This week for Fiery Tuesday we take a look once more at the lives and struggles of Native Americans / American Indians throughout the United States and beyond. Join us in considering the findings of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Committee, the struggle of natives to protect their sacred land from mining companies, and how police forces have disproportionately targeted natives for violence. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
Yesterday Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper of the Conservative Party dropped the writ to announce the beginning of an eleven-week election campaign. It will be one of the longest campaigns in Canadian history. Without getting into a very long litany of what I believe to be the sins of the Canadian federal Conservative Party, I will say that for the first time in my life, I am working as a volunteer in a political campaign. I have given my support to the party most likely to defeat the Conservative party in my riding. I have volunteered to cold-call people on the phone; something I have to work up considerable courage to do. I have volunteered to write press releases. I have folded little paper fans as promotional materials. I am doing this because I am angry and because I believe that supporting the party I've chosen to is our best chance for change.
In the meantime, I have also pleaded with Athena for the victory of my chosen party, and I am lending my magickal skills to the task....
The Pagan Festing season generally runs from May until October and usually takes place in campgrounds that are reserved for this purpose for anywhere from a weekend to a week. In Ontario, notable campgrounds that host Pagan Festivals include Raven's Knoll,Mythwood, and Whispering Pines.
Some of these Festivals feature Clothing Optional areas so that people have the option to be naked if they so wish. This is because some Pagans like to cast-off their wrappers and be caressed by the sun and the wind, while others consider their nudity to be part of their sacred relationship with the Gods and a Pagan event is a place where they can feel comfortable enough to explore that relationship.
However, because not everyone is comfortable with that, Clothing Optional areas can be restricted to certain areas, including:
The important word in "Clothing Optional" is the term "Optional". A Clothing Optional area is not zoned as a Strip Club. You have the option to be as naked, clothed, or a variety of both as you wish and it's nobody else's business.
I cannot believe I must state this so blatantly, but this is also means that no one has the right to pressure you to be clothed or naked. No one has the right to tell you how naked or dressed you must be based on other people's decisions to be naked or dressed. No one has the right to express opinions about your character, your values, or your sexual identity. No one. No exceptions.
Now I know that sometimes people can unintentionally cross this line. In their minds, they want you to know that you are beautiful and valued and they want you to know that they are not judging you for any reason, so if you want to strip down, they are ready to support you in this decision. The problem is that it's very difficult to express this idea without it sounding like they are pressuring you into coming to this conclusion.
A person's state of nudity is NEVER an invitation for people to touch, stare, or make sexual references about. EVER. A person's nudity can be an expression of their relationship with the Gods, but it is not meant to be a show for other people to ogle or make snide remarks upon. However, if you want to quietly appreciate the beauty of the human body, that can be okay, but you need to be subtle in your appreciation.
Unwanted, unwarranted, unasked, uninvited contact with a person in a state of undress can constitute assault or sexual assault. The fact that the person is naked does not justify anyone's actions without EXPLICIT permission being given. It also does not give you the right to pressure anyone into being more naked or less naked, for any reason, even in jest. If you think you have accidentally crossed this line, take the person aside (probably better when they are dressed), apologize sincerely, and then learn from it.
Whether it is intentional or unintentional, here are some statements you should NEVER make to someone about their state of dress or undress:
It seems that festival season is upon us once again, and lots of other folks are listing Pagan festivals you can go to (thanks Jason Mankey and Heather Greene)! Both of them mentioned some of the stuff going on up here north of the 49th Parallel, and I would like to thank them for that! But this blog is about Canadian Paganism, so I'm giving you a list of ALL the Canadian Pagan festivals I know about, whether I've been there or not. Contrary to popular belief there's lots going on and not all of it is in Ontario or Alberta! If you know of a Canadian Pagan festival I'm missing, please let me know in the comments and I'll be happy to add it to the list, no matter how small. Share the list around!
As you can see, I'm not committed to anything this year except Gaia Gathering, which is already passed. So if anyone wanted me to come . . . Just sayin'. ;)...
In support of Gaia Gathering: the Canadian National Pagan Conference, thirteen artists have come together to create an anthology of Canadian Pagan music and spoken word. Only available online, this album spans thirty years and includes some of the best of out-of-print Pagan classics as well as some up-and-comers. All artists have donated the use of their work: all profits from the sale of the album go directly to support the Conference.
Featured artists: Vanessa Cardui, Tara Rice, the Ancient Gods, JD Hobbes, Brendan Myers, Dano Hammer, the Dragon Ritual Drummers, Gallows Hill, Heather Dale, Tamarra James, Raven's Call, Sable Aradia,and Parnassus (Chalice & Blade)....
I don't think there's any doubt, for any witch who's been to one, that a public protest is a magickal act. A group of people get together and use symbolism to focus the collective will towards a specific goal. If the magick is successful, consciousness changes, with results that are reflected in the outer world.
So last weekend I, along with about two or three hundred other people, gathered in downtown Vernon, BC to protest the new proposed Canadian anti-terror bill, C-51. We rallied, sang, cheered, and marched through the city streets, holding up our major highway for several minutes....