The End of 2014

2014-2015-year-end-pic2014 is coming to an end and with that we Pagan Activists offer up our words from previous posts.

I asked each of the authors of Pagan Activist to choose their favorite self-written article and a paragraph or two about it. Here are their responses:

Soli chose On the Care and Feeding of Pagan Activists

My favorite post came from an event I would not have been able to do had I not been a part of Pagan Activist. My write up of discussion from the care and feeding of activists panel at Pantheon Foundation’s conference in November. The discussion covered both self care and working with people (activists and not) who have health issues. We need, as a community, to be able to support more of our co-religionists and become more understanding and compassionate towards their/our differences without doing so in condescending ways.

Jason’s pick went to The Moral Circle

I wrote the article The Moral Circle to talk about what I see as one of the root problems in our world. Moral exclusion is, I think, present in any injustice we encounter. It’s where I focus most of my attention. I believe that the only way we can make deep, lasting change for the better is by expanding our moral circles, individually and collectively.

Debra’s choice was Why Do We Choose to Act in the Ways We Do

The reason I choose this article with which to end the year is that my battle continues with issues of confidence. In this past week, as part of an on-going social justice issue here in Hartford, the organization of a meeting became my responsibility through a series of random circumstances. The night of the meeting arrived and I was concerned about my ability to run the meeting in a meaningful manner. When the meeting was over I dwelt on what I didn’t do to my satisfaction, what others may have seen as my failure. What I didn’t dwell on was the fact that the meeting itself was actually successful, motivating, appreciated, goal oriented and participatory! The angst I felt on a personal level is a reminder that self doubt and reservations about our personal abilities mustn’t become obstacles to our acting.

In my original post I wrote that I believe that if I can do it, ANYONE can do it. I want to change that up a bit now with a note that should be on every self-doubter’s mirror as a good morning reminder…. If ANYONE else can do it, I can do it! Our skill sets may be different, our confidence may falter, but our commitment to our causes is what counts. Acting at all is far more important than acting within a comfort zone.

Shauna went with Sexual Initiation, Discrimination, Consent, and Rape

I choose this article for the round-up not because it offers any specific answers, but because it begins to ask questions that I feel many in the Pagan community have avoided. As an activist, I want to help build a sex-positive culture. Not just in the Pagan community but beyond that. I want to live in a culture of consent, but the reality is that we live in a rape culture. And, even within the Pagan subcultural umbrella, despite the fact that many Pagans identify as sex positive, the truth is that we bear many of the dysfunctional problems around sex, rape, and consent.

There is this idea that in the Pagan community we’re all sexually free, but that’s a myth we’ve been telling ourselves. We have a long way to go. One of the things that many Pagans offer as some kind of “proof” that Pagans are more enlightened about sex is the use of sex magic or sexual initiations. But here’s the thing; sexual initiations aren’t always ethically done. Many involve pressuring people to have sex. And that’s not consent. For that matter, sexual initiations and groups that focus on heterosexual sexuality are also discriminatory in a number of ways that many people might not even think about.

What I hope I offer in this article isn’t necessarily how sexual initiations are always bad, but how it’s one factor in the Pagan community that we have to think more about. We have to address it. Because we can’t just say, “Pagans wouldn’t force anyone, real Pagans wouldn’t do that.” If we want to build a culture of healthy sexuality in the world around us, we have to start in our own house.

My own choice is the post I wrote No One Will Be Turned Away for Lack of Funds

If having money gives you a voice then having none silences you. And I found that to be exactly the case. As the poverty I’ve been slipping into over the last bunch of years has taken root, I realized where and with whom I worship with has been limited. The shame comes not from being poor but being excluded by wealthy people solely because I am poor. It reflects on the individual members of the group and the group itself. The shame is not my burden to carry and I will not carry someone else’s burden.

Yule is the time of rebirth. With that in mind, Pagan Activist has rebirthed itself into a new look. Shauna designed the banner and profile pictures you see here, on Facebook, and Twitter. She did a fantastic job and I appreciate her taking the job on.