THIS WORLD, WHO IS OURSELVES (One Pagan's Rant)
It’s time to share directly from another aspect of my life, my paganism. I say “directly” because everything I say and do is rooted in my being a Pagan. I just don’t usually make this explicit.
It is not easy to define what a Pagan is or believes or does. But I think Stone Riley (artist of The Spirit Hill Tarot, see my review of this amazing art deck on my tarot blog) says it rather well, given there may be as many definitions as there are pagans -- and I’m only partly joking:
“Paganism (or Neo-Paganism) is an avant-garde bohemian shamanic religion in which religion is regarded as an art. You craft spiritual experiences for yourself and friends in search of actual real reality. Results seem encouraging so far. Politically, the movement is green and progressive with pacifist tendencies. It is utterly unorganized by choice and has user-participation literature instead of holy writ.”
In the rant below I am attempting to not only state my belief that Pagans in this country can be a significant force for good, but to make the point that everyone, Pagan and non-Pagan, agnostic and atheist, have a collective power for good available to us. I also have some fun in the poem with many folk’s uneasiness with the idea of a pagan religion. For which I hope I may be forgiven. I would rather respond with some gentle fun-making of others’ uneasiness about Pagans, than become defensive. We all – pagan or not – need to be open to the possibilities in others if we are to effectively address this world’s troubles.
Lastly, I believe this poem comes across much better when read aloud. Or maybe it’s just that despite my usual stage fright, I used to really enjoy performing this piece “back in the day.”
One Pagan’s Rant
We’re in the streets shoveling snow and aching
with loneliness or dancing with the moon.
We’re before and after you on the supermarket line,
with food stamps or with cash, carting crying children
or standing impatiently alone.
We’re in the political offices where decisions are made
governing your lives, brushing shoulders
with the highest and meanest,
the brightest and lowest of the mighty.
We’re in your – shock! – families.
We are your daughters and sons, nieces and nephews,
fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, you name it.
For all you know, we’re in the lint
between your toes, in the runs in your pantyhose –
though we didn’t cause them.
We’re in mansions and ghettoes, in opera houses
and on bread-lines – though we didn’t create them.
And we’re dying in the streets, shot in drive-bys
or beaten down my cops, beaten up by lovers
or raped by strangers – but we’d never do that.
Or maybe some of us did, for we are everywhere,
some driven as mad as many of yours
by a world in which too few have too much
and many have nothing,
while the creatures of this earth die around us
as we poison the very ground from which we spring.
And do you know?
Because we’re everywhere whenever one
of our soul’s lights meets up fully with one of yours
as it meets up with hers, as it touches theirs,
and embraces his or ours, to become a vital flame
this world, who is ourselves, inches closer to healing.
So, shelter these flames when they leap into being
between us, as if our lives and those of every
living thing on this still glorious globe
depend on them.
And we’re everywhere!
(December 1995; revised August 2006)
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The day I completed the draft for this post I received a reviewer’s copy of PAGAN EVERY DAY, by Barbara Ardinger. I’ll end this post with a quote from her introduction: “Just like everybody else, we pagans live ordinary lives.....[W]e know with a heart-thumping certainty that the ordinary is as sacred as anything any sage ever set apart as holy or divine.” This world in all its ordinariness and with all its creatures, is entrusted to us, pagan and non-pagan, believers and non-believers, alike. (I will be reviewing PAGAN EVERY DAY here in a few days.)
Resource: Belief.Net, massively resourceful site about world religions.
‘til next time, keep dreaming,
[aka: Patricia Kelly]
****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)****My other blog: ROSWILA’S TAROT GALLERY & JOURNAL.