One of the best
solidify your beliefs, is to talk to
others about them.This
is easy when you
have a local community, but with the proliferation of the Internet, we
the realm of cyber Witchcraft.
can you talk to like-minded people even if you don’t have a local
but you can get information and opinions from people around the world.
The following email
thread comes from a group of people who
used to listen to the Internet radio show I co-hosted for ten years,
lives in Europe, and
English isn’t his first language.
this only because you may notice some words he uses sound right, but
syntactically wrong, such as there instead of their.
quite long and took place over a couple
of weeks in email on the Agorae Yahoo group.The Agora was the market place in
was the center of civic
life in Greece.It
seemed an appropriate
name for the group.
Once upon a time,
Gods were young, and so was the
human race. In that mythical and sometimes cruel age we made our first
to understand the divine, and to help us do so, we ended up giving it
We tried to
understand it the only way we could, by making our
resemble ourselves, and by doing that, we also gave them our human
weaknesses, our many imperfections. The Gods of old were courageous,
and merciful as we aspire to be, but also fallible, angry, and vengeful
all too often are. They were our own image reflected back at ourselves.
could they be anything else?
Those were dark times, when thick forests covered much of the earth,
with wild beasts there for us to tame, with wide open spaces there for
discover, when roads were few and mud was plenty. Those where the times
lived short and all to often violent lives, when in bad times the
hunger made us reach for the sword, and build things of beauty in white
when the times were more merciful.
Those were the times when small communities lived far from one another,
developing cultures of their own, customs relevant to themselves and to
else, when every such culture told their own stories, explaining the
best they could, to whomever cared to listen
why we are
born, what are we supposed to do on this earth and what happens when we
Those stories were
tailor-made to convey what the culture
important, what it considered acceptable and desirable and what it did
thus giving birth to a code of conduct and a set of values.
History and time buried most of these small cultures, all too often
behind just chards of broken pottery or stories they shared with
traveling through their lands. Some disappeared slain by the sword of
their enemies; some were whipped out by disease or by
of Mother Earth, and some were simply silenced because history is
written by the victors.
From that bubbling cauldron of cultures emerged things we take for
wonderful and compelling ideas, institutions that help us navigate
even today. Things like a system of laws, democracy, art, philosophy
science. That was a Pagan world.
And then, under the rule of Emperor Constantine, the freedom of thought
The tyranny of the "one true God" started, bringing with it the dark
ages and the death of progress.
The Council of
Nicaea took place,
cherry picked his way through ancient texts and compiled what it is
as the Bible, a readers digest of old texts specially chosen to fit a
agenda. And as history demonstrates, trouble always starts not because
words in our mouth, but because we put words in God's mouth.
Today, we look back at that ancient world and feel pride and admiration
their achievements. Today, given our new found and yet so fragile
believe what we choose, we try to connect with
it, we are in awe of its beauty and often blind at its ugly sides.
We shouldn't forget that the same people who came up with the concept
democracy, handed over a cup of poison to Socrates and made him drink
the same people who built the marvels of ancient Rome committed
razing Cartage to the ground; that the same people who built the
down the Great Library of Alexandria. Yes, there was plenty of innocent
spilled and plenty of dire injustice in the Golden Age.
Today, we live longer lives, we use the internet, we go to Starbucks,
up our fridge from the supermarket, and most of us have never seen a
wheat or cut the neck of a chicken and deep fried it to feed our
live in concrete cities and drive iron horses, we open the tap and
comes out, we turn a knob on the wall and our house warms up, we sit
a plastic box and we can see the entire world in it.
We are so different from the ancient Pagans, that to them we might as
little green people with quivering antennae sticking out of our heads
"beep-beep" instead of talking. And yet, we claim to have a
connection to belief systems that were developed by people
in the Iron Age, for people that lived in the Iron Age, tailored to the
of the people who lived in the Iron Age.
Some claim direct
descendance, others try to revive what died a long time
though we know next to nothing about how things really were. And what
is mostly speculation, educated and not so educated guesses, and
So my question to you is this: can we ever go back? How can we ever go
Should we go back? If the answer is no, then the real mind-numbing
gut-wrenching blood-curdling question must be answered: where are we
Take a look in your crystal ball and tell me what you see.
Don't even get me started on
Time only moves in
one direction, for us
anyway. But our modernsociety is all too easy to
Technological societies alwaysare. We take too much for
become dependent on it all. As you point out there were
problems. We didn't live as long or
life was much harder than now.
If you mean go back
No way. Not without alot of prior training and a move to an
If you mean in terms
of ideals, again,
nope. As you point out,some were killed just for
ideas, look at
Can we be made to
regress? Sure. It
justs a few really seriousfast moving bugs or a few dozen
nukes. Would I
want to? Nope.
I don't think we can go back, but we can take the cloth whole from our
forebears, study it, and use it as a model upon which to build. The
"Athena" I know is a grown up compared to the one our ancient
When we're children we get to know the people who are in charge of our
often pretty screwed up young people, then we grow up and mostly know
people, but they aren't the same people we knew back when. Our
change, and they change. When we try to relate with who they were years
years before we end up in misunderstandings and conflicts.
I think the
true of a condition in which we try to relate to old "gods" the old
way. Our perceptions are dramatically different, (I liked the way you
it in your essay, Greengate, very meaty!) therefore that which was made
image of man is now dramatically different.
I go, at least once a month, and live off the grid, off the economy,
and off the
edge of the technological world, just to keep my sense of appreciation
and to keep my survival thinking honed. I try different problems to
Yes I have cut the
head off the chicken. I've made the fire,
the thing, and even made the surfaces from which to eat it. I've grown
from the seeds I collected the year before, and made tasty meals of
would have stared dumbly at. I find ways to keep vermin out of my
don't require any sort of spray can. I even find ways to treat the ills
friends and family the old fashioned way.
I hunt, search for
build shelters, find salt deposits, and consider the best defensible
around me. I think this helps me "go back" a little way and definitely
keeps technology in perspective.
This way of thinking and living affords me a more open perception of
and of the people that created them. When I can see their model better,
easier to make over what they made to fit my life. And my life is not
in many ways from those. I have instincts, rage, desires, and needs
did. Those instincts, desires, and needs are just met with things of
shapes than they would recognize. We may have it easy in some ways, and
were ways theirs were easier.
This morning I was putting my husbands lunch in his car, when another
whizzing down the street and I had to press against the door to keep
cars can run faster than predatory
I live on a street
they run constantly.
there are a lot more people here than
my husband has to drive far away to go to
work. Just two hundred
that same distance would have been a day or two journey, which he
had to make, and people worked most days within a short walk from their
I can't get away with doing anything to
the person who was driving
couldn't even make myself heard when I cussed at him/her.
so fast, I had no way even to get an identity I could use for later.
And if I
went and smacked that person for their carelessness, instead of the
rest of my
community applauding such behavior, I would be the one that got busted.
instincts haven't changed... I really wanted to grab that person by the
and shake them.
No we can't go back, but we really aren't that far away from where they
teach my second level students to take "gods" from modern films or
stories, and build a ritual around them, which they present to each
other or to
larger groups. We've done the Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon, all sorts
things from Star Trek, from Lord of the Rings, and some stuff from
I think that
exercise helps them have a better
what religion and spirituality is, how to deal with the "gods" in
their practice later, and how to interact with the people they will
serve. We also study Jung a lot.
The metaphors of our myths are applicable, very useful, in a sense,
different than they were to those who recorded them first, but still
powerful for us. We can't go back and be children, perceiving our world
those innocent eyes. Even our own memories of then are distorted. We
revisit the same life we actually lived, but it doesn't stop the past
from being important and useful.
I think the big sink hole a lot of Neo-Pagans fall into is trying to
mythology and half understood anthropological conjecture to validate
and the belief systems they espouse. I don't think that works. I don't
have to validate what we believe to others. I think we may tend to go
trying. And it doesn't work to use ancient people's ways of thinking
behaving to validate our current ways of thinking and behaving. I think
makes us look silly to do so. "But ma, they were are doing it!"
Also, Hi Chris!
Bless you both, my friends!
Shades of Uncle Joe Campbell.
Was watching a
current TV show Sunday involving
gods in which Hephaestus was refered to as the god of
technology. To our
ancestors that meant fire and the forge. But to us it means
very different. It means something they would have thought of
there's a concrete example of what Maisry was talking about.
Do we want to go
We have a Renaissance festival here every Aug - Oct. I admit
that I have never
gone - I don't have the funds. But I do know some who really
get into it,
going every weekend, spending all sorts of money on the clothes and
all. No, not criticizing because I have my own "oddities"
I spend my pennies on.
However, I can't
help thinking that there is
of that era in time. Many Pagans are involved in the
festival, either by
going or by actually working the place. However, if
they were around back then, they wouldn't feel so comfortable!
I have this strange fascination with archeology. I am mostly
in the pre-history stuff. (My pennies go to certain
books.) I would
love to go to Malta or Catalhoyuk or that most ancient shrine they
remember the name right now). To see what these ancient
peoples did, to
me, is remarkable.
However, we cannot
know what they did in
although we can try to guess. There is a recent book on
Catalhoyuk that goes
through the archeological work being done there. The new
Ian Hodder, had taken one spot and worked down, milimeter by milimeter,
to find even the smallest remains - we're talking seeds and
they had a reconstructed house where they tried to go through daily
life for a
season. There's a video on YouTube of them trying to keep the
fire going in the oven. However, how do we know
knew? They could have had a totally different way of starting the fire,
fanning the fire, etc. Ian Hodder is part of the
He believes that
those previously working these
sites see the
places through their own viewpoint - which, of course, is
true. He is trying
the personal views and open things up to be explored by a variety of
ideas. But I don't think it's completely possible.
Of course we see
things from our own view, that is just a matter of fact, and we cannot
So, we may see
something one way where it was something completely
it was originally used. (I also got this book called The
Motel of Mysteries.
It is about a future archeologist who has found this site, a 1980s
his description of the findings made. Hillarious, but very
The lives of the ancients are beyond our understandings. We
cannot fully know
what they know, see life the way they did - it just isn't
possible. No offense,
Maisry (hoping that is your name), but even by just going out and
the land cannot provide true knowledge of the ancients way of
You, of course,
have a better understanding of all that is involved in
than I ever would - can't do without my coffee, cigarettes, and plastic
(tv and 'puter). But we're talking generations upon
discovery and stories and all that passed down on a moment by moment
bassi. Heard about a pair of children who, for some reason,
by their tribe. One of the local town took them in and raised
that they would never go back to that life. The daily lessons
missing and they would not survive.
We've lost much knowledge in the simplification of our lives.
much as well. One of the big things we have gained is the
idea of the
self. We are no longer totally dependant on the tribe or
community. We do
not have to fit in to survive. We are free to explore our
beliefs, our inner selves. We can create a totally personnal
the divine, perhaps
even adding to that magnificently wonderousness.
As part of
my coven, each of us was/is to create a personal pantheon, our own gods
goddess with their stories, etc. Each student does this
It's an amazing thing, seeing what others hold dear.
Me? I'm still
working on mine, finding that I keep changing and deepening the
gods. (We also did totem shields, with the totem cards - and
having Mocking Bird to my right has made me aware that I take the old
and mix and retell them in a new way.)
Can we tell where we're going? I don't think so.
Had a nice long
talk with my HPS about this. She's been practicing since the
70s and has
seen amazing change in the rituals and all in the last 30
would say that we will become mainstream; there are even those who are
to create schools and standardizations. I don't think this
not for those
like me who are into the personal, deep, sometimes unsharable
see Paganism as a purely personal journey (yes, and I am in a coven -
is that?) that cannot be standardized. Others would prefer to
keep it underground, so to speak, enjoying the secrets and the hidden
we get back to the whole witch-burning thing, or at least the
'witchcraft'. I think the biggest thing I've learned from my
the beauty of letting things grow and evolve and
is very open
and accepting of all forms of Paganism - no wonder she calls us an
coven! She has the lessons, yes, but they are very open to
interpretation. She is our guide, but not our
dictator. She provides the foundation and the history, like
having the original
ritual in it's
original form recently, but allows others to explore other ways, like
native american based ritual.
This is how she has
She knows about the implossions of groups - we all have probably seen
Been on the sidelines and watched it happen here a few years ago, and
I had wondered if, I came back a century from now, would I even
recognize a Pagan,
let alone the rituals that individual was using. I'm not
sure. It would
be nice, to have some scrap of some ritual I have written used by
what if they were using it wrong (in my opinion)?
I would hope that the self-discovery would continue. I would
hope that there
would be an acceptance of the differences in all of us. I
would hope for
world peace, but is any of that possible?
(This is my opinion, and I maintain the right to change it and to deny
saying such a thing.)
Well said! Vesta?
my majors was anthropology, and
you're exactly right about conjecture, the bane of archeologists.
it's the bane of anyone who studies culture, even modern cultures. It's
impossible to get inside another person's experience, let alone that of
group's experience. The closest we can get is in an ethnographical
we bring too much of our own culture with us which colors all we
not offended, as I agree, and all I can do is try to see through the
the other side of the fire.
I like the creating of one's own pantheon. I've tried some of that, to
affect, though never managed to talk a student into trying it. They
balk at my
"getting to know the guardians at the quarters" assignment bad enough
as it is. Too much imagination required? I guess.
What we can take from the ancients is the experience they deigned to
us. Just as with history... those that ignore it are doomed to repeat
can't live their spirituality any more than we can live their cultures.
I think we would want to. Everyone who wants to use the village
your hand. I kind of like my flushy type. Even if we knew just exactly
all worked then, I don't think it would apply to our lives. It wouldn't
have applied to the people that came just ten generations later.
There are two natures in human beings where change is concerned, and we
carry both around inside ourselves all the time. That conservative,
hang-on-to-what-is-familiar part wars with the part that says
"Hey-lets-try-a-new-thing-that-looks-like-it-might-work!" Both have
their advantages and disadvantages.
Just as with
that continuing conflict, with some taking the conservative stance most
time, and some who are more adventurous, even ready to jump off the
Between there, somewhere, is the balance that ends up surviving. We're
product of that conflict, and the makers of the next round.
I think we are becoming quite mainstream. It may not be obvious to all
as there are places that move a little faster, and those that hold back
but over all, we seem to be a fad. I tend to agree that we won't work
"established and standardized." Being a herd of cats seems to be a
big part of the reason that the Catholic church so adamantly hunted the
old ways out. No system that says "think for yourself!" is going to
work as established or standardized. It just t'aint natural.
Yes, my name is mostly Maisry lately. Anyone have a clue how to change
I wrote a piece for my website about using modern myth in ritual.
Maisry, I, and
several others began using modern myth for ritual because we recognized
ritual elements in those myths. Would you agree with how a piece of
was used in a highly modified ritual of the future? If those writing
that ritual understand why and how ritual works, you probably would.
are ritual elements. How you use them is simple window dressing.
I have been away from this message board for a while myself... in lurk
all of my favorite spots on the web. These posts have been so
thought provoking, it motivated me to get out of my rut and join the
The question was, how can we ever get back to a time where life was
our Pagan ancestors lived, and should we? Yes and no. I like
my flush toilets
too (I conned my dad into putting a flush toilet in the outhouse at his
cabin... yeah!) and my Ipod, and all the modern conveniences. Are our
simpler for having all of the extra stuff that is supposed to make our
smoother and faster?
The more efficient
technology makes our lives, the
try to shove in during a day. I think, in my own case, that I
would be a
lot healthier and happier if I were to chop some of that out, and just
like Maisri (Aune? I thought I saw you had changed your name...) does
getting off the grid once in a while. The problem with some
of our modern
conveniences and forms of entertainment is that it's so easy to become
disconnected and tune out what's real...and, honestly TV is addictive
Sometimes I think it's so easy to give in to all the "stuff" we have,
that it doesn't *seem* possible to have a simpler, calmer, more
life. As a society "we" aren't going back to simpler technological
times unless, like Chris said, we get nuked, or some other such
thing forces society to backslide en masse.
And why would we
want to? It does have
But we, as individuals, can certainly strive make our lives simpler and
connected, and set good examples for our children, extendend families,
neighbors, etc...while we're at it. While it's easy to look
around at the
state of humanity as it is today, and feel dispair about it, we each
really do what one person can do.
One way I am trying to slow my life down and 'get back' to a simpler,
way of life is that I am going to plant gardens and grow food for my
eat...non processed, non-preservative-laden, fresh food. I'm going to
kids outside, away from the tvs, computers and video games, and they
to help me dig post holes for a fence, dig dirt and build raised
are going to participate in choosing the seeds we plant and in tending
hope when harvest comes they will enjoy the fruits of our labors and
in it. They will also learn how to preserve the extra food so we can
in the winter when the snow flies. I want them to have a more of a
with the Earth than just taking it for granted, and part of that means
off my duff and modeling that behavior myself.
Another thing I am
this next summer is grow a bed of flax, and show my kids how you can
from it to spin into thread that makes linen. (If anyone's interested
how it's done, there are several great tutorials on YouTube starting
There was talk about how culture evolved, for good or evil, and how do
the good parts back? So many of us kind of playact the romanticized
earlier times, without doing the research to find it if we really would
found it terribly romantic at all (again, no flush toilets make me
lot of people feel like they have to make some bridge to the past in
be an 'authentic' pagan. I went through a stage like that and finally
the conclusion that, in order to be an 'authentic' Pagan in
the here and
now, I just need to glean what useful knowlege I can from the past so I
it in order to make my mundane and spiritual lives better
it can boil down to the difference between what the societal "we",
and what each of us as individuals, can do. Too many people look to
"we" to fix their lives, or to somehow make things better overall,
rather than to just look at their immediate space and find even the
ways to make things better and their families.
As a Pagan, and a parent, *I choose* the culture my kids are
raised in by
realizing that they watch everything I do, hear everything I say, even
feel like they are blowing me off. I have to model for my kids to be
and free thinkers, to have working knowledge of where their food comes
how to be prepared and resourceful for anything when times get tough,
to research and be thoughtful before you hit the voting
I have to
model how to be a productive member of society by getting out from
technology, and making it work for me *as needed*, rather than allowing
to become slave to it, which is hard because I love my computer and
am also a role model of spirituality in everything I do. Some days are
than others, but I keep trying...Goddess help me.
The bottom line is (imho), "we" each can choose how we cultivate our
local culture, even if it is just within our homes and who we choose to
in our circles of friends and family. We have to deal with society at
we are not required to fall into the trap of believing there are no
other than to buy into all of the clap trap that comes with constantly
advancing technology and media. If enough of us choose to live more
consciously, it's bound to rub off on others. I know I have found
inspiration in some of my friends who live that way, and I hope I
influence others by doing the same.
Blessings to you all,
I was thinking more
the Nazi movement, where they stole
and warped things to validate their own views.
I sometimes wonder, when I "borrow" things off the internet for my
rituals, if the author intended it to be used in a Pagan
context. I am
very careful to keep to those sites that are Pagan and are obviously
us Mocking Birds to steal and rewrite. I also include the web
site in my
folder so, if someone asks, I can show him/her where it came from (but
more a matter of courtesy).
If someone wanted to, she/he could take any of our words, twist them
and make it sound totally not what we wanted.
The idea of modern myths is so cool!!! My coven (it's
actually my Lady's coven
but you all know what I mean) has done some things like this.
Rocky Horror ritual and the Redneck ritual (held at a farm in southern
and, as part of my BOS is a myth that my Lady wrote. I've
heard of groups
who have used ancient myths for their rituals as well. They
feel that the
myths are linked to the rituals.
to a book
right now (slogging through is more like it - not that it's not
interesting but they keep using these big, unusual words and I find I
go look them up before continuing on reading!) that there doesn't seem
to be a
correlation between the myth and ritual. I'm not sure what I
that. I mean, there are reports of the women wailing the loss
and that is based on the myth, isn't it? And yet, if one were
the Christian rituals - was Episcopalian by up-bringing - and compare
it to the
Bible, one wouldn't see much of a connection.
On the other hand, a year ago, we had a guest HP for a ritual - the
It was too cool! We got to choose if we were going to be the
let go of something) or the hunter (to get something). This
was held at our
covenstead (someone's home with a lot of land and space, and even a
garage" that is actually our ritual room). After dark, the
were 'released' and us hunters were then allowed to go after
To be captured,
the hunter must take the red ribbon from the hunted - some easily
not so easy. Then was the sacrifice, set up by the bonfire,
guest HP would talk the hunted through the process. Then a
walked this ghost to the ritual room, aka Summerland, for prayer and
meditation. The hunters remained around the bonfire, dancing
and all. Once all were done, the ghosts returned in joyous
It was a wondrous experience. And it was loosely based on
* * * * * * * * *
I reserve the right to change my mind without prior notice and to deny
saying such a thing.
* * * * * * * * *
Yes they did,
enough just like the Christians did. Let's see, Christmas, Halloween,
name the most obvious examples there. I believe a lot of what
stole came from the Thule societies.
I love the bit
being an "authentic Pagan"
that Sparrow interjected. Very well put, birdy friend! Perhaps that's
can go from here, "self authentication" (is that even a word?) How
might we flesh that idea out with details?
As for time to live... My Anthro professor once shared a paper, (don't
long ago,) that was written by an Australian Anthropologist. It was
study of Aboriginals in Australia, some Pygmy people in Africa, and a
that was being studied in South America. The paper compared how much
of the subject peoples spent working with the amount of time that
Melbourne spent. It was astounding how much more leisure the more
peoples seemed to have. They "worked" at making art in order to pass
the time. On a side note, that paper was written in the 1970's. I would
the advent of information technology would put new weight into the mix.
Considering how much time I just spent organizing and sorting
"things" in our garage and storage sheds... If we didn't have so many
"things", I would have had a lot less work to do. I'm retired, so I
spend a great deal of time doing exactly what I want to do, and I'm not
complaining about taking care of stuff. I enjoy it. However, I would be
bored if I didn't have my things to take care of. Back when I was
time, there was always too much of taking care of things, one big chore
could never catch up on.
This acquisitiveness we have is probably instinctive. Like with food,
acquiring has gotten too easy, and we overindulge. There's a huge
culture that we're experiencing around this tendency. Part of the
all about re-asserting some sense into our acquisition, and part is
we're somehow responsible for our community's economical health,
is required.) I know this doesn't sound like it's connected to being
but belief system is huge in the mechanisms of a culture. I note that
grow in popularity, that tendency to re-assert sense in acquisition is
growing. Perhaps a hearkening back to a "simpler" time is part of
that. Think so?
Another thought... Is watching TV really liesure time for a lot of
think it might be actually de-compress time. I notice people who work,
drive drive to work. They seem to go in and flop down exhausted in
front of the
TV. Many don't actually "work" at work, rather they
"stress" at work. Then they're shot when they get done stressing, and
they "stress" on the commute. Another crowd seem to
"depress" in front of the TV. If they weren't doing it there, they
might be doing the same thing somewhere else. Depression is exhausting,
The late, and by
George Carlin once said that home is where you keep your stuff while
getting more stuff. Maybe nomadic peoples have it right, you only need
'simplifies' a lot of
Being a pretty big
Renfaires myself, I can tell you
that people, Pagans or not, who think they are experiencing the actual
Era are doing a whole lot of fooling themselves.
Life wasn't pleasant for most of the world even in the 19th and early
centuries let alone the 14th - 17th. I think those events try and put a
pleasant spin, by offering a fabricated, commercial and romantic view
of what life should have been like if life were fair.
I know professional and "lay-fans" of archaeology and anthropology will
agree that life for anyone was pretty tough back then. "Going back"
to a simpler Pagan life, in my opinion, would make it quite a bit
tougher to practice what we generally do today. I think even if you
that practices from back then, which are sourced if you know where to
isn't on the Llewellyn website), then you are really going to
experience a culture/ritual "shock". Things that a lot of
take for granted, like candles, oils and even decent paper, were not so
available to even much of the middle class. You have to go to the
class to start getting into such things.
It might be interesting to use a stang with an animal skull as an
many cunning folk did in the British Isles, and Northern Europe instead
table that has stuff sitting on it.
Ultimately, I think that if one were to seek a bit of "going back",
have to do a lot of honest inner contemplation because I think most
today would get a real jolt to discover just how unlike their ancestors
they actually walk their paths.
Just my opinions, take them for what they're worth.
One thing we
discussed about going back is the fact
that our forebears were a little truer to their bloody natures than we
Violence wasn't up for discussion. People had to be violent to survive.
believe that would have been reflected in their rites. Depending on
where, there would have been sacrifices of animals or people at certain
of the year. Some rites and spells would have been around violently
one group from another, or dominating another group. Another reality is
people are naturally discriminatory against strangers, and it took a
effort and caution to make friends amongst strangers.
Please bear in mind
what follows below are just my
opinions. I base them on nothing concrete but on my own impressions and
thoughts. For some unexplainable reason I can't shake the feeling that
what we call
"the Pagan community" is somehow stuck. Maybe it's a plateau in our
development, maybe it's something else, I don't know.
What I do know is that we won't get over it until we let go of this
nostalgia for a world that never existed. Not in the way we imagine it.
we can learn from the past, it's never a good idea to forget it, or
that thing that says that if we do, we're doomed
the same mistakes again, will prove to be true.
More than that, with this credit crunch thing everybody will have to
the belt, so grandma's recipes and household tricks will have to be
and put to good use. We'll have to learn again to live on a budget,
build things that last more than a season, and people
the past have something to teach us about that. The throw away society
Our dwindling natural resources say so, and we better listen.
We also won't get over the plateau until we take off the Halloween
recognize that we don't have a Pagan uniform. The purple "look at me"
pointed hats, the black makeup and crushed velvet capes should be
the local dramatic society's costume department. Paganism isn't about
We won't get over the stagnation until we realize that not everybody is
destined to be a priest or priestess; that not everyone wants to be a
priestess. Some are just run-of-the-mill lay pagans, happy to just live
predictable lives right in the hart of Suburbia.
We won't get over the slump until we get it in our thick skulls that
and religion are two separate and distinct things, and that they meet
incidentally (but that's another thread.).
It's natural for people to want to be identified with a group. Those
"uniforms" are one way in which a person new to a group says "I
am here with these people." It's also a way that others use to find the
group they want to identify with. One thing I've noticed is that we can
"uniforms" at the local discount department stores these days, which
is an indicator to me that there are a lot more people wanting to
the group we are a part of. It's not the only indicator, by far, but a
So I'm a suburban Witch. Most of the time I wander about in comfortable
practical old standby clothes, if a little ex centric, which is my
tendency and always has been. Having been a Witch for so very long, the
are worn in, and my life might be considered, from my perspective to be
mundane. That I practice magick as routine, isn't a shock or a surprise
people who know me. They've come to accept me and what comes with me as
By that same token, they've come to accept those that practice the
claim Neo-Pagan belief systems as normal. I'm not the only one around
they're encountering like this, and it's not a big shocker for those
discover my inclinations to the Craft anymore. I hardly get a raised
from most when I say straight out: "I'm a Witch." Day before
yesterday, I was having a little sun on my front porch, when a
Witness approached. She and I had a nice little exchange of blessings
explained that I was a Witch, and answered questions she had about my
the upcoming holiday. She didn't tremble with fright, bridal at
ideas or anything. Years ago, she would have been shaky in the knees
scuttling away as quickly as she could.
Being different, years ago, wearing that "uniform" for more and more
people to see, being obvious, that's what desensitized these people.
got to happen in a lot of places, for our "community" to be an
accepted norm. And then there is 'playing dress-up' which is a part of
little girl's make-up, and every woman has a touch of little girl. I'm
supposed to notice, but the boys have a big streak of it, too. I
wouldn't be to
quick to quash the costume, in it's place. Halloween is going to be a
for a long time yet, just not celebrated every day, and it still has a
the evolution of our culture.
When evolution is necessary to a culture, which it always is, several
options step up for consideration. Some fall by the way as they're
unfit, or disadvantageous. Others hang in there awhile, as potentially
advantageous, and eventually their potential may be proven. These are
"mutations". We seem to be a potentially advantageous set of cultural
mutations. Our obviousness, even though it may seem trite to us, or
some of us,
is an advertisement for the rest of culture to see and make a
Our direction is getting a lot of votes for the very reasons you point
Greengate. We're hearkening back to a better resource budget plan, or
sifting through ancient history looking for what worked or didn't.
other reasons besides the budget. Nature tends to take "more birds with
Never had a
when I was Boy Scout and let's not move that way. "Here there
dragons!". Bad times. Uniforms in general have
me in any form. And I mean any form because they can be
attitudes as well
as cloth. And the uniforms that are attitudes are often
harder to change.
Yes, master of the obvious here.