Those Whom the Goddess Calls

Those whom the Goddess makes her own
She occupies, both flesh and bone;
and will remain, solid as stone,
until She leaves to take them home.

Those whom the Goddess picks remain
only so long, until the pain
of separation, soul and brain,
creates desire for home again.

Those whom the Goddess wants, she takes:
to mold and change, and sometimes break,
until the raindrop seeks the lake
and finds out there are no mistakes.

Those whom the Goddess loves, live on,
and are but for a moment gone:
before the darkness cedes to dawn,
those listening can hear their song.

Those whom the Goddess makes her own
She occupies both flesh and bone,
and shares them with us just so long
before She calls them to come home.

for Karen Kirchem

27 OCT 2015

Mabon

Your heat has raged and burnt the world with light
since you were born to rule Midwinter’s night;
you’ve warmed the earth, its bones and seeds alike,
to melt the snow and turn all new life ripe.

But lo! your flames now flicker and will cease;
this season’s reign of fire begins to wane.
Look, now your brother Winter breaks his peace
to take from you the throne of earth again.

Let darkness creep again into the world;
let summer sink in silent death-like sleep.
Let earth again succumb to Winter’s charms;
and in the shadows, wean the spark of light.

Slow down your constant spin of sunlit days,
and find in autumn’s pace great joy and peace.
The summer is not dead, it merely sleeps,
and waits through this cold season for release.

23 SEP 2011

Freedom of Religion

As a pagan, I often overhear pagan conversations where the chief topic of concern is the negative affect that evangelical Christianity has on the “free trade” of alternative religions – its nature to limit, deny, persecute and eradicate viewpoints other than its own.

I wonder, however, if the “power” of the rough 70% majority (in America, that’s about how many claim to be “Christians,” whether they act accordingly or not) is not greatly overestimated by my pagan colleagues.

Historically speaking, the number one enemy of Christians is usually other Christians (or in the case of the Crusades, which weren’t really about religion anyway, other monotheists). The Pilgrims and Puritans who sallied forth and assailed Plymouth Rock with their austere sense of righteousness were running from persecution in Europe and England, where they were being thumb-screwed, hung, burnt and otherwise imperiled by other Christians. The separation of the church and state was originally a way to prevent a Catholic state from persecuting Protestants, or visa versa. Those brave souls (and if they’re yours, they start as visionaries and end up martyrs; those on the other side generally begin as heretics and blasphemers and end as capital criminals) who question the status quo of the Christian power structure from within are usually the most likely victims of Christian persecution; there’s so much to harvest there (in terms of dissention, dissembling and disavowing) that I don’t think at least in recent centuries there’s been enough time for them to focus on or bother with non-believers. Sure, every now and again someone will get a Cotton Mathers bee up their bonnet and worry about the devil lurking in strangers. But typically (and ironically) it’s much more effective to clamp down on “your own.”

Of course, that depends on who you call “your own.” Particularly when you’ve got more churches than congregants (where I live, there may be 300 churches for 17,000 people – on any given Sunday, there are between five and forty cars in 300 different parking lots). To sing, not to sing; musical instruments vs. voices only; women clergy or no; laity preaching; dancing; drinking; wine vs. grape juice; transmigration real or symbolic; Latin vs. local; tithe vs. time; literal vs. figurative; dip vs. dunk; limbo, purgatory, bottomless pit, endless fire, consuming darkness. About the only thing they agree on is barbeque – and then the sauce is different depending on which side of town you’re on. Again, from local experience, there’s one denomination that has two separate facilities – one for “locals” and another for “foreigners” (i.e., those who were not born and bred in town).

How could this group of divisive, in-fighting, bickering, nit-picking and otherwise non-collective souls agree on anything – at least, once they pass out of the church’s threshold and return to their completely isolated and often hypocritical lives?

Pagans: who cares what they think anyway?

“If you want to sing out, sing out.” That’s what I say.

I know, I know. There’s that social pressure. Those potential cross-burnings. That shunning. The losing of the job, etc.

But why would you want to live in a town with that kind of thinking, anyway? Shouldn’t you be looking to live among your own kind, like the Christians do? Or do you have the same level of schism with your fellow “pagans”?

I say again – if you believe in what you are, what you do will follow. If that is worth doing, then it doesn’t matter who opposes it. Is living in any other way worth living?

Besides, I think it was Dan Rather who said in an interview perhaps 15 years ago that the most important question you will ever have to ask yourself is “what am I willing to die for?” Once you have that answer, the rest is pretty clear. If you’re up against anyone in those sacred areas who hasn’t asked themselves that question (and given themselves an honest answer), unless that’s what they’re fully committed to, you will emerge victorious.

Happy Independence Day.

Hymn to Mithras

Praise for the sun born on this night
Praise for the coming of the light
On winter’s longest stretch of dark
We praise the tiny, faintest spark

Praise for the coming of the new
Praise for the frost, soon turned to dew
When spring’s fresh promise comes to all
We praise the fire that starts so small

Praise for the earth that slumbers deep
Praise for the world that finds, in sleep,
The dreams that feed brave summer’s deeds
We praise the hibernating seeds

Praise for the sun born on this night
Praise for the coming of the light
Into the dark and bitter cold
We praise the fire as it grows old

Praise for the present and the past
Praise for what fades and what may last
Beyond our sight, beyond our time
We praise the seen and the sublime

Praise for the future and today
Praise what remains, what fades away,
And all things living that will die
We praise the earth, the sea and sky

Praise for the sunlight come again
Praise friend and enemy, and then
For each day forward through the year
We praise the means that brought us here.

24 DEC 2006

The Spell Kit

Why bother to meditate,
chanting some mantra for years,
servant to some potentate
guru’s smoke and mirrors?

You’re right to hesitate;
what proof describes an answer
a fool could appreciate?
Only a clever dancer

could be seen no hypocrit.
Your path is no one else’s;
who else would have traveled it?
You must build your own spell kit.

01 AUG 2006

Hallows 2005

Tonight the veil between the worlds wears thin
and feels as sheer as gossamer. To touch
its fabric is to let the shadows in,
to find one’s means of light only a crutch

that guides us, just a mere footstep beyond
the circle we imagine with our eyes,
a stick with which we try to sound the pond
and find no bottom. There is no disguise

tonight to startle demons from the door,
nor simple ruse to mime behind in fear.
These clever gadgets, tools and such are poor
defense against the truths this night makes clear.

On Hallow’s Eve, we each get what we’ve asked.
For some, reward is only one more task.

30 OCT 2005

Lughnassad

Summer’s bent and turned to gray,
his heat begins to wend;
in these dog days of decline
his smolder finds its end.

Now the lad with darkened locks,
his heart born full of ice,
begins again to wax in strength
and plot the sacrifice

of the green and winsome king
whose fires consume and warm;
in the shadows, winter brews
its months of snow and storm.

From the fields, sun’s regent walks
among the first-born sheaves;
in their surrender lies his bounty.
Soon, the turning leaves

will announce his kingship ended,
and that fateful siege
when his lance will be unmended
and a new crowned liege

will ascend the season’s throne
to lull the world to sleep
through the gray and bitter months,
when the sun must creep

at a distance, as the world
lies fallow until spring,
and the Sun will claim once more
its green and leafy King.

Summer’s step is not so sure
past each year’s Lammas eve;
mere months mark the lifespan
of the king. But do not grieve:

in the womb of winter’s deep,
the cold new king will sow
the sunlight spark that will in time
defeat again the snow.

01 AUG 2005