Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

Specific paths such as Heathenism, blended traditions, polytheist reconstructionism, etc.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Moving is hell.
 
Yes, there is the excitement of a new place, and the sense of a fresh start.  There is an awareness of freedom and privilege, especially when you compare moving to the experience of fleeing war, persecution, disaster.  But still, moving is generally a drag, in my experience anyway.  Who wants to sign up voluntarily for collecting boxes, sorting, packing, lifting, shifting, scheduling, changing addresses, unpacking, and getting used to a whole new place?
 
And then there are the goodbyes.  This is probably the hardest part of moving ... leaving our neighbours, our friends, sometimes even our frenemies (who are at least familiar to us!).  Saying goodbye is a royal pain in the arse, and I don't know anyone who does it particularly well ... it is too much like dying.
 
As an animist, there is an extra layer of leave-taking.  When your friends and relations are not only human, but include multiple trees, animals, landforms, bodies of water, gardens, and an assortment of various farm and nature spirits, saying goodbye gets really messy.
 
Over the past seven years, I've been very intentional about building relationships with the more-than-human world of our small off-grid homestead.  This has involved discovering and following protocols; daily, monthly, and seasonal cycles of ceremony; and learning to treat the various entities of the "natural world" as people, rather than things.  All of this has shifted to the foreground that which is usually experienced as background.
 
So when we had to move last month, all of these relationships were impacted.  Of course, I'm under no illusions that the loss of the friendships was more heartbreaking for me than for the trees, the lake, the tomten, wights, and mimikwasis of the land.  They've been around for a loooong time, and have seen many generations of humans come and go.  But as relational beings, these comings and goings must have some type of impact, and so I spent the past six months gradually saying goodbye.  I was intentional about it ... perhaps more intentional than with my human friends to whom I also had to say goodbye.  I spent time in my grove, communing with the spirits, blessing them, and trying to give an honest account of why I was leaving.
 
Because as the resident Christian druid, I felt a bit like I was betraying them.  Abandoning them.  
 
Again, I don't want to harbour any illusions about their dependence on me.  But I had made some commitments.  I had "pledged my troth", so to speak, to the more-than-human community in which we were embedded.  I had been on a journey of mutuality and respect within a (hopefully somewhat) symbiotic relationship.  I had become a friend.
 
Animism is, by definition and practice, a distinctly bioregional cosmology.  It is as local and particular as it gets.  Which is why dislocation, from an animist perspective, is particularly painful.  In our hyper-mobile society, the near constant dislocation - relocation cycle takes a heavy toll on our interspecies relationships.  Zoom can't really help us with this, but perhaps there are prayers and practices which can make moving, for an animist, a bit more life-giving?  I'd be happy to hear from others who may have some advice ...
 
... in the meantime, blessed be.
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I'm a virtual panelist on the Polytheist Authors panel talking about representation of pagan and heathen gods and cultures in science fiction at the convention Imaginarium 2021 in July. It's a hybrid con with both virtual and physical attendance.
 
I was invited to be a panelist by a publisher who knows me for my book reviews in addition to my fiction and poetry. I'll be talking about science fiction novels, movies, and short stories by other authors, and hopefully I'll also talk about my sf universe, Time Yarns, a bit too.
 
Due to the debut of the new Loki series, social media is full of talk about the Marvel versions of Loki and other heathen gods. We'll undoubtedly talk about that on the panel, too, although I haven't seen the new series yet, since it's on a subscription channel. One new tech expense at a time! I will be debuting my new ability to make video calls at this virtual panel.
 
Here's the link to the convention: https://www.entertheimaginarium.com/
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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Pandemic Fallout - Clergy
There has been a trend in the Pandemic across all religious lines that clergy leaders are changing professions. Paganism is not immune to the trend. 29% is a huge amount. In Wicca, where there are already so few trained and trusted leaders, we can't afford to lose any good people. Yet we are.
 
What can you do to help? Be aware of the struggles our clergy face. They don't have a salary. They don't have financial security for themselves or their families. They don't even have respect and safety. Mention religious leaders in a public forum and there will at least be a couple of people who devalue our leaders and leadership, not individuals, just leadership in general. Don't let them get away with it. Report mean spirited posts. Confront disrespectful, ignorant, or inconsiderate people. Refuse to participate in hurtful conversations or support people who are generating negative commentary.
 
Consider what life would be like without the work of your leaders and have respect, appreciation and compassion for the role religious leaders play in your life. Protect them and take care of them. Let them know they are appreciated. Treat them with the principle "Though Art God, Thou Art Goddess". Remember that the path is perfect and just because someone is mad, doesn't mean they don't deserve the experience they have created, and that there are always two sides of the story.
 
Pete "Pathfinder" Davis, founder of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church, founded in 1979, cultivated a tolerant utopia in Seattle. He made a lot of people angry along the way. He is responsible for so many of our rights that we take for granted today. His life was the life of a warrior. He died with bitterness in his heart, feeling unappreciated and abandoned by the majority of his congregation.
 
Religious leaders are different, and few. There are not many people who have the ability and the willingness to do what your leaders do. After spending a year with nothing but the hatefulness of facebook cluttering their minds, their spirits are defeated and wondering if it's worth it. Yes, Pete had his flaws. He was a great man. He was a fighter. He was often misunderstood by fragile egos, who were more focused on the promotion of their personality than the bigger picture.
 
All religions suffer from those who long for greatness, but can't achieve it. All religions suffer from the mentally ill, who feel that attacking someone of notoriety will bring them attention. A man once attempted to assassinate the President of the United States to get an actress' attention. Desperate people distort reality to fit their world view. When you give power to this behavior, it robs everyone of the world that can be created by love, trust, compassion and understanding. When religious leaders are surrounded by lack, giving all they have to create a better world, and nothing is standing between them and those who would take pleasure in watching them fall, so that leader won't be competition for their ego, the world is worse off for it.
 
If we are going to make the world a better place, we have to do it together. We must stand for love. We must stand against hate in all it's forms. Even hate disguised as pain. Hate is infectious. You cannot heal it, you can only confront it, call it out for what it is, and then walk away from it.
 
Take action when you see your leaders, or other leaders being disrespected. You might not know what amazing things that have done, and if they quit, you will never know what amazing things they would have done. The world cannot afford this right now.
 
https://www.christianitytoday.com/better-samaritan/2021/june/has-pandemic-made-your-pastor-want-to-quit-probably.html?utm_source=CT%20Pastors%20Newsletter&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_term=99120&utm_content=5748&utm_campaign=email
 
Belladonna Laveau is the Archpriestess of the ATC International. 
https://www.christianitytoday.com/better-samaritan/2021/june/has-pandemic-made-your-pastor-want-to-quit-probably.html?utm_source=CT%20Pastors%20Newsletter&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_term=99120&utm_content=5748&utm_campaign=email
 
https://churchanswers.com/blog/six-reasons-your-pastor-is-about-to-quit/
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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
If it's fake, can it still be inspiring?

Forged artifacts are a fact of life in the archaeological community. How should we, as Pagans who rely on archaeology for our religion, relate to these objects?

I've written before about the problems with the large numbers of forged Minoan artifacts that are still in circulation, many of them in museums. Thankfully, the museums are now recognizing the lack of authenticity and provenance of many of these forgeries and sharing that information with the public.

...
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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Announcing SUNTREE RETREAT 2022!

Join us in May 2022 for a LIVE gathering of Atheopagans at the magnificent La Foret retreat center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA, May 13-16, 2022!

This 3-day, 3-night retreat will feature workshops, rituals and lots of socializing time in beautiful spaces and around the fire. Ticket includes meals (Friday dinner through Monday lunch), and bunkhouse lodging in yurts onsite. The facility includes a magnificent meeting space, the Ponderosa Lodge; a fire circle; a beautiful labyrinth and more!

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This is a question posed to me on Facebook. Here's my answer: Excellent question (puts on professor glasses. stretches fingers.) So.

In the Stone Age there were these people called the Battle Axe People. They had double headed axes. Knapped from stone. Tools, not massive weapons, and so not really that big. OK so picture those. Now fast forward to the Viking Age.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Oedipus Complex

I snap to attention as I approach the customs booth at the border. As I roll down the window and proffer my passport, the officer asks if I’ve “ever been inside.” It’s a nerve-wracking moment. “Inside?” as in jail? Finally I realize I’m being asked to pull over for a search. I’m so freaked out that I run up over the curb and strip a tire.

 

Basically, I turn into a puddle of worry when faced with any kind of official authority. I have this vague but powerful feeling that I am about to be found out and apprehended for some unknown, unintentional or overlooked shortcoming. And I don’t think I’m alone. Perhaps that’s why the ancient Greek myth of Oedipus is still so powerful. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Archer, Yeah, I occasionally read the Canadian papers online and stream CBC. I'd learned about the controversies surrounding the
  • Archer
    Archer says #
    Jamie, your comment about the Oedipus movie is so relevant. At this time in Canada we are dealing with a terrible sin done in our
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Archer, Solid gold, and eternally relevant. Thank you. We can perform the purification rituals, we can remove the metaphysical

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