The Problem Is, It’s All Connected

While I respect that we all have varying political views, one thing that I draw a hard line on is when social justice/ human rights issues are turned into political ones. I do not view human rights as political, though many in positions of power seem to. Ideas that would deprive people of their rights to live and to seek happiness are not justifiable. Centrist ideas that acknowledge that human rights should be protected while not seeking to take actions that would do so, is also something I find issue with. If you’re willing to stand by while people are hurting and you have the power to help them, you’re part of the problem.

This is part of why ignoring issues that may not affect oneself can lead to systemic harm. One example of this is with environmental protection. An episode in the latest season of The Handmaid’s Tale highlighted this particular example. It can be said that it doesn’t matter what else humans do, if the earth becomes uninhabitable. While this is true, such a line of thinking, if taken to an extreme, can give way to fascist ideas ¹ that cause the loss of human rights. This is particularly a danger when religious extremists or white supremacists become involved. It can become far too easy for fascists to turn a movement that should be good for humankind (along with all other life on earth) into one that causes harm to many.

While the country is fighting for environmental protection, we should also be fighting for the myriad of other issues that also matter. These issues are all intersectional. For example, those living in poverty ² or who live in primarily BIPOC communities ³ are at greater risk of being subjected to health issues caused by a lack of environmental protections. Without affordable healthcare, they are also at greater risk of not being able to seek out healthcare when environmental issues make them sick. Because of this, to truly believe that the government should focus only on a single issue would be incredibly short sighted.

This also applies to other movements. Black, Indigenous, and other communties of color are at greater risk of poverty due to systemic racism. Therefore, actions to end poverty should also take racist policies into account. The fight for feminism has won women’s rights, but has also often excluded the concerns of BIPOC women and transgender/ nonbinary people. In recent news, trans exclusionary extremists have co-opted feminism and fed into the rise of transphobia. This puts black trans women in even greater danger of discrimination due to systemic racism combined with transphobia. None of the movements that our society needs in order to progress exist within a vaccuum. What happens in one can create a chain reaction.

While we are all limited in what we can do as individuals, the society that we live in is made up of many different people, organizations, and professions which can each center their focus on the problem they are most equipped to solve. A position stating that any issue is less important because it only affects a certain group of people often comes from a place of privilege. I would even dare to say that, in worst cases, it can come from an alarming lack of empathy for what others may be going through in the here and now. The United States is dealing with ongoing problems rooted in fascism: racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, religious extremism, classism, ableism, etc. People are already dying. We can not afford to prioritize one thing over everything else. Our society must take advantage of the resources that we have to ensure that all of these issues, all of which matter, can be addressed. The problem with picking only one issue to care about? It’s all connected.

(Though I mentioned The Handmaid’s Tale, it should be noted that the book/ show is problematic due to the historical treatment of BIPOC in the U.S. )

Further Reading:

¹ What is Ecofascism and Why It Has No Place in Environmental Progress by Nikita Shukla, Earth.org https://earth.org/what-is-ecofascism/

² Poverty and the Environment by Anup Shah, Global Issues. https://www.globalissues.org/article/425/poverty-and-the-environment

³ Environmental racism – the deliberate poisoning of BIPOC by Amaya McDonald, The Statesman. https://www.sbstatesman.com/2021/04/19/environmental-racism-the-deliberate-poisoning-of-bipoc/

⁴ Poverty, Racism and the Public Health Crisis in America by Laurie Fickman, University of Houston. https://www.uh.edu/medicine/news-events/stories/2021/november-2021/poverty,-racism-and-the-public-health-crisis-in-america.php

⁵ What Is Intersectional Feminism? by Olivia Guy-Evans, Simply Sociology. https://simplysociology.com/intersectional-feminism.html

⁶ Why ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Is Problematic by Kiarran T.L. Diaz, Black Feminist Collective. https://blackfeministcollective.com/2018/12/08/why-the-the-handmaids-tale-is-problematic/

(Disclaimer: A previous incarnation of this post was misinterpreted as being an attack on an individual’s character, so the post was removed until I could properly edit it. I acknowledge that the misinterpetation was due to poor writing and carelessness on my part to ensure that the intent was fully clear to others.)

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Poetry: Successful

Not everybody wants to be
What society deems “successful”
For what is success
If not an ability to enjoy life?
Some are happy to do the work
Of clerks and delivery
Of food preparation and cleaning
The only real downside
Is how society treats them
Like lesser beings
Who don’t deserve to live
And aren’t worthy of respect
It makes no sense
Because, at the end of the day,
Aren’t many who have jobs
That society deems “respectable”
Unhappy with their life?
If the stresses make them ill
And lack of life-work balance
Steals away their joy
That could hardly be called success
It’s merely a cruel manipulation
Played out on human fears
Of not being good enough
By an unjust capitalist society
We, the people, deserve better
No matter the field of work
To be happy with what we do
To know we can afford to live
Without losing our personal time
Our time with loved ones
Or our very spirits in the process
Not everybody wants to be
Some mockery of “success”
At the mercy of a cruel system

– B. A. McNeely

Evil, Really?

Throughout my life, I have heard Christians speak of others as sinners or lost. To outright call those who aren’t Christian “evil”, though? That’s one that I’d only heard within the confines of their churches when I was forced to go as a youth, or by random strangers on the internet. That is, until today. It finally happened. For some context, to be fair, I’m not entirely sure that the person who made the comment was aware that I’m a gods and goddesses worshipping Pagan. This person was talking about how witchcraft and other “alternative” spiritual practices are okay if done by a Christian, rather than one of those other people. This person then went on to say that non-Christians are evil.

I have to say, that hurt. I was furious. To know that certain types of people think like that is one thing. To hear it said aloud, especially by someone I had assumed was more open-minded, is another thing entirely. I approached this person about it, saying that I understood that they were speaking based on misconceptions. I was prepared to educate if they were willing to listen. Instead, I was met with ignorance. “I know you see it as a misconception, but it’s my beliefs.” It’s this person’s beliefs that people who aren’t Christian are evil. That’s… well, it’s all kinds of messed up, to put it plainly.

I understand that, in their eyes, they speak from a place of caring. They truly seem to think that. Some may say that, at worst, it just results in offense or hurt feelings. Yet, these beliefs they hold about others have real consequences.

This conversation occurred after I read about the Panera Bread incident. A woman was recently fired for being Pagan. Soon after, Panera Bread posted a tone-deaf meme to their Twitter account about manifestation. To be called “evil” for my beliefs, whether it was intentional or not, hurt all the more after the very large reminder that Pagans aren’t treated with the respect that all people deserve. It hurt all the more after the reminder that Christians often get away with discrimination, harassment, and violence in the name of their beliefs. Sure, there’s a lawsuit going against Panera, but that doesn’t make the fact that this sort of thing happens any better.

The belief that certain groups of people are “evil”, “sinners”, or in any way “lesser than” is dangerous. It allows those who believe they are in the right, are “good”, or otherwise “better” to think that they have a right to treat others poorly. Sure, that might just mean making jokes or distancing themselves. It doesn’t always stop there. An atheist father was recently doxxed and harrassed by the “good Christians” of his town for exposing Christian teaching in a public school. Hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community are still all too common. People get fired, denied adoptions, and denied shelter for not being Christian. In the US, this is illegal. But it still happens because Christians get away with it. This isn’t just about harmless beliefs. These ideas promote real harm. If anything can be called “evil”, I would wager that systemically promoting harm to people easily falls under that category.

To be clear, not all Christians are the problem. There are many who practice their religion in a responsible way that’s respectful toward others who don’t share their beliefs. It is crucial to keep this in mind. As a Pagan, I don’t want to make the same mistake of judging all Christians the way some of them judge Pagans, Muslims, or atheists. This isn’t about demonizing an entire religious group because there are too many within it using their beliefs as an excuse to hurt others. We should respect the beliefs of others. The exception to that rule is when those beliefs lead to harm.

All of that said, let’s circle around to another part of the issue with what was said to me. The person who made the comment about non-Christians being “evil” admits to practicing witchcraft. This person admits to using spiritual practices common in Paganism, then says (by inference) that Pagans are “evil” because we’re not Christian. That is all sorts of problematic. This is an issue that goes much deeper than the Christian witches debate that comes up within the Pagan community. This comes up throughout history. After colonizers attempted to erase the cultures of Indigenous people by forcing them to assimilate to Christianity and Euro-centric cultures, they later turned around and started appropriating Indigenous cultures. (As someone who isn’t Indigenous, I don’t feel it’s my place to speak much on this topic, so I highly recommend looking to Indigenous sources for more information.) For someone to say, “these people are wrong/ evil/ lesser than” and then start practicing parts of that people’s culture is perhaps the worst type of hypocrisy. If someone can’t respect a group of people, why should they have any right to share in their traditions?

I’m not sorry to say this: Some beliefs aren’t worth respecting, Christian or otherwise. When they’re causing harm, they deserve to be dragged through the mud.

Being Enough

There are many times wherein I feel that I am not enough. I find that I am not as well [formally] educated as some of my friends and acquaintances. I don’t have a job that’s as distinguished or well respected as some of them. I didn’t grow into adulthood with the same amount of financial privilege as some. There are too many “should” and “should not” expectations that I put on myself. These are expectations that this society reinforces via it’s broken values, media, and structural/ systemic factors. These are expectations that, up until adulthood, were completely out of my control. Even as an adult, because some of these expectations were not previously met, I was not in the same starting place as those who had more privileges at the get-go. Why then, do I still feel the need to compare myself to them? Just as I don’t have their experiences, they don’t have mine.

My therapist once told me that “should” doesn’t matter. It’s a lesson that I am still working on internalizing. These expectations set by “should” or “should not” result in guilt and loss of self worth. They aren’t useful to us. They are often a hindrance to our happiness and our desired paths in life. If one is held down by feelings of unworthiness, they may not feel as if they deserve to reach for the things they want for themselves. It then becomes a cycle that can be difficult to escape from. What I find more useful is acknowledging what has been, what is, and what can be. This does not mean making judgments on our past or present, but only seeing how it has and currently is affecting our lives.

If someone was not given shoes, they can not be expected to walk across a street covered in broken glass. If someone was given material to make shoes to walk across, they can not be expected to know how to make them without either trial and error or being taught. Whether one makes it without injury, with a few scratches, with deep wounds, or they are unable to cross at all; the circumstances that led to where they end up aren’t a reflection of their worth. Likewise, the past and present are naught but a reflection of one’s circumstances.

Just as I am still learning to accept that “should” is arbitrary, I am still learning to accept that I am enough as I am. The first principle of Unitarian Universalism is as follows: “The inherent worth and dignity of every person.” The worth and dignity of every person. No matter our background, no matter where we currently are in life, each of us is worthy and deserves dignity. If only all people treated others, as well as ourselves, with this principle in mind.

Despite my feelings of not being enough, compared to what was and what could have been, I actually am somewhat proud of myself. It helps to look at how far I’ve come, rather than how far I wish to be. It helps further to remember that circumstances aren’t linear. We don’t simply move from point A to B to C. We may also move from -3 to A to B to 1 to A again to green to something parallel to C. It’s messy and can get confusing. In all reality, it makes no sense to place strict expectations of “should” on individual human achievements. It makes no sense to judge someone’s worth based on unreasonable ideals.

Paganism: Accountability Matters

I recently shared a post to an online Pagan group, meant to get people thinking about their own practices. More specifically, it was a post written by a well known Pagan author that simply asked people to acknowledge historical accuracy and to examine whether certain beliefs they hold are privy to bioessentialism. The sharing of that post went, as should have been expected, a few different ways. I always hope for better from my community and yet continuously find myself disappointed by some. Thankfully, others can be counted on to make me proud again of the community. Because the group is private, I will not go into any details on the comments, but it got me thinking yet again about how toxic the Pagan community can be when left unchecked.

The Pagan community is rife with misinformation. Despite being made up of thousands of different religions, Paganism as a whole still gets painted over with Wiccan beliefs and ethics. All too common is the Wiccan Rede partially invoked and misused as an all-encompassing rule that must be followed. “Harm none”. This can feed into the problem of those who would use “intent” as an excuse to say or do anything they want, rather than holding themselves accountable for any harm they do end up causing. Because, (sarcasm ahead) there are no Pagan religions that are okay with cursing, have deities of war, etc. Nor do any place an importance on accountability. Not only are many Pagans of various religions actually cool with violence (although, as a general rule: most of us only condone it for things such as self defense), but the Wiccan Rede itself is meant to be advice rather than an actual law. It is also certainly not meant to excuse bad behavior. The erasure of the diversity of religions and traditions in favor of a single one invented in the 1950’s is just one example of misinformation that contributes to misinformation in the Pagan community.

Another common contributer is that many Pagans rely on outdated or outright incorrect information as fact. Archeological evidence changes what we know about ancient religions and cultures from time to time. Where information was once missing, new information has been brought to light. Where archeologists have historically held biases in favor of white, Christian men, more are becoming better aware. One such example is the existence of warrior women among the Scandinavian peoples (“Vikings”). Once held as myth due to lack of evidence and the biases of a patriarchal society, we now know that women did travel and fight alongside the men. This misinformation from the past has still contributed to the issue of toxic masculinity and misogyny that runs rampant in certain circles of modern Heathenry and Asatru.

In addition, authors haven’t always been truthful about the origins of the practices they write about. Authors have taken from Indigenous, African-diasporic, and other traditions originating with people of color without knowing the full context of the practices and beliefs they’re writing about; often making false claims that these practices were European or else making adaptations without distinguishing the original practice from the misappropriated one. (Note: While many practices and beliefs are similar across cultures, each will still have it’s own context that is equally important and should not be glossed over or changed by outsiders.) Not only have marginalized cultures been taken from in disrespectful ways, but misinformation pertaining to ancient European pagan religions has also been spread by authors looking to make a profit. A quick example of this is the attribution of the “Maiden, Mother, Crone” archetype to goddesses that it never historically applied to. This particular example, when used literally and harmfully toward others, has the added risk factor of leading to bioessentialism.

Much of this spread of misinformation has contributed to the issues of white supremacy, ableism, transphobia, misappropriation, and other issues within Paganism. It is unfortunate that many cling to ideas that end up causing harm to the wider community, rather than having a willingness to learn. It is a shame to Paganism as a whole, in my opinion, that so many are unwilling to strive for inclusivity and respect for others.

One of the common draws to Pagan religions is that we are free to make our own paths. We don’t have to ascribe to a single doctrine or practice how others tell us we should. “There is no wrong way to practice”. As a general rule, it’s a good one. It does, however, also act as a double edged sword. I have too often seen Pagans and witches abuse this “rule” by acting as if it means they are free from accountability when they do wrong. This can cycle back to Pagans making generalized claims that have no historical or otherwise factual basis, or that cause harm to marginalized people, then becoming upset when they are corrected. There is a clear difference between having a personal practice that involves UPG or otherwise modern beliefs, and having a dishonest practice that contributes to causing harm to the greater community. It is shocking to me that so many can fail to see that difference. The former is a sign of a healthily evolving practice, the latter is not. The misuse of our spiritual freedom as Pagans is a major contributor to many of the internal problems the community faces. We are free to do what we want, we should not be free from the consequences (such as being called out or corrected) when we contribute to misinformation or harmful ideas. There is no shame in being wrong as long as we are willing to learn from it.

West Virginia, Take Me Home

I grew up in Florida until the year I became a teenager. My parents were from West Virginia and that was the year they decided to return home. I recall feeling a sense of excitement. West Virginia is where most of my extended family live. It’s the place where I would explore the mountains around my papaw’s house with the other children of my family in the summer. It was an ancestral home – the area my ancestors had settled centuries ago. Months before, when my parents were still looking for a new place in Florida, something inside me knew that I would soon enough be returning home to West Virginia. This Knowing made the announcement from my parents all the more exciting to me.
I had an idealized notion about this state until I moved here. Yes, this land is my home. But, I began to feel more and more distant from the people who had lived here their whole lives as I grew older. It took until I found my own community of people here, as well as learned more about the state’s history, before I began to feel reconnected to the people of this state.

West Virginia is one of those states that has a bad reputation to those who know we exist. Yes, oddly enough, I have found that there are Americans who don’t even know U.S. history enough to know that this is a separate state from Virginia. And, yet, they call West Virginians uneducated. What a laugh. When I was working in technical support, I spoke with New Englanders often who would ask where I was from. Upon hearing my state, they would shock me with another question. “Near Richmond?” What? No. We’re a whole other state away. Mentions of Charleston, West Virginia’s state capitol, are also often met with confusion from people out of state who automatically think of North Carolina instead upon hearing the city’s name.
That aside, there are plenty enough who know that West Virginia is a state of it’s own. Unfortunately, negative stereotypes are still commonly believed about the people of this state. It can not be denied that there is some small truth to them. The drug problem is rampant due to socio-economic issues such as a lack of mental health support, a poor economy, and poverty. I have known someone who lived in a shack up a narrow dirt road in the mountains and could not read. Many people, particularly in more rural areas and small towns, are conservative Christians who cling to racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, etc.
There are, however, many more people who do not fit these stereotypes. Charleston itself is a relatively liberal city where the LGBTQIA+ community is welcome, people of differing religions have a place to worship, and multiple groups and organizations work toward social justice. The coalfield county I lived in for years, although still problematic, is also slowly becoming better in terms of acceptance for those who may be different. It astounds me how anyone could think that an entire state of people is comprised solely of “dumb rednecks” and hillbillies. Further, it astounds me how educated people can make judgments on the citizens of this state without acknowledging the systemic issues West Virginians have faced.
Fun fact about “redneck”, by the way: This term actually originated during the Coal Wars when miners fought against the government for their constitutional rights and the right to join a union.

(Where Do Rednecks Come From? by Catherine V. Moore, Yes! Magazine.)

West Virginia has a rich history that is often overlooked. It is no surprise, then, that our modern issues are still overlooked. Many of these issues are overlooked throughout the U.S. as is. Take, for instance, transgender issues. West Virginia has the highest rate of transgender youth in the country. Despite this, it can still be difficult for West Virginians who are transgender to seek the medical care they may need. This circles back to the issue of poverty as well as lack of medical resources. Many transgender patients are forced to travel a few hours or more for needed care.

(Study: WV has nation’s highest percent of teens who identify as transgender by Ryan Quinn, Charleston-Mail Gazette.)

Another issue is that West Virginia, like much of Appalachia, is still at the mercy of the coal companies. Many of our youth are led to believe that they don’t have a good choice in career aside from the mines. In truth, the mines are both highly dangerous and unreliable jobs. The influence of the coal companies has kept our economy from growing, contributing to poverty; and polluted our environment, leading to illness. These also contribute to the addiction problem that plagues the state as more people seek to self-medicate for both mental and physical illness.

(The 100-year capitalist experiment that keeps Appalachia poor, sick, and stuck on coal by Gwynn Guilford, Quartz.)

West Virginia is the definition of home to me. It’s where I feel a sense of connection to the land and the people. We have a shared history, although our individual backgrounds can vary. The struggles of this state are not new, nor do I expect them to be easily resolved. We still yet have a long way to go. But, there’s not another place I would rather home.

Looking To The Family Tree

A common piece of advice for new Pagans is to look into one’s own ancestry to find their gods. This can allow one to have a starting point to start their research. That said, it is crucial to remember a few things:

• The gods do not care about color or ancestry when They call you. You do not have to be white to worship the Norse or Irish gods, for example. The gods are for everyone.

• Some traditions, particularly those from colonized cultures, are closed to outsiders. Indigenous cultures often fall in this category. Unless you are from that culture, leave it alone. If you are invited by practitioners within that culture, let them lead the way and direct you on what’s appropriate.

• Of colonized cultures that have traditions that are not closed (such as Irish), please still remember to respect those from the culture and take their lead.

• There are white supremacists that use ancestry and spirituality (particularly Folkish traditions and Odinism) as a cover for their groups. Beware of these types, learn the codewords they use so that you can avoid them, and don’t allow them into your space.

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Image: a circle with people of different colors holding hands on top. “Our gods are for Everyone!” is written in the center. Runes go around the circle under the people. “Fuck white supremacy” is written in runes at the bottom. Credit: Myself, Art By Alvinia. Available on my Redbubble shop here.

I found my gods before knowing much about my ancestors. I had a very basic idea of where my ancestors came from, though some of what I heard from family was misinformed or otherwise missing. I had no idea if I had any Irish or Norse ancestry at all when The Morrígan and Loki called to me. Finding these deities did lead in a roundabout way to a stronger interest in my ancestry. Working with one’s ancestors is a common practice in the Heathen community, after all.
Although some interpret “ancestors” solely as our biological predecessors, it is important to remember that they can also include our ancestors of spirit. These can be anyone who has been involved in shaping you or your traditions/ culture. Adoptive family, teachers, spiritual leaders, and role models are among those we may consider ancestors.

For me, looking into my genealogy is a way to connect with and honor some of my ancestors. Another part of honoring my ancestors is to acknowledge the struggles that they likely went through, as well as the harm that they may have done. This can be important for both social justice work as well as shadow work. In my opinion, one can not truly honor their ancestors without honesty.

Some will use their genealogical research or dna results as an excuse to justify why they should be allowed to practice closed spiritual traditions. This can lead to misappropriation and other disrespect toward marginalized cultures as someone tries to connect with a spirituality that requires cultural context they don’t have.
While I fully believe that all of my ancestors are worth acknowledging, it is important to me that I not confuse their heritage with my own. As a white American living in the 21st century, I did not grow up in the cultures of my distant ancestors, nor do I experience any of the struggles that those currently part of certain ancestral cultures may have. My ancestors, for whatever reasons, either abandoned or lost their connections and needed to make new ones. It is not for me to make judgments on them. It is up to me, however, to make my own connections in appropriate and respectful ways.

Ancestry is important in that it can help us to know who we are and where we came from. This does not mean that our genealogical ancestry should be put up on some imagined pedestal. Our ancestors of spirit are just as important, sometimes even more so. Furthermore, we have a lot to learn from those we may not necessarily consider our ancestors. All humans, no matter which mythology you believe in, or even if you believe only in science, share ancestors somewhere along the line. We are all connected.
Yes, it is perfectly okay to look to one’s ancestors to find your gods. Just remember that ancestors aren’t always blood and that’s a beautiful thing.

Where Is Our Concern?

People need to stop using the pandemic as an excuse to shame less privileged people for voicing concerns about finances or their child’s education. I keep seeing people show concern about the pandemic, while speaking as if the lives of those most at risk don’t matter. It’s classist as fuck.

Not everyone has the luxury of being able to stay home and collect unemployment or work from home. It’s work outside in the world, or risk homelessness/ starvation for many families.
There are people working minimum wage jobs dying because they can’t afford to quit their job. There’s no unemployment if your job still offered you hours and you quit.

Not all students have the support they need for virtual/ distance learning. Some live in dual income households where both parents HAVE to work, or a single parent household. That puts their kids at a disadvantage over families who can afford to have a stay at home parent or other adult available to help during the day.
Some kids also just need more assistance in school than what their parents can offer.

If your only response to these concerns is, “But people WILL DIE”, shut the fuck up and stay in your gods damned lane. We need real plans, not bullshit half-assed solutions that cater to the privileged.
Places do need to remain shut down until it’s safe to reopen, including schools. But we should also be advocating for more support to those who need it while we work through this.

Why do people want only to offer solutions that help those with more privileges? The experiences of those in poverty and the lower working class are often ignored. We need to do better if we want to show we care about our fellow humans.

Speaking Up Matters

There have been increasing numbers of typically non-political groups and public pages on social media that now frequently post political news articles, memes, and other such things. With support for Black Lives Matter gaining traction so quickly in recent weeks, we are seeing more voices rise up against racism, white supremacy, and police brutality. These are human rights issues. In the United States, they are also deemed to be political issues.

It is common for people to confuse politics and social justice. After all, politics greatly affect society and justice. At some point, it is true that injustice must be fought against via political means. However, human rights are much bigger than “just” politics. Voting on whether tax money should be used to fund a new park is not the same as protesting against systemic racism.

With that said, some of the spirituality-based groups and public pages that I follow have been inundated with complaints about their recent political posts. Today, I read several people on one such page say that they think spiritual groups should focus on enlightenment and our spiritual practices. I found it shocking that anyone could consider themself spiritual and still not see the importance of human rights. I was surprised that anyone could work with any of the same gods that I do and not view speaking up against injustice as a necessity. I was saddened that Pagans and witches can fail to see the importance of fighting against oppression. I am sure that it’s a product of my privilege to be able to feel surprised about such opinions, just as much as it’s a product of their privilege to be able to ignore human rights issues.

Spirituality should not be limited only to the privileged. Those of us who have the privilege to speak up need to do so. How can Heathenry, Paganism, and witchcraft be inclusive if black, indigenous, and people of color are made to feel that they don’t belong? How can we help them to feel like they are welcome in our communties if we don’t speak up against the very things that harm them and their communities? How can we help them to feel welcome when people who don’t see them as equal humans are still allowed in our spaces?

I can’t claim to have all the answers. I can’t and won’t try to speak for people of color. What I can do is continue to educate myself and use the voice that I have to hold my communities accountable.

Looking Back

I was looking at my old blog, Another Of His, and found it comforting. I’d been wary about sharing that blog to this one due to it’s “woo” or mystic nature. I hadn’t posted on it in a while, but I keep it around so that I can look back. Today, I decided that I can’t seem to care too much if some of my past seems too strange or unbelievable to others. It is whatever it is.
My spiritual life has quieted a lot in the past few years, compared to what it used to be. In just a few days, it will be the 4th anniversary of when I oathed myself to Loki. Things were so different back then. I felt more connected. I miss it. Those days, spiritually speaking, were some of my happiest.
I didn’t write everything down on Another Of His. There are things that I hold dear in my memory that I can’t find on there to remind me of if I forget. There are also a couple of private posts – dates that I wanted to make sure I would remember. I can’t remember dates well. They blend together too much.

Of course, I have my UU Pagan group and the Unitarian Universalist congregation for my social spiritual needs. I miss them, too. We do online meetings now because of Covid-19 and Sunday services are also online. Honestly, I’ve started skipping the Sunday services these past couple of weeks. It doesn’t have the same energy for me since it’s not in person and I’ve not been in a great mindset. Regardless, they were never meant to be replacements for the spiritual experiences that used to be more frequent. They were only meant to be their own thing for me.

I know that the gods are still around. I still feel Them. I still communicate with Them, though less frequently and with less ease.
UPG (unverified personal gnosis) alert: I think Loki has been busy with things in this world. I think They all have. My gods are gods who care about the marginalized, justice, and change.
I tried to contact Loki recently via pendulum and got nothing. That was unusual, but I think it’s just because He has a lot on His plate. I believe that the gods are like humans in a lot of ways… Though I don’t understand the complexities of how they work, I think they can send out aspects of Themselves to be in more than one place at ones, or maybe it’s more that they don’t experience time the same way we do. But, whatever it is, I also think that the gods may not always able to be present for communication with us at all times. That’s okay. They are still with us in some sense.

The year 2020 has brought a lot of almost unexpected things. I say “almost”, because I knew something big was coming. I had felt it for a long time. Others had also expressed the feeling. When the pandemic started, I thought that was it. It may have been part of it, but now I know there was more. Cries for justice, Black lives Matter, has shadowed the pandemic for the time being. Who knows with certainty what else this year may bring? I only hope that it brings justice and healing for our world. I hope that we can all someday look back on this year and find more than the pain of illness, isolation, racism, and injustice.