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I have not been doing much political posting for many months, ever since I finally gave up hope that the Democrats, with a few exceptions, amounted to anything more than a somewhat more humane version of the moral filth that the Republicans now represent. Of course I will vote Democratic in November, for the same reason I’d vote for a robber against a serial killer. But nothing more. There is no very positive reason to vote for an almost wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street except that the alternative is a sadistic representative of Wall Street and the oil industry.
But that decision has left me with a problem for this blog. What should it be about? I am a political scientist by training. But I don’t want to play “aint it awful?” and fill each week with atrocity stories and who is behind them.
But to concentrate on traditional theological issues is difficult. Our traditions are based on personal experience, small groups, and generally have no sacred texts to argue over. (Even us Gardnerians do not as a rule treat the Book Of Shadows as the kind of thing the Bible is supposed to be.) Many groups are secretive. We do not have corrupt church hierarchies or passionate disagreements about scripture or as to who is or is not a ‘real’ Pagan. That is good for us but bad for blog posts.
And I really have little use for Pagan gossip. Plus I doubt anyone could do a better job covering the most important news in our broader community than does Jason Pitzi-Waters and his blog, the Wild Hunt.
I am also a very private person and my personal life doesn’t seem very interesting to others anyway. It’s not bad, don’t get me wrong. At a personal level 2011 was the best year of my life. But it doesn’t seem newsworthy, particularly to people I don’t know. So what should my blog emphasize? Coming to a new vision for my blog was hampered by the efforts I was putting into finishing a manuscript, Faultlines: the 60s, the culture war, and the return of the Divine Feminine, on which I have worked for some years.
January 1 I finished it. I explore the current American cultural, religious, and political crisis and the rise of nihilism throughout our elites and particularly on the right as part of the collapse in a almost three century long effort to base the modern world on concepts inherited from agricultural societies and the religions that were shaped by them. This, even most modern secularists have searched for a secular version of the Christian God handing down moral commandments from on high. And those efforts have failed.
It is not much better in much American religion. The Christian church in particular seems mired in turning its back on the mind and heart by embracing a cold and angry Fundamentalism, or in seeking to break free from these assumptions about deity and the idolatry of scripture and explore as much as it is able the feminine side of God and how the sacred is immanent as well as transcendent. I wish the latter well for these approaches are in harmony with the world we have created over the past two and a fraction centuries and I think they are in harmony with spirituality as actually experienced by people. While the jury is out as to whether the Christian church will succeed in this effort at renewal, it is quite clear that failing to do so leads to irrationality and what I call religious nihilism: the theology of Will transcendent and the worship of Power.
Interestingly, in doing my research I saw that the efforts by Christians, Buddhists and those within other traditions to emphasize nature, ecology, the feminine, and immanence are gravitating to themes that have long been central to NeoPaganism. Often women within these other traditions who are exploring these themes mentioned Starhawk as an inspiration.
Here is something positive to explore, free from repeated immersion in the moral sewers of Republican and most Democratic politics. In 2010 I hope increasingly to explore how the entire world looks different when seen from a Pagan perspective. We Pagans are just learning this for ourselves, for we have grown up in societies shaped by 1500 years of monopolistic monotheism, with a deity often modeled after an omnipotent and omniscient despot. Alternative views were wiped out violently for most of that time if the church and its henchmen could do so. Much has been forgotten and even what has continued takes on a different form within the context of post agricultural modern society.
Yes, we are an Old People, as the song goes, an expression of some of humanity’s most basic spiritual insights and experiences. But as it says, we are also a New People, curiously harmonious with a world of science, cities, and technology. We are Deeper than before. Or at least we can be. I plan on concentrating on various dimensions of these themes in much that will appear over the next year or more.