Pagan Culture - Opinion

Should Pagans proselytize?

©2006 clipart.comToe-to-Toe: AForum for Controversy and Opinion


Who’s that knocking on my door:
Should Pagans proselytize?

The Road to Hel in a Handcart.

In answer to the question of whether Pagans should “witness” to non-Pagans, I offer an example of just what Pagan proselytizing might actually look like in real life …

Lady Lorien Mistopheles the Charitable and Lord Ariel Storm-watcher the Grey of the Rosarian Tradition are knocking at the door of the Kingdom Hall down the street from their home. A Witness answers the door.

“Uh … we’re … uh … like, here to witness to you,” stammers Lord Ariel.

“And I am likewise a Witness. Are you a member of our fellowship?”

“Uh, no. I’m, like, we’re members of the Coven of the Green Bank and Rushing River.”

“The Russian River? Are you visiting from California? That’s a state much in need of Witnessing. I applaud your work, young fellow.”

“Oh, no,” says Lady Lorien. “We’re from right here, you know. Totally. We’re your neighbors. We’re here to talk to you about — ”

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Should we embrace “Pagan Standard Time?”

Toe-to-Toe — A Forum for Controversy and Opinion


Just Say “No” to PST
Should we embrace “Pagan Standard Time?”
by Joan Robinson-Blumit, Kerri Connor, Kurt Hohmann,
Leni Austine and Lady Moondance 

You’ve anticipated the event for weeks and arranged travel to get there. Old friends are coming; you’re looking forward to meeting new folks. Opening ritual is at sundown.

The sky is fading, gray mingling with fuchsia and coral, so you join others in the designated area. The sun sets. More people appear. But dusk creeps in, and you’re still waiting for the ritual to start; you’re growing tired of standing and hear a few grumbles, but you also notice the inevitable shrugs … Admit it, your enthusiasm and pleasure have been diminished by a tradition far too many Pagans uphold with pride: PST – Pagan Standard Time – or, as a friend if mine refers to it, “Pagan Selfish Time.” I have to agree. Nowhere in our lives is tardiness so tolerated as in the Pagan community.

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Pagan Men, Unite!

©2012 Holly Golightly

Cernunnos’ Corner


Pagan Men, Unite!
by Isaac Bonewits 

“Witchcraft is wimmin’s religion?!?” If that’s true, then is there a point to being a man in a “female-dominated” religion? Actually, there are lots of them — the Stag Lord is at least a thirteen-point buck, and those tines are there for something other than hanging the High Priestess’ garters on!

When I was writing The Pagan Man, one misconception I ran into over and over was that there’s “nothing for men to do” in the Craft, and that even a High Priest is “just a glorified altar boy.” Yet the same guys who were telling me this were also talking about how they taught the members of their coven how to drum, or to carve ceremonial masks, or about specific pantheons, or about how to spot lousy research. Of course, all of these jobs could be done by women, so there’s nothing specifically masculine about doing them — but nothing particularly feminine either!

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Should Pagans Build Churches

Toe-to-Toe — A Forum for Controversy and Opinion


Should Pagans Build Churches?
by Moira Rose Raistlin (no), Tree (maybe),
Ruby Sara (yes), and Emiti (yes)

Hierarchy, Visibility, and Paperwork —
Who Needs the Aggravation?

The very first question one must address is, what do we mean by “building churches”…? Are we restricting ourselves to the physical construction of an edifice, or are we including dedicating specific sites to spiritual activity? Or are we discussing the organization of a group of Pagans within modern legal parameters necessary to accomplish a structure-building project?

Several months ago, my coven talked about trying to establish a community center for Pagans in our area. Many public sites suitable for celebrations close at dusk, our homes and backyards are often too small for activities, and all-too-frequently public facilities are just not available. We were still bouncing ideas around when we provoked very hostile reactions from some of our Pagan friends. For them, the issue was visibility. They opposed the community center project because its creation would reveal our presence to the larger community. All of these folks were still hiding in broom closets afraid the world will discover they are Pagans and kill them. The mere “possibility” of our opening a Pagan community center threatened them. Undoubtedly, visibility is a factor in some Pagans’ problem with publicly-known and dedicated gathering sites.

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My Abortion Story

© 2008

My Abortion Story:
A Pagan Mother Speaks Out
by Alura Anwyn

When I was nineteen, my first child wasn’t born. He made his presence known through constant nausea, but I thought I had a virus, not a baby. As a freshman in college, I couldn’t fathom becoming a mother.

I had loved my boyfriend for less than a year, but stayed with him even after I realized that we both deserved someone better. He meant more to me than he should have; I was working for his father and estranged from my own family. Even so, when I learned that I was pregnant, I knew what I was expected to do: keep my unwanted child and try to put up with his father, just like others in my family had done when they found themselves in a similar situation. But I no longer loved this baby’s father and I certainly did not want to be a part of his family forever.

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Honoring Our Dead

copyright Getty Images

Honoring Our Dead

How we treat our dead reflects our outlook on life itself.

On the morning of August 12, 2010 Pagan elder, ADF founder, author and curmudgeon Isaac Bonewits passed away in his sleep after a battle with cancer. The Pagan world (including this magazine) is richer for his life and poorer for his death. Rest in peace, Isaac: unlike Caesar, your good deeds live on after you. Let them be a memorial to a life well-lived.

In many (if not most) mythic cycles, our final breath brings not an end but a beginning. Freed from its fleshy envelope, the spirit moves on to other realms. Some say it passes into eternity; others believe it is but a brief stop on the way to a new life. Taking the lessons learned during this incarnation, we put on skin once again and repeat the process. While these stories may vary widely from culture to culture, all agree that there is something beyond the grave. By exploring historical and contemporary visions of death and the dead, we can get some tantalizing hints of what may lie in store for us in that twilight realm to whence we all must come.

There is near-universal agreement that the dead should be honored with appropriate rites. Grave sites dating back over 23,000 years have been found from Spain and Wales to Moscow. All incorporate heavy use of red ochre coloring and include the bones of totemic animals like aurochs, mammoths, bison, or reindeer. Some of the corpses wear shell jewelry, beads, flint blades or other items.1 Alas, there are few hard and fast rules of what is and is not appropriate. Zoroastrians and Tibetan Buddhists expose their dead to vultures and other scavengers. The Fore tribe of Papua New Guinea disposed of family members through mortuary cannibalism, until it was found this was a prime vector for transmission of kuru, a brain-wasting disease similar to Kreutzfeldt-Jacob (“Mad Cow”) syndrome.

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