Lunchtime Meditation for Relaxation and Stress Relief

Introducing ‘Spirit of the Rainforest’, a single from my new meditation CD ‘Spirit Journey – Into the Elements’. The single is now available on Youtube and the complete CD will be available soon for digital download at most online music outlets including Amazon and ITunes.

‘Spirit of the Rainforest’ is a complete meditative session for home or office incorporating elemental sounds from the natural world and subtle Theta Om binaural entrainment techniques of my own design (variable left / right frequencies at a consistent 4.5Hz separation) to ensure a successful session of relaxation and stress relief while promoting spiritual harmony from within a theta state. The 16 min. length is designed to fit into a standard lunch break during the work day. Stereo headphones should be used for best results.

Posted in Anger Management, Peace, Relaxation, Spirituality, Sress Relief | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Religious Persecution is Not a Myth

I am writing this post in response to an article on Huffington Post where Candida Moss discusses the ‘myth’ of Christian persecution. Ms. Moss makes several valid points in this article but I think it wise to actually review the meaning and history of persecution before forming a reasonable opinion of her perspective. Most dictionaries define the term as any action which causes another to experience difficulty, inequality or suffering because of a difference in their beliefs.

Furthermore, religious persecution is a very real and ongoing problem that has existed for thousands of years. As an openly practicing pagan living in the extremely Christian southern United States, I have experienced different levels of persecution. For instance, we were denied a business license from the local city council, twice, when we first opened the Sanctuary of Light here. The council members confronted me directly about not being a Christian and suggested that since we pagans do not revere the Bible we would do better to establish our church well outside of city limits. We eventually received our license, but only by confronting the Mayor and threatening to litigate.

I have been publically spit on simply for walking down the street; my vehicle has been befouled with eggs and other filth; the windows of our Sanctuary were even wallpapered with Christian pamphlets proclaiming that hellfire and damnation await all who do not accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Suffice it to say that I know what religious persecution is, in a very personal way.

Now, why did the local Christian population treat us this way? My thoughts go to a quote from Michael Gaddis, where he states that “The Christian experience of violence during the pagan persecutions shaped the ideologies and practices that drove further religious conflicts over the course of the fourth and fifth centuries… The formative experience of martyrdom and persecution determined the ways in which later Christians would both use and experience violence under the Christian empire. Discourses of martyrdom and persecution formed the symbolic language through which Christians represented, justified, or denounced the use of violence.”

Mr. Gaddis is correct, ancient pagans did indeed persecute the Christians. This is historical fact and cannot be denied; furthermore, we modern pagans are still paying for the behavior of our pagan ancestors toward early Christianity, as I have explained. Ms. Moss believes, and I quote, that “you can disagree with someone sharply on the basis of your religious beliefs without accusing them of persecution. When you say they’re persecuting you, you’re basically accusing them of acting with Satan.” This is indeed the justification given by Christian zealots who actively persecute others but one cannot follow this by saying that Christians themselves have not been persecuted. Clearly Ms. Moss does not understand the meaning of the term.

For hundreds of years under pagan Roman rule, if a Christian did not sacrifice to the Roman Gods he or she was guilty of breaking the law and would be put to death, usually publically in the great arena of Rome, torn apart by wild animals or some other gruesome demise. Their lands and property were confiscated, their lives forfeit. Ms. Moss may choose to ignore history but this is but one example of clear persecution, and for Roman Christians it did not officially end until the Edict of Milan was signed by Constantine in the fourth century. Of course, Christians actively persecuted each other as well in later centuries, such behavior coming to a head during the protestant reformation. Again, this is historical fact not subject to debate.

Even today, Christian missionaries are routinely harassed and in many cases are put to death if they travel to theocratic countries that are inherently unfriendly to the Christian faith. These missionaries are martyrs for their faith and this also cannot be denied. Humanity’s penchant for persecution is well established and one cannot escape the reality of human intolerance, whether one be Christian or Pagan, believer or atheist.

Treating someone with contempt or derision simply because you do not agree with their beliefs cannot be justified through the use of reason, for such behavior is not acceptable to the truly rational mind. One must respect the right of others to believe what they will even if those beliefs are clearly not correct. By all means, we must combat ignorance with information and reason, wherever we encounter it, but always with compassion and never with hatred and dismissal for such thinking leads us to become guilty of persecution ourselves.

Posted in Atheism, Equality, Paganism, Peace, Politics, Religion | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

And The Burning Times Continue Unabated

I have already addressed this on my liberal politics blog, The Second Beast, but I wanted to post here as well since this is a clear religious issue. A young woman named Kepari Leniata was recently tortured, branded and burned alive for allegedly practicing witchcraft, by an angry mob in Papua New Guinea; of course, if the circumstances had been different and the victim had been a Christian nailed to a cross somewhere by an angry mob of non-Christians, I can imagine the worldwide outrage over such an atrocity. Instead, people make foolish comments in an attempt to find humor in this situation or worse, they blame religion itself for the violence and use that argument as a reason to proselytize for atheism. I call on solitary practitioners and covens everywhere to hold a sacred vigil tonight in honor of Kepari.

As a devout Pagan I am absolutely horrified at this story but I am certainly not surprised. We constantly suffer abuse at the hands of religious bigots, even in ‘enlightened’ nations such as the United States. In case it has been forgotten so quickly, President Bush once commented that witchcraft is not a religion and he firmly believes that all Pagans essentially deserve to burn in Hell. The level of prejudiced venom behind such statements is absolutely disgusting.

The first amendment of our constitution is supposed to protect every religion from legislative persecution and yet every day fundamentalist Christians in elected office make a concerted effort to enshrine their Christian beliefs into our system of laws, both locally and at the state and federal levels. American witches need no longer fear that we will suffer the same fate as Kepari but we must continue to remain vigilant and fight against those who literally seek to convert our freedom into a form of biblical slavery. Blessed Be.

Posted in Death, Faith, God, Morality, Paganism, Peace, Religion | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Please help preserve the integrity of the popular vote.

The Huffington Post reports that “On Wednesday, Virginia’s Republican-controlled legislature became one of the first to advance a bill that would allocate electoral votes by congressional district. Last week, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus endorsed pushing through similar proposals in other states with Republican legislative majorities.

The strategy would have states alter the way they translate individual votes into electors — thereby giving Republican candidates an advantage. Had the 2012 election been apportioned in every state according to these new Republicans plans, Romney would have led Obama by at least 11 electoral votes.”

We cannot allow our franchise to be marginalized by politics; we must not stand idle while legislative maneuvers threaten the very stability of our democratic way of life. We must unite, with one voice, and demand that immediate steps be taken. I ask that all of you, Democrat or Republican, join with me in defending our franchise. This is not a partisan issue, it is an American issue.

I have created a petition at whitehouse.gov requesting the President publically support a constitutional amendment preserving the integrity of the popular vote. Please help this petition go viral, follow the link below to sign it with a clear conscience and ask everyone you know sign it with you. We need at least 100,000 signatures to force the administration to respond.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/publically-support-constitutional-amendment-preserving-integrity-popular-vote/sW8jlWCp

Posted in Elections, Electoral College, Equality, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

The Debate on God – A Pagan Perspective

Any argument attempting to prove or disprove the existence of a personal God inherently presents a false dichotomy. God is a subjective concept and therefore cannot be reified, rendering the use of logic insufficient as a means to resolve this argument. In any case, efforts to actually personify God are, in essence, clear examples of anthropomorphic fallacy.

The ongoing debate between atheists and non-pagan theists is an exercise in futility, a complete and utter waste of time in my opinion. Both sides rely upon argumentum ad ignorantiam, meaning an argument based upon ignorance, a practice which violates the laws of logic. Most atheists would disagree with this assessment as they maintain the burden of proof resides upon the claimant; they purport to make no claim and therefore shift the burden of proof to the theist but this practice is itself a fallacy. By the act of engaging in debate and demanding proof, the vocal atheist is effectively claiming that the theist’s belief is lacking evidence and is therefore false. The non-pagan theist in comparison will always find themselves claiming that God must exist simply because the existence of God hasn’t been successfully proven false.

I do not pretend to understand atheists who challenge any public statement of religious belief with incredulity and generally seem obsessed with the need to castigate those who possess such beliefs. Albert Einstein once characterized such individuals as “slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against the traditional ‘opium of the people’—cannot bear the music of the spheres.”

To prove with certainty that something is indeed true one must define all factors in the equation and then proceed with the argument for or against. Reasonable assumptions must first be agreed upon before the argument can continue. If you wish to hold a valid debate on God’s existence you must provide a basic definition for God. As previously inferred atheists and non-pagan theists usually attempt to personify God in their arguments and therefore encounter a logic block before they even begin.

Contemporary Pagan philosophy posits that God is immanent in the universe and equivalent to all that exists. Our definition by itself provides the proof to our claim. Allow me to explain in greater detail; the Pagan argument uses deductive reasoning to conclude that from our perspective, all that exists is God and therefore God exists. We do not conceive of God as supernatural but rather as the essence of nature itself.

The Pagan religion does not rely on doctrine, dogma, scripture or myth despite misconceptions to the contrary. We know beyond any possible doubt that God exists and indeed that consciousness itself continues after the death of the physical body although we do not claim to know in what form it continues. Conscious thought must be energetic for all that exists is fundamentally comprised of energy in one form or another. One of the basic scientific laws maintains that energy cannot in fact be destroyed, it may only be changed in some way.

I often think of Richard Feynman’s description of this principle when he said “There is a fact, or if you wish, a law, governing all natural phenomena that are known to date. There is no known exception to this law—it is exact so far as we know. The law is called the conservation of energy. It states that there is a certain quantity, which we call energy, that does not change in manifold changes which nature undergoes. That is a most abstract idea, because it is a mathematical principle; it says that there is a numerical quantity which does not change when something happens. It is not a description of a mechanism, or anything concrete; it is just a strange fact that we can calculate some number and when we finish watching nature go through her tricks and calculate the number again, it is the same.”

It is not terribly difficult to put this into context, from a Pagan perspective at any rate. Again, as God is in everything so too is everything within God, infinite and eternal. The death of one’s physical body is but a transformation to a different energetic state and the immaterial substance of one’s consciousness must also transform for this is the mandate of scientific law. We may not yet understand the mechanism for such change but the fact that the transformation takes place is incontrovertible.

I have said before that in order for religion to be relevant in this modern age, it must mark its beginning where science ends while remaining in agreement with everything science has previously determined to be true. I would like to conclude by returning to the words of Professor Einstein, who believed that “science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. A person who is religiously enlightened appears to me to be one who has, to the best of his ability, liberated himself from the fetters of his selfish desires and is preoccupied with thoughts, feelings and aspirations to which he clings because of their super-personal value. It seems to me that what is important is the force of this super-personal content … regardless of whether any attempt is made to unite this content with a Divine Being, for otherwise it would not be possible to count Buddha and Spinoza as religious personalities. Accordingly a religious person is devout in the sense that he has no doubt of the significance of those super-personal objects and goals which neither require nor are capable of rational foundation … In this sense religion is the age-old endeavor of mankind to become clearly and completely conscious of these values and goals and constantly to strengthen and extend their effect. If one conceives of religion and science according to these definitions then a conflict between them appears impossible. For science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be.”

Posted in Faith, God, Inspiration, Paganism, Philosophy, Religion, Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

A brief comment on religious equality

I find it highly offensive and distinctly un-American when fundamentalist Christian bigots lobby elected officials to legislate in favor of prejudicial restrictions on personal conduct required by scripture while simultaneously complaining that socially liberal policies infringe upon their right to hold independent religious beliefs. The first responsibility of government is to defend civil liberty; the authority to govern derives from the consent of the governed and absolute equality is essential to free democratic rule.

Marriage equality, fair insurance practices and a woman’s right to choose in no way restrict individual freedom vis-à-vis religious practice. I would argue that such policies effectively defend the freedom of religion for they prevent misguided individuals from persecuting others who do not share their particular religious beliefs.

In my opinion, one who advocates the use of government as a means of forcing the general population into compliance with Christian scripture is the western equivalent of those enforcing Sharia law under theocratic rule in the Middle East. I would further add that perceived violations of a moral covenant with God are not sufficient to justify summary judgment or discriminatory action; the assessment of one’s heart and the judgment of one’s soul is the province of God alone. The importance of separating church and state is paramount.

If advocates for the far religious right are truly Christian, the indwelt grace of Christ should guide them toward a position of love and forgiveness. Their continual barrage of hatred and judgment against their neighbors is indeed terrible; I am stymied by their apparent inability to apply even a basic understanding of their own scripture in day to day life. At the very least, I suggest such people return to the Bible and re-read Matthew 10:14, shake the dust off their shoes and leave the rest of the world to our own beliefs.

Posted in Abortion, Equality, Gay Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Pagan Creed

To you who do not understand,
these words describe our way:
we journey on the spiral path
from dusk to dawn each day.

We do not heed the words of Mark
nor Matthew, Luke or Paul;
Creation is our holy book,
the Earth our worship hall.

The trees contain the chapters,
each leaf a single line,
our scripture rides upon the wind
then travels on through time.

Our faith defines what we perceive
with every passing hour,
For mirrored halls both high and low
convey the Witch’s power.

We stand together equally
in perfect love and peace;
the sacred circle binds us all
at will and word’s release.

Great wheel of life continue round
when spirits walk alone,
as winter finally fades away
our Goddess calls us home.

Posted in Equality, Faith, Inspiration, Paganism, Philosophy, Poetry, Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , | 20 Comments