Pagan practice. I've always been Pagan in my heart, have always felt the call to Nature and the liberation of an open mind. Which to me of course are two of the most important things that define my spirituality and Paganism. But, I'm new to magic, new to celebrating according to the Wheel, and new to the label. My husband is pretty much in the same boat as I am.

Last year we tried our best to celebrate each Sabbat on its generally agreed upon date. We've done a lot of reading - studied up on the history of each Sabbat - and tried to make them fit in with our views and beliefs. Unfortunately, Imbolc is one of those Sabbats that we found are not relevant to our practice.

My husband and I do not practice Wicca. Neither of us (except maybe in distant ancestry) have any connection to Irish or Gaelic culture. Neither of these pantheons call to us. These are probably the main reason's why Imbolc doesn't jive with us. We've tried to find other reasons to adopt the celebration into our practice (who doesn't want another excuse to celebrate?), like for instance "it's nearly Spring!" but, unfortunately, in the Pacific Northwest during this time of year it is hard to believe the ground will ever be dry again let alone begin to think we might see Spring. Heck! Not even my tulips or the crocus are in a hurry to pop out this year!

This has been an area of distress for me of late. I don't know where the notion that every Sabbat had to be celebrated for me to be a "good" Pagan came from, but it was there all the same. I had another one of those "ah-ha!" moments when it occurred to me that no one was in charge of my spirituality but me and that I had left the confines of organized mainstream religion for the freedom of choice of how and when to practice.

My moral is simple. Not every Sabbat needs to be celebrated or even followed to any specific requirements. If a Sabbat doesn't mesh with your views of the world, of the seasons, or of Divinity, don't feel pressured to cram it into your life. This doesn't serve any purpose but to create undo stress.


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