Thursday, April 30, 2009

Some Thoughts from a Book

My Cherry Hill classes start in a couple of weeks. I've received no invitation to apply for the Master's program. I am assuming that I've missed the first round but I will try for round two. 

In the meantime, I am reading one of the books, Researching Paganisms, for the first class Research and Writing. My goal is to get my mind reset to academic thinking rather than just reading. The book is a compilation of essays. I must admit the first couple were tough going. 

The first essay on Bardism was interesting in that it dealt with the realization of a Bardic calling. I have a new appreciation for their work. The writing was ponderously academic.

Chapter Two revealed the writer's thoughts on an academic research study on a form of feminist Wicca called Reclaiming. Most of you have at least heard of the founder, Starhawk. My Gal grew up chatting with Starhawk. The writer blasts the Reclaiming Tradition for its willful ignorance of its own history and for adopting a very dubious occult lineage (as if most other groups don't do the same.) 

I'm not a fan of Reclaiming, though I've attended some of their public rituals and found them to be fun and at some points interesting. Any group that has to work so hard to convince themselves they are powerful, usually isn't. Any group that shouts about coming from the goddess while shunning the other half of the equation is microcosmically out of balance and likely reactionary. Though, that theory is soundly refuted by My Gal's uncle who is a male Dianic Wiccan. How does that happen? Perhaps someday someone will sit me down and explain to me how removing the god from a religion and replacing it with a goddess is any better than removing the goddess from a religion. As a ceremonial magician, I am all about balance, both are necessary.

That being said, the author actually took at least one of their initiations while fundamentally disagreeing with them. I have very little respect for that. 

This is one of the reasons I am going to Cherry Hill. I want to understand these approaches to religion that I either don't understand or confuse me. I need the infusion of new ideas. 

I wrote the above before going for my nightly walk. I began to wonder why Reclaiming folks do what they do. Then it hit me that we all see spirituality where we need to. The path is unbalanced but so what. Maybe the adherents need that dischord in order to achieve whatever they feel is necessary. Who am I to argue? As long as they don't object to similarly out of balance male dominated religions, I can see no reason to object. 

The fourth chapter discusses the use of plant allies in pursuit of the shamanistic experience and takes modern pagans to task for adopting the side of the anti-drug culture when it comes to using plants in religious modes. Given my sudden turn towards Pan and a more earthly way of doing things, he gave me much to think about. 


I didn't do ritual today. I did try to meditate but I didn't have any focus. I left the temple only to be drawn back by the desire to do an offering. I reached into the earth as I moved behind the altar. Instead of drawing up a line of light, I was within a white cone. 

Very briefly, a rainbow of color flashed through the upper half as I was rubbing my hands together. Soon, stars were flying out of my hands. I felt like Mickey Mouse in the Sorcerer's Apprentice. I gave these stars to the spirits of the temple but they kept coming. I gave them to the spirits of the house, the land and the Universe. During the later, I saw a black shape back lit with a very bright white light. The shape was that of the bottom quarter of a road side mail box. I have no idea where that came from.

Thought for the Day:

People that live in glass houses are exhibitionists.


Unknown said...

>>Perhaps someday someone will sit me down and explain to me how removing the god from a religion and replacing it with a goddess is any better than removing the goddess from a religion.

They never will. It's logically unsound. A male figure is just as much a creator as a female figure. Material counterparts or the spiritual forces are both gonna create. My guess is that it might stem from some kind of feminist push that got out of control. As if a sumpreme deity is actually gonna concern itself with a limited idea of material gender.

Quaero Lux said...

What are the title and editor of the book you're talking about? Or is this a private publication for Cherry Hill students only?

Suecae Sounds said...

Interesting post, yet again.

I've read some feminist slanted Wiccan work that takes out the masculine out of the equation. I don't agree that it's a sound idea, but I'm all about "live and let live" these days.

Perhaps some need this 'imbalance', as I sometimes look on it, to balance out a greater imbalance in their life or perception. Maybe some need to swing their pendulum the opposite way in the face of patriarchal culture. It's just a thought...

Wanting to remain open in front of ideas and practices not in tune with ones own seems very sound to me. It's the anti-thesis to intolerance and bigotry.

Once again, good post! :)

Monsignor Scott Rassbach said...

Re: willful unbalance, remember that progress is only made when the balance is upset. In chemistry, if a solution is in equilibrium, there is no reaction. Transformation cannot happen without imbalance.

As a Ceremonial magician myself, I seek balance as well. But I rarely attain it, and not for long. By balancing one bit, I upset several others in my personal microcosm.

There may be ways to attain balance within the path they describe, as well.

Suecae Sounds said...

Care Scott:

"Transformation cannot happen without imbalance."

How profound! It is not totally unlike how I have looked on things, but still it is very different and refreshing to think of things in this manner.