Saturday, February 5, 2011
Hello and Happy Saturday!
Thank you so much Carina for your interview last week; thoughtful, interesting and unique. Thanks for sharing Carina!
Today we have a new post so please welcome Tricia.
Tricia is a Pagan and I know you will enjoy her interview as well!
Here Is Tricia's Introduction:
Tricia, aka PENolan, has been writing on her blog, Menopausal Stoners (http://menopausalstoners.blogspot.com) , since 2007. She is a contributing writer on Black Magpie Theory (http://blackmagpietheory.com)and frequently comments at World Wide Hippies (http://www.worldwidehippies.com). Her primary theological influences have been Christopher Moore's well-researched novel, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal,
The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, and Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now. Her perspective on mainstream American Christianity has most recently been informed by a brief affair with a not-quite-divorced Lutheran minister. Details of that encounter will soon be available in her short story, The Preacher and The Pagan.
1) What religion do you practice?
I don’t feel like I have a “religion” per se, but my son says I’m a witch. I say that I’m simply creating personal rituals that help focus my energy – but I’ll admit that these may look a lot like new-agey pagan rituals. Carolyn Myss says that Pagans simply connect with God through Nature. I don’t feel particularly connected to Nature here in New York City, but I do feel connected in other places – like in the Texas Hill Country or in Vermont.
2) Did you convert or were you born into this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
I don’t think you can convert to your own interpretation of Life, The Universe and Everything. You simply stop recognizing someone else’s authority over your thoughts and feelings. The original Quakers said something like that back in Merry Old England and got kicked out.
I enjoy silent meetings because the Quakers have made a fundamental point that loud mouths of all varieties should adopt: Shut the Fuck up and You might Learn Something.
3) Would you consider yourself a moderate, conservative or other.
Other and/or militant
4) In your opinion, what makes you moderate/conservative/other?
I am militant about not being bossed around by conservatives.
5) In your opinion, what makes someone conservative? What makes someone moderate?
It’s a tricky question because these days, Conservative often equals Extremist, which isn’t an accurate definition of the term “conservative.” I suspect that Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and other entertainers have given conservatives a bad name. I guess that conservatives like things to stay the way they are, so we could say that Conservatives support the status quo. Moderates and Progressives are more open minded in general.
6) What's your heaven/paradise like?
I don’t believe in Heaven/Hell – although I like the idea that our energy joins some greater energy in the universe when we die.
7) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
They would have to because their energy would automatically join the other energy. Like an apple falling to earth from the tree, it’s as natural as Gravity.
8) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
Religion has to be a perfect individual fit because everybody interprets information in a way that suits them individually – whether they are implicitly following orders from a Rabbi or Preacher or whether they have rejected the idea of God altogether. To say that you are a certain kind of Christian because your parents were – even though you’re uncomfortable with some of the policies (such as rejecting Gays) simply means that you’re the kind of person who swallows bullshit because of your family. Maybe that means you don’t trust your own mind and give authority to bigots, but if the shoe fits . . .
9) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
Tashlich – toss bread crumbs into a river, unless there is no river handy in which case I toss them into the breeze
New Moon and Full Moon – miscellaneous personal rituals including lighting candles and asking the Goddess (and lately the energetic influences that many people call Angels) to shed a little light. You don’t have to wait for a particular day to perform rituals, but I do consider whether the moon is waxing or waning in order to frame my thinking. For example, if the moon is waning, I focus on what I’m trying to shed – like fear. If the moon is waxing, I focus on what I’m trying to grow – like love.
I don’t consider any Gift Giving Fiesta a “holy” day, but I sure like the parties. And I like having a Christmas tree. I tend to see the tree as a Pagan ritual, too, since it celebrates the natural cycle of life and brings life and light into the barren darkness of winter - but I also love seeing the ornaments that hung on our family tree when I was a little kid hanging on my own tree, and eventually, they will hang on my son’s tree. That kind of continuity is cool.
I like springtime too – and really, most Christian holidays were hidden around pagan holidays so that the Romans wouldn’t arrest everybody.
10) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
Of course – as long as they don’t try to boss me around, and that’s as true of other stuff as of religion. I don’t like somebody telling me how to parent my child either. When he was a baby and other moms would tell me I needed to Ferberize my child or he’d be ruined for life due to my own weakness, I chose to avoid those moms in the future. People who think they are smarter than you are never really friends.
11) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
I wouldn’t crash a funeral for kicks, but if a friend invited me to join his/her family for any celebration at all, I’d be there with bells on. Birthdays, Bar Mitzvahs, Chanukka, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. You could say that as long as there’s cake (or latkes) I’m there.
12) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
Those things are deeply embedded in a culture that I, frankly, don’t understand. I would be more comfortable with some of the ideas if I felt like women freely chose to wear burkas, etc. It sounds like Patriarchal Imposition to me – but so does Christianity as practiced by many Americans.
13) What are your thoughts on women not being allowed to become priests?
That’s bull shit any way you slice it.
14) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
Since I’m a solitary practitioner, nobody else is there anyway.
One of my best girlfriends attends a synagogue where men and women are separate and she likes it because she feels support among women. Lots of times Men have to talk about Men Stuff; and Women have to talk about Women stuff. Having the other in the room stifles the conversation. I imagine that if Black people need to talk about their experience, having white people there could interfere with an authentic discussion.
As a society, everyone should be included everywhere – but for the purposes of focused study, segregation can be beneficial for short periods of time.
15) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
I don’t separate my “religion” from my core values. Our core values underlie every single thing we say and do. That’s what a core value is. Certainly there are times when we have to examine whether our practices accurately reflect our core values.
I don’t think sexual preference is a choice. Nevertheless, a person can chose to honor or deny his/her nature. Denying your own nature must be a devastating choice, but if you are gay and in the military, that’s what our society asks you to do. Lots of Christians ask you to deny your own inner nature – but I’m pretty sure Jesus would think that they have sadly missed his point.
16) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
I hope my child marries someone who respects him for who he is – but one of the main reasons I went along with having him circumcised when he was born was just in case he decided to convert to Judaism as an adult.
17) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
No – I’m pretty sure people who think that way are trapped in their own personal hells and enjoy spreading misery.
18) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? i.e. who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
I wish there were more people in the public domain speaking up for this way of connecting with each other and the universe. Carolyn Myss, Eckhart Tolle and Marianne Williamson are a few “big names” and their works are relegated to obscure Occult or New Age sections in Book Stores.
19) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
20) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
My “religion” values everyone.
21) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
22) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
I like the idea of reincarnation, but there’s no way that any human can know, absolutely, what happens after we die.