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.
Article ID: 14733
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 738
Times Read: 3,416
RSS Views: 19,090
Author: BellaDonna Saberhagen
Posted: March 4th. 2012
Times Viewed: 3,416
Sin is an interesting thing to consider in modern Paganism. With many believing that, “all acts of love and pleasure are Her (the Goddess’) rituals” (taken from Doreen Valiente’s Charge of the Goddess) , is there room for a Pagan concept of sin? Sin is perceived by many to be either sexual or violent in nature. Since many Pagans feel that to ignore your sexual needs is to do yourself a disservice, the common Christian “original sin” is not applicable to modern Paganism; and while such things as adultery may be frowned upon as emotionally damaging, we have no scriptures telling us to stone those that cheat on their spouses. Violent sin has been secularized into laws; murder and assault are typically seen as amoral regardless of religious background (or lack thereof) .
So do Pagans have sin? I would say they do, but first, let’s look at the role sin plays.
Humans thrive on hardship (and guilt) . If humans decided to live near an active volcano (which is a hardship, as well as a boon) , they then feel guilty when it destroys the village (they somehow angered the gods and must atone for their indiscretions) . If humans did not thrive on this cycle, we probably would not have civilizations that grew in some of the most unforgiving environments. So humans need some feeling of guilt. Where do many modern Pagans get this guilt they require? Eco-Guilt.
Eco-Guilt does have homes in the secular world; there are plenty of non-Pagans that try to live as “green” a life as possible. However, I have not seen another creed outside adherence to the Rede that can make a Pagan look down at another Pagan as somehow “not walking the Pagan walk” as much as this one does. There are different factions within it as well (vegan/PETA, home-steaders, etc) .
There’s this fantasy that ancient Pagans all lived in harmony with nature; that because they depended so much on the natural cycles that they never did any damage to the earth, ever. Because of this fantasy, many modern Pagans want to get back to that “deep connection to the earth” that has been lost. I can respect that. I myself fantasize about living Pagan-Amish style; growing my own wheat, brewing my own mead and raising my own goats (fainting goats, specifically, they’re so wonderfully silly) . I do buy into the Eco-Guilt mind-set myself, I just think that some Pagans get up on soap boxes and try their hardest to prove they are “Greener (and therefore more Pagan) than Thou.”
The problem is that ancient Pagans were guilty of harming the earth in their own way. If you go back two thousand years, you would find Roman strip mines. The only difference is how deep they could go with the level of technology they had. The Bronze and Iron Ages would not have existed without human impact upon the earth. As a race, we’ve never been too kind to rivers; in towns, human waste lined the streets. Land was cleared to farm, meaning trees were cut down. Even in Celtic society, who really loved their trees, woodland had to be cleared for building and farming. In fact, we know so much about ancient peoples, not just from their tombs and buildings, but because they left huge trash heaps that give us insights into their diets and daily living. Mining, landfills, deforestation: This was all part of life as much then as it is now. Granted, they may have done these things with more respect than what is typically given now, but they would not have felt guilty for bettering their lives through food, shelter, tools, art and commerce.
Let’s look at the organic argument. Not using pesticides and chemical fertilizers may be better for the environment, but such farming methods take more work and have a lower yield. This (as well as having a smaller buying market) is why organic food is more expensive. If you have four children and enough money to buy either four non-organic apples or two organic apples, which would you buy? The hard-core Eco-Pagan may suggest giving your children half an organic apple (which tend to be smaller than non-organic apples anyway) , arguing that they will get better nutrition from it (this argument has never been proven) . A more practical person would think it much better to wash the non-organic apples well, but buy those to ensure that each child is well nourished. This is the problem with trying to enforce your view of green-ness on someone else; they might not be able to afford the luxury you have. Starving people in Africa need food that will grow there consistently, and current organic methods just won’t work there.
How about recycling? Not every town in this country has its own recycling center/program. Sometimes, in order to recycle, you may have to travel pretty far to do so. At which point do the emissions from your car counter-balance the act of recycling? Not to mention that recycling itself creates its own carbon footprint. You could drive yourself crazy nickel and diming every moment of every day to find out just how much damage you are doing.
So, what about those little extras Pagans often need? Stones (quartz, citrine, etc.) have to be mined. As does the iron used for cauldrons and athames (and, most recommend that the blade be new to ensure it never let blood, so no reduce, reuse, recycle there) . The silver and gold used for our daily and ritual jewelry is also mined. Books require paper, paper comes from trees (granted much paper is recycled or comes from farmed trees these days) and there is (apparently, I never heard of this rule until recently) a rule against buying used Pagan books (I buy most books used, but I’m a very frugal Pagan, and I don’t think books can hold much of your energy unless you write them yourself, like your Book of Shadows) .
Now, you can use plastic for prayer beads rather than those made of real gemstones, but the argument can be made that this is worse since A) plastic is made from oil (and we all know the hazards of oil drilling) and B) fake stones (similar to synthetic fragrance oils) will not work like the real thing; why use something that will not work as well that creates as much or more harm to the earth than using the original would be?
You can decide to be Pagan, but worry so much about every little thing you do that your spirituality suffers. You can’t read books because that harmed trees; you can’t get information from the Internet because that uses electricity, which might come from sources that harm the environment. You can’t even attune to the earth in your own home because the stones you might use to do that may have been unfairly torn from Momma Earth’s womb.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be mindful, we should be, and we need to be. There are a lot more humans inhabiting Earth now (I would hazard to say too many, but that’s my opinion) and we live in a consumer-driven “disposable” society. Maybe, as Pagans, we can get used books; we don’t need a different athame for every Sabbat and we don’t need twenty-five pieces of the same type of stone. That does not mean that we can’t have one athame and a few stones (granted maybe only one or two stones per kind) ; spiritual growth shouldn’t stagnate because of Eco-Guilt.
Do the best you can, but don’t beat yourself (or anyone else) up over slip-ups. No one’s going to prescribe you to say five “Our Gaias” and three “Hail Horned Ones” to gain forgiveness from the gods. You have to forgive yourself. You can’t hold yourself to an unrealistic ecological ideal; you’re not always going to have the option of doing it the “green” way.
So never mind how bad Eco-Edna and Green-Gary might try to make you feel, be confident that you are doing your best and following your path. If they think you use too much and don’t recycle enough, take that criticism and see if you are capable of doing better. Just remember, sometimes you have to choose between what might be better for you and yours and what might be better for the earth. Don’t feel guilty about choosing you and yours.
Facts on organic farming and recycling taken from interviews with experts as provided by Penn and Teller's Bull****!
Location: Sunbury, Pennsylvania
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