A Golden Mirror For Pagan Culture
Article ID: 10495
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: February 5th. 2006
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As I stare deep into the past's murky depths, I feel many Pagans gazing with me. Our past is a place that we look to as a source of inspiration. Many of us are searching from places as rigid as arcane texts to places as abstract as the collective subconscious. We are looking to find the perfect Pagan society: one in which being a Pagan and being a Human are not two harsh extremes that throttle the senses. We admire people of a deep and distant past because they are not chained to the ideologies of our day and time. They do not feel the guilt that we often unknowingly impose on ourselves. Without the sensory backsteps of guilt, they evenly flow with nature, communicating with the gods, the ancestors, and the spirit world with very little delay time.
For the same reason, many of us revere children as being capable of learning magick, religion, and mysticism far quicker than we have. Unfortunately, we cannot protect them from the modern cynicism of culture at large. Our only hope sometimes is to create a culture that is better and offers a stronger base for spiritual growth in us to resist the interruptions of the chaos in society. We look to forgotten aeons on this planet to find a time when the human race was unlittered by guilt and complications yet in a state of exponential growth. We use the power of communication to both summon and re-create the past in front of our faces.
I scan the Pagan present for a moment with sidereal vision and see those powerful personalities that make up our movement today. These are the people that are living the power of the past in every moment. By reflecting a potential hidden in history, their very presence shines with the freedom of those who came before. Every waking moment to them is a new experience and a step from eternal enchantment into yet another higher degree of being. The world no longer resists their charm for their very essences capture the paradisiacal fragrances of a greater reality. Sometimes we picture ourselves walking with the authors who make up our literature. Sometimes we see ourselves in the place of those who have finally made their way in our Pagan communities. How do they do it? How do they live in our world and yet still draw down the Summerlands? How do they speak so accurately that we believe what they are saying?
Is it merely the past that constitutes the whole of an awesome Pagan personality? Consider for a moment that it is the language that we use to describe the past that is more important than the past itself. Maybe the past was great. Sure. I can buy that. I still don’t believe that the past itself was pure, unadulterated ecstasy. Even in those places and times with no ideologies to restrict emotions and identity, there is a chaotic environment that thwarts physical survival. Our role models at the beginning of time are sometimes mixed with or muted by the restrictions of mere living. Because of these restrictions, trying to find even the most basic facts about their spirituality is often skewed at best.
But oh, my friends: the future is beautiful. How do we even see the past? How is it we can see an ancient golden sunrise? We aren’t looking at something unreal in our imagination. Our imagination is rooted in reality. We can’t imagine anything that is not possible because we are conditioned by the very language of possibility that the universe presents to us. Yet among some of the most ghastly apparitions, we choose the most sublime of possibilities, because life does not seek misery above positive stimulation. Those choices we make against ourselves lead us past the illusion of the Veil into that Which Is. And that possibility of a free and celebrated Pagan world? It exists. It exists first and foremost to those who are looking straight at it. It is as many invocations to the Horned God state, “Vision fade not from our eyes of the Pagan Paradise.” It is here. It is now.
So, now we see ourselves. We are a rebirth of something old and a birth of something new. Our roots go down like the roots of the World Tree: farther than anyone can know. What is essential is we learn to see ourselves for what we are and then project ourselves into what we must become. You see, our greatest rendition of the past is in the future. Our greatest realization of the future is in the present, as is the first movement to both of these.
I believe we are a babe among strangers and strange lands. We are like children first entering the social scenes. We have a few bullies that target us and a few secret admirers we have yet to meet. Many of us recite memorized affirmations of who we are in articles or on message boards. To preserve our cultures we must continue to trace the thread of identity into the unobserved future where possibility exists in every direction. As a teenager scans a journal and sees golden sections that seem to say “I am here” or “I am here,” so we begin to see through our own Pagan mass-communication the basics of who we are and what we are planning to do here.
But to be fair enough, we have spent enough time in a state of insecurity about who we are. It is sad how many times we must still inform others that baby is not on the Samhain menu, but how long will we sacrifice the sweet pungent flavor of now and our chance at higher communication? And how does communication work in a culture? Communication, it seems, is what makes a culture distinct from its surroundings. Language is the medium of that communication. Where does the moon rise in Arabic? How does the sea look in Mandarin? Where do the clouds rest in Inuit? Some languages paint the world, others lay it down brick by brick. What defines the language and dialect are the elements that surround the culture and how the culture is raised into being.
We must allow ourselves to be separate. Yes, we are all one. But we get to be One by being Many. By confusing ourselves with those outside worlds against us, we embody the meaning of the word “confusion” – to falsely fuse two parts together. In astronomy, a telescope has the power of resolution if it can separate a blur of light into two stars. A culture outside of ours can brush up against ours, but we must preserve our paradisiacal flavor. We must surround ourselves by the elements that are absent in our culture. We must begin to speak the language we have all forgotten, which rises independently out of nature in the free realm of a liberated subconscious. Or else when will the Asatru create the morning sun? When will the Wiccan make the moonrise over Mabon? Does the Druid even know the taste of sweet mead on his lips?
This whole time we have been talking to ourselves as if everyone in the world were listening in on us. Make no mistake; a time will come when all the nations are watching. What that means is this is our show. Stir the cauldron of images at the end of language. We will begin to speak no more of magic ex nihilo; magick is the substance of our letter. Nature springs up from the speech of those who cling dearly to Her breast.
While a good number of us loathe the game of popularity in the world, a day will come when we have the dynamic of our entire culture. Let us not be embarrassed or unprepared. Groups and Covens, descend into the dream worlds and astral realms and name our interpersonal places. Individuals, move against the blistering will of the grain. Let us learn to live as we die and pass into the Summerlands as a hand passes from air into warm water, feeling no difference.
Long ago, I saw my hand parting the stillness and locking with another hand in Pagan celebration of being alive. Three years later, that actually happened. Was my vision a blueprint or a prophecy? Maybe both, maybe neither. It was in the moment I saw it, the vision of something so inevitable it had to happen. And I love all of you, and see you someday embracing traditions with even more developed and distinct flavor and culture. Learn to be pulled by what is inevitable and holy. With unblinking Devic eyes approach both ultimate opportunity and ultimate realization at once.
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
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Bio: David is the "Events Coordinator" for a Green Bay Coven going on six. Currently a Journalism Major at UW Madison, he plans on also becoming a Writer in addition to wherever the Gods and/or Wind take him.
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