Advocating for Pagan Children in Public Schools by Aurora Lightbringer – from Patheos

Advocating for Pagan Children in Public Schools

via Bobby Sipes on the Religious Tolerance group on Facebook:

For those in the US and possibly other school systems who may have children struggling within religious biased systems. While primarily focused towards Pagan families it can perhaps offer some insights others could use to approach the school system in a rational way. I would also appreciate any thoughts others may have had when facing situations that challenge their kids within schools whether atheist, pagan, Christian, Muslim or any other faith. Looking for common ground here.

Aurora Lightbringer is an artist, author, and Pagan mom who wanted to create a series of books dedicated to young people growing up in Earth-centered faith traditions. She is a community leader who is a National Board Certified Teacher, volunteer, consultant to a non-profit and part of a leadership team of a Pagan circle. She recently published her first children’s book The Wheel of the Year (available on amazon.com) and is working with a committee to create PKIPS (Pagan Kids in Public Schools) which will be a resource for Pagan families navigating the public school system. To find out more and to read some of Aurora’s work for grown-ups, visit: www.fullcircleuuca.org.

Reconsidering Hell

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Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate.

Hell, as the temporary or eternal destination of a soul after this life is ended, has never been a part of my personal religious beliefs — not even when I was numbered among the Christians.  Whatever else awaits — or does not — the Divine of my understanding would not assign such a fate or entertain the existence of a place, state of being, or destination for maximizing suffering.

That said, I am, of course, aware of the role and lore of Hell in our culture.  I have read the Revelation of John, the Inferno of Dante, and the popular media of centuries.  I recognize a need and a role in religion for Judgment, for weighing the effects of a person’s actions over a lifetime for good or for ill.  I do not agree that such a Judgment requires an available penalty such as eternity in Hell.

When questioned about the Hereafter, I must honestly say that I do not know what happens to the soul of an individual when this life is over, when the soul passes through the Veil between this life and whatever lies beyond.  I am quite certain that no one else can speak with absolute confidence, either, because anyone here present and able to speak has not yet made that full transition. We rely on near-death experiences, dreams, stories, messages from Beyond, and beliefs in abundance — as well as firm faith in promises made and embraced.

The best we can manage is confidence that there is Something beyond the Veil — and we find comfort in knowing that Something as the Summerlands, Valhalla, Heaven, the Beyond, the Hereafter, or Paradise.  Its existence is consistent with threads and themes in religions around the world and throughout humankind.  I neither confirm nor deny its existence.  Instead, I encourage expecting peace and oneness with the Infinite and with all who have gone before as the dying approach and finally pass the Veil. In compassion, I can do no less.

Until now, I have denied the existence of Hell.

On the one hand, in seeking to bring about the kingdom of Heaven on Earth, we recognize the goal can, at best, be approximated this side of the Veil, and we can work toward it.  Hell, on the other hand, exists and is manifest in the here-and-now.  Hell on Earth is far more real than any hope of Heaven on Earth — and more so, as time goes on.  We have created Hell, and it shows no sign of disappearing.

And consignment of a soul to Hell does not seem to depend on the merits or actions of the individual during this lifetime.  Indeed, babies and small children are among the innocents most likely to suffer Hell’s torments without hope until an early demise or, worse, a continuing lifetime of pain inflicted not by a punitive God but by their parents, caregivers, peers, teachers, and other humans — sometimes in ignorance, sometimes in neglect, and often with intent.

Until we put as much of ourselves into creating Paradise, we can at least acknowledge the experience of Hell and reach out to free the souls therein to life on Earth.

New theme and new content in Book of Shadows

Just in time for the [insert winter solstice holiday of your choice here], I converted to a new theme that should be easier for me to handle and invested in some customizing capability, relocated the home page to the Sacred Grove SWC domain name (which I have renewed for at least 2 years), restructured the menus a bit, and started filling in the Book of Shadows.

Our liturgy was initially developed by Wilddragon about 20 years ago, and it has served us well ever since.  For a course in liturgy and ritual design at Cherry Hill Seminary I tweaked it a bit and fleshed out some rituals and the Wheel of the Year.  The Wheel of the Year is in place, most parts under construction, but examples of the form are there.  More to come.

Please comment (I haven’t seen how that is working yet) or email me at webweaver@sacredgroveswc.org when you’ve had a chance to look it over.

Blessed be.

RedBird

Mysticism – the Divine Path – Part 1 | Dylan Morrison ~ The Prodigal Prophet

Mysticism – the Divine Path – Part 1 | Dylan Morrison ~ The Prodigal Prophet.

Excerpt:

Mysticism as a word derives from the Mystery cults of Ancient Greece. Secret societies/cults promised to initiate the recruit into the ‘deeper Mysteries’ of the cosmos.

However the mystical experience itself can be traced back into the mists of time as an altered state of consciousness that somehow connects one with Ultimate Reality behind  the Universe.

Mysticism is, in its essence, an experience of such a connectedness and not primarily a belief in such a possibility. Hence it is rarely found within religious or spiritual groups of ‘believers’ who take their cue from sacred scriptures or holy writings rather than personal experience.

on Religion — Bishop Desmond Tutu:

“And you have to remember that religion is of itself neither good nor bad. Christianity has produced the Ku Klux Klan. Christianity has produced those who killed doctors that perform abortions. Religion is a morally neutral thing. It is what you do with it. It is like a knife, a knife is good when you use it for cutting up bread for sandwiches. A knife is bad when you stick it in somebody’s gut. Religion is good when it produces a Dalai Lama, a Mother Teresa, a Martin Luther King.”         — Bishop Desmond Tutu