A few Choice Words for the People of Egypt, and their critics…

Dear People of Egypt, and President Barack Obama

For over 234 years, We of the United States of America have struggled and worked and fought and prayed and agitated and protested for the ideas and ideals and principles and values outlined in our founding documents the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and The Bill of Rights.

They are Aspirational documents. We have not always lived up to their ideals.  We have gone through a lot of pain and toil and even a Civil War, as a people and a nation trying to live up to them, struggling  and striving towards that “more perfect Union”.

I hope and I pray for the most peaceful, and just, resolution to the current protests and turmoil in Egypt.

As a tax paying, voting, U.S. citizen I hope that the United States Government, which is supposed to support and uphold the U.S. Ideals, will find a way to support the People of Egypt in their struggle for true democratic change in their nation.

Thank you,

Geoffrey D. Stewart

(From the U.S. Declaration of Independence)

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.


(From the U.S. Constitution)

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,


So I posted this to my facebook as a note, and tagged, among others. The U.S. President, Vice President, Secretary of State, and the leaders of both Party Caucuses in the Congress….

Holy Libertas, Holy Justitia, and All You Holy Powers of Healing…

Dear Friends,

In the face of recent events Pagan community journalists are looking at the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, a Democratic member of the U.S. Congress who was shot at in an apparent assassination attempt, and adding their prayers.  Pagan Elders and Teachers are encouraging us to pray and send energy, and to not only not despair but too find ways to Bend that oh-so -famous Moral Arc of the Universe more towards justice from the strange and tangled place our Nation finds itself in these day.  Pagan Authors and Elders are writing essays inquiring into the moral responsibility for the vitriolic climate that pollutes our fair Nations politics.

I am neither an Elder nor an Author, and only a sometimes hap-hazard Journalist.  I will find ways to act and work and do whatever it is I can do to bring positive change into the world and into my Nation, but for now, I also pray….

Holy Libertas, Holy Justitia, and All You Holy Powers of Healing

Hear Me, oh, Holy Powers.

Lady Liberty,

Goddess of Democracy, You who raises your Torch to light the way to Freedom and holds close to your heart the Laws and History and Ideas and Ideals that should be guiding us.  Inspire your children and friends and praise-singers and drum-beaters to action, let us stand in numbers too great to ignore and say

“No.  Not here, and not ever here!”

To the rule of violence and to the fear-mongering and rabble-rousing that has helped lead to this.

Swift Winged Justice,

Lady of the Scales and the Sword, who although blindfolded sees all.  I know that You cannot be everywhere at once, but please be in Arizona now.  Cleave through the lies and accusations and counter accusations and help the forces of Law to work Your wonders and to find the truths at the  heart of this matter.

All You Holy Powers of Healing,

Be with, sustain, and nurture those injured on that tragic day.  Be with, sustain, and nurture the families of the fallen, and the wounded, as they go forward from this terrible cross-roads.  Be with, sustain, and nurture all those touched personally by this horrible event and help them to to heal, to grieve, to find the comfort they need, and to continue.

Honored and Beloved and Mighty Dead,

Welcome the Fallen from this tragic day amongst your numbers, may they find peace amongst your numbers and reunion with their beloved families.  May your presences and inspiration be there for your families and for your spiritual descendants who have need of you in this trying time.

Blessed Be and So Mote It Be.

So Mote It Be,
Pax / Geoffrey

Libertas, Tiananmen Square, and Me

Dear Friends,

So this years Nobel Peace Prize winner has dedicated his award to the memory of those who died in the June Fourth Incident, as the  Tiananmen Square massacre is known inside China.  It took me a while to decipher the reasons why this news stirred my heart.  Since that time, the Chinese government has done what they can to block the incident or otherwise discredit the ceremony.   When this news broke in early November, though, I was transported back in time….

21 years ago, 1989, the Summer between my Junior and Senior year of High School.  Technically speaking I wasn’t really a Pagan or a Witch yet…  and yet… from early childhood I had had a fascination with stories of magic and the occult and E.S.P. and folklore and mythology.  From the time I got a couple of fill-in-the-blanks word/spelling workbooks with the stories of the Greek and Roman gods started  my fascination with Ancient Greece, which was later aided and abetted by my passionate love of Wonder Woman tv show; I had immersed myself in mythology and folk-lore and stories of the unexplained and such, and if there had been a book in any of my school libraries on such topics I had read it.

My family didn’t go to Church or anything…. we prayed at the Holidays but I wasn’t Churched growing up except for a couple of Christian Summer School experiments that I think Mom and Dad tried out because they felt I should get some species of religious education.  While I am sure that the Baptist Afternoon Bible Summer School must have spoken of God’s Love, all my A.D.D. blessed brain caught a hold of was the whole tow-the-line-or-go-directly-to-Hellfire-and-Brimstone-do-not-pass-go-do-not-collect-$200 part of the theology…; this left young Geoffrey with some issues with Christianity and organized Religion!  I had begun skirting the barest edges of metaphysical and magickal practices from readings in the folklore and Mysteries of the Unexplained Woo Woo readings I had done over the years.  It hadn’t really yet occurred to me that there were other games in town OTHER than Christianity/Judaism (which, since I didn’t know one could convert to, I considered myself wholly ineligible for)/Islam;  I had yet to start reading any Daoist or Buddhist books, that would come later….

Like many people of my generation I found great hope and inspiration in the early days of the coverage of Tienanmen Square, people finding their voice and demanding redress of their grievances from their government…. as a young man born in 1972 and raised with all the patriotic fervor of the U.S. Bicentennial floating about and the (admittedly rose-colored and simplistic) emphasis on U.S. History and Americana and Democracy etc. etc…  how could I not feel moved by the happenings across the Pacific from my homeland of Alaska U.S.A.?

Then, then I saw Her.  It was not simply that they had raised a statue resembling Lady Liberty, although that did stir my soul, but that they outright named Her as Goddess… The Goddess of Democracy… I did not know then that Lady Liberty who stands beside the golden door is meant to represent Libertas…  Yet, something about the fact that people all over the world were being enthralled and inspired by the struggle for freedom and inspired by the image of The Goddess of Democracy, stirred within my mind the idea that the ancient Gods and Godesses were still abroad in the world, stirred my senses and struck chord in my heart and soul and knocked upon the doors of my perception.  It was a deep and abiding and everlasting and celestially symphonic chorus of…

“Yes!  Yes, yes, oh Sweet, oh Divine, oh Glorious; Yes!!!”

…that rang forth from and within my every dancing atom and singing cell.   The swift winged winds of change blowing through my soul, inspiring me and stirring a sea change deep within me.  Even though I didn’t have the language for it at the time, and even though I did not formally start my studies or formally separate myself from the mainstream or from the presumed Judeo-Christian matrix of my late 20th Century U.S. upbringing until a few years later, I can honestly say THAT was the exact moment I truly became a Pagan.

What about you?  When did you say YES?

Peace, and Curiosity,


PS- after this post was written and posted, a series of posts entitled “My life with (some of) The Holy Powers and The Spirits” started trickling out of me, and this post was too obviously a part of that NOT to be included… for ease of cross referencing Links to the other articles discussing the characters in my life’s Divine and semi-Divine Dramatis Personae will be included below as the posts are written…


Libertas (this post)

The Witches Goddess

The WitchFather

The Morrigan



The Honored and Beloved Dead

Spirits of the World Around Us

Memorial Day and the Mystery of Sacrifice

Wherein our hero, Pax, muses about the Mysteries of Sacrifice and the Memorial Day Holiday….

Hello Friends,

So my mind is turning towards the Religious Mystery of Sacrifice this year and it being Memorial Day here in the United States it seems like an apt time to write upon it.

Now I have been contemplating various aspects of this particular Mystery for a few months now, since our Church ran it’s annual Stewardship campaign.  That’s where the members of the congregation decide upon their monthly membership pledges to the Church.  I have also been slowly reading through Walter Burkert’s Greek Religion as I explore Hellenic Polytheism and my own increasingly Polytheistic self.

Now when you start talking of sacrifice in a religious sense, a lot of sensationalistic and bloody imagery may come to mind as the influence of both sensationalist (and often wildly inaccurate) portrayals from Hollywood and the (also wildly inaccurate and often venomous) propaganda of some of the more extreme ends of the dominant Monotheistic faiths.  So let me issue this disclaimer… I have never participated in an animal Sacrifice, but not for the reasons you might think.  (more on that last part in a bit…)

Let’s start with the Religious Mystery part of the equation.  A Religious  Mystery is something you must experience, or undergo, in order to truly understand.  Mysteries are, or should be, informative and transformative.  That’s the modern sense of it anyway and why in Contemporary Paganism (and elsewhere) one can hear reference to Women’s Mysteries and Men’s Mysteries, the Mysteries of Childbirth, The Mysteries of Sex, and the Mysteries of Death and the like.  This use of Mystery comes to us from the Mystery religions of the Ancient Mediterranean where initiates to the sacred and secret rites would undergo rituals and swear, upon pain of death, not to reveal the content of the Mysteries.

Now we get into Sacrifice.  A term and act which can be a source of some controversy in Contemporary Pagan society when discussions of Religious Freedom and its  interplay with those modern world regions such as Santeria and Voudoun (among others) who both practice animal sacrifice and share some similarities with Contemporary Paganism come up.  The word sacrifice comes to us, or so my research says, from the Old French and means “to make sacred”.   It is related to, at least thematically, an ancient Greek word that translates as “the working of sacred things.”   The ancient Greek word was used to denote the sacrifice of animals in ancient Greek religion, an examination of which topic can be enlightening and provocative.

I mentioned earlier that I have not participated in an animal sacrifice, although I have made offerings of food and money and poured libations of water and wine ~ which follow some of the same dynamics and rules as a Sacrifice and are a part of why I am writing about and exploring this topic.

I have not participated in animal sacrifice.

First and foremost this is because, like the vast majority of Contemporary Pagans (at least here in the U.S.) I am a child of the cities and suburbs and lack the requisite skills and knowledge to mercifully, quickly, cleanly, and as painlessly as possible slaughter an animal and butcher it into it’s component parts for cooking and sharing with whatever Gods one worships and ones religious community.   Which was the general model in the Ancient world and is also the general model for those religions that still practice animal sacrifice.

Then too there is the fact that having grown up in a world where I get my meat in a nice neat Styrofoam and plastic wrapped package from the market, I don’t know if I would have the stomach to partake of meat I’ve watched slaughtered; despite having eaten fish I have caught and killed and clean in the past.

Setting aside my squeamishness, or potential squeamishness, lets go back to sacrifice.  I have just mentioned the idea of a general model for animal sacrifice in the Ancient and Contemporary world.   The animal is quickly, cleanly, and as mercifully as possible, slaughtered and butchered and cooked and served to the participants and the Gods.  The keys to this Mystery are not about Death, although admittedly in an animal sacrifice observing and honoring the Mystery of Death is a part of the equation, the Mystery of Sacrifice is about Life and about Community.

The core of any true Sacrifice is a Willing giving up of something of Value to be Shared with ones community and with the Holy Powers.

It is worth noting that the same sort of ground rules apply to a votive offering of a piece of poetry shared with others at a festival and burned in the festival fire, or to a Statue created or commissioned and left in sacred precincts, or to money tithed to ones congregation or religious community, as apply to an animal sacrifice.  Lets examine my theoretical core or ground rules…


The sacrifice, or votive offering, must be given willingly.  Not coerced or forced.  In Ancient Greece, at least, this was taken to the rather amusing extreme of the animal in question (often a Sheep or a Bull) being asked some variation of the phrase “Do You Consent?”  The animal, in part because of training, and in part because an attendant would place a dish of water in front of it, would nod it’s head and the rite would proceed.


In the case of animal sacrifice, the animals in question were in the Ancient World, and often in the Contemporary world, quite valuable as livestock in a society where meat did not/does not make up a regular part of the every day diet.  Thus offering up a Sheep or a Goat or an Ox was a financial big deal.  The same idea holds true with votive offerings where one might put a great deal of effort, thought, care, and sometimes expense in creating something precious to the owner/creator to be given to the Gods or left for the temple.


In the case of an animal sacrifice this sharing was a meal where in the participants ate of the meat, sometimes the only meat they might see in their diet, and offering (depending on the times and specific tradition) either the finest cuts or the bones and offal to the Gods.  In a votive offering this sharing also holds true as humble necklaces and inscriptions would lay side by side in the ancient temples with glorious works of art and jewelry and the arms and armor of defeated enemies from war.  The humbler gifts were periodically taken away and buried in the sacred precincts (to the delight of modern archaeologists) and the arms and armor and more precious works were kept and displayed within the temple… or occasionally melted down by subsequent governments to finance various projects.

Thus it is not just the giving up, in the case of a votive offering, that makes an offering an offering; or a food offering a sacrifice.  It is the conscious knowledge of the offerings value, it’s meaning and preciousness to the giver that is a part of the Mystery.  It is the true willingness to not only give, but to share with the Holy Powers or that which is greater than yourself AND with your community that opens the doors onto this Mystery.

So by now you may be wondering what any of this has to do with Memorial Day?

Well, this civic holiday is one where we in the U.S. honor our fallen soldiers, the Honored Dead, who have given their lives in service to the protection and defense of our Constitution.  The word sacrifice is often bandied about in discussing this.  I would put forth that theirs is a true Sacrifice in the religious/magical sense.

They willingly give the most precious thing they possess, their lives, in service to their nation in defense and protection of it’s highest ideals.  They willingly offer up their Lives to their community & country in service to something greater than themselves.  They sacrifice themselves that others may live and enjoy Freedom. In serving those ideals, as embodied in the U.S. Constitution, and in offering the greatest of sacrifices it is my contention that they thereby sanctify those ideals.  The Constitution thus becomes a sacred text and a set of sacred ideals.

Now, I recognize the complexities of politics and wars past and present, and of military service and government agendas.  I also choose to recognize those who have given their lives that I might live mine.

That which is remembered, lives.



A Response to a Comment…

Dear Friends,

The interactive nature of a blog is sometimes a fascinatingly time delayed thing.  I recently received a comment on my post Musings on Flag Day, Religio Americana, and the Power of Words from the 2009 International Pagan Values Blogging event, that has spurred a lot of thought and this particular post…

Pan wrote

“I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws”.

I have found what you said to be horrifying! In Germany, during the 1930’s and 40’s, a law required all Germans to report the whereabouts of any Jewish acquaintances, friends, or neighbors so they could be taken off to death camps and killed. Failure to do so meant violating a law.
Do you actually think that people should obey all laws on the books? Please comment on this.


Well, first off Pan, thanks again for your comment!

Next off, I feel the need to ask if you really feel that there is a law on the books here in the United States that honestly compares to those of Nazi Germany?

The most obvious and, admittedly knee-jerk, response I have is to grumble that we aren’t in Nazi Germany of the 30’s and 40’s for Goddess sake!   We are in the F***ing U.S. of A, as Joe Biden might say…

You are making an excellent point though, and it deserves a well thought out response.

To start, please indulge me in a recap of the relevant part of my former post, both for the other readers and to frame out some thoughts I’d like to develop in my response….

I was attempting to compare and advocate for the use of America’s Creed, written by William Tyler Page in 1917 in response to a patriotic writing contest, and adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives on April 3rd 1918, as among other things, a useful liturgical piece for Pagan observances of U.S. Civic Holidays…

America’s Creed

“I believe in the United States of America, as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.

I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.”

~William Tyler Page

I think that the Creed is preferable to the Pledge of Allegiance, authored by Francis Bellamy in 1892 and modified over the years.  As currently recited by U.S. school-children daily, by Tradition not by legal requirement, the Pledge goes…

The U.S. Pledge of Allegiance

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

As I wrote at the time…

Actually though I am a little dis-satisfied with the Pledge, and not for it’s outright monotheism, although that does rankle a bit!

It seems to me that as an oath or statement it binds me to the Flag and the Republic, but not to my nations core values.  Now the Pledge does discuss the ideas of Liberty and Justice, but only as presumed and inherent qualities of the nation, not as the ideals or goals of the nation.  The Pledge assumes that the Republic is always enacting Liberty and Justice for all, which while it is our goal, well, we have not always succeeded.  We can look at the history of the United States and through lenses like the Civil War, and the Trail of Tears, and even the Iron Jawed Angels, we can see that our Nation continues to struggle towards perfecting the union. The pledge seems to ignore our continuing stuggle  in favor of a jingoistic “My Nation Right or Wrong” attitude that to me seems at its heart terribly un-American.

(to delve into the patriotic post-Bicentennial patios of my youth…)

Side Note:  I rather love the observation I have heard that “My Country Right or Wrong!”, is rather like saying “My Mother Sober or Drunk!”: one simply has some deep and natural preferences in the matter!

I think that the Creed is a preferable oath/statement to the Pledge because it discusses the nature of our Nation in depth, its structure, the ideal of the U.S. as a participatory government, it invokes the potentially sacred aspects of our Nation and its ideals having been objects of sacrifice, the ideal of being truly representative of the governed; and the Creed invokes the National ideals of justice and equality, and freedom and humanity

This last one, humanity, is important.  Humanity as in humane, being marked by compassion and sympathy and consideration for others; AND characterized by or tending towards a humanistic culture.  With the word “humanistic” we are getting into some meaty and philosophical and historical territory so I will quote the Merriam Webster dot Com entry for it…

1 a : devotion to the humanities : literary culture b : the revival of classical letters, individualistic and critical spirit, and emphasis on secular concerns characteristic of the Renaissance
2 : humanitarianism
3 : a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values; especially : a philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual’s dignity and worth and capacity for self-realization through reason

If you are a student of history, even an amateur one such as myself, you will notice that despite being first coined in the 1830’s many of the Renaissance and Enlightenment ideas that were swirling around our Nations founding are packed into that little word.

That is the core of my response, Pan, because in your comment you are taking the last line out of the context of the rest of the Creed.  You can’t do that with oaths, or with history, or with patriotism.  You can’t take the obedience to the law out of context of the fact that our goals and ideals as a Nation are to create laws that are Just, that are Humane, that encourage Equality and uphold the ideal of Freedom.

In my short response to your post I said,

“Depends on the law, is it Just? Is it Fair? Is it Reasonable? Does it mesh with the ideals of our Nation?”

I don’t think we automatically have a right to ignore or disobey a law we do not agree with despite that the experience of driving on U.S. Interstate Highway’s might lead us to believe that many of our fellow citizens and drivers believe otherwise!   In the United States we have the right to stand up in protest and Free Speech.  We have the right to work for the change of laws we consider truly unjust.

If a law is truly unjust, we can work to change it.  If the system is broken We The People can work together to fix it.



New Charity added to the Online Pagan Resources Charity Section!

Hey folks,

Iam adding a charity to the Online Pagan Resources page, in part in response to this news story from NPR, wherein a grieving father of a fallen soldier is being required to pay the Westborough Baptist Church’s court costs in a lawsuit where the father challenged their freedom of speech to demonstrate with signs such as “God hates Fags”, “Thank God for Every Dead Soldier”, and “God Hates America” (they feel that the death of U.S. Soldiers is their God’s way of judging the U.S. for GLBT Civil Rights) outside his son’s funeral.  He was putting forth his families rights to privacy against the protestor’s freedom of religion and speech, although I would think that the father’s family freedom of religion would also enter into it.

Anyhow since the Charities section lists both Pagan Specific and Non-Pagan Specific charities, I have decided to add The Patriot Guard Riders.


Toasting the Bountiful Harvest ~ Beaujolais Nouveau

Dear friends and Pagani,

I dedicate this Thanksgiving post to Night Wandering Dionysus and the rest of the Theoi Daitioi (Gods of Feasting).

Folks who look at the evolution of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday will often point out that the Pilgrims weren’t farmers or they would have had arranged to arrive earlier and harvest in October.   Luckily for us, they didn’t know much about farming; and however much the pilgrims really had to do with the evolution of the U.S. Thanksgiving, we get the opportunity to enjoy a superlative wine with our Civic Harvest Festival!

For U.S. Pagans, Beaujolais Nouveaux is the perfect wine to toast Thanksgiving in its aspect as a Harvest festival, as it is usually only a matter of weeks before that the wine in the bottle or glass was grapes on the vine waiting until the growers detected that they were at their peak, and ready for harvest.

Beaujolais Nouveau is the briefly fermented first batches of wine pressed from the current years wine grape harvest, Gamay grapes to be specific.  Beaujolais grapes are picked only by hand, as are the grapes of the Champagne region; both of which are strictly regulated under French law.  Beaujolais Nouveau also under goes a specialized fermentation process known as carbonic maceration, where most or all of the grapes are left whole and very little fermenting must is added, the weight of the grapes themselves helps crush the grapes on the bottom and aids in a fermentation process where the grapes ferment individually and relatively little of the harsh tannins present in the grape skins are pressed into the resulting wine, as is usually the case with longer aged and more traditionally pressed red wines.  All of this results in a fruity and light flavor profile.

It debuts in the Third Thursday in November, no matter when the Harvest begun, and its flavor profile tends to blend well with rich and hearty foods of the type common to the Beaujolais region, or of the sort that we in the U.S. associate with Thanksgiving and the Winter Solstice feasts!  The average quality Beaujolais Nouveau should be able to last a few months, and may take you as far as a celebration in March or even May.  An excellent vintage (in a good year for the grapes) you could very well keep it for a year!  Consult a wine professional or expert near you for advice if you are not sure.

In looking at a Beaujolais Nouveau you should be aware that the California wines marketed as a Gamay Beaujolais, or similar title, will tend to use a different variety of Gamay grape, and as they are grown in different land and microclimates the California Beaujolais will tend to have a different flavor profile than the French, in the end, try both and see what you like better and which blends better with your Holiday feasting!

Happy Thanksgiving,

Pax / Geoffrey Stewart

Some informative links…


Beaujolais Nouveau Wikipedia Entry

Beaujolais Nouveau: History Behind the Third Thursday in November

10 Fascinating Facts About Beaujolais Nouveau

Its Party Time for Beaujolais Nouveau

Le Beaujolais Nouveau est Arrive!!

Samhaintide, Veterans Day, and Religio Americana

Dear Friends and Pagani,

At Samahin many of us Pagans honor the Beloved and Honored Dead, and then (in the U.S.) there’s Thanksgiving and then Yule/Winter Solstice; a smooth and orderly progression within the dark half of the Wheel of the Year, from honoring the beloved and Honored Dead to celebrating and remembering the Beloved and Honored Living.

And then, things like the Fort Hood shootings happen.  That this should happen so close to the upcoming  U.S. Veterans Day observance (info here and here,) adds another level to the tragedy.

In the face of such terrible acts we can must choose how to respond.  We can breathe deeply and consciously, partaking of both the life and energy around us and the interconnectedness of all things, all beings.  We can meditate.  We can pray.   We can strive to move forward within our lives as best we can.  We can learn.  Prehaps most importantly we can remember.

Veterans Day gives any Pagan, but especially those of us who are seeking after the Religio Americana,  an opportunity to remember and honor those who have lain down their life for our Nation, and equally important, to remember and thank those who are currently living their lives for this Nation or who have served in the past but are still amongst the honored living.  Some Pagans, amongst those that observe Samhain, might say that such Veterans Day observances seem superfluous or excessive coming on the heels of The Feast of The Dead.

I would say that given that the Religious Freedom I enjoy to celebrate Samhain is bought and paid for in the blood, sweat, and tears of U.S. Servicemen and women, that honoring them in this way is the very least we can do!

So light your incense, pour your libations, and create your rites of thanksgiving.  Make offerings of incense, and pour libations, and speak poems of praise to the dead.  Remember their sacrifices and actions.  Take a moment to shake the hands of the living, and say “thank you”.  Heck, lets aside our differences and come together across the lines of Traditions and organizations to sponsor feasts and special rituals and observances for Veterans Day and for our own Pagan Veterans.

Who, and what,  is remembered lives.

Peace, Pax

We Have Dreams Too…

So I was mucking around on Facebook and was turned onto this by Willow Witte from Join The Impact.  It’s a portion of a speech given by President Barack Obama at the NAACP’s Centenial Convention…

Some folks commented on the Facebook some things along the lines of “Why not now?”

I responded with…

“Presidential, or High Court, rulings are meaningless until we can get a clear majority of support across the Nation. Not that it wouldn’t be NICE mind you…. but still…. head to head, heart to hear, one on one until Freedom truly rings for us as well.”

I truly believe that.  The struggle for Civil Rights, whether for GLBT rights, or for Freedom of Religion, is not one that will be won solely through the declarations or rulings of law; Civil Rights and Equality will come about when our neighbors and friends and co-workers have an understanding of who and what we really are.

Whether the “we” is Queer or Pagan Truth is our sword and our shield in this struggle.

In looking through the net about Obama’s Speech I have also just found out about the National Equality March

Our One Single Demand:

Equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states. We will accept no less and will work until it is achieved. Equality Across America exists to support grassroots organizing in all 435 Congressional Districts to achieve full equality.

Equal Protection encompasses many issues, including:

  • Repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) so that every marriage in every state has the same federal rights.
  • Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell so that LGBT persons may serve in the military openly and with the same rights as their straight counterparts.
  • An end to workplace discrimination for everyone with an Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that protects everyone.
  • The right to adopt children and raise families like any other parents.
  • Hate Crimes legislation that includes LGBT people and protects us like any other targeted group.
  • Immigration reform that recognizes same-sex couples and ends the needless separation of families.

Our philosophy:

As members of every race, class, faith, and community, we see the struggle for LGBT equality as part of a larger movement for peace and social justice.

~From the Equality Across America website

Veritas, Justitia, Libertas,

I Invoke You,

Uncle Sam and Columbia,

I Summon, Stir, and Call Ye Forth,

Let Freedom Ring with the words

“Equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states.”

So Mote It Be!

Celebrating the Spell of Democracy

Happy U.S. Independence Day everybody!!!!

The 4th of July, as we in the States also know this beloved National Day, commemorates the adoption and publication of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.  (Fun History Fact: Historically and Legally speaking the U.S. separated from Britain on July 2nd 1776, when the Continental Congress agreed to adopt the resolution for seeking independence!)


I will be pouring libations and making offerings of incense unto the Gods and Heroe’s on my nation as will many of my fellow Pagan practitioner’s of the Religio Americana.  I have written of the Religio Americana previously, so I won’t bore you with the background ~ suffice to say it’s a natural outgrowth of my idealism and patriotism!

I will be pouring libations of water, and wine, and good New World rum, to the Founding Father’s (and Mothers like  Betsy Ross the semi-legendary seamstress of the first U.S. Flag) and the Gods of my Nation.  Perhaps you are wondering at my phrase ‘the Gods of my Nation…’?

Well, how about Truth, Justice, Lady Liberty (in her ancient and modern forms), and of course Uncle Sam and Columbia?

Today I will be honoring all of Them as I celebrate the founding of my Nation.


Oh, and if you are wondering about the title… well, when you look at the circumstances and procedure of the Declaration of Independence (and in some of the same ways  the Constitution), you have a pretty darn effective spell working now don’t you?  Now I’m not saying that it was done AS such, but it certainly follows the same basic rules… framing and forming ones intentions (the decision to split from Britain), symbolic acts (writing the Declaration), empowering it (signing it ~ effectively their death warrants had the Revolution failed!) and acting in accord… (the Revolutionary War)

Funny how magic works, huh?




Others posting on Religio Americana, or in it’s spirit, on The 4th of July, or during the month of July 2009…

Executive Pagan ~ The Feast of Libertas

Owls’s Wings ~ Let Freedom Ring

Full Circle ~ Lady Liberty Goddess of DemocracyThomas Paine 3.0

Politics and Polytheism ~ Independence from Politics

Musings on Flag Day, Religio Americana, and the Power of Words

(or) Patriotism as a Pagan Value

Friends, Pagani, Citizens,

Today is the U.S. Flag Day holiday.  It is a  holiday/observance held on the 14th of June each year, when we in the United States commemorate the adoption of the Flag of the United States.

I will be reciting the Pledge of Allegiance,

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

As is recited at the beginning of each school day by school children.  (of course I will be modifying the “under God” to “under the Gods”…)

Actually though I am a little dis-satisfied with the Pledge, and not for it’s outright monotheism, although that does rankle a bit!

It seems to me that as an oath or statement it binds me to the Flag and the Republic, but not to my nations core values.  Now the Pledge does discuss the ideas of Liberty and Justice, but only as presumed and inherent qualities of the nation, not as the ideals or goals of the nation.  The Pledge assumes that the Republic is always enacting Liberty and Justice for all, which while it is our goal, well, we have not always succeeded.  We can look at the history of the United States and through lenses like the Civil War, and the Trail of Tears, and even the Iron Jawed Angels, we can see that our Nation continues to struggle towards perfecting the union. The pledge seems to ignore our continuing stuggle  in favor of a jingoistic “My Nation Right or Wrong” attitude that to me seems at its heart terribly un-American.

(to delve into the patriotic post-Bicentennial patios of my youth…)

Which is why I will also honor Flag Day by reciting the American’s Creed,

I believe in the United States of America, as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.

I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.

Which I discovered in my continuing studies and exploration in the Religio Americana.  What I like about the Creed, as opposed to the Pledge,  is that it is much more grounded in the ideals and intended workings of the U.S., and our Constitution and other founding documents.

Now you may be wondering about my turn of phrase Religio Americana…  The Religio Americana both as a U.S. Pagan approach to Patriotism, and the discussion group, evolved out of a couple of discussions in the old Beliefnet forums.  (here and here)

Basically, what started as a discussion of whether recon Pagans of the Greek and Roman stripe should make some sort of token observances of Christianity in those places where Christianity is the State religion, evolved into discussions of how the Romans and other ancient Pagans honored their Nation States (those that had them), and the question of to what degree should/could/might/do we contemporary Pagans do so?

Religio Americana, and other forms of Pagan Patriotism, are grounded ~like so much of the Pagan paths~ in practice.  I pour libations and light incense on Memorial Day and U.S. Independence Day, I will make offerings to the guiding and guardian Spirits of the current President and various Senators, Congressmen, and other Civil Servants, I will pour libations to the Heroes and Founders of my Nation; and I will raise my glass in toast (at the very blessed least) on Veteran’s Day!

All of these are practices with a long and ancient Pagan lineage.

I’ve ranted along this general line before, but you needn’t take only my word for it!  You can see the Pagan (and Heathen!) value of Patriotism exemplified in so many ways in words and actions by many of our fellow Pagans across a number of paths!

So Peace, and a Happy U.S. Flag Day!


Remembering the Honored Dead

Dear Pagani,

Today is, in the United States, Memorial Day.

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 25 in 2009). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the civil war), it was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action.” ~from the Wikipedia article, accessed 5/25/2009

I also look upon this day and find it somehow strangely fitting that it is near Walpurgisnacht, and its traditions of lighting bonfires to ward of wandering ghosts, that we in the U.S. remember and honor our Fallen Soldiers.

I have many thoughts ranging through my mind about this holiday, this Holy Day.

Today I remember my nations fallen soldiers, and more.  I remember the fallen soldiers of the Revolutionary War, who fought to make our Nation.

I remember the Confederate War Dead; I may disagree with much of what they fought for ( see some of histories complexities here, and here), I cannot deny that their sacrifice helped to create the United States I know today.

While I do not agree with how my Nation has treated the Native American Peoples, I choose to honor all of the fallen dead of the Little Big Horn, and all of our other “Indian” wars; their sacrifices too, have shaped my Nation.

Perhaps I shall observe a moment of silence at 3pm my local time, a custom I had not known about until reading the Wikipedia entry!  Tonight I shall pour libations and make offerings of incense unto Hecate, and the Honored Dead.

The customs I hadn’t known about, perhaps because none of my relatives has died in a war in living memory, these are bothering me… shouldn’t the meaning of this day be a part of the fabric of my culture?  It is strange to see how far from honoring the U.S. War dead we’ve come, sometimes, in regards to memorial day.  Businesses are closed but it seems so much more an occasion for a three-day party week-end and lots of crass sales.  On the other hand, is this better than simply being lost to the flow of history, as Pearl Harbor Day has largely been?  My father tells me that there were observations on December 7th for years afterward… now though I sometimes think I would be hard pressed to find folks who knew its significance, it seems to barely get a mention.

Let us remember!     Let us come together as Kindreds and Covens and Groves, let us come together across religions as Pagans honoring the spirits and memories of those who have given their lives for our nations continuing struggle towards that more perfect union!



Remembering and learning and looking forward

So I have poured my libation in memory and honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, and the many others known and unkown to me who have worked and struggled to help my country struggle towards its more perfect union.

No lights, no spectral visitation, some rather well timed wind gusts but they could have been entirely concidental on a breezy Florida night.

I don’t know that I needed any spectral evidence… I feel humbled to look back at the various civil rights struggles my nation has moved through in its 200 plus years.  I find myself looking forward to the Innaguration and the moving forward into a new hopeful era.

I find myself realizing I have much to learn about the Civil Rights pioneers from the Sufferagettes and Abolitionists to the Civil Rights leaders of the 1960’s, to the Queer pioneers who helped fight for ~ and continue to fight for ~ equality.

I will be spending the day tomorrow on projects and housework and keeping an eye on the innaugural coverage.

Peace, and Blessed Be!