Tuesday, 20 April 2010

A personal history - the next bit: some pagan influences

I was going to write a long blog on mainstream literature and film, and the ways that (a) fetishism has slipped into certain books and films and (b) has had some influence on me and the kind of stuff I want to write - maybe even what I do write. But I'm still a long way off finishing that particular sequence so in the meantime, here are some short thoughts on paganism.

Paganism: not Wicca. Not remotely. I've read a lot about the occult, but I don't particularly even think of myself as pagan let alone a follower of any specific traditions or paths such as Wicca. Actually it's only in the last 10 or so years that I seem to have become surrounded by people who identify explicitly as pagan and had discussions with them and come to know much more (albeit that's still only a little) of how they see the world. What attracted me to paganism was and is, however, the worldview, a set of principles that include but are not limited to:
- we are custodians of this earth, not owners. We will be judged in the future by our stewardship of it.
- do as you would be done by. It may not literally be true that whatever you do in life is returned to you threefold but it's a good principle to act as if it would be.
- there is a 'principle of intent'. If you have a clear intent to do something, a clarity of purpose about doing it, a faith that it's doable, then more often than not you will succeed. Having that intent often attracts things and people to you that can help you succeed, opens you up to possibilities in the way it can be achieved, and directs you to do certain things yourself that may be important parts of the journey towards achieving the thing. This is sometimes also described as a 'law of attraction'. Bizarrely, it's well enough known now that the concept even makes its way into business and management textbooks.
- there is something that might be described as a 'principle of ritual'. If people feel the need to invoke protective spirits and summon the Watchtowers of the East, etc., and get wound up about whether they've said the right incantations in the right order, that's up to them. My take on ritual is that the human brain appears to work at a symbolic level (see previous post and the bits on psychoanalysis). Ritual of any sort, even the most basic - a toast to wish a project success, for example - is a way of fixing intent in your mind. Going through bodily motions, even if just raising a glass, pushes intent deeper into your psyche and your kinaesthetic awareness.

So far as writing is concerned, these principles operate at different levels. One is the practice of getting stuff published. Having the intent seems to drive success, at some level anyway. Another is the question of what I write. It often touches on themes of intent and ritual even if they're not expressed in precisely those terms in stories. And fetishism is, actually, to at least some extent ritualistic behaviour anyway. The implication is that one purpose of writing about it is to explore what the intent behind the ritual might be.

For anyone who's interested, I find the following references particularly useful:
- Raven Kaldera, 'Dark Moon Rising: Pagan BDSM & the Ordeal Path' (2006)
- Raven Kaldera and Tannin Schwartzstein, 'Urban Primitive: Paganism in the Concrete Jungle' (2002)
Both available on Amazon so if you want full references, check them out there.
Kaldera, incidentally, describes himself as a 'Northern Tradition shaman, intersex/transgender FTM activist, erotica educator, Ordeal Master, Speaker for the Transgendered Dead, homesteader, diviner, psychic vampire, herbalist, polyamorous parent, and author of many, many books, articles, and short stories.' I'm in no position to pass comment on any of these involvements, but I would recommend his books unhesitatingly. If his self-description intrigues you, you can find out more at his website http://ravenkaldera.org/.

No comments:

Post a Comment