Temple of the Goddess
2009 Director’s Message
The Wheel of Life turns, a new year begins, and temple facilitators came
together to look back at last year’s rituals as well as to vision about the
coming year and a theme that would guide our music, song, art, dance, spoken
word, and myths. What seemed to collectively emerge was the current
political climate as manifested by the election of President Obama:
Reclaiming Hope, Healing the Earth/Healing Each Other, Yes We Can.
The ascension of Obama’s message to the American people gave us
hope and I couldn’t help but note the Pagan tenets woven throughout his
message. I do not purport, nor do I believe that our President is in any way
affiliated with Paganism as a religion but much of the positive messages
woven into his speeches are the simple basic tenets of Pagan beliefs. Over
the years I have found this borne out time and time again with so many folks
who learn about Paganism. After moving past their initial unfounded fears of
what they’ve been taught Paganism is, the majority of people will inevitably
say, “I had no idea I was a Pagan.” While these folks may never be
comfortable in a ritual celebrating the seasons of the Earth, most can
identify with the basics of our often maligned religion.
As I listened to Obama speak of change in South Carolina after
winning the Democratic Presidential primary, I was reminded of author Dion
Fortune’s oft quoted definition of magic. “Magic is the art of causing
changes in consciousness according to the will." Obama’s words of
empowerment, “Change we can believe in. Change is what’s happening in
America. Yes, we can. Yes, we can change. Yes, we can.” This speech was
nothing short of a life-affirming liturgy as voices of the many responded
in a resounding, empowered “Yes, we can.”
Obama went on to say, “Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we
can seize our future. And. . .with the message we carry. . .the same message
we had when we were up and when we were down, that out of many, we are
one.” The most important tenet in Paganism is the philosophy of
Immanence, that the world and everything in it is alive and the Life
Force which courses through us also exists in everyone and everything–the
belief that we are all connected–We Are One. What a profoundly
challenging follow-up to his message of self-empowerment, of “Yes, we can.”
We can, I can, you can, we each have the power to create
change, but what is the intention, the purpose, of this power? If we
are truly one, is the power to create change used to benefit one, a
privileged few, or many–the us, the we? In Pagan cosmology, evil is defined
simply as intention. A knife, or any instrument of power, is
neither good nor bad. In the hands of a surgeon, the knife is an instrument
of healing. In the hands of a murderer, it’s an instrument for killing. It’s
the intention–the will, purpose, and determination of the individual
wielding the knife which defines its purpose and creates the result, good or
evil. The same is true for any instrument of power: money, authority, words.
All intention is informed by one of two things: Love or Fear. From these two
oceans of human emotion, all intentions emerge and manifest as caring,
compassion, respect, peace, joy, generosity OR as greed, jealousy, doubt,
lack, hate, war.
Starhawk, author of Dreaming the Dark, says there are
two kinds of power. Power Over and Power Within. In the new climate of
empowerment which has grown from this past year's political process, the
clarion call we must each answer is to find the "power within" that does not
require "power over" another to create the change that is desperately needed
on the planet today.
Pagans have no Bible, Torah, Koran, or Bhagavad Gita to claim
as a central truth. Yet more profound, truthful, and constant than any
religious tome, Pagans observe the Earth, Nature, and the Cosmos for our
spiritual teachings and guidance. We put our faith in the never-ending
cycles of birth-life-death-rebirth. We know that out of chaos, balance and
order will assert itself as it has this past year as now-President Barack
Obama challenged us to take back our power, both as individuals, and
together as a people. The belief in the power of one’s self–the great “I Am”
woven with the power of “You Are” makes us one–We Are.
After decades of powerlessness, we have found hope. Hope that
stems from empowerment, both as individuals and together as a people. We
took back our country. We took back our elections, our political processes.
We took back our future. But it is power welded together to create, not to
consume for self, to destroy. This power we’re experiencing emerges from
love and a belief that everyone is deserving not just those on top. This
power is not based on fear but on the belief that we can, together, change
our lives, our communities, our country, our planet and heal the Earth and
each other. “Out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we will hope.”
As a temple, a community, we invite you to join us for another
year celebrating the holy Sabbats. We keep hope alive by standing up,
empowered as individuals, yet joined together in the common purpose of
making our families, our communities, our world a better place.
I Am. You Are.
Together, We Are One.
© Copyright 2009
Judy Tatum aka Xia except where otherwise noted. All rights reserved
worldwide. This publication is protected under the US Copyright Act of 1976
and all other applicable international, federal, state, and local laws.