Pagan Voices: Yeshe Rabbit, Thorn Coyle, Star Foster, Sam Webster, and More!

Pagan voices is a new spotlight on recent quotations from figures within the Pagan community. These voices may appear in the burgeoning Pagan media, or from a mainstream outlet, but all showcase our wisdom, thought processes, and evolution  in the public eye. Is there a Pagan voice you’d like to see highlighted? Drop me a line with a link to the story, post, or audio.

Ivo Dominguez Jr. of The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel participating in Rabbit's "I Stand Against Rape" campaign.

Ivo Dominguez Jr. of The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel participating in Rabbit’s “I Stand Against Rape” campaign.

“Live that truth. Speak up about rape. Take risks and say things out loud. Make sure you vote for those who respect the rights of women. Don’t worry about the economy so much: as the majority labor force in this country, and the majority in colleges and universities at this time, women will be able to figure things out with the economy once we are able to stop wasting our time on, you know, worrying about being raped or forced to have children who are products of rape. It is amazing how resourceful and smart we are about things like money, medicine, and astrophysics when we don’t have to trouble our pretty little heads about this other crap.” – Yeshe Rabbit, speaking about the “I Stand Against Rape” campaign, which invites men to make a public declaration against rape and share it with the world. You can see a selection of the participants, including my entry, at Rabbit’s Pintrest page.

T. Thorn Coyle

T. Thorn Coyle

“Patrick has offered service to the larger Pagan community at great expense to himself for many years, working in the US and on the international stage. It is a powerful thing to have a Pagan in such a high profile position at events like Awakened World. I feel grateful for his willingness to do this work, and will lend my support. Patrick, you’ve worked long and hard for us, and it is time for us to do some work to support you.”T.Thorn Coyle of Solar Cross Temple and Morningstar Mystery School writing in support of Patrick McCollum’s fundraising effort to send him to the Awakened World 2012 gathering in Italy.

Sam Webster (far right) with Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero, and Lon Milo DuQuette at a PantheaCon gathering.

Sam Webster (far right) with Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero, and Lon Milo DuQuette at a OSOGD PantheaCon gathering.

“As Socrates said (in the Apology), “the unexamined life is not worth living.” These kinds of questions are how humans have examined their lives by challenging themselves in their insight, or in their despair, to answer them. Or fail to. Here are the deep dark waters of the human experience. The record of humanity, especially the religious record, is the record of all the many ways we have attempted to answer them, as far back as writing goes, and arguably even farther. Long have we plumbed those depth and weighed those answers.”Sam Webster, founder of the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn (OSOGD), and author of “Tantric Thelema,” on the topic of religion and spirituality.

Star Foster

Star Foster

“When you look at other religious cultures who have survived over the millennia, including polytheistic cultures, you find that the process of creating, expanding and strengthening family was extremely important. Like anything else, these traditional processes could be, and sometimes still are, used to abuse and harm. Just as with a knife that can both slice bread and cut flesh, we don’t simply abandon traditional things because they have the potential to be used to harm. We already work positively with elements that could be used to harm in the wrong hands: divination, initiation, magic, etc…” – Patheos Pagan Portal editor Star Foster, asking if arranged marriages would work for the Pagan community.

Frater Barrabbas (left) with fellow magician Tony Mierzwicki.

Frater Barrabbas (left) with fellow magician Tony Mierzwicki.

“I guess you could say that I prefer my current employment environment where my technical expertise is easily determined by tangible results that I produce every day. A professional magician would function more like a clinical psychologist, often with only some subjective testimonials indicating that the magick worked for this person or that it greatly helped them. As for me, my professional skill-set is constantly being challenged and measured, even certified by an official testing regimen. Since there is nothing like that in the occult world, then claims of self-mastery and teaching accolades would have to be verified by the subjective opinions of various individuals. For myself, I would find this too intangible and tenuous. There is also the problem that if I initiate and teach someone, any fees that I might apply to that teaching would have to be done on a purely “quid pro quo” basis. I could never charge another initiate anything more than what would cover my out of pocket expenses, if even that.” – Frater Barrabbas, on why he won’t become a Professional Pagan Magus.

Book cover for "Manifest Divinity".

Book cover for “Manifest Divinity”.

“I don’t believe just because you choose not to do something that you are a bad person.  I think you made a different choice.  You have to live in our society so you get to decide what you will do and won’t do.  Society is differnet for different people.  We know people in the Pagan community who are very closeted, whose family doesn’t know what their actual spiritual practice is.  And we know people who just can’t understand why you can’t be spiritual every minute of the day and out there and open and loud and proud.  The culture you are living in is not necessarily as uniform as we’d like to believe.” - Lisa Spiral Besnett, author of “Manifest Divinity,” responding to a question from PNC Minnesota about personal boundaries and choosing not to do what a deity has told you to do.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

About Jason Pitzl-Waters
  • Guest

    Some people keep disliking their freedom of choice. A person is blessed to if no one decides for them who and when they’ll marry and doesn’t forbid birth control.
    Yes, people are likely to make mistakes, too, but freedom is still an incredibly precious gift deserving honour. Deities and people that want to enslave me or my kind aren’t ones I want around anyhow

  • Obsidia

    Thanks for standing against rape.

  • Yvonne

    The ‘arranged marriage’ part of Star Foster’s post is waaay to old-fashioned for my taste. Even if it doesn’t mean that parents force their children into marriage, I’m a bit surprised that so many people in her comment section seem to be down with it. Matchmaking sounds better, but don’t you need a proper community for that *before* you’ll have a pool large enough to fish in? Seems like some people hope that from matchmaking a nice pagan community will be born (literally) in the future, but I wonder if that’s how it really works.

    • Guest

      The whole interest in it goes back to the bad idea that the only right way to exist is as married and producing children and with everybody the same religion all so that religion can grow bigger. And Pagans can figure out where there are barrels containing many fish.

  • thesilverspiral

    One of the core morals of my religion is that every human being has free will and has a right and responsibility to follow hir path as s/he sees fit. Arranged marriages are completely contrary to this ethic, and have no place in my religion.

    • Nick Ritter

      Did you read the article? Nothing that Star’s article set forth in any way contradicts this core moral that you mention.

      • thesilverspiral

        The concept of arranged marriage as it is known to everyone else in the world, for millenia, has meant marriage regardless of one’s choice or desire in the matter. If that isn’t what the author is talking about, then the author should use more appropriate terms. I don’t see why the article couldn’t have used the word “matchmaking” instead of something that carries such enormous baggage. I know that I don’t want anyone who doesn’t know better mistakenly associating a practice like what arranged marriage actually is with my religion.

        • Lēoht Sceadusawol

          Not true.

          Arranged marriages happened frequently in Germanic societies, yet they have been shown to have choice in them.

          There is a rather big difference between arranged marriage and forced marriage.

        • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

          “The concept of arranged marriage as it is known to everyone else in the world, for millenia, has meant marriage regardless of one’s choice or desire in the matter.”

          Are you saying that based on actual study of the world’s cultures and marriage traditions or because that’s the what the phrase ‘arranged marriage’ means to you? Just quick look at the Wikipedia article on arranged marriage seems to directly contradict your assertion.

          • Guest

            Kauko- I’m waiting for the next post that promotes Pagan foot-binding, now with better made oils to cover the gangrene smell. And to see arguments exactly like yours in its defense.

          • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

            So, my pointing out that someone may have made a factually incorrect assertion means that I support foot-binding? I fail to see the connection.

          • Guest

            Sie did not make a factually incorrect assertion.

          • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

            That’s obviously open to debate.

          • Guest

            Only when someone’s trying to suggest to know what arranged marriage is you have to have first interviewed the entire planet. A nonsense assertion.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            Kauko didn’t say that.

            You just have to study world cultures to see that the arranging of marriage comes in different form, be it the hardcore ‘bride-burning’ forced marriages in some Asian cultures or the softcore ‘this one is a good match’ arrangements of some historical European cultures.

        • Guest

          Leoht I have no idea why you think if a Germanic society had arranged marriage that means it most likely didn’t involve coercion and trade.
          thesilverspiral – exactly. I suspect being tabloid gets more people “listening”. Pagan PR it’s not. I less care about image than having anyone think a HP/HPS, BNP, blogger, etc. should feel any wisdom or divination skills they feel they possess gives them any place to be shuffling people around to mate.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            Because of all the importance placed on the woman – she held the keys to the household, she could divorce easily, she was the one to whom the ‘bridegift’ was given…

            Basically, if she didn’t want to be there, she could leave pretty easily. And, if the groom pissed the bride off, her family may well have ended him.

            (I also like the tale in Njáls Saga where Hallgerðr denies Gunnar strands of her hair, in revenge for the time when he struck her. This leads to their deaths.)

            I am not denying that coercion and trade were present, it is just that they were not ubiquitous.

          • Guest

            Violence against men isn’t cool, either, and I think with most culturally aware Pagans being against arranged marriage. Someone, not you, using the phrase “ironically” is desperate for attention with no care to the cost.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            There is a time and place for violence. Done well, it can be very cool.

            However, it was not the actual violence I was applauding, but the depiction of consequence of action.

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

    Arranged marriage by definition is in opposition to individuals choosing, on their own initiative, who they wish to be romantically involved with. And while “arranged marriage” does not always (although it often does) equal “forced marriage”, it is also something more than merely arranged “introductions” or other forms of “match making”.

    But let us not commit hubris by blaspheming against the Gods of Love! Especially at this time of year, when the cicadas (those spies of Eros and Aphrodite) are listening everywhere. Love conquers all, and the ways of Love are far beyond the comprehension, control, or “arrangements” of mere mortals. Whether you meet someone in a bar, or the meeting is “arranged” by one’s parents, Love is what matters.


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