Political Neutrality & Walking the Walk
Article Specs |
Article ID: 2103
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 5,910
Times Read: 12,804
Author: Drema Baker [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: January 4th. 1998
Times Viewed: 12,804
Wren and I are thrilled to feature the thoughts of one of our fave Witches - Aranea of PagaNet news fame. Aranea is a woman that does "walk the walk" and does this consistently as a service to the Pagan community. Make no doubt about it, it's a happy day "round these parts" when the latest PagaNet news arrives in the mail. Why? Simply stated, it is one of the truly interesting and inspiring Pagan 'zines out there today. Oh, You don't subscribe? Check out the PagaNet News Web site at the end of this article for more information.
Early in 1997, Lance and I received an interesting piece of email from a man in a nearby city; he commented favorably on PNN and was intrigued by the fact that we have thus far managed to remain free of political tangles and negativity. In his message, he wondered if there were no such goings on in our local community. If this was the case, we must have discovered something that other communities were still searching for, and what were we doing right? He asked to meet with us while in town for other reasons. Naturally we agreed, though we told him we didn't know what we could do to help.
Upon meeting with this man and his travelling companion, Lance and I spoke at length with them about inter-community bickering and how destructive it can be. He asked if we had obliterated it in our area...oh, how I wish it were true! Of course, our community is no more immune than any other to this insidious predator, which infects otherwise healthy and blossoming Pagan areas like a virus. But even though this menace exists here as much as anywhere else, we have always refused to participate in it.
Oh, don't get me wrong. We've been tempted to use this very available forum to speak out in our own defense on several occasions, or to voice an opinion on a rampant debate. And if the greater Pagan purpose is served in the process, we may be found to do so at some point. But unless this is the case, we refuse to be tempted or even goaded into turning PNN into a gossip sheet or a bickering forum. No one would benefit from that. For ourselves, as a business and as individuals, we have always felt it best to let our reputations speak for themselves, and to allow our readers to listen to all sides of a discussion and make up their own minds without our intervention. Our forum is honest, frank, and open. Should anyone ever have questions about us due to gossip, we always figured they would ask us directly. Why subject our nationwide readers to local b.s.? We'd rather keep a positive focus.
That is what we told the inquisitive man that day. We maintain this attitude today and always will.
As for the subject of inter-community bickering, it is a disease that can cripple or even destroy whole communities. But only if we allow it to infect us. In or out of a laboratory, if a virus can be isolated, it can be stopped. The only way to kill a rumor is not to repeat it. The only way to satisfy a doubt is to go to the source and ask a direct question. The only way to stop pettiness is to rise above it. And the only way to avoid negativity is to embrace positive pursuits. We are only human, and we fall prey to these ugly sores sometimes. Does that mean we have to let PNN be dragged down by them? Nope. Never.
Here's hoping we can all grow into greater awareness and away from senseless infighting, both as individuals and as larger communities.
"Just A Note" by Aranea. Taken from PagaNet News, Beltane 97 issue - used by permission
It's Time to Walk the Walk
My mother used to tell me "Do as I say, not as I do." My childish mind could not grasp why it was ok for her to break the rules, when I was forbidden to do so. Today, as an adult, I often see this same policy active in government, mainstream religion, the workplace, etc. My adult mind still has trouble grasping this double standard.
We Pagans are often a self-congratulatory lot, patting ourselves on the back that we have solved our individual religious quandaries, we are Earth-friendly, we are "light-bringers" and so forth. We espouse truth - speak honestly and with sincerity! We claim to accept and respect each other, for who and what we are, regardless of who/what that may be. We proudly proclaim that we are more tolerant than (insert alternate religion here). We profess to love each other as sisters/brothers, and to be there for each other in times of need. We adamantly state that we are a caring, close-knit community, open to any and all who approach us. I would love to say that this is all true...but it isn't.
In reality, we are just like other people. Some of us lie. Some of us cheat. Some of us are intolerant, or disrespectful, even (gasp!) closed-minded. We sometimes fail to come to the aid of others, even when their need is right before our faces - not because we have prior obligations or legitimate reasons for holding back, but because it is inconvenient for us to lend assistance. We fall into the trap of jumping to conclusions about others' actions and words, eager to suspect the worst. Too many disagreements are waged simply because one person's approach is different from another's. And how many of us commonly say ugly or degrading things about someone who is not present to defend her/himself? How often would we actually say those things TO the people of whom we are speaking? Let's admit it...we haven't found a font of wisdom which can be absorbed by osmosis, then followed effortlessly.
In the last few years, I've been energetically reminded that we don't always practice what we preach. It's a relatively easy thing to open one's mouth and have words fall out. It is a different thing altogether to actually change one's life accordingly. Likewise, seeing contradictory behavior in others is easy; being aware of one's own mistakes is a far more difficult task.
Granted, there's a difference between slipping on the path, and maliciously stomping the flowers at its edge. But some of us are entirely too proud of taking the road less travelled; many who claim it do not experience it first hand by doing the exercises at the end of the chapters. If your religion doesn't help you grow, it basically serves no purpose other than spiritual self-stimulation. Why bother?
If we are going to make all these claims, we need to start living up to them. It's time we started actually walking our walk, instead of just talking our talk.
"Just A Note" by Aranea. Taken from PNN, Litha 1996 issue - used by permission
| A Must Bookmark... |
|PagaNet News Online||Founded in 1994, published 8 times per year, PagaNet News focuses on Wicca and other Earth-centered spiritual belief systems, while including information of interest to those following these paths, as well as the community at large. It is their goal to foster and promote the growth and progress of polytheistic beliefs, practices and organizations. They support the continuation of religious freedom, and work to dispel misconceptions about various groups and rituals by providing education and information for public awareness.|
Photo Credit The stunning photo of Aranea is from the web site linked just above.
Important Note: This article is presented by the author as a starting point for discussion on the issue. Each author has submitted his/her article independently and may or may not agree with all the viewpoints in the entire series.
Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia
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