boreal: (Moon)
[personal profile] boreal
I had a truly wonderful Mabon. I spent the day before, the day of, and the day after in a tiny one room cabin with no power, water, or electricity. It was just me, the boreal forest, a star-scattered sky, a nearly full harvest moon, Jupiter and Uranus shining brightly, the sound of the nearby stream, a light wind rustling the needles of the white spruce. Bright sunny days, surprisingly warm evenings, crisp mornings with a light frost. One of the evenings the moon was so bright that I easily navigated the trails without aid of a headlamp. Yes, a truly wonderful Mabon.

As I've been without Internet for a bit, I've not address the recent Pagan Friday Fives that were posted over at [community profile] the_thinking_pagan , so I'll do ten questions at once.

Last week's Pagan Friday Five
1) What does "desecration" mean to you?

This is an interesting and surprisingly difficult question to answer.  Perhaps this stems from my nature as a solitary, or perhaps I'm just being naïve, but the word means little to me in my own personal cosmology.  To desecrate something is to profane something considered sacred.  I suppose that I could view what "civilized" society is doing to our planet as desecration, but given that their actions are generally grounded in ignorance (rather than malice), I don't think the word appropriate.  I can't recall the last time I used the word desecrate.  There are actions which are unethical, or inappropriate, or heinous, but desecration is spiritually-loaded, and really only seems to apply, in my mind, if you have knowledge of another person's spiritual understanding and maliciously act in a way to violate something that person holds dear.  People around me do things which are counter to my personal ethics all the time, but their acts are not maliciously-motivated, nor do they stem from a desire to upset me.  Can one desecrate sacred ground?  Can one desecrate, say, a grave?  I suppose if someone destroyed a place to which I felt spiritually connected I would feel violated in some way, but the word desecration for some reason doesn't fit.  If someone tried to desecrate my grave, it wouldn't bother me in the slightest, as I'm just an organic thing whose component parts will eventually be absorbed and made into other living things as the cycle continues.  I suppose that if I think the word desecrate has any meaning for me, it means I'm giving power to others that they can hold over me, and I make a point of not doing that as a general rule.

2) If you could teach Christians one thing about your religion, what would it be?
That I respect them, and their beliefs, and when they act in a way that is truly Christian, there's no reason why we can't peacefully coexist.  Unfortunately, many Christians think their faith embraces selective love, selective generosity, power and control... not love and forgiveness and reciprocity of good or bad acts.

3) Do you like public pagan events like Pagan Pride Day?
A caveat: I've never attended a public Pagan ritual or Pride Day event.  There might be great beauty and synergy in being with others.  But given my eclecticism, I always find myself on the fringe, and thus don't feel I entirely relate/belong.  I do have an issue with people who equate public Paganism as an excuse to be flamboyant or sensationalist, and from what I've seen in the media, Pride Day events seem to attract these folks.  It's that kind of behavior that both keeps me in the closet and makes me feel guilty for being there: we need more "normal" folks to be publicly Pagan, but many of us are afraid to be lumped with the people who wear pointy hats or fairy wings in public.

4) What witchcraft- or magic-themed tv shows or movies do you like?
Well, I don't have television, and haven't in years, so I'm a bit out of the loop on that one.  There are movies I've enjoyed that have a magical theme to them, but not magic in the way that I think of it in the real world.  Magic is a tricky concept for me; I don't think of anything I do as magic, though I suspect other Pagans might view some of the things I do as magical.

5) Is the autumn equinox relevant to your religion?
Yes, very.  On some level, it has always held a prominent place in my own personal spirituality.  Much of what I currently believe I've believed my whole life, having only in recent years discovered that there are labels which might apply to my beliefs.  As such, I don't subscribe to much in the way of publicly-agreed upon Pagan dogma (and yes, there is such a thing), but there's one notable exception: I've come to very much embrace the neo-Pagan Eightfold Wheel of the Year.  Growing up I really only paid attention to the quarters, but I've enjoyed embracing the cross-quarters as well, and these are my special days.  Some I admit are more personally meaningful to me than others, but all of them are relevant to my religion.

...And the previous week's Pagan Friday Five
1) What secular thing do you find religious meaning in?
Everything and nothing.  My faith both gives birth to and is an extension of my morality and personal epistemology.  We all have this, I think, even those who think they have no faith.  Someone once told me that everyone has faith, that even people who say they have no faith have faith in something.  Everyone, for instance, has faith that the sun will rise tomorrow.

2) When does your religion matter most to you?
Probably in those moments when I realize I've temporarily lost sight of the basics: living with intention, being present in each moment.  When things are going as they should, when I'm being the person I want to be, then religion is, as I said in the previous question, present in both everything and nothing.  It just is.  But when I've slipped a little, when I've lost that balance (which happens in varying degrees with some frequency), then it's my religion that brings me back towards center, and is required in an amount which is in theory directly proportional to how far out of whack I've allowed things to become.

3) What role does divination play in your religious practices?
I use divination quite a bit, but I'm not sold on the idea that it's spiritual in nature, except in as much as spirituality pervades all aspects of life.  I don't believe that there are revelations to be found in divination that don't already exist within my mind.  What I do believe is that divination helps me to analyze issues from previously unconsidered points of view, and that looking at things from a new vantage point brings with it new understanding.

4) How do you meet other pagans in your area?
I pretty much don't, unless by 'my area' you include a several hundred mile radius (my region of the world is very sparsely populated).  I'm closeted in the village in which I live, but I'm a bit more Out when I travel to urban centers.  Most recently I attended a Pagan workshop on etiquette during public rituals that was held one of the large urban centers 'near' my home.  I was disappointed with the workshop because it turned into a Paganism 101 seminar (so I was fairly bored), but I did meet some other Pagans and had some nice conversations before and after.  I think in general I tend to dip into random moots or meetings when I travel, mingle there, and form individual bonds with people I find interesting.  The best connections I have with other Pagans have been formed in this way, some of them quite long lasting.

5) Are there pagan-friendly businesses in your area?
Again, it depends on how you define my area.  There are, within a five hundred mile radius of my home, several Pagan-friendly businesses.  But within, say, fifty miles?  No, not really.
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Boreal

October 2010

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