Monday, December 25, 2006

Pagans and Christians

I was inspired by someone else's commentary to do my own two cents on an issue in pagan circles: anti-Christian bigotry. I see it in comments on blogs, in forums, and face-to-face discussions. Everything from Wiccans who will accept any tradition's gods in a circle except That One to reconstructionists who refuse to respect their ancestors because they're Christian. Parents who think it's fine if their kid investigates any of a dozen faiths except That One. People who insist it's OK to hate Christians because of the Burning Times, the Inquisition, the Salem trials, the snakes, or whatever, but just let someone even look at them funny for wearing a pentacle the size of a hubcap and they go off about how it's St. Patrick all over again. The fact Patrick's hardly responsible for half of what he's saddled with is a related point. A complete refusal to look at the entirety of a religion's history and cherry-picking for strawmen and scapegoats is textbook behavior for religious bigots.

Guess what, kids. I don't care if you went to a bad church. I don't care if the priest molested you. I don't care if you were beaten into compliance. You don't get to blame the religion for its followers any more than the rest of the world gets to blame paganism for its problem members. The Tuatha de Dannan are not held responsible for the racists in Celtic pagan traditions, but Jesus is held responsible for the bigots in His faith. How is this fair? How is this even?

The Christians have a saying about how you shouldn't pick on the mote in your neighbor's eye until you remove the plank from your own. If you insist on looking at Christianity and only see the extremists and perverts who use it as a cover for authoritarian or pedophilic behaviors, you have a plank. It's called bigotry. And it's not true to any pagan faith I can think of.

Oh, and Merry Christmas. Solstice is over, so I figured the proper greeting of the day was in order. I promise you won't go up in flames if you say it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Now that Haloscan has decided to force you nice people to see ads when you leave comments on my blog and Blogger's little now-released beta isn't likely to remain optional for long, I'm going to bite the time and effort bullet and migrate this blog to my own setup on my own domain and use Wordpress. If ads are going to ever turn up on this blog, I want to get a cut.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dedication, sacrifice, and breakfast

There's a half-joking analogy about the difference between involvement and commitment relating to breakfast. When you look at a plate of bacon and eggs, the chicken was involved and the pig was committed. This also applies to the question of sacrifice. I see the question of "should we do some kind of blood sacrifice" come up sometimes. The knee-jerk reply that comes back when it arises is, "Donate blood and dedicate the act." Dedication is not sacrifice the way eggs are not bacon.

In the ritual deposit areas in Celtic tribal lands, researchers have found weapons that were deliberately broken before being cast into the pits. From what they can see, the weapons were being given over to the gods. I don't know if there's anything in the Celtic lore about a weapon being dedicated to a god, but when someone does that in other traditions' source material, they get to keep the weapon and it is used in this world. If you donate blood and dedicate that act to the gods, the blood stays in this world and is used here. That is why it's a dedication. If it were a sacrifice, to follow the form established in the past, you'd need to pour the same pint onto a fire, thereby transferring it to the Otherworld for the gods' usage. Also, there is a distinct difference between bleeding yourself to the gods and using a different animal's blood. Using your own blood can be taken as a sign of an even deeper commitment to the act than may be intended. I'd much sooner see people buy some pig blood from a butcher or use ghee as the Hindus do to ensure the wrong message isn't transmitted. Of course, if all the signs say, "Do it yourself," who am I to question if they do it safely and sanely?

This is not saying people should go to a blood bank and try to talk them out of keeping the bag of blood you generate for them to do a "proper" blood sacrifice. What I'm saying is that if you're going to sacrifice something, some part, if not all of it, is supposed to go to the gods. In short, it has to be ritual bacon. So it is that people dedicate themselves to gods instead of sacrificing themselves to them. The latter implies ritual suicide.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Lights, Pentacle, Controversy

10,000 Reasons to Doubt the Fish has an interesting controversy on his block. A family of Wiccans living next to fundamentalist Christians decided to erect their own holiday display, including a 5-foot wide pentacle in lights. The inevitable argument ensued.

I've been seeing more pentacles appear in holiday light displays in my own area. I may not follow that faith, but I'm always glad to see a moment of diversity, right up there with the people who've taken to hanging lights for Hanukkah. It is a sad day when people who claim to be good Americans refuse to realize this country was built in the spirit of freedom of religion and try to co-opt December for their own purposes with no respect for others' reasons for the season.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Checking In

I try not to end things just by walking away. I'm not ready to shut this blog down and don't intend to. I have been swamped by my day job to the point of hauling work home on nights and weekends. This leaves precious little time for blog posting. Once the insanity eases, I'll be able to at least assess my situation regarding the Roost and take matters from there. I'm getting some clear messages that I'm going to need to re-evaluate a lot of what I do in public fora due to shifts in my spiritual life, and nothing will be left out from the process.

I miss writing for you all, and I'll let you know if I'm going to close shop or not. I prefer my "worlds" to end with bangs instead of whimpers, if not merely a clearly closed door.