an article by Blackhawk
live in an age of rapidly-increasing industrialisation;
technology is evolving second by second, infiltrating
the daily lives of almost every single human being
on the planet. Probes descend to the deepest, darkest
places at the bottom of the oceans, map distant
planets and are, at this very moment, heading out
of this solar system into the void between the stars;
satellites spin a web of digital data which covers
the entire Earth. Technology is here, and theres
is controlled; established; industrialised. State
religions are the unalterable status quo, perfectly
formed for social control and the continuation of
[profitable] wars. Thinking outside the box is not
recommended; religion is religion, all else is cult.
all of this sit the sons and daughters of Mother
Earth. How do we fit in? How do we create lives
for ourselves and our families in line with our
belief in the sanctity of life and our concern for
the welfare of Nature herself? How do we explore
and express a faith which sponsored propaganda derides
or, in many cases, punishes? How do we live lives
true to ourselves in an environment which is rapidly
becoming more and more alien?
return to the wilderness, living off and with the
land, living in harmony with their surroundings,
giving and receiving in equal measure. Some fight
the processes of artificial growth which are sponsored
by commercial empires and taught to our children
as gospel truth [ progress is good;
cash is king; artificiality is the
real thing], fighting with weapons of example,
education and protest. Others live their faith and
their daily lives quietly. Hidden. Diverting blows
of derision and contempt with shields of anonymity
as a Pagan in the western world today is not easy.
Though our numbers are increasing at a gathering
pace, society remains geared towards adherents of
established religions [ER's]- the twin giants of
christianity and islam, or the minor players such
as hinduism, sikhism, judaism, etc.
holidays from school or work are accepted without
question - in fact they are encouraged - for ERs,
but employers / educators will rarely accept a request
for time off to observe and celebrate samhain, yule,
lughnassah, etc. as legitimate holidays.
schools are widespread for ERs, but how many
legitimate Pagan schools exist to educate our children
in a manner suited to our beliefs?
was the last time you heard of Social Services removing
children from their homes and families and categorising
them as at risk because their parents
were muslims, jews or presbytarians?
truth is : no matter how inclusive our society pretends
to be, in many ways we [pagans of all kinds] are
discriminated against both overtly [lack of representation]
and covertly [through propaganda and media manipulation].
how do we, as Pagans, respond to the situation in
which we find ourselves? Do we slip into the shadows,
hoping that we are not noticed as being different?
Do we accept a position at the fringes of society,
happy not to be the target of derision?
so long this has been the case, but in the words
of the american bard : the times they are
a-changin. With Pagan numbers growing
rapidly across the western world, more and more
of us are standing up to declare our faith, stating
loud and proud that this world was PAGAN FIRST.
21st Century Pagan - © Blackhawk 2003