kokopelle: Black Cat (cat black)
"The Veil" is a poem about the ending of October, a time of year that some believe mark a time to both honor and communicate with the dead.


The Veil

The veil had parted in the night
as day drew close while spirits walked
seeking their people on this side
the wheel has turned round the year
marking fall to winter's steps
on this stoop we now reside

what moves beyond our sight?
set the plate for company
to serve those we once knew
The chill mists are portal's door
look to the shapes that move beyond
sight of the ones that came before

their wisdom is ours to ask
though dire commands will not work
on those who know the truth beyond
no fear of death chills their heart
nor angst of passing to the grave
for in that dark they call it home

instead ask with reverence shown
for the visit will be short
before the clock calls the dawn
Samhain comes once a year
the worlds so close in space
may the rest bless your home.

2016, Sean Green. All Rights Reserved, 20161101.
kokopelle: Frank n Furter (frank_n_furter)
The poem “Wildwoods” was inspired by my Tumblr associate “evergreenwords”. She has a lovely cover picture of sunset seen through trees. The poem is dedicated to my friends who have danced in the wildwoods.


Wildwoods

The forest deep is my home,
where others visit and I reside.
This arrangement suits me fine
as I live in the world yet outside.

The trees are all outsiders see
ranks upon rank of greenery.
Camouflage is nature's way
when expectations deny insight.

The wildwoods are not for all,
the paths are not expected.
Brambles to some are instead
long time friends to be embraced.

Inside my enclosed groves
with like minds I dance at night.
The fires are lit, drums are played
celebrating as we pray.

You may find your way here,
I welcome company in the copse.
You'll not be lost, instead found,
deep in the forest now your home.

© 2016, Sean Green. All Rights Reserved, 20160409.
kokopelle: Black Cat (cat black)
February 1st is the Imbolc, a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of spring. It was originally a pagan festival associated with the goddess Brigid, patroness of poetry. The poem “Imbolc Request” is an invocation to Brigid for the qualities attributed to this benefactor of poets.


Imbolc Request
Bonus Poem for Day 032 - 20150202

Brigid, patroness of poetry,
spin my words today,
on your day of feast.
Let them be my alter
at this halfway place between
coming even light and darkness deep.

Brigid guide my words,
so they may be the seeds
of future works yet to be.
Mark them with crosses,
protect me from harm,
distract me from death's long arm.

May my words be a candle
to light another one's sun.
Words to heal, tidings of change.
Plumb the wells of my words,
deep cisterns of my soul,
where your light finds its way.

Blow the journeyman's pipe,
show way to my poetic phrase
through my soul's dark journey.
Comfort me on travels long
for there are seeds to distribute,
and there are poems to write.

© 2015. Sean Green. All Rights Reserved.
kokopelle: (Shake - That's What it Does)
Here are some topics that I spoke about in 2007!  Good stuff to think about!

There is a pagan meet-greet-and talk group in Columbia SC (www.paganroundtable.org). Below is a list of topics that will be covered in future meetings. I am really impressed by the depth of these, and I am posting them here so I can come back for review them. Perhaps others would be touched by these questions too!

* The Rede & the Threefold Law - Is there more to Pagan ethics?
* Who are the gods? Why should they matter:
* The Broom Closet: Safety or suffocation?
* Queer spirituality, walking between the worlds
* Priesthood & ministry - steps on the path to service
* Building the new Pagan community
* Magick - the joys, dangers and ethics of using it
* A good life, a good death - preparing for Samhain
* Minority religion on the world stage - why Pagans matter to everyone else
* Spring, rebirth and the god reborn
* Quantum craft in a Newtonian world
* What does it mean to be "earth-centered"?

kokopelle: Frank n Furter (frank_n_furter)
Maybe I'm getting older and more conservative. Naw, but this blog entry has that flavor in its own rambling kind of way. My apologies!

Some background on me first. I am a pagan going back a bit. I attended my share of pagan festivals / gatherings where I sold used books and very much enjoyed myself. I on the shamanistic path and my lovely mate is more classically pagan. I've seen and heard a lot about how sexuality plays out in the pagan landscape, and I have to say that I wonder sometimes.

I recently read a blog that started with the paragraph:

Witches (along with many other denominations of Paganism) view sex as sacred. The Charge of the Goddess says that all acts of love and pleasure are rituals of the Goddess, and not only do I believe that to be true, it's one of the things that drew me to this religion. In many ways, we're more open about sex (some of us say that we're more "sex positive") than the members of many/most other religions.

Love and pleasure, also known as sex, is a really really complicated thing. Sex means so many things to so many people. Some see sex as a holy relic, only brought out on the sacred holidays. Others see sex as a playground. Others see sex as an avenue to full realization of life. Many are just horny and like to get it when they can. This stew of motivations seems far to complex for a statement “all acts of love and pleasure are rituals of the Goddess”.

My normally open attitude towards sex has issues with the statement I shared earlier: “all acts of love and pleasure are rituals of the Goddess”. Why? It is with a heavy heart that I look back at the things I am aware of first and second hand. This spiritual expression of “love and pleasure” is fraught with peril for most involved. My pessimistic attitude about pagan attitudes towards sex can be traced back to my feeling that sexuality is complicated, people are fallible, and damn just horny. These three factors can combine in horrible ways when religious authority meets sexual desire.

The result of authority + sexual desire is the transformation of seduction into coercion. The mutual choice of two becomes the unwanted harassment of one. In the background of this travesty of “spiritual sex” is the drum beat that everything is OK. It is a dangerous combination. The positive message of “Sex positive” is replaced with sex demanded by authority, with the supposed support of higher spiritual powers.

If I'm pagan, why don't I buy into the “everything goes, no matter the means or outcome, because the spiritual is served? I'm not a prude. I bend toward the kinky side, with a dose of realizing that sex, in all its forms, is a beneficial attractor between us human types.  I very much admire the beauty of the human body. I am enraptured by beauty and appreciate others doing so as well. The place where I deviate is that my spiritual mantra would be something like “all my relations”. This sentiment carries the demand for respectfulness, and when necessary, wariness. I may choose to indulge in many things, but I do it with respect for myself and the one or more other participants.

Are all pagans self-serving sexual predators because it is their spiritual mandate? Of course not! Most don't have the authority to pull the power trips required to coerce the unwilling. Most are decent horny adults with liberated attitudes towards sexuality. The actual percentage of predators is very small, but the warning I pass onto the reader is that these sexual predators are hidden behind positional power and a convenient spiritual mandate. Here are some warning signs (borrowed and modified from another blog) for the pagans you want to avoid:

•  Does their advance scare or alarm you?
•  Have you made clear made it clear to them that you are uninterested in their advances, and they still persist?
•  Is their "spiritual message" just a uninvited assessment on your attractiveness/body/genitals?
•  Does the context of this situation (spiritual truth, sacred ritual) make a direct sexual advance offensive or inappropriate?
•  Are they just being a bit of a dick?

A yes to any of these should ring the alarm bells. All nos could mean that you want to play with the authority figure in naughty ways. Go for it! Remember respect for yourself, those you play with, and whatever spiritual path you may follow.
kokopelle: Black Cat (cat black)
Faithful Word Baptist Church is once again in the news.  The pastor ordered his female congregational members to not speak during services.  He quoted quoting 1 Timothy 2:11, “[l]et the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”  My $.02 is that this is an example of the powerful of small tribes.

Small tribes can ask a lot of their members.  Things can be said, actions can be committed, and the outside world is none the wiser.  Pastor Anderson is being called out for "controlling" his flock.  Some people can't understand why the members of the congregation would go along with Anderson's request.  Well, it happens.   Some people called out Christians for putting up with the predicts of their leaders.  I'm here to say that Christians are not the only ones impacted by small tribes.

Pagans feel it too.  Pagan groups tend to be small and insular .  They look to themselves for comfort and guidance.  This is a trait shared by Christian groups like Faithful Word Baptist Church.  The outcome can be the same.  I've heard the stories, some from my very own lovely wife, of the power and influence leaders of small pagan groups.  Does this make them bad, or Anderson bad?  Nah... just human.  The leaders provide guidance and the tribe returns allegiance.  The insular size keeps prying eyes away.  Incredible things can happen. Terrible things can happen. 

My continued $.02 is that small groups should be approached with caution, embraced for what they can provide, and walked away when things get weird.  Embrace the light, retreat from the dark.

kokopelle: Horse Totem (Cat AntiGravity Diagram)
It amazes me how the placement of things can determine perception.

Pagans have pledged to perform "rain magic" to wash away a cartoon character painted next to their famous fertility symbol - the Cerne Abbas giant.

I've seen the same picture of Homer holding a donut at my local movie theater. No big deal. He then becomes an issue when in conjunction with another object.

A wrinkle this racy advertising exposes is the concept of sacred objects/space. There are people upset that the fertility symbol is being insulted by the approximation of Homer. This was not the intention of the advertising firm who arranged for Homer to be placed such. Their intention was to whip up publicity, and to this end the pagans are cooperating.

The relative sacredness of the Cerne Abbas giant is questionable. Allow me to explain. The age, origin or original purpose of the giant are not known. This does not stop the connections being made at a very emotional level. Wishful attributes have been ascribed to the giant. Are attributes real and to whom? How does spiritual desire impact perceived holiness? I find the giant to be indicative of the modern neopagan traditions - very new in the historical scheme of things, but incredibly ancient in their soul. This is a dichotomy that is still looking for balance.
kokopelle: Horse Totem (Sinfest - Sextron Needs Nerds)
A sharing person asked the following on a LJ group:

I can think of a few potential reasons: that the Pagan community is more welcoming of such interests and/or orientations than general society; that as part of examining one's life and one's self, Pagans are more inclined to examine their sexual/relationship life and be open to alternatives; that some common Pagan practices such as ritual nudity etc already move into the realm of what society may consider deviation from sexual norms, this making further explorations more acceptable to practitioners; correlations with other communities more keen to explore alternative sexualities, such as hippies and geeks (although this still doesn't adequately explain why);or that magic-workers are often interested in power and its relation to the self, and may choose the bedroom as a place to explicitly explore this
I answered:

Read more... )
kokopelle: (Monty Python - Spanish Inquisition)
My wise friend [livejournal.com profile] chimerae said:
Remember that in systems practice, you cannot solve systems problems from within the system. You can't address systems problems from outside the system. To address and correct systems problems requires episodic engagement and the attendant alienation.

You know what though? It means that OUTSIDE the system there is peership available, that it's impossible to experience while committed as a system component.
By some weird coincidence of the universe (he tries to convince himself!) I was thinking of a similar topic. Allow me to share. I will purposely leave out names and details as the innocent are merely symbols of a larger concept. As always, there is a wag factor here.

Read more... )
kokopelle: Horse Totem (Sinfest - Cafe 42)
On a group journal the following questions were asked…
What I am seeking are personal perspectives/answers to the question, "Why do you consider yourself pagan? What is it about paganism that speaks to you? Why "pagan"?
These questions got me thinking about how people use words to describe their spiritual paths. In their best moments words have a practical utility for defining a group consensus of reality. At their worst moments words divide people’s views of reality. The muddled mean of the two has words just making a confused mess of reality. There are several reasons this happens. Some words unfortunately lend themselves to divided or confused realities. Not all words are created equally for the use in spiritual discussions.

Read more... )
kokopelle: Horse Totem (Sinfest - Do You Practice Witchcraft)
What is the role of the pagan community? This was a question asked on one of the LJ groups I belong to. It’s an interesting question, one that I’ve been exploring during the past half year. I’ll give a big answer here, using Dictionary.com to lay the groundwork for definitions...

Noun. Community:
1. a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.
2. a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually prec. by the): the business community; the community of scholars.

Ok... a community shares common characteristics and is perceived or perceiving itself as distinct from the larger society. Now for the pagan part.

Noun. Pagan:

1. one of a people or community observing a polytheistic religion, as the ancient Romans and Greeks.
2. a person who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim.
3. an irreligious or hedonistic person.

This covers the gamut of possibilities. So many possibilities. Personally, I've hung with spiritual, the irreligious and the hedonistic. They’ve all been pagan to some degree. The largest "umbrella" of common characteristics and distinction is that of pagans are not being Christian, Jew or Muslim. From there, the global pagan community immediately splinters into smaller pagan communities. It is in these smaller communities that the party pagans, the neo-witchcraft pagans, the shamanic pagans, the druidic pagans, the norse pagans, the strega pagans, the furry pagans, the otherkin pagans, the BTW pagans, the goth pagans, the discordant pagans, the satanic pagans, and many many more, hang out. The smaller communities have even more specific communities and so on.

So what is the role of the "pagan community"? The biggest umbrella of paganism will give you shelter and comfort from the Abrahamic religions, but that's about it. In the larger pagan community you'll be prosecuted there if you're different enough. The true refuge for the individual pagan is in the smaller tribes within the omnibus "pagan community". What does these niches of paganism give a person? You'll find companionship, validation, and a place to be.
kokopelle: (Sinfest - Cat Attack)
I am a pirate pagan! Yarrgh! Fear my cleavage!

Model Pagan
QuizHeaven.com
You are the quintessential Pagan. You wear cool clothes, you accept new ideas, and you are open to change. You know who the ATC is, and you really dig Doreen Valiente. Knowledge will bring you closer to your goal.
Take this quiz at QuizHeaven.com



*EDITED*

While I love women much, I didn't want to impersonate one. Since I wasn't supplied with a male picture, I found my own! BEHOLD THE MALE MODEL PAGAN...


Male Model Pagan
Male Model
You are the Male Model Pagan. Women want you and men want to be you. You're a genius who is also quite well endowed in other areas. As the rock star of the pagan world, you know it just doesn’t get any better than you!



I think that's the correct translation...
kokopelle: (Cat Chair)
I've been speaking to one of original "mockers" to my blog entry on the NFP group blog. Once we got past the knee-jerk reaction to the otherkin thing, I've learned that one charter of the NFP group is to support inquiries about pagan beliefs. They do this very well. As a result, the most vocal people to my blog entry are coming from a primary interest in the scholarship and anthropological roots of paganism.

This is the tribe that exists in NFP. IMO, the structure of the tribe does not easily support tangential topics that our outside of their charter. This much is said in the group's mission statement. This is their call because this is their tribe. If you don't agree than find the door, find another tribe, or even create your own. Such is life.

There were some purely snarky answers, but heck, you get a few a-holes in every crowd. Those who fit that description probably also revel in their behavior. So be it.

The rare snarky comment aside, I have to say that there were some really good responses in this mix. I wanted to know about where the boundaries of pagan reality were. The responders have certainly presented a complete cross section of opinions. As this is a fact based group, the responses tended toward the "prove it before I acknowledge the possibility" direction. I find this to be restrictive in nature, but that's my issue and opinion. I appreciate everyone taking the time to put in their $.02.

What I've learned from this is that my own beliefs can't be put in a box and labeled "scientific" and "anthropological". I've had enough experience to question the black-n-white lines in life. These experiences have occured in the new-age, pagan, shaman and holistic communities. None of these groups has a monopoly on the truth. All of these groups do have a right to set boundaries and beliefs, and that's what I saw in response to my original question. So mote it be!
kokopelle: Horse Totem (Carl)
Some days my hopeful interior pokes through my cynical exterior. I say "people are human" even while I hope they can evolve past a level of eye scratching and groin kicking. The latter was marginally confirmed in response my blog posting on nonfluffypagans.

Here's where I see the disconnect between the "could-be" and "is"” of human nature. I have this dream that minorities learn something about compassion and understanding because they are a minority. Pagans are a much abused spiritual minority. We are told that we are either in league or duped by Satan. We are told that we're both damned and dangerous. Is anything learned from this? Perhaps. Is the mindset of the minority different from the mindset of the majority? I don't think so. Allow me to explain. My posting on nonfluffypagans was about having respect/tolerance for those who believe differently from you. I dangled the target of otherkins as part of the message. Well, I might have as well been dangling raw meat in front of ravenous dogs. Immediately the hue of "they're crazy", "they're living in anime" and "it's a mental illness" (paraphrasing!!!) was raised by some people. Others talked about past bad experiences with otherkin claimers. The more negative tone was, "they don't deserve my respect/consideration". Other people offered a conciliatory message, but this response were marginalized. The vocal majority voiced an emotional charged detracting reaction. The number of responses far outnumbered the typical number of responses for a blog.

What's up with this? Here's my theory. Upon reflection I realized that minorities have their own prejudices and "sub-minorities" open to ridicule. There seems to be the human desire to have somebody not good enough to fully belong even to the minority. Some examples are blacks who are not black enough and gays who are not gay enough. Light-colored blacks and bi-sexuals become the persecuted minorities within a minority. The stories I've heard from the targets of these communities' abuse equal or top the actions of the greater society to these minorities.

In my heart I hoped that Pagans were different. I guess I thought, "this is a spiritual path, there has to be some wisdom gained from being pagan". The resulting comments from my blog entry were most 'unspiritual', disheartening, and very very human. So mote it be. Time to put that cynical exterior back on display!
kokopelle: Horse Totem (Cat AntiGravity)
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.

Read more... )

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.
kokopelle: (Shake - That's What it Does)
X-posted from a pagancentric LJ group... the original question was about the sourcing of medieval texts on paganism. The majority (all?) of the texts referenced were written by Christian authorities. The incredible irony of this struck me. I replied with the following.
I am reminded that history is written by the victors. While the Christian slant is of historical interest, it is slanted to a point that I would wonder about it's true relevancy. As the mate and friend of modern day witches, I know their behavior has little resemblance to the remarks of their modern day detractors.

The History Channel recently aired the show, "Hell: The Devil's Domain". The show touched on the 1980s outcry against Satanic cults mind washing members and sacrificing all manner of animals/people. The topic was fuel for the fire of those who believed that Satan was alive and well in the world. Much of the "testimony" was accredited to "recovered memories" of adults or the testimony of children. Subsequent investigations by the likes of the FBI could find no organized cults. Wikipedia has a good article on this phenomenon.

This only happened a handful of decades ago. While it was largely disproved in our lifetimes, who is to say that future generations won't pick up the books written about the Satanic cult abuse and believe them to be fact? And, consider that those who have a vested interest in Satanic cults being around probably continue to talk and write about the phenomenon even though much of their source material is no longer universally supported.



Reading this again makes me wonder how much of "history" is true. Now, the real question is, what is true history? It strikes me that most of historical writings border on fiction. The challenge with writing "history" is that any author has a bias. The result of their writings will reflect their view of the world. The sincere Christian will write that Pagans are of the Devil. The sincere Pagan will completely disagree. Both are accurate from their own perspective. Another thing to consider is that a historical book must be published. Those in the control of the machineries of publication must approve the book. Pressure is applied to the author to modify their bias to that of the publisher. Does this happen in the writing of history texts? Of course. Consider that history textbooks must be approved by school boards with their own beliefs and agendas. With these pressures, there are modern examples of history textbooks that approach fictional status by the exclusion or coloring of historical interpretation. Did the medieval authors have any more freedom in their publications? History is truly written by the victors, or as a fellow LJ person punned, the vicars.

More bad-news, good-news about human nature for my soul. Seek your own histories. Validate your own realities. Don't rely on others to serve your harmonious interests.

$.02 (clink)

Honesty

Oct. 26th, 2006 09:01 am
kokopelle: Horse Totem (Supreme)
Honesty is a big part of the pagan life. "What happens in circle, stays in circle" is a mantra for many covens. Indeed, a commitment to a coven requires a large amount of fidelity - faithfulness to obligations, duties, or observances.

In a coven, or any serious teaching situation, both student and teacher must be honest to the obligations of the teaching contract. In this context, honesty takes on the flavors of integrity and devotion. The student must put aside their prior beliefs and embrace, with honest fervor, the instruction of the teacher. Honesty also has a shadow side as it pursues integrity and devotion. The shadow is one of dogmatism. "Being honest to one's beliefs" can lead to a dogmatic embrace of those beliefs and the rejection of others' beliefs.

These expressions of honesty and fidelity are contrasted with the openness of paganism. "Do what you will, so long as it harms NONE" is another craft mantra. Can honesty exist in a place of people doing what they want? What is the function of honesty when differences of opinion ('doing what you will') occur?

How important is honesty to you in your path? Does your path ask people to embrace honesty more than the 'norm'? Is there diversity in your life that asks you to put aside personal honesty and instead embrace non-dogmatic acceptance of contrary beliefs? Your opinions please!
kokopelle: Horse Totem (Default)
Last year I was on a MySpace group visited by a person who sought to convert the pagan heathens dwelling there. The person posted the following questions to challenge our spiritual outlooks, and perhaps, to shake us from our beliefs. In fairness, these questions were intended to be "zingers" that pointed out the errors of our ways. One person's zinger is another person's "huh?". In the spirit of outreach, I took it as an opportunity to explore my beliefs. I am sharing the questions and answers here as a revelation of my own spiritual path.

Read more... )
kokopelle: Horse Totem (Default)
This Saturday (09/16) was Pagan Pride day here in Greenville. I was under the weather and did not attend. In recognition of the day I would like to share a past (2003 to 2004?) article that speaks to the sacred nature of our Earth Mother.

(begin article!)

Below are two e-mails from 2002. I was responding to questions by Apophis (SG1?) regarding Mother Goddess and the nurture/destruction balance of nature.

[EMAIL #1]

Read more... )

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