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GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)
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Article ID: 13401
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The influence of paganism is everywhere and yet this word stirs up the ancient hatred, a brainwashing that has been going on for many hundreds of years, by as an illegitimate authority as there has ever been. My intention is not to preach to the pagan choir but to grab the attention of those who are seeking new answers. I want to explain to them that it is okay to be a pagan and to accept others that call themselves pagan. If you are, then have confidence in what you believe and "worship with exuberance" as Julian the last pagan emperor of Rome told the population, Christians and Pagans all. Go right in the yard and do a sun salutation. Instead of saying ‘thank god’, thank the Goddess.
Masons and Rosicrucians and all the other secret societies need to come forward and peel away the Christian facade of their organizations and let it be a secret no longer. There are many ways to seek the Creator or search for a truth to guide you. The Inquisition is over and the tolerance of the American people is beyond reproach. We cling to our freedom of speech as if it were life itself.
Paganism is just below the radar of the media and there are so many issues regarding our freedom of religion it will be like the 50's when the concept of race equality was a wildfire in the shag carpeting of the day, or like in 1919 when the American Congress actually had to debate the merits of allowing women to vote or like in 1834 one of the first organized strikes was started by child workers who went on strike to lower the workday to 11 hours.
Paganism suffers from so many glaring misconceptions in the folklore of our society that your average American will be shocked to realize that pagans are not evil after all and witches especially can be considered do-gooders. We need to act and pile on as the emergence of paganism begins to happen because people will see the vigorous opposition pagans get from an outspoken minority as we begin to surface. Open-minded tolerant Americans would be more supportive than we can imagine… and they are the actual majority.
Back in 1774 when Israel Putnam heard about the first battle of our revolutionary war he unhitched his horse from his plow and with the soil of his homeland on his boots and hands he rode off to join the fight for independence. Freedom of association, expression and the pursuit of happiness are compatible with pagan lifestyles whereas followers of patriarchal religions are not allowed to even use Tarot cards as one simple example. Writers such as Phyllis Orcutt in 'The Book of Shadows' and Alan Butler in 'The Goddess, the Grail and the Lodge' make a strong case that America was founded by masons, deists and free thinkers of every stripe.
Thomas Jefferson’s ‘God of Nature’, Washington's and others ‘Providence’, and the Masons’ deepest mysteries reflect the Goddess at Adelphi along with an acceptance of the god and the goddess together. The phrase ‘under God’ was only added in 1954 to the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance and ‘In God We Trust’ was added to money in the mid 1800's. If a religion was involved in the founding of the country, it was decidedly not the Christian religion.
Allow to me to add some early American History to show pagans that we have a stake in American freedoms:
With not a bishop in sight, George Washington took the oath of office in full Mason regalia. Thomas Paine echoed the sentiments of Edward Gibbon denouncing the attempt of religion to usurp the power that freedom brings. Edward Gibbon noting how Christianity usurped the power of Rome in a book he wrote at the time of the American Revolution. Thomas Paine, in his part of the world, denounced the steady insinuation of religious strictures that contrasted with the freedoms American colonists were seeking.
The Inquisition was still fresh in his 18th century mind. Among the first people of America, the Iroquois and Mohawk had governing charters that codified individual freedom. Women’s gifts were honored and women made certain important tribal decisions. There was a lot of friendliness and trade between the natives and the roughneck pioneers. It was the ‘elitists’ who actively promoted their slaughter. The Native Americans were seen as far too pagan to be managed and assimilated and, being extremely earth centered, they could never really be Christians.
The natives helped the Mayflower gang with their sissy preachers who were unprepared for life in the wilderness. Earlier than that in Jamestown, indentured servants helped the rich preppies in an attempt to settle Virginia. After the rich dudes left for England one cold winter, the workers fled to purportedly live with the Croatans, a nearby Indian tribe, and were never seen again.
The arriving black slaves were forcibly converted (Yemaya and voodoo went underground or mixed with Christianity in some cases) and the red genocide was instrumental in bringing down the Great Spirit who ruled our continent. Today, pagan expression of the black and red people needs to be free to flourish once again as guaranteed by our constitution.
There are thirteen pentagrams on our flag in a circle, thirteen stars and stripes. This despite “13” being considered an unlucky number. It is well known Lady Liberty represents a goddess and Washington D.C. is laid out as an outdoor Mason Lodge. Our first four presidents were downright antagonistic to the pesky preachers pontificating their pernicious platitudes.
Our American mythology carefully sidesteps the pagan aspects of what actually happened. But there is a clue in the Bible: The meek shall inherit the earth. Well, guess who the meek are? The conquered people, the people whose cultures included many goddesses, and yes.... when I say the pledge of allegiance I say ‘one nation under the goddess’. The people once pushed aside are today on the rise.
Plymouth Massachusetts became the first permanent European town in 1620 and other settlements began on the nearby east coast. The Puritans were a dominant force and despite escaping the clutches of tyrannical royalty they proceeded to impose a ridiculously restrictive theocracy on themselves when they got here. If you said a curse word and you were found out, you might get your tongue nailed to a board in the center of town.
It wasn't long before people tired of this religious extreme and the tally-ho of English elitists became the westward-ho of those disenchanted with the Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Thus began the westward movement in this country. Many pioneers were handier with an ax than a Bible and these unsung heroes never wrote down their history. These non-Puritans were agriculturally independent and self-sufficient working slobs who were ruled by good spirits and generally mingled with the natives and the Indians were welcoming.
Then there is the case of Thomas Morton. He was a rich dude yet spirited and fun loving. He and his mates wanted to grow their town after they started it in 1624. He often mocked Miles Standish and his Puritan Stormtroopers but when he erected America’s first Maypole to show the local maidens how to party in 1626, he was finally banished and deported. Exuberant pagan joy needed to be crushed at every turn. The war had begun, the war to banish paganism in the New World. The friendly Native pagans unfortunately were not aware that the war was already over a thousand years old and the faith based genocide and deforestation had landed on their shores.
Encouraged by a Podunk Chief whose tribe were settled on the east side of the Connecticut River, settlers explored the west side and founded a Dutch trading post in 1632 at the future site of Wethersfield. In 1633, the first permanent settlement was built in Windsor. In 1634, Wethersfield became the first incorporated town and in 1635, an area between the two towns, Hartford was founded. Wethersfield, Windsor and Hartford commingled in trade and held town meetings and in 1639 banded together into what they called, "One Publick state or commonwealth".
Inspired by Thomas Hookers iconoclastic sermons, Roger Ludlow drew up a document for governing this new organization and called it The Fundamental Orders and he created what has been praised as the first practical constitution to declare, "The foundation of authority rests with the free consent of the people." Also at that time in 1636 Roger Williams said the king had no right claim native lands and was banished for his efforts and went south to Rhode Island where he started his town through legal means, purchasing land from the Narragansetts at fair value.
By 1662, the Connecticut Colony was a proud and thriving region. The locally appointed governor sailed across the pond to visit the King Of England and they discussed commerce and other logical things. Meanwhile, most of the population paid lip service to the preachers who were whipping up an anti-native frenzy. To Christians, the New World was filled with pagans, and a popular T-shirt back then would have been, "So little time, so many pagans to smite."
These moral high ground hypocrites saw the native population as troublesome and ungovernable and sought their extinction from the start. Yet, the population began drifting away from this religious extreme and according to Richard Hofstadter, a famous historian, by 1750 only one in seven had a religious affiliation. (An important statistic to those seeking to counter the urban legend that this country was founded by Christians.)
Justice for all had to begin somewhere, it had to begin somehow and these pioneers left us an enduring structure that has led to freedom for all today.
In 1687 a new king, James the second, threw a fit when he heard about the Fundamental Orders and stated thusly, "Authority is created from the free consent of the People!! This is an outrage!!" He appointed a new governor, Sir Edmund Andros, to sail to the Connecticut Colony and demand they give up their precious charter, the now controversial Fundamental Orders. Upon arriving, Andros endured a town meeting and listened to people rant and rave about his appointment and authority.
Meeting day fell on Halloween and as evening wore on candles were lit at the center of a large table. Apparently either some magic happened or the town narcoleptic fell asleep at the main table and knocked the candles over and the room went dark and the original copy of the Fundamental Orders that was in plain view had disappeared even though no one left the meeting. Tradition states that the charter was thrown out the window to someone on horseback and hidden in a giant oak tree. As years went by, the hidden charter was a source of pride and mystery and an important part of the fuel that built our 1776 revolutionary machine.
That hiding place, that infamous tree, became known as the Charter Oak. The state of Connecticut chose this symbol for its state quarter as representative of its ideals. As a pagan whose path is influenced by Europeans who venerated the oak and often built shrines nearby or had eternal fires near them, this was a triumphant moment. Then further research shows that the local native people used this very same oak as their guide to planting corn.
As land was being cleared near the tree, in 1646, the local natives pleaded with the farmer not to cut this tree because the tree was their guide. When the leaves were the size of mouse ears on the consecrated tree they did their planting and he obliged them. This famous symbol of defiance, the Charter Oak, already an old tree, should also be a pagan symbol of the America we need for the future.
Sacred sites desecrated, statues and altars destroyed; shrines and wells and caves defiled and ancient trees and sacred groves incinerated: everywhere in the world that pagans prayed and loved and appreciated the goddesses and gods has been under attack. While the free consent of the people to express themselves as a witch or druid is denied anywhere in this country, then the full flowering of the Constitution has not occurred.
Yes, it may take some time but the millennium of patriarchy, war and slavery has begun to shift into our peaceful spiritual future of the Pagan Millennium.
From my book unpublished as of now-
Copyright: Copyright 2008
Location: Indian River County, Florida
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