Way of the Sacred Fool: Disability Spirituality

Learn about ancestors, heroes and deities with different kinds of minds and bodies, how to adapt practices to different learning styles and physical needs, be inclusive of people with different kinds of mental wiring AD/HD, autism, dyslexia and even how particular mythic & historic roles and archetypes- like witch, seer, trickster/fool, bard can be incorporated into a personal path.

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Pagan Values Month: Humanity

I am increasingly disturbed by fellow Pagans/polytheists/occultists etc. who either so highly value gods and spirits, sanctity of sacred objects & places, or focus so much on environmental preservation and animal rights or other political ideologies that they devalue human worth and dignity. Now to be clear, I have often seen this as a critique of Pagan movement from conservative Christians and atheists alike. I am not sure if I can convince people who don't already to start truly valuing human welfare and rights and acting as if they do. It seems an ability that you to some degree either have or you don't. In my experience, a consistent commitment to human rights seems to correlate with having an experience of dehumanization oneself. This is not having your feelings hurt a little bit, being a "special snowflake" (though if that's an insult, I'll wear it with pride!)  

It's nope, you don't really count as a human being, your experience doesn't count. Even when the Powers that Be of whatever social situation, business or organization you are in repeatedly insist that they "welcome everyone" they don't really mean you. Actions always speak louder than words. Many of us who do have these experiences however still have the people will miss, the bigotries and biases we still hold. Ironically because we are human! This is a mistake I often see new Pagans make. After a happy honeymoon period of discovering Paganism and idealizing it in comparison to whatever their background is, they find out we have problems too. I too have run into this. I frequently have assumed that Pagans, or liberals/progressives/leftists, or whatever in-group I belong to will have a more enlightened and inclusive attitude towards disabled folks or other marginalized groups. And I have all too often dehumanized The Other Side in various arguments and the aftermath of elections. But this just keeps adding to the problem. Perpetuating this cycle of dehumanization just leads to more hate and violence.  Remembering the basic value of dignity & worth of human beings and human life, however interpreted, is often forgotten by both left and right, red and blue. If there's a different philosophical framework you prefer over the concept of "rights", then feel free to argue for it.  


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Mariah Sheehy is an ADF Druid/Heathen and has a B.A. in political science from Augsburg College. She serves on the board of the Bisexual Organizing Project and lives in the Twin Cities (Paganistan) in an all-autistic adult household. She enjoys biking, camping, crafting and grappling with the Irish language.


  • Tacy West
    Tacy West Sunday, 02 July 2017

    Yes, yes. I just listened to book on CD "Conversation" by a social scientist regarding the change in Empathy due to separation of humans from dialog face to face. Everything is once removed and brief. Twitter, computer, text, name it. The younger are afraid of free form talking rather than edited text where they can present themselves as they want to be seen and concerned about being accepted. A whole lot less family involvement because we can just not answer a tweet so never learn to negotiate or problem solve. An uninterrupted conversation is almost unheard of at this time. So many families have lost all connection so the young are adrift without the wisdom and encouragement of elders. As we mature we see what is truly important and can help share ideas counter to the advertising and Hollywood.
    I returned the CD's before I wrote down the information but this woman made so much sense and I saw my family lives play out like this until we were all separated and do not even know where any of us live. So sad. The women I meet in groups that are my age are so sad and not understanding why their families are "unavailable" on all levels. I understand now and this will make my life easier to understand a younger generation and myself.
    That makes the government so much more powerful and the individual with no one to watch their back.
    This is a time of shortages in cash, security, and future stability and when we need to band together to share homes, cars, washers, lawn equipment and on and on so life is affordable. Each trying to make it on their own and doing without, worry, high credit bills to keep afloat. We talked a lot about communal living in the old days. hehe
    Women that chose to have children need an extended family to give the child the best environment to live and grow in. Being a mother on your own or working, as most are, and as I did is so hard on the woman. We cannot reach our full potential under those conditions. We need to be helping each other and listening to the wisdom of the elders that may have that information. Mature men modeling for the young man to think beyond his personal desires.

  • Mariah Sheehy
    Mariah Sheehy Thursday, 20 July 2017

    Yes, we are seeing that more now among the Millennial generation- choosing your family & banding together by necessity.

  • Tacy West
    Tacy West Friday, 21 July 2017

    An all autistic household sounds so supportive. I had two autistic children in a time when diagnosis was not done, 50 some years ago. No support was very hard on all of us and than two of my grandchildren came along Autistic and that was more time of being left out of so much in many ways. It warms my heart to know there are homes structured with understanding and support. Hard times are just beginning.

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