Supporting Pagan organizations and institutions:Officers of Avalon

Dear Friends and Pagani and U.U.’s,

So like any self respecting member of the online contingent of the Pagan community I am signed up for a nigh-ridiculous number of lists and newsletters and things.  A lot of times I let these connections lay dormant and focus on a few well worn paths in this World Wide Web Between the Worlds…

Recently however I received some very interesting news from an organization I’d like to highlight, the Officers of Avalon.

Officers of Avalon

An international organization for Pagan Law Officers and Emergency Workers

Avalon Cares

The charitable works arm of the Officers of Avalon, they have done some great work and are worth checking out!

~taken from the Chrysalis Online Pagan Resources Page…

That is the short version, their own website says more…

“The Officers of Avalon is a fraternal, educational, and charitable organization. We seek to provide a community and network for Pagan first responders and to serve as a voice for them. We seek to provide accurate information and improve public perception about Pagan spirituality through education. We seek to defend followers of Pagan spirituality by working against misinformation, discrimination, defamation, harassment and intimidation. We are an outreach to Pagans in the Emergency Services. We also seek to demonstrate that Pagans are a charitable people. To that end, we work on the collection and distribution of donations to communities in need for natural disaster relief. Join us today as an Officer of Avalon or a Friend of Avalon.” ~from the Officers of Avalon site, accessed 11:16 am 2/23/10

OoA is one of the few Pagan Professional organizations founded in the 1990’s to still be going and growing strong.  This alone is worthy of some praise, the fact that they have expanded beyond merely advocacy and support for their own community but have sought to do good in the wider world through non-profit charitable work is doubly praiseworthy.

Avalon Cares is the charitable wing of the OoA and, last I looked into it, they were working on their 501c status (legal/tax code designation for non-profit status, and thus freedom from taxes, here in the U.S.).  They trucked in disaster aid to a small town in Louisianna after Katrina, they paid for and shipped new uniforms for members of the New Orleans Police dept., they worked to raise funds for disaster relief after the California Wildfires a few years ago, and the brush fires in Australia last year.  They are now establishing a fund for aid in the face of the ongoing disaster in Haiti!

Avalon Cares Update
Avalon Cares, the charitable branch of Officers of Avalon,
is accepting donations for Earthquake Relief and
rebuilding in Haiti. Our goal is to help communities recover
as quickly as possible and to fill in needs not met
by larger organizations. In the short term, we will make
donations to Doctors without Borders on behalf of our
membership and Pagan communities in general. We
also plan to look into ways to support the first responders
already there, particularly in the military, with care
packages. It will take years to rebuild Haiti. In the long
run, we plan to support like-minded groups going in to
do direct relief work by providing supplies, volunteering,
and assistance with shipping and travel. We will
partner with one or more groups to help with rebuilding
in the months to come.
There are many ways to help us help others. 100% of all
direct cash donations earmarked for Haiti will be used
exclusively for relief work. Consider doing a fundraiser
for Avalon Cares. Set out a jar at a gathering and send
us a check for the proceeds. Those quarters, dimes, and
dollars add up quickly. Donate items for our upcoming
charity auction. Finally, join us on Facebook (group
name Officers of Avalon) or ask to subscribe to our
announcement list ( and
watch for opportunities to volunteer your time.
Please donate $5, $10, $25, or more via PayPal (http:// or postal mail
Officers of Avalon
PO Box 22
Baraboo, WI 53913″

~accessed from their Feb 2010 newsletter on 2/23/10 at 11:26 am

Membership as a “Friend of Avalon” is only $15 dollars and the money goes to support this organizations work.
Why support them?  Well in Paganism and the Pagan movement and our many faiths and communities we face an uphill battle in a society where our numbers and motives are often called into question.

In supporting an organization like Officers of Avalon we can not only do good in the world, we can not only stand up for our beliefs and for the values we hold dear, we can also stand up and show the larger world who Pagans really are and what we are really about!  Even if our numbers are small we can have an incredible impact for good in the world, but by supporting some of the few extant Pagan specific charitable organizations we can empower them, and our community and the next generation of Paganism as a network of World Religions.



(Friend of Avalon as of his next paycheck and the response time from OoA)

Hazards to U.S. Freedom of Religions

Dear Friends, Pagani, and U.U.’s,

Patrick McCollum, Wiccan prison Chaplain and respected Pagan Elder is in the news lately (summary of some of the stories at The Wild Hunt) because of a lawsuit in federal court to fight for religious freedom in the California Prison System.

“In 1997, after the settlement of a case involving a Wiccan inmate, the California Attorney General’s Office asked Rev. McCollum to serve as a Wiccan chaplain, making him the first government-recognized Wiccan chaplain. [3]. Subsequently, he has served as a statewide correctional chaplain for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. According to the Finding of Fact by the U.S. District Court[13] in McCollum, et al. v. CDCR, et al.,

“Plaintiff Patrick McCollum is a Wiccan [footnote omitted] clergyman who became a volunteer chaplain at the California Corrections Institution (“CCI”) Tehachapi in January 1998. By February 2000, McCollum served as a volunteer, non-salaried Wiccan chaplain for all 33 CDCR correctional institutions.”

He is currently engaged in litigation in the US 9th Circuit Court (McCollum, et al. v. CDCR, et al., C 04-03339 CRB) challenging the California Department of Corrections’ “Five Faiths” policy [4] which recognizes only five major world religions for inclusion in California’s prison chaplaincy program. A summary judgment was filed on February 23, 2009 [5], claiming that Rev. McCollum did not have proper standing in the case, and is currently under appeal[6]. Appellants’ brief was filed on November 19, 2009. Three amicus briefs in the case have been filed by (1) Americans United for Separation of Church and State [7] , the Anti-Defamation League[8], the American Jewish Committee, the [[Interfaith Alliance], and the Hindu American Foundation, (2) Interfaith Community Representatives (i.e., numerous individuals and organizations “committed to facilitating dialogue between the faiths and ensuring that all faiths are treated fairly,” including the American Correctional Chaplains Association), and (3) Florida Justice Institute and Legal Aid Society of New York City.

Rev. McCollum is a member of the American Correctional Chaplain Association, the Program Chair for the National Correctional Chaplaincy Directors Association, and the Chaplaincy Liaison for the American Academy of Religion.

On February 5, 2008, Rev. McCollum testified before the U.S Commission on Civil Rights [9], and his remarks were widely quoted in the Commission’s report entitled “Enforcing Religious Freedom in Prison” [10]”

~Taken from the Wikipedia entry on Mr. McCollum 02/22/10 4:37pm

There is an excellent audio  interview with Patrick McCollum over on Anne Hill’s Blog of Gnosis.

The results of this case could affect Religious Freedom rulings across the United States.   Please, please, take some time to listen to this interview, and to read up on the case.  Especially if you are living in the U.S.




The On Faith blog has a great guest editoral related to todays topic…

Mindfulness and the Pagan Path

Hello dear friends and readers!

So as I have been committing to silent meditation and spiritual practice, or rather recommitting after years of neglect and wandering off the path of practicing my Paganism, I have been giving a lot of thought to Meditation and its proper place in my practices as a Pagan and in the practice of the many forms of Paganism in general.   This has led me, as I was in the midst of writing this post, into re-writing a portion of the meditation section on my main Spiritual Practice page…

Enjoy and please give me some feedback.

One of the great definitions I’ve heard over the years was to the effect that prayer is a form of speaking to the Divine, and meditation is listening to Them.  Meditation is, I truly believe, an important tool in any Pagans spiritual toolbox.

Meditation is not always, or usually, about listening too/for the Deities, BUT, it can sometimes be a darn useful skill to develop as we seek our relationships with Them.  Meditation can help us learn deep truths about ourselves.  Meditation can also help us to set aside the everyday matters of our world and give us the clarity and focus that is right and respectful for when we are engaging in our relationships with our Gods and Goddesses.

I can’t meditate, I’ve tried

Anyone can meditate, and a lot of us do it without even knowing it.  In studying meditation one will regularly run across the concept of mindfulness.

Being.  Being fully present.  Being fully present in the moment.  Not concerned with the past or the future.

This is where, in some of my writings on meditation, (here and here for example) I have said to myself “thinking” to acknowledge that my mind is wandering away from being and being present and is getting caught up by the many shiny things of my interior world.  So I return to focusing on my out-breath and let go of whatever shiny idea or thought my mind has snatched up for the moment.

Now I have this idea that in their everyday lives all of our Pagan ancestors had a LOT of opportunities to engage in mindfulness, whether or not they lived in a place or culture that recognized formal meditation.  For most of them life involved a lot more physical labor than our own modern lives; there was also not the pressure of a consumer over-culture pressing into you all sorts of manipulative messages, but for right now lets focus on the labor and mindfulness….

There is a Zen proverb, often credited to the Buddha, that goes something like…

“Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.  After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.”

Think about it, have you ever mowed the lawn, or scrubbed a floor, de-boned a chicken, or shoveled snow?

You can do these things while thinking about some fight you had with your brother, or what you want to do after your done, or that really nice meal you had the other day, or that cool tv show or…or… or… BUT you will often end up doing a poor job because of distraction and you will have just done your chore and moved on to the next thing rather routinely and robotly.

BUT, if you focus on the process and simply do it… let’s say shoveling snow, an example that as a former Alaskan I have some familiarity with…

If you shovel the snow, focusing on each shovelful of snow and picking it up carefully yet efficiently, and placing it to the side of the walk or drive, either far off into the yard or by the side of the walk and drive to form a wind break.  If you do this shovelful by shovelful, paying attention to how you are moving and breathing and to what you are doing; not only do you do a better job but the job seems to get done quicker and your feel really good about the whole thing.  At the end you not only feel physically but mentally and spiritually invigorated.

That’s mindfulness, that’s meditation.

Chop wood, carry water.

Our Pagan ancestors had many, many opportunities to go into a mindful place and their world lacked a lot of the mental and physical distractions of our own modern life.  So in learning to meditate we can actually put ourselves in a much better framework for worshiping and relating to whatever of the Holy Powers we honor in our particular Pagan path.

Like a lot of spiritual and magickal tools you can use meditation for a number of different purposes or goals, depending upon your imagination and spiritual tradition and inclination.  With meditation we are sometimes simply trying to clear the mind, accepting thoughts as they come but releasing them and returning to a silence and focusing on our breathing.   Sometimes we are seeking to follow these thoughts and inspirations and will allow ourselves to pursue them, or at least notice them for a bit before returning to the silence and our breathing.  Sometimes we are meditating upon an image or idea or an emotion to see what comes up within us about them.  Sometimes meditation is a guided affair with someone leading us in a visualization or pathworking; or perhaps we have found a meditation in a book that speaks to the truest parts of ourselves and we record ourselves and play it back.

For this page, I have focused on solitary and basic meditation techniques.

Breath Awareness & Sitting in Stillness and Silence

Breathe properly.  Breathe slowly and deeply.  Breathe in and out, savoring the act and the nourishment that the air provides.  Focus your attention on your breath and focus only on that, emptying your mind of thoughts.  Thoughts may come, but you will simply acknowledge them as thoughts and then let them go and return to your breathing.

Breathe as silently as you are able.  Silencing the speech and the mind.  Embrace the silence.  If you need to clear your throat, or sniffle, do so, but return to silence.

Sit still.  If you become uncomfortable you can mindfully and gently and quietly  reposition yourself, and then return to stillness.

Sit in Stillness and Silence.   Breathe in and out, in through the nose and out through the mouth if you are able, or establish an even and slow in out rhythm.  If you feel the need to focus on something then gently and lightly focus on your out-breath and touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth.

You can set an alarm, or simply note the time before you start and when you end.  Try for 10 to 20 minutes, then go for 30.   Time spent in meditation is important, but not as important as continuing to engage this practice.  It may seem like an eternity and only 5 minutes will have passed, or you will be sitting there in silence and it will feel as if your throat muscles are spasming with the desire to SPEAK!!… or is this just me?

Thoughts may come. No, thoughts WILL come.  Our brains are kind of wired for them and we live in a society and contemporary world that really doesn’t encourage silence or stillness or being and peace or simply being.  When you recognize that you are not mentally silent but are caught up in thoughts or distractions then you can simply think or even say “thinking” to yourself and return to gently  focusing on your out-breath.

Confession #1 ~ I have a LOT of difficulty with Sitting in Stillness and Silence.  I am happy if I can last 10 minutes, although just short of 20 is my average… IF I APPLY MYSELF!  I am, as of this writing (12/14/09), wrestling with this tendency to want to do ANYTHING but Sit in Stillness and Silence… but since I have experienced its benefits I keep trying and that is the best advice I can give you if you have trouble with it, or with any of these practices is to continue to explore and engage with them.

NOTE: 02/20/2010 ~ I am getting better about this…

When you are in a situation of stress, You can take a moment and simple breathe, aware of the process of my breathing and fully conscious of the sensation and act of breathing, and gain a measure of peace to continue dealing with whatever must be dealt with.  If you find Centering useful, you can breathe those conscious breaths into your Center.

I can’t meditate, I’ve tried

Did you, how long, how many times, and what were you expecting?  Meditation is a practice.  We have to do it and do it regularly and repeatedly before we begin to experience it”s benefits.

Sometimes we feel invigorated and energized by meditation, we slip into silence and timelessness and a moment of bliss.  We focus on our out breath and suddenly the timer is going off and we are surprised at how quickly things went

Sometimes we are sitting there our back is sore we can’t seem to stop our thoughts, our nose itches and we are thirsty and it’s just not happening, BUT, we still at least TRY to sit for the 5 or 10 or 15 or whatever minutes.  Even if we only sit for a portion of our chosen time we have at least tried to engage in the practice and we can return and sit again later that day or the next day…

Sometimes we wrestle with meditation.  We keep finding our selves thinking and returning to our out breath, back and forth back and forth and by the end of our time we feel a measure of peace and calm and stillness and silence.

Sometimes we sit in the hands of the Gods.

Yet for any of the above to happen, we must commit, we must choose, we must return to the practice.



So there’s this guy at Church sometimes, and I am a little weird-ed out by him…

Dear friends and readers of all sorts,

Today’s post is, well complicated, and says some things that may be uncomfortable to read or to think about or discuss, but it’s something I have been wrestling with as of late… so here goes….

“Unitarian Universalism is a non-creedal religion.”

That’s one of the things one often hears when U.U.’s are trying to explain our religion to others.  This is usually followed up by a discussion of the Principles and Sources.  But the U.U. faith was born out of the complex intermingling of (very) liberal Christianity from Unitarian and Universalist streams of Christianity over the last 200 or so years,  and intermingled in the 30’s through the 50’s with  Humanism, then the U.U. faith was born in the 60’s and was then invigorated in the 70’s and 80’s with the influx of Paganism.  We U.U.’s are a complex new people with some very diverse and ancient roots.

But, Christianity is there, sometimes waiting to be dealt with.

I am not the only Pagan to be wrestling with the big C lately, there were some rather virulent comment streams over at the Wild Hunt that led Jason to institute a Comments Policy…  Cat at Quaker Pagan Reflections has mused a bit on Christian ways of viewing history through a rosy lens…. and Kayliegh at Kalisti: An Apple in Pandemonium recently mused about the persistence of ancient Paganism despite Christianity’s coming to power in ancient Rome

For YEARS I have been decrying the knee-jerk anti-Christian bigotry one sometimes hears or sees expressed in Pagan community spaces.  Over all, when it comes to those Pagans who can’t stop talking about their Christian pasts or upbringing and especially who cannot let go of or move past anger or grievance with Christianity, I have to agree with Cat Chapin-Bishop,

“But when you take the time and trouble to write, not of your encounters with the gods, nor even of your personal journey from Christianity to Paganism (for I note that most of the offenders on this one are ex- but not post-Christian) to give me news bulletins about how uniquely terrible the religion of Christianity is, perhaps I may be excused for wondering how much room you have in your spiritual life for your own gods, if you must spend so very much of your time howling at the gods of others?” ~ Cat Chapin-Bishop from her post Turning our Backs on Jesus: a humble request

Of course some of this is influenced by the fact that I wasn’t churched as a kid.  My family prayed at the holidays but there wasn’t really any serious involvement with Christianity or a particular denomination.  So I came to Witchcraft and Paganism with as clean a slate as it is possible to have living in a dominantly Abrahamic culture.

I was, as a Pagan and a Gay man, wary of the more radical and angry elements within Christianity but I also had dear friends who were Christians through whom I could see that there was goodness and decency to be found within the core message and practice of that faith if not in the words and actions of some of it’s loudest proponents and largest organizations.  It was after reading Bishop John Shelby Spong‘s excellent books including Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, that I could acknowledge that had my life taken other directions I could have happily become a Christian.  Reading that book was, at the time, a truly revelatory experience for me as it not only opened my eyes to the detailed history of the Bible as a text/tradition.  It also opened my eyes and heart to a true understanding of how one could actually be a Christian and live a life of love and decency and compassion actually engaged with the Teachings credited to Jesus.  Sadly, despite a number of both dear and decent friends who are Christians, I had somehow always viewed them as the rare exceptions.  Especially in the face of the angry and narrow and hateful words and actions of so many many prominent Christians observed over the course of my lifetime.

Lately, I am realizing that a part of my spiritual journey in the moment is to explore my relationship with Jesus and his teachings. They from one of the Seven Sources of Unitarian Universalism after all, and have had some influence on contemporary Western culture as well.

This has been highlighted again and again for me in the last few months at moments in the services at F.U.C.O where a particularly Christian hymn is sung or where Christian teachings are being referred to in the Sermon.  The need to explore and meditate on my relationship to Christ and Christian teachings was brought to the surface most strongly at the Solstice Service that the Pagan group at church Mystic Grove sponsored, it’s actually something like the 10th annual Solstice Service, but it was only recently taken up by the Grove, it was originally started by our previous minister!  Gotta love a U.U. church!

Anyway, the Winter Solstice…

Somehow, in the busy rush of the Season, and with everything going on I had missed out on the fact that the Service was being held in our Fellowship Hall and not the Sanctuary.   (Reasons of tradition and logistics at work there, although it’s gotten to be such a big event there is discussion of getting the Sanctuary for next year…)  So I turned the corner into Gore Hall and saw that the Service was in the Fellowship hall and not the Sanctuary and at first I felt a disappointment.   This disappointment kept getting deeper…

As I realized it later, that disappointment mingled with the general stress of the Holidays, and the stress of being my first Holiday season after the break up with The Big Guy, and somewhere along the way that sinking mood plumbed into some of my emotional depths… to where I have, over the years, stuffed a lot of anger and resentment over a lot of things…

At the time, all I knew was that I was seethingly angry!  Full of opposition and resentment, I could not look across the courtyard to the Sanctuary without feeling a simmering resentment that Solstice was in Gore Hall (despite my later, confirmed, intellectual knowledge that there were probably good reasons of Tradition and Logistics for this…) and NOT the Sanctuary.  I was in NO head space for ritual or services, and so I left and went over to the R.E. building to help set up for the potluck and the Solstice  Bonfire Vigil.

I ended up having a good time that night, but I also knew I had to do a lot of thinking about that night.

Not a few days before I had thanked Reverend Roberta for her lovely sermon and how it had given Christmas to me as a religious holiday as a U.U., yet in the face of this strange dark and mercurial mood I was wrestling with I decided to forgo Christmas Eve Service.

It took some time for me to un-knot and untangle my feelings and thoughts, but I realized that I had pushed aside but not actually faced or dealt with my  feelings of resentment and anger at Christianity and how some of it’s more fanatical branches attitude towards other religions and towards some segments of the population; and even more anger at how the more liberal branches don’t ever seem to me to be nearly loud enough in their condemnation of the bigotry and intolerance being perpetrated just as much in their name and their Gods name as in the name of the more fundamentalist and Talibanesque branches of Christianity….

In setting aside these strong feelings and opinions over the years, as “not fair” or “not worthy” or …something…, I wasn’t allowing myself to really feel the anger and the upset, I wasn’t really letting it go I was just stuffing it away somewhere where it could sit and fester and lurk within my mind and heart.

If there’s one lesson I have learned in the last few months as I have thrown myself back into spiritual practice and meditation like a drowning man for the shore, it’s that if something comes up, be it a thought or a feeling or whatever then you need to BE with it for a while before you can truly let it go.  There can be something very important in those fleeting thoughts and feelings.

So I have been thinking about my own ambivalent feelings about Jesus and the Churches that have come from his teachings, the Unitarians and the Universalists had many things quite  right even before some of them joined into this sea-changed something rich and strange that is Unitarian Universalism, in my humble opinion.

A kind a loving God would NOT send anyone to Hell.

Jesus need NOT have been divine in order to bear his God’s Message.

Christ’s teachings, of love and compassion are much more to the point of Christianity than any literal bible verse.

As far as I am concerned the only Word is Love, and everything else is a story or an allegory or a metaphor; so I guess I would have been a VERY liberal Christian had my life taken another path.  If I would have gone to Christianity.

Yet still, I find myself feeling a little awkward about my own feelings and thoughts about Christianity.  In a lovely and thoughtful post recently, Cat reminded folks that many if not most of those Christian ancestors of ours converted at the point of a sword.  As a Pagan and a history buff and as an intelligent person I cannot deny the sad simple fact that one seldom discussed aspect of the history of the spread of Christianity is that it is a centuries long history of genocide against any and all who dissent or disagree or who stood in the way of whatever The Church and then later The Churches wanted.

Pagans and Christian Unitarians and Christian Universalists, all good heretics all in a row…

At the same time I must in fairness and honor admit that Christianity also brought us Bach and C.S. Lewis and Shakespeare and the U.S. Constitution and so many, many, wonderful things along with the baneful.  One cannot, and SHOULD not, ignore the contributions of Christians in the efforts to end slavery, encourage women’s suffrage, stand up for civil rights, and to stand up for GLBT rights, to stand and fight for the separation of Church and State and Religious tolerance…

Lately, as I mentioned above, there have been some virulent and extreme and in some cases breathtakingly bigoted and hateful comments about Christianity made on some of the Pagan blog comment streams.  Folks making sad and disturbing jokes about killing “ash-zombie’s”  (as in Catholics observing Lent), and others who have discussed the evil and bigotry of Christianity and how Jesus and Jehovah are false Gods and Islam and Christianity are false religions… you know the exact same sort of stuff that they whine and freak out about when OTHER religions say the same sort of things about THEM?

So I spoke up…with only a touch of my usual (and in some circles and Circles infamous) zen-like calm…

Thanks ______ and ____________!
This whole comment thread has it all!
Ignorance (in behavior if not in education) and hatefulness and bigotry!
The complete dismissal of the validity of another religion.
The complete dismissal of the divinity of another religions god.
Even casual jokes about killing other people because of their religious beliefs!
Could you two PLEASE go vomit forth your hatred and bigotry elsewhere?
Thanks again,

(Can you believe that people have called me, ME, reactionary?!  I should turn the marrow in their bones to boiling lead…*)

So anyhow after a LOT of heated back and forth drama of the type that has erupted all to often on that forum lately someone asked…

“Pax, I don’t know much about you. I wonder if you’re chagrined, though, that your post opened up another of the running battles that, frankly, are getting kind of old here.”

And I responded…

Dear ____,

You ask…
“Pax, I don’t know much about you. I wonder if you’re chagrined, though, that your post opened up another of the running battles that, frankly, are getting kind of old here. ”

Yes, yes they are getting old.

Though I am not a Wiccan, I have chosen to base my faith and life as a Witch in large part on the ethical and moral teachings to be found within Doreen Valliente’s Charge of the Goddess. I strive to live a life of Beauty and Strength, Power and Compassion, Honor and Humility, and Mirth and Reverence. I strive and struggle, all the blessed time, to follow Her law “Love unto all beings…’ As She counsels in (what I personally consider to be) Divinely inspired poetry, I strive ever towards my highest ideals letting nothing stop me or turn me aside.

I would LOVE to not have this sort of thing going on here.

But when I see people making casual jokes about killing “ash-zombies” meaning Catholics and other Christians observing Lent (comment mercifully deleted, I would like to think because of my request); when I see people making casual comments about how Christians are all deluded or evil or hypocrites, or how Jesus and Jehovah are false Gods (which puts the Jewish people where exactly I wonder…), or how or how anyone who believes otherwise is also deluded or a fool…

How can I NOT stand up?

Especially believing in the power and Power of Words, to touch and transform minds, and hearts, and to touch and transform the very atoms and cells of all the worlds; when I see people wielding words of anger and encouraging the worst sort of casual bigotry… with the sort of jokes and comments that, were they directed at Pagans on a Christian forum would (and frequently do) result in outrage and apoplexy…

How can I NOT stand up against these things?

… Even as I wrestle with my own ambivalence about Christianity…


A lot of evil has been done in the name of Christianity over the centuries, and a lot of evil has been done by Christians.  Does this truly balance the good done in the name of Christianity and by Christians.  I believe so.

I know that even as militancy and extremism and fundamentalism run rampant in both Christianity and Islam, I know and can see that there are also Christian and Islamic people of decency and open-mindedness and tolerance and compassion and faith standing up against these tides.

There is good and bad in every faith, in every person.  There is good and evil done in the name of all Gods at some point or another, people of every faith have done wrong unto another in the name of their faith or with the conviction that their faith somehow justifies it.  I know these things and try my best to stand against intolerance, and ignorance, and hatred when I am confronted with them.

Yet still, there’s this guy at Church sometimes, and I’m a little weird-ed out by him…



* A fairly obscure reference, for those not familiar with him, to the improving works of Sir Terry Pratchett

Listen and Learn…

There is NO knowledge that is not power.

Hey folks,

So Tuesday’s are tricky for me I usually end up waking up early in the day and remain awake until after I get home from work on Wednesday morning.  I usually try to sleep late or get a nap, but I made the mistake of catching up with one of my favorite Pagan podcasts, (sort of an online radio show for the non-geek savy out there…) The Wigglian Way.

This long-running Canadian produced Wiccan podcast has received numerous awards and is very highly regarded within the online Pagan community.  Hosts Mojo and Sparrow always bring honesty and excellence and humor to their show, which is a combination of discussion and music.  The last three episodes have featured interviews with Fritz Muntean and Louise Bunn.   Mr. Muntean and Ms. Bunn are Witches, Elders, and co-authors (with a Kara Cunningham) of a U.U. Adult RE Paganism Curriculum.

So, episode 63 and episode 64 feature a two-part interview with Fritz Muntean which covers the history of Neo-Paganism and large chunks of Witchcraft in North America.  There is also an extensive list of the books mentioned in this interview here...

Episode 65 is primarilly and interview with Ms. Bunn, relating to Witchcraft and Paganism 202 materials, and there is also a listing of books mentioned

This series of shows reminded me of the excellent Pagan History website as well as the Pagans for Archeology group, as well as my favorite episode of Druidcast, episode 4 which features Professor R. Hutton discussing the history of the Pagan horned god.

It also inspired me to do some re-writing and editing over on the Suggested Reading page

So basically it is going to be another very sleepy Wednesday morning for me…



This one’s for the Girls….

Hey Ladies,

You all know who you are and how dear your are to me and how much I love you.  You have been my friends and confidants and co-conspirators over the years.  Dear dear adopted Sister of my queer heart and soul.  So when I was surfing the net today and found this post about the Krewe of Muses at the StregaNola blog, I thought of all of you.

So this year, remember to raise a glass in Toast to the Ladies of the Krewe of Muses, and perhaps pour a Libation to the Muses that inspire us all

And heck, who knows, We may have to get ourselves together on a Pilgrimage to watch this particular festival someday…



And let us neither neglect the Heathens on the list of sisters… nor fail to revel in our warped senses of humor, cause we don’t want to get so weepy or sentimental that we fail to remember that we both can rock and, when the situation demands, kick butt!

(I know, I know, not the rockinest hardest driving version out there, but I first heard it live, and much more rocking/hard-driving from Heart a couple of years ago…and this was the best audio quality with the all important first lyric in their version…)

PS- there is some excellent blogging going on over at the StregaNola blog, check them out!!

A nice little Valentines

Happy post Valentines dear readers,

So the Fabulous Jonathan and I went out to dinner and then to a nice little movie….

It’s intense, and rather gory… but given it’s a horror movie and given the subject and setting not unnecessarily so, I think.  It is a vivid, engaging, and intense re-imagining of the original film, and possibly the best horror movie I have seen ever.  I would SO recommend seeing it in a theather.

I also stand vindicated, since I had as Jonathan puts it “dragged” him to the The Young Victoria… THIS movie was also my choice.  It was funny He caught the fact that actress Emily Blunt was in both films, I hadn’t until I double checked the trailer.

I was struck by the resemblance I saw between Benicio Del Torro and Lon Chaney Jr….

more spiritual musings in the next day or so,



Meditation 2/12/2010

I take a deep breath in, in through my nose with the air and inspiration.  The air that connects me to all living things, drinking in the wise words and prayers of the world…. and the car exhaust and cussing, but part of the spiritual path of a Witch and part of Magic is knowing what to focus on and what to allow into your deepest heart and mind and soul…

I breathe deeply, in through the nose and out through my mouth, the tip of my tongue touches the roof of my mouth and tastes the breath of life that I breathe.  I try to focus on my out-breath, as I had read about from one of my Teachers… one of my Books… there’s the rub, books have always been my closest and first teachers.  Not that I haven’t found other Witches and Spiritual Traveler’s to share tales and wisdom with, but a lot of that sharing and wisdom has been at a distance, through books and then websites and blogs and podcasts as I find very, very far-flung folk that I find I know and trust.

Opening my heart with honesty and integrity as I try to the best I can with this lifetime of mine.

I breathe in, I breathe out.  I am thinking

….taste the breath of life… breathing, breathing out….

I sit cross-legged on the floor, hands cupped upward in the bowl of my lap.  That is how I sit when on the floor lately, trying to be open, receptive…. different from the “throne” posture I adopt when I meditate seated in a chair, feet flat on the floor and hands palms down on my knees and back straight, strong and self contained….


….breathing in, breathing out….

“open” and “enthroned” the need for balance… I roll my neck and am reminded of the need to expand my practice to include physical as well as metaphysical exercise… tomorrow I tell myself, always tomorrow…

…back to the breath of life…

Then of course theres the balance of living and engaging in a community like the one I find at Church, definitely the direction of a welcoming and afirming place for my spiritual growth and to make new friends… with out diving in too wildly and getting over whelmed…. *sigh* … releasing a little extra bit of tension?  fear? doubt? well, something anyway as I return to breathing out…

I breathe in, I breath out,

I breathe the Breath of Life,

I breathe the whispers of the leaves of the trees,

I breathe the sighs of forlorn lovers across the sea,

I breathe with the singers of hymns from across the many lands,

I breathe the prayers for peace from far off places,

I breathe in the perfume of the decadent flowers and pleasure gardens of the world,

I breathe in, I breathe out,

And, I return to the Breath of Life.

I am officially a Unitarian Universalist.

Hello Dear Friends, Pagani, U.U’s, and all other readers….

So this last Sunday, 2/07/10, I formally signed my name in the membership book for the First Unitarian Church of Orlando, my Church!

It’s funny how it can change things when it’s your Church.

This event was preceded by a couple of new member classes and a potluck dinner for new members and their sponsors and various Church and Board of Trustees members.

So the new members were, at the appropriate point in the service, called up to sign their name in the book and shake hands with members of the BoT and Membership/Fellowship committee and to accept our membership cards and a flower (which is now sitting upon my altar) and to swear to our part of the Bond of Union..

“We associate ourselves together

for the study and practice of morality and religion

aas interpreted by the noblest lives of humanity,

hoping thereby to prove helpful to one another

and to promote truth, righteousness, and love in the world.”

I really hadn’t had much time to read or contemplate this oath, I read it during the early part of the service before the new members ceremony took place.  It was really incredible to be swearing this oath, which speaks to my highest ideals in the company of others who feel similarly.  Then members of the BoT and various Church groups stood and swore various oaths to us, and then the congregation as a whole stood and swore some various oaths, and then we all sang the Song of Dedication, which is a part of all of our Congregations services…

“Love is doctrine of this church,

the quest for truth is its sacrement,

and service is its prayer.

To dwell together in peace,

To seek knowledge in freedom,

To serve humankind in fellowship,

Thus do we covenant with each other,

Thus do we covenant with each other.”

I am still beginning my journey as a U.U., yet similarly to how I felt when I found Paganism, it feels like coming home.



Explaining the basics of a Faith

Dear Friends and Pagani,

So as a Pagan I have been trying for years, and still try, to figure out how to explain my faith as a Witch & Pagan to others.  I am now finding that in Unitarian Universalism this is also a challenge, thus the evolution of the “Elevator Speech”.  On his Facebook, Jason, from over at The Wild Hunt, shared this wonderful video from the Hindu American Foundation that eloquently shares the basics of Hinduism with only one word…

Peace and Namaste,


An open Letter to the Pagan community… (or, I have had it up to HERE…)

(humor… or something….)

Dear Friends, and Pagani,

I am writing to you on behalf of many, many, of your fellow Pagans and (I would like to think) many of our Elders.

From now on if you expect us to take any of you Pagans out there seriously you will have to start studying your own faith, and other Pagan and Non-Pagan faiths in depth.  You will have to demonstrate a reasonable willingness to study and learn and grow.  You will have to show a reasonable grasp of History.  Your public statements about Paganism and your conduct as Pagans should have NO trace of “Take that Mommy and Daddy!” or “Take that Jesus!” about them.  You will not mistake, in words or action having an axe to grind against your parents or Religion of origin for being a proud Pagan.

If you are working in a community organization you will ESPECIALLY work to be knowledgeable, informed, and professional in your conduct within and on behalf of your community!

You will also look into the fact that there are more Christians (and other folks mono and poly theistic) involved in Interfaith work trying to protect and defend Religious Freedom and Separation of Church and State than there are Pagans, both in the Parliament of Worlds Religions and in organizations like the Interfaith Alliance.

Furthermore you will at least explore the idea that good folks like the gentleman interviewed below are AT LEAST AS ~IF NOT MORE~ representative of Christianity than some of those jerk-off talking head types that some folks love to rant about and to try and equate every Christian with…

Please take this post under advisement or So Holy Powers Help Us, we may have to start Gibbs-smacking folks upside the head, or something….

Thank you,
Pax and many, many, many of your fellow Pagans

PS- we really mean it!!

The Fabulous Jonathan demands blog-time

“Pagan this, Pagan that, Pagan the other…. what about your fabulous boyfriend?  Why don’t you blog about him?!” he says…

(as I raise the left eyebrow of mischief)

He is cute and delightful, and thinks he’s funny – sometimes he’s right…. he’s a former Catholic (imho still recovering from it), Witch, Theater Major, working in the Restaurant Management field.   He’s a cutie pie with fuzzy arms, sandy blond hair, and is a magnificent kisser!!

just sayin’