Thursday, April 29, 2010

Of Heathen and Pagan Matters.

In my short time as a blogger, I have come across many things. I’ve come across other blogs I’ve enjoyed, commented with people of many points of view, and even argued with some. As noted in my previous posts, I’ve even argued with people outside of the internet, namely with the evangelicals that have appeared on my campus. I have enjoyed these things, namely because I find it fun to discuss things, and frankly I love conflict in various forms. It’s one of the reasons I follow my ancestor’s religion, even if not that religiously (pun is recognized and intentional, The Norse have an entire art of making bad puns.)

As mentioned before, the Christians didn’t show up when they were expected, though they did show up Thursday last. I stood out there, holding a sign declaring Pagan Pride and Heathen Heart. I was once more on the field, discussing, questioning, and arguing. I stood up for students when my foe ignored them. I called him on issues. I spared little mercy in my verbal battle with him. I even sent him scrambling for his bible when I pointed out his God had not asked for consent before causing the immaculate conception of his god. When I returned after class to the amphitheater, the Christians had moved to personal discussions rather than preaching. This time, there was a noticeable difference. The first time I came across them, personal discussion time had been quiet. This time, raging groups of students were in the faces of these men, shouting back and howling against the Christians. I have no idea if my bold stance had encouraged this action, but I was happy to see it.

Yet, there was one Christian who sought to speak peacefully. Not allied with the other two that were out there, we briefly spoke. It was a pleasure to engage him, not in grandiose argument, but in simple discussion. Neither of us changed the others mind, but for me that wasn’t the goal, and I think he might have begun to understand my stance. Sadly, the path I follow isn’t as simple as the Christian’s, and I had not time to go into greater detail of my beliefs.

Several times I’ve gotten into arguments at Gates of Vienna in their comments section, defending the ancient ways against Christians who insist that their path is the only way. For those who don’t know, Gates of Vienna is a site that talks about the growing presence of Islam and its historic and modern desire to remove all paths other than its own. I, and others, have held against Christians wanting to do the same thing in the name of fighting Islam. While little is accomplished in changing their minds, I hope to educate others about the ways of myself and our common ancestors, as well as lead to a uniting against those that would see us gone.

Yet, this is not an easy thing to accomplish. I just finished reading Laurie R. King’s “The Language of Bees,” which is part of a series I started when I was younger and enjoyed, as it was about Sherlock Holmes and a young woman who apprentices for him and later marries him. Marry Russell Holmes, the character in question, has a background in Judaism both in education and heritage. In the book she deals with a case involving paganism and I had great hopes for it. Sadly, the book portrays all spirituality outside the monotheistic tradition as superstitious follow at best, and generally the field of murderers, madmen, and the insane. Crowley is mentioned, but never in a good context, which may or may not be justified based on his history. In all, the book had an opportunity to step outside the norm and show a true vision of another path, and instead went for the all too familiar path.

If my tone this post is melancholy, it is because I realize many things. This world is changing, and while we’ve thrown off old oppressions to an extent, too many seem willing to hide under new ones. I am proud of the history of America, and what it sought to accomplish. The Founding Fathers were amazing men, who by all accounts were not truly Christian, and seemed more often than not to embrace Pagan ideals carried over though the centuries. Yet all too often, they are either claimed by the Christians as devout men, or vilified by those who oppose their vision as evil slave holders. Such is the nature of Christian morality that permeates our society, even in the farthest left. One must either be entirely good, or entirely evil. There is no middle ground, which is precisely where we Heathens and Pagans tend to lie. Sadly, it is often the middle ground that is destroyed in the shelling by either side. The results of which can be seen with the Vikings, in a way. Long have they been remembered as murdering barbarians, rather than heroes who sought to preserve the ways of their people.

I have stated many places that the One God leads to One Way. Few things in this world are truer than that statement. According to some statistics, 65% of America identifies itself as Christian, though how religious they are is hard to say. I know that the number of Pagans in America is probably less than that of the Jews, and I doubt we wield as much political and economic power that they do. If our ways are to survive their rebirth, we have to change this. We have to get the kind of power that will allow us to not only share our ways, but protect us should the worst happen again. It is easy to push my words aside as paranoid drivel, but that would be a terrible thing to do. Even as I type, Christians speak of the need to remove the “devil worshipers” in order to shave their country. In the Islamic countries, people who practice the magic arts are still tried and killed. The world, despite its troubles, seems mostly safe to us, but it wouldn’t take much to change that. It never has in the past.

The Wiccan's have the belief of “Do what thou wilt, but harm none.” This is a noble attitude, and it has served well in this initial time of relative peace. But the times are changing, and we may soon have need of a more Heathen attitude of “Do what thou wild, so that none harm your kin.”

The Norse Alchemist.

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