Identity matters

Just what is a Pagan? Does it matter? Another sojourner asks these questions

I was reading yewtree this morning. He has a rant against animal sacrifice and an earlier post describing why he no longer identifies as Pagan.

I would rather avoid the sacrifice angle all together, but it is becoming an "issue" for some in the Pagan community.

Yes, I know that the term Pagan is inaccurate especially in this case, but until someone comes up with a better one I'll stick with Pagan.

As I was saying, animal sacrifice is becoming an "issue." I suppose it would be more accurate to say that it's been an issue, it just takes center stage every once in a while.

I don't practice animal sacrifice. I don't even hunt or fish anymore, although I have in the past. I'll be honest here and admit that under some conditions, the sight of blood is arousing. I am a carnivore, when I have tried to go vegetarian, neither my body nor my brain cooperated. I do believe that blood sacrifice brings power, all the more when it is something willingly given. I don't think I could bring myself to sacrifice a chicken or a fourfoot for ritual purposes. But I do eat chicken, just not cat or dog.

But this thing about not taking another life, it is something that animals themselves do not recognize. Nor do all humans. I broke up an online group once by speaking truth. It's part of the natural cycle, to deny it would be to deny the cycle itself. I said it before.

Anyone who doesn't think that red mouthed carnivores aren't a part of the world has never had to chase foxes away from chickens. Or had a cat give you the gift of a dead bird. Anyone who thinks that plants are peaceful passive creatures has never had to weed a garden in August. Or had to patch a sewer line that tree roots broke.

Folks, if I could make you happy and tell you that there are no fangs that bite or claws that rip, I would.

But I can't. That would be a lie. That would be a betrayal of the Lord and Lady. Death is a part of life, life is a part of death. The Wheel turns. We can't insulate ourselves from death without insulating ourselves from life.

Remember all those stories about heros, gods, and goddesses descending into the underworld? Those aren't just stories, they are fundamental guides.

We're Pagans, we're supposed to be attuned to the natural world! How does that work if we ignore the parts of the world we find "icky?" If we do that, aren't we cutting ourselves off from the very Nature we are supposed to celebrate and cherish?

I do not believe that we're supposed to be passive creatures bringing no harm. Maybe I have too much of my grandfather in me. By itself, this probably wouldn't bother me. But yewtree is advocating a morality that does not exist naturally, Earth-centered faiths or not.

In the second entry, yewtree writes about how he's noticed that some Pagans are drifting away from reason, discernment, and an interest in Nature, and towards (flawed) tradition, spurious history, and a focus on magic(k). More importantly to him, he's noticed "a strong tendency to take the existence of gods and goddesses literally, and to treat them as if they were powerful people to whom their devotees owe unquestioning loyalty."

He and I may differ on the nature of Divinity. That's fine, and to be expected. But I certainly agree that total unswerving obedience and loyalty isn't a Good Thing™. It's certainly not when it's given to a human, and definitely not when it's given to what appears to be a god.

Now why did I stress that? Because I know something about lower and higher elementals in the "classic" sense. Given the right circumstances, it's not that hard to "fake" a godmask. And it's entirely possible that the people concerned may not even know what they've done. It's a version of the Dweller issue.

Intuition and magickal connections aren't enough. Between the worlds. You have to have a foot firmly planted in both before you can bridge them. We're designed to reason, we should apply that ability to magick as well. That can make any practice better.

I think that yewtree describes a split between a revealed faith and an experienced faith. It's something that I've talked about here more than a few times. I'm not surprised he wants to distance himself from the "revealed" Pagans.

Me, I think that books are signposts. The journey is up to you. And you'll never go far enough if you are content to follow another's path.

Posted: Sat - November 28, 2009 at 01:39 PM
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