Pagan Doesn't Mean Evil
Article ID: 9980
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Rose'Ena Tanu
Posted: August 28th. 2005
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Before I say anything about myself, I would like to quote a book I have called Wiccan Beliefs and Practices, written by Gary Cantrell:
The religion of Wicca, the Old Religion, is a loving and peaceful Pagan religion of nature or Earth worship... Wicca is a peace-loving religion that exemplifies joy and harmony with all the manifestations of nature.Cantrell continues, saying that Wicca (and I would add many forms of Paganism) has nothing to do with Satan, devil worship, black masses, bestiality, animal or human sacrifice, idol worship or black magic. Even a Satanist I know says they do not worship evil but simply worship the divinity of the human form.
Even though we profess to this peaceful way, we are still looked upon as people who would do these things. We have no desire to harm others, unless they try to harm us. Self-defense is all right but outright attacking somebody for spite or to harm is against one of our greatest laws. Our Rede, or law, says, "An ye harm none, do as ye will." That means as long as what I or someone like me is doing does not hurt somebody else, then we can do it. I could quote so much more of the Rede, but people would get lost in the couplets. I know I do when I try to read it straight. Law is not easy; it never has been and never will be. But we are not going to break our law in the way many people seem to think we will.
Truth be told, since some part of the Rede, or at least the usual translations of it, say we should eat nothing that does not gain its energy directly from the sun, thus living a vegetarian lifestyle, I cannot be a "true Wiccan" because I like my meat. In other ways though, I do follow the Rede. I try to live by the lunar cycle. I try to live in balance and harmony with the world around me and the people near me. As far as I am concerned, I do not care what you believe. As long as you do not try to change me, I will not try to change you nor will I get angry at you for your beliefs. Everybody has the choice to live as they want.
But then come the people that holler and scowl at me for wearing a pentacle or pentagram around my neck or on my wrist. Can I ask where the bigotry comes from? They can wear their crosses of Christ as huge as they desire and bouncing about on their chests outside their shirts, but I cannot display my tiny tri-pentagram necklace which represents the Three-Fold Goddess, Macha? Am I the only one who sees a double standard here?
I was walking to class one day on the University of Missouri's campus and some Christian person holding this massive sign screamed at me about slapping away God's hand and damning myself to Hell for all eternity. To say that annoyed me is an understatement, but because of my beliefs, I simply refused to speak and walked on. However, I run into people like that a lot. Christians on almost every corner at social events, handing out flyers saying I will burn for my sins unless I repent and become Christian. No thanks.
This country is seeing a lot of turmoil right now, especially with the Religious Right creating many bills it wants Congress to pass. The gay marriage bills and the separation of church and state problems are only a few of the well-known instances. These are perhaps the only ones that most people know about, but there are others infringing on people’s rights to live as they desire. I have read about a few of these other laws, though information on them is hard to find and they tend to be buried within other bills, but they all seem so wrong because of what they want to do: restrict people's civil rights.
President Bush and his government are especially adamant about the gay marriage thing. They turn to the Bible saying that God says homosexuality is wrong and that marriage should be between a man and a woman. But I say, and my girlfriend says too, that if someone is going to preach such things, then they should preach all of it, not just the parts they want. In the Old Testament, it says such things as prostitution, slavery and animal sacrifice are all okay, and in some instances required to show your faith. It even suggests polygamy, by both men and women. And yet our government is throwing a fit because it wants to protect the "sanctity of marriage?" What sanctity? As far as the Bible is concerned, as well as humanity's cultural history, monogamous and "straight" marriage is a fairly new development. In fact, homosexuality was perfectly all right in Greece and Rome. I wonder why so many people have forgotten that?
As a Pagan, I believe that as long as a person is happy and not harming anybody else with his or her actions, leave them alone. Let them live as they desire. I see the hate; I see the prejudice; I see the unreasoning fear of that which is different and I can only hope that someday people will see the truth. Even though I am different, and I believe in different gods, I am still human. I have one heart, two eyes, two legs, and all my other internal and external organs.
I am a homo sapiens sapiens, as are all humans alive today. Maybe our beliefs are different; maybe our skins are different; maybe I worship the cycles of the moon and Earth outside while others sing in a chapel. But just because I am different from you does not make me evil. I am part of a very gentle group. We're almost pacifist. I don't want to hurt anyone. But I want peace and the freedom to live as I choose whether that is in a homosexual relationship or following a non-Judeo-Christian religion. I have that right, and I don't want to see it go away. Let me worry about my soul, and you can worry about yours. It's my responsibility and my right.
Wiccan Beliefs and Practices, Gary Cantrell, Llewellyn Publications, 2003
Copyright: Copyright 2005 SEK
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Author's Profile: To learn more about Rose'Ena Tanu - Click HERE
Bio: This article was originally published on MyMissourian.com, July 7, 2005. I wrote it in an area where Paganism is growing rapidly but in the shadows. I hope that it and others like it help clear up the wrong ideas people have about us.
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