Thursday, March 19, 2009
Paganism in a Microcosm
As a student of life, I often ponder about the external influences which affect each and every one of us. In essence I view life as a huge ocean of humanity that ebbs and flows with the times. But then one has to stop and question, what is it, which affects and thus defines such movement within our society. Just a few decades ago our society was one where folks took responsibility for their actions. Folks who sought to engage in activities which were unacceptable to the majority were held responsible. There were clear tenets as to what was right or wrong. Many of us gray hairs can remember when a neighbor would catch us doing wrong and would bust our butts and then take us home where our parents would reinforce the lesson by busting our butts again. At that time it truly took a village to raise a child. Our children were taught to respect others as they themselves would like to be respected. And interesting enough, Neo paganism was in its infancy as such. Fast forward to today's society and one finds a community that is completely self absorbed. Where everyone is a hero or a winner and no one is wrong (unless it happens to be the other person). Today's society has become extremely artificial in values and the way that we communicate with others of our community. And in all reality the pagan community is no beacon of truth and values. Granted we mouth the words of "understanding, and love and light" and so forth. But this is simply a façade we use to attempt to set values as related to paganism. The only problem is that we don't empower such words with any real effort. I know this sounds pretty harsh but then the truth usually is. And so my question at this point is what happened? We can't blame the Christians, for their form of arrogance and exclusiveness has been well known since their infancy as a religion. And the downturn in society has only taken place over the last 25 or so years. And one can't help but notice that what we have today as a pagan community was also formed during this time. But by the same token we can't blame Neo paganism because such a movement only affects a small proportion of society. And the questionable values which form our society today extend to all folks regardless of religious and/or political beliefs. And so I ask once again, what happened? It's pretty apparent (to some of us) that we are now embroiled in the same state of behavior that the ancient Romans engaged in just prior to their downfall as a society. And so now the purpose of this treatise, what if anything is our responsibility as a Neo pagan community, to the community at large? Do we just continue to be ad hoc members of a failing society? Or do we find the maturity and indeed the desire to look beyond our individual selves to attempt to set a different and perhaps a higher standard? To do so would mean that we would actually have to live up to the standards that we so readily vocalize and yet only pay lip service when it comes to any real manifestation or action. It would require those who claim to be pagan to actually look deep within oneself and to confront ones Shadow self. Only in this way can we find the balance that is necessary in relation to our individual egos. For bloated egos seems to be the trademark of the so called Neo pagan community. Wicca for instance has only been around for a few decades or so and yet there seems to be more masters then students in such a very short time. And I can't count the number of so called masters of multiple disciplines that seem to be sprouting up within the Neo pagan community. In short Neo paganism is a microcosm of the decadent society that we endure today. Is this the legacy that we want to leave to our children? Do we even care? I personally would like to think that the Neo pagan movement has more substance to it then just being an empty façade for the individual ego. Though, such a movement it has yet to take on any substantial form or definition of any real values. I realize of course that there are always individual examples to any situation. However the Neo pagan community is not judged by society as a whole by such individuals but rather by the collective actions or lack of in such a community. Just by declaring oneself a Neo pagan the very first impression taken is that such a person is simply being rebellious to the accepted norms of society as a whole. And unfortunately the Neo pagan society has done very little collectively to dispel this first impression by society as a whole. This in itself is an oxymoron, for paganism is the oldest religious/spiritual belief in existence. And yet due to our own insecurities as to who we are collectively lends credence to such misnomers on the part of society at large. And so the misconceptions about paganism are enforced through our own inability to develop a valid identity. This brings us back to the issues touched upon at the start of this treatise. And that is the inability as individuals to accept personal responsibility for our actions and the lack of cohesiveness and discipline in our micro society to change these faults within ourselves. Do we continue to be just one more member of the society that we have today with its total disregard to spiritual values and personal responsibility? Or do we take the Neo pagan movement which is a micro society in formation and use it as a vehicle to bring back and exemplify the personal values that lend themselves to a healthy and thriving community? Do Neo pagans have the inner strength and the desire to break the current mold of self absorption and artificial values? Are we capable of looking beyond ourselves and to begin caring about the community as a whole, again? In closing, is it the responsibility of the Neo pagan community to set a higher standard or are we just along for the ride to the edge of the waterfalls of humanity? The ancient Romans went over the edge, will we as well?