Thursday, July 14, 2005

My Paganism

From the comments to a recent post:

...Side question: in what way are you pagan? Or is that just for a cool sounding buzz in your blog's title?

Well, it is a cool addition to a blog title. It's actually one of the few titles I've chosen that haven't been horrible puns. The title I used for a pagan forum was "The Rite Stuff", and for a Fantasy Role-Playing game forum, I used "Dial M for Mordor".

I'm pagan in the sense that I am not a member of any of the Abrahamic religions. I have been initiated into a Wiccan tradition, and hold the rank of High Priest in the tradition.

One day, a co-worker asked me about Wiccan holy days, and I decided that, rather than spend the next several hours talking with him about them, I'd print out some of my essays. Curiously enough, the theme of the month for one year at Witches' Voice had included each of major festivals.

These are:

When I hefted the printout, I realized I had enough for a small book. I'm currently re-writing it so it will present a more unified book.

Other essays on the same site have touched on:

And more, besides!

In politics, I ran with the Libertarian party for quite a while, because I noticed the guiding principle of the party was essentially the Wiccan Rede. I eventually left when it became apparent to me that they were committing the same sort of errors the "newage" (rhymes with "sewage") crowd commits in interpreting the Rede. Among other things, one of the State officers had proclaimed that anyone who supported the Iraq War was not a Libertarian.

I have taken him at his word, and no longer support the Party.

The Wiccan Rede is quoted as, "If it harms none, do what you will." Far too many turn this into a Commandment: "Thou shalt not harm."

It's not a commandment. "Rede" means advice. Further, even if it were a commandment, all it says is that you have blanket permission to do things that cause no harm. Strictly speaking, it's silent on the cases where harm results.

The implication, though, is pretty obvious. Whether or not you cause harm matters. Given the choice, you should choose to cause no harm. Given real-world choices between greater and lesser harm, you choose the lesser.

One of the sages of Wicca, Doreen Valiente, has said, "Allowing harm to continue unchecked is not 'harming none'. Rather, it harms everyone."

The hundreds of thousands of people found in Saddam's mass graves have arguably been harmed. So have the victims of suicide bombings encouraged, at least in part, by Saddam's $25,000 payments. The US was in a position to stop this harm, and those who say it was wrong to interfere are violating the spirit – at least – of the Rede.

I take my Paganism seriously, and it is far more to me than an excuse to party, or a way to shock my elders. To me, it is not, as Laura Schlessinger had once labeled it, "a teenage fad". (Though at my age, I wouldn't mind being mistaken for a teenager on occasion!) It informs my politics and my judgments in many areas of life.

Although I am pretty conservative, I remain unpredictable, and you can never fully predict where I'll come down on a given issue. (Hi, Joan!)

Why "techno" Pagan? Just a way of dispelling any notion that I might be a back-to-nature type. I embrace technology, and indeed, I expect it to provide the key to our leaving this planet better than we found it. Technology, and the human creativity that has yielded it, is a positive good, and I embrace it wholeheartedly.

Gad! Look at the time!

Look at the date!

Happy Bastille Day!

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