Wednesday, 31 December 2008

A Pagan Moon

When I met my Pagans in White Witch a few weeks ago I was struck by how lovely the owner and her sister were. They’d never met me before but were instantly supportive of my book and intrigued by my interest in Pagans and the full-moon. Debbie – a glamorous lady, always darting around the little shop – offered any help she could (the tarot reading) and her sister, Karen, a hypnotherapist – jolly, smiley, well-spoken and brimming with interesting, if not always 100%, facts – chatted away at a subject a minute.

So for Christmas I was bought a traditional Christian present: Gwydion’s (Pagan) Moon Diary 2009, purchased from my new friends. Open it up and you come to an inside cover decorated in spirals and swirls and spheres and gothic fonts and images that look like they’ve been plucked from a George Melies film experiment. Hardly an inch of paper shows through. Sabbats, esbats (full-moon celebrations), sacred this, Brythonic Celtic that.

Paganism has a confidence that I’ve never found in other beliefs. A pantheist spirituality, it holds three tenets close to its earthly soul: the appreciation of the “complexity, order and beauty of the living world and all that exists including ourselves”; the understanding that as we exist there must be a reason for us to exist, and this reason is itself to exist; and that existence is everything. I know, it’s all a little bit wishy-washy when reproduced like that. But doesn’t it sound nice.

We’re here – living, breathing, walking, talking – in order to exist: to live our lives. Unlike monotheist religions, which put us on Earth to serve a purpose (usually one with a deep voice and big beard) as punishment for past sins, Paganism has us living in harmony with ourselves, each other and our habitat.

Flicking through nature’s personal organiser uncovers more treats. Each month covers two pages – a double-spread of eclipse times, full-moons, astrological movements, sunrises and sunsets, typical weather for the month, and my favourite: “Nature and the Countryside”. In January expect to hear the hoarse human scream of a vixen ready to mate (not to be confused with a horse-human scream, which is more a well-articulated neigh), the songs of the robin, missel thrush and blackbird, and see purple patches of gorse popping up.

Paganism’s beauty is in its simple dedication to the actual, the concrete, the real. Worship the earth around you. Watch the sky above. See the birds fly over head, hear them sing and watch animals’ life cycles with an understanding that we’re not that far removed from them.

But watch out for the horse-human in mating season. It’s a randy bugger.

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