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Jan. 16th, 2007 @ 12:08 pm Is Life Nice?
Current Mood: awakeawake
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A blog I am a member of posted the following real-life example.
Personal example 2: I live in a colony of the Bible Belt (Philadelphia, certain sections of it including mine). I can walk five blocks in any direction and find three Baptist or similarly-fundamentalist churches. Their memberships are almost entirely African-American. I have neighbors, none of whom are Pagan, who fear for my safety, because I wear a t-shirt or sweat shirt that openly labels me a Pagan as I walk through my neighborhood. While it is true that I've never been assaulted near my house, it is also true that I get some very intense looks. Rhetorical: to whom should I complain about that?
I reacted with the following.

Your personal example 2 is a good one. Pagans are a very typically in the minority. I'll share from a shamanic point of view. These are my personal thoughts. They are also what I teach when asked.

I believe that there is no creed or dogma that is naturally superior to another. All are good, bad and ugly in some way. There are creeds and dogmas that are disharmonious to each other. An example would be the Pagan and the Fundamentalist. Now to the analogies... I would also state that neither water nor fire is naturally superior to each other. They are what they are. A minority of water and a majority of fire creates steam. A minority of fire and a majority of water puts out the fire. Does this mean that we should keep the two apart? There are times that we want to create steam and there are times that we want to put out fires. We keep the two elements separated during those times that neither action is desired.

The analogy can be extended to our actions. It is OK to wear a shirt proudly proclaiming your Pagan beliefs. To do so in the middle of a Fundamentalist service, while standing next to their minister, invites a disharmonious reaction. Most people don't do this. Wearing your shirt while walking down the street should be OK, but there are cases when it can be disharmonious to you. Should you not do it? You are welcome to, as long as you accept responsibility for the outcome. This sounds like one of the precepts of the Craft.

I know of a young lady that has a pentacle tattooed to her forehead. There is no law against this. It does, however, create many potential disharmonious situations for her. She probably realized this when she got the tat, and now she is accepting the outcome. Now, if she says, "oh why oh why are they all picking on me? Why do they stare at me? Why do they proselytize to me???", than she is in a state of non-accepting denial for her actions. People are reacting to her in the only ways that they know, and the young lady has invited their reactions upon her. Are they wrong or inappropriate? Perhaps, but something as public as a tattoo on the forehead will solicit SOME response.

It would be nice for everyone to respect everyone else. Nice isn’t how this world works. Some religious dogmas ask their members to convert nonbelievers. This may be rude, but it’s how their faith works. If you’re ready to combat these people with your own statements of belief, i.e. the wearing of a shirt, than expect a conflict of sorts. Own your decisions. Only invite the disharmony you are willing to embrace.

A last point about rights. A person could say, “But I have the right to live where I do, and dress as I want to”. The fire could say the same thing about “living” at the bottom of the waterfall, but that fire better have the strength of a volcanic flow if it is going to survive in that situation. The fire is better off moving somewhere else if it will survive. The pentacle tattooed person may have to move away from the “Bible Belt” if they want to not be hassled.

The Craft is about being wise and being responsible. Be wise about where you are. Be responsible for what you call upon yourself. You have the power to protect yourself and you have the power to project yourself. Decide which you wish to put an emphasis on when you are in conflict with other belief systems.
About this Entry
Shaman - Horse
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Date:January 17th, 2007 05:03 am (UTC)

I Grok

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posted here because I cannot post on nonfluffypagans community. this is is response to your analogy from Stranger In a Strange Land.

it was not just the violence of man, but since VMS was not raised by humans, he could not understand humans, the interaction between the three capuchin monkees served to awaken him to people behavior. that we laugh because we hurt.and laughing will stop the pain. to protect ourselves and fulfill the need to be part of a greater group or society, we seek others who feel like we do or are willing to consider modifying their belief structure to align with our own. IMO "organized" religion feeds this need, when you join you become special and a part of a society of like minded souls. through their rituals and structured presentations individuals can subsume themselves within the "whole". IMO, The ability to shift between Ordinary and non-ordinary reality, must serve to broaden acceptance and open us to possibilities. The attitude of immediate ridicule and dismissal of a belief that is not acceptable by those in the mainstream of modern paganism, does not make that belief untrue or make the believer delusional. Many Ceremonial Magicians may reject other kin, or talking to rocks or trees, but in their own reality, they interact with a very complex hierarchy of demonic beings. So I think as some point we all make a decision to "Reject your Reality and substitute it with my own"
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Date:January 17th, 2007 06:20 pm (UTC)
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I would simply add that in addition to having the power to protect oneself, I believe all people, regardless of their beliefs, have a responsibility to protect themselves. I make every effort to encircle myself with white light and protection before venturing out of the safety of my house. It works pretty well for me.