(If I've already made such a post forgive me idk what I'm doing besides felt I would like to blog as well)
I have this image in my head an hallucination at times and even though i've never really been in such a situation or seen such an event recreated i see something i wish to be very real and breathing.
Before the halls of Valhalla call for me I'd like to attend such and event.
I see this large wood fire in the middle of a redwood clearing under the stars where there is no city lights or sounds only the wild landscape.
People dance and sing to traditional and new Pagan songs and enjoy a feast along long wooden tables.
Everyone is happy as the sun goes down and they talk together in different European tongues of all ages.
Nothing feels acted or scripted yet almost everyone is dressed up or wearing traditional old pagan outfits.
Is there anywhere in Europe that such a similar sounding festival takes place? or is this just a vision lost to the past and my hopes?
Just one of many faith based aims I have before I die.
We all come to paganism in different ways. Some may have a pagan member of their family, and thus they grew up with the knowledge of this path as one they could choose for themselves. Others may have been their when modern paganism was founded, perhaps part of the birth of the Wiccan belief. For others, it was something they came across and grew to learn about. For me, like so many of you, it was that I had known my own feelings towards belief, religion and god for a very long time, but I had no idea that what I believed was already 'a thing'. Of course as a young teenager I thought I was a philosophical genius. Until I was glad to learn that my beliefs were not made up from my own head, but many people shared them across the globe.
As I began to try to find out more, using mainly the internet, as little other resources were available to me in a Northern Irish protestant home, I realised that this could really be what I believe, or rather, something I can say that I believe in. I have never really believed in religion, you see. I have however always believed in a god, or being, or entity or force. However you might like to describe it. I have always known that there was something there that science and religion both didn't quite understand. Maybe we never will, and personally I hope we never will, it takes all the fun out of life if you know EVERYTHING.
I know many of you may have shared my feelings of excitement at learning that you weren't just to be considered a hippy nut job who hugged trees (well, not by everyone at least). So I began to read more. At the beginning I tried to learn very technical aspects of the known pagan paths, the most obvious to me in my early years being the path of wicca. But I found that these practical elements were not things that could be learnt over night, and I struggled with the magical side of it. I found it hard to practise anything ritualistic at home, and whilst I lived in the countryside, I still lived in a village with a school and a considerable population of farmers and dog-walkers which meant there was nowhere I could be secluded to practise.
As such I let all practical sides of my beliefs go. I still believed them, but I worshipped in silence. I prayed to the moon as I was driven home from work. I asked the trees at my school for strength and tried to draw energy from them when I knew I was going to have/ having a hard day. I used my mind, and contented myself with silence as best I could. This may sound like I was ashamed, or frightened, and I was frightened, maybe even a little ashamed. I am sure many of you have faced at least one person in your lives who has reproached you for being a pagan, and being in an all girl school, rumours spread fast. When I first began to investigate my beliefs I told one of my best friends, who thought I was joking and began shouting that I worshipped mother earth at the top of her lungs while laughing hysterically in the middle of our lunch room. For several weeks I was the witch of my school, which wasn't very pleasant. I can imagine many of you have had worse experiences.
Now however, I am trying to move away from silence. I have studied a lot in my silence, and whilst every book that I read fills me with enthusiasm and knowledge which I so crave to tell people about I have not really voiced these enthusiasms until now. I wonder how many of you have had similar journeys in their path, periods of silent thought without any expression of what you believe or think you believe at that time. It is a hard thing, silence, because you end up screaming excitement and reproach to yourself, in your own head. As such, this is where I am going to direct my enthusiasms. I have slowly been hinting to my friends now of my beliefs and my boyfriend knows. Whilst they don't share the beliefs, none of them have shut me out, so I am feeling good about that. This is my introduction, really. My introduction to the things I have learned, the path I am taking and the things I have seen that have deeply influenced my understanding of paganism as a whole, and of general morality, as it seems unfair that all the other 'religions' should have a crack at this but not us :)
I'm glad I got Rules, Britannia: An Insider's Guide to Life in the United Kingdom by Toni Summers Hargis used, not because it wasn't good or anything but it didn't tell me a whole lot I didn't already know, like how to pronounce Edinburgh or what most of the slang means. One of the things I did learn was that it is considered incredibly rude to refer to a person as he or she when they are present or within earshot. I am not even sure how that would come about in conversation so I am going to pay attention and listen for it in American conversations to see if I can figure out when we say it, because apparently Americans do it all the time.
Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour by Kate Fox was much more interesting. (and it does mean English, apparently the Welsh, Irish or Scots each have their own cultural "rules" and these are not covered in the book) One thing I can say is that there are a lot of "rules" :blink: but most of them, according to the author, can be boiled down to ways of dealing with social dis-ease which the author explains as "The central 'core' of Englishness. Social dis-ease is a short hand term for all our chronic social inhibitions and handicaps. The English social dis-ease is a congenital disorder, bordering on a sort of sub-clinical combination of autism and agoraphobia ( the politically correct euphemism would be 'socially challenged'). It is our lack of ease, discomfort, and incompetence in the field ( minefield) of social interaction; our embarrassment, insularity, awkwardness, perverse obliqueness, emotional constipation, fear of intimacy, and general inability to engage in a normal and straightforward fashion with other human beings." (The author puts the hyphen in dis-ease not me btw) To give an incredibly condensed version, there are three reflexes the English use to cope; Humour, Moderation, and Hypocrisy (which the author describes as more of an unconscious self deception rather than a calculated attempt to deceive others). Three values; Fair Play, Courtesy, and Modesty and three Outlooks; Empiricism, Eeyorishness, and Class Consciousness and these all are the factors that make up all the unspoken rules of English behaviour.
Anyway I saw a lot of "English" things about me or that I do that must have come from my Mum, but I also see a lot of things I probably do wrong (I can be too show-offy, earnest, and straightforward than many English people would be comfortable with (at least according to the book) but on the whole I think I might not do too badly
What do you all think? Does the book sound accurate or is this lady drinking her bath water as my Dad likes to say? :P