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Wren Wrants A-Z ...

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A PumkinHead in the White House

A Real Bad Day For Witchcraft

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Beating A Not-So-Hasty Retreat

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Breakfast Will Be Served In Fifteen Minutes...

Building a Circle of Trust

But What Will People Think?

By Their Furniture, Ye Shall Know Them

Caution: Restricted Area

Cleaning Out The Junk Drawer

Community Power Who Holds it?

Community Thoughts on Tempest Smith

Compelling without the Yelling

Confessions of a News Junkie

The Consistancy of Change...


Coping with Grief

Cramming It Down Our Throats...

Damned if you do and Damned if you don't

Declaring Your Personal Independence Day

Did Your World Change Too?

Dreaming in The Dark...

There is No Zuul

There's a Rabbit In The Moon...

Excavating the Dinosaur Altar

Fair Use, Copyright and the Pagan Net

Feeding Our Young

The First Day

Gather 'Round The Fire

Getting Back To Nature

Getting Back To Normal

Getting Rid of What Bugs You

Gifts That Keep On Giving...

The Giving Circle

Gods In A China Shop...

Good And Evil: In The Shadow Of Littleton And The Garden Of The Gods.

Good Will Toward Men

The Great Hamster Myth

Happy Beltaine!

Happy Brigid's Day Everyone!

The Heart of A Mechanic

Helping Hands

Helping Our Own

Hidden Hatred Haunts Pagans

Home is Where the Spirit Is

Homosexuality and Public Policy

The Household of Priests and Priestesses

If The Hissy Fits

In A Mirror Darkly...

In Your Dreams

The Internet Reaches beyond Washington

It All Happens Locally

It Is Your Destiny

It's Maypole Week 'Round the World

It's Tribal Time!

January Arrives Wearing A White Coat

Judging Amy -- Wren's Thoughts

Killed a Goat Today

Knot Charming

Learning How To Fly

Life With Mikey

Listening To The Story

Listening To The Woods

Living In A Banana Republic

Living Through A Drought

Logging On and Speaking Out!

The Long and Short Of It

The Love of Ordinary Things

Mabon... a Man for all Seasons

Magick's Arrow

Mamas, Don't let your Babies...

The Media Story Is Often Not The True One

Mercury Has Left the Building

Minding Your News P's and Q's

Mixed Blessings

NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.

Article Specs

Article ID: 4791

VoxAcct: 1

Section: wrenwalker

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 6,267

Times Read: 6,317

That's Our Road

Author: Wren
Posted: October 14th. 2002
Times Viewed: 6,317

Aragorn: "We cross the lake at nightfall, hide the boats and continue on foot. We approach Mordor from the north."

Gimli: "Oh? Just a simple matter of finding our way across Emyn Muil, an impassable labyrinth of razor-sharp rocks! And then it gets even better! Festering, stinking marshlands as far as the eye can see!"

Aragorn: "That is our road." *

I'm old. I'm not nearly as old as the characters of Aragorn or Gimli in Tolkien's, 'The Fellowship of the Ring', but I have been around the block more than a few times in my fifty-plus years as a Pagan. It's been an interesting journey. And while I'd say that I have probably not yet reached the venerable Bilboesque age when one can pen one's memoirs with a fair degree of closure, the approach of Samhain annually ushers in an urge towards retrospection that I find irresistible.

I think it oddly interesting -- as no doubt do some other 'lifers' in the Pagan communities -- that the resurgence of the popularity of 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy should come forth at this particular time. The last such instance of the Hobbit-mania that so held my friends and myself in Tolkien-quoting thralls occurred in the late sixties and early seventies. (I still have the 'Frodo Lives' button that I bought in Greenwich Village in 1968 kicking around here somewhere.) And it was during that same time frame that the American version of Paganism began to really garner some momentum as well.

Now, I am not saying that the one thing necessarily had anything to do with the other, but these two rather phenomenal cultural developments are forever linked together in my own reflections. There was a certain mood shared amongst my associates that I would be hard pressed to define with any sort of pinpoint precision. The best summation that I have ever been able to bring forth concerning the flavor of those times is this: The world was in a state of transition. The fortunes and tides were changing. And we who were there faced an uncertain future.

Governmental policies seemed often enough much like Emyn Muil's 'impassable labyrinths' as some of us protested the war in Vietnam. Kent State haunted us like a Wraith and the civil rights movement was still trickling through the fog that had cloaked the American psyche for decades. And we were being watched. There was no doubt about that. (I know that I was photographed by the F.B.I. more than once.) The 'eye' of the government had its hidden allies everywhere that we went. A healthy parcel of justifiable paranoia was something we all carried in our traveling gear. It was a poignant and pivotal time.

But lest we idealize those years a bit too much, it is essential to point out that we who lived it had no one grand vision for the future. Not really. It all could have gone either way. But we were at a crossroads and we knew it.

Some of us were peaceniks. Some of us were ROTC cadets. Some of us just 'tuned in and dropped out' altogether. Most of the young men were either desperately trying to maintain their student deferments or couldn't wait to be accepted into West Point. We almost all knew someone who was in Vietnam. Many of us knew someone who died there. The arguments were heated. The battle lines were marked by hair length and music as much as they were by peace signs and guns. One generation on the brink of change --divided even amongst itself -- was about to write a new chapter in the history books.

And we didn't have a clue as to what that might be.

At this same time, the American Witchcraft/Pagan communities also began to grow and to emerge into public view. Those who had traveled to England -- in order to be taught and initiated by the Traditions there -- returned with some 'old' lore and some new ideas. It was astonishing really how quickly these 'Mysteries' traveled and took hold. Groups with names still recognizable today sprang up across the country.

Not that it all was sweetness and light. The Witch Wars of those days would make any 'festering, sticking marshlands' smell like a rose garden by comparison. And there were, of course, still 'orcs' in the woods.

There were Religious fundamentalist orcs and the very worst kind of 'orcs' as Tolkien himself might agree. And so, because the woods were full of these orcs, we did manage to work together --this small, but growing company of diverse Pagans -- despite our many spiritual and philosophical differences.

We needn't -- and probably shouldn't -- idealize the early days of American Paganism. While certainly they gave rise to what most people now recognize as a viable spiritual alternative, back then we didn't have any one grand vision for the Pagan future. Not really. It all could have gone either way. But we were at a crossroads and we knew it.

Returning to the Company of the Ring, we find Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas standing upon the shore at Parth Galen and contemplating the future. Frodo and Sam are on their way to Mordor alone. Gandalf, the Wizard has 'fallen into darkness'. Boromir has 'departed' the company and the hobbits, Merry and Pippin, have been taken captive by orcs and worse things. To all outward appearances, The Fellowship has been broken and the mission has failed.

Yet still, each member of the company must decide what to do next. For the times remain perilous and the fate of the world is still uncertain. They each stand -- Or have stood. Or will stand -- at a crossroads. And each one knows it. The group severed, each hero now faces an individual choice and a decision that he must make alone.

There is today no one unified 'Pagan' movement. We come, much like Tolkien's Company, from diverse and very different religions and paths and cultures. We don't always agree. We still have a 'festering, stinking' marsh or two that could use some cleaning up. But we do stand at a crossroads in history and I think that most of us know it.

The world is once again in a state of transition. The tides and fortunes are changing. And we who are here face an uncertain future. What will we do? What will you do?

"...All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us..." **

And that is our road.

Wren Walker
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, October 7th., 2002

* The Fellowship of the Ring (Movie Script); Book Two, Chapter X-The Breaking of the Fellowship; Scene 1.
** 'Gandalf' in the Mines of Moria; FOTR (Movie Script); Book Two, Chapter IV-A Journey in the Dark; Scene 2 - Into the Mines.

Quotes above gratefully acknowledged as being from: The Quintessential Lord of the Rings Website.



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