boreal: (Conflict)
[personal profile] boreal
How do you feel about the concept of pagan clergy?
Very mixed.  I guess the short answer is that Paganism is so diverse that if some denominations have clergy, that is their choice. 

The longer answer is that I have some prior religious baggage that makes me frown when I think of clergy, and the concept of Pagan clergy does sort of make me feel like we're trying to in some way emulate more mainstream faiths, which is an idea that does not sit well with me. But that need not necessarily effect me, I guess.  My faith is so eclectic that I don't see when a day will come where I could work with clergy (I'm also pretty independent, so that doesn't bother me).  There are, however, times when I'd like someone with whom I could speak on matters of faith, but I guess the point of that would be to explore ideas and quandaries, and I have other means of doing that... this journal, for instance, as well as prayer, meditation, divination.

What legal issues do you face for your religious practices?
None (technically) at present, though the number of people running for office in my country right now who are saying that it is a Christian nation or that we should be allowing (Christian) prayer and (Christian) creation theory in schools does have me on edge.

Do you have a regularly-scheduled meditation or prayer?
Well, frequent, but not regularly-scheduled.  I meditate or pray several times a week, sometimes more than once in a day... it just happens as appropriate.

What does Beltane/Samhain mean to you? Is it relevant to your religion?
This question is phrased this way because, while it's Samhain for many here in the US, it's Beltane in the southern hemisphere.  So I'm probably only meant or expected to address Samhain, but I think I'll speak to both, because they're both cross-quarter celebrations, and thus were not originally relevant to me, though I've now come to embrace them both.

The concept of Beltane used to scare me.  It's a fertility celebration for most, and while the focus could merely be on the world coming into bloom around you (for the Northern hemisphere, the holiday is at the start of May), for a lot of Pagans it seems to also focus on personal fertility.  I'm childfree by choice (therefore marginalized in some respects within Paganism due to the widely-embraced concept of Mother/Maiden/Crone), so Beltane used to really bother me.  Now I instead look upon it as fertility for the earth around me, and fertility for my personal creativity and projects.

Samhain is something I'm kind of mixed on as well.  Most Pagans seem to adore Samhain.  For me it's come to be the weightiest of the sabbats, generally not a happy one.  Moving, meaningful, but not generally pleasant.  I wrestle with why that is.  Is it that I'm selfish, wanting those I've lost to still be here?  Is it that I'm unable to let things go?  Why can I not celebrate their lives without sadness?  Why can I not forgive myself for things left unsaid or undone with those who've died?  (Just typing those last few sentences made my eyes water.)

And then there's the whole Samhain/Halloween mishmash issue, what Jason Pitzl-Waters calls the Silly Season.  It's a month where the press loves to do all these Cutting Edge stories on Wicca and witchcraft.  While a lot of this coverage seems to get better (i.e. slightly less sensationalized) every year, and while I'm not a Wiccan or identify as a witch, a lot of it focuses on Paganism in general and there's this big ol' smack of "look at those people who are different and not at all like the rest of us" and... yeah, I can't wait for that time to pass.

I finally just realized this week that the actual date of the cross-quarter isn't on Halloween anyway.  If you figure the cross-quarters by interpolating them as the midway points between the Solstices and Equinoxes (as this pretty cool site does), then Samhain shakes out to be a week after Halloween.  I think that beginning this year I plan to celebrate it thus.  This ties the cross-quarters to the actual movement of the planet better, and lets me have some peace and quiet in my head when I honor that day, rather than having all the news stories and parties and secular stuff floating around in my skull, competing with it all.  That'll let me enjoy Halloween as a secular holiday a bit better, I think, which would be nice. 

I didn't consciously realize until I wrote all this that there are some interesting intersectionality issues at play for me.  The idea that my choice to be childfree is widely (though perhaps unintentionally) marginalized within my own faith, or that I'm in one of those groups that people like to stare at because Those People are different.  I mean, I did consciously realize, but this post highlighted it in a new way for me.  I'll give some more thought to the mother/maiden/crone thing, because it's probably a post all in itself.

What is your favorite Pagan-flavored piece of fiction?
I'm not sure I have one, per se.  I have quite a few books in my library along these lines that are on my To Read list, though, so maybe I'll have an answer for this at some point on down the line.  Anyone reading this have any recommendations?

Got any nifty plans for the holiday weekend? (If it's not your holiday, are you borrowing it for party purposes?)
As stated above, next weekend will be my Samhain weekend.  This weekend I do have some fun stuff planned, actually.  There's a murder mystery party I'm attending this evening (never done one of those before, sort of nervous but excited) and then every Halloween I tend to watch the same ghost movie, so I'll do that tomorrow night.

Does "sacred geometry" play a part in your religion?
Nope.  I have a book on this, though, that I haven't read.  I don't know much about it.  I bought the book because I like the author's writing style and have other books by him.  I should probably get around to checking that out.

Does the color black have any special meaning to your religion?
No, not more than any other color.  The first thing that comes to mind when you ask me about the color black and my faith is a mental image of dark, richly organic soil.

What kind of children's games does your religion have, or could have?
Nothing consciously Pagan.  It's not my place to impose a faith upon my children.  (I said above that I'm childfree by choice, but I could see a day on down the road where I might adopt.)  That said, all outdoor play exposes children to the Divine.

If you were offered a fifteen-second unedited soundbite to explain your religion on TV, what would you say?
The Divine is in everything and everyone, including you and I, and we are all connected through that to the rest of the planet and the universe.  It is ecology on the largest of scales.
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