Disciplined Pagans

Labels are tricky creatures.

Used wrongly, they can be incredibly harmful. Used correctly, they have the ability to inform and helpfully categorize. In faith-based circles, labels are used to help serve as a spoken or written shorthand that summarizes what we believe much faster than a paragraph or a list. It may not be exact, but they seldom need to be 100% precise.

I don’t have a label.

I don’t have a metaphorical badge on my chest I can use as shorthand, to others or to myself.

I love Lilith, who is but a piece of a much greater Goddess that exists unseen, unfelt, and uninteracted with all around me. I’m proud of my Norse and Celtic ancestors and all that they accomplished — but that same accomplishment causes angst that I might not ever measure up in their eyes or even my own. I am fascinated by my ancestral gods and find great wisdom in their teachings that have come down to me, but I’m now ready to say that I don’t really follow or worship them in any conventional sense.

I’m not Wiccan. I’m not a Druid. I’m not Asatru or Vanatru.

I don’t get to have a word that really says “this is the gist of what I cherish and believe to be true about the world”.

I get a paragraph, at the shortest.

The closest word in the pagan community seems to be “eclectic pagan” but that’s not really a solution. All that really says is that one’s beliefs tend to fall outside the more mainstream frameworks. If you want to be any more precise, well, get your flashcard with your best descriptor paragraph on it ready.

Wait.

You mean you don’t have flashcards?

…Okay, I actually don’t have flashcards either.

But “Eclectic Pagan” still doesn’t really communicate anything but “Fringe” on it’s own. It still needs to be explained on a case by case basis if your beliefs are to be understood.

There’s got to be a better word than that, but damn if I know what it is.

“Agnostic Pagan” is imprecise and arguably worse.

“Self-made Pagan” just makes us sound pretentious and somehow spiritually hipsterish in the worst possible way (not that I have anything against hipsterdom in and of itself, but let’s not kid ourselves: most people do).

Perhaps we ought to take a note out of Plato’s book and refer to ourselves as “Disciplined Pagans” if we are shooting for maximum precision. Plato, after all, regularly and frequently maintained that the definition of discipline is “to know oneself”.

Valdis Leinieks wrote the following in his book “The City of Dionysos: A Study of Euripides’ Bakchai” to clarify Plato’s views on discipline.

Plato characteristically gives a highly intellectual twist to his definition by further defining knowing oneself to mean knowing what one knows and what one does not know. The definition of discipline as knowing oneself, however, need not be taken in this restrictive sense. The definition includes not only knowing what one knows and what one does not know but also knowing what one is able to do and what one is not able to do. It involves the recognition of one’s strength or lack of it with respect to other men and the gods. This aspect of discipline leads to recognition of one’s weakness with respect to the gods and is equivalent to thinking like a man.

Disciplined Pagans.

I almost like the sound of that, to be honest.

If we are to take Plato at his word, then it’s an apt term that calls for us to garner a personal understanding of ourselves, our beliefs (especially those that set us apart from more mainstream movements) and how we judge ourselves to fit into this world spiritually through our strengths and shortcomings, and how all of this relates to the gods we have chosen to worship. Of course that’s easy to say on paper. Almost everything is easier said on paper.

What would it mean to be a Disciplined Pagan?

I posit that it’s a better term than Eclectic in the 21st Century.

While Eclectic is, let’s be clear here, a perfectly chosen word (at least for those who give a damn about word meanings), we also live in an era where word meanings are becoming irrelevant to on the spot touchy-feely emotion. Eclectic carries a feeling of randomness or cherry picking the best aspects of something, and in today’s world where a burrito-stand can be shut down for “cultural appropriation”, I’m not sure that that’s a target many pagans want to paint on their backs for today’s rabid social justice warriors.

But discipline?

There’s a big strong word. It commutes a meaning of orderliness, honor, and inner strength. Combined with its Platonic definition, I think that’s a term that could serve us “Disciplined Pagans” well into the future.

I doubt the term will catch on, and honestly, even if it did, it still isn’t frankly a brilliant solution for the root problem of lacking a word that can sum up my beliefs or someone else’s in a single word. But maybe some things aren’t well suited to being described in a single word. After all, the Author knows better than anyone else that a thousand words can often be better than a single picture — just ask Geoffrey Chaucer or William Shakespeare (or if you’re one of those ultra modern types, ask JK Rowling).

Just remember to carry discipline in your practices, whatever they may be, and your future will be all the better for it.

Gods guide you.

I swear this is as political as this blog will ever get

As usual, this is published a week after it premieres on my Tumblr (also titled The Ithildin Goddess), and includes some minor edits.

As I think on my ancestors, I don’t think they would have felt as strongly as I do today about “harm none” and “diversity”. My viking ancestors would have robbed immigrants blind at the border, and I have a strong feeling my Celtic ancestors would have killed them at the border just for the crime of being strangers at the border.

Thing is, I try to honor my ancestors as best I can, and that understandably creates a bit of a quandary for me. It can be difficult to honor past generations when they would tell you to do something you believe is wrong because they knew it to be right.

My ancestors were not nice people. Their gods were not nice gods. Their world was not a nice world. But they also made great things and shared in the same struggles I face today.

Every problem we face today were faced by our ancestors, and our ancestors overcame them — at least well enough long enough to clear the path for their children to do the same for theirs. We owe them literally EVERYTHING that we are, while still coming to grips with the fact that their world was hard and cruel, and they had to adapt by doing the same.

When is it time to abandon tradition? Can we abandon traditions and still claim to honor our past family generations? Honestly, I don’t really know the answer to either question for certain. I just know that sometimes, we must.

The world won’t get better until the people in it do.

There are monsters out there, and the worst hide in the shapes of men. But if we are to become better, we must not let our fear of the monsters stop us from uniting in compassion. It is when tribes strike up alliances that they become an unstoppable force.

If we can do that, the monsters will come to fear US.

With their long view from beyond, I hope my ancestors can see and at least appreciate that.

If your gods suddenly AREN’T hiding, you have an immediate and urgent problem

​Sometimes I get asked “if your Gods are real, why don’t they just show it?”

Sometimes I’m even the one asking myself this in a moment of doubt or frustration.
But then I remember that these phenomenal fantastic cosmic entities, whatever we might choose to call them, are so much bigger and older than us and our world. Our lifetimes are mere seconds on the clock next to those of Immortals.
The gods have a vast cosmic perspective, and usually as a result are not particularly concerned with the minutia of mortal existence and reveal themselves only as they will.
Gods like Odin frequently walk among us but only seldom reveal their nature to those around them. There are many reasons for such visits, including out of boredom with their halls. But often, I think it’s to remind themselves of the smaller worlds and beings they look out for and protect. Operating on a cosmic time scale leaves a lot of room for losing touch from your charge and becoming detached and apathetic.
When a god or goddess finds themselves wondering “What’s the point of looking out for these creatures that are as ants to us?”, they pay us a visit incognito. They travel about, interacting with us in disguise so that they remember that even ants are no more or less valid an existence than their own.
When they DO feel compelled to reveal themselves during a visit, those who have pushed them to that point often regret it as it means that the person the gods reveal themselves to has screwed up so royally there is no other recourse — and this is seldom the case as there are plenty of excellent recourses available to a god that don’t involve making a spectacle of themselves. Usually an effectively eternal being has the patience to just ignore and outlast such petty problems as mankind can conjure up. If our lives are seconds on the clock for them, then the worst wars and disasters we can drum up must not even have the lingering irritation of a mosquito bite.
Ergo, if Thor were to show up and just go “Hey. So, I’m Thor, and I’m not hiding this fact.”, I would start looking for the universe-guzzling black hole or imminent collision of two galaxies that demands a God’s direct and immediate attention and leaves them without the time to pussyfoot about with a disguise. I like to imagine such being have better foresight and planning skills than that.

Why don’t our gods reveal themselves?

Because I’m pretty damn sure that they day they do is gonna be the day the world is really no kidding ending and we should duck, cover, and kiss our bums goodbye as a result.

What evidence proves there is only one God?

As usual, this is published a week after it premieres on my Tumblr (also titled The Ithildin Goddess), and includes some minor edits and additions.

This was a question directed at my blog some time ago and I am finally getting around to answering it. Sorry about the delay.

In short?

Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

In fact, the very existence of the First Commandment outright nixes the idea that there is only one.

By saying “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me” YHWH was indicating that for those of the lineage of Adam and Abraham, he was the only God worth their time and devotion, as he was also the only one who would protect them — and Biblical history definitely bore out the latter point at the very least. He wouldn’t need to make this demand at all unless there were other very real deities with similar powers who might wind up being worshiped by the Hebrews, even after accounting for the obvious poetry about “money” or “the nation” or “the law” being false gods as well.

However, if you walked up to YHWH and asked if there were other gods, the answer would be an undeniable “yes”.

He wasn’t claiming to be the only god (not in the Old Testament at least) but rather the only God for his chosen people, the Hebrews.

And other tribes and civilizations record having been visited by their own gods with impunity. Ur, Babylon, the Norse, Scottish Picts, Aztecs, Incas, etc; most civilizations have been visited at some point by their guardian/patron deities. The list goes on and on.

In addition to these fine points, atheists will (wisely) point to a lack of theoretical evidence (being, evidence that can be used to empirically test a theory) that supports the existence of any gods, be they one or several. In short, god is presently unable to graduate from the “shaky hypothesis” stage of the scientific method.

A lack of evidence for any is also a lack of evidence for one, and this gives us, as stated in my opening, exactly ZERO evidence that there is only one god.

Sadly this is all we can have evidence for

I suppose the next question you should be asking is “Does the lack of evidence matter to you, personally?”

Testation and Divine Plans

I’m not a big fan of the saying “the Gods are testing us”.
Mostly because I don’t think they really do.
I think the gods are wise enough to know that life in itself is test enough. Sure, Loki will play his tricks, and sure, Thor will sometimes call a storm right on top of us at the worst possible moment, but that’s the gods doing what they do in accordance with their own perogative. I don’t really believe they turn their gaze to us at any given moment and go “That one. Let’s screw with THAT ONE, make their lives horrible for a bit, and see how they take it.” Other people’s gods might do that, but I don’t really believe that my gods do. Well, I mean, obviously sometimes they do — if I tried to count the number of stories that depict Odin directly picking someone and testing their character and limits, we’d be here all week. But that’s not a really great example. Odin’s methods tend to be subtler than “your life sucks for an extended period of time.” He will come to you, he’ll question you, dialog with you, and yes, occasionally he’ll challenge you in an area he knows you to be weak at. But Odin’s usual manner is to approach us and give us a very slight and vague heads up that hard times are ahead, and then withdraw to observe — he does not take an active role in the testing or the hardship.
Because Odin knows better than anyone that life is a test. If you’ve ever been in school and just finished a really hard exam and gone “Whew! Glad finals are over! I’m so sick of tests!” well, I’ve got bad news for you. The tests never ended, and they never will.
Sometimes life sucks. We tell ourselves that something bigger than us is picking on us; it can be a very helpful psychological tool to focus our displeasure on some nebulous outside force that we can’t really confront directly.
But the simple fact is that nine times out of ten, you’ve just hit a rough patch. The real test is in how we handle it. And yeah, the gods are watching (when aren’t they?). The good news is that no one is picking on you. Nope, not even Loki. The bad news is that this means that yes, there are in fact trials we may face that present us with a no-win scenario, or the only way through is to cut something we would rather not from ourselves and our lives. This idea that “the gods don’t give us any challenges we cannot overcome” is actually crap. I know, I myself have said it on this very blog. And on a species wide basis, it is true. We’ve never faced a challenge that we couldn’t overcome as a species. However, on an individual level, the assertion loses its power. Individuals are frequently overcome by trials and tribulations that they have no power to succeed against — at least not on their own abilities alone. In those moments, when we are backed into a no-win scenario, we must not lose our composure. Why? Because this too is a test: how we behave in defeat is no less important than how we behave in victory, and someone is always watching your performance.
In a similar vein, people try to console each other in times of tragedy with “God has a plan for us.” I can’t speak for the BIg G, but my gods don’t have any such ridiculously overcomplicated plans. Their plans for us are “watch us be born”, “watch us live” and “watch us die”, while taking notes the whole time. When tragedy strikes, it’s because tragedy struck. It’s nobody’s fault. Bad things happen to good people every day. It’s the opposite of a miracle: a sudden influx of general horribleness into your life for any reason or no reason. Nobody’s gods made that happen — it’s just another one of life’s endless tests. Or at least, we can be sure that’s usually not the case; every god has their capricious qualities, but barring a personal assault on them, they’re often pretty thick-skinned.
With practice, we can ace the tests of life and acquire similar endurance and fortitude.
I think that’s something any reasonable god should want for their people.
Life is a test, and the gods have no plan for us but to see if you face the next trial and then make it to the finish line.
It’s beautifully but tragically simple.

Sweet sugary corrosive goodness

I found this on Facebook today, and it honestly smacked me right in my complacency. I needed that.

I thought it only fitting that I pass it along.

You can’t domesticate a god.
As the pagan populace grows I see more of the same. Cutesy hearts and stick on stars. Purple ponies, pink ribbons and buckets of rainbow glitter.

Not long ago, our gods were wild and fearsome. Their hair tangled with lichen, their blood made of the fire in the hearts of ancient mountains. The seas would thrash and crush entire armies upon the jagged maws of old cliffs – just because they could, and the skies would unfurl white fire should one so much as disappoint them. They would just as soon rend you apart had you failed to appease them, as they would grant you favor for getting something right.

Today though.. today I see weakness. Folks think that our great and mighty goddesses can be honored by painted shadow boxes slathered in glitter and stick-on’s. Hello kitty adorns altar tops along side pink haired princesses and my little ponies. Quartz crystals are sung as cure-all’s when no actual effort is put forth to allay the syndrome. How can our gods not feel they’re being mocked with this absent minded approach that sparkles win everything?

Our gods, are not purity of light and all that is happy-go-lucky. They are not made of pure positivity who thinks your latest craft is just so spiffy! What is actually being done to honor them? What sacrifices are being given, when was the last time you gave them something that hurt to really let go of, that meant the world to you?

Hel, Hecate, Morrigan, Mab.. throw a stone and you will hit a goddess with a very dangerous dark side. All of them in fact. You worship the mother of the moon with the face of glinting white silver, yet neglect the fact that she has two, and the other is hidden in the blackness of space.

Do you think the gods who’ve had entire lands face a winters hunger to offer their gathered stores of food just for a hope to receive their blessing for a good harvest the next year, is impressed that you shared a cracker with cheese while your plate is fat and heavy with leftovers that you’ve ignored? Do you think they care about your plight when you do nothing to lift a finger to help yourself and you just dump it all in their lap?
Do you think they do not anger because you only believe in their light?
That’s like saying you’ll never hit a red light because only the green light will ever effect you.

Our gods are being ignored, dumbed down and taken for granted.
Rare are the few who devote themselves, who pray each day and are truly, whole heartedly thankful for the blessings they have each and every sunrise. Few are they who do the hard work and make the tough sacrifices, and so few are they who are respected by the gods they claim to worship. They don’t work for you because of your chirpy, cheerful little chant.
They want your pounding heart, your twisted guts, your rushing blood, your streaming tears, your torn screams and your salted sweat. They want your honor, your honesty and your pain induced effort.

You cannot placate the gods though trivial meaninglessness. They will never be your lap cat, to be held and cuddled.
They will not accept half-assery.
And they will never, ever be domesticated.

It’s true. Recently, I have felt like Lilith was not as… invested as I felt she has been in the past, and reading this, it’s become rather clear to me. I’ve been prioritizing how she makes me feel instead of doing her will.

Doing her will is admittedly extremely difficult as she rarely tells you anything, be it up front, clearly, or indeed at all. She seems to delight in leaving a trail of breadcrumbs around and watching me flail like a beached fish as I attempt to figure things out.

Small wonder then that I have almost completely stopped trying to figure things out. “It’s too tough” “It’s too complex” “Why don’t you just tell me what you want?!” I keep moaning. And in my frustration and anger, I stopped doing what she wanted. I stopped figuring things out.

I stopped working for her.

Yet I was still fixated on how she made me feel when I had accomplished something. I wanted a “lap cat” of a deity. Lilith is not that, nor will she ever be. Gods above and below, I don’t really ever want her to be that — how degrading it would be for such a strong and proud goddess!

But I’d fallen into a path of laziness, of paying lip service to beings mightier and wiser than I could ever possibly be; all the king’s horses and all the king’s men will never equal ONE of these magnificent deities, even when the king’s men exceed the number of grains of sand of the Earth.

In that time of lipservice, I grew to be physically lazy as well. I overate. I stopped exercising. I became soft, squishy, and portly; easily tired and overcome. In truth, this isn’t really directly linked — you can be fat and lazy and absolutely pious. But how we treat our gods is often a metaphor for how we treat life, and things which cause us to be lazy in one will often spread to the other. An infection of the soul, if you will.

I had been infected, and it took this wonderful, sobering writing to smack me in the face and make me aware of this debaucherous revelry I’ve been engaging in for years. Lilith doesn’t mind a spot of debauchery here and there — she’d even tell you it can be good for you when practiced in measure. Odin would likely tell you the same. In truth, most of the Old Gods would. But when you let it overcome you, and take over your life, it becomes corrosive to everything good about you.

You know what else is corrosive?

Sugar.

Holy Hel below, sugar is corrosive.

And a lot of modern day pagans don’t want to acknowledge that half of what defines the old gods is fire, blood, and strife. They want to see Odin as a wise man (and he is) who always makes perfect decisions (he definitely and categorically doesn’t) and never goes back on his word (spoiler alert: he does that a LOT). They want glitterdust and love-will-cure-all and friendship-wins-the-day and sugary sweetness.

But guess what? The world ain’t like that honey. The gods are very much of the world, not above or beyond it, and so they reflect this reality. Odin is wise, but he screws up occasionally or emotions will get the better of him. Thor is strong and brave, but it can cause arrogant overconfidence. Freya is sexually empowered, but it can still cause scandal. Even the god of Jesus the Christ acknowledges this central truth.

And other deities? Like Kali or Lilith? They often don’t have a sugary side. Lilith reserves that for family and those she’s called into her service.

But she doesn’t give sugar all the time; sugar in abundance corrodes, and so she reserves it in measure for those who actually serve.

Because good feelings in faith are rather like candy: you only think you want a diet of nothing but that.

In truth, it’s horribly bad for you.

It’s Not the Blood: correcting Star Wars’ error

So, in five days, there’s a new Star Wars! Holy crap!!

I’m gonna take this wonderful opportunity to geek out on this, my non-geek blog, and argue Star Wars. Don’t worry. I’ll keep it relevant to the blog.

So, who else feels that, as the Force was originally treated as a spiritual concept somewhat akin to god but not entirely, that Episode 1’s explanation about midicholorians fundamentally breaks everything?

Instead of this thing which everyone can learn to be a part of and use via dedication and training, suddenly only a few gifted individuals ever had a hope of using it? The Force becomes magic from Harry Potter: if you’re not from a certain set of bloodlines, you can’t do this and never will. Furthermore, whether or not you’re a member of these Gifted bloodlines can be determined or not by a common high end medical scan (they were on the fastest ship available, one chosen in a hurry, when they scanned Anakin’s blood, and I doubt it came with special Jedi Blood Scanners included for just in case circumstances like that).

The only positive thing this brings is that it empowers Han Solo’s cynical cry of “never tell me the odds!” even further.

Han Solo has heard of the Force. He’s doubtless already seen it for himself (the Legends canon and prequels make it clear that, even with the new limitations, Force wielders are more common than the numbers of Jedi and Sith would suggest as neither has the manpower to track down, indoctrinate, and train ALL OF THEM), and yet he insists that there’s no mystical energy field that controls his destiny. He makes his own luck, his own fate, and his own kind of power.

Indeed, despite not being from a “special” force wielding bloodline or species, Han Solo is arguably the most self-defined man in the canon. Everything that has happened to him, good and bad, has been by his own will.

I feel like Han Solo is a Force User despite being “ordinary”. He sets his destiny and world in motion by willing it to do so, which I feel is closer to what the Force is.

After all, it’s possible, and I argue entirely likely, that the Jedi had it incorrect this entire time — in attempting to use the empirical to measure the spiritual, they limited themselves over time to what they could see and measure, which Obi Wan expressly warned Luke against doing in A New Hope.

Maybe because he once made that mistake himself, long ago when he was almost Luke’s age.

The Personal Proof

Wow. I can’t remember the last time I actually felt inspired to write something here. Usually I have a loose routine of “about once a month I’ll post something”, but today I actually feel so affected by Lilith (in a good way!) that it’s as if She’s flat out telling me “This thing? You need to address it.”

So here goes.

I, being a poor, sheltered Alaskan, was finally gifted the opportunity to see Eddie Izzard live a few days ago. For those who don’t know who Ediie Izzard is (Izz?), he’s a comedian from the UK noted for his crass but very conversational style of humor. He’s FU. CKING. HILAAARIOUS (say that in a cockney accent to better understand him).

Izzard is also a noted athiest of the “Militant Nay-Theist” persuasion.

I generally try not to let Athiests get under my skin– it’s their belief and they are welcome to it. Izzard however, hammered it throughout his routine “It was like an act of God –WHO DOES NOT EXIST– that this thing happened so hilariously” he would say repeatedly. Eventually, you strike that nail into flesh enough, and you’ll draw blood.

Atheists label the non-existence of God (or ANY gods) as proven fact, but all of their arguments ultimately hinge on an argumentum ad ignorantiam fallacy; the Appeal to Ignorance (meaning a lack of evidence). This logical fallacy is often best described as “a lack of proof proves nothing”. Just because no empirical evidence of God exists does not prove that God does not exist. God is, in fact, unprovable one way or the other, neither provable nor disprovable, because the Divine simply exists too far beyond the current scope of the scientific method’s ability to reliably test. Whether that will ever cease to remain so is a matter for the future to sort out, but I contend that it will remain unlikely at best.

But even then, Izzard is wrong.

There is evidence for the gods. You see it all over the place. You just need to keep your expectations realistic.

A good example of this happened over the last week.

I was struck down by a flu-like virus three days ago, to the point of being bedridden all day and physically unable to remain awake for more than 5 minutes at a time. Breathing was painful, moving was painful. Anything besides sleep was painful. I had no ability to feel my own body temperature, and I was, in kinder words, being reacquainted with my meals shortly after I ate them. It was terrible.

This isn’t some bit where I claim a MIRACLE PRAIYZE JEEZUS HALLALEWYAAAAAAH, because that frankly doesn’t happen to me. I’m not even sure I’d want it to. Also, using divine power to just up and cure an unpleasant, but non-life-threatening virus in someone just seems like a petty waste of power when there are people who’d need that far more than I.

Instead, I slept through the worst of my sufferings (which was a blessing in itself, believe me), and the next day I was able to get out of bed and I was active for roughly 12 hours out of the day. Not a bad recovery. It still hurt to move, bend over, or breathe anything more than shallow, inefficient breaths. As I prepared for bed that evening, I said my usual nightly devotions to Lilith and made an offhanded comment about how it would be great to breathe without pain in the morning.

After I laid down in bed, I felt a presence that I can only describe as “definitely a person, but definitely not human” (which is how Lilith has always felt when visiting) next to me, holding me, and saying “Just breathe deep.”

To steal one of Eddie Izzard’s punchlines, “Et Voila.”

I could tell my lungs were still afflicted with the virus, and that wasn’t going to heal overnight even with help, but the pain was gone for the most part, and my usual cough (VERY painful with the forcibly reduced lung capacity) was immediately much less frequent, and it didn’t hurt when I actually did cough.

So I did what She told me, and practiced deep breathing while She alleviated the pain.

By morning, the pain was gone entirely.

I’m not claiming a miracle here. I’m just claiming my Goddess cared enough about me to visit and help out when I needed it. That’s some pretty fulfilling evidence right there.

It falls under Unverified Personal Gnosis, of course, but that is what practically 99% of modern day paganism is made of. UPG is the bread and butter of the neopagan path as we have collectively so little remaining of what came before.

And sorry Eddie, I’m not gonna let you joke this evidence away. You claimed that “No gods, in the history of ever, have bothered to show up and help.”

I just got visited, and helped, by my Goddess this week.

Maybe you’re simply too bitter and blind to feel it because you’re tired of trying to see it.

Pagans have a uniquely personal relationship with our gods and goddesses, whoever those Divines might be. We do not require middle-men, or centralized church authorities, to guide us or dictate our dogmas. We begin as almost blind children, feeling our way along, and eventually getting the hang of the path. Our stumbles are our own, our mistakes our own. But if the gods we’ve chosen are in any way worthy of our praise and worship, they will help us back up without carrying us. And if they AREN’T willing to do that, then we simply keep looking until we find the ones we are meant for, and who are meant for us.

People can’t experience the Divine through someone else’s filter– the filter can only work on a one to one basis. It’s like a fingerprint– shaped by our personal identity, past, present, environment, etc. It may be very similar to someone else’s, even close enough to be mistaken for someone else’s, but in the end, it belongs to you and can only ever fully benefit you.

Your proof, your personal proof of the Divine, is only really meant for you (though it can help others). It’s also the only proof you should ever really need, which is handy, because science is, at a conservative estimate, about 2,000 years away from even scratching the surface of what the Divine is.

Or you can just ignore all of it and call the blanket you threw OVER the poof “proof of the non-existence of God” and use it to insult a whole lot of people who otherwise like you.

Some people are real jerks like that.

She doesn’t care about them

This is going to be something of a short blog entry because I am typing it out on an 8 inch tablet but…

It’s a very freeing notion to finally understand how very little Lilith actually cares for those outside her family. She neither loves or hates Christians, Muslims, Hindus, etc. She really just couldn’t care less about them. She has a supreme indifference towards those whom she does not consider her children.

Unless they move to actively insult her in a very personal manner, she just. doesn’t. care.

She can’t be bothered to.

It’s something I strive to emulate in this age of constant offense and walking on eggshells to avoid offending the sensitivities of others. I often fail, but that’s no reason to stop trying.

Be more like Lilith: look out for you and yours, and fuck what everyone else thinks unless they go out of THEIR way to make it YOUR problem what they think.

Remember how I said I had nothing to write about? Brace yourselves.

Someone just pushed my buttons in a big and wordy way.

Someone just pushed my buttons in a big and wordy way.

Pithy as this is, I’m going to share this joke.

However, it will be accompanied by one of my famous lectures. YAAAAAY!

The Dark Ages were the direct result of the destruction of the Western Roman Empire by barbarian tribes such as the Vandals and the Goths. During this destruction, countless libraries were destroyed, and the advanced learning and knowledge of the greater Roman Empire was lost for centuries.

The resultant dearth of education, scientific and architectural advancement and education created the Dark Ages, a far less educated time in Human History, and as any dictator will tell you, uneducated people are easy to manipulate.

The Roman Catholic Church originated from the only strong centralized organizing force to survive the fall of the Western Empire (the Eastern Roman Empire headquartered in Byzantium, which was still thriving for several reasons, was predominantly Greek Orthodox Christian, not Catholic). The Catholic Church therefore solely had the means to get civilization back on track in a functional way, and from the Church came education, industry, religion, and all the essentials of culture the Empire used to provide. However, a Church has different priorities to an Empire, which should be expected.

The Church took a few lines of gospel to “spread the good news to all the peoples of the world” and used them as justification to set up an informal empire. Kings and Emperors would rise and fall as they always did, but the Church had already established itself as the most effective means of continuing civilization for long enough that it had become indispensable; as bad as things were with it, things without it would have been far, far worse.

Here, we can apply the phrase “Say what you will about Adolf Hitler, but at least he kept the trains running on time”. People were willing to put up with the ever-increasing power and authority of the church because they saw the alternatives of living without its hierarchical and organizing influence and that vision scared them more than any Inquisition ever would. To live without the Church would be to live without any form of civilization, as the Church held the keys to everything — at first because they had to, and later because they realized how profitable it was to be the keymasters of civilization.

In time, the Church had become not just the keepers of Faith, the keepers of Civilization, and the keepers of Salvation, but also the keepers of Knowledge. Catholic Dogma and orthodoxy defined any and all scientific pursuits, education, economics, and political ambition– even the Borgias, often called “History’s First Crime Family”, held themselves loyal to the power, authority, and spiritual status quo of the Church rather than exist outside the essential framework (and protection) it provided. Running afoul of a Prince or King’s law was one thing, running afoul of God’s Chosen Representative on Earth was quite another.

In their capacity as the keepers of knowledge, the Papacy, the College of Cardinals, and the entire Vatican command structure found themselves with the unenviable task of determining who would be educated, where it would be centered, and of course, how all of this was to be paid for. After the fall of the Empire, there were no manuals on how to do this. Each Pope would experiment, and try to find means of doing so that worked and kept things stable to preserve the status quo. As a result, things that benefited the Church such as Plenary Indulgence would stick around, whereas simply charitably handing money out to those in need proved to be a drain on money and resources (as it tends to be) and became practiced only as was convenient. This wasn’t some grand conspiracy to keep the little people down. Well, not all the time, at least.

There WERE many greedy elements within the Church, and while embezzling could be downright common and expected depending on who was in charge at the time, even the most generous and charitable souls in the Church leadership knew that to help every single person in need would be so taxing on manpower and resources as to deny the Church the ability to help anyone at all– this has not changed, even today.

However, taking and holding power had become a major concern for the Church as Europe began to recover; the Church had no army, and Kings and Councils DID. Without a formal military, the Vatican would be hard pressed to defend against outside attack, so they pressed every remaining advantage they had. One in particular became more important than all the rest: knowledge.

As potential military and political threats emerged, the Church doubled down on their monopoly on knowledge. A good example was your average church service: conducted exclusively in Latin, only the Priest would know what was being said, and even then, he likely didn’t well understand it, as even by the Lutheran Reformation most priests were not at all familiar with the New Testament in a scholastic sense. They were scripted: they would be told “this is what you are going to say, so get out there and say it”, never mind that the people they were preaching to would understand it even less.

This is what made Martin Luther’s Gutenberg Bible such a big deal; by using Greek and Latin versions of the New Testament and reference materials, he was able to translate the New Testament into Common German; for the first time, people would be able to read the Word of God and understand the words, the stories, and the message of their Christ. From German, the Bible would be translated into French, Spanish, Porteguese, Hungarian, Norwegian, English, and, as of today, nearly every language spoken by man. The political fallout of this could not possibly be understated: while Luther had always been something of a rabble-rouser and a troublemaker by Church standards, this was downright heresy and treason, and had Prince Frederick the Wise of Saxony and the other Princes of the Holy Roman Empire (which was actually German) not stood up for him, the whole thing would have been ended by either the Fires of the Inquisition or the Headsman’s axe and nothing would have changed.

What Luther did was break the church monopoly on knowledge and understanding of the Bible– before, the Church could abuse their power in any way they wished and justify it with a flimsy excuse rooted in a random page of a Latin text nobody else could understand. Now, the people could read the Bible for themselves. They had the ability to THINK for themselves, because they could look at any part of the Church’s justifications and disagree in an educated and literate manner.

The Church would never recover, and its power would slowly dwindle over the course of the Renaissance, with the decline picking up speed as it went and events snowballed beyond their ability to control.

By breaking the monopoly of knowledge, Martin Luther created a chink, a tiny crack in the dam that obstructed religious freedom, and today, everyone is reaping the benefits.

Hundreds of denominations of Christianity now openly practice when once there was only one or two, Atheists are free to pronounce their belief in disbelief without fear of a Church Inquisition imprisoning them, and neopagans like myself are free to break away from the Abrahamic God entirely for the first time since the death of the Roman Emperor Constantine.

It started with a revolution, but not one of swords, or even of money, but a revolution of knowledge.

Once we did try a Christian Society, and yes, then men who led it WERE rich, but that was not what made the Dark Ages dark. They were dark because the light of knowledge had been snuffed out.

Let’s make sure that never happens again.