Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 9th. 2014 ...
Healing the Witch Within
Discovering Wicca as a Young Child
March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright
March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence
Alternative Medicine – What Is It?
February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Building a Magick Mirror
The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression
January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Earth Religions on Earth Day
Article Specs |
Article ID: 6265
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,979
Times Read: 4,022
Author: H. Byron Ballard
Posted: April 20th. 2003
Times Viewed: 4,022
It used to be that the media only wanted to hear from folks like me--you know, Witches, Pagans, Wiccans--once a year. Like clockwork, the phone would start ringing around 20 October, and every reporter and her brother wanted to talk to a "real" Witch about "Sam Hane". Well, no more! That's old hat now--the media is so savvy they've done articles on Beltane and the Winter Solstice, along with the seemingly ubiquitous Samhain pieces. And that's in a newspaper here on the Buckle of the Bible Belt. The press in other locations has been even more astounding.
But the phone's been ringing at another time of year, too, for a holiday that doesn't appear on my charts of the Wheel of the Year, and that holiday is Earth Day. It's a little tricky for those of us who celebrate Beltane because it's only a couple of weeks before, but I've grown to love the inherent possibilities of such a secular holiday.
Earth Day is a good interface between the dominant culture and the Pagan one. You don't have to be a bona fide dirt-worshipper to enjoy the parades with giant puppets and the lectures on recycling and the pretty blue flags. You can be a school-aged child or a soccer mom or a dreadlocked activist. Of course, some of us wear Birkenstocks as well as pentacles, so we move easily through these peaceful waters. Earth Day presents a lot of opportunities to talk to our neighbors--as well as the media--about our love and reverence for the Big Blue Ball. While everyone's feeling warm and fuzzy (or ashamed and guilty) about the planet, we are often encouraged to talk about Gaia-focused theology. A couple of years ago, I was even asked to do an interfaith Council of All Beings. Amazing.
I encourage all of you "Earth religionists" to write letters to the editor and op-ed pieces, to take leadership in your interfaith communities. Our time has come to talk clearly and sensibly (maybe even poetically) about one of the things we do best--loving the biosphere.
There's a catch, of course, at least in my community. Mainstream and liberal Christian churches--bless them!--are taking up the cry of "stewardship" and earnestly reading books by Berry and O'Murchu (even Thomas Merton, who went to his reward decades ago, has a new book about environmental justice) and attending meetings. I was part of an interfaith dialogue on the subject in which we were asked to brainstorm some scenarios. #3 began, "If you had a magic wand..." and the facilitator went round the focus group so each could speak. When my turn came, I carefully explained that I actually had a wand (polite titters) but what was really needed was energy and courage and a strong stomach. Less talk and more action. But we weren't there to discuss action--we were only there to talk about guilt and sin and stewardship. We didn't even go out and clean-up the roadside after the meeting and, as I recall, the coffee was served in styrofoam cups.
As I've said before, it's vitally (and I mean that quite literally) important that the majority religions in our culture realize the extent of environmental degradation and begin to speak publicly about it. I applaud them for their efforts. No one does conferences, workshops and teach-ins better than those well-intentioned and passionate liberal Christians. Maybe they'll even convince the Methodist-in-Chief in the White House that caring for the environment is what his god would like for him to do. Now, that's a tall order.
And though I don't think the notion of stewardship goes far enough regarding respect for and love of nature, we members of earth-based religions are certainly here to share our knowledge and experience. To be there when the discussion about "magic wands" finally turns to action. I encourage those who can to take opportunities by the media to make points about the interconnected web and the natural world. Fill in those gaps between "taking care of God's creation" and "this earth is not our real home". Be helpful and knowledgeable--remind them of the power and bounty of the natural world and how we are part of it, not separate and superior. And to be a part of such a complex and beautifully balanced system is paradise enough.
If you belong to an interfaith group (and I suggest you check out your local Cooperation Circle of the United Religions Initiative), watch the reactions of your colleagues when you speak about the planet and the concept of connection. Another interfaith meeting found us discussing what we nurtures us most about our spiritual path. A Jewish friend talked about the tradition of learning and scholarship in her chosen religion. A colleague from the United Church of Christ spoke movingly about the concept of grace. When it came round to me, I talked about the joy I find in waking each morning, connected to the world around me. As I spoke, I looked at the outdoors through the nearest window and explained why I always take a seat near a window for our interfaith gatherings and why the moment of silence never works for me because it's too short for a deep meditation and too long to just practice deep breathing. My colleagues laughed. Then I talked about the deep peace I feel when I look out the window at a tree. Any tree really, I'm quite the tree-hugger. I like them in all seasons and I've been known to talk to them and listen intently for their reply. I told the group that I never felt alone and rarely fearful because the earth was so strong, so powerful, so giving. And that I am part of all that. When I turned back to the folks assembled at the table, I noticed tears in some eyes. And a retired Episcopal priest said, "I want what she has."
Earth Day is another educational opportunity for the Pagan community. So take advantage of the heightened publicity, my tree-hugging dirt-worshippers. Right wing talk radio may think anyone who's environmentally canny is a Satanist, but this holiday is a chance to connect with other people in your community on a subject you know well. Let them know it's okay to love our home--there's no place like it! Happy Earth Day!
H. Byron Ballard
H. Byron Ballard
Location: Asheville, North Carolina
Bio: H. Byron Ballard has deep roots in the mountains of western North Carolina where she is active as a priestess of Inanna, Pagan activist, playwright and mom. She holds an MFA in Theatre from Trinity University and circles weekly (and occasionally weakly) with an American Tribal Pagan group. She is a member of WARD, an elder of SerpentStone, an affiliate of the WHISPER community, a founding trustee of the Coalition of Earth Religions for Education and Support and a Willful Harpy. Her interfaith affiliations include the United Religions Initiative and the Interfaith Council. She is also a board member of the local chapter of the ACLU. And in her copious free time she is still learning Irish Gaelic and to play the fiddle. And gardening, for the sake of her sanity.
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