paganpaul: (Default)
I found this article and I just have to share it.


Pagan youth service uses world of Avatar to pray for our own
By Kathy Nance

I have been looking for a way to add a hopeful note to all the despair we all feel about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. My last post was so despairing–as was I.

The children have led me to that hopeful place.

At this weekend’s St. Louis Pagan Picnic in Tower Grove Park, the young people from Four Winds Fellowship will dedicate their annual youth-led service to healing the

The Four Winds Fellowship children's service will refer to the spiritual connection with nature portrayed in the movie "Avatar."

Earth. The ritual begins at 1 p.m.

Martha, the adult who helped the children and teens put the ritual together, said that the intent is both to heal the planet and to help people rediscover and strengthen their connection to it.

The kids decided to frame the ritual around the movie Avatar. It’s something they’ve all seen, Martha said, and something they thought would be familiar to anyone who happened to come to the ritual, whether they are Pagan or not.

“In Avatar, the Na’avi are connected to the all. And that’s something we’ve lost. So many people don’t feel that connection in any way in their daily life,” Martha said.

So the young High Priestess will wear a green gown trimmed with leaves, and call the spirit of Gaia, whom the Greeks honored as the Mother of All Things. And who is honored in our times in the form of the Gaia Hypothesis, which teaches that we all are part of one living being: Gaia, the Earth.

The young High Priest will wear a green vest, furry trousers, and suede boots to call the spirit of Pan, Greek God of rustic people and places, of both the shepherds who protect the sheep, and the wild things in the forest. The God whose name means, “All.”

The four classical elements, Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, will be honored. I asked Martha about the role Water will have.

Martha said the young man calling Water will talk about how our bodies are mostly water. And that the same water that is in us falls to the earth, flows into streams, and into the ocean, then back again as rain. That it connects us all.

I love that image. I have been thinking a great deal about the fact that our blood has the same salinity as the sea. That each of us begins life swimming in our own private ocean. That science tells us life on earth began in the sea. And that so many of our creation stories begin with the sea, with a primal Ocean Mother. Or with a sky god hovering over the deep waters, speaking, “Let there be light.”

It is as though the stories we made to explain how we all came to be carry within them the memory of our first homes.

And I think that is why so many of us are paralyzed with despair or frozen with anger at this tragedy in the Gulf. The ocean calls to us on a cellular level, whether we hear Her consciously or not. It’s like I wrote in my previous post about Avatar–just because we can’t see the connection with the naked eye as the Na’avi did doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

And so, the young people of Four Winds Fellowship and anyone who wants to join them will link arms Saturday afternoon. And they will roll their bodies forward at the waist, around in a circle, as the Na’avi did when beseeching Eywa, their own All-Mother, for aid. And the prayer will go out that we all can begin to feel the invisible cords of energy that connect all living beings. And that somehow, the hurts of Earth, Ocean and Sky can be healed, and the Balance restored.

(Original article is online here.)
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paganpaul: (GreenMan)

On Sunday, 31st of January 2010, there was a television discussion on BBC2 with the subject "Is Paganism more relevant than Christianity?"

In the panel were members of several Pagan groups, and people from Muslim and Christian organisations.

The discussion, which was led very well, revolved around the question if Paganism was becoming a religious practice that should be considered more seriously by the other 'large' (monotheistic) religions.

It was interesting to witness the several ways that Christians and also Muslims view Paganism. Despite all the work that Pagan organisations have done and still are doing, some people are still clinging to the old views that Pagans are communing with the Devil or other spirits deemed evil.

And again there was the great confusion about what Paganism is. A Christian man said that he had looked at a website and had found "at least fifteen explanations of what a Druid is, and some of them were conflicting.”

For some reason, it remains impossible for many Christians to understand that Paganism is not comparable to their own religion. And that is something that intrigues me since this television broadcast.

Christians are confused by the plenitude of paths in Paganism. There are witches, Wiccans in all kinds and forms, Asatru, Druids, Germanic followers, Italian Strega witches; you name it and we have it. And what you don't name is probably there too, somewhere.

How interesting then, that Pagans don't seem confused by Christianity. After all, it all began as a Jewish sect, and now there are Baptists, Reformed, Protestants, Catholics, Trinitarians, non-Trinitarians, Lutherans in several forms, Evangelistic-

 

Why did I stop here? I assume that is obvious. They are all Christians. Basically they all do the same thing while calling themselves something else, next to being Christian. We are all Pagans, and basically we all do the same thing. And many of us call ourselves something else, next to being Pagan.

This raises the question with me why Christians insist that Paganism is hard to understand while Pagans don't seem to have so much a problem with Christianity. I assume that most Christians are not that so aware of other factions in their own camp; that they mainly focus on their own path.

Pagans who flock together can hardly avoid people that follow other paths. The beauty in Paganism is that this is appreciated. There hardly ever is anyone calling out that this is better, or that is worse. There is difference, and it is accepted.

Paganism, for me, still stands for unity in diversity. Please, let us keep it that way.

And to come back to the question above the reason for the BBC television broadcast:

Yes. I think that Paganism is certainly a religious practice that should be considered more seriously by the other 'large' (monotheistic) religions. It's about time.

April 2012

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