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Ellinas

Complacency...

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Ellinas

You know, it has been very quiet in the Valley the last month or two.  I'm as guilty as anyone.  What's the point of saying something when nothing really comes to mind, after all?

The problem  - and I've seen it on another site - is that silence can be the first step in the death of a forum.  Not necessarily, of course - we've had quiet periods before.

So, this got me wondering.  Why so quiet?

Yes, I know there may be plenty of practical reasons.  Some people may still be sleeping off the Christmas pud (depending on how much brandy it contained, presumably).  Some will have family and work issues.  There may be the odd winter holiday thrown in, or the practical outworking of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

But, even taking all that into account, our busiest is a lot less hectic than I've seen things in the past.  In the old days, when I was a resident of the Wood, it was difficult just to keep up with all the posts.  That was only a decade or so back.  I suspect much the same may have been true had I been in the Valley at that time.

So, why the silence?

Why (and I ask myself this as well) is it so difficult to think of a topic to discuss, or to find a position to argue out?

Have we become infected by the spirit of Dawkins, so that we are too fearful of appearing insufficiently logical?  Perhaps too concerned by "this is what I can defend rationally" rather than "this is the way I see it - now let's find out why"?

Have we reached a stage of development where we've become self satisfied and lost the appetite to enquire further?  Surely, if so, that can't apply to the newbies - there seems still to be a steady stream coming in.  Perhaps we are challenging ourselves insufficiently day to day, and our personal laziness is reflected in our lack of thoughts worth communicating and questions worth asking?

Are the more established of us combining that self satisfaction with a tendency to defend our ivory towers in a way that is off-putting to the newer recruits, so that all we ever do is shut down conversation rather than starting it?  Perhaps we want to be seen as the ones who have the answers, so no-one is prepared to ask the questions any more?

I know this touches on issues that have been discussed before - but, as Simon & Garfunkel had it:

"Fools, said I, you do not know,

That silence, like a cancer, grows"

Maybe time for some, more or less radical, surgery.

Deebs - not sure how this will progress (if at all) but it may turn into something worth putting into Starters' Orders in due course.  Just a thought.

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Moonsmith

There may be any number of explanations Ellinas, and I am sure you have got it right with your suggestions above.

Perhaps I can add:

A bulletin board is not a currently fashionable way of conducting discussion or debate.  I have no idea how the Facebook version of UKP is doing and this is not something that I am about to discover.

Some of us have been here a long time and remember when, like your previous site, there would almost be too many discussions to keep up with.  One could also find that two people had already given the answer that you were about to send before you had finished typing it.  I think that the nature of Paganism itself is changing.  [Old fogy alert]  Fewer people seem to be taking their Pagan belief sufficiently seriously to want to discuss or expand it. [/Old fogy alert]  We used to have a very wide range of beliefs here, represented by people who were fairly to very high profile within those different beliefs. It's not just the Valley.  Moots and meet ups are changing, becoming more transient and becoming fewer.  The days of a local Pagan camp of 50 to 100 folk are long gone.

Those of us who have been here a long time risk repeating ourselves and tend to be providing the same responses and support over and over again to those who are of course enquiring for the first time.   Those of us with long established beliefs will inevitably struggle to offer new thoughts around the ways we think.  Just look at how much we have asked and challenged over the years.  If nothing else we have all, over the years ,contributed to a wonderful thought record.

For myself, well I'm certainly not sitting in any sort of ivory tower but I have established a belief set with which I am currently satisfied.   The nature of my belief is such that few people want to debate it or inquire about it and I do not blame them.  I'm a long way down a boringly prosaic path.  Agencies for change abound but do not come from within the Valley.  I often feel here like stainless steel and nylon in a world made of wood and stone.

Nothing will happen in the Valley unless someone initiates a post, be it a question or a stance that is of sufficient interest to prompt response.  We are much better at accepting a wide range of response than we were a few years ago.  We went through a phase whereby we lost membership by failing to support thoughts and enquiries that stood outside some established and formally expressed thinking.  I have been guilty of this.  I might excuse myself by saying that rather than being dismissive of other's belief I had failed to recognise a shift in membership.  Where once I would have been met with powerful debate, perhaps I should have seen that I might have caused retreat, that the champions of opposition were no longer in the field.

The departure of the moderating team may be contributing.  Until recently Deebs rarely intervened.  I know that Pomona is here a little more now.  I do not know and do not need to know the reasons for their absences but feel that it might have had an effect.  I've said before that I think that everyone is buggering off elsewhere leaving you and I  to lock ourselves in impenetrable circular argument before switching the lights off and putting up the shutters.  It seems to be happening!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Valley has had its ups and downs but I agree we are currently in a deep low.  I hope that it can pick up.  It is a sane voice [much of the time] in a world where considered discussion is often absent.

What will be will be.  Times change; institutions come and go.  It is unfortunate that the UCP tripe shops came to mind as I typed that 🙂 .

 

Edited by Moonsmith
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Earthdragon
8 hours ago, Moonsmith said:

Agencies for change abound but do not come from within the Valley

What do you mean? What kind of change are you hinting at?

ED

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Moonsmith

....not hinting at all ED. 

You and I had a conversation very recently about the frequency with which my understanding is being challenged, augmented or changed.

It has been a long time since UKP has been the source of such change or augmentation [Oh it certainly has been].  This is not a criticism of UKP but I am not as encouraged to post here as I once was.  For one thing, I've said the same things so many times. 

Listening/reading is often interesting but  ...........it has been more than that.

Also: I don't mind responding to enquiries and I can give advice with the best of us but I do wish sometimes that ..............  well nothing really.  I just have to recognise that my ideas of spirituality and deity are sufficiently different from most Valley members such that, except in a very general sense, they are not useful in discussion.  It wasn't always so.

There are no negatives in what I am saying, just a flow.  As the old bear in the corner of this post is saying:

"Πάντα ῥεῖ";

"Panta Rae";

"Everything Flows".

I am where I am on an exciting and ever changing path. We are at a point in history and understanding such as has never before existed but which will continue to expand exponentially. We stand at a time when research, information and new ideas are readily available as never before.  We are supposed to be responding to Ellins' post.  I hope that is what I am doing.

Edited by Moonsmith

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Earthdragon
13 hours ago, Moonsmith said:

We are supposed to be responding to Ellins' post.  I hope that is what I am doing.

I think this sort of formality is a bit off putting to be honest.

13 hours ago, Moonsmith said:

I can give advice with the best of us 

I know it's a turn of phrase, Moonsmith, but see I think this hints at some of us being better than others - this may deter ppl from putting their head over the parapet...

As regards change - you weren't being specific about what sort of change but I understand you're linking things on this thread to the other one.

You're still a prolific poster...

 

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Moonsmith

Deary me!

Change in my thinking, that's all.   I do not think any of us gives advice unless it is sought.  Each of us is more knowledgeable on some things than the rest of us.   If you are not the Vally's leading expert on starting a flooded rotovator in a gale, you soon will be 🙂

Deebs (or anyone who knows) Is the Facebook version of UKP getting more traffic.

I don't do social media of the f/b kind but I'd like to know if others are keeping the lamp burning.

Edited by Moonsmith

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Pomona

I think that as much as anything, society itself has changed. Paganism, in all its myriad forms, is much less of an occult (if you pardon the pun) belief system, it’s less of an issue now to be Pagan, there is a much broader acceptance of variance within it and people generally (IMO) feel more relaxed about their path, less anxious to have a label, less concerned about posturing. Even the Daily Mail hardly bothers with us now.  😉

This is the only forum I’m on. It’s been going nearly 15 years now and it’s a markedly different world since we had hundreds of members and a huge churn of posts.    I think that is just the flow of the world we inhabit now.  I think as well, as Moonsmith says, 

“Those of us who have been here a long time risk repeating ourselves and tend to be providing the same responses and support over and over again to those who are of course enquiring for the first time.   Those of us with long established beliefs will inevitably struggle to offer new thoughts around the ways we think.  Just look at how much we have asked and challenged over the years.”

This is not to say that there is nothing new, of course that’s not the case. And I’ve seen thoughtful, intriguing and interesting topics here and I absolutely welcome them. It’s a symptom of life however that thinking about one’s spirituality in a fast-paced world and then framing it for discussion, is difficult and takes back seat, if push comes to shove, to actually practising it and getting on with the rest of the things occupying one’s mind and time.  

 

 

 

 

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Ellinas

Society indeed has changed - but there are still people struggling to find their spiritual identities, and feeling their way through all the bye-ways of their lives.  I'm not necessarily expecting a return to the days of constant floods of posts, but I suspect fashion may have more to do with it than public acceptance.  In fact, I wonder whether that "acceptance" isn't rather superficial.

Be that as it may, I am interested by ED's thought that MS was being off-puttingly formal.  Now it's true I've never had any particular objection to a thread heading off on a vaguely off-topic sub-discussion.  After all, it's never possible to be certain where a discussion may lead, and some latitude can bring greater insight.  On the other hand, there has to be some structure.  If someone popped up on this thread and said "I'd rather talk about fairies" - fine.  Go start your topic.  Where to draw the line to permit imagination yet maintain relevance, to have structure without shutting down creativity...  Hmm.

Like MS I have no Facebook presence and was only dimly aware that the Valley was there.  It would be of interest to know if it has any greater traffic.

 

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Earthdragon

As I see it there will be ebbs and flows. I've not been here that long compared to some although I realise it's now approaching six years since my first foray. It is quieter but then some prolific posters are not around anymore. 

I can see there being a busier time for UKP but maybe not for a while yet. 

I do think that a few prolific posters can give a flavour to a forum and that may come across as a clique. 

Yes everything has a season and perhaps there's something about the medium that limits what we can get out of itin certain ways. Perhaps as things head towards multimedia and VR etc this type of forum will contract to a niche. I personally feel that the medium doesn't matter it's the content that matters. And the written word and dialogue will be a perennial flowering in the meeting between people at deeper levels.

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Earthdragon
17 hours ago, Moonsmith said:

Deary me!

Change in my thinking, that's all.   I do not think any of us gives advice unless it is sought.  Each of us is more knowledgeable on some things than the rest of us.   If you are not the Vally's leading expert on starting a flooded rotovator in a gale, you soon will be 🙂

 

I get the feeling I am being tiresome to you which isn't my intention. I understand what you were saying now. Your original comment about agents for change - I thought possibly you meant changes  in Valley that's all. 

As regards advice, experts and the "best of us" - that basis of looking at things is valuable though it may reduce some people's enjoyment in simply sharing their experiences and having others be interested and reciprocate. I think that is how relationships develop and then people become more involved.

Applying the narrative theme from the what is the point thread I think you came up with entertainment being the outcome of life. Is UKP entertaining enough? 

I get alot out of being on here and won't be dropping off from using UKP anytime soon all being well...

 

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Veggie dancer
7 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

I do think that a few prolific posters can give a flavour to a forum and that may come across as a clique. 

Yes I think that can be a bit of an issue. There are just a few of us regularly around at the moment (not that I'm around all that regularly really) a newcomer may well look at discussions and just see the same few names of people who have clearly come to know each other's opinions. It's a vicious cycle. 

It can be hard to think of a topic or something new to say.

i have wondered where has everyone gone? Is there another party going on that I wasn't invited to? Ha ha.

Ultimately I don't think the problem is rooted in the valley it's society in general as someone already said. Things are changing. I kind of wish I could break out of my shell of the here and now and behave more like those people in the good old days. 

Ultimately what inspires my spirituality is nature, the physical real world, so much is online and digital what I really want to do is connect more with the physical world not spend more time online. But if that's the case shouldn't I be at rituals and moots and meeting pagans in the flesh but I'm not.

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Stonehugger

I think most of the small number of posts I've made have been me thinking out loud, presumably inspired by what I've just read in this community. I should probably engage in debate but I have very little idea what I'm talking about to be honest and I'm very bad at making time to read up on anything. Maybe the rise of social media has had an impact. I use Fb mainly to keep in touch with close long-term friends so I'm reading, writing and reacting to very short posts. Maybe that's habit-forming. This community, though, is a fantastic place to explore one's path in a way that doesn't work on other platforms. It's much loved and needed.

Edited by Stonehugger
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deebs

The internet is a very different place from what it was when we launched, fun fact, that will be 18 years ago this year. Thats 3 years before Facebook launched and around 5 years before it became possible for anyone to get a Facebook account.

Facebook (and the likes) have become the default place for interaction, but does not lend itself to in depth discussion. Blogs generally have the role of a more in depth writing style, but don't lend themselves to discussion. So yes, forums do still have a place.

Paganism has also changed, and is thought of as more mainstream (for better or worse).

As for radical changes, I'm up for that, what did you (collectively) have in mind?

I would like a more open site, with more threads being visible to non-members encouraging them to join and participate. That's difficult to get to from where we are, but I feel it's the right thing to do.

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Earthdragon
2 hours ago, deebs said:

As for radical changes, I'm up for that, what did you (collectively) have in mind?

I would like a more open site, with more threads being visible to non-members encouraging them to join and participate. That's difficult to get to from where we are, but I feel it's the right thing to do.

How about an area containing some threads where guests can post comments attached to a thread or attached to particular posts within a thread. An expanded starters orders but under a different name and where people can join in anonymously ( albeit after having entered a non displayed email address so admin can have some sort of identifier of them if necessary ). 

This might be a bridge for ppl to then take the plunge and become a full member...

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Moonsmith
6 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

How about an area containing some threads where guests can post comments.........

Some time ago I suggested a visitors book open to guests but was told by the Valley's IT [not Deebs!] specialist that it wasn't possible.  Starter's Orders is a valuable Pagan archive and I have often directed guests to it.  The visitors book idea came from one of them.

I have no issues with openness as I am "out" as a Pagan in the 3D world.  I know that not everyone is in the same situation.  I have never suffered anything negative as the result of my beliefs but I know that others here have.

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Ellinas

When I first joined the Wood, the whole site was open to view, but only members could post.  Personal security was a matter of personal responsibility - don't identify yourself unless it really doesn't matter to you.

Things changed, and it became similar to the Valley in its' structure - very limited available even to view, save to members.

My caution prefers the latter.  In reality, probably I would never had joined the Wood had it not been structured in the former fashion.

There has to be a middle way.

I can see how Starter's Orders could be turned into a "public area" - the questions being what should be the content and what should be the level of permitted non member interaction.

I would be particularly cautious, however, of permitting non-member posts unless:

  1. We have enough moderators with enough time to check up on the "public" part of the site regularly;
  2. It does not leave us more vulnerable to be hacked.

 

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Veggie dancer

I think it would be good to be more open.

People visiting can see starters orders but there's not much action there so it perhaps just looks like nothing at all is going on.

i think there would be more traffic if guests could post on discussions even if they are not members. Nice also to have an area for members only that is more private.

If people who give it a try and like it might then become members to access all areas.

Ultimately it's the internet so none of it is really very private anyway it's not like it's difficult to qualify as a member all you need to do is say hi I'm interested in paganism. I suppose the joining process might filter out a few of the least patient trolls. 

 

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Stonehugger
7 hours ago, Veggie dancer said:

Ultimately it's the internet so none of it is really very private anyway it's not like it's difficult to qualify as a member all you need to do is say hi I'm interested in paganism. I suppose the joining process might filter out a few of the least patient trolls. 

I think both those things too. As @Ellinas says, we'd potentially need more moderation if it was open.

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Earthdragon
On 1/30/2019 at 10:29 PM, Ellinas said:

would be particularly cautious, however, of permitting non-member posts unless:

  1. We have enough moderators with enough time to check up on the "public" part of the site regularly;
  2. It does not leave us more vulnerable to be hacked.

Regarding these concerns 1. Even if moderators are not checking the site regularly , the regular contributors could be their eyes and ears and flag up any content that is questionable by way of personal message. 

2. Techy advice needed...

How about the OP having an option for inviting public comment to a thread and a moderator then an admin that so that it appears in the public area. That way members could decide whether to contribute to the thread with the knowledge that it would appear in that section of the site. 

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Ember Autumn Rose

Coming in a little late...

 

In my view, and I hope this doesn't come across as rude because I don't mean it to be so, I think you/we might just be overthinking the quietness a little for now 🙂 but I think it is great that we're all looking out for this valuable part of the internet. I remember seeing a previous post in the axe grinders about this time of year being quiet.

 

I think most people build up so much tension/excitement towards Yule/Christmas/Festivities, January can end up being a bit of a slump. I think there are a lot of other practical reasons why people go a little shush too - for example I've lost a family member just before Yule, I have one in hospital who is seriously ill, and I've been taking advantage of seeing other family members where/when I could. As a positive, I've been working full-time since August, so I probably don't post as much as I have previously :') but no ivory towers here...

 

I've noticed quite a few new members have arrived 🙂 I can't wait to have more of their views and to discuss things more. Perhaps they will inject some fun into February!

 

Perhaps an idea would be to awaken a few of the Starter Order threads? Show that we're still alive and kicking 😉 I will say even on facebook in different groups, I recommend this site because I know how useful I've found it.

 

 

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Veggie dancer

You make a lot of good points ember. 🙂 Sorry to hear you lost a family member and have another one ill. I lost my granddad just before Yule too. 🙁 Good to hear from you and that you are busy with work. I remember you said you were doing interviews a while back. X

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Ember Autumn Rose
6 hours ago, Veggie dancer said:

 Sorry to hear you lost a family member and have another one ill. I lost my granddad just before Yule too. 🙁 Good to hear from you and that you are busy with work. I remember you said you were doing interviews a while back. X

Sorry to hear that, I lost my Grandad too - hope you're ok 🖤 yeah - happy with my role so far 🙂 hope aside from the sadness, life is treating you well x

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Veggie dancer
4 hours ago, Ember Autumn Rose said:

Sorry to hear that, I lost my Grandad too - hope you're ok 🖤 yeah - happy with my role so far 🙂 hope aside from the sadness, life is treating you well x

Thanks. It is sad. in a way though it was better for him that he went then rather than deteriorating further with his dementure. So sad though he was a lovely and amazing guy. Generally life is good. I'm loving being a mum. Glad you are enjoying work so far and hope life is good for you too also apart from the sadness 🥀

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Freydis

It is quiet round here.  I take the point about the time of the year, but it's been quiet for a good few months now and it's noticeable that a number of regulars have disappeared.  Even the mods, Pomona and Deebs are the only ones who post here regularly.  Whilst I think that most forums go through a cycle of ebb and flow, for the past eighteen months or so we seem to have been mostly ebb.  I've been a member here for almost ten years now (plus an early spell a few years before that) and I don't think that I've ever seen it quite like this.  People do drift away, of course.  It's inevitable.  You see the same discussion coming around again and think that it's time to take a break, or life just gets in the way for a while.  However, I don't think that I've ever seen it happen quite to this extent before.  I know what you mean Ember, I get the feeling the party's on elsewhere and I haven't caught up.  

It's noticeable that few new members post more than a couple of times, they might be reading but I have a feeling that a lot of them drop away pretty quickly. 

Is the UKP Facebook page where the action's at these days?  A number of other forums I know have shut down because their active membership had shifted to Facebook.  Personally, although I have a Facebook presence it's strictly for birthday greetings and the occasional holiday snap.  I find Facebook non-conducive to anything other than very superficial debate, and even then it all seems to get "shouty" very quickly.  I did take a look at the UKP Facebook page once and it took an afternoon lying down in a darkened room to get over the experience....:blink:.  Ah well, I guess I'm getting old.

I don't think that I'm going to give up on this place just yet though.  It offers an opportunity for serious debate that more transient forms of social media don't and it would be a real shame to lose that.  Maybe opening the site up a little more if that's technically possible would be a good thing.  Some people like to read and browse for a while before making the commitment of membership. 

Maybe we need to get a few more threads about the "basics" going again.  I'll have a think.  Unfortunately personal circumstances and work mean that I'm not around as much as I'd like to be, but I'll try to contribute a bit more.  After all, "use it or lose it" as they say. 

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Moonsmith
3 hours ago, Freydis said:

After all, "use it or lose it" as they say. 

I wish someone had told me THAT a few years ago - fnar fnar!

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Ellinas

MS - are you saying that you lost it years back...?

Sympathies to Veggie and Ember for their losses.

I see Ember has been reviving a number of Starters Orders threads.  It'll be interesting to see what effect that has.

Freydis - threads about the "basics" sound good in principle, but...  What are the basics?  I wonder if one issue is that we don't know what people are looking for.  The other issue, of course, is that they are not telling us.

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Lehnah
On 1/27/2019 at 1:56 PM, Moonsmith said:

Perhaps I can add:

A bulletin board is not a currently fashionable way of conducting discussion or debate.  I have no idea how the Facebook version of UKP is doing and this is not something that I am about to discover.

 

As someone who is of the age of have had a good experiance of message boards/ bulletin boards and been the target-age audience for the rise of social media I will say that I much prefer places like this for discussions of pretty much any kind. Sure, Facebook is fine for quick messages, but any kind of deep, thoughtful discussion really needs a space like the Valley.

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Moonsmith
On 1/29/2019 at 4:51 PM, Veggie dancer said:

i have wondered where has everyone gone? Is there another party going on that I wasn't invited to?

I suspect that you may not be unwrong. 

It's not anything I'm worried about as long as the Valley continues and continues saying things worth saying.

Edited by Moonsmith
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Ellinas
On 2/18/2019 at 12:03 AM, Lehnah said:

As someone who is of the age of have had a good experiance of message boards/ bulletin boards and been the target-age audience for the rise of social media I will say that I much prefer places like this for discussions of pretty much any kind. Sure, Facebook is fine for quick messages, but any kind of deep, thoughtful discussion really needs a space like the Valley.

I recently took on someone on Diaspora who I thought was taking a completely illogical, if rather brief and unexplained, position.  I don't know if they'd ever before faced a comment of several paragraphs proposing a thought experiment and pointing out the consequences.  Generally a couple of lines seems to be the limit of the attention span.  Anyhow, I've yet to see any response...So yes, I have some sympathy with the need for a forum like this.

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Dualitys Manager

Though new here to the UKP, which at first i thought was solely United Kingdom something, that "complacency" thing being long discussed below.............is humanity herself ( I Only use "herself" because, for me, the Feminine Aspect of OUR realities are Fuller, far more Complicated, Greatly more Energetic toward Building, etc, than is the Masculine alone sides of us all. I would likely state that THIS is my reason for being here in this Search to discover others whom I might Finally find understanding and acceptance from, whether male, female, sad, happy, or which PATH they may prefer, etc.......as long as fools leave me alone. I Bite back hard........to cease my avoidance of this "APATHY" that tends to follow humanity once Near success grabs them by their pocketbook, or by their lackluster commonality begins the demise of so much from history, and now we have hundreds of "groups", of FB and Tagged like sites, of easily attained information above all else (though nearly all written by wanna-be's with only Basic knowledge and an attitude of Buy Me and make me look famous or INFAMOUS).....sounds almost as if "This" discussion is one of my main causes for being here, in my own connected search for MORE TRUE KNOWLEDGE which those other places can Never offer for me at any cost they could state, unless that offer is by telling me you cannot say that here.how dare thee even to Think that here....sheesh LOL). By my own reckoning, however, information is seldom KNOWLEDGE (which is Painful and Hard Gained)

.

Also sadly and dangerously to all Pagans (ALL others as well) is that very same lackluster Apathy which WE Fight Against enough in "normal society". I'll also remain in normal society, but I will not cease my PATH one iota.........for She has Granted me the very same Gifts which my own Mother and Blood Father has..........and it just FEELS Right to STAND, even knowing I Stand alone. The Fight is Worthy Within! (for me)

.

This, as you likely already knew before even beginning this hard thought and hard answered post..............it is never the time of year......It is a simplistic apathy, which is simply in every human to decide upon. STAND, which Demands one to do it alone, AND within groups of like-minded individuals........and to add from societal's normalities, make certain they are nearly another YOU (not you folks, but as well, many just like us......color, religious (silliness), portion of authority, etc, etc, etcssssssss be damned.

.

 a personal note, as if all the above was not LOL.....I grew to even more greatly adore, love, and Respect Britain once I spoke (typed, called, or videoed) with numerous folks from England and other GB and world lands this past decade plus. Thank you for at least Trying to understand what it is I just typed......and Spoke from above. 

.

I began to quote our authro questioners name...............wayyyyy up there somewhere, over the Kansas Rainbow LOL

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