Pagan Response to Racism

shutterstock_104520869Crystal Blanton is one of my favorite Pagans. She has been a tireless activist voice within the Pagan community and beyond it. Her focus has been speaking up for those marginalized by society at large, primarily focusing on People of Color, but also focusing on issues around class, gender, and sexuality.

Recently there have been several high-profile cases of unarmed Black men being killed by police officers, and despite the fact that there was evidence that the Black men were not resisting, or evidence (including video in some cases) that the police were using excessive or inappropriate force, the police officers were not charged with murder.

What does this have to do with Pagans? The issue is that Paganism is a minority religion. We’re used to being persecuted, and many Pagans jump at the chance to defend other Pagans from being unfairly treated. The Pagan community has long been a refuge for other minorities, such as GLBTQ community members. Yet, in a recent Facebook post, Crystal spoke up about the silence of Pagan organizations on issues of race. And that silence is something that is worth speaking about.

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Boundaries, Events, and Event Planning

5984468_xlRecently Circle Sanctuary opened up registrations for Pagan Spirit Gathering, or PSG. However, in the ongoing process of hosting large-scale events, sometimes the event organizers have to change things. In the Pagan community, announcements of any change in how an event is run leads to feedback both positive and negative.

This post isn’t about PSG so much as it is about Pagans and Pagan events, and in specific, it’s about boundaries, accessibility, and the related challenges within event hosting in the Pagan community.

As a specific case study, PSG will no longer allow people to attend just the closing weekend of the traditionally week-long festival. The announcement sparked a 200-comment thread (and additional threads) with all of the types of things that I would expect, having attended and run many events. Some posts were supportive, some angry, some whiny, some downright confrontational.

As a Pagan event planner, I absolutely resonate with why Circle made this decision for PSG. But understanding the why–and the issues people have with the decision–is crucial for us to explore as a community.

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Sexual Initiation, Discrimination, Consent, and Rape

Shauna Aura Knight:

I’m reblogging my post from Pagan Activist on the topic of sexual initiation, discrimination, consent, and rape.

Originally posted on Pagan Activist:

shutterstock_162051386I have heard from many people who felt pressured to undergo a sexual initiation with a teacher, coven leader, or other person in a leadership position. And by definition, if someone’s been pressured into sex, that’s not consent. It’s rape.

I believe in transparency so I want to be clear I debated with myself about posting on this topic. Why? Specifically because I have never belonged to a tradition that conveys mysteries/initiation through sex.

I’ve been accused of “destroying Wicca” with some of my blog posts about sex and consent, so I felt it was important to explore this topic. As with any of these big questions, I’m left with more questions than answers.

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What is a Magician?

shutterstock_119862811I’ve been asking the question “What is magic” for rather a while now. I tried answering it over a series of blog posts (referenced at the end) but I still come down to some challenges with the word. Then I asked myself, “Well, what is a magician?” And for me, that question is far easier to answer.

What is a magician? A magician is one who understands the inner workings of the universe.  Magician, wizard, shaman, witch, priest, priestess…there are a lot of words for this. However, overall it’s someone who knows the mysteries. Let’s look into what that actually means.

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Why do Ancestor Work?

Shauna Aura Knight:

Another great post from Tim Titus. This one explores how Ancestor work can become a little complicated, and yet, also explores some of the reasons to do this type of spiritual work.

Originally posted on Intersections:

Yesterday, my friend Erick DuPree posted a very thoughtful piece on embracing the secular Halloween and avoiding the ancestor reverence that is so important to many pagans and witches this time of year.  In a very touching way, Erick discussed his troubled history with his father and his wish to separate himself from the misogyny and racism that permeates his family line.  That same misogyny and racism is likely to pollute the family line of every person of European descent, including myself, so that is a decision I can fully understand.

Yet, I feel like there are still reasons to do ancestor work.  Don’t get me wrong – I’ve never been very good at ancestor work.  I have an ancestor altar at which I pay my respects daily, but I don’t do nearly as much work contacting my family on the other side as many other witches do.  I’m just…

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Reblog: Your Hate Has Made You Powerful

A while back I blogged this over on Temet Nosce but thought I’d reblog it here:

download (1)There’s a quote from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi that has nagged at me for years. In my 20′s, it was an inspiring quote that brought a lot of energy to me when the chips were down and I was fighting the good fight.

After I did a lot of feminist leadership training, I reversed my opinion on the line: “Your hate has made you powerful.”

Here’s what has itched at me.  Hate is “bad,” right? So why is it some of my greatest creative bursts come when I’ve been enraged enough to see red? I have painted large murals in mere hours when fueled by my wrath…I have felt that hot, dark pulse of creative inspiration in a moment of anger.

But if I am feeling hate, then I’m not a spiritually-developed, balanced person, right?

…..read the rest here:
http://www.temetnosce.org/2014/04/29/your-hate-has-made-you-powerful/

Reblog: The Perfect Victim

I’m reblogging this post that is an excellent articulation of the cycle of abuse, and it does a great job of also articulating the fallacy of the perfect victim. I know a lot of folks out there are trying to wrap their brains around abuse, and why people stay with their abuser, and how could they be so weak…and also, how could they possibly have been abused if they are larger or stronger or smart or if they talk back. Read this article if you want some insight into that. I, too, am an “imperfect victim.”

“The perfect victim is a white, cisgender, straight woman.  She’s smaller than her abuser, who is a man.  She never says anything cruel or unfair that might “provoke” him.  She’s supportive and loving, meek and gentle.  Her abuser is violently physical, and she finally leaves when he hurts her so badly that it opens her eyes.  She has to protect her children.  Or maybe just herself; that might be okay. She certainly never, ever hits back. She is as rare as a unicorn, and the rest of us, we imperfect victims, are deemed unworthy of compassion and support by comparison. “

http://fat-abi.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-perfect-victim.html