Monday, October 15, 2007

Let us pray

I had one of those lovely conversations over the weekend, you know the ones - a little bit of
grape juice to oil the tongue and a friend and I were putting the world to rights. Parenting, politics and the need to put children out of their misery once they hit thirteen, had all been dissected and dealt with.
Before long the topic slid into one that we have avoided in the past and I had always sensed that this was dangerous ground between us. The Catholic and the Pagan. A dodgy mix that could rock the friendship boat and sink our Saturday happy hour in one fell swoop.
I sometimes caught her eyeing my pentacle with suspicion and my use of the word 'Oh Goddess' in place of 'Oh God' had often elicited a slight shiver, so our differing views had become an unspoken agreement - it was a no go area and my favourite topic of conversation was off the cards. I often wanted to explain that I loved Paganism, not only for its deeply natural roots but also that it encompassed all religions, valuing each and respecting the needs of an individual.

I respect her religious convictions but I made a mistake. In referring to mutual friend I said that I was praying for the health of his very sick relative.


"But you don't pray." she said quickly.

"Of course I do." I said.

We looked at each other in horror. The line had been crossed, we were floating in uncharted water.
It would have been easy to move on to something else, the safe haven of the new one-way system in Strange Town or the latest arty bollocks that was adorning the walls at The Tate in St Ives.

Tentatively we discussed praying and gradually moved on to what drove our spiritual engine. With the exception of very few religions, I nearly always find that people's views of Paganism are stemmed in fear. My friend was no different. She was also surprised to learn that I was not a black candle burner, I didn't go in for ritual sacrifice and was unlikely have midnight chats with the horny guy who lives in the basement.

By the end of the evening I think there was a new understanding and I know that this topic will no longer be taboo. I hate having barriers and most of the problems in the world stem from the barbed wire that is religion. I wish we could all solve them over a glass of wine.




Unknown said...

Maybe we should send a few bottles to those people who think they are running the world. Do you think it will help? BTW, who's this horny guy who lives in your basement? Why haven't you mentioned him before?

Unknown said...

It is our fear of the unknown and the potential threat of change and challenge to our thinking that prevents us from seeing ourselves as all being on the same path, interconnected and equal. One same mountain top, but many paths with varied views.

PS I thought the horny guy was the one who slept in your bed.

Jon M said...

So you don't know where Rowan Morrison is then?

Yodood said...

Minx, speaking of horny guys, have you ever read Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins?

soubriquet said...

I work on the principle that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is as likely as the God of the bible, who was, if the book is to be believed, not really a nice guy at all. But if we believe in, let us say, Christianity, then we get a God who created all... Including unbelievers like me. And, depending which of the contradictory statements you choose to hang your hat on, he's all merciful.
Which means I can't really be reprimanded, for thinking with my god-created brain, that the evidence for his existence is poor.
On the other hand, 'The Lord thy God is a jealous God.....' (Deuteronomy, I think...)so I might be ripped asunder by winged snails, or boiled in chicken soup... (I had the plague of boils already, during adolescence.)

Horny guy in basement? You have Jazz musicians in the cellar?!

Debi said...

Mutual respect is the key.
Fear is the only enemy.
And most 'believers' would say it's not what you believe that matters but how you live in this world.

And far be it from me to mention you don't have a basement.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Avoidance is not good, it does not foster understanding and evaporate misunderstanding.

Communication, discussion on every level to discuss differences and viewing things from every perspective opens our minds and hearts to allow comprehension, grace and tolerance of that which we either do not understand or do not agree with.

I'm so glad you talked about it.
That's the first, best step.
We can't learn if we don't open the door of possibility.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Roberta said...

Well. I hope you have a few nasty spells under your hat. We've had a nasty break in. Husband is still trying to secure our identities and bank accounts.

I would mind you throwing a load of nasty boils toward the perps.

Taffiny said...

That is so great, that you got to talk on a subject you both had avoided, and now know you wont need to avoid it in the future.

I am sort of a common ground believer myself, all the good stuff, usually exists in all of them.

It always confuses me, when peoples of similar belief systems, fight, because of a lack of being exactly the same.

Unknown said...

Right, let's clear this up, shall we? According to the bible Mr Dev is residing in the basement and Mr God gets the penthouse. I have no horny horned guys in the MY basement because as Debi rightly points out, I have no basement. Please use those imaginations that you all so beautifully employ to write those lovely words!

Jon, no, haven't got a clue, no wicker men and no burning at the stake (steak but not stake).

G&G - I am half way to eternal life as I bathe all the time but I haven't got time for the ritual sex. And if anyone is thinking of reading this book, please be careful, it is very saucy.

Mr Soub - FSM is as good an acronym as it is for Old Beardy himself. If you treat the bible, and any other religious wordiness, as if it were a sensible document (mostly, and taking out all the wrathful eye for an eye stuff) for living a good life.
I am pretty sure I would probably like your God of the Flying Spaghetti - do they have hymns? I am rather fond of a good meaty hymn.

Scarlett, an open mind is essential. My God/Goddess is not better that yours, merely a different aspect.

Fear is the key, Debi, take away the barriers and the door is unlocked.

Oh Roberta, how awful. I send a multitude of nasty foulness on the perps. I hope you are okay, sending a warm hug.

I am glad too, Taff, it was a bit of a giant step for womankind sort of thing. I have made a confession box under the stairs but so far no one has used it.

Anonymous said...

i personally love spaghetti and would definitely fall in love with a Flying Spaghetti Monster: wrathful, vengeful, merciful and all.

i also happen to love you, minxy. so geesh, what does this make me ??

A Red Saucy Goddess ??

Anonymous said...

But you do dance naked??

No - don't say no!!!

Leave me something to think of...

Admin said...

people are sometimes surprised when i tell them that i pray...though i'm not closely affiliated with any religion. i do study many religions, and am interested in learning more about paganism.

Kay Cooke said...

Well done! talking through things is sometimes a scary thing ... but you and your friend got there!

Anonymous said...

Little less speculatio interruptis and a litle more gettin down to business would be good. Or I shall cast down my wrath upon yiz.

Except the Pagans--they're pretty cool.

Shameless Words said...

The unknown is the biggest stumbling block to anything, creating fear and hesitation. Talking makes something less of an unknown. Well done, Minx! :o) The o signifies a big wide open mouth, btw. Don't know why, just thought it would look good.

Unknown said...

Monster love, Minxy love, pointy shoe love - what a love you are, RDG!

Mutley! (yes, but not in public)

Kirsten, praying comes in many guises, all are good.

Yay, CB, we crossed the wobbly bridge.

I am good at talking, Shameless, but you probably knew that.

Unknown said...

Dear Mr God,

Nice of you pop down. These good people are not for zapping with yer holy wrath, Pagan or not.
It may be better to concentrate your efforts on getting some of your believers to sit down with a glass of wine.

Anonymous said...

You pagans drink wine with horny guys in the basement?? :)

(just couldn't pass that by... could feel my little horns sticking out of my head top...)

Unknown said...

All the time, Leslie, do you want to join us? If the others just shift over there's room for a small one.

Debi said...

I once had a kid tell me her dad wouldn't allow her to play with me any more cos I'm Jewish which meant I had horns and a tail.

So there you go - the devil's in the detail, eh?

Anonymous said...

Minx, I'll join in, butt it's not a small one.
And Debi, I can't let this pass said "the devil's in the detail." I read it as "the devil's in de tail."
Just love the banter over here. What sassy ladies and gents you all are...

Unknown said...

I keep mine filed down, Debi, and tuck me tail in me pants - works most of the time!

Sassy, Leslie? Tis hopefully a place where sassiness is welcome, thoughts un-censored, and barriers broken down. Pull up a silk cushion and join the rest of us for a nice natter.

Debi said...

Yeah hi, Leslie. Better the devil you know, eh? So come and get to know us better. We do demonic very well here ... *insert evil laugh*

Laume said...

Ah yes, the polite avoidance of the elephant sitting at the table. One of my very dearest friends falls somewhere in the moderate but fundamentalist right Christianity category where I am raised Catholic gone back to my roots - pagan. It amazes me that we can do the dance of acceptance but avoidance so well. I guess it keeps us both on our toes and we often surprise each other so it helps us to remember never to make assumptions. I'm glad you and your friend were able to tear down some walls.