Guy Fawkes and Revolution

Remember, remember the 5th of November,
the Gunpowder Treason and Plot.
I can think of no reason
why Gunpowder Treason
should ever be forgot.

It’s Guy Fawkes Day in England and revolution is on my brain. I’ve loved Guy Fawkes Day ever since I first saw V for Vendetta. The film was a good tonic after all the hyperbole following 9/11. Between fear that was real, fear that was imagined and fear that was invented, it was so good to see a film that left you feeling open, empowered and strangely unafraid. After 9/11 I needed to remember that people are decent, that everyone wants to be free from fear and that good men and women do exist who are willing to take an unpopular stand for what is right. (Even though I truly doubt Guy Fawkes was in the right.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about the revolutionary aspects of Wicca lately. Regardless of it’s origins, Wicca emerged into public as a rebellious force. It was as anti-establishment as anything born of the Beatnik era. In the euphoric, squealy-clean, post-war Atomic age who could imagine a tribal, primitive, primal faith blossoming? Can you imagine June Cleaver as a Gardnerian, naked and adorned in jewelry, drawing down the moon? Or Jack Lemon wearing horns and leading a spiral dance? Wicca seems so removed from the era in which it went public. Both unbelievably old and thoroughly post-modern.

I feel sometimes that as Paganism grows our religions are becoming tamer, growing mainstream and becoming respectable. Sometimes that makes me happy, that we have expanded our ranks and offer more public services. Sometimes though, the rebel in me shudders at such things. How do we manage both? Becoming more open and mainstream without losing our revolutionary edge?

It’s beyond me. All I know is there is something near the heart of my faith that refuses to be conquered. To borrow from C.S. Lewis, my faith is not a “tame lion.”

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About Star Foster

Southern polytheist in the Midwest.

  • John Beckett

    How do we manage both? By separating what is critical from what is not.

    As an example, ritual nudity is revolutionary and provocative, but considering that the vast majority of Pagans I know rarely if ever practice it and seem to suffer no ill effects, I’d say it’s not critical. And considering that nudity scares off some people, letting it go is probably a good thing for our growth.

    But our commitment to The Divine as both female and male? Our commitment to our ancestors and to future generations? Our commitment to the Earth and its rhythms and cycles? For me, those are revolutionary ideas that ARE critical.

    Whether we honor those commitments naked or in robes or in business suits is a matter of personal, group, and regional preference. That we DO honor them is critical.

  • Siegfried Goodfellow

    Excellent and important question.

    One word : Aradia.

    In there lies still the bite.