Respect as a Spiritual Requirement

Respect as a Spiritual Requirement January 24, 2012

Respect is a large thing in my life.  I find that it is a large concept in many people’s life, especially within my culture.  I was raised to understand that respecting the next person is not something that is a choice but an expectation.  My mother and my father were born and raised in the south (which is the norm at some point in the family tree of Black people) and so respect was engrained and could equate to what was a life or death situation.

Needless to say I was raised not to talk back, speak when spoken to and show the upmost respect to my elders.  While I have not always subscribed to this in my adulthood in a way that my mother would agree with, it is something that is a part of my personal make up as a Black woman and as a professional.  What I have come to really understand is that this does not always translate in the Pagan community.  There is no direct correlation in the Pagan community that means respect to one another the way that it did for me growing up.  I think about how we are going to sustain the Pagan community and struggle with how that might look when we are not always able to respect one another and the contribution that each of us make.

Instead of gripping on the problem, since any given person could share a handful of experiences that fall into this category, I instead want to think about what message I would want to say to support solutions to this problem in our community.  To do this, I will speak with the voice of my mother and other ancestors that have passed on this lesson to me as it is applicable here.

It is important to mention here (because I just have to) that this is not pointed at any one person or situation.  It is also not a claim of innocence on my part and we all make some of the same mistakes in our journeys of growth, I am no different.  And with that…

  • Your actions will always speak louder than your words.
  • Your ability to show respect and appreciation to another person is an example of how much you respect and appreciate yourself.
  • You cannot love anyone else until you love yourself.
  • Your ancestors are the shoulders in which you stand on in order to have the opportunities you have now.
  • Respect is earned, not given.
  • Treat others how you want to be treated.
  • “Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners” – Lourence Sterne.
  • and the last one is a quote from Eldridge Cleaver of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense….. “Respect commands itself and it can neither be given nor withheld when it is due”.

It is important that we show examples within our community by extending to one another what the Gods have extended to us.  While we speak of our direct lineage to the divine, let us treat one another accordingly.  If I am of the Goddess, so are you.  And while we are building a community together, let us sustain it together.


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