Pagan 101, The Way of the Witch...

Or how to survive a gathering of Pagans from so many different paths
its like a bubbling cauldron just to hear it all...

This trite saying 101 ... Anything ... has been used to death..
But it's apt. here's why

We all start out with something easily recognizable
Whenever we want to teach something new.

But why am I using this old, worn out phrase 101 to say it
Can't we think of something new ?

Well yes, we could, but would anybody understand it
when they saw it in print ? Yeah we are all bored to tears with it,
and so is every college professor... but it works...

Everybody " knows" what you mean when you say it
That it is an introduction

So why ? Am I belaboring the obvious?

At one time, everybody " knew" the Way,
Everybody " knew" the path even if they didn't follow it.

Everybody " knew " where to get the information
if they didn't know all they wanted to know.

There was no need to introduce anybody to the path...
The path was the path...

However, through Illiteracy,
Poor record keeping,
deliberate suppression
and downright destruction...
A great deal of that is lost to us.

If we recover even a 10th of what our forebears knew,
we can pat ourselves on the back in earnest. It will not be my attempt
to recount the history of our people here ,
there are many good textbooks out there already
that can give you that information

So.. what are we gonna talk about you ask?

How to behave as a 'proper' pagan in the here and now....!
Modern issues, and possible solutions to problems, that as a group we have

Both from within the group and without.

We all "Know" what they are
But how to resolve the repeated questions
By neophyte and Elder alike
On what makes for 'proper' behavior in our current day world?

And even more importantly...
..what does Not make for proper behavior
...IMHO... :)

Be prepared for lots of Philosophy
and a few very blunt words..

If you are offended by mild profanity stop here

If this is information you would like to hear.. ? Read on...
If this is not what you thought. Then Hail and Farewell and
Thanks for stopping by.............

However, if I have peaked your interest....
Then read on Please

The Desiderata was written in 1927 and has been a work of inspiration
since it was first put to paper.

And it makes a perfect vehicle to discuss
just about any issue a modern day Pagan might face.

See it all put back together at the end
of our little lessons in life as a modern Pagan

:Please note:
I will use he and or she interchangeably gender bias is intended..

This missive might make a few people angry

And for that I am sorry
That they might feel that way,
But I make no apology for my opinion.

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace
there may be in silence. "

Now what does this mean? Walk softly and carry a big stick? :)

It could mean that, but I like to think
what it means for modern Pagans is this.

We have all seen the rush to join the "new" religion,
we are, bar none, the fastest growing religion in the world to date.

As the world becomes disillusioned with the practices of many
of the current faiths they are turning to the " old ways".

So the noise and haste is a thundering herd of folk
heading back to the grove and glen
to re-introduce themselves to the God and the Goddess.

The noise is the hew and cry of mono-theists
( read anyone brought up to believe that
there is only ONE way to worship the divine of any faith or creed ... )

Coming to understand that there is no One God...
that all Gods are one God/Goddess.

This is a lot to ask...............
We have all been told since childhood
That there is only one way..
Which way was the "right" way
Depended on who you were asking.

The first thing new people ask is
"which of the old Gods do I worship and how ?"

And boy are most new people pissed off when told
that it don't work like that, that no one is going to tell them
which Gods to favor over any other.They might offer them
a trial in their group or coven to see if they suit. Or hand them a book
or two on "their" chosen path, but tell them who to go with .. NO

You don't get those answers.. of which one do I follow and how.... ?

( I remember this one happening to me.. and boy was I pissed about it... )

Bunch of tight-lipped piss ants telling me
that I had to figure it out for myself.. REALLY !

And I was wrong to be angry,
they we doing just as they should, as in the days of old,
each person must come to the understanding
of the path to the divine themselves..
hence the peace of silence,
theirs for not " giving you the answers"
and your own peaceful soul......

For only in the quiet of your soul ...... can you understand

Just like in school.
.. you read the text..
The teacher talks about the text..
But real understanding happens
When the light bulb goes off in your head and you go

A Ha! I get it.! I really get it ! This profound mystery is out in plain sight,
but is forever a will of the wisp to those who don't understand.

The Charge of the Goddess puts it this way:

"And you who seek to know Me, know that your seeking and yearning will avail you naught,
unless you know the Mystery:
for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself,
you will never find it without. For behold,
I have been with you from the Beginning,
and I am that which is attained at the End of desire."

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant, they too have their story.

Here comes a whole passel of tricky issues all in one bag.
The first, be on good terms, without surrender. What of that?

What? Just get along with people ?
Could be , if it weren't for that surrender bit.

In our modern day world we are challenged from within
And without, about the way
We follow the path to the divine.

The Judeao/Christians would have us change our faith to theirs,
And many of our pagan sisters and brothers
would have us worship in "their" path.

This is all about a simple tenet that is hard to maintain...

For anybody... For anything.. its called integrity..
and in our current day world only one in five could tell you
what the word really means.

If your right, your right, for you..
So know your own " path" and do not surrender it
Just because another challenges it..
You worked long and hard to get here.

But... A big on good terms. It's called ,
yeah but you may not like some people

Especially those who are trying to tell you
that you are full of it for what you have worked out
for yourself and are at peace with.

But for the sake of harmony, yours and theirs
you have to give in and get along


As far as possible it says
The cut off line is where you would have to give up
who you are and the truth you possess, to get along.

No one has the right to ask that of you.. !

And not only that....
Now that you have this hard won " truth" you are expected to speak it

NOT shouted from the pulpit in sermon,
or argued in counsel at your local Pagan community meeting
at the top of your lungs on what rite to use at this years Fall Fest.

But quietly and clearly
Truth is truth and does not need embellishment
or anyone's permission to be.

And last but not least, listen to the Dull and Ignorant
Yeah right..!

First thought is what could some dim glow have to say
that would be of any importance ?

Only a Vain person would think that, the dullest person on the planet
can know the right thing to say at least once !

" Even arch fiends and fools can be messengers of the divine "

The only "stupid" person is the fool who is so full of himself
that he will not listen to the least of the mother's children.

They have led a life that you have not led ,
and therefore know things you don't know.

A wise woman learns to be still and listen.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

That first one seems pretty self explanatory, or is it ?

We have all been at gatherings where
there's someone who is so full of their own importance
that they come to the festival just to find someone to berate or browbeat.

Which are a bummer for all seasons.

So why doesn't somebody tell her to pack it up and get out ?

Why not indeed.. Like most groups that are not in the "mainstream"
we tend to put up with arrant members just because they are members..

We don't want to lose potential companionship
of like minded by being too picky..
So we endure..

WE should NOT... differences yes...
Deliberate disruption ..Hell No..

We wouldn't put up with such behavior at a meeting at the office...!

Why are we allowing it to go on souring our celebrations of faith,
which are supposed to be acts of JOY

And now no one is in the right frame of mind
to celebrate the rites as they should be

We are timid as a group as we have been taught to be.

Where we are told Not to Rock the Boat


Shun the fool and be done with it !
Nice.. passive but gets the point across that such behavior will not be tolerated,
no one has the right to come to circle and make everybody miserable

Where is the Joy of the spirit then?
Some of them will get the point and lead a more reasonable life..
and some won't.

Which leads into the next problem seen in the moots and meets

The name droppers who have more titles and degrees
than a whole bus load of College professors..

And whip out that yardstick of titles to measure up
every new person they come in contact with

Yes people should be proud of their accomplishments,
but we all know those persons who are
"Sister Bertha, better than you "
Who can infest any religious gathering of any faith

They sound real cool to the newbies
who are impressed with such things

But to the Elders who know better,
they are no more than Vain.

And will become the greatest danger to others ,
as they will become bitter as time goes by

And bitter persons will poison any chance they,
or anyone else, has of Joy.

In any group there will be Elders and newbies,
Teachers and students, the Lookie lous and hangers on,
to compare yourself to Any is a waste of time ..yours and theirs

Enjoy your accomplishments
As they are intended to be enjoyed, by what you can do with it..
And plan to do with the knowledge so hard won

The Wand of Power is not a Stick,
With which , to beat the back of Another
Who is not yet , or May Never Be

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Ever have someone come to circle whose whole intent on being there
is to get you into whatever is their most recent "great deal" ?

When you are really happy with the job you have ?

This is, unfortunately a common by product
of community gatherings of any kind.

The charlatans, the hacks, the " give me 100 bucks
and I will make you a millionaire ",
Buy these books, these jewels, these ..whatever..

Some times we listen,
Sometimes we don't and
Sometimes we should

We Pagans are not immune to this kind of thing.

Oh no
We have our share
We had one that the newbies would flock to,
as She was something of a celebrity

While we Elders headed for high country as the only reason she was there,
was her annual visit to pick our pockets to pay the taxes on her 500 acre "Preserve"
which was 450 acres too big, had a list as long as your arm of
" things you can't do" when you visited, to live in a hay bail hut with a path,
with no running water, lights heating or cooling,
for which you paid 200 bucks a head, a day to be there

All for the privilege of being close to the Mother
in an environmentally friendly way

Mind you she had some ideas that made sense...and headlines...
...but she was also the biggest money grubber on the planet...
As it was the only time we saw her.

Picking the pockets of her brethren, when she should have found a way
to fund it herself and not bitten off more than she could support, with her retreat.

You can tell I didn't think much of her
then or now... :)

I remember the community was so bitten
by her and persons like her, that I could not even get them to look at
goods I brought for sale once

That I was ASKED to bring.... by the way
and they were cheap..!

I wasn't out to make a killing
But no one would even come over to look
and not because they looked like cheap stuff,
just the opposite as others told me later

But because they did look good most people thought
I would try to rake them over the coals on the price,
as so many others had tried to do,
with "made by hand " goods

I was so upset that so many woman hours had been wasted,
when I got home I took the whole lot apart.
...back down to their basic components...
...And never did it again...

But as the bard says, we should not let the fools we meet,
blind us to the " real deal" of the person whom the Mother sent there,
just to tell you a way to make life a little better

Or to sell you something made with! :)

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is perennial as the grass.

Do I really wanna get started on this one ?
Yeah I do.

Be yourself that's the first one!

Have you ever met King Aurthur? or Merlin, Or some Atlantian reborn...?

Where the hell are all the people descended from the butcher, the baker
and the candlestick maker ?

While I personally believe that the wheel of life turns
and that we have been here before, there can't be that many descendants
of the great ones out there

Even if they were, those same great ones would spit
if they thought their descendants only claim to greatness
is the fact they ARE descended, riding on their coat tails so to speak... :)

Then there's the celebrities, the name droppers,
the ones with so many titles they clank

The ones that walk in dressed for High ceremony
and its just the weekend Bar B Q.
None of this is US.

This is people out to impress Other's...

The Great Mother says, to show that you are free
ye shall be naked in your rites, this does not mean just sky clad,
( although that does take the starch outa the ones with all the do dads and high fancy stuff... )

It also means what the Destraida says ... be yourself

No clothes to fool anybody
No showing off of wealth
And power tools
Just yourself
Naked before your deity
And proud of it !

The Dating game and other fun stuff

To watch the goings on, that are going on
at your average Pagan gathering
is like watching your average soap opera.

I am a people watcher,
and some of the things one sees...!

But of more concern than,
the Peyton place of dating and mating.

.. It Is the feigning of affection...
That tends to go on ... on a grand scale..

As I said before, we tend to tolerate others
that we wouldn't put up with anywhere else
just because they are members

Not only that, we pretend to like them

Note that word ..pretend.. how many times the kiss of welcome
to enter the circle was just going thur the motions.?

How many times the hug given by your coven member,
would not have made Twiggy notice it..?

Phony affections/love....why?
Because we feel we have no choice

That if we say what's on our mind we will be rejected
and be alone again

Better we were....
Than to go thur hollow motions
With persons with whom
There is

This is not an ice cream social....!

We effect real change if the work is done right!

This is not something you try to do with people
you don't love and trust....

Ya can tell I have been to circles
where the only thing raised was my dander !

Once, after a 6 mt drought,
My coven and a half a dozen others
gathered to do rain magick.

The next day was Easter

The next day it snowed

In Tucson Az, In summer

( I did ask the coven members, all right
whose the wise guy who asked for snow ? ! :)

Followed by 3 blessed weeks of rain,
which filled the water tables,
made the land flourish,
and we humans didn't have to go
on water rationing that summer.

This is the power of love and affection
for the Gods and for each other...

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

Take Kindly to the counsel of years huh?
Well not in many gatherings I have seen.

The Elders sit in the back and say little
Save to the few who seek them out.

We are a religion that is in revival as I said.

And because of that there is a constant influx
of new knowledge and new arrogance both.

The knowledge is welcome,
by anyone young or old with any sense,
as it is something we don't know yet.

Or may know, but never looked at with the young eyes
that are seeing it for the first time.
And may see something in a different light.

But, Surrender the things of youth?
Not the ones armed with a million books
who think they know better than we gray heads,
who don't speak 3 dead languages.

The Elders of any group are the biggest and best resource
for the simple reason we have been there, done that and
gotten over our own pretensions, for the most part..

There are Exceptions to that :)

In the story of myself and of how I came to this path
I outline this idea in detail.
The Path

But in short, all the books and old texts mean diddly,
Compared to the understanding
That it does not matter which one you read

They all have the same basic truth to them
and it is this truth , One must understand.

Stock piling fortitude for the times
when the feces hits the oscillating device.

And stop scaring yourself to Death!

This one comes harder
than most would like to admit,
but its a simple thing really.

As a Pagan we are expected
To take care of ourselves,
Be responsible for our own actions
And take on the burdens
That are asked of us for the betterment of all.

So what does this have to do with good old fashioned guts?

A lot. As each of us comes to this path by dint of learning,
knowledge about the past, present and ourselves.

We are better armed to deal with things
When they go south on us.

Or Should Be

We do not waste time
railing at the Gods for our misfortune, but rather ask for advice and help
while we get on with the business of taking care of the situation.

As we are responsible for it,
no matter what happened.

Which does not mean we created it...

It means we are expected to know enough about life and ourselves,
to deal with whatever is dished out.

Which brings us back to the Elders for a moment ...they know...
they have been there ... and are a gold mine of information
on what to do if X occurs ... because no matter what it is,
someone is bound to have gone through it already.

Be gentle with yourself...
Ah this ones near and dear to me...
As I tend to be harder on myself than anyone else could be.

In the Pagan community one of two things
can happen in this area.

One you have a loving family to help get real with yourself
who are honest enough to tell you when you need to work on something.

Or two, ya have a whole gaggle of silly geese who are more than happy
to jump on the bandwagon that is rapidly running you down
the moment you make a mistake.

As they take the words
you are responsible to mean
lets play the blame game
and never let em live it down. not the nearest exit...
when you find yourself in among such people
who have a LONG way to go on the wheel yet..

As they are children who have not yet learned to walk the way
as it should be walked with gentleness and caring for their fellows

Which is not at odds with my opinion on persons
whose only reason for being there is to start trouble.

There is a large difference between human frailty
and human avarice.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

This one is pretty self explanatory,
but I have a few words to say on it

Your path is just that ..YOUR path.. which you have come to
down a long and sometimes hard road.

And there will be many who will question the truths
you have fought so hard to get.

Do not let the " know it alls" challenge your right to be.
in any way you see fit

And it harm none...
do what thou wilt...

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace with your soul.

This is more of the same
Be at peace with yourself and YOUR vision

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy...

And there is no more I can possibly add to that !

--- Max Ehrmann, 1927

Well I have taught, tormented, harranged and harassed you!

But have I made you think...?

Does any of this sound familiar?

Does any of this help?

Do ya think I'm just a crazy woman with issues ! ? :)

We are the Others

We are the Ones
Who have not Forgotten
The Spirits of Earth

We must not allow our Faith
To become shallow mouthings
where Dogma Has taken the place
of understanding.

We should not allow our gatherings
To be shams and dress up time
For the vain

We are the Others
And we should be different.

We should have Learned
From the mistakes
Of those
Between our time
Of then and now.....

Our Time is Now Again..

What Will we Make
Of it this Time ?

Thank you for taking this long haul with me
Thank you for being here

In All Love and Honor...
Yours Esta

Blessed be your coming...
Blessed be your going.......
Blessed be all your house

To see the poem in full form without the interjections

Liked it? hated it?
think I have a point or think I am full of it? let me know.
( and if you think I am full of it..lets keep it clean ok... this is just MHO... on issues that concern us all...)

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