Castigations and Plagues

Alright, it’s time to get back to roots. I haven’t done a Rant in a long, long time. Welcome to the Real “SoapBoxRants”.

As I have said before, I am a Pagan. Before we go any further, go look up the definition. It means I am not Christian. It does not mean I worship Satan or sacrifice virgins. As a matter of fact, go over my previous religious rants to understand how many different ways my religion is like your religion. Now…moving on to tonight’s topic.

Why do people have a predisposition to be told what to think? What is it about the Human Race that leads the majority to follow the most charismatic person almost without question? Have we evolved so little over the millennia that we have not yet shed the shackles of our primitive tribal origins? Are we so insecure about our own existence that we need to be told by someone else that it is okay for us to be? It would seem that is the case. Much like my often mentioned Mother Culture, the Human Race almost inevitably turns to charismatic spiritual leaders and immediately takes things too far.

Take for example an email I received the other day from a devoutly Christian friend of mine. It talked about how we of the United States should boycott the new one dollar coins because of the exclusion of the phrase “In God We Trust”. I find it curious that such a movement in a country that touts its tolerance and acceptance of freedom of religion would gain ground. It almost reeks of cult brainwashing and that thought disturbs me greatly. All I have ever hoped for is to find that there are other free thinkers out there and yet at every turn I am confronted with more bigotry and prejudice. To make matters worse, these actions are justified by these people as being righteous indignation at the affront to their spiritual beliefs. It is as if they do not understand the true concept of religious freedom.

In this world, there are a myriad of religions. I would hazard that each and every one of them claims to have an exclusive insight into the understanding of whichever divine being brought forth this world and our Race. I do not claim to have such intimate divine knowledge personally so I cannot say which, if any, are correct in this claim. I do, however, take issue with any religion or practitioner of a religion that refuses basic respect and courtesy to any that have a differing belief. Just because it is different does not mean it is wrong or evil. It just means that it is not exactly like yours. There is knowledge to be gained through diversity.

And what exactly do I think about other religions? That is a wonderful question. If you were to, for argument’s sake, witness an automobile accident along with about twenty other people and all of you were interviewed by the officers that responded…you would probably get twenty-one different descriptions of what happened. In general they would touch the same high points but the details themselves would vary from one person to the next. I think the religions of the world are the same way. In general, they are all alike. They touch the same high points (like love and forgiveness) but differ in the details (like eating pork or resting on Sunday). We are all looking at the same Divine, just from a different angle than the person next to us.

And that goes for fellow practitioners of the same faith. Just because you share a religious label with someone does not mean you will have the exact same views on the Divine. I have always said that true faith and one’s relationship with the Divine is a very personal journey. Nobody will ever experience my religious path other than me. Some may share certain feelings or moments, but none will duplicate what I have inside. Remember that the next time you feel like pushing your views onto someone else. It will not matter what you try, we will never have that exact same moment that you remember with such fondness. Feel free to share your view, just do not attempt to make it my view. I will do the same.

This is one of the reasons I have such a fondness for Paganism. Wiccans and other Pagans are far more passive in the spreading of their religion. Our view is that those who are interested will seek us out and inquire. Our job is to answer the questions put forth to us. We will not attempt to convince you this is the correct path. We will simply share our knowledge and let you decide what is right for you and we will encourage you regardless of your decision. This is because we, for the most part, understand how personal this journey should be.

This is not to say that Paganism is a better path than a Buddhist or Judeo-Christian path. It is merely different. And I have to admit that there are some Pagans that will be pushy about converting just as there are Christians who are passive. There are no absolutes where Religion is concerned because Faith is kept by Humanity and Humanity varies greatly. All Religions run the gamut of tolerance and openness. But from my experience, Pagans tend more toward passiveness. I think all Religions would do well to re-examine their doctrines and true purpose and get back to the core of their teachings.

Religion is a good idea run amok. Mother Culture has twisted it into a series of extremes that galvanize the world into opposing factions causing chaos and disorder and war and pain. We speak of tolerance while we treat others with intolerance. We preach of love while we practice hate and war. We speak of forgiveness while harboring grudges against those that have wronged us. This is not what any of us were taught by our Religious texts. We have gone astray. We have taken Mother Culture’s path of self destruction. Before it is too late, we need to stop and return to the path we delude ourselves into thinking we are on.

Winter Solstice

Circle cast around the room
Elements enjoined
We sit and share our hearts and joys
Opening ourselves

Wood and stone
Incense smoke
Warmth of fire
Water stilled

Flow of energy
Hopes and dreams
Food and drink
We celebrate

Elements and energies

If you don’t normally get a chance to commune with nature, find a way to make time. It’s nothing short of a small miracle the way some well spent time among the elements can bring things back into alignment…back into focus. It doesn’t matter if it’s only for five or ten minutes, every little bit makes things vastly different. No special rituals are required, just sit/stand/lay there and feel the life force of mother earth and her children.

The real trick is to find a suitable place. Everyone has their own mixture of elements that strike a chord with them…resonates with them. That’s what you have to find. When you do, try to get around to spending a little quality time there at least once a year, more often if you can manage it.

Sometimes

“I don’t need protecting from myself”

But sometimes…it helps to have someone protect you from your inner
demons while you gather the strength to face them down yourself. When
you get right down to it, only you can defeat them…nobody can do it
for you. The best anyone else can do is offer to stand in between.

Runes

Interesting things runes. They tend to be fairly accurate…at least in hindsight. After all, the subconscious mind is very aware of what is going on around you…more than your conscious mind. Runes are a great way to tap the subconscious for advice.

The problem with the conscious mind is simple…it’s way too cluttered with randomness. The subconscious mind is more organized and and correlate and analyze things more accurately because of this. At least that’s my theory. But who am I to decide what’s right? I’ve got just as much clutter up here as anyone. Just ask my voices.

Or maybe don’t ask them…they’re fairly confusing right now.