Part of forming a community is defining what that community means. What do we stand for? What are our values? Who is or isn't a member of that community? And what are our goals? Today's stories for Watery Wednesday take a look at the ways in which the Pagan community is defining itself. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
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Tomorrow marks the Kalends of April, the first day of the month. In Ancient Rome, this was the day that state-sanctioned sacrifices were made to Juno, Janus, and the Lares. The date of the Nones, the day all other monthly festivals were publicly announced, was given. While a few syncretic Roman Revivalists follow the lunar cycle of marking the Kalends, which would be when the first sliver of a new moon could be seen in the sky or (not quite as accurately) the new moon, most of us observe the first of the month as the Kalends. That was how it was marked for the majority of Rome's history.
Most months, I work extra hard to make sure that I cook a modest but well-balanced meal for my family from scratch on this day. We offer at the lararium, or shrine to the Lares and household Gods, that sits in the middle of our dining room table. In my home, we bring the Gods to the table with us when we eat. We offer the first bites of food from our plate to the Lares, giving Them what They are due, along with all food that might happen to fall onto the floor. With a toddler in our house, the Lares get fed well with all the food that falls.
The rest of the religious duties of the day fall on me, though, and that's because I'm technically the only person in the house of this religion.
Except this is going to change this month. It was agreed upon many years ago that any child I had would be raised within my religion, since my husband is an agnostic humanist who loves Christmas. Now at 3-years-old, I feel like my daughter has hit that magical age where she's ready to start really learning about the Gods (though she continues to insist there are only 2 Gods) and participate in her mother's religion.
Title: Walking the Worlds...
Like a lot of American kids, I grew up on a steady diet of Saturday morning and weekday afternoon cartoons. I plunked myself down in front of the tv for hours, lost in the adventures of He-Man and She-Ra, the Lone Ranger and Tonto, Tarzan and Isis and Aquaman. And, of course, Scooby and the gang....
Today is Faithful Friday here at the Pagan News Beagle, the day we share interesting stories about religious communities around the world. Our stories today include the launch of the new Polytheist community website; a call for papers on Pagan and Goddess studies; animal sacrifice outlawed (in part of India); Chinese Buddhist brand building; American Muslims meet (and integrate better than Muslims in Europe.)
The new website Polytheist.com launched recently and hopes to offer a variety of columnists (the site eschews the term "blog") from across this diverse movement....
I think it was Judy Harrow that told me this story. If not, apologies to my actual informant, whoever you are. As my father is fond of saying, “Age spares us nothing.”
Dateline: Chicago, 1993: the World Parliament of Religions. (This was the event at which the archbishop of Chicago used his political muscle to get the pagans a permit to do a ritual in a public park. Now that's what I call ecumenism.) It's the main event: religious leaders from all over the world are lined up on stage. The place is packed so full that they have to set up TV screens outside to accommodate everyone that wants to see. The pagans are all outside, watching. (There are, of course, none on stage.)
Some grandee gets up to talk. “Let us all be as one,” he says. “After all, we all worship the same god.” Nods, smiles, and knowing applause from the entire line-up on stage, including (shame on them) the Hindus. The audience eats it up.
My religious practice is mostly Wiccan. Were I practicing a Heathen, Celtic Reconstructionist, or some other NeoPagan tradition, my examples would differ but I think my point would remain the same.
Wiccans have a primary pantheon of two major deities, the Lord and Lady. We also have a number of mythologies describing these deities’ relationships. Taken literally they are not consistent with one another. In some but not all Wiccan traditions She is viewed as having three guises: Mother, Maid, and Crone. Sometimes She will have three dimensions but not as mother, maid, and crone, as with Hekate. Sometimes She is treated as a single goddess. The Horned Lord is sometimes seen as the Oak King and the Holly King. At the solstices they engage in ritual combat, dying to be reborn. In other Wiccan contexts and traditions He is treated as a single deity, and sometimes as an aspect of a more inclusive deity....