While I do not know the spiritual beliefs to which Joaquin Phoenix subscribes, his recent words reflect Pagan values. Or at the very least my pagan values as a Hekataen-Green Witch. And it saddens me to know there are people mocking the man’s efforts to use his celebrity and award to bear witness regarding important issues.
Pagan Values: Justice For The Marginalized
“I think whether we’re talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we’re talking about the fight against the belief that one nation, one race, one gender or one species has the right to dominate, control and use and exploit another with impunity.” — Joaquin Phoenix
One of the most important values in my witchcraft practice and spiritual path is justice. It is the same for my family in their paths. For this reason, 3 Pagans and a Cat discuss issues such as gender inequality, queer rights, cultural appropriation in Pagan paths and magickal practice on our podcast. As a family, we want to bring attention to these and other issues which affect our community, country, and world.
Why? Adopting new ways of thinking, such as making space for transgender or non-binary participants, non-binary deities, and finding space for all (within what has been a binary practice or belief structure) is difficult. People cling to tradition and what is familiar. Change is frightening to some. Anyone who has ever received a Tower Card in a Tarot reading understands this to be true. Even so, change is vital to growth. We must adapt or risk stagnation as societal norms and understanding evolve.
It is my belief that Witches, Wiccans, Heathens, Druids, and all Pagan practitioners are the ones meant to lead the way. The question is whether or not we have the fortitude and will to have the hard conversations, examine our own practices and traditions, be willing to compromise where necessary and find ways to come together for the good of all.
Pagan Values: Live Within Nature, Not Above Her
Pagan Values: If Not Us, Then Who?
“When we use love and compassion as our guiding principles, we can create, develop, and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and to the environment.” — Joaquin Phoenix
As I examine the state of my country and the world, I realize the path of least resistance is no longer an option. And it will require people to maintain a discussion of these and other “charged” topics within their sphere of influence. Why? Because many of these issues do not feel imminent. People do not believe they are affected (at least right now) so it is easy to ignore or belittle someone such as Joaquin Phoenix or others who make themselves heard.
However, it is my opinion that we no longer have the option to remain quiet as Witches and Pagans, or as citizens of our countries and the world. We must raise our voices, push for change in local, state, and national government policy. Americans, we must get our asses to the polls in November and VOTE! And in our communities, we must be the ones to decry what no longer serves. Love and compassion must certainly be our guide in the mundane, as well as in our magickal and spiritual paths.
Pagan Values: A Few Suggestions For Taking Action
- Every citizen has the responsibility to care about issues that affect our country. This includes all the hot-button topics in regard to rights and freedoms. This includes what’s going on with the “Internment” camps and I.C.E., environmental issues, gender issues, et al. We have to keep the dialogue going, find workable and equitable solutions, and protect those who are at risk.
- Pick one thing which matters to you most, do some research on how you can participate in making things better (however that looks to you), and then “do the thing!”
- As Witches, Wiccans, Pagans, Druids, Heathens, et al., we are being called to repair the damage which has been done to humanity’s relationship with the Earth Mother. Sometimes, we will have to get political. Sponsor or go to the events which put the issues out there front and center.
- Be an example of what it means to live within a relationship to the Earth Mother and not dominating from above and over Her resources or other inhabitants. Teach others to do the same, however, that translates to you.
- Get your magick going on a single issue (preferably one within your sphere of influence). Seriously. Everything counts. Last year, at the Michigan Pagan Festival, we cast a healing spell for the water of Michigan. Connect with your Genius loci, ask what you can do to help your local land and water spirits.