I just returned from a Pagan festival in Tennessee. This is the first overnight event that I have gone to post Covid pandemic and also the first Pagan festival that I have ever been to. Pre-pandemic all the events that I have gone to have been Women’s events and gatherings such as Gather The Women Annual Gathering, ALisa Starkweather’s Daughters of the Earth, Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference and others along those lines.
They pretty much all had a Pagan dusting to them because anything where you find the Divine in the Feminine and in the Earth, rocks, crystals, herbs, the stars, and populated by people who live closer to the Earth, avoid crowds, are empathetic, well, you’ve got Pagan leanings.
But I shied away from the word ‘Pagan’ for a long time, because I grew up Catholic and even though growing up in a very waspy suburb of Dallas, I did not give it much thought at all, I have since realized that the undercurrent of my belief system was that Pagans were evil, animal sacrificing, overly sexual, devil-worshiping and otherwise just something to be avoided.
But these undercurrents are fascinating powerful things to be examined. And now is a great time to do that.
The premise of CauldronFest was to bring different types of Pagans together: Norse, Wiccan, and more, in order to share, inspire, connect and encourage. Friday night, I sat at a Norse fire ritual. As I watched the animal fur clad participants with staffs saying unfamiliar words, I felt prickles of uncomfortableness. I looked deeper.
I’ve been to Native American Indigenous pow-wow’s and did not feel that. Why not?
Even if you do not believe in Norse Paganism, it is a part of our history believed by many throughout centuries, and as long as it is not hurting anyone (it’s not), it should be respected as such.
Who says God and Divinity can only be reached one way?
Well, I can tell you a few people who do. Saturday morning, I started hearing people talking about the ten to twelve cars parked at the gate: Christians. Protesting? Concerned? I am not sure which, but I did hear the rumor they were planning on ‘storming’ the event.
And I was sure about the fear I felt.
I even had the thought that perhaps it was time to go home. Was this something that I wanted to get hurt for?
But then I looked deeper.
As a very observant empathetic person, I felt and saw the fear go through the camp. Furtive glances and increased nerves. Increased security.
And I understood that the fear was based in all the people throughout history who were different and told not to be: who were persecuted, killed, burned, hanged and ostracized for not ‘fitting in’.
That fear was based on the ‘us versus them’ mentality of history.
But the time of ‘my way or the highway’, the time of only one way of being or living: a man and a woman, two kids, a dog, a cat, a white picket fence and a retirement fund … is disappearing.
The Pagan festival had quite a lot of gay men: one of them was so colorful wearing skirts and heavy make-up all weekend. He was in the belly dancing class with me and way better than me at belly dancing. He was also always wearing a mid-shirt, proudly displaying his rounded belly, producing the urge in me not only to go up and rub that belly, but also a smile thinking of all the times we women have hid our rounded bellies in shame. Suck it in. Lose the weight. Get on a diet. Stop eating. Starve. Starve. Starve. So that you will fit some stick figure Cosmopolitan image of beautiful.
But not at this festival. I saw so many people on the heavier side (like me) who did not make any apologies for it, but proudly walked around in the body they have been given no matter the size, color or gender they prefer.
We all need to learn how to do that.
So I took a deep breath and I forced myself to acknowledge and move through the fear I was feeling at the ‘Gathering of Christians’ at the gate.
Was it valid? Why were they there?
I heard they wanted to pray for us. Please. Yes. Pray for us. And I will pray for you. What a world we could make if we all prayed for each other! If we all prayed to be compassionate, loving and accepting of our differences.
I’m going to tell you something else. I have now seen enough of Paganism that I have also seen those who have traded one set of silly rules and group think for another. And by no means are all Christians close minded and judgmental, I personally know so many that are not.
The bottom line is if Jesus was around today, he would not be at the gate with the protestors, he would be sitting around the fire. His message at its heart was compassion and love. Love of the stars, love of Mother Earth and love of each and every way life has expressed itself in humankind. With the emphasis on KIND.
What I really liked about this event that each and every class that I went to said, ‘this is the way I or we do it, but find your own Path.’
This is a time of balance. And it is unstoppable. I have felt that. I have seen that. You can gather at the gate and protest or pray or whatever you want to do, but the time is here for balance.
The time is here for balance between the masculine and the feminine, every gender, every creed and every color.
And you can move through this time keeping your unexamined underpinnings and fear, or you can release them at the fire.
BIO: Caryn MacGrandle is the creator behind the Divine Feminine App which has been connecting and inspiring women [and other genders too] throughout the world since 2016 as a directory to find Sacred Circles, events and resources. Women find the app each and every day, and it currently has almost 8000 users from around the world. Caryn has also hosted Sacred Circles and events for the past nine years and is passionate about the power of a Circle to heal individuals and the world. She has participated in numerous online and location events such as the World Parliament of Religions in September of 2021 in which she presented a workshop on Embodying the Goddess: Creating Rituals with Mind, Body and Soul and just recently a webinar/panel with Dale Allen presenting Dale’s Indie film award winning “In Our Right Minds: Leading Women to Strength as Leaders and Men to Strength without Armor.” Each and every day, Caryn (aka Karen Moon) works tirelessly towards her belief that the most important area to first find equality and balance is the divinity found within yourself.
12 thoughts on “Don’t Feed the Christians and More Importantly Don’t Feed the Fear by Caryn MacGrandle”
“The bottom line is if Jesus was around today, he would not be at the gate with the protestors, he would be sitting around the fire.”
No doubt, but then Jesus wasn’t a Christian was he?
I’m with anyone who refuses to feed the people who call themselves Christians while inciting whatever. Don’t feed those ‘Christians’ please!
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Thoroughly confused: Jesus wasn’t a Christian? Then what was he?
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He was Jewish. Specifically he was actually a Jewish mystic. Although many Jews today also claim he was a Pagan. In one book called “Agents of Comic Power” the Rabbis accused Jesus of having magical powers not because of God. But because he was trained in Egyptian witchcraft.
They claimed he had tattoos on his body that allowed him to channel magical powers. And that, that’s where his miracles came from. It’s interesting because they are basically admiring that Pagan Gods and magic are a real thing. And that our powers can do what they can’t do. I guess they didn’t think out their accusations too well.
Later, a lot of Pagan Magicians were calling on Jesus to perform miracles and magic. Which included Scrying.
Here it talks about a Scrying Bowl dedicated to “Christ the Magician” meaning he was seen as a Mage in his time. So he wasn’t just a Demi God, he was a Mage. Christian as a name for his movement only came about after his death. As a reference to Jews who followed Jesus. Christianity then was seen as a radical sect of Judaism.
And then later gentiles started to join. Which led to a really nasty debate between Paul and Peter. Peter was so Jewish he believed new male converts had to be circumcised. And he believed all gentiles had to become Jews first before being Christians. He also believed in organized religion.
Paul by contrast didn’t believe in any of that. He believed that Christianity was its own religion and movement and that because of how radical it was, it was time to throw off the shackles of tradition. Which included Judaism. And to be it’s own thing. Pauline Christianity was also different because Paul believed in decentralized religion.
His followers were sort of like covens today. With each group operating independently of a unified authority. Coming together only in meetings to share information and knowledge. This was the start of the great schism that led to Christians dividing into sects. Each with their own personal ideologies.
And consequently, being at each other’s throats. Since then the only time they don’t try to kill each other is when they are baying for our blood.
Can’t help laughing at your last sentence! Interesting bit of history I had no idea about. I thought he learned his magic in Tibet. Heard he spent considerable time there.
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I’ve left Christianity, preferring the meditation path and I too have had reason to be afraid of Christianity. Not Buddhist either, it has taken on the form of organised religion.
Apologize for saying Indian pow-wow’s. Old habits die hard. ‘Native American Indigenous’ – they are changing. And I believe Sara is separating the way some Christians (such as the ones I’m referring to in the article) act versus what Jesus proposed. Completely different. BUT also as article says, I know plenty of Christians not that way. Just like many other things in this time period, needs change. Personally, I believe by bringing (or returning) the Divine Feminine (Mary squared) to it. <3
It’s great to see your voice here at FAR. I agree with your conclusion completely – balance is what is needed. Without it we move closer and closer to falling of the edge created by all the division.
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Thank you Judith. I am a huge fan of FAR! And so very glad to be here as well. Yes to Balance!
A great post and a fascinating discussion. Yes! I especially liked your paragraph: “I heard they wanted to pray for us. Please. Yes. Pray for us. And I will pray for you. What a world we could make if we all prayed for each other! If we all prayed to be compassionate, loving and accepting of our differences.” I’ve been very lucky to grow up a family in which, over three generations, just about everyone followed a different religious path, and we learned that we had to have a core foundation of love and respect or family reunions were just not going to work… I have seen the same core foundation here at FAR. In each case I think having that core foundation of mutual love and respect, that balance as you say, has strengthened us much more than if we all held the same beliefs. I know I learn something new from every post, and am especially grateful for those posts that give me insights into religious beliefs I may have never experienced. I like to think that FAR can be a model for how people from differing communities of all kinds can come together. The wisdom you have shared from your experience of the people at the gate has taught me again, and I am so glad you are posting here at FAR!
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Thank you Carolyn. I am glad to be here as I love reading FAR as well!
I love this post! I’m so glad you mentioned balance and wrote that not all Christians are close-minded. Unfortunately narrow-minded Christians are the ones who make the news. I got an MA from Bangor Theological Seminary, which sadly has since closed, after being around almost 200 years. Anyway, I did my thesis on the writings of Carol Christ and Rosemary Radford Ruether. My pastor, who is gay, asked me to speak on the Divine Feminine at our Maine Conference. I also used to talk about the Divine Feminine when I led Bible study, which was before Covid. I had just started leading a class on women in the Bible when Covid hit. I confess though that I went to a conservative church when I was a kid and it left me with a lot of baggage and anti-pagan beliefs, and I’m still unpacking those ideas, even though I’m part of a feminist pagan women’s singing circle. I look forward to reading more of your posts.
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Thank you Linda, and yes, looks like we are on similar paths with unpacking those ideas!