Articles/Essays From Pagans
September 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
Weeds and Seeds
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
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March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
My Concept Of Grey
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
The Gods of My Heart
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
Pagans All Around Us
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
A Microcosmic View of Ma'at
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
Abandoning Expectations and Remembering Your Roots
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
September 20th. 2014 ...
GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)
September 7th. 2014 ...
Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
A Strange Waking Dream
August 24th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
August 17th. 2014 ...
To Know, to Will, to Dare...
On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows
August 10th. 2014 ...
As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?
The Power of the Gorgon
August 3rd. 2014 ...
Are You a Natural Witch?
You Have to Believe We Are Magic...
July 27th. 2014 ...
Did I Just Draw Down the Moon?
Astrological Ages and the Great Astrological End-Time Cycle
The New Jersey Finishing School for Would-Be Glamour Girls and Boys
July 20th. 2014 ...
Being an Underage Wiccan
Greed, Power, Witches, and the Inquisition
Malleus Maleficarum - The Hammer of the Witches
Thoughts on Ghost Hunting
July 13th. 2014 ...
A World Of Witchcraft: Belief Is Only The Beginning...
From Christian to Pagan (Part III)
My Wiccan Ways...
July 6th. 2014 ...
Keys: Opening the Portals into Other Worlds
The Lore of the Door
Leaves of Love
June 29th. 2014 ...
What Does the Bible Say About Witches and Pagans?
Everything's Alright, Yes: Mary Magdalene
Are You My Familiar ?
Invocations of the God and Goddess
Results Magic and the Moral Compass
June 22nd. 2014 ...
Witchcraft vs. Religion
Christianity and Paganism: Why All Of the Fighting?
June 15th. 2014 ...
Becoming Your Own Wise One
Canine Familiars: Role of the Alpha
June 8th. 2014 ...
Moral Relativism and Wicca
Paganism in Cebu, Philippines
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
The Importance of Belief (Or The Sun is Not a Ball of Gas)
Article ID: 14621
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Fire Lyte
Posted: June 12th. 2011
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Recently, while browsing the depths of the ‘Watch Instantly’ section of Netflix in the Fantasy genre, I came across a movie called The Color of Magic. For those of you that are fans of UK author Terry Pratchett, I offer up my humble apology for having never read his books or seen any of the movies based on his books until now. I realize what a grievous error I have committed. After coming to the same conclusion everybody else seems to have over the past 3 decades - that Pratchett’s Discworld is a delightfully humorous, magical world worth visiting as often as possible - I found my way to another story from the world on top of 4 elephants on top of a massive turtle, The Hogfather.
I have never loved a Christmas/holiday movie as much, I think, as I loved The Hogfather. It was as hilarious and original as it was sincere and touching. The originality of having the character of Death wind up playing Santa is just about the best combination of ludicrous and fantastic as I’ve seen in quite some time.
But, this isn’t a “go out and by this movie” article. Though you should. Right now. In fact, you can stop reading - because unlike TV, this will still be readable in 5 minutes - and go to Amazon.com and purchase the movie. Or, go to Netflix and watch the movie instantly.
For a quick plot summary (don’t worry, no spoilers will be revealed) : There are some folks called the Auditors who are in charge of making sure that logic and order are maintained. They’ve decided that the Hogfather (a character that looks and performs all of the functions of Santa Claus, with the exception of not being called Santa Claus) and a belief in said Hogfather is no longer conducive to logic and reason. So, they’ve decided to assassinate him. Yep, they want to kill Santa. They hire a guy named Teatime to carry out the inhuming, and hilarity ensues as Death gets wind of the plot and takes over for the now-missing Hogfather.
Why does Death - who already has quite the busy job as a psychopomp - feel the need to put on the jolly fat man’s suit? Because, as he puts it, if the Hogfather does not make his rounds on Hogswatch (the Christmas equivalent) , and belief in the Hogfather dissipates, then the sun will not rise tomorrow. That’s right. The fate of the world hangs on getting presents one night a year.
The entire movie revolves around this idea. They must save the Hogfather, along with appearances by a few other mythic beings, or else the sun will not rise. But, towards the very end of the movie, the meaning of this statement gets a bit of a twist. Death has a granddaughter, naturally, and her name is Susan. She asks her dear old granddad to expound on what would happen instead of the sun rising. Death tells her “a burning ball of gas would illuminate the Discworld.”
Then and there he makes the distinction between a sun that rises each morning and sets every evening and the scientific nature of the burning ball of gas, which our planet revolves around and is illuminated by daily. See, it is a small bit of suspended reality, a bit of belief and whimsy to call it a sunrise or a sunset. Because, we know that to be a technical fallacy.
Death goes on to say that humans live in a world run on belief, on fairy tales and Hogfathers and Tooth Fairies. We need to believe in the little things so that we can believe in the big things. Of course, these “big things” aren’t things like a belief in Deity/God-in-a-Box. Death says the biggest things are ideas like mercy, compassion, and justice. When Susan pushes him further, he says that if you take all that the Universe is and condense it down to its most pure form and sift it through the finest sieve, you would not find one atom of mercy, or compassion, or justice.
See, a child’s belief in Santa or the Tooth Fairy isn’t a huge stretch for a child. These are small, pleasant beliefs. There’s no bad side to Santa. The Easter Bunny doesn’t have some famous dark side - though that would be a movie I’d pay to see. As we get older, we choose to believe in the Divine. This is a bit tougher, because for every one thing that goes right, one thing we “thank God” for, there are 5, 25, 125, to infinite things that go wrong on this world on a daily basis. People die too young or too healthy. There are people around the world, millions upon millions of them, that are poor in a way that we cannot even fathom being poor. And, there is starvation in parts of this world that the very thought of makes one sick.
So, it’s hard to believe in a good god, a fair god, or a just god, but it’s not impossible. People do it everyday. It’s sort of why they believe in Divinity. Because, even though life might suck, I get a better one after I die.
The part that stuck with me through all this, and the part I want to share with you, the reader, is that the idea of mercy, compassion, justice - all those good and fair things in the world - is an even bigger leap of faith humanity makes. Attributing unfairness to “God’s will” or karma is using the divine as a kind of scapegoat. Not in a negative way, necessarily, but it helps to write off the terrible questions of why bad things happen to undeserving people. When you get right down to it, Death was right. The Universe, humanity, is not inherently compassionate. It is a kill or be killed world, and the very fact that we have created these notions of fairness is a beautiful example of the human spirit’s ability to believe.
We believe that the stop sign works and that everyone will adhere to its power. We believe that humans are mostly good deep down. We believe that we can appeal to someone’s compassion for a second chance. We believe. We believe. We believe. It is these very large beliefs that keep our little ball of dirt and foliage spinning.
This is a new concept for me, considering our everyday beliefs as the bigger leaps of faith, but I think it is a truer concept. A child does not question the veracity of the Santa mythos. An adult can live with the struggles of life, because they can lean on their Deity of choice. But for any of it to happen, for us to continue as a species, for us to live and thrive, and for there to be a sunrise tomorrow, we have to make the greatest leap of faith of all and believe in the improvable, unknowable, unverifiable, unseen, untouchable, improbable compassion of the person in front of us.
Happy Hogswatch, everyone.
Copyright: (c) Fire Lyte - Inciting A Riot - 2011
Location: Chicago, Illinois
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