Dec 302013
 

The Pagan community has blogged, podcasted, and lectured their way through another year of wonderful quotes.  Once again, I get to offer my favorite ones to you.

Overall, it 2013 was a good year for Pagans.  Heathens scored a victory when Thor’s Hammer was approved as a headstone emblem by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.  Wiccans got Fox News’ Tucker Carlson to apologize (kind of) for nasty and (worse) inaccurate comments about their holidays.  The Maetrum of Cybele, Magna Mater won its taxation battle, and the Temple Of Witchcraft completed its parking lot, allowing its doors to open for rituals and classes.

 

There was pain as well.    Our intertwined religious communities engaged each other passionately over issues of racial justice, fought “witch burnings” and abuse of women across the world (and on Facebook), and used magic in the battle to save the earth from the destructive oil drilling process known as fracking.

 

Here at The Juggler, we suffered from the sudden passing of one of our contributors, Zan Fraser.  Zan was a prolific writer whose posts on magic and Witchcraft and Shakespeare and classical theater were always fascinating and thought provoking.  The Wild Hunt marked his crossing by publishing an obituary piece on September 23, and I’d like to present a small portion of that piece as a tribute to him:

 

“Zan, the worlds you walked were ever more enriched by your presence and permanently changed by the legacy you left. Those dancing, prancing shoes will never be re-filled, but they certainly left footprints on our hearts and souls. Blessed Be, Sweet Prince, and flights of glittery fairies sing thee to thy rest.”

- Brian Brewer, Chris Goffredo, Michael Lloyd, Paul Patton, Bruce and Kay Skidmore, Gary Suto, and Courtney Weber.

Now on the quotes.  Identity and negotiation seemed to mark the themes of this year.  Pagans challenged each other across traditions as well as within traditions.  Most of it was the understandable growing pains of a religious movement that is still young and still wrestling with its sense of self and its place within mainstream society.  It was a healthy, honest discussion of who we are, where we are going, and how we relate to other faiths.

 

As always, these quotes are based on what I read or heard.  It’s entirely possible that I missed something awesome.  Please feel free to comment with any quotes you would have placed on the list.  To make the list, the speaker/writer must be a Pagan.  The ranking is my own opinion, but I love it when a writer makes the delivers the maximum amount of message with a minimum number of words.  I’ve provided links to the original sources.

 Those are the rules.  Here are the quotes:

 

10. “The real St. Francis of Assisi was anything but serene. He was more like “Occupy Rome”  AD 1204 — an upper middle class young man angry at the establishment, demanding radical change in the Roman Catholic Church. But history has turned him into a bird bath.”

- Chas S. Clifton, May 31

9. “I need to sort of emphasize to a lot of African-Americans that yes, this is an African tradition, yes, we want to connect with our roots and whatever else. But our roots are here, too.”

- Baba Ifagbemi Faseye, August 25

8. “Sex positive does not mean I should be pressured to engage in experiences that I’m not comfortable with. In fact, that’s quite the opposite, that’s peer pressure and shaming.”

- Shauna Aura Knight, October 28

7. “It gets easier…unless what you love about this path is the sense of drama you can evoke and your ability to stir the proverbial pot. If your every mood must be reflected in your online outrage, and your ability to ground and focus is not highly developed, you may not find it getting either easier or deeper.”

- Byron Ballard, November 3

6. “Fear of loss. Fear of uncertainty. Fear of judgement. Fear of our own desires. Fear of the desires of others. Fear of physical danger. Fear of psychological danger. Emotional danger. These are tools of oppression. Weapons. And we use them on each other.”

- LaSara Firefox Allen, October 7

5. “We want someone that we can put on a pedestal and worship almost, but teachers and leaders are just people- and you know what?  Most elders that I’ve met, they just want to be treated like people.  They don’t want to be worshiped and fawned over and have their ass kissed.  They hate it actually.  The ones who love it, you might want to worry about them.”

- Sarah Anne Lawless, November 17

4.  “Many of us are proud of our independence and may stubbornly cling to it beyond the bounds of logic.”

- Carl Neal, June 30

3. “Humility is overrated, but don’t be an asshole as the pagan community usually does a good job keeping assholes in check and word spreads fast.”

- Seb the Shaman, September 20

2.  “As people who, after considerable thought, gave up the status quo to pursue our true selves, shouldn’t we be the shining example, not the common problem?”

- Kenny Klein, November 20

1. “In a small way, Wicca can give women that confidence and ability to speak out. It is a strong woman’s craft. Every strong woman is a witch.”

- Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, March 17

 

Dec 282012
 

Well, they said that 2012 was going to be the year of radical shifts in consciousness.  This year’s top Pagan quotes all seem to reflect that notion.  These are not the words of happy, comfortable New Agers seeking light and love.  Each one of these quotes challenges the existing paradigm and seeks to light a transformative fire under our collective rear ends.

Star Foster starts off the list by emphatically rejecting the perception that Pagans are simply a strange sect of alternative Christians, explaining in no uncertain terms how we are different from any sect of Christianity.  Crystal Blanton and Michael York both challenged us to go beyond the tempting polarity of Us vs. Them and find a new way of being the inclusive we claim to be, effectively challenging us to put up or shut up.

Dr. Brendan Myers advanced the argument that a previously under-recognized brand of Paganism was coming into its own, stirring up a lot of discomfort for the more theistic element of our community.  Teo Bishop made such a huge splash this year that he appears twice.  First, he underwent a very public coming out process as he wrestled with two public identities. Then he set fire to his own blog by questioning an element of Pagan ritual that many people see as downright foundational.

Add to that elders publicly leaving their traditions of origin, a call for male allies in the national fight for women’s rights, and a little poke at certain Mormon politician, and you end up with a year of Pagan quotes that broke self-imposed molds and stimulated entire new ways of thinking.  Our community is better for it.

As always, these quotes must have been said by people who are known to be Pagans.  Words stated by non-Pagans, even if they were about us, don’t qualify, even if Conan O’Brien brings one of our most revered publications to national television.  Also as usual, these are just what I found.  If I missed something you really liked this year, please feel free to leave the quote in a comment.

With those disclaimers out of the way, let’s get on with the Top 10 Pagan Quotes of 2012:

10. “I reject Jesus Christ. I reject Jesus Christ. I reject Jesus Christ.

There. I’ve said it three times. We’re officially divorced.” – Star Foster, August 2

9. “We judge one another in order to define who is Black enough, spiritual enough, Pagan enough or oppressed enough and we miss the mark on the true gift of our community.  The best gift that we can give is to love more, understand more, empathize more, show more, give more, listen more, connect more and even identify more with those who have experienced this here journey called life.” – Crystal Blanton, February 23

8. “Before I was a blogger named Teo Bishop, I was an artist named Matt Morris. I’ve been doing music since I was a little kid, been a pro since I was a teenager, and up until the last year or two, I’ve done little else.’ – Teo Bishop, July 12

7. “But it is to our shame that we fight among ourselves, drench ourselves in petty jealousies and reflect our worldwide human comrades more than the mother’s sanctity itself.” – Michael York, May 6

6. “I just don’t think the gods, any gods, care at all about politics. I don’t care if that god lives near the star Kolob, once resided in the Holy of Holies, or was worshipped on the Acropolis in the Parthenon of Ancient Athens.” – Jason Mankey, October 18

5. “Humanist Paganism seems to be an emerging option for those who want to be part of the Pagan community, but who want to be a little more intellectual about their practices, and they really don’t care about the “woo” anymore.” – Brendan Myers, August 18

4. “This past weekend I felt ashamed at Pagan Pride on account of a circle.” – Teo Bishop, October 22

3. “I, M. Macha NightMare, Priestess & Witch, aka Aline O’Brien, withdraw from the organization known as Reclaiming Tradition Witchcraft and hereby dissociate myself from further involvement with the tradition.” – M. Macha NightMare, August 4

2. “Don’t worry about the economy so much: as the majority labor force in this country, and the majority in colleges and universities at this time, women will be able to figure things out with the economy once we are able to stop wasting our time on, you know, worrying about being raped or forced to have children who are products of rape.” – Lady Yeshe Rabbit, August 23

1.  “I stand against rape, in person and at the polls.” Pagan men’s response to Lady Yeshe Rabbit’s call for their support against misogynistic election year discourse.

Dec 292011
 

As last year, so this year.  Here is my second annual installment of the Top 10 Pagan Quotes of the year.

This was a year of standing up in the face of threat.  The sources of threat varied from political institutions to international corporations to everyday people from mainstream faiths who were scared off by words like “Pagan” and “Witch.”

All too often the threat came from within our own community.  That’s not necessarily bad.  These kinds of discussions and disagreements, when handled productively and respectfully, can challenge beliefs that have solidified into dogma and propel the community forward, helping us learn and grow with the times.

And sometimes the threat was Charlie Sheen.

The speakers and writers of each quote must be Pagans.  This means that quotes said by mainstream news sources about Pagans do not qualify, and as much as I would have loved to include Stephanie Edwards’ instant classic from January 1, “I’m going to apply nuts to my face this year,” it also does not qualify.  In some cases, quotes have been edited for punctuation, grammar, or clarity.  You can link to each one to find its original source.

If you have any favorite quotes that I missed, please feel free to include them in the comments.  So here we go:

10. “In fact, ‘Wicca’ seemed to be turning into some sort of derisive joke, with ‘Ronald Hutton’ as the punch line.” – Ben Whitmore, February 8

9. “I looked at the toys in my hands and I saw the result of millions of dollars of development and thousands of hours of manpower, put into something bearing the name of a god, my god, and it had nothing to do with me.” – Eric Scott,  April 11

8. “By making me a personal target, I’ve been inundated with wonderful, loving, supportive energy from dozens and dozens of people.  I won’t waste my time being mad or hating them. Because in my personal faith, I forgive, I accept, and I am tolerant. (or at least I really, really try to be).” – Mrs. B., May 27

7. “At its essence, the message of the Occupations is simply this: ‘Here in the face of power we will sit and create a new society, in which you do count.’” – Starhawk, October 20

6. “But if you claim to be one of us, you have to have sometimes in your life a womb, and ovaries and MOON bleed and not die. Women are born not made by men on operating tables.” – Z. Budapest, February 28

5. “A tinfoil hat might protect [Charlie Sheen] from aliens, but it won’t do anything to protect him from witches.” – Christian Day, March 4

4. “This is very important for us; we didn’t have a place to call our own, to be outside in nature,” – Cadet Nicole Johnson, May 3

3. “I don’t like being tolerated by priestesses. It’s demeaning. It is absolutely arrogant to look down on me and assume that your path is in any way more valid or deeper than mine or other men who work with Goddess.” – Devin Hunter, December 19

2. “This decision shows how important our faith is. We are getting credence from a secular government about our belief structure – which not only shows it is valuable but also valued by us and others.” – King Arthur Pendragon, October 2

1. “Please send all questions to: usamericancouncilofwitches@yahoo.com thank you!Standard answer of The U.S. American Council of Witches to all questions posted on their Facebook page.