Yet another blog for spewing. This one may end up with a lot of religious and social content.


Boundaries, Respect Them.

It seems to be a thing, these days, to claim your boundaries are being stepped on while you are actually stepping on someone else's.  Maybe because people don't understand what boundaries are.

If it's crossing your boundaries to allow another person to live their life, you are the one who is wrong.  Personal boundaries aren't about someone else, they are about you and your self.

Pagans often get into this "we have to be one big, happy, tolerant, anything goes community, with emphasis on commune" type of peer-pressure norm, and anyone who doesn't conform is crapped on, or "not a Real™ Pagan".  Sorry folks, but people are entitled to their own lives, space, lifestyles, and opinions.

So no, you don't get to:
  • Walk into my kitchen and judge the food in my cupboards, especially against some boycott list.
  • Police my weight, or how much you think I eat, or whether you think I'm "healthy".
  • Express displeasure with the car I drive, or criticize whether I walk, bike, transit or drive to work.
  • Push to know what work I do, how much I get paid, or what I do with the money I earn.
  • Lecture me about my fashion sense, or lack of same.
  • Wheedle me to have sex, especially with you, because you've decided all pagans must be "Sex Positive™", which you think means fucking all comers on demand.
 None of that shit is your business, and it crosses my boundaries.

Boundaries, then, are how we enforce our personal sovereignty over our own bodies and lives.  They are an extension of the concept of personal space, and govern what others can to with regard to you.  They don't give you permission to stomp on others.  You can't say that someone refusing to have sex with you "violates" your "boundaries".  Boundaries are ultimately the right to say no.

Now, when I do a "woo" working, I set boundaries to my working space.  Again, so no one interferes with my working.  If I'm with a group, the group is included in the boundary.  This type of boundary keeps things in and out.  Good fences make good neighbors and all of that.

Groups, too, have boundaries between themselves and outsiders.  If your personal boundaries and the boundaries common with the group don't mesh well, and the group "norms" trample on your boundaries regularly, that group is wrong for you.  If everybody's boundaries are regularly trampled, the group is just plain toxic.

Part of proficiency in magic(k)al work is knowing your own boundaries, and being willing to enforce them.  While the later sometimes is easier said than done, it is needed to develop a strong will and sense of self.

Bonus exercise: Take a piece of paper, or a text editor, and write down as many of your boundaries as you can think of.  Be as subtle or broad brush as you like.  Think on how you enforce those boundaries, and who has exceptions to them, if any.


A is for Ancestors, Before Us They Came

Many pagan traditions pay at least lip service to ancestors.  But very few realize that we inherit more than our dashing good looks and health problems from them.  We also inherit the society that they built, warts and all.

One of my ancestors was FFV - First Families of Virginia.  Let that sink in to your head for a bit.  If you are at all socially conscious, you are aware that Virginia was a "slave" state, which means my ancestors owned other human beings with the full force of law behind them.  Not a thing to be proud of, and not an attitude that I want to "inherit" or perpetuate.

I can't disavow my ancestors, they were who they were, good and bad.  Part of my pagan path includes honesty with myself, about myself.  Not always a pleasant thing.  I have to acknowledge that I am heir to people who created a society that made other people slaves based primarily on the color of their skin.  Sure, I have other ancestors who came to these shores later, but they had their warts too.

I'm not going to embrace all of the attitudes that they held, or even a large part.  I'm not going to go off and be a whacko white supremacist because my ancestors were European and colonial American slaveholders, who probably participated in the subjugation of Native Americans, too.  But I can't run away from the truth, either, and sweep it all under the rug with "Oh, but that was then, we've all changed now", when the attitudes, stereotypes and systematic racism that they built their society on still persist today.  I inherited their privilege, and I would be ignorant to deny it.

Then, therefore, comes the question: If your tradition has an ancestor reverence component, how do you honor them and atone for the horrible things they did?  Because you do, in many ways, inherit the fallout for the screwed up things that they did.  If you are white, you inherit the white privilege and structural racism that they built their, now our, society on.

This comes into play for everyone, in a large or small way.  All of us have ancestors who weren't perfect, maybe who were criminals, slaveholders, liars, fanatical Christians, whatever.  Our ancestors were human, and had all of the foibles and imperfections that we and our friends have.  Yes, they also have their good points too.

For me, I honor them as who they were, and also consider it my duty to "do better", to be a better person, to help undo any wrongs they have wrought.  Even though I have, and will have, no children, I consider any small increment of improvement that I can contribute to society and the world my gift to the future, to those who would consider me an ancestor in spirit.

I can't undo the harm that my ancestors have done.  The past is fixed. But the future, and the wyrd of the world is still mutable, and I have the will and the magic to change it,even if only slightly.  Accepting this, and being the best I can be, is one way in which I honor my ancestors.  How about you?