Pagan Soup: Honoring the Past and Other Good Things

So much to comment on this morning!

First, all my love and respect to Devin Hunter, whose heartfelt blog post this morning resonated deeply with me. We are all human, and deserving of respect and human dignity. Our gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, or physical ability do not strip us of our rights to our due respect and dignity. I have been told in the past that I cannot know the God, the Horned One, essentially because I have a vagina, but the experience of my soul knew better. I’m proud to be part of a tradition that resists homogeneity, that forces us to work respectfully together with those who are different from us in order to properly embody balance, harmony and love.

Apparently Ancient Rome had less income disparity than we do today. While I always knew Rome had a thriving middle class, it had never occurred to me that perhaps the middle and lower classes of that ancient city might be better off than we are today. It’s known that slaves being freed was a common occurrence, and slaves being able to save money to buy their freedom was common as well. Makes me wonder what the Roman “minimum wage” was for a slave? Could someone today working for minimum wage be able to save enough money to buy their own freedom(buy a car, pay off student loans, buy a house)?

Nice bit on Saturnalia and the passage of time over on Religion Dispatches.

Dr. James McGrath, who has an affinity for all things sci-fi, addresses the idea that Patheos is the Borg.

And now, with Solstice close upon us, I want to share my thought for the day:

I’ve been talking a lot about letting go in anticipation of Yule. Of facing the darkness honestly, and then leaving it behind us as the light wanes. However, I don’t believe we should leave the past behind us. That’s not who we are, a people that ignores and dismisses the past.

Regardless of all the arguments and debates over survivals and lineages, the wisdom of the ancients is our birthright. We are the new people, we are the old people, we are the same people, simply different from before. We do not build our future by forgetting our past. We do not move forward by throwing our ancestors “under the bus.” We do not achieve recognition and acceptance at the expense of those who come before.

In my tradition, as in many Pagan traditions, bearing light has deep meaning. Torches, which bore light through the darkness, had spiritual significance. It’s our job to recognize that whether or not it was transmitted in person in an unbroken lineage, a torch has been passed to us. We are charged with bearing light: human knowledge, human creativity, human possibility and human faith.

When you read Cicero and recognize yourself in his words, you are being passed a torch. When you find yourself nodding at Iamblichus’ defense of Pagan religion, you are being passed a torch. When Sappho’s lyric poetry touches your heart, you are being passed a torch. When the Havamal reminds you to behave with wisdom, you are being passed a torch. When the angry words of Enheduanna resonate in your soul, you are being passed a torch. When the image of Isis comforts and consoles, you are being passed a torch. When the piety of Julian inspires you to be a better person, you are being passed a torch.

It is our job to carry the past into the future. To remember Enheduanna, who over 4,000 years ago wrote passionate hymns to Inanna. To remember the Turner family of Carroll County, Georgia who just last week resolved the harassment case involving their public school. We are the people who remember, and the people who bring light out of darkness.

I was going to save this for Solstice, but I think today is a good time to share the my favorite Solstice speech:

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