Look To Your Past

Look To Your Past

Author:   Oracle  

One of the most controversial stances today in the Neo-Pagan Community surrounds the adoption of Amerindian and other aboriginal ceremonies as authentic paths for those who are not of Amerindian or aboriginal descent. When Europeans first landed on the shores of North and South America en masse, the exotic and “unnatural” ways of these people may have struck a chord that resonated with some Europeans. At this time, Europeans were only familiar with Christianity, and all else was “of the devil.” Naturally some people who were beneficent towards the tribes may have eventually found themselves adopted and taught the path of whatever tribe adopted them. It eventually became a crime in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the United States of America tantamount to treason to “go Indian.” The fate of many tribes followed one of four courses:

1. Many tribes were wiped out.

2. Many that survived found themselves and their subsequent generations adopting “American ways” and indoctrinated with Christianity, also taking up “Christian names.”

3. Many fought and were relocated from their homelands to western deserts.

4. Many merely surrendered and tried to reconcile their own beliefs, integrating Christian doctrines into their own while attempting to maintain some sort of independence.

With the merger of the Hippie and New Age movements in the 1960’s within the States, many books began to be released on the market that introduced Eastern and pseudo-aboriginal concepts into the American spiritual scene. Naturally a new type of imperialism began taking place. In this new form of conquering, Amerindian Tribes found their spiritual teachings bastardized by “white culture, ” ironically at the same time that the Neo-Pagan movement was also budding.

Sadly, what was meant to be a Spiritual Renaissance for those of European descent instead became a fast track where modern American cultural norms (e.g. instant results, eclectic spirituality, and a dogmatic “I have a right to this” attitude) rooted in centuries of Christian imperialism gained a new avenue to glamorize and steal from Amerindian tribes what was not theirs. Terms like “Shaman” became new catch words to describe those that attended weekend seminars, wore crystals and painted their bodies.

Cloaked within the White Light of the New Age is the insult of ancient ancestors which are linked inexorably to the Tribes whose Elders are fighting to preserve the remains of their people; their homes having been taken, their languages lost and their people massacred in the name of the white man’s “progress.” With the 1993 Lakota Declaration of War against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality, the Tribal Elders of various Tribal cultures and Tribal religions have reinforced the closure of their doors. To force open the doors of another culture is a practice that is relegated to the inherent dominance of the Abrahamic faiths, not the Pagan.

Some of the justifications for cultural theft are:

Q: But what if I believe I was an Indian in my past life?
A: Sorry, but many Native American religions don’t incorporate reincarnation. Regardless if they did, that was a past life…it’s over and you have this one.

Q: But what if something speaks to me in that path?
A: You will find a parallel form in your own heritage. There are plenty of Reconstructionist paths available for those of European descent so that Wica is not the only option anymore (and, with a bit of research, never was) . There is Strix, Strega, Asatru, Druidry, Hermetic, Kemetic and more. These cultural religions and philosophies in the West are open for Europeans to journey and find meaning. It may be that what you are seeing may resonate with you because your ancestors performed something similar.

Q: But so-and-so said they were taught by Medicine people and, for a fee, will also teach me to help improve my life…is this wrong?
A: Unless they are a genuine Tribal Elder, I encourage you to do some research into your supposed “teacher.” Tribal Elders, if you are adopted and taught their ways (which take decades by the way) , never will charge a fee to teach. Many false shamans see the profits and none are ever shared with any Native American Communities.

Q: What if I feel “Indian” at heart?
A: By all means admire the beauty and culture of the Tribal people, but respect and courtesy should be given when it is not your heritage.

We Pagans should have different ethics in order to help build bridges. As an example, we as a Community have held the sins of the Church at its feet: murdering and killing many who were, rightly or falsely, accused of Witchcraft. We demanded the Church acknowledge its erroneous ways and beg pardon. This was done in 1999, and the late Pope John Paul II heard the cries of the wronged and declared a papal apology in 2000. As a reminder, the late Pope said:

“…Christians have often denied the Gospel; yielding to a mentality of power, they have violated the rights of ethnic groups and peoples, and shown contempt for their cultures and religious traditions…”

The Pagan Community cheered and clapped in the Pope’s response, and even more respect was garnered for the late Pope John Paul II.

Yet, here we are in 2010 and the Pagan Community has committed the same sins for the past 50 years. We observe Tribal Elders and spiritual leaders offer tobacco, asperge with sage and chant with feathers. We watch their masked ceremonies and listen to their singing, all the while believing we can adopt and adapt something we see without any inclination as to the “why” behind the rituals.

We build Medicine Wheels on our front lawn believing that we have a right to that heritage. We take pseudo-Indian names such as “Running Buffalo Horns” and think nothing of it. Sadly, and naively, we talk about the “Native American path, ” “Native American religion, ” and “Native American culture.” We talk about the beauty and purity of the “Native American belief system, ” like we are describing some new pet breed.

There is no such thing as “Native American culture, ” “Native American religion, ” and a “Native America path.” There are Native American cultures, Native American religions, and Native America paths. Each tribe differs greatly from one to the next.

In Neo-Paganism in general, ancestral veneration is not given any preeminence. Carl Jung’s idea of “archetypes” has neatly found itself in our Community so that we talk about “THE God” and “THE Goddess.” I find Dion Fortune oft-quoted, “All the Gods are One God, and all the Goddesses are One Goddess, and there is but One Initiator.” A lovely quote, but misplaced. Dion also emphasized that people should look to their own roots to find true occult virtue.

You see, Tribal Spiritualities are all about the Community over the Individual (unlike many solitary Western Neo-Pagan paths) , and the Mighty Spirits and Powers that are reverenced in Native American religions are deified Ancestral spirits. Rites, rituals, chants and dances are done to live out the mythos and deeds of that Tribes’ ancestors. If you are not of that blood, why are you reverencing ancestors that are not your own? Can it not be said that someone who steals part of a heritage that one has not been privy to is actually disrespecting the heritage you come from? Basically, you’re telling your own ancestors, “You’re not good enough for me.”

The Jungian view of archetypes has no place in Native American religions. They evolved along a different occult current and are rooted in land and ancestors, blood and bone. What does your own blood call to you? What do your bones sing?

We Pagans constantly talk about the sins of the Church, and how we should “harm none” (regardless if we’re Wiccan or not) and respect all life. Yet here we are stealing what is not ours, and not looking to our own ancestors for what our own blood and bones holds dear. Our own power lies in our heritage. Many say, “Well, what if I am Welsh, Greek, Italian and Spanish? Which is my path?” My response is: all of it. They are all Indo-European. In our modern society there is no excuse with the plethora of Native European Spiritualities why we should steal someone else’s heritage, which is not ours.

I encourage our Community to not be hypocritical and disrespect the ethnic cultures of the land we live on. I encourage our Community to have open dialogue and build bridges with the Native American tribes (and others) so that we can change the tide of our Imperialist past. If we truly believe in peace and respect, then we will do so by cultivating Wisdom, Integrity, Truth, Courage and Honor in our own lives.

I encourage everyone to look to our own past, beyond the past 2, 000 years of Christianity, and remember that we were once tribal and had a culture to speak of. Unlike the Amerindian Tribes, the Western Pagan faiths have their doors open so we can seek our Gods and Ancestors to reverence again.

May the Blessing of the Lord and Lady guide you upon the Starry Path of Enlightenment.

~Oracle~

____________________________________________

Footnotes:
Sources:
http://www.newagefraud.org/. Retrieved April 19, 2010.

Brown, Michael F. “Who Owns Native Culture?” Retrieved from http://www.williams.edu/go/native/index.htm

Orrin. “Seeking Native American Spirituality: Read This First!” Retrieved from http://www.native-languages.org/religion.htm.

Fortune, Dion. (2000) . The Training and Work of an Initiate. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser.

Fortune, Dion. (2001) . What is Occultism? York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser.

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May 9 – Daily Feast

May 9 – Daily Feast

Sentences half spoken and beyond total hearing are the source of difficulty. Only in the bright light of reason and understanding can these cloudy mishaps be corrected. Some are simply tuned to hear the negative – even when it was never intended to be. They hear with an ear that is already bent toward trouble and only too willing to pass it on. We might consider what we want to hear – because everyone has moments when words tumble out with little meaning. Whether it is a slip of the tongue or simply filling in a quiet spell, we are sometimes guilty of speaking when we should have been listening. The tongue is a little member and sometimes kindles quite a fire when it should spit on the matches.

~ We are becoming like them…..all talkers and no workers. ~

BLACK HAWK

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days’, by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*

Simple Thoughts on Churches and Personal Spirituality

Simple Thoughts on Churches and Personal Spirituality

Author: Disciple of Oghma

I left the Christian faith this last year. After 25 years, I had became everything one seeks to become in a Christian (I still had my issues, but who doesn’t?). But I met a balanced person who gave a thought provoking life testimony. I nearly flipped when I found out this person was a dark pagan. I started rethinking my whole world.

Now I am on a new personal path with a much greater respect for others.

Once I had left Christianity, I started seeing clearly a lot of the odd misconceptions that it promotes… such as the twisted definition of ‘love’ among other things.

If a Christian’s relationship with his or her God could be put in the context of human marriage terms, then the Christian should get a restraining order on God, change his or her name and leave. A funny thought unless you find truth in it.

Anyway… after a year of thought, I have realigned my perspective of the Path.

When I first left the Christian religion, I realized all the hate and rage and condemnation that I was throwing around in the name of ‘love’. In an attempt to decide if that was ‘just me’ or the teachings of the church, I have studied the faith from a different angle.

At first, I drew the conclusion it was a parasitic organism that has been using its popularity and influence to corrupt the nations.
But an idea struck me and I no longer think Christianity is to blame for the problems with people.

I think the Christian church is a symptom of the underlying weaknesses of people not the illness itself. It’s all about our desire to have a set of black-and-white fatalistic standards to use as a system of measurement to understand our world.

So we create a system of “Absolute Truths”.

Then we create a control-based system to ‘run it’ so that we can take advantage of our own desire not to take responsibility for ourselves and to enrich ourselves at the cost of others all… the while feeling pride at our ‘humble spirituality’.

So then what do we do?

We build a large comfortable plush little shrine to an image of human perfection and greatness. The average church, not including all the zoning permits, costs an average of $3-$5 million to build. (I Googled the “cost of church building” and plucked a few sums. It isn’t an absolute number but it gives a good idea to the cost.)

Then we throw our individual responsibilities at it, pray, and ask it to do everything for us. Our only real ‘job’, it would seem, is to use it as an excuse to hate, kill, steal, and harm any whom disagree with us and our god.

Jehovah is the icon of what the average selfish lazy person would be if he or she was a god:

“Let there be “less of you more of me in your life.”

“Give me the upper 10% of your prosperity.”

“I love you if you sing my praises and enslave yourself to me.”

“I’ll help if it suits me and if I don’t, it will work to your benefit”.

(These are beliefs that were generally promoted to me in my churches. I have been through four branches of Protestantism and studied several of the “spinoff faiths of Judaism.” So if you find this inaccurate, I only mean to explain the background from which I draw my current musings).

It is possible for any faith to become in every way as ‘dark’ as we have often accused the Judeo-Christian belief and all its related spin-offs (Mormon, Judaism, Catholic, Jehovah witness, Satanism, protestant, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, etc.) as being.

It seems the only way to avoid this path is to cut the problem off at the roots.

Personal Growth and Responsibility

It seems when we face ourselves, we very often discover that all the roots of our problems stem from either bad reactions to outside stimuli or a passive/active bad decision on our part.

This includes a new growing trend I am seeing in “disorganized religion” as well: The pop up Wicca/Pagan Sunday schools and the adoption of opposing religious practices like Wiccan “CHRISTenings”.

There is a great freedom in disorganized paths but people who seeks any sort of power should exercise a measure of discretion and be assured that they are grounded. Power without responsibility is dangerous, no matter what badge one wears.

Also we must accept ourselves entirely. We must accept all of our darkness as well as all of our light. To do otherwise is to dwarf one’s growth as well as grant power to the darkness, thus leaving it unchecked.

All of the dark aspects of ourselves, in proper controlled amounts, are actually healthy things. Greed, sloth, envy, pride, etc. Without any of these things, we would never strive, never seek to achieve or grow. They are integral parts of ourselves.

It is as unbalanced to applaud tendencies of light while divorcing ones of darkness just as it is to believe only in a female or only in a male creator.

We don’t have to be destructive either. To find balance and growth, one should simply accept both the inner darkness and inner light to be whole. If you are not whole, how can you grow and stand?

When we recognize our weakness, we master it and find balance. Otherwise it doesn’t matter what the name of your faith is or what you call yourself. You will simply continue to commit acts of cruelty, ignorance, sloth, malice, strife, theft, condemnation, and pride.

If we all would seize the opportunity to take responsibility, accept ourselves, correct our own errors, love and respect everyone – including respecting their rights to their own paths and their own views — and stop trying to make a black-and-white standard in this colorful world, perhaps we can be a better people and encourage growth in a better world.

Have You Ever Seen Real Magic? I Have!

Have You Ever Seen Real Magic? I Have!

Author: MoonChild

I was raised a very good Christian, I looked very hard trying to find the right faith, problem was, I was only looking inside the Christian faith. I went from Church to Church looking, but always finding things wrong with their belief. I even became a good Jehovah’s Witness, a very high-ranking one at that. I am a certified minister in one, and ordained in another.

I have been married going on thirty-four years, with my wife going along with me on the search for the right faith. About ten years ago my wife started reading Wiccan books, and slowly became a Wiccan. Needless to say, this was hard on our marriage, and if not for the “for better or worse” thing, we may have split. I thought I could bring her back into the faith, which one I was still unsure, but one of Christian faiths that was right, as soon as I found it.

I began to see a real peace come over her, “It must be that damn devil!” I thought. She told me little bits and pieces, I pretended not to care, and I acted like I was not lessening, but I was.

This was the first, but not the last, magic I saw. We had lived in a small travel trailer for over four and a half years on some land we owned and planned to build on one day, but we never seemed to get ahead enough.

My wife told me she was going to do a spell to get us a place. I smiled and said “Sure, good luck with that!”

She told me all about when and how and that she had been working on it a while. She told me that spells were like prayer, and magic was like miracles.

That made some sense.

The night she did this spell was the first night that I had joined her, mostly just to show her it would not work. It took her a long time, and I thought, “Why not save some time and just put your hands together and pray” but I said nothing.

When it was over I jokingly said something like ‘So, where’s the new house?” and she smiled and said ‘It does not work that way”

Well I be damned if the next morning a very good Christian lady that lives up the road stopped by on her way past, and said these words “God told me last night to sell you my mobile home and get me a newer one.” I could not believe it! I thought it must be the devil or just luck, but she is too good a Christian for that, so I went with luck.

Later that day another neighbor called saying his daughter was moving out of the mobile home next to his and we could buy that one from him. Both of these offers were priced where we could make payments, and because they were on our private rood, no moving costs to speak of. I was floored but it was not over. The next day another good offer came, and the next another offer! The offers ranged from $3, 500 in payments for a nice place, all the way up to take over the loan for a huge triple wide at $80, 000!!

Not one person ever came to us in the four and a half years about a home until my wife did her spell, then they were bending over backwards trying to help us get a home. These people did not just call once, that took a real interest in getting us a home, and even helped us with the move.

We know live in one of those homes, and I have gotten a real sense of how it works. It is possible for the great sprits of the god and goddess to affect the hearts of any person of any faith, showing we are all just one. I find real peace knowing this, I now understand that each faith on earth has good people in it, and hopefully now I am one of those. I really feel I am a much better person then before, I no longer judge someone on his or her faith, and I must admit I once did this, or I have not grown within.

I also now know I must continue by quest, and with the help of my wife and sites like this, I am enjoying the trip.

Getting our home was not luck, and it was not the devil, it was real magic. Over the course of time I have seen much more magic out of her, many times, and I guess it goes without saying that I have stopped looking for the right faith, because I have found it. Not because of the magic, but the inner peace, one with nature and mostly self-judgment.

We have made a coven of special members, and we feel we are growing with each passing moon. I no longer feel like a sinner for all of the little things I did as a kid. Yes, like many I had lots of sex before marriage, and I have always felt guilty and “a bad little boy” for it. Now I know it was natural, and if kids were told the reasons to respect it, and why, and how to control it, a lot less people would spend a lifetime carrying the guilt I did.

Our marriage is so much stronger, and we are truly one, with each other, and nature. I wish I could tell you the rest of the magic I have seen her do, but it would take way to long, and trust me, we both don’t have that kind of time!!!

Blessed be to all! I truly hope you are as blessed be as I have been to finally have found the right faith… and that is the REAL magic I have seen.

Simple Thoughts on Churches and Personal Spirituality

Simple Thoughts on Churches and Personal Spirituality

Author: Disciple of Oghma

I left the Christian faith this last year. After 25 years, I had became everything one seeks to become in a Christian (I still had my issues, but who doesn’t?). But I met a balanced person who gave a thought provoking life testimony. I nearly flipped when I found out this person was a dark pagan. I started rethinking my whole world.

Now I am on a new personal path with a much greater respect for others.

Once I had left Christianity, I started seeing clearly a lot of the odd misconceptions that it promotes… such as the twisted definition of ‘love’ among other things.

If a Christian’s relationship with his or her God could be put in the context of human marriage terms, then the Christian should get a restraining order on God, change his or her name and leave. A funny thought unless you find truth in it.

Anyway… after a year of thought, I have realigned my perspective of the Path.

When I first left the Christian religion, I realized all the hate and rage and condemnation that I was throwing around in the name of ‘love’. In an attempt to decide if that was ‘just me’ or the teachings of the church, I have studied the faith from a different angle.

At first, I drew the conclusion it was a parasitic organism that has been using its popularity and influence to corrupt the nations.
But an idea struck me and I no longer think Christianity is to blame for the problems with people.

I think the Christian church is a symptom of the underlying weaknesses of people not the illness itself. It’s all about our desire to have a set of black-and-white fatalistic standards to use as a system of measurement to understand our world.

So we create a system of “Absolute Truths”.

Then we create a control-based system to ‘run it’ so that we can take advantage of our own desire not to take responsibility for ourselves and to enrich ourselves at the cost of others all… the while feeling pride at our ‘humble spirituality’.

So then what do we do?

We build a large comfortable plush little shrine to an image of human perfection and greatness. The average church, not including all the zoning permits, costs an average of $3-$5 million to build. (I Googled the “cost of church building” and plucked a few sums. It isn’t an absolute number but it gives a good idea to the cost.)

Then we throw our individual responsibilities at it, pray, and ask it to do everything for us. Our only real ‘job’, it would seem, is to use it as an excuse to hate, kill, steal, and harm any whom disagree with us and our god.

Jehovah is the icon of what the average selfish lazy person would be if he or she was a god:

“Let there be “less of you more of me in your life.”

“Give me the upper 10% of your prosperity.”

“I love you if you sing my praises and enslave yourself to me.”

“I’ll help if it suits me and if I don’t, it will work to your benefit”.

(These are beliefs that were generally promoted to me in my churches. I have been through four branches of Protestantism and studied several of the “spinoff faiths of Judaism.” So if you find this inaccurate, I only mean to explain the background from which I draw my current musings).

It is possible for any faith to become in every way as ‘dark’ as we have often accused the Judeo-Christian belief and all its related spin-offs (Mormon, Judaism, Catholic, Jehovah witness, Satanism, protestant, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, etc.) as being.

It seems the only way to avoid this path is to cut the problem off at the roots.

Personal Growth and Responsibility

It seems when we face ourselves, we very often discover that all the roots of our problems stem from either bad reactions to outside stimuli or a passive/active bad decision on our part.

This includes a new growing trend I am seeing in “disorganized religion” as well: The pop up Wicca/Pagan Sunday schools and the adoption of opposing religious practices like Wiccan “CHRISTenings”.

There is a great freedom in disorganized paths but people who seeks any sort of power should exercise a measure of discretion and be assured that they are grounded. Power without responsibility is dangerous, no matter what badge one wears.

Also we must accept ourselves entirely. We must accept all of our darkness as well as all of our light. To do otherwise is to dwarf one’s growth as well as grant power to the darkness, thus leaving it unchecked.

All of the dark aspects of ourselves, in proper controlled amounts, are actually healthy things. Greed, sloth, envy, pride, etc. Without any of these things, we would never strive, never seek to achieve or grow. They are integral parts of ourselves.

It is as unbalanced to applaud tendencies of light while divorcing ones of darkness just as it is to believe only in a female or only in a male creator.

We don’t have to be destructive either. To find balance and growth, one should simply accept both the inner darkness and inner light to be whole. If you are not whole, how can you grow and stand?

When we recognize our weakness, we master it and find balance. Otherwise it doesn’t matter what the name of your faith is or what you call yourself. You will simply continue to commit acts of cruelty, ignorance, sloth, malice, strife, theft, condemnation, and pride.

If we all would seize the opportunity to take responsibility, accept ourselves, correct our own errors, love and respect everyone – including respecting their rights to their own paths and their own views — and stop trying to make a black-and-white standard in this colorful world, perhaps we can be a better people and encourage growth in a better world.

Disciple_of_oghma

Simple Thoughts on Churches and Personal Spirituality

Simple Thoughts on Churches and Personal Spirituality

Author: Disciple of Oghma

I left the Christian faith this last year. After 25 years, I had became everything one seeks to become in a Christian (I still had my issues, but who doesn’t?). But I met a balanced person who gave a thought provoking life testimony. I nearly flipped when I found out this person was a dark pagan. I started rethinking my whole world.

Now I am on a new personal path with a much greater respect for others.

Once I had left Christianity, I started seeing clearly a lot of the odd misconceptions that it promotes… such as the twisted definition of ‘love’ among other things.

If a Christian’s relationship with his or her God could be put in the context of human marriage terms, then the Christian should get a restraining order on God, change his or her name and leave. A funny thought unless you find truth in it.

Anyway… after a year of thought, I have realigned my perspective of the Path.

When I first left the Christian religion, I realized all the hate and rage and condemnation that I was throwing around in the name of ‘love’. In an attempt to decide if that was ‘just me’ or the teachings of the church, I have studied the faith from a different angle.

At first, I drew the conclusion it was a parasitic organism that has been using its popularity and influence to corrupt the nations.
But an idea struck me and I no longer think Christianity is to blame for the problems with people.

I think the Christian church is a symptom of the underlying weaknesses of people not the illness itself. It’s all about our desire to have a set of black-and-white fatalistic standards to use as a system of measurement to understand our world.

So we create a system of “Absolute Truths”.

Then we create a control-based system to ‘run it’ so that we can take advantage of our own desire not to take responsibility for ourselves and to enrich ourselves at the cost of others all… the while feeling pride at our ‘humble spirituality’.

So then what do we do?

We build a large comfortable plush little shrine to an image of human perfection and greatness. The average church, not including all the zoning permits, costs an average of $3-$5 million to build. (I Googled the “cost of church building” and plucked a few sums. It isn’t an absolute number but it gives a good idea to the cost.)

Then we throw our individual responsibilities at it, pray, and ask it to do everything for us. Our only real ‘job’, it would seem, is to use it as an excuse to hate, kill, steal, and harm any whom disagree with us and our god.

Jehovah is the icon of what the average selfish lazy person would be if he or she was a god:

“Let there be “less of you more of me in your life.”

“Give me the upper 10% of your prosperity.”

“I love you if you sing my praises and enslave yourself to me.”

“I’ll help if it suits me and if I don’t, it will work to your benefit”.

(These are beliefs that were generally promoted to me in my churches. I have been through four branches of Protestantism and studied several of the “spinoff faiths of Judaism.” So if you find this inaccurate, I only mean to explain the background from which I draw my current musings).

It is possible for any faith to become in every way as ‘dark’ as we have often accused the Judeo-Christian belief and all its related spin-offs (Mormon, Judaism, Catholic, Jehovah witness, Satanism, protestant, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, etc.) as being.

It seems the only way to avoid this path is to cut the problem off at the roots.

Personal Growth and Responsibility

It seems when we face ourselves, we very often discover that all the roots of our problems stem from either bad reactions to outside stimuli or a passive/active bad decision on our part.

This includes a new growing trend I am seeing in “disorganized religion” as well: The pop up Wicca/Pagan Sunday schools and the adoption of opposing religious practices like Wiccan “CHRISTenings”.

There is a great freedom in disorganized paths but people who seeks any sort of power should exercise a measure of discretion and be assured that they are grounded. Power without responsibility is dangerous, no matter what badge one wears.

Also we must accept ourselves entirely. We must accept all of our darkness as well as all of our light. To do otherwise is to dwarf one’s growth as well as grant power to the darkness, thus leaving it unchecked.

All of the dark aspects of ourselves, in proper controlled amounts, are actually healthy things. Greed, sloth, envy, pride, etc. Without any of these things, we would never strive, never seek to achieve or grow. They are integral parts of ourselves.

It is as unbalanced to applaud tendencies of light while divorcing ones of darkness just as it is to believe only in a female or only in a male creator.

We don’t have to be destructive either. To find balance and growth, one should simply accept both the inner darkness and inner light to be whole. If you are not whole, how can you grow and stand?

When we recognize our weakness, we master it and find balance. Otherwise it doesn’t matter what the name of your faith is or what you call yourself. You will simply continue to commit acts of cruelty, ignorance, sloth, malice, strife, theft, condemnation, and pride.

If we all would seize the opportunity to take responsibility, accept ourselves, correct our own errors, love and respect everyone – including respecting their rights to their own paths and their own views — and stop trying to make a black-and-white standard in this colorful world, perhaps we can be a better people and encourage growth in a better world.

Disciple_of_oghma

 

Saint of the Day for August 4th is Pope Saint Gregory III

Pope Saint Gregory III

He was just standing there, not doing anything special. As a Syrian priest he must have felt a little out of place among the Roman people mourning that day for the dead Pope. As a good preacher, he must have wanted to speak to the funeral procession about Christ’s promise of resurrection. As a learned man, he must have wondered who would follow the holy Saint Gregory II as Pope and where he would take the Church. As a holy man, he must have been praying for Gregory II and for all the people around him to find their place after death in God’s arms. But he was just one of the crowd.

Not to God. And not to the people who recognized the well-known holy man in their midst. Right in the middle of the funeral procession they singled him out. They swept him away and clamored for him to be named the next bishop of Rome. Then suddenly, unexpectedly, without his even lifting a finger, his whole life changed and he could no longer just stand there and do nothing.

After he was proclaimed Pope Gregory III, Emperor Leo II attacked the veneration of holy images. Because Leo II thought the honor paid to Jesus, Mary, and the saints by keeping statues and icons was idolatry, he condemned them and wanted them destroyed. Gregory III didn’t just stand there but immediately sent a letter to Leo II. He couldn’t get the letter through because the priest-messenger was afraid to deliver it. So instead, Gregory called a synod that approved strong measures against anyone who would try to destroy images of Jesus, Mary, or the saints.

Gregory took his stand and Leo II apparently thought the only way to move him was through physical force. So Leo sent ships to kidnap Gregory and bring him to Constantinople. Many people in Rome must have tried to get Gregory to move — but he just stood there. And once again God intervened. A storm destroyed Leo’s ships. The only thing Leo could do was capture some of the papal lands.

So Leo got a few acres of land and we kept our wonderful reminders of the love of God, the protection of Jesus, the prayers of Mary, and the examples of the saints. All because Gregory knew when to take a stand — and when to stand there and let God work.

Gregory III was Pope from 731-741.

In His Footsteps: Where in your life do you need to take a stand? Take a stand: The next time you here someone say something that indicates religious, racial, gender, or any other kind of prejudice, take a stand and make it clear that such prejudice is not tolerated by God or God’s people.

Prayer: Saint Gregory III, it’s hard to stand still and wait for God to do his work. Sometimes I doubt God’s providence. I’m afraid that God’s plan won’t work out unless I push it along. Help me, when I’m confused, to stop, pray, and wait for God. Amen

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