Saturday, June 30, 2012

Values of the Fat Pagan

June is the Pagan Values blog carnival, where pagans across the net share their values and practices in a big catch all. I am late (but fashionably so! I'm only 28 days late, srsly) of course, but finally here is a mish mash of the values I live by.

The Magic Circle by John William Waterhouse
I consider myself a Witch, not a Wiccan. I don't follow the Rede but favor the Asatru "Golden Rule": I shall do unto you what you do unto my kin. What you do to me, I shall do to you. Instead of the Threefold Law, I subscribe to Actions and Consequences: what I do has consequences, good or bad. If I study for my test, I will likely pass. If I don't study, I will probably fail. With this, I don't avoid curses or hexes; I accept any consequences of my actions. I believe a witch who cannot harm cannot heal either. Avoiding one part of the circle isn't balance; I don't think a person should live in one part or another, but in both the light and dark aspects.

I practice Witchcraft, but I seldom do spells. I think it is mostly because I think that if I can get what I need through mundane means, I don't need to do a spell and I can conserve my magick for important things, like protection spells. I work a lot on this mundane plane; healing with herbs and medicine, fostering relationships through action and words, working hard for monetary success, focusing on the body. Lately I have been trying to focus on other realms. So far, it hasn't gone very far. I SHALL TRY MORE!!!!!!

Children, the elderly, and animals are especially coveted in my philosophy. These three typically have no voice and little to no protection. They are to be respected and protected, not destroyed. I also find that they typically are a lot smarter than adults think. The things that children can understand are astounding, the things that animals can do is mind blowing, and the knowledge that the elderly possess is staggering.

Music - don't get me started. Oh, how music is to the soul! It is the expression of the soul itself, its joys and sadness, its love and hate. Just the way that music can pick you up after a hard day is amazing. I could not imagine a life without music. *swoon*

There are all sorts of great bands that I listen to almost daily. A few pagan ones are The Moon and The Nightspirit, Metal Mother, Faun, Damh The Bard, and my favorite, Blackmore's Night. But that isn't even mentioning the songs that KeepMusicPagan has on hir profile. Love! I also throughly enjoy the music of other cultures. Example!

The Gods: for me, I am a hard polytheist. I believe that all gods exist in some form or fashion. Yes, I also believe that the gods are capable of walking this Earth. But my views are a complex hypothesis, hypotheses even. I will reserve for another post, but a taste... hehe.

Science knows that we have a least 9 different dimensions. We are said to be on the third dimension, and therefore also exist in the first two as well. What if, then, the beings we call Gods are actually beings that exist in a different, higher dimension? Another hypothesis is that there are an infinite number of universes, ones that run parallel to this one, or ones that are parasites, or ones so far away from us that we cannot even imagine it. What if some of these universes overlap and bleed into others, like the way that our physical world intersects with the spiritual world at certain points of the year (ie Samhain and Beltane). What if mythical creatures really did exist, but were "side effects" from a collision of two different universes? What if, what if.

Back to the point, Life is a constant choice - a constant battle between the things you should be doing and the things you are doing. Life is like a stream, it keeps moving, and eventually it ends into something larger and is recycled. The afterlife holds no fear for me. Death is a blessing, a movement into something new, a release of pain and illness. It is the end of one journey and the beginning of another. The Summerlands, a kind of rest stop or way station, is way better than the summers here in Texas, let me tell ya.

Balance... it really just boils down to balance in the end. Skepticism and faith, thought and action, light and dark, imagination and reality, magickal and mundane, right and wrong, even life and death.

There is no way that one person can completely write down their thoughts in one post, or one paper, or even one book. It takes a lifetime to learn things, and we never stop learning and never stop teaching either. "Christians and Muslims may be People of the Book, but Pagans are People of the Library." Libraries, even.

As to the other side of this blog, I am and will probably always be, a fat activist. While I don't proselytize my religion, I will totally spread HAES. It's something that everyone should believe in, instead of the FoBT. It may sound like a Christian, but this message will surely make the lives of thousands, hundreds of thousands, of people (women AND men) so much better than the current self hatred they are experiencing. When children don't have to constantly worry about their body image, they can focus on other things like learning and being children. They don't have to grow up with a warped sense of themselves.

Like Joy Nash said, when you look at pictures of when you were younger, you exclaim how adorable you were, and why you weren't wearing that cute dress you always thought you were too ugly for. But when you look at yourself, you shame yourself for being ugly, and you can't wear that dress you want to wear because you are so ugly and sometime down the road, when you are older, you will again look at pics you took today and exclaim how cute and adorable you were. Just be adorable now, and believe in yourself.

Friday, June 15, 2012

An Open Letter to the Pagan Elders

Dear Pagan Elders and those who have defined Paganism through their work,

Thank you for all of your work. Thank you for everything you have done in your lifetime and even in ours. Thank you for being the frontiersmen and women who have broken new ground --literally and metaphorically-- in our community with news, civil rights work, temples and libraries, and countless other achievements. Sincerely, thank you.

Selena Fox, pic courtesy of Religioscope
And what do you get for your accomplishments? Almost a hero-like status. Us, the "Younger Generation," look up to you and admire you. We hang on every. word. you. say (or type). We know your names even before we know your faces because of books, posts, videos and shows, conversation, and the internet. The tales of your deeds are spread far and wide and are the center of attention around the fire. You are inspiring people to others, the role model for children and adults alike. For your service to your community, you have been placed on a pedestal.

Is that fair? Is it right? For better or worse, you have become above or maybe just revered. You are now held up as demigods.

Maybe it isn't fair or right, but you have inherited a responsibility, one that demands total control over your actions and your words, your writings and even your friends. What you do has impact on the rest of our community, like denying transwomen into a women's circle that lead to entire groups breaking off.

Don't get me wrong, this is not only about Z. Budapest. It is also about Selena Fox, Patrick McCollum, Starhawk, Star Foster, and all the other Elders in our community. It is because of all these people that there are steps being made that are enormous. More Pagan clergy in prisons, more festivals being held worldwide, more religious equality and interfaith discussions, more temples being build, more books being written! We have gone so far since our "revival" it is more than inspiring.

Truly, being an Elder is a double-edged sword.

The Younger Generation of Pagans

Monday, June 11, 2012

Feel Good Tips

A bit down in the dumps? Want a picker upper or are you more interested in a change of attitude? Whatever your goals, here are some tips to make you feel good.

Laugh! Strive to laugh at least three times a day. You know what they say, a laugh a day keeps the doctor away.

Do something you enjoy doing. Go outside, go for a walk, play a game with your family, start a garden, go volunteer. Just get up and enjoy movement.

Meditate. Meditation makes you feel great and allows you to control feelings like anger and sadness. A simple meditation can be found anywhere nowadays, from youtube to yoga sites and everywhere between.

Tell the truth. It is much more simple to tell the truth than to tell lies. You don't have to remember so much and you don't have to fret over it. A temporary pain is better than a long term pain later.

Treat yourself like royalty. Don't put yourself down, don't ridicule yourself, don't find flaws. That tiny blemish is only noticeable to you. Your "horrible nose" is only horrible to you. Instead of focusing on the negative, focus on what is positive. Your hair is beautiful, your eyes are gorgeous, your skin looks awesome.

Accept compliments from others, and don't dismiss them. If someone tells you that you are looking great today, you can say something like "thanks, I look/feel great every day!" If someone thinks you are beautiful, don't say otherwise because you are beautiful! Just because you don't think you look good doesn't mean others think the same way.

Forgiveness. Forgiving others is a noble thing, but I think it is more important to forgive yourself. Don't beat yourself over the head for things. Instead of insulting yourself for missing that goal, think about how you are going to get it next time.

"Losers quit, winners try again." It took me three tries to pass a 200 yard swim test so I could be a deep water guard. If I had quit the first time, I would have never made it. As a realist, it is hard for me to be positive, but I do push myself forward. When you finally get it, you will jump for joy.

Challenge yourself every day. Challenge your beliefs, your thought process, your information, your life. Question everything; nothing and no one is above questioning. Asking why is not bad at all!

Don't deny yourself. If you want that doughnut, eat it. If you want that car, go and get it (legally). Buy those tickets and go out with friends. Saying no all the time makes you unhappy.

Plan in fun. I know money may be tight, but there are plenty of things you can do that won't cost much or anything at all. Try getting together with friends for Ultimate Frisbee, or playing video games. If you can afford it, treat yourself to a good restaurant or go to the movies. All work and no play makes Jack go crazy.

Exercise. I know, I know, but it really does make you feel great. The Runner's High after exercise makes you feel pretty damn good about things and puts you in a good mood. Try yoga, cardio, weight training, or even dancing! I personally like Zumba. <3

Nutrition is important to your health and well being. I really recommend getting good nutrition into the way you eat, and I also recommend taking multivitamins. While supplements like pills are a good thing, remember that supplements are only supplements and are not meant to replace anything. Preferably you should be getting the proper nutrients from the foods you eat.

Learn something new every day. Vacations, breaks, and days off are not an excuse to stop learning. We are learning creatures! Read a book, a good website, or just look into something you aren't familiar with.

Banish fear. Don't be afraid of something, understand it. Are you scared about Islam? Read about it from actual Muslims, talk to actual Muslims, or even read the Qur'an yourself. Scared about leaving the country? Why not learn about a different country. If you are really good at languages, learn it! Scared of the dark? Meditate in it, walk in it, see through it and understand that the dark is only the reflection of deeper fears you must confront.

Don't be afraid to walk alone on your path. I understand that sometimes it is a lonely road to walk, and sometimes there is real opposition, but if you don't follow your heart you won't be happy.

Don't be afraid to stand up for what is right. Just because many people do it doesn't make it right. If everyone beat puppies to death, would you do it too? Even if it is just a small thing, like a negative comment made by someone, challenge it. Silence is taken as acceptance.

Listen to good music! I have been on a Faun kick for a while. They are so awesome! Although, Metal Mother is really good too, and I really like this song called Yeye Chango by Amikaeyla And Ariana. If you have a Youtube account, I recommend KeepMusicPagan's page. It is full of soulful music.

Speak wisely. Words that escape from the lips can never be taken back, no matter how much you want them to. Don't say hurtful things to people and try to think about what you are going to say. It makes your words even more valued.

Realize that the faults that you see in others are the reflection of yourself. Do you see something you don't like in your co-workers? Strive to not do those things yourself. Is someone spreading gossip like it's none of hir business? Don't associate with that person, and don't spread gossip yourself.

Be the example that you want others to be. Be that compassionate person who gives, who is wise and careful and loving and hard working. Lead by example.

Give and receive wisdom. Share the things that you know well and listen to those who know things you do not. Learn from other people's mistakes, and teach other people your mistakes.

Once you accept yourself, you should strive to accept others as well. No one is perfect.

Logic and reason are your best friends. Embrace them.

I think that is it for now! Maybe there will be a part two later. Enjoy your life!!!