Friday, March 8, 2013

E is for Evil (What is It?)

Today's letter actually comes at a convenient time. I was watching a couple of "Doctor Who" episodes last night that dealt with the Devil and evil. And it got me thinking about evil and what it is.

First off, to avoid any confusion, I don't believe the Devil exists. The Devil is a convenient idea for some that lets them place the results of their actions somewhere else.

I don't believe that there are any beings out there that are purely bad. I also don't believe there are any beings out there that are purely good. I think that all things have the capacity for good or bad.

I think that the evil in the world comes from people's choices. You are not born good or bad, it is up to you what kind of life you lead. Even deciding what is good or evil is up to the individual person. There are choices that most people would label as evil, such as murder. But other things are labeled evil depending on a person's culture or religion.

Perhaps the word evil isn't really useful in my worldview. I believe things are divided into good/beneficial choices and bad/poor choices. Your choices are your own. You can listen to the ideas of another person. But ultimately they can't make you do anything.

I guess good and evil are in the eye the beholder.

How do you view good and evil? I love to read your opinions!


Friday, February 15, 2013

D is for Druidism

When I first started looking into paganism the first thing I started looking into was Wicca. I had a friend in high school that lent me one of her "Wicca 101" books. And for the first time, I found a religious system that seemed to fit how I viewed the world.

So I started thinking of myself as Wiccan. I read (mostly on the internet) on ritual tools, altars, and holidays. I tried casting circles. I tried dedicating myself to the God and the Goddess.

But it didn't quite fit. I couldn't wrap my head around the need to create a barrier when I was doing a ritual. In my mind I there wasn't just one God and one Goddess (or Lord and Lady).  I wasn't much in to spells and magic (though there is a lot more to Wicca than that). But I kept reading and trying to make it work.

But even with all my research and reading and thinking and trying, Wicca just didn't work. And I was stuck.

Then one day, I discovered Druidism. For all my research I hadn't really realized that there were other traditions that fall under the "Pagan Umbrella". (To this day I am still stumbling on traditions I didn't know existed.) And I as I read about this modern day Druidism things began to click.

There were people out there that still believed in polytheism and viewed each god as an individual. There seemed to be less emphasis about spells and magic, and more about connecting to and honoring the gods. I was and still am particularly attracted to the ADF style of druidry: honoring the Three Kindreds (god/goddess, ancestors, and nature spirits), the three realms, and the emphasis knowing about the ancient druids without trying to reconstruct their religion.

Druidism fits me. I am still learning and trying and thinking about my path. And I am excited for the journey.


Thursday, January 31, 2013

C is for Community

Here is my chance to talk about the issues that have been floating around the pagan blogs this past month. A little late, but I thought I would take sometime to reflect on what I really wanted to say about the whole thing.

I was surprised with the reactions people had to Star's original post. I was surprised, I had been reading her blog for awhile and was sad when she suddenly disappeared. But honestly it is her choice on what she wants to call herself and where she finds happiness is where she belongs.

But the really shocking thing was how this one post touch of the debate on if we still need a pagan community and who belongs in that community. There are a couple things that I took away from those first couple of days of postings.

1) Some where along the line some one decided the Wicca=Pagan. Never thought that before.
2) Apparently it is alright for me to make belittle your path and cast you out of the Pagan "umbrella". And it is alright if I label you. But the moment someone does the same to me, I can get angry about it.

After those first few days, and people cooled of a little, some really meaningful discussion occurred. People started using more rational reasoning. They started explaining themselves instead of attacking others. And it is apparent that things are going to start changing.

It may have reached a point where people stop just describing themselves as Pagan. It maybe time for individual traditions to start standing on their own.

But I don't think that it is time for us to abandon the idea of a Pagan community all together. I get most of my pagan community through the internet. Though it is not the ideal way to see things, I can still get an idea of what is going on. And I think that at this point there is still more that connects us than divides us. We all have different views of divine and different ways of showing our respect. And we can still discuss our ways and find things in common. We might also find new ways to enhance our own practice. 

To keep the community together, we just need to remember to respect each other. In the end we are human. We are all just trying to find our way.

Thoughts? Is community something that is important to you? Any tips for newbies looking for community?


Friday, January 25, 2013

B is for Body

We all know that we only have one body.

And I'm working on taking care of mine better. It's not a New Year's resolution, it is something that I have been working on for awhile. I exercise regularly and have been working to clean up my diet. It is going to take some time, and breaking bad habits isn't easy.

I think that taking care of my body is part of taking care of my spirit.

Several months ago there was a big to do about weight and the Pagan community. Many people seemed upset that some people wanted to tell them it wasn't alright for them to live the way they wanted. I even wrote response posts (here and here). I don't want to get into that argument again.

I am just wondering if there will be a time to discuss healthy living without people getting offended?

I feel that what we are doing to are bodies as a society is a problem. I wish more people would take the time to look at what they are eating and how it is effecting them.  And, because I happened to watch "Vegucated" last night on Netflix, how their food is made and how it is treated before it gets to them.

But at the same time I completely understand that people don't want healthy living shoved down their throat. I understand they don't want to be criticized for how they live their lives.

So here is what I'd like to know...
Do you think that taking care of your body is part of taking care of your spirit?
How do you feel about discussing healthy living?

A healthy body is the guest-chamber of the soul; a sick, its prison.  
~Francis Bacon


Friday, January 11, 2013

A is for Afterlife

This one is a little tough. I don't think very many people want to think about death and what happen after that. But it is something we all have to face eventually.

I believe that all people go to an afterlife. The spirit just doesn't disappear into nothingness. I have always thought that where you depends on what you believe. If you believe that you are going to the Summerlands or Heaven or somewhere else,  that is were you are going to end up.

But that does bring up a couple of issues.

If you believe one in one afterlife, and your family believes in another then you won't end up together.

What happens to those who commit, for lack of a better word "sins", or great acts of evil? Surely they can't end up in their religions paradise.

Do we stay in afterlife forever, or are we reborn into this, or even other, worlds?

I don't know.

Perhaps all afterlives exist together on one plane, and you see what you want to. Maybe those who commit evil acts are judged by their particular deity and sentence to another part of that plane. Maybe you get to choose to be reborn to learn more life lessons.

I'm sure that as I grow my ideas of the afterlife will change. But nobody truly knows until that day comes.

Any thoughts?

Friday, January 4, 2013

A is for Ancestors

One of the beautiful things about paganism is its respect for the ancestors.

I believe that it is important for us to remember those who have passed on. I like the idea that your ancestors do not have to be people that you are related to by blood. It can be friends, past members of your tradition, or people that have made a difference in your life.

I like to think that no matter what religion a person was, wherever they are now they know they are being remembered. They know that the people that they have left behind love and remember them.

Thinking about the ancestors also gives hope to those here on Earth. By remembering them, we acknowledge the existence of a place beyond ours. We have the belief that we have a place to go when we pass on. We have comfort in the idea that we will not be alone in the afterlife, there is someone waiting for us.

Remembering where you come from is essential. It is nice to know that there were people that came before you. We remember those people's actions and words. But it is important that we all are also going to be an ancestors one day. We should always strive to leave a positive an lasting legacy for our descendants.

“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.”            - Thich Nhat Hanh 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Just a quick post today.

I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I hope that you got to spend the holidays with your family and friends.

For 2013, I wish everyone health and happiness. I really hope that this year will be wonderful.

I plan to get back on track and do some more writing soon.