Sunday, February 19, 2012

Yesterday, we were ALL Greeks!

On this particular day, as I sit here on my computer remembering the calls for a “Day of Solidarity” with the Greeks who are protesting stringent austerity measures I also look at that day as a day where, intentionally or not, we also were called to honor the Greek Goddess Hestia, who is commonly thought of as only the Goddess of Hearth and Home instead of a Goddess of Community. In another blog ( , I have called her a goddess involved with social activism. And it is in this spirit I can say with happiness that “Yesterday We Were All Greeks”
Yes, home is where Hestia dwells. But, does that home have to be in a fixed location or can our hearts be our hearths as well? In my personal experience as a (currently) “homeless” person the ‘home’ referred to does not have to be in any specific place. These experiences have helped me appreciate that the realm of the Flame-Hearted Hestia is not and cannot be contained in the structure of a set ‘place’ although most of us do equate to a fixed place to return to each night. But, as the Warm One is more than just a Goddess of place, she is what gives structure to what we see as our home, not the physical building. In this way she shows herself to be a Goddess of Society as well.

The Occupy Movement in the US and growing revolutions around the world show us the power of people in community. Sadly, we are still struggling with the balance between that community, with its responsibilities, and ourselves as individuals striving for the things that ‘profit’ us (however we define them). This is a far from painless struggle as establishing or changing community values is very like the process of a child being born. It is our society being born, or at least born anew. The peaceful Hestia partners again with Ares in the 21st century as they did in the 20th and hopefully the results will be as strong and long-lasting.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Homeless Pagan – Doubly Invisible

Two groups of people that are generally “invisible” in our society are the homeless who DO NOT conform to the “bag lady and bum” stereotype and those of us who follow non-Abrahamic faiths (aka “Pagans”). In both cases, at least a portion of the reason is discomfort with what is ‘different’ or ‘other’ as well as the inability of some people to see themselves in the position of that ‘different’ person.

This has led to an uncomfortable realization for me. Because I am BOTH, I am doubly invisible.  Heck, truth be told, I might as well not exist at all in the minds of many people. Not only do I not “look” homeless but I also do not fit the appearance of what many people think a “Pagan” should look like. I don’t go around with brightly dyed hair in a color that nature never intended a human to wear, nor do I sport a lot of piercings, tattoos or pentacle jewelry. I confess to having a single tattoo and pierced ears, but in our society that is not all that uncommon.  If anything, I look like what had once been described as “a hippy soccer mom”.

I sit in a wi-fi hot spot with my family’s laptop answering email, waiting for a game to download to the computer and typing this blog and it strikes me how ‘normal’ what I am doing is – even after I have just finished a survey about Pagans and how our needs are or are not being met in society. But, being Pagan is not ‘mainstream’ despite how much we might wish otherwise and I see problems for those of us who fit both categories from the title of this blog.

The current field of Republican candidates does not inspire in me any great confidence that the already fragile social safety net will not be further eroded should they be elected to public office and as I am currently homeless I am forced to depend on that net. The shelters that are available are almost always run by one faith-based organization or another – and that faith is almost always Christian. It makes the non-Christian sometimes feel like they are not important in the scheme of things (and numerically Pagans ARE statistically insignificant enough that most people don’t think of us when thinking “religious sensitivity”).  Even among the Pagan community, my particular faith is a minority one – as a former room-mate once (cruelly) put it “a fringe-group of a fringe-group”. Amidst the growing recognition of Wicca as a faith practice, many people forget that Wiccans are not the only “Pagans” in this country or even that anything other than Wicca EXISTS.

When you might as well not exist BOTH because of your faith and because of your economic situation, it is disquieting and probably will be the topic of other blogs when I am no longer homeless and have a stable base for my more political writings.