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Zealous or Thorough…What Kind of a Magickal Person Are You? (Part 2) : Revelry or Reverence?

Author: Kestryl Angell
Posted: July 22nd. 2007
Times Viewed: 3,151

There are, periodically, bashing periods on the “fluffy bunny” set of Paganism. This form of intolerance is rather bothersome to both the Zealous and the Thorough practitioner in us.

On the one hand, those that are “light and fluffy” in their beliefs do very much so have as much right to their beliefs…and their dancing, sparkling, fairy-dusted, tinkling bells and moonlight-tastes-like-ice cream! .. sort of joy in their beliefs and newfound spiritual freedom as we all do to our own.

On the other hand, we also have the “right” to the peace and quiet that is found when our “sparkly, naked dancing days” come to a close and we realize that robes were given to us to keep the human being in us attuned to something higher than the basic sexuality that most of us have spent years trying to overcome the genetically coded pre-occupations that nudity often inspires, especially in one’s beautiful pagan youth.

No, I have nothing against dancing naked in the moonlight! I have done it for years! But, not every single person is as delighted with my nudity as the God/dess and I are, and thus I respect other’s right NOT to see what I only offer to the Gods who love me without the judgments held so often behind human eyes.

Is either side “wrong”? No, of course not, they are simply what are known as “mutually exclusive.” Can they co-exist side by side peacefully? Yes, as long as everyone is grown up enough to keep basic boundaries of respect for the other’s viewpoint… which is why there are often skyclad areas and non-skyclad areas, skyclad and non-skyclad rituals at pagan events and such. So everyone can have what is right for THEM and their view of “respect to self, others and Deity.”

It is appropriate to always do checking if you’re going to a public event or even a circle held by a coven other than that you’re studying or bound to. This way, if there are any issues that might come up for you, you’ll know about them ahead of time and be able to plan accordingly or bow out gracefully before it will cause any undo stress to you or others present. I’ll give an example from my own experience.

I was acting as High Priestess for a public gathering ritual. The theme of the gathering was “Finding the child within.” So, my then partner and myself planned a light-hearted ritual filled with playful revelry and imagery designed to help our inner children emerge and feel comfortable in a space of worship and kinship. We decided that using Kool-aid for our “wine” and animal crackers for our “cakes” would be a delightful expression and memory inducement for many there, as well as being a good tool for some of the shamanic portions of the ritual.

We had bubbles and sparkles and it was all sorts of kiddy fun…the fluffy bunnies LOVED it! Even the older, tried and true elders enjoyed rekindling their inner children over bubbles and Kool-aid and animal crackers.

But after the ritual, my partner and I were soon faced with a small, but very stern looking group all dressed out in their highest, brightest, most intricately machine embroidered ritual garb, all of whom were scowling mightily at us and holding their animal crackers reverently in the palms of their hands with a look of disgust that couldn’t be comprehended immediately by either of us on the receiving end of it.

When queried as to how they liked the ritual they said, “If we had known there was going to be animal effigy sacrifices in this ritual we would NEVER have attended! We will be praying tonight that the animal spirits that you sacrificed for your “kiddy playtime” will forgive you!” and they stalked off in a hufflepuff of righteous indignation and “ritually appropriate” gear.

I will be honest about our reaction. At first we were totally dumbfounded that we had insulted someone so deeply with animal crackers.

Secondly, we were thinking to ourselves “uh… animal effigy SACRIFICE?!?!?... OOkayyyy... Right! It’s an ANIMAL CRACKER, idiots! Open your MINDS!”

Then, we had to realize that we had indeed deeply insulted their personal practice, and though totally unintended, had obviously affected them very strongly to the negative. So, later that evening we got all “appropriately attired” for a visit to such a camp and made our way into it with all the appropriate ceremony that their “age-old practice” demanded and made formal apologies both to their teachers and students and to the spirits we may have offended in the process of our “thoughtlessness.”

Now, did WE feel we’d made the animal spirits angry? NO! Our perception of them was pleased with our efforts to have fun and connect with nature. But, in the spirit of not wishing bad blood for future times or opportunities that paths might respectfully cross between students of my world and students of their path, we chose to make the appropriate moves to secure mutual understanding and to restore respect on both sides.

The acts that we make in the name of reverence to the right of every person to believe and practice as they will are those that most often are the strongest ones we can make. It shows compassion, understanding and a desire to learn that is often respected even if your beliefs and practices vary widely from those you seek to understand.

In all of paganism, one thing stands true of every practice I’ve ever had the honor to learn much about. There is a time and place for everything. There is a time and place for starched, detailed, immaculately planned and executed high ritual magick and there is a time for complete and utterly beautiful silliness and light-hearted play with the Gods.

There is a time to smile, perhaps even dance a few steps and get some glitter in your hair from a passing “fluffy bunny” newbie and there is a time to put on your finest gear and go get humble in front of the elders of another path in the name of peace. There is a time to “let Pan rule!” and there is a time to remember with complete gratitude and utter reverence our Elders, Ancestors and the Gods.

The key to really good magickal living, on this note, dear readers, is learning to navigate the difference between the two. So remember, “moderation in all things…including moderation.” Learn to smile and dance with the fluffy bunnies and remember when your practice was new and sparkling sweet like summer wine…and hold reverence for how far you’ve come in your practice, or in the age of your soul which “demands” more reverent and detailed study of your path than being a fluffy bunny might give you personally.

Learn to be tolerant and compassionate, to be both filled with revelry and joy in your beliefs, your practice and your direct, beautiful connection to Deity, yet also be reverent of the past and where it has brought us. Be both! Be it all! Be zealous and passionate, detailed and thorough in your lives, your loves and your faith-practice.

It is the only way to be truly magickal! For magick, like love and life itself, exists in all the shades of grey between black and white. Which shades detail your particular view, your particular palette of expression, are entirely up to you and Deity as you see It.


Kestryl Angell

Location: Columbia, Missouri

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