I wrote this originally as a blog but have since decided to make it a discussion for I feel that my sentiments are shared by many....many who are still afraid to speak of their religionl ....who think there will be retribution for being Pagan. Sometimes people forget that, even though there is not constant shedding of blood, there are still other parts of the world that punish folks for their religious choices. There are pagans all over the world...some are looked upon as evil...as if they should be burned at the stake ..... and yes there are still people being burned for their religious choice, though they have harmed no one. What do you think? Are you tolerant of Pagans or do you have a preconceived notion that all Pagan's are devil worshipers?...Are you educated as to what the vast majority of Pagans see as their religion? I have met folks on here who have abandoned any contact with me because they have the misguided conception that I worship the Devil...there is no devil in my religion, nor has there ever been...but folks still think it. How can we achieve peace if we are not tolerant?
Tolerance: broadmindedness, acceptance, patience, charity...are all words in place of the word tolerance.
I was a christian for most of my child and adult life...it was unfufilling, it was lacking, it was not the path for me. I knew it yet I stayed with it for I did not know what to do about it. Then one day I happened upon a pagan community and started researching the various pagan paths. I have always been fond of history and am an experienced genealogist. My family's roots are set deep in Scotland and Ireland. In my ancestrial research I ran across the Druid's within the realm of my scottish family's roots. The more I read of the Druids, the more I knew this was the path for me. I also studied the Wicca path and have admired the writings of Raymond Buckland. These paths allow you some breathing room to mold your worship and religious workings the way that fits to you. I'm happy with my path for it's as if it chose me.
I consider myself an intelligent woman. I have seen a lot in my lifetime. I have met all kinds of people. Some good, some bad and some were just evil. I make no judgement of others for their religious choice, nor would I attempt to convert them to my religion, or tell them they are wrong for practicing their religion. Others, though, would do this to me and my fellow pagans. There are those who feel so strongly opposed to my religious path, that they would go out of their way to avoid me; they would talk to me like I am of no value; they act as if I'm the devil incarnate; that I am evil and then there are those who would continue to convert me to their religion... I don't want to be converted. I am happy with my choice. I harm no one. There is no devil; no hell; no heaven in my religion. I do not worship Satan. I have no concept of Satan as a diety, nor do I want one. That is not me or my choice.
I do not hold any malice for another religion unless they advocate killing others who do not follow their religion. This is wrong.. The taking of a human life because of their religious beliefs is totally, and utterly WRONG. On that point, I stand my ground. Religious Freedom is a must in a peaceful and tolerant society. To me the reality is clear.. There will never be peace, as long as their is religious intolerance...There will never be peace as long as folks try to convert others or profess their religion as the only one. It's sad...truly sad to see people at such odds with one another...so filled with hate because someone doesn't pray to the same god as them. So much blood has been shed through many centuries all in the name of religion.
I consider myself very lucky for I live in a country that goes to great lengths to insure that we have our religious freedoms. Others are no so fortunate. I can only imagine the constant state of fear one must be in to live in a place where going to the store could result in your death....someone straps a bomb to themselves and then kills so many innocent people...and for what...? nothing...there is no good to come from it....the majority of the world condemns it but it still happens. I want it to stop! I want people to just live their lives peacefully amongst one another. It makes no difference what religion they practice as long as no one is killed. I have hope but a part of me does not see peace in my lifetime...oh that it would...I just don't see it.
InTolerance: Bigoted, prejudice, narrow minded, small minded and fanatical are all words used to describe intolerance. Think about it..Are you intolerant? Shouldn't those of us who truly want peace show tolerance and love toward all? Lead by example..Love by it to..just some thoughts kicking around in my head...
Am seriously thinking about becoming pagan as I just don't have any interest personally in religion. I know so little about paganism. I don't hear many guys talking about it on here so I don't really know much about it from the male perspective...maybe there isn't any difference...I don't know but am going to explore it I think :)
Awwwwwwwww.....thanks ever so much Lady G....'tis indeed the romantic ye have inside ye. My first lesson in gaidhlig (shame on me lol)....'tis noted in my memory for when the moment strikes..can't say if Leah will have any idea what I'm saying to her but it sounds good!
I love that name. Thanks for a most interesting post.
Just as you want others to accept your choices, so it becomes necessary to accept everyone else's. No one has to agree with your choice, and if they don't, that's entirely their prerogative isn't it? You don't need anyone's permission to follow your own path. In the final analysis, we make our own choices, and accept the lessons along the way, or not. The good thing is - Life is eternal. The bad thing is - Life is eternal (lol). Our experience of the world can be changed one thought at a time, but we can only be responsible for our own thoughts. As Emerson says in his essay on Self Reliance: "Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind".
There is nothing wrong with the world. The world is as it is. The only thing wrong is our perception of it. Yes there is hatred, and bigotry, intolerance, etc, etc, those are all labels, judgemental labels. On the other hand there is also love, and joy, and peace, and harmony. Which would you prefer to experience? From your post. it's obvious. So would we all. But the truth is, the world is right when we see it right. Instead of putting all our energy into bemoaning the state of affairs, and fighting for justice, (which has never had the desired results), why not just let love go before us into our experience of each moment, and be the change we wish to see. In your own words:"Lead by example...love by it too." What gets your attention, gets you! Focus on what you want, rather than on what you don't want, and the good, the true, the lovely the peaceful must become your experience. Two opposing thoughts cannot occupy the same space in mind, so choose ye this day....
We're not here to change the world, just to each be the best version of ourselves. And that will be enough to change the world.
Where to begin? :) I couldn't agree more with everything you have said Gwenndolyn. Although there is one speech I heard many years ago that always had an impact on me. A lady speaking out about aboriginal rights (I'm from Australia) said, what we need is acceptance, not tollerance. Those words really struck me. To accept we bring no judgement to the table...or perhaps its all just semantics anyways eh? :P
I am pagan, although not many people know it. I keep it hidden because of the bad reactions I have from many people - religious and athiests alike. It's sad really, especially when you're told you live in a tollerant country.
My parents weren't religious, but nontheless I was baptised catholic and sent to a catholic school (more I feel for my grandmothers sake). I was a natures child, running around barefoot, talking to trees and looking for faeries - christianity didn't sit quite right. In highschool the priest would call me a pagan like it was a bad thing, he said I was a bastard child and was going to hell, rumours spread that I was a witch. At 14 I didn't really know much about witchcraft and after being labelled one, thought I best go look into it. And hey, turns out that was my path - how funny that the church convert me to the thing they didn't want me to be lol
The pagan road has always called to me and in the many years since I stepped away from christianity (age 12) and explored other faiths, paganism has always called me back, it's where I feel most at home - although I do find myself borrowing from different faiths, particularly buddhism and the yoga traditions. Through my exploration I found a golden thread, one that ran through all faiths, the foundations if you like. Those foundations I found are the same, the teachings are all of love, of being. What I found was that it was peoples perceptions if you like, that tainted these teachings and created the maddness we see today of intollerance. I found myself journeying inward, turning inside out and coming back around full circle - I now understood the essence of what Jesus taught, or Buddha etc. etc. It filled my heart with love. I realised that it doesn't matter what religion or faith you choose to follow, it'll all lead us to the same place if you keep the essence in mind. Just follow what faith calls to your heart, your inner being.
"Lead by example..Love by it to.." I couldn't agree more and my heart goes out to the world that we might learn to love ourselves and eachother.
Ach! wish I could've gone to the gathering as well,I do so miss my Pagan community/family ,moved away. Mossy I truly enjoyed your comment and sharing your story with us here.
I too can truly relate to all you wrote.
I know EXACTLY what you mean..is the same where I live too. I don't get it either,probably never will.
I do in many ways "know" reasons why,but knowing the history,reasons is not the same as "getting it" .
Just like all hipacritical people and teachings I'll never understand,I still know the "why's" ..but not understand.
Is people and discussions like this one that help unite,not divide us .
Yes LaDonna- We are all connected.
I do my best to lead by example. My part to help unite people instead of all that divides us.
Peace & Love
The Burning Times Documentary-pt 1 of 6...for anyone interested or have yet to see...
If watch ALL of this it explains much historical facts of where/when the demonization of Witches/midwives/women & Pagans
I saw it 1st time not long after released in1990- i saw in 1993
Dearest Lady Gwen,
have you seen this yet? Omg!! and WTF??? I truly hope this is NOT for real, but wouldn't doubt that it is..I found on christines blog on" Preaching Hate Not Love"..just looked at link included on it http://www.landoverbaptist.org/sermons/witches.html
sick, just sick! and exactly what this discussion is about here..I've been busy on another discussion//blog
"Religion Good or Evil"..Ach! is a real nutter intolerant self proclaimed incarnation of Christ & second coming of God on there been debating O'er more correctly replying to on it for days now,thinking to myself, ah sure could use Lady Gwen's eloquent intelligent educated words on here too ..his "followers" coming in to say I have trust Him, Argh! is just all so intolerant! Has been my message all threw, of course soon as I challenged his logic went straight to insults,Lol..
Yes, Lady Gwen..Des did some checking and found the same info. on the so called "church".However with so many easily influenced by such bigotry and hatred incited by the words by the um "preacher" is scary what could come of it..? All to often small minded fanatic types & misguided folks will believe this rubbish!
my reactions to it too..made me wanna' barf...and um, like I wrote on the thread..insert expletives here....
Fact is there is a small family run "church' not far from where i live does teach this type hate and worse!
no many followers but do have..is just sickening....
I thank you fer yer takin' time to teach the truth of what is be Pagan/ Wiccan and true tolerance..is needed on larger scale, i do what i can,where i can..tho no so eloquently as you do..
Wud ya mind if I copied/paste yer findings on fictional church on the discussion thread ?