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Old 02-11-2002, 06:02 PM   #1
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My sister the Wiccan (Witch) and her speech on the environment post Sept 11

My sister is the Wiccan Chaplain at U of Toronto. Recently she made a speech which touches on a whole bunch of issues (what Wiccans believe, why it's bad to mix politics with religion,and the environment and community post Sept. 11) and I thought you guys might be interested in reading a Wiccan perspective on things, especially as most ppl think witches are devil worshippers which is a whole lot of nonsense.

WARNING: Please do not flame me, I am only posting this out of interest. However, I agree with most of what she says.

Green Dreams: Balancing the Environment, the Community,
And the Individual after Sept. 11


By Elizabeth Moes

Good Evening, and thank you for attending this seminar. I have been invited to speak about the spiritual element of tonight’s discussion “Balancing the Environment, the Community, and the Individual after Sept. 11”, linking the spiritual with the political and ecological. I am a chaplain of Wicca here at U of T, serving the NeoPagan community. Neopaganism is the postmodern embrace of ancient earth-centered spirituality. It is an umbrella term. A Pagan is not necessarily Wiccan, but a Wiccan is a Pagan.

Addressing the matter of the Individual in Community, I must begin with a caveat and a warning. The warning is this: the ideas in this presentation are probably unusual for most and may be offensive to some. The label should read, “Handle with care. Do not place near open flame. Store in a cool, dry place.”

As for the caveat, I am speaking today as individual. Although I am the Wiccan Chaplain for the Pagan Community at U of T, I do not claim to be speaking for all Pagans or even all Wiccans. Wicca is a grassroots phenomenon, and we value our freedom from dogma and doctrine. I speak only as an individual who practices Wicca, not as a widely recognized Wiccan authority. But that being said, and since I was asked to do so, I can tell you how I find balance between my spiritual perspective, the environment, and the world community. Here is my observation of the Pagan devotion to the Earth. (Pagan, by the way, comes from the Latin paganus, people of the rural district. It is the source of the English word peasant.)

Contrary to mistaken understanding, Paganism is a religion – it’s just different from the better-known ones. It has become synonymous with ungodly atheism primarily due to the misrepresentation by monotheists. We do have gods, but our cosmology reads like an elementary science lesson, and it is not unlike the Taoist philosophy of yin and yang.

1. The first principle is that behind all that we see is the unknowable origin of cosmic activity.

2. The second is that there are observable primordial elements of force and form.

3. The third principle is that the force of air and fire act on the form of earth and water to create life.

4. The fourth principle is that this continuous event of creation is awesome and mysterious and we call it magick.

Pagans are fully devoted to the physical Earth in our celebration of the life/death cycle of incarnation and time. We further conceptualize our belief as follows:

1. Some Pagans, like myself, conceptualize force as male, like the father’s imperceptible seed, and form as female, like a mother’s birthgiving quality. Other Pagans conceptualize both force and form as female, like a self-creating mother.

2. Therefore, for many Pagans, Goddess and God are Mother Earth and Father Sky. For other Pagans, there is only one divine being, the Goddess Gaia, who is Earth and Sky, force and form together (– a single mom, a pregnant virgin)

3. These are what we call the divine beings, the essential nature of Goddess and God. For us, Goddess and God can have many faces, or aspects, but all are just manifestations of cosmic energy. So Pagans are neither monotheistic, nor polytheistic.

4. Since the magical act of divine creation is sacred, the analogous sex act is also sacred, whether performed by humans, animals or plants.

5. As we are creatures of the earth, we conceptualize ourselves as children of the Goddess and God (or Goddess alone).

6. The other creatures with whom we share the earth, we conceptualize as our brothers and sisters

7. As we know, each living being depends on others to survive. The universal law is eat or be eaten, but humans have an obligation to do so in moderation because of our unique place in the ecosystem. Ever since we have learned how to control fire, we risk upsetting the balance of the Earth. This delicate web of interdependence that the public calls ecology, we call the magick web or the sacred wheel. Because it is the way life, it is divine and sacred.

On account of our belief that all life is inhabited by Cosmic Energy, there is no value difference for us between the physical and the spiritual – they are just different forms of the same thing. Both the physical and the spiritual are equally sacred. Both are the stuff of the Divine. In Neopaganism, the Divine is immanent – in contrast to other religions that believe the Divine is transcendent above and beyond the physical. In other words, for us the environment is the Goddess.

That is why we are tree huggers, often vegetarians, peace-niks, conservationists, wildlife protectors and pollution fighters. We love the earth and we celebrate our embodied life on earth through ritual. We celebrate the seasons, the tides, the days, and the cyclical rhythms of ecology.
How do I see us balancing the self with the world community post September 11? Well, as I said earlier, the anti-establishment spirit of Neo Paganism resists such institutions as politics. And, true to that disposition, I’m totally against mixing politics and religion.

I know the very fact of my being here is a political act, and I am speaking about my religious beliefs in that context. But again, I emphasize that today I am here as an individual speaking for inclusiveness: for plurality, multifaith, multi-belief and multiculture. Pagans are comfortable with different styles of divine persona, so it is no stretch to be multi-faith. NeoPaganism is nothing if not eclectic!

In my experience, we Pagans are sort of like the hippies of the 1960’s in our counterculture, authority-resistant, peace & love attitudes. Pagans traditionally have a deeply held distrust of hierarchical social organization, and we’re proud of it. Since the Burning Times, beginning around 1400 when our ancestors were driven underground, we have practiced our beliefs in secret and restricted our political reach to private covens. This is why I separate my religious beliefs from my political convictions. My people have felt the sting of religious persecution for too long.

But it’s not just my beliefs that have been persecuted. Every instance I can think of where religion dominates the political agenda, we find harassment, censorship, abuse, oppression, autocracy and terrorism. We see it in Ireland, we see it in the Middle East, in India, Sri Lanka, Tibet and Pakistan. We saw it in the Pantheon of the Roman Empire and later in the monotheism of the Holy Roman Empire, we’ve seen it in the Crusades, in the genocide of First Nations people, African nations and Australian Aborigines. The list goes on. Theocratic politics have always led to oppression of some sort, and usually also to war. The September 11 clash between the Islamic Mid-East and the Christian West is only the latest example of a long history of poisonous relations between politics and religion.

As I mentioned earlier, we are uncomfortable when one personality is a mouthpiece for the community. I don’t like it when one of our own community becomes politically active in the name of Neopaganism. Starhawk is a political agitator acting under the banner of Ecofeminism and Wicca. Her vision and my own differ quite radically. I don’t think she has effected any significant political changes, and her campaigning and media profile have led others to perceive her as a cult figure of the Wiccan community. Her techniques have often drawn ridicule in the media and the public at large, rather than sympathy, and this has further led to further discrimination against Pagans.

So in my view, the answer is not to practise more faith-based political action. It’s a habit we have to break. No amount of campaigning with creed-laden slogans pleading for peace will help. We humans are resolutely stubborn about our religious beliefs, and not likely to change to one unified spiritual perspective any time soon. And we don’t have time to wait. If anything, faith-based politics incite conflict by bringing dearly held, opposing ideology into sharp relief.

When it comes to politics, I feel that we are indeed obligated to participate from our most deeply held convictions, but that we must not put forward political ideas using religious names, slogans, imagery or jargon because that simply translates into proselytising. Proselytising and faith-based politics do not respect the individuals right to sovereignity of belief because in varying degrees it tells the Other that their beliefs are inferior and often, evil. It is insulting and bound to be divisive. By expounding religious views, a rationale for genocide is made. Viewing the Other as wholly Other and wrong provides an excuse for almost any atrocity.

Instead, lets add a new article to update the Geneva Convention. NO MORE THEOCRACY. And that includes the covert Christian agenda of the U.S., Canada and Europe. “God Bless America” is a pious war cry that implies God will be taking sides with a very imperfect democracy and multi-national capitalism. For a country that was founded on religious freedom, there is precious little of it to be found!

My belief in the sacredness of the Earth inspires me to take political action wherever necessary, but I do so as a tax-paying citizen, not as a banner-waving Wiccan. What I would like to see is more focusing on issues and seeking contributions from all walks of life in the hopes of arriving at a fair consensus.

Under these conditions I feel we can work toward a healthy balance between the individual, the community and the Earth.
That concludes my take on Religion, the Environment and the World. As we say at the end of our rituals, “in peace we have met, in love we depart, merry meet and merry part and merry meet again”.

Thank you.


[This message has been edited by Mrs. Edge (edited 02-11-2002).]
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Old 02-11-2002, 06:51 PM   #2
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wow...that was really good
My friend is wiccan and we never seem to fully understand each other. But now I see where he is coming from. He still thinks I worship the devil so we arent that close but wow, your sister has a way with words. (must run in the family)

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Old 02-11-2002, 09:47 PM   #3
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Thanks Mrs. Edge for posting your sister's speech. It was insightful and an interesting read to get another viewpoint on the tragedy of September 11.

My spiritual roots lay in Judaism, but I have researched other religions that sparked my interest. Although now I do celebrate some Jewish holidays with my family and I am keenly aware of my spiritual heritage, I am not a regligious person. I never was, and 8 years ago I briefly studied Wicca - it was at a time when I was trying to discover myself spiritually because I didn't feel "at home" with Judiasm or with Christianity. I really didn't know what to feel but I strongly felt I had to "belong" somewhere and for a time I felt it necessary to adhere to a certain doctrine - to belong to something or even a community, much like how someone wishes to belong to a Chruch. I purchased books and talked around, and joined a coven so I could learn a little more about Wiccan beliefs. Though my brief studies in Wicca did not delve into everything it had to offer (I only belonged for about 6 months and we were a young group still in the process of learning Wiccan history more than anything else) it did give me insight to the thought process surrounding Paganism, and allowed me to seperate facts from myth, and history from urban legend. For personal reasons I left Wicca behind - but I do credit Wicca for allowing me to come to the conclusion that I don't need to adhere to any relgion or set of rules in order to be a spiritual individual. That conclusion for me was one of the most spiritual turning points in my life.
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Old 02-13-2002, 12:09 PM   #4
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Thank you both for your thoughtful responses to this! Adams' Mistess, I totally know what you mean about wanting to "belong" to something, I am going through the same thing right now.
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Old 02-13-2002, 01:43 PM   #5
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Very interesting, Mrs. Edge. May I post this over in another fan forum I frequent that has a subforum called New Age and Pagan? I think my friends over there might find it interesting. "I am not Wiccan, but some of my best friends are."
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Old 02-13-2002, 05:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by RavenStar:
He still thinks I worship the devil so we arent that close
Nice. I hope that's not a trait common to Wiccans because that would make them just like everybody else, wouldn't it?
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Old 02-13-2002, 09:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Klodomir:
Quote:
Originally posted by RavenStar:
He still thinks I worship the devil so we arent that close
Nice. I hope that's not a trait common to Wiccans because that would make them just like everybody else, wouldn't it?
It seems to be common everywhere. Some people are ignorant about my religion at first but they believe me when I tell them I don't. Others still thinl i worship the devil. I don't even believe in the devil!



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Old 02-14-2002, 10:46 AM   #8
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Sure! I don't see why not, and thanks for asking!

Quote:
Originally posted by joyfulgirl:
Very interesting, Mrs. Edge. May I post this over in another fan forum I frequent that has a subforum called New Age and Pagan? I think my friends over there might find it interesting. "I am not Wiccan, but some of my best friends are."
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Old 02-28-2002, 05:06 PM   #9
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From what I've read, witches can be a mite bit dangerous.

Jim Morrison had a consort who was a Wiccan, I think! I read a great book about their life and times. Did you know Patricia, that was her name, had an abortion?

I had a friend who was a witch, and she had a boyfriend who sang in a band...
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Old 03-01-2002, 11:02 AM   #10
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Heh heh...

Wiccans...
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Old 03-01-2002, 12:15 PM   #11
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My bro-in-law & wife were also "searching" for something to believe in/belong to about 2 years ago when they got involved with Wicca. I have to say that it was one of the worst things I have ever witnessed..... It completely tore him down as an individual and ripped him from his family. Bottom line is this: he said that it was one of the darkest times in his life. On the surface, he said it appears to be a great concept -- all about love and peace. But when you cut through the layers, there is something at the core that is very dark....and not what it seems. Nothing we said or did seemed to have any effect on him. Finally, something unexpicable happened and he walked away from it, and walked back into our lives. Since then, I cannot believe what a strong person he has become. Just my 2 cents, but I don't ever want to see anyone go through what his family did again.....
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Old 03-01-2002, 05:52 PM   #12
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I don't know that much about Wicca. That's probably because I just don't understand other religions. I try very hard to but I just can't. I know my friend doesn't understand my religion. I don't understand his. I just don't make a big deal out of it like he does. I don't have anything against the religion though.
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Old 03-04-2002, 03:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Klodomir:
Quote:
Originally posted by RavenStar:
He still thinks I worship the devil so we arent that close
Nice. I hope that's not a trait common to Wiccans because that would make them just like everybody else, wouldn't it?
yes it would
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