moonvoice: (ghibli - hmc - broken hearted)
Fear-based thought, and ethics.

When you're within a religious or government structure, where you're governed by fear-based thought: I.e. 'I better not do that, or god/Mum/my boss/the police will be angry with me,' then personal ethics aren't as important as following - preferrably unquestioningly - the dogmatic moral structure being passed down through those authoritarian sytems.

Fear-based ruling does have its place, as much as it doesn't promote the development of personal ethics or the questioning of current laws or morality models. After all, most people in society have latent fear-based thought-patterns relating to the society's laws (better not steal that TV, I could go to jail), and society's rules (better not tell my friend I hated everything she served for dinner tonight, or I might not be invited back and I enjoy her company), even society's media (better not put on any weight, or I will be shamed / shamed more).

People who are afraid of what will happen to them, when it comes to fear-based thought, are generally perceiving the world in a self-focused way when it comes to these specifics laws, rules and morals. You can put almost all of it down to this question: How will it affect me? And will it make me feel bad? It's not about the relationship between oneself and the outside world in a way that promotes empathy or compassion or even connectedness. It suggests that there is one right way to act, and within that, the implication is you'd better do it, or else there will be consequences, in this world - and, according to some religions - in the afterlife.

Constructing personal ethics, however, is the act of living in the world and eschewing fear-based thought for the active questioning of laws and moral-systems and even Gods, in the search for continued authenticity and honesty. Everyone's personal ethics are different, generally, though you begin to see some commonalities. Most people with a personal ethical system want to respect themselves and their environment, many also want to be authentic, or find a way to be true and uncompromising to who they are, in a way that still allows them to respect their safety.

Personal ethics systems can often clash with dogmatic and moralistic contemporary systems. Personal ethics systems are often not wholly compatible with religions and governments that ask for fear-based thinking. A person with a strong personal ethics system often prefers to step away from 'whoops, better not do this, or something bad will happen to me,' and move towards reasoned thinking, such as 'am I being true to myself if I do this? I may be ostracised for outing myself as asexual, but is this something I need to do? I must take some time to think about the price of this act of authenticity and balance it with my desire to create safe and nurturing environment for myself. After all, I seek to live in a world where there are no barriers in representation for sexuality. How do I serve this, myself, and this situation in the best possible way?' It is far away from being mindless.

Active thought means a constant dedication to and re-structuring of the personal ethics system, and people move away from the mindlessness of fear. After all, fear is an emotion; it is not cognitive. And fear-based thinking has - at it's root - an emotion designed to preserve the self (and others close to the self) at any cost. Governments and some religious systems exploit that because people who are afraid are easier to control. Anyone with a fear-based disorder like PTSD, knows how very much that fear-based disorder controls what you do, when you do it, how you do it, and how you feel about it.

Fear-based thought and sustainability, and why it's potentially a very big problem. )
moonvoice: (totem - magpie lark)
Among other things, I’m an animist with very strong totemist leanings. I suppose a lot of you could say a great big ‘duh’ to that, I run the internet’s most comprehensive totem animal dictionary (certainly in terms of word count). It may – actually – frighteningly be the most comprehensive dictionary even when compared with published works. Not only that, but I illustrate totems. And I aspect with totems. And I invoke totems and...well...you get the idea.

I used to hate basic 101 totem dictionaries. I've written articles and long essay-like responses on pagan forums about the shittiness of totem dictionaries. I own quite a few, but I was always like ‘man, these things don’t teach people the skills they need to engage with totems or to make their own dictionaries,’ and ‘they’re recycling a lot of the same information,’ and ‘cultural appropriation FTL,’ and ‘wait a minute, that’s actually completely inaccurate biological information about that animal. WTF?’

Two of these things really piss me off still; the first regarding cultural appropriation. The second regarding teaching people inaccurate information about animals. That’s poor form on behalf of the writer, but it’s also poor form on behalf of the editor, whose job it is to help qualify research in non-fiction material. It’s just poor form all around. The pagan industry can suffer from a bit of poor form at times, it’s not just totemism that cops it, as many of you know.

Explanations and explorations. )
moonvoice: (Default)
Many characterize paganism as an umbrella term "earth-centered" religions. Following from that there is an idea that pagans should be dedicated to honoring all life and be caretakers of the earth. The next jump made by many is that pagans should therefore refrain from eating meat. What do you think? Do pagans have a responsibility to honor all life and thus be vegetarians?

what the fuck? )
moonvoice: (Default)
From the wonderful community [livejournal.com profile] pagan_prompt

When attending a public ritual how do you reconcile differences in beliefs/styles/etc? Do these differences ever prevent you from seeking out the pagan community for support and religious solidarity? Describe a time in which a public ritual contained elements contrary or different from your path and yet still proved to be meaningful and worthwhile.

answer behind the cut )
moonvoice: (Default)
Inspired by [livejournal.com profile] pagan_prompt (a nifty community)

Describe the moment when you could call yourself a witch, pagan, _______ and know that it was true. Did you do a dedication ceremony? Were you initiated into a group/coven? Was the moment filled with powerful emotion or was it soft like slipping into a warm bath? Did or do you do anything to commemorate that moment? Do you choose to wear anything that identifies your path such as a pentacle or other religious symbol?

well... actually... )
moonvoice: (Default)
This is just a ramble of my thoughts, nothing too coherent. Feel free to read if you like.

I've been thinking a bit lately about the value of the UPG (unverified personal gnosis). Mostly because it shocked me the first time I realised how much of the pagan community seemed to decry such experiences, and outright attack them even when they came from respected people.

spirituality and the UPG )

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