Learning from the Past

This week’s question from the Pagan Perspective YouTube channel is about… doing better?

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Topic for the Week of 8/19:  “What can Paganism learn from the history of various (or specific) world religion(s) so we do not repeat the mistakes of the past and become and grow into a better religion in general?”

Like one of the hosts on Pagan Perspective replied, I think the idea behind this question is good.   It’s about how we (as a collective, or as individuals) can learn by example and do better.    I just don’t think that the phrasing is all that great, primarily because “Paganism” is a broad umbrella term instead of a specific religion.

Taken in its broadest term, it really boils down to what can people learn from the history of various religions of the world in order to become better people.

I don’t have a huge amount of knowledge on the history of religions, but I can say that the one thing I see the most that is needed in the religions I have read about and encountered is that an open mind is needed.  So many are so closed off and so closed minded.   You must do this thing, or think this way, or proselytize successfully, or whatever it is that is required of you to be considered a part of that religion.

IF this was about living an inclusive life and being a good person, then that would be great.  But what we see (or what I’ve seen) instead is that these requirements are impossible to achieve or require the smothering or outright cutting out of your inner-self to “serve the collective”.   This damages people and I think learning from this, everyone would benefit from remembering that individuality is a good thing, and very important.

Another lesson that I mentioned briefly above is the proselytization issue.  You recently said that you very much enjoy learning about my faith because I’m not pushing it on you or requiring anything from you.  I’m just sharing to share.

I think more people out there (not just in the pagan community but as a whole in humanity) need to learn this.  Forcing people into a faith that doesn’t fit them doesn’t benefit anyone or the faith as a whole.  This was true back in the Crusades (an extreme example, but it was at its heart an extreme proselytization campaign), and it is equally as true today.

Yes, putting your beliefs out there is a wonderful thing.  But trying to force (or trick) people into an ill-fitting box?  It is simply a bad idea all the way around.

I can’t say that I am much of a fan of today’s question.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe it’s just because my experience with other religions, and the history of religions in general, is a bit limited.  I hope that what I’ve said at least makes sense though.

 

Needing a New Perspective

Today’s meditation was ten minutes and sixteen seconds, and focused on creating space and perspective in times of high stress and emotions.

The message outlined in this guided meditation involved talking a step away and disconnecting with the situation in order to look at it from an observer looking in. During this time you are encouraged to take deep breaths and seek a calm within, so you that you can return to the situation with calm and perspective.

Today’s draw is another double without a jumper as they both emerged together. TWICE prior to this it tried to give me four card readings that I returned to the deck with a request for fewer cards.

The cards in today’s draw are the Four of Pentacles (the Skunk) and the Hanged Man (the Opossum).

My intuitive interpretation of the cards is that they are telling me that in order to feel settled and stable in my life, sometimes it’s important to view the world from a different perspective.

As you know, I spent a HUGE amount of my time in the grip of that fear of losing what I have.  The stability of my home and finances especially.  In a very real way, this is what drives me to work so hard.  Yes, three is some leeway, as I also enjoy my creature comforts, but that just means that I push myself that much harder so that I can have both.

The cards in today’s draw are telling me that if I want that sense of stability, maybe it’s time to start looking for a different perspective (rather than, say, killing myself with work in my current one).

I don’t have a solution for this right now, but I do hear what they’re saying and understand, and it’s something I’m going to have to spend some time thinking about.

Traditionally, the Four of Pentacles is a representation of stability, shelter, structure, taking one’s time to reassess, and in some cases stagnation in the area of one’s resources, creativity, hearth and home, finances, and the physical world.  In the guidebook for this deck, the keywords for the Skunk are confidence, courage, self-esteem, contentment, discretion, and defense.

In the Major Arcana, the Hanged Man is the 12th card, and traditionally represents surrendering and letting go, taking a pause, or finding a new perspective.  Like all Major Arcana cards, this card deals with not one specific aspect of the human experience, but a “bigger picture” aspect.   In the guidebook for this deck, the Opossum’s keywords are patience, introspection, focus, courage, opportunity, and creativity.

Sometimes when I read intuitively, the meanings for the cards will deviate from traditional meanings, but in contemplation of the traditional meanings of the cards drawn to day, as well as the animal meanings provided for this deck, I find that it all is in line with what I’ve already interpreted through my intuitive reading.

Deck Used: The Animism Tarot