Let's face it, I'm an a**hole. Back in the day when I was a "sold-out, the whole route", Bible-bangin', both barrels blazin', born again Christian, I had a real love for eschatology. But more importantly, I absolutely loved apologetics. For those not in the know, this is essentially the field of study that seeks to rationally and historically support the validity and truth claims of the Bible, and to a degree, the Christian perspective as a whole. Yeah, I was an ardent self-styled defender of the faith. Even now, although the religion and views may have changed, I remain very much the same.
But I have always had a knack of being especially critical of the group I belonged to first and foremost. It has always occurred to me that in terms of truth and ethics, we must always strive to hold ourselves to the highest standards if we are to be worthy of claiming our religious system, and more importantly, if we are to be ambassadors of it. In short, I've simply always felt that we must be not only able but eager to call BS in our own house, particularly before we consider any others. This is likely one of many reasons why I prefer to navigate the outer perimeter of the Wiccan community, because most within it tend to have strong reflexive reactions to any critical assessment of what we really are, rather than what we tell others and ourselves we are.
Wiccans have a lot of self-descriptors, most of them cribbed from a stack of neo-pagan books by modern day hippies and pseudo-intellectuals who seem to have opted out in getting a clue throughout life. Favorites tend to shift from time to time, with the currents of fashion occasionally sweeping us into new levels of understanding and communal "self-awareness." You know, all that clap-trap. But as an example of how we fancy ourselves, let's consider a few of these. Let's see...we Wiccans are: nature-reverencing, goddess-worshiping, life-affirming, ecologically aware, tolerance-promoting, non-judgmental, and balanced. For any who've ever known a Wiccan or neo-pagan, you'll agree that the last thing we are is balanced. We might hold it as an ideal, meaning a goal for which we strive (and we should), but in all honesty, we don't really take it all that seriously (which is sad). But aside of the balance issue, another item from that list is the notion of being a "life-affirming" religion. I've always found that this is a somewhat preposterous description for this group claiming it, for one glaring and simple reason: Wiccans are almost exclusively sold out to the radical political left, and absorb without question virtually each and every one if its dogmas, including an absolute endorsement of the pro-abortion agenda.
Before I proceed, let's clear up this "agenda" thing. Whenever you use it, liberals go nuts, as if you are a conspiracy flake or something. But let's get a couple of historical facts straight. The largest provider and champion of now-legalized abortions has long been Planned Parenthood (now there's a typically deceptive liberal name). What few know, however, is that Planned Parenthood was founded by Margaret Sanger, a eugenicist with typical liberal socialist sympathies and allegiances. Since then, Planned Parenthood (formerly the American Birth Control League) has expanded dramatically, its primary service having little to do with actually planning for parenthood, but avoiding it through abortion on demand. Any investigation into this business must conclude that it is first and foremost exactly that; an industry. Like all industries, it seeks to maximize profit by aggressive marketing of its product, which in this case is abortions. So when we use the term "abortion agenda", there is no reasonable dispute that one exists. Sanger had hers, and "Planned Parenthood" as an industry most certainly has its.
Moving on back to the point however, this abortion issue becomes a very curious position for Wiccans as a whole. You see, as in all things, many Wiccans tend to take the whole "life-affirming" things to extremes on occasion. A common Wiccan view is that "life" is not limited to concerning the species of homo sapiens, but that our reverence of it extends to the animal and mineral worlds as well. As a result, many refuse to eat meat or wear fur, and several strains of radical environmentalism find their origin in some form of gaian theory with regard to the sanctity of life (in this case, that of "Mother Earth").
So if we can be so fantastically broad in our definition of life that it extends to even the rocks and trees, how is it that we can reason the life of a child in the womb as dispensable? I mean, we make much of women, wombs, birth, motherhood, and all of that, right? But at the same time we seem to accept and almost even embrace the abortion rights of passage philosophy that feminists espouse. How do we square these two contradictory things?
Here's where I see the problem. We have a religious viewpoint that easily leads to imbalanced self-indulgence and narcissism. The most restraining ethical maxim we have (the Wiccan Rede) is both minimally restraining and abysmally non-instructive. Frankly, it is something of a joke in terms of supplying an ethical structure at all. A watered down and somewhat more pleasant version of Crowley's "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law", our version ("An' it harm none, do what thou wilt") does little to sort out the application of other moral philosophies implied in the Craft.
Now certainly it is a step up, or so most of us seem to think. And we do love to parse the words of that phrase, struggling to apply meaning to each and every syllable in an effort to make it more profound than is obvious. On the one hand we distance ourselves from Crowley, even with regards to the Rede, and then we pillage his notions of "will" to construct an apparently elaborate and somewhat hidden meaning. But as much as we banter back and forth about the "real" meanings of the Rede, the truth is that, by and large, the vast majority of Wiccans understand and apply it exactly as it is written...do your own thing, just don't hurt anyone. Inevitably this is the moral standard by which our community is defined. It also leaves the door wide open in terms of developing personal morality, and often this takes some form of a hedonistic wide berth for personal and communal standards.
So we have the latter half of the Rede, "do what thou wilt", which is applied as endorsement of anything and everything as long is it does not violate the first half, "An' it harm none...". But that first half supports and affirms the "life affirming" ethic by which, at least in part, we define ourselves and our religious path. These two, with regard to the practice of abortion, are completely at odds. If we are going to be generous in our interpretation of life, as we tend to do, we cannot reconcile doing what we wilt (having an abortion) with harming none.
We like to consider ourselves an educated bunch, perhaps even as intellectuals, or better yet, as "enlightened". Hell, we're hip on Starhawk's teachings, and we even flip on the discovery channel from time to time. Certainly we're a lot smarter than Joe Bible-banger, right? Actually, in my not so humble opinion, we tend to be superficially educated, and often gravitate towards empty philosophies that we've developed to sound smart. We also like to buy into them with little genuine reflection.
A choice needs be made here, if we are to have any integrity. We cannot simply ignore or ride the fence on this issue. And I speak specifically to those "save the whales", "save the trees", and "save the Earth" types when I say that you are devoid of credibility when you say nothing about "saving the unborn." Most of you folks have never even seen a whale (or whatever your pet animal cause is). And yet, because you cannot see a child in the womb, it bothers you not one bit to "terminate" him or her, having appeased your conscience by trivializing that life in referring to it with inhuman terms such as zygote, fetus, or as merely a mass of tissue. In this way you have cheapened life to avoid the truth of your own black-heartedness.
So what will it be? Are we guided by the self-indulgence of doing what we wilt, or are we serious about harming none and affirming life? To be honest, I could care less about the whales or the trees. They seem to be doing fine without me, despite all the hysteria. But I am concerned about the increasing antipathy we have towards the most dependant and helpless of all, the unborn. I am also, as stated earlier, very concerned with our intellectual integrity as Wiccans. Unless we are willing to define life as only pertaining to that which we can see (which would say even more about us), then we really need to examine our contradictory views.
How is it that one woman can bond with another, sharing in the news that she has recently become pregnant, fawning over the preciousness of that child and his or her impending arrival, yet should the latter select abortion, the former becomes completely numb in her spirit and supports the termination of "the fetus?" How can this contradictory, if not schizophrenic rationale be anything but emblematic of a complete disregard for the reality of life, the destruction of maternal beauty in women, and the deadening of spirit?
The answer is clear. If we are to be taken seriously, any cries for "tolerance" in this matter need be understood for what they are; thoughtlessly disingenuous appeals for continued antipathy and the maintenance of a hypocritical ethical standard. We have a great many contradictory things to reconcile if we are to advance as a respectable religion in this modern age. We need to stop listening to the aging hippies and the bitter feminists, and really start to evaluate our belief system, with some measure of integrity and critical analysis. We can start with this issue, because its a no-brainer. Either we are pro-life, or we are neither "life-affirming" nor harming none. Otherwise, we are nothing but dishonest hypocrites, trapped in our delusions of being good people because we follow a hollow set of ethics.
But then again, what do I know? Maybe the feminists, in all of their bitter ugliness, are right after all.
Halloween has now passed, and at least for this year, it was a rather
uneventful one. I had expected far more visits from little ghosts and goblins,
along with a host of other unrecognizable characters popular with this generation.
I think it was about a grand total of ten visitors for us, not nearly what I
would have expected. But then again, we shut off the lights earlier on to
discourage late visitors who would likely be the sort we would rather not
entertain. So our substantial investment in Cadbury for the evening was hardly
necessary, and now we will be supplementing our diet with chocolate for the foreseeable
importance were the activities later in the evening. I like the kids and the
trick-or-treating as much as the next guy, but for some of us the evening
carries a much larger significance. October 31 for the Neopagan crowd is arguably
the most important day of the year (with Beltane of equal stature, or at least running
a close second). The Wiccan New Year, Samhain is not only the traditional time
to honour the dead, it is also the time to release or cast out those things
from our lives that we find undesirable and to invoke those things into our
lives that we desire or need. It is also a time of reflection and planning.
the course of the evening I was ducking in and out of "the temple" to prepare for the evenings ritual,
making sure that every tool was in place and necessary consumables were on hand.
Truth be known, I was not entirely sure that I was up to the task, having
become quite irritable with other events of the day. I had seriously thought of
opting out, fairly sure that I would have difficulty preparing the appropriate
frame of mind when the time came. But then again, that is part of the path,
learning to shift your mind to preferable states according to the present
situation, and I am very glad that I didn’t let the grouchies get the better of
me...the ritual was fantastic, all things considered.
I have always
approached ritual with a sense that we are striving for excellence, despite our
human capacity for screwing up. It is an art that I see much like a symphony. You
have various players, each with their own particular contributions and striving
to play their particular part with perfection. But even with our best efforts,
from time to time someone is going to miss a key, and that is just part of our
human imperfection. And that is how the Samhain symphony went for us this
year...a few very minor hiccups (to which I contributed) , but a moving and
inspirational event nonetheless.
One of the
things I have come to love about Wicca is its (potential) understandings of
gender relationships. Under the right conditions, I have come to really love
the image (and reality) of women in leadership within the Circle. Not the
feminazi types with perpetual chips on their shoulders, which unfortunately
tend to be the trend within the larger left-wing nutjob Wiccan community, but
the increasingly rare women who manage to exude their femininity with natural
confidence. With the proper perspective (on the parts of both men and women), a
woman of this type can be the quintessential embodiment of the Goddess. On this
particular evening, it was my wife in her capacity as High Priestess who
magnificently filled this role, and it was a beautiful thing. No, really...absolutely
time was afforded to prepare, reacquainting with lines for each participant and
the sequence of events. More importantly, plenty of time was available to focus
and effect a minor shifting of consciousness. Even so, there are often nagging
concerns for “getting it right”, and this is normal. And in my post-rit
critique I fully acknowledged a couple points where I could have been better on
cue. But Rowan, despite any minor errors and overall, was simply brilliant.
Wiccan Circle there is a practice we refer to as “Drawing Down the Moon”. This
is essentially when the High Priestess draws into herself the spirit of the
feminine divine, or in other words, the Goddess. On this occasion, like many
with my better half, it was not at all necessary to draw down the moon, the
Goddess was already manifest in her, whether she saw it or not...and what a
glorious sight it was.
Her voice was
undeniably soft and feminine (a quality I love about her), and at the same time
both comfortable and commanding. The words seemed natural and effortless, as if
they came not from the wife I know. The voice was hers, but what came out was
almost as if they were words spoken by the collective feminine. I have not told
her this (I can’t have her getting all big-headed on me), but I felt privileged
to listen as she called the corners and commenced the rites. While things are “equal”
between the sexes in the Circle, I felt myself a subordinate by her sheer
competence, and I was more than willing to assume that seemingly appropriate role.
Even more, the
grace with which she led the ritual was something that I have difficulty
believing that any man could replicate. With her soft steps and the gentle sway
of her walk, it was almost water in motion. Completely unforced, the way that
she brought to bear the Wiccan virtue of beauty clarified the necessity of
women in the Circle. We men cannot provide these natural gifts; they are part of
the inherent power of women. They are a large part of the mysteries of women.
We can provide much of the “mind” of Wicca, but only women can provide the
beautiful face of it.
And this is one
of the wonderful things about Wicca to me. Through it I have not only learned
to better recognize the feminine divine, but to see it in the fairer sex. And
though I would never think it a natural or desirable thing to “feminize” men
any more than I think it good to encourage masculine women (a particularly
loathsome image to me), which seems to be a large part of popular thought these
days, there is something to be said for admiring the innate superiorities in a
naturally balanced woman. Call me old fashioned (or call me a primitive pig, it
matters not to me), but I am all in favour of men being men and women being
women, for all that might entail. That is the natural way of things, not what
we try to force in this era of retarded “enlightenment”.
But back to the
point. Despite being the mother of two and the wife of one (or perhaps, phrased
differently, the mother of three), as well as a corporate big-wig, with all of
the never ending and ungrateful demands that these roles may require, on top of
it all she was on this evening both the High Priestess and the Goddess, and she
pretty much nailed it. Quite a remarkable woman, this wife of mine.
She is the
reason that Wicca calls to me. She is the voice with which it speaks to me. And
though she, in her wonderfully honest humility, would never truly understand
why or how, it is she who validates my path. That is the beauty of the Craft
when properly realized. It is perfectly designed for men and women of balanced
and natural sensibilities, and shows us the path to knowing and experiencing the
divine, and to see it in one another.
made me proud that my wife is my High Priestess, and allowed me to again see
the Goddess in her. I could not have “plugged in” to the divine nearly as well
if it were not for her.
And if I am lucky, perhaps I can persuade her to make some
of those delicious tacos for dinner tonight.
To those who might stumble upon this page, I welcome you to this initial rant. I want to clarify first that this page may or may not be updated regularly, as time might allow.
The purpose for this page is twofold: To allow an opportunity for me to vent on various topics (like Obama-care, for instance), and to both attract like-minded readers and possibly give pause to others to consider what might to them be an alternative point of view.
The perspectives presented are from what some might consider an unlikely source, that of a politically conservative Wiccan. I, of course, maintain that these are not at all contradictory categories, but perfectly harmonious, despite the evidence suggested in the Wiccan community, which tends to be almost exclusively tailored for the nut-job left.
Like most, I began my early adulthood with a fairly liberal perspective, which was heavily reinforced in my college years. In contrast, I was also exposed to a generous amount of conservative Christian values in my youth. Therefore, my opinions (which I fully intend to merit their classification as "rants") come from a full understanding of the breadth of opinions on a multitude of issues.
To dispense with any possible suspense, many of my areas of irritation are those commonly held by conservatives in general. I tend to vote Republican (or Progressive Conservative (one hell of an oxymoron in today's common parlance) in Canada), and yes, I do think Fox News is by far more "fair and balanced" than the mainstream media that now promotes the fringe. This is not to say that I find the Republicans of today without fault, hence my identification with the Libertarian Party. Therefore, it can be fairly said that I am critical of both parties where deserved...it's just that the Democrats make it too damned easy. Unavoidably, a party that considers virtuous its various intellectual and moral bankruptcies is just asking to be despised.
Where my political views might find some broad acceptance, my religious views as a Wiccan place me in the minority. Those same traditional values further place me in a distinct category on the outside of what I call mainstream Wicca, if there can be such a thing. This is of course due to the overwhelmingly leftist socio-political worldviews chanted ad nauseam by the so-called "balanced" Wiccan community, a group-think position which I find entirely absurd.
So there we have it. This page is intended as a venue to rant about politics and religion, the two things we are taught not to talk about, and which likely need most to be discussed. The view is that of one who resides on both the side of the "traditional" mainstream and that of a "fringe" group.
In the end, these are merely the opinions of one person. I again welcome any who might visit, and with any luck I can offer to some a little food for thought.