Star: How do you explain the mass murdering and conversion of any people? Maybe my concept of deity is too much rooted in Christian thinking still, but wouldn’t the Gods themselves act on behalf of their people? I understand death is inevitable, but for the Roman to root out the druids, or the Christians to silence the Oracles, I find it harder to have faith in a specific divinity rather than be agnostic.
Dear Star: Well, there are a LOT of Deities out there to choose from. And most of them are not as insecure as the ancient Roman pantheon or as petty as Jehovah.
But let’s look at your block of questions in detail:
How do you explain the mass murdering and conversion of any people?
There is no explanation for these practices, because to explain them would be justifying them, and they are unjustifiable. I will only say that extermination, genocide and forced conversion is very much a human practice, with little to nothing to do with the Gods and Goddesses of the world. We may act in the name of _______ when we commit atrocities, but all of my time with Deity has shown that in doing so were are defying these very Gods by doing such a thing.
Wouldn’t the Gods themselves act on behalf of their people?
They do, (all the time!) but on an individual level. Or, if they are creating a widespread change, it is done with such subtlety and opacity that it is not noticed, or is explained away by other forces, or coincidence. Bad things are always peformed by a small minority of any population. Most people are generally decent. Boring maybe, but good eggs, all-in-all.
Again, most Christians are good and decent people, living their lives with honor (as they see it) and striving to do good and make themselves and their loved ones happy and comfortable. Human atrocities were not invented 1,700 years ago with the organizing of the Christian Church as a religious organization.
A small percentage of humans have always found some justification for wailing on their neighbors and forcing them to kneel before an unfamiliar altar with the point of a spear tickling the back of their necks. And most of the awful things done in the modern era have been in answer to the dictates of a Dictator, not the preachings of a preacher.
So, Star, in answer to your question: I think you need to take some long walks in the forest. Listen to the trees. Listen to your heart. There you may find some Peace of Mind and maybe some more personally loving Goddesses and Gods. You might also find some people who believe that Death is part of the cycle of nature and the progression of the seasons – not Murder as a means to and end.
Much beauty and joy awaits you!
FundiFam: this holiday season I will be facing my fundamentalist Christian family for the first time since coming out as Pagan. Do you have any words of wisdom on how to prevent us from casting hexes (read: prayers) at each other?
Dear FundiFam: Oy. Family. George Burns once said that “Everyone should have a big, loving family – in another city.” Or, another country in your case. But you have to deal with them eventually. Cuz, you know, you love them.
Here’s the thing. Time apart from your loved ones creates a false image of you in their minds (and they in your mind). You just don’t have the daily interaction and course corrections of who they are and how they are changing like you do with your housemates, lovers, and friends. They love you – and you them, but they don’t really know you well anymore.
So, introduce yourself to the members of your family. One by one.
Tell each one how happy you are. Just list the various components of your weekly routine and how each one brings you challenges and rewards. Stress the words ‘blessings’ ‘joy’ and ‘prayers answered’. They love language like that. Take the time to really connect with that person and show them how radiant you are. You won’t have to mention WITCHCRAFT at all. If they bring up your Soul or God or Sin or some such gobbledygook, let ‘em talk. When they are done reiterate that you have found Peace and Fulfillment on your path. If they persist, go for Generalities Endgame:
“What have you always wanted for me? You wanted me to be safe, healthy, and happy. I have found all of these things with my practice. Please remember that. I am safe. I am healthy. I am happy.”
Make these personal connections into a game. Put everyone on a list on your phone and check them off. Catch your uncle having a smoke on the porch. Catch your Mother at the stove, waiting for something to boil. Catch your cousin in the hallway. Catch your brother outside wearing Lederhosen and yodeling. Catch your Aunt when you drive to the store together.
Connect, one-on-one with everyone in your family. Its the best way to break through the wall of illusion they have built up around you, because they don’t see you enough to know who you really are now. Tell them, and by doing so one-on-one, you will also SHOW them.
And, leave out the parts about the bondage gear and the sex clubs, okay?
Send your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
(top pic from mastermarf.com. All others from Authors collection.)