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Occasionally I wandered in where I was not wanted and gave truthful answers.
Sometimes I even did it deliberately. A little disruption now can prevent disaster later.

Reflections in a laptop screen

This is a page from the third version of Technopagan Yearnings. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at www.neowayland.com/C550866538/E20060309174431

Contemplating modern paganism and my own faith

I've talked to a couple of people and I have been thinking about this blog.

See, I don't want to go the "Paganism 101" and give a step by step process on how to become a Pagan. At the same time, I've taken some flak because my mainstream blog has a flashy name but doesn't have much Pagan specific content. So let me back up a bit.

Like it or not, the public image of Paganism is tied in with progressive politics. At least in my part of the country, the "high visibility" Pagans also have highly visible liberal politics. So much so that there is an unspoken assumption that in order to be Pagan, one has be extremely progressive. I know that all pagans are not like that. I did create the mainstream blog to strike back at those assumptions, as well as showing that you can be a "person of faith" and interested in politics without being a monotheist. And truthfully, some of the "groupthink" I see among Pagans worries me more than conservative or libertarian politics.

So let me introduce myself. Hello there, I'm NeoWayland. I'm an eclectic solitary Pagan. I don't believe you should wear your faith on your sleeve. While I am not in the broom closet, I'm a fairly private individual. I don't think politics should be defined by religion, and I don't think religion should be defined by politics.

I'm writing this on my iBook in my living room curled up in a chair. I do have a connection to technology, and I believe very strongly that the Divine manifests itself just as much in technology as it does in the "natural" world. I consider the internet to be just as wonderfully magickal as the turning of the seasons. Not surprisingly, I develop relationships with my favorite tools, gadgets, and gizmos.

Just like I do with ritual items.

And yes, they all develop their own personalities. Given my gifts, it's questionable whether these personalities are anything beyond projections of my own, but I choose to believe that they do. At least on alternate Thursdays.

One of the things I really like about this house is the fireplace. I think that a fireplace helps focus the spirituality in a house. My altar table is only a couple of steps away from the fireplace. One of my favorite (and probably overused) rituals is to keep vigil in front of the fireplace.

Not unsurprisingly, my TV doesn't live in my living room, It's on wheels, but most of the time it is in my office.

I love natural light, but I cherish my privacy, so my living room drapes are usually drawn. Since I tend to shed clothes, my neighbors probably appreciate that.

One of my hobbies is architecture, and if I really know someone and trust them, I sometimes show my sketches. There is nothing really organized about them, just ideas that I had here and there. I believe that most buildings today don't really nourish the spiritual in people. I'm not formally trained in architecture, so my ideas are a hodgepodge. There are some ideas drawn from classical and the Golden Mean, some drawn from Frank Lloyd Wright and his followers, some drawn from Malcom Wells, and some drawn from pictures I've taken or cut out.

When they aren't being used, many of my altar pieces live on the mantel. Some look fairly normal, others are just "weird." One of my favorite pieces is a polyresin skull with Celtic designs. Those guests who see it and choose to react usually go "Ewwwwww!!" Although some say "Cool!" Although it has other uses, that skull is also my personal touchstone on how open the other person is to alternative beliefs. And in some cases, just how much of a poser someone is.

I guess in a lot of ways, my living room is a lot like me. Mostly normal, with a bit of strangeness cropping out here and there. And the odd plant once in a while.

Yes, if I had the resources, my house would be unusual, but not so unusual to scream "FREAK!"

My Paganism is pretty private. I don't tell others my Patron's names. Most of the rituals I do have just me as the only human celebrant. The few I do in public are usually mistaken for something else. It's not that I am trying to hide who I am, it's just that I find public declarations and demonstrations of faith to be in bad taste. My family background probably has something to do with that, most of them are Southern Baptists, and not the quiet kind.

Maybe it is because of the progressive politics, but I see many Pagans as very Utopian. It's not enough for them that Paganism exists, it must REPLACE all those "evil monotheistic" faiths, I find that just as distasteful as the rantings of some of my more enthusiastic relatives.

That privacy gets in my way, at least in this blog. I want to tell people about my Paganism, but I find myself getting very defensive anticipating what other Pagans might say. That probably has a lot to do with why my Patrons think that this blog is a Good Idea. It's not something that I can just toss off. I can't necessarily just comment on what someone else is doing, I have to talk about what I am doing. Warts and all. I have to think about it. I have to question my own feelings. I have to be certain of my own convictions.

Which just goes to prove that someone can be nude without it bugging them but very self-conscious when having to talk about their faith. Sometimes I fell like I am back in Sunday School and I have been called on the carpet because I didn't know all Ten Commandments.

I guess what I am saying is that if you are Pagan because you need attention, you're doing it for the wrong reasons. You can't be Pagan just to be weird or to make people nervous. Faith isn't a costume, it lives and flows inside of you.

Posted: Thu - March 9, 2006 at 05:44 PM

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A narrow slice of life, but now and again pondering American neopaganism, modern adult pagans & the World.

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