Pagans And The Environment Essay, Research Paper
PAGANS AND THE ENVIRONMENT: Witchcraft is the new religion for the new world. Sparked by the feminist movement and environmental concern of the 1970s, witchcraft is the largest growing religion in the world. One belief that unites all followers of witchcraft is that the Earth is sacred and all life is interconnected. The natural world is the embodiment of divinity, imminent as well as transcendent (COG). Rituals follow the natural rhythms and cycles of the Universe. All witches practice environmental conservation techniques by themselves or by becoming active in an environmental organization. With how humans have treated Mother Earth, witches take a personal obligation to healing her. Their goal is social change. Humans have distanced themselves from nature, trying to conquer and control it. Witchcraft is trying to bring humans back into harmony with the Earth, which is essential to the survival of all living things. Wiccans connectedness with Nature and the Earth can be seen in their Eight Festivals. Each holiday is approximately six weeks apart and they are recognized as pivotal points in the solar cycle. It is this sensitivity to the cycles of the moon and the sun that distinguishes a witch s view of the world from others. Four of the eight Festivals are referred to as Lesser Sabbats. They are Ostara (the Spring Equinox), Midsummer (the Summer Solstice), Mabon (the Autumn Equinox), and Yule (the Winter Solstice). The other four Festivals are called the Greater Sabbats. They are Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas and Samhain (Nicholas). These correspond to cycles of not only the moon and sun, but to life and death and renewal as well. Earth goes through this cycle annually and each Festival corresponds to a certain myth and placement in the cycle. All living things are affected by these moods. Plants growth patterns are a result of the moon and sun cycle. This Agriculture Cycle tells farmers the best times to plant and harvest their crops. The cycle tells witches what kind of magic to perform (from class notes). The cycle tells all animals of the Earth what to do. In the Spring, they procreate. In the Winter, they die or become dormant. In the Summer, they prepare for the Winter and in the Fall they prepare for mating. Humans have lost their touch with Mother Earth and have abandoned her, as well as our own, cycle. Wiccans are bringing this back. Humans need to realize we are not in control and we need to become connected with Earth and Nature once again. Not only do we need to return to our roots, we need to fix what we have done. Wiccans, by definition of their religion, are environmentalists. Conservation of the environment is a part of their philosophy. The two underlining concerns facing the world is population growth and economics (Environmentalism). The American diet is not only unnatural, it is uneconomical as well. It takes 16 pounds of grain and soybeans to produce one pound of beef. Livestock in the United States are responsible for consuming over half of all the water in our country. Farm cattle releash100 million tons of a greenhouse gas (methane). 220 million acres of land have been deforested in the United States in order to feed us. We have even spread our plight to other countries such as Brazil and Costa Rico where we ruin their land and air to feed our already overweight and unhealthy population (Env.). Our diet is evidence of our aggressive and domineering attitude towards the environment. Culturally, we do not see ourselves as equal to Earth s other creatures or even to other humans. Economically, we need to reallocate Earth s resources so that all share to wealth of Mother Earth without depleting her. Americans would only have to reduce their meat intake by 10%, and the annual 60 million people starving to death could be fed with the savings in grain and soybeans (Env.). Earth s water resources are being polluted also. Only 1% of all the water is available for humans to use and is mostly located in the Earth as groundwater. This water is also the water source most affected by our pollution. Vehicles leak chemicals into the ground. People discard household chemicals down the drain further polluting our water resource. Runoff of fertilizer and industrial waste also end up being absorbed by our Earth and pollute our ground water. Vehicles not only pollute our water but our air as well. Carbon dioxide emittance from our cars adds to global warming. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, which magnifies the heat of our planet. Possible repercussions of global warming include the melting of the polar ice caps, which would raise levels of the ocean (Env.). In this event, coastal cities, like New Orleans, could become submerged. Global Warming is and will continue to change Earth s climate. Southern states will become arid and unusable. Vehicles and Industry also pollute our air in the form of smog. Three out of five Americans are at risk of lung damage due to ozone pollution (Evn.). Our vehicles and industry are the chief contributors to this type of pollution. Ozone smog kills wildlife, including humans, and plantlife. Every living thing on Earth is at risk and humans can not escape what they have created. Pagans are committed to healing the Earth and our resources for further generations. They are supporters of organic gardening, vegetarianism, solar power, and all else that is Earth friendly. Witches are involved in organizations such as Sierra Club, Greenpeace, One Earth, The Sacred Earth Network, and many others. Pagans do their part by modifying their lifestyles to a give-and take relationship rather than a take-and-take relationship with the Earth. High-power people are realizing the need for social change to a more Earth-oriented ideology. Christian and Pagan beliefs conflict in the sense that God is above us for Christians and God is above, inside, and all around us for Pagans. Figures such as Vice-President Al Gore, broadcaster Ted Turner, and the United Nations have been noted as having a reverence for the Earth and her sacred qualities (Young). Some people have attacked Neo-pagans by saying that they are technophobes and are trying to stand in the way of progress for the sake of conservation. This is a false portrait of most people who choose to follow an Earth Religion. More Neo-pagans hold high-tech occupations such as computer programming than any other field of work (Pacoima). Balance is the true spirit of the Neo-pagan movement. The Neo-pagan s commitment to the Earth is a commitment to our future. Our future is dependent on a healthy planet and progress needs to be balanced with stewardship of the Earth (Pacoima). The biggest disaster facing our planet is that of overpopulation. Many people mistake Witchcraft as a fertility religion because it is heavily Matriarichal. By fertility religion, I mean that members are encouraged to have babies. Wiccans have a greater obligation to healing Mother Earth and having babies adds to the destructing weight she already bears. Trystan states: We have to stop breeding mindlessly as though it s our right to pollute the world with our offspring, because it s not. We re here by grace of the Lady, and we owe her this at least. The core of what Trystan is saying hits the essence of the Neo-pagan religion. The way society thinks must change. Consequences of our actions need to be realized because with our advancement, we are killing our planet and ourselves. This is their goal and is made evident by the fact that they welcome interfaith participation, which older religions such as Christianity do not. We need to unite and fix Mother Earth. Witchcraft is the fastest growing religion in the world not by coincidence. A year 2000 poll says that 70% of Americans picked the protection of the environment over economic growth. This has gone up every year starting in 1995 with 62% (Gallup). I think there is a direct correlation between the increased concern over our environment and the increased popularity of the conservation of the environment. Witchcraft is not only a religion, it is also a social movement trying to change society. The popularity of the Goddess religion is perhaps a conscious attempt of the people of Earth to reshape our culture (Starhawk p. 22-23). Our society has been shaped in the past by economic forces such as media and political forces such as war. People are embracing this and getting involved. This is a new religion for the new world.