Over the years, I have found that many a person has this strange idea when it comes to the Pagan faiths. It as if, you know as soon as one converts, they [the pagan] are thrown back to the middles ages. People have this rather quirky notion that pots and pans turn into wands and broomsticks, that tables and chair turning to sacrificial altars and stone circles. At best, many people think that once one devotes themselves to the God and Goddess, reality bleeds away is magically replaced with Hogwarts schools and Weasly like houses. At worse, they believe that our God and Goddess are just whores, or the Christian devil. With this miniblog series, it is my hope to not only document my time growing as a Pagan, but to address these and many more misunderstood concepts so that we will be see as people. We are not the demons some people try to make us out to be.
When I first came up with the idea of this blog, and even this series, a few things quickly came to light. The first, which I'm sure you can guess, is my utter lack of proper spelling and grammar. Hey this is Amerikca, I can does what I want! Coming in a very close second place, was the realization this would take up a lot of time creating. I can't tell you how many times I had to write, rewrite, disregard and start anew something just because I hated even just a single word or phrase. Even now, I want to stop writing this installment to completely rewrite everything on my blog. Thanks scumbag brain!
As I pressed on, continuing to write about this or that experience, working past personal inadequacy and such, something completely unexpected happened. Just days after posting my first issue, I started receiving emails about my ramblings. This in itself wasn’t all unexpected; in fact you might even say I was awaiting "you're stupid die" emails. So, unsurprisingly, I ignored my email box, unable to bring myself to even look at it. Working in customer service, and having to deal with joyful customers on a daily basis, you can imagine the things I conjured up with. But you know what? My curiosity got the better of me. It's like saying "don't press the big red button"! As I read over them, one by one, I got a feeling I never thought I would get. Email after email was filled with words of encouragement, of stories relating to my own, and of thanks for doing what I did.
How awesome sauce is that?
With the dealings with my earlier life scribed and posted, and when I began throwing around ideas for the first draft of "Stupid Cliches we use" I thought all of that would come to a end. Surely someone would take major offense, no matter how nicely I put it, and the "Let's bash Ash" bandwagon would roar into life. But you know what? That totally didn't happen. Once again the awesomeness of the community shined like the summer sun. Just a few days ago, when I thought about abandoning this series, the emails started pouring in again. "I'm glad someone finally said it!" "It's about time someone posted about this crap!" "Just read your article, flipping amazing! When's part 2?" For a person who believes their rambling the akin to crap, I can honestly tell you such emails do a lot for me.
So before I go off on a rant, I just want to take a moment to thank everyone who took the time to write in, to say a few words, and to keep me going. I actually have a special folder in my gmail account just for these. When ever I have a bad day, or just want to punch someone in the throat, I take a moment and load up my email. Because nice words can go a really long way. So yea, you're all awesome sauce.
Oh and one final note:
In the the Witches’ Voice version of this posting, I had a disclaimer going on how I didn't want to offend anyone and even going so far as apologizing for it. This was brought up in a few of your emails, and all I have to say is you are all 100% right. When dealing with the problems with ourselves we can not afford to baby it or even sugar coat it.
"I'm a great and powerful witch in possession of the original necronomicon (or some other mystical sounding book)."
As humans, and social animals, we love to show off. Be it a sexy dress, killer hair style (redheads are hot), rocking pack of abs, amazing HD video card or what now, we want to be noticed. We love things like Facebook and YouTube because it helps us achieve this. We want to be the center of attention, even if it's for a brief time. While there is nothing wrong with this, taking it to far or going about it the wrong way, can be devastating. The jersey shore or spreading gods love by wanting to lock gays behind electric fences are just two ways how this can be bad in everyday and religious life. So how does this apply to us? Let me tell you a story of the first time I heard the above.
I was at New Hope for the local Samhain festive celebrations and enjoying the company of fellow Pagans. Hailing from a largely Catholic area, it's a rather good change of pace to mingle with people who share the same faith... not to mention the utter lack of "burn in hell. If I also recall, I made for a rather sexy elf. But I digress again... As I was enjoying myself talking to this person and that, I literately ran into this poor woman. I wasn't paying attention and I think we both might have had a few to many. Hey, we pagans love our Ale! Already being being in such high pleasant spirits, we both laughed at the moment and quickly got to talking. I was enjoying myself even more since I was talking with a pretty girl, until she mentioned her path. "Yep" she said, "I'm a seventh generational witch and get this, I own a orginal copy of the necronomicon!" I laughed, thinking it was a pretty good joke and told her that Alhazred stole my copy (if you get the joke, give yourself a cookie). She made a sour face but we continued on. We conversed for a bit more than merrily parted ways, all in all a good time. It wasn't until later that I learned that she was being 100% serious and that other people actually believed her.
For my readers who may not know, The Necronomicon is a fictional grimoire appearing in the stories by horror writer H. P. Lovecraft and his followers. It was first mentioned in Lovecraft's 1924 short story "The Hound", written in 1922, though its purported author, the "Mad Arab" Abdul Alhazred, had been quoted a year earlier in Lovecraft's "The Nameless City". Among other things, the work contains an account of the Old Ones, their history, and the means for summoning them.Other authors such as August Derleth and Clark Ashton Smith also cited it in their works; Lovecraft approved, believing such common allusions built up "a background of evil verisimilitude." Many readers have believed it to be a real work, with booksellers and librarians receiving many requests for it; pranksters have listed it in rare book catalogues, and a student smuggled a card for it into the Yale University Library's card catalog.
It's rather sad that this book, one that was also never fully completed, is still often mentioned as a great book of magical workings (by some fellow pagans) and even brought up frequently in the churches around me as proof that Pagan religions are evil. Seriously, how can a book of pure fiction be used as evidence of, well anything? It's like using the book Her Dark Materials as proof the Catholic church is a collection of reality jumping war mongers. So yea, that loud thumping sound? That would be my head hitting the desk a few times. Listen people, this is not a actual "magic" book, HP Lovecraft never actually traveled the cosmos to learn from it, and last time I checked New York was still around*1. But in the same breath, I must say don't get me wrong. There are some really nice and ancient books of wisdom and magic out there (hell I have half of them on my kindle), but for the love of Odin, if anyone tries to use the above crap on you they are either mentally touched or playing a con. I know I've mentioned this before, but I think it is so important (or should be) to us that it must be said again.
Being of the Pagan faith was never about who has the most powerful book, wand, or popularity meter. It's about connecting with nature, with the divine and most importantly seeing we are all connected in this wondrous beautiful thing called life.
...Don't ruin it with MTV reality TV show crap.
"As a witch I have to wear...."
Once or twice a year, I have the pleasure of attending the renaissance fair. It's a time when we can regress to an early age, disregard tv and cell phones for a time, wear awesome clothing and drink a lot. After a twenty buck admission fee, which is also cheaper if you come in costume, you are given a day long event of good food, games, shows and times with friends. What is there NOT to like about it?!?! What could make this even better? Well getting to walk around in my druid outift and showing off my tattoos! The only bad thing is having to leave when the day is over and return to this crappy thing called reality. I don't like it much either.
But when I do, I always make a return to my everyday style of clothing, which is conveniently wearing anything that is not dirty. When it comes to matters of faith, I wear what ever makes me feel comfortable and proper for the occasion... or if the weather is right, nothing at all.
What does any of this have to do with the point?
The pagan faiths is not a religion about fashion, it is a religion of the heart and soul. What you wear does not make the Pagan, and in fact clothing is entirely optional. While it may be cool to cosplay your favorite anime character or pretend your a Celtic warrior of old, keep in mind this is your own personal tastes, and not matters of faith. As a member of the Pagan faiths, you do not "omg I so have to wear" robes, elegant dresses, silver moon armor or other crap from hot topic. Faith should never dictate what you must wear during your everyday life. Declaring yourself a Pagan doesn't automatically compel you to get a Hot topic members card and as much black makeup as you can get. If anything that would be a mockery. Wear what feels right, what feels proper and what helps best connect you to nature, and with the God and Goddess.
Fashion is a invention of humanity, not of nature after all....
"I'm Wiccan, so I hate all Christians."
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit my friend in Texas. Not only was the weather amazing, but everyone was so nice and polite... a big change from the people I have to deal with here at work. While I was down there, and in one of our many conversations, my friend mentioned how it seems that Christians have become more and more of a punching bag as of late. I'm, or should I say we, are not referring to the "let's burn gays and throw them behind electric fences" Christians, we are talking about every day people who follow Christ. And you know what? After thinking it over, I came to the conclusion that he was right. Because of the over vocal idiots of the faith (and seriously who doesn't have them?) and because it seems very little or nothing at all is being done to put them down, Christianity has been taking a lot of cheep shots. While some/many/all of it may be justified (I'm not going to go into that here), this is not a matter of faith.
To become a Pagan, or to join any faith for that matter, to simply spit upon another is a horrid reason to convert. Not to mention shallow and just stupid. But yet, I still see it far to much. I can't tell you how many Facebook groups I have join hoping to find a nice Pagan community to socialize with, only to leave moments later because every frigging post was anti-Christian. Oh their god is a lie, oh their god is totally evil, oh their god is ok with molesting children, oh blah blah blah. Seriously, bitter old lady much? Yes, I know many of us (myself included) are ex-catholics, and have some really bad experiences from it, but that doesn't give us a free pass to be bash them every single second we can. I thought we where all better than this? I thought, that because of our many stereotypes, that we knew the actions of a few should never judge the whole.... Which brings me to the final point today:
"Since I'm a Pagan, I'm better than... "
You are better than no one child. You are a flawed, imperfect being just like every other person on this planet. You where neither born special, or are entitled to anything, simply because you are you. Furthermore, one does not prove they are better with petty words, but with actions that benefit and better themselves, their family and the world around them.
Well then... I hope you enjoyed this companion piece to first of my cliches writing. If you found yourself in this or the previous rambling, do not become disheartened or angry with the world. Change and adapting is part of nature, and part of who we are. It is never to late to change for the better, to attune for past sillyness, and to make life better for yourself and the world around you. Walk always in the light of the God and Goddess, and blessed be to you and yours.
*1 One of the many stories in the book was about how Cthulhu ruined New york.