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Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Nov. 17, 2002   This Page Viewed: 6,006,895  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 22

Lurker/Post Ratio: 1489 to 1

Question of the Week: 71 - 12/17/2001

How Do YOU View the Balance of Light and Dark?

As the Solstices approach, what are your views on the lessons that we might learn about darkness and light? What does the natural turning of the seasons mean to you? What insights might you share about the spiritual aspects of light and dark? How does the balance now stand within your own personal spiritual path and in the world at large? What have your experiences of light and dark taught you?

 Reponses:   There are 22 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 


This Is A Very Significant Time For Me. I've Been Searching For... Dec 15th. at 3:01:30 pm UTC

Kim (Maple Ridge, British Columbia CA) Age: 29 - Email


This is a very significant time for me. I've been searching for my path for years and I'm testing the waters. I've been avoiding the work for a long time but I'm realizing that it's time now. It has been really hard for me to have balance of any kind in my life. I have to be self taught since there was no balance growing up either. I've got two beautiful daughters that I want to be an example to. It seems when I'm in the dark, I struggle against the light, and when I'm in the light I struggle against the dark. It's been a constant struggle. In the summer I'm too hot and in the winter I'm too cold. I'm looking in every corner for the answers but I'm blind. Every year at Yule there is a huge change in my life. Until recently I didn't realize that. Remember, this is new to me. I've been drawn to this place for so long. I'm not sure how to begin. All I know is that if I let go of the struggle something in me or out of me pulls me forward. But there is still the Darkness. Soon the Light will be born and intuitively I feel that in me too. I'm hoping that the turn of the seasons will teach me something about the spiritual and emotional balance in my life. Right now I'm beginning a process of finding friends with interests like mine. It's hard since it seems we are a minority. My thinking goes very deep and I try to change the way people think. But it's a place that few people go, or even want to go. The light is a very scary place. Too many people think the darkness is the light but they are confused by centuries of brainwashing. Will we ever be able to change that? It makes me very sad. I think recent events have woke up alot of people. There has been alot of change of thinking lately, but is it enough? Will these changes create more questions and more changes in beliefs? I believe it will send a few people further into the darkness but maybe the majority are starting to search for the answers, for the light. I feel a huge shift in the conciousness of the world. It's almost overwhelming to me. Is it my imagination? As you can see I have a million questions to ask. I haven't yet found anyone to talk to. Before I started searching I felt very alone, but now I'm hopeful.


I've Dealt With My Share Of Some Of The Everyday Darkness People... Dec 15th. at 2:58:55 am UTC

Rashel Neely (aka Kat) (Edgewood, Washington US) Age: 18 - Email


I've dealt with my share of some of the everyday darkness people can produce, and no matter what they always seem to be able to show some light too. We all go through our stages the dark to the light and back again.... as the world turns...
It takes time I suppose to see it all as a whole, I'm getting there... I hope... Sometimes life sucks, but if you stick it out and play along for awhile beautiful things can happen... in my case... I found I can love again...
I've learned to (almost) always give someone a second chance, and if they break your trust again forget them and live a better life without them. I've learned that no matter how broken your heart is it can heal with the right friends and the right future significant other. I've learned that just when I want to give up all hope that my God and Goddess have more in store for me. I've learned that life is infinately precious, both for the good And the bad.
I've truly learned... that I love life.


This, Indeed Is A Question Perplexing Many, I Am Sure. Balance Is... Dec 14th. at 11:14:50 pm UTC

Matthew Emel (Fort Wayne , Indiana US) Age: 38 - Email


This, Indeed is a question perplexing many, I am sure. Balance is something just as necessary as air, and water, earth and fire. It is as illusive as the Faeries at dusk, or the Pot of Gold at the end of the Rainbow. I, Personally, as a Wiccan, and more over, as a human being search for balance in everything. Every minute of every day, in one way or another, balance is sought. Whether it be engaging in conversation with a loved one, assisting someone learning the difficult lessons of life, or simply the quiet times, thinking to myself how fast this life is going, and how growing older seems to be inevitable. Balance. Even-ness. One side weighing the same as the other in order to create the harmonious existance of a level surface. I learned the game of searching for balance at a young age. I often envied the circus performers who could walk the tight rope, or could juggle more than two things at a time...(sometimes I still envy them). I used to practice with whatever I could lay my hands on, in order to find the very point at which all things were "status quo". Hmmm, Wren, I think you've indeed hit upon something there...If you think about it; everything has a balancing point...even a circle. Because of gravity, everything must have a centre of balance. This, I practiced time after time, healing each time I did not find balance with large and heavy objects. Balance...the silvery mercury of existance. Balance in Nature, Balance in the Mundane...of this, I am sure we are all aware...If the Rabbit is killed for my food, what will the fox eat? If I fail to balance my check book, what will the bank do...(don't ask, and I won't tell!) If we are to attain balance in any of these things, we must reason to ourselves what shall we place ourselves between in order to make both sides equal? Shall I spend five bucks at McDonalds? Or should I save it, and pay for the kids' lunch for the week? Shall I eat the salad instead of the Rabbit? Night and Day somehow holds the answer to our quest. It seems to balance itself out in just the right measure, no matter where you are, even where it is light six months out of the year and dark for the same time. It still balances out. The changing of the seasons holds the answer to our quest. I like warm weather. Somehow, tho, when I feel the first tinges of Old Man Winter's Icy Fingers brush my neck, I sigh and gladly welcome the slight repreave from the God's smile. Yes, Indeed, Wren; When we hide our Light under the bushel basket, we indeed are blind to the path that we trod. Should we shine our lights, unmistakably, we will be seen. It is then, a matter of what we are willing to put ourselves in the middle of, that determines how we shall balance the Light and the Dark...remember one cannot exist without the other, however; one is just as useful as the other. We depend on both, one for our workings, and one for our resting and contact with the other realms. Hmmm, Balance! Quite the interesting concept.


I've Pondered Upon This All Week And I Drew The Following Conclusion... Dec 14th. at 3:50:00 pm UTC

Ciarrai (Somewhere In Middlesex County, New Jersey US) Age: 34 - Email


I've pondered upon this all week and I drew the following conclusion: I'm in the dark and I guess I fear the light. I think that the current state of the world at large is making me more aware of the light; not the dark.


I View The Balance Of Light And Dark On A Personal Level... Dec 13th. at 8:48:58 pm UTC

mik63033 (ferguson, Missouri US) Age: 41 - Email


I view the balance of light and dark on a personal level. Read: character and ethics. I'm mainly referring to myself trying to find the right mix 'cause I do believe there's a time for both.

With the solstices, We can enjoy the beautiful blend of literal life with symbolism. Yuletide brings us the longest night - Midwinter. It also brings us the hope and promise of a brighter tomorrow, even more the next day, and so on. 'Til We get to Midsummer - which reminds us to make hay while the sun shines, so to speak.

What the natural turning of the seasons means to me is time to check my internal clocks. Out with the old. In with the new. Review. Phases.

What insights might I share about the spiritual aspects of light and dark? I dunno about "insights" so I'll give my opinion. And it goes back to the personal. The personality. And the need for both light and dark therein; sometimes the need for violence or righteous indignation in self-defense or the defense of others (really have to watch this one, don't want the cosmic boomerang coming back at me trip'ly hard). More often, the need for healing, by spreading the love and light. People who have an even peace about them never cease to amaze and usually humble me. I'm like, what kind of Yoga are THEY doing? Or are they simply walking their walk.

But as I say, I do see the need for both, not equal amounts of course, but both. My own balance can be pretty precarious. I always keep my Majick clean, even during a Binding (non-violent visualization). It's my personality I've got to tap from time to time to keep the right perspective I find (and maybe tap into some Bio-feedback)? It's just that being Glenda the Good takes so much energy! For me anyway. Still, I know The Rede is important so I try to follow it.

As far as the rest of the world goes, let's just say I hope Nostradamus was wrong. That and, generally, humanity is out of balance. Always has been, always will be (hopefully). The world's scale is stuck and in need of some serious W-D40.

My experiences with light and dark have taught me that the two can indeed compliment each other at times. And everything in it's time, in due course. Hold on.

Smooches and
HAPPY YULE! Y'all



As The Solstice Comes Nearer This Year, I'm More Looking Forward To... Dec 13th. at 2:48:04 pm UTC

Lynne-Renee (rural STL, Missouri US) Age: 30 - Email


As the Solstice comes nearer this year, I'm more looking forward to the pendulum swinging toward the light than any other time.

I'm usually comfortable with dealing with the hidden things and in-looking and I see the release and relief in destruction. This doesn't mean I don't grieve for people or things. It means I hold hope.

This year I'm sure I've had enough of the violence of transformation; the pain, pressure, and passage of birth; the culling. I need to be reassured there will be a new day, the first steps which become jubilant screeches and whoops of laughter and running and growing strong and new.

Cerridwen is my Mother but I find I'm enamoured with Mary as I look at my Christian friends' decorations. I won't, though, "become" Christian due to my own and the world's tragedy.

Luckily I was taught a Way which allows me to embrace That Which I need.

Regarding the opening article, I understood Wren to be talking about those who focus on being/creating negative/negativity. There's a difference between change, rebirth, and "I'm sending this flaming sack of poo to you." "Oh, and while I'm at it, 'Screw anyone who has a different idea than I.'"

My interpretation, of course.
Cheers!


The Balance Between Light And Dark Is Just Fine For The Salesperson... Dec 13th. at 10:21:51 am UTC

self (St.Petersburg, Florida US) Age: 34


The balance between light and dark is just fine for the salesperson who sells both Wiccan "white light" bath Crystals and LHP Demonic Sigil Tee-shirts.


I'm Happy To See People Taking Issue Less With The Issue (if... Dec 12th. at 4:23:06 pm UTC

Cat (Asheville, North Carolina US) Age: 34


I'm happy to see people taking issue less with the issue (if you'll pardon the usage) than with the language we're using to describe it. (In magic as in many things, language, if not everything, is an awful lot.) I've been thinking a lot about this language lately, in part because of the "Dark Side of the Craft" topic on the essays and in part because we as followers of earth-based religions aren't that much more consistent than our dualistic counterparts in Christian Central. Light and Dark sometimes mean, literally, light and dark; day and night; and in this usage, few of us have trouble saying they're both valid and both "good." Sometimes they mean what is shown and what is hidden; sometimes they mean life and death, both with benefits, but the latter not needing much help from most of us to do its thing (as Barbara Hambly says, entropy always wins.) Still other times, we use them as our counterparts do, to mean respectively what's good (love, faith, strength, comfort, anti-entropy at least during our brief lives) and what's pretty indisputably bad (hurting people just 'cause, seeking power-over rather than power-to, Emperor Palpatine, and so on.) Once-common usages like "the left-hand path" don't add much clarity, especially for the lefties among us.

Until we've got this linguistic difficulty sorted out, misunderstandings are almost inevitable. I took Wren's use of "dark" to mean Stuff That's Bad for Most of Us--not the practitioner who seeks to confront the hidden side of her psyche, nor the very kind-hearted person who cleans up the graveyard, nor those who worship the divine in its aspect as Reaper. And the Stuff that she said was Bad For Most of Us was pretty reasonable, boiling down as it does to apathy and despair. Worshipping those is a personal choice people have a right to (and certainly isn't limited to pagans!) but I don't think most of us approve of the choice.

So...(plot summary coming up) I think language has a lot to do with how we view this balance, and which definition we're using determines which view of the balance I'd give you, if I had room. Speaking for myself, no, I don't think apathy and despair are necessary to any "balance" in any faith (though I'm way too prone to them myself) and I don't think they deserve worship. I think it's good to oppose our lives to those things whole-heartedly, and, if they were what comprised the "dark", to align ourselves with the light.


Those Who Choose To Walk In The Light And Remain Centered In... Dec 12th. at 3:16:09 pm UTC

Alyxandria Rae (Fremont, California US) Age: 29 - Email


Those who choose to walk in the light and remain centered in the midst of tragedy and chaos are the same people who can really help to heal the world. And our world is sorely in need of some healing. The energy that you send out returns to you at least three-fold if not more. The angrier we are and the more aggressively we attack others, the more likely we are to be attacked. In the end, no one wins.

I think the phrase, "Think globally. Act locally." applies here. While I personally may not be able to stop the war in which we are enmeshed as a country, I can certainly help people in my community and send out positive light and energy as much as possible. With all that has been happening in the World, it's not surprising that many groups are forming to send out light: spiritual groups concentrating their energy on healing the world, independent media groups concentrating on shedding light on the real issues (which the mainstream media doesn't want us to know), and community groups working diligently to improve the world by taking one small step at a time.

Personally, I cannot wait to see how much better our world becomes in the next year as more and more people band together and work as a team. Even the crash of the financial market has positive aspects. Instead of thinking in a rigid financial hierarchy, now the playing field is level (in a sense) and we are realizing (again) that we are all human and we are all equal and we are all in this together!

May light and love fill the world.


This Is A Far Deeper Question Than It Might Appear On The... Dec 12th. at 7:22:12 am UTC

John ("New Naumkeag", Ohio US) Age: 34 - Email


This is a far deeper question than it might appear on the surface. And I just don't have the energy to respond to it properly. So here it goes, my very imperfect gist of an answer.

Light and dark represent to me an experience in Nature of the nature of human perception of reality. It's what Hindus call "maya" - the experience that things seem to be separate.

Light and dark thus also are an experience of the fundamental balance in all that is a by-product of being finite: pain/pleasure, good/evil, action/reaction, and so on. That doesn't mean that pain, good, action, etc. are synonyms; it means only that there is a balance in all that we commonly perceive: a kind of echo of perception coming back at us to tell us that reality as we perceive it is a closed-system of finitude.

Light and dark are thus also a powerful symbol to me of the perspective of the One that we who are finite and with our limited perceptions necessarily have: the One as Being that is also Becoming. Some would express this as Shiva-Shakti, some as Kali-Shiva, some as Goddess and God, some as the Yin-Yang, and so on. For me, the Two are just an impression of the One. Put another way, most times when I can see the moon in the sky, I can usually see all of it -the dark and the light-regardless of phase.

Dark and light, especially as illustrated by Nature around us in the phases of the Moon or in the seasons, carry definite physical and metaphysical effects. These can often carry over into times of waning and waxing in human affairs. Treating waning and waxing, Dark and Light, as synonymous with good and evil, however, I think is an error of superficiality, though perhaps an understandable one.

In sum, I treat Dark and Light as reminders to realize the One that Truly is not separate, that is infinite, that is both and beyond Being-Becoming, That Is.

Shanti and Blessed Be.

--John


I'm Still Not Very Comfortable With The Concept That Light=good And... Dec 12th. at 12:03:56 am UTC

Fishgoat (Whitehorse) Age: 37 - Email


I'm still not very comfortable with the concept that Light=good and Dark=bad. I thought that the Wiccans at least were not into dualistic thinking. It also seems a little too racist for me.

Ther are good things in the Dark, the hidden places of our pyshe. There are dangerous and harmful things in the Light. And vice versa.

We need both. We need a balance. We need the dark. Thinking ourselves only of "the light" gives us leave to disown that "icky/scary/disapproved of" part of ourselves we'd rather keep hidden. Once we label that part "not-me" we abdicate our responsibility for it, and our subsequent actions. We create a "boogeyman" (democrats/communists/witches/fate/the gods/my crappy childhood/mom/whatever) on which to blame our problems. Scapegoating becomes a way of life.

What we fear within ourselves often masks our greatest strength. As Starhawk wrote: "Where there is fear there is power."

Let us delve into ourselves and find our neglected strengths. Let us also abandon the dualistic thinking of Light/dark (white/black, good/bad) and remember polarity, remember that there is a myriad of colourful experiences btween the two extremes.

Between the "words" is truly a powerful place. :)


I Must Admit I Was A Bit Offended When The Essay On... Dec 11th. at 11:06:55 pm UTC

Lupa (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania US) Age: 23 - Email


I must admit I was a bit offended when the essay on the front page of Witchvox this week included a sweeping statement about followers of the Dark that included--get this--"ooky-spooky." Is this how all practitioners of Left Hand Paths are viewed? The pseudo-goth version of fluffy-bunnies? No wonder the Dark is so misunderstood! As I am typing, my loving LHP pagan partner and fiance (and the Dark balance to my Lighter practice) is happily cleaning up our arts-n-crafts room wearing a t-shirt, sweat pants and a string of quartz crystals that he happened to find (gotta love shiny things ;) He has never yet called me a fluffy-bunny; he respects the validity of my path as I do his. He doesn't sacrifice animals or cast curses--and he hardly buys into the victim mentality, for despite life's tribulations he is a person of much inner strength and compassion.For example, when he visits a graveyard it is not to desecrate or invoke harmful things, but to fix turned-over stones, pick up litter, sketch the landscape, and show respect with the aspect of the Life Cycle that he feels closest to--it may not bring much change to the living, but the dead in these places appreciate the honour. Of course, you're just as likely to find him at home with our ferrets crawling all over him. Not very scary, is he? Neither is the Dark, if you don't buy into the "evil" stereotypes. As many other respondents have claimed, the Dark is only the balance of the Light. Between the two, the balance brings about the necessary changes and cycles. Yes, "bad" things happen, but without them we wouldn't appreciate the good. Without destruction, there is no room for new creation. And the keepers of the Dark are as necessary as those of the Light--never mind the "fluffy-bunny" and "ooky-spooky" stereotypes. In fact, the perpetuation of these stereotypes simply escalates. Until each "side" sees the other for what it truly is instead of playing one-upsmanship and pointing the blame for the state of the world the balance will always be off among us.


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