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Unfortunately many of the terms used by religions - such as, for example, "worship", "praise", "holy" - have been so abused that the meanings are now almost completely infused, and confused, with bullying, duplicity, self-serving rationalization, hypocrisy, pious superiority, lying, and violence.
We here at Pagan Today want to distance ourselves from this broken, and vicious, cycle of meanings, and so offer the following thoughts and suggestions:
Follow or Appreciate: We prefer to use this rather than the word "worship" which has connotations of grovelling or begging. There is no need for us to grovel or beg, and many reasons to Appreciate.
Code: This is our preference over the word "religion" which has connotations of frozen thinking, blind obedience, and rigid laws to be obeyed to avoid suffering. Outmoded and superstitious, and by reason of its obvious failure in goals to bring peace and happiness, we believe the word "religion" has had its day and should only be used in history books. The word "Code" implies a set of principles that are not for sale or to be taken lightly.
Sol: how we refer to the Sun, we suggest it replace the word "god". And not as a simple substitution for the word; but as the literal, existing, visible receptor of our Appreciation. Certainly something visible and present, and so undeniably potent, is well more deserving of Appreciation than disinterested, invisible super-people. If you need something to believe in, something deserving of belief - believe in Sol. Sol has not broken our trust to this day.
Sols: Here at Pagan Today this is how we refer to ourselves.
Respect: We prefer this concept to the concepts of religious fellowship or congregation which are often found to be hollow and concerned often only with appearances of conformity to a Code. Respect is generated not from a group, but from within yourself. Respect connotes more than tolerance, it connotes acceptance, and the realization that not everyone thinks like you do, or that they must be like you. And that you are free to be who you really are.
the World and Universe: we prefer this term or similar over "church, synagogue, temple, mosque" which all connote a central someplace one is duty bound to go to Appreciate. They also imply central authority, which is a tired concept. We are in the World and Universe every moment, on every mountain peak, in every field, on every street corner. Be Respectful.
Communing: we believe this word should replace the word and concept of "prayer", which has connotations of beseeching, begging, pleading, and grovelling, and which requires an answer that often requires harm or loss to someone or something else (a "prayer" for victory, for example, is a prayer that the opponent fail). Communing on the other hand implies a peaceful concentration on, and awareness of what is around you, a time to communicate to yourself about yourself and all that surrounds you. Traditionally, People have used "prayer" to ask for things, use Communing to discover things, and to focus on methods and solutions where everyone, and everything, wins.
Activity: We prefer this over the word "praise" which connotes flattery for favours. Your Activity - that is, how you lead your life - is a better sign of Respect and Appreciation than crowd psychology, sycophancy, or hollow words.
Spiritual: This continues to have a positive meaning for us, not in the usual sense of ghostly or invisible, but in the sense of vigour, mettle, and life force.
Turp: We derive this from Turpis, the latin word for "ugly". This we believe should replace the word "sin", a transgression based on someone interpreting how a god is pleased or displeased. Often "sins" are enumerated and listed to be a certain number of things that one is damned for doing. But there are a lot more "sins" existing than are written down and listed, or even acknowledged.
Better to use a concept of Turp with a thinking, discerning mind to determine what is damnable. When we speak of a Turp we speak not of physical form or how something looks. Or of whether it appeals to you personally in particular or not.
But, for example, of whether it is just and fair, uses force to gain advantage, is grossly disrespectful, violates rights through coercion, takes or violates without permission, taking advantage or exploiting through someone's innocence, naiveté, or helplessness.
Breaking someone's trust is a Turp. Harming children, or other innocents, is a Turp. Hate is a Turp. War is a Turp. Violence is a Turp. Coercion is a Turp. Exploitation is a Turp. Being petty is a Turp. Being disrespectful is a Turp.
We believe the word "holy" should no longer be used. In our minds everything is holy and so there is no need for a special word. And the historical meaning of holy has such connotations of sycophance and fawning, as well as symbols for fighting, that it has become distatsteful.
We believe "Divine" as a word should go out of use other than as a description of dessert. It implies abstract beings that are superior to humans, beings that control us, beings that require propitiation. We think it is time to realize we are in control of ourselves.
We are, and every speck of dust and creature and plant on this planet are, literally, pieces of Sol and so a part of Sol. Remember this in all your actions and thoughts. A disservice to anything on this planet is a disservice and disrespecting of yourself.
Oddly there is no agreed upon name on this planet for our Sun. Derived from solar the name "Sol" has been used in literature, and we choose to use that as the Sun's name.
Sol is there for us to observe each day. You can see the brightness of Sol. You can feel Sol on your skin, in a warm stone, in the wind that is driven by it. At night the sky is lit by Sol's relatives, and we are sure that tomorrow Sol comes to warm us again.
Sol shines from more than 140 million kilometres away and lights and heats our entire planet. But the great majority of its light Energy pours into space and shines as a beacon from us to the rest of the Universe.
It is so powerful that if one glances at it one must immediately look away or be blinded.
It powers all the forests and fields on our planet, and so, literally, feeds us. It gives us the heat we'll need to survive the night and then greets us in the morning.
Sol is huge: the large dark circle above, left, is the relative size of Jupiter, the small dot is the relative size of Earth.
Sol is mysterious, many of its features still not explained or understood. It has been here for billions of years and will be here for billions more.
Sol gives hope. And pleasure.
Life and Energy
The Earth and other planets are left over from Sol's birth, and so every particle on this planet is a piece of Sol.
It provides the Energy that keeps our planet warm. Only a few miles above your head the temperature is minus 269 degrees Centigrade. Without the Kraft there would be no Life here.
Each photon of light that strikes the Earth is held by something - stones, bricks, skin - and this cumulative Energy is shared by all, it is the tie that binds us, every particle on this planet, together.
Since we have this common thread through everything on Earth following Sol is a polytheistic Code. Everything is Appreciated because Sol runs through everything, we all share Sol - we are the Sols.
When the true Provider is so blindingly obvious who need an invisible master?
Pagan is from the Latin "paganus", meaning "country dweller". The word Pagan has been, for some thousands of years now, hijacked into use for saying "You don't believe as I do, therefore you are pagan, and therefore a fool".
Through this usage, and at the insistence of often brutal Theocracies, the word is used now to insult, or degrade, or belittle.
A look in a thesaurus offers these alternatives to Pagan: heathenish - gentile - profane - infidel.
We here at Pagan Today seek a return of the word "Pagan" to its fundamental peaceful and gentle nature: a dweller in the country - a dweller on the Earth. Paganism is an Earth and Nature based belief system. Things you see every day that remind you that you, and all you see and touch, is a another piece and parcel of the miracle of Life and Being.
With this dawning Respect and awareness, with open eyes to what you already have and not what you wish or imagine were so, we see a welcome arrival to a sane and caring World. When you are aware and Respectful of all things, you are in turn Respected.
often brutal exploitation
For the last few thousand years human's treatment of Nature and the Environment cannot be called gentle. With the advent of industrial machines it can be called atrocity.
Humans have had this tendency to subjugate and force. It is a psychological manifestation of some need to dominate (something we at Pagan Today think can be unlearned).
Pitiless methods of destruction and subjugation are used for economic gain, not to mention general ignorance of ecological ramifications. We feel more could be gained by observing and working with nature, mindful that unthinking destruction only comes back on ourselves.
Some of the old Codes had explicitly stated that it was a god given human birthright to dominate and subdue Nature. This unfortunate pronouncement was used as the basis for current attitudes toward anything not human or not economical or not understood. It serves as a perfect excuse to support rationalizations for greed and simple stupidity.
Build in partnership with Nature, rather than ripping and tearing and destroying. This means it is time to pause and to look and listen...to learn.
Reward craft, not cunning. Live your life with style, not from a bottle or pair of jeans, but the style you have within. Live your life artistically, with verve and enthusiasm. Experiment and experience. Resolve to see afresh daily. Treat others fairly and expect fair treatment. Treat all Respectfully and get Respect in return. Enjoy Life.
Teach your children to do this: show them what you've learned, show them HOW you live, how you Appreciate, and then let them form their own Lives and styles.
In addition, we can never be assured that what someone speaks is not from a sickness like Obsessive-Compulsive disorder, or from Schizophrenia. Or for simple self-aggrandizement. Or for self or group profit. We cannot, and should not, allow ourselves to be led by sick or manipulative people ever again.
Sols asks that you think for yourself.
Listen to opinions, of course. But you ultimately decide what ends up in your Life. One can respect others for their thinking and ways of expressing themselves, but lead yourself, don't let others lead you. And, in fair balance, don't expect anyone else to live by your decisions and opinions.
should or must be lived
It is probable that regions will gather in traditional ways, and groups will voluntarily form to Appreciate Life and Sol together. But if these systems of Appreciation are demanded by them to be observed by you, then they are not Sols and have understood nothing here.
In addition should entities like these form regionally, they are not Sols if they disallow dissent from their opinions. That would simply be another form of religious domination, bullying, and persecution which are forms of violence to force people to their will, their perceptions. This is Turp. Each Sol follower has the right to believe as they will and not to be told how to live.
We would ask parents to also read this carefully: forcing your children to Appreciate in a particular way is also bullying. Let your children observe your actions and deeds, tell them what you've learned and think, and then let them self-bloom.
War is Turp. It is hard to believe that the majority of current world religions are not in the streets crying for war as a reality, and as a concept, to end.
There is no just war. Yes, defence against Hitlers, Ghengis Khans, Napoleans was required. A person with a sword or gun breaking into your house should be resisted.
But the core problem is that these aggressors pick up their swords in the first place. That they find willing participants to fight, die and kill. That they feel domination and power are the sole solution to their problems.
Say no to war, say no to military. When everyone has made this decision, when all have put down their guns and swords there will be no need for armies and anyone saying there is, is only looking to make a profit.
In this age, the amount of money spent on war machines, war preparation, war itself is obscene. This money could be spent on education and helping to develop human beings, not destroy them. We encourage governments to start doing so.
Consider your basic, everyday miracles: You were born. You are conscious and reading this. You wake up in the morning greeted by a benevolent Sun, Sol. Flowers bloom every Spring, Life is rampant on the Earth.
These miracles in our lives are obvious. So obvious that we have forgotten them? So close to them we can't see them anymore?
Yes and other miracles happen all the time. But we don't believe they are handed out by supreme beings: miracles happen. One just needs to look for them and allow oneself to see them. We here at Pagan Today believe all is possible in our Universe.
To paraphrase Arthur C. Clarke, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from Magic." Electric lights, computers, smart phones...a simple butane lighter would be increasingly high magic to the people of 200, 2000, 20,000 years ago.
And this is not just applicable to technology, but to ways of thought as well. Women throughout history have often been thought of as second class citizens, but the revolution in thought and awareness in the last 50 years has shown us how lame this opinion is. It was thought Kings and Queens were ruling by divine right, we find them now to be another set of Persons, no better and no worse, than anyone. Skin colour was believed to denote superiority and inferiority, now clearly obvious nonsense. These have come about through revolutionary magical thought.
And, as advanced as our science is remember this: we do not know everything. Change your mind and change the Universe. That's magic.
There is so much room for possibility in this World, and Universe, that it is insane to think we know it all. So there is unlimited magic to be discovered.
The idea behind science is simple and brilliant: Ask yourself a question about Nature. Then devise a way to answer that question as definitively as possible. Make this question and your results public. Other people can then replicate the study, if they choose to, to prove to themselves that one's conclusions are well thought out, provable, and the results reproducible.
But we here at Pagan Today believe too many scientists are now stuck in a mentality dominated by corporations, fame seeking, and blindered by paradigms of a dead material Universe when it is actually Alive and Evolving. This paradigm leads to a type of "death" science rather than a "life" science. And patterns of such shaded thought are extremely negatively powerful.
One problem we see today is that science seems to have become so profitable it now only looks where the money lies, a large part of a scientist's life spent scrabbling for grant money while the Universe cries out to be understood. And when a question is posed that is considered by the "referees" to be "unuseful", unprofitable, or trivial then the grant money is denied. So scientists, in order to obtain funding, must learn to ask the "approved" questions.
There are no trivial questions in science. The answer cannot be known until one has made an effort to find it. A return to genuine curiosity and intent to understand for the sake of understanding is recommended.
We need to free up our scientific minds to be able to ask questions that question everything, to regain inquisitiveness for everything, and to learn to doubt our infallibility. Maybe then we will prove to ourselves that the Universe is not so much tick-tock clockwork as we think, but open to much much more Magic than we can imagine.
And a topic we find distressing and important: Some of us here at Pagan Today are university trained Biologists. We find that Biology (from Greek words that mean the study of Life) is practiced more as a science of death in most of its fields. One doesn't open and analyse a clock with a hammer. In the biological sciences, terrible things are done to living creatures that are not necessary. Anything to do with animal research should place the quality of Life of the animals as of paramount importance, and not that these feeling, sensitive, scared, child-like creatures are expendable living trash or unfeeling robotoids.
We ask Biologists out there to regain a bit of their sense of wonder for what Life is, and to remember that oftentimes things are more than the sum of their parts.
And we ask them to remember that when working with animals that they are living creatures that suffer, feel pain, feel stress, and have fear, and to be gentle with them please. Start studying Life, and not death.
Ignorance is the worst possible thing after disrespect. Had Sols a "Devil", it would be ignorance.
The opportunity to study or learn is oftentimes related to luck and the society and culture in which one lives. Not having the opportunity to learn is not ignorance.
Ignorance is willfully choosing not to learn. Ignorance is not recognizing the opportunity to learn. Ignorance is not seizing the opportunity to learn.
Ignorance is making assumptions about things that one cannot know. Ignorance is speaking for things and beings to which it has not listened. Ignorance is looking straight at, and refusing to see, the aspects of truth. Ignorance is to speak authoritatively about something you have not studied in depth.
Ignorance is proud of its ignorance.
Ignorance believes it is always right. Ignorance believes it is the exception to the rule.
Distance yourself from ignorant people. Or if you choose to, help them to recognize their ignorance and help them to escape it. And when you recognize ignorance in yourself, squash it, and re-discover yourself.
We're all aware now that the basic idea of a business providing a useful good or service and earning a fair return to maintain workspaces and equipment, and pay employees, has gone very awry.
The entire process has become twisted into a love of money itself, turning into some sick game of Monopoly. In order to continue this game they must dupe us through psychological means to buy their products thereby keeping their money streams running, and pulling us into a demented world where objects define who we are, and instilling in us envy and greed.
And not to neglect the people who make no product or service but simply play with money and move it around, that are now being bailed out worldwide by...the People.
This greedy "thing" lust, and money worship is:
Bad for the person: Why do people steal? Why do people cheat? Why will some people murder for money?
Bad for society in general: The question often becomes not is it better for the people, not is it better for the Environment, but how much does it cost or how much can I make?
Bad for the World environment: We generate enormous volumes of garbage. Much of that garbage goes into water and air, we are literally poisoning ourselves, and the completely blameless animals and plants, of our World. That is insanity. We reduce natural environments more and more and are killing off precious forms of life in the mad quest for more, more, more.
Here are a couple of things we here at Pagan Today can suggest, and we invite everyone to the Community page to discuss their own ideas:
Love your Life, not money. Money is just a useful means for agreeing about the relative worth of things.
Personally make a choice to free-think. Many of today's businesses (and governments) use advanced psychology to manipulate us into wanting things we don't need and never wanted, and into believing things that aren't true. Resist this brainwashing.
Choose what you need. Choose what is important to you. Buy those things and use them, and stop buying junk to simply make yourself feel temporarily better. If you have children, be circumspect in what you give/buy them.
When a company makes junk, don't buy it! How many businesses now exist that make plastic trinkets, cheap knockoffs, and other generally unuseful things? These companies are not dedicated to a necessary service or quality good, they are dedicated to only making money. They exploit our tendency to buy things at random, resist this.
This also goes for low quality material. Yes it's cheaper but is often "instant-garbage", poorly made and straight to the bin. Reward quality and craft, and avoid opportunistic profit-farms.
And realize the power we have united together. If we find out that a company has poisoned the environment, treated it workers poorly, lied to us, manipulated us, stolen from us...then vote with your money and stop spending money on ANY of their products.
Were we to cut off their money supply, together, en mass, the companies would change their ways immediately. Remember they love money and only feel pain without it. Withhold it from them to effect change.
We urge business owners to forego the madness: simply produce a product or service that is of use to the People, that is made with quality in mind, treat their workers and customers fairly, respect the Earth that is giving them the materials to work with, market your items with information not psychology, and to charge a fair price that allows the business to continue. If you have the desire to subjugate, subdue, and dominate the market and the World, please stop and just go play a game of Monopoly.
We are trying to remember when government became the Master and not the Servant.
Unfortunately much of the worst of the bad aspects discussed in the business section applies to our governments as well.
We suggest we need to get back the right to say NO when our governments are doing terrible things.
The internet is the greatest tool we've been given since fire. Cherish it. Protect it.
We are able to have this dialog because of the internet. Finally people can be, and are, in communication all over the world in real time. Government dirty secrets are being aired, citizens groups form and communicate, despicable acts can be recorded and distributed in minutes. The benefits to the People are obvious and enormous.
Small wonder that many in power, who want to protect their power and control over us, want to restrict our use of the internet. To keep us clueless and incommunicado. Do not let them.
Words and language
Words are simply used to communicate ideas.
In our opinion were there a concept of swearing, or cussing, in Sols it would be when words are used to communicate hate or scorn, or to instigate violence, to belittle someone. Words that are meant to wound are obscene.
Otherwise, words are harmless unless you choose to make something of them that they are not. We think people should be allowed to express themselves as they wish excepting the obscenities listed above.
Be free, and let others be free.
Sol rising every morning gives us cause for a Celebration.
And we here at Pagan Today observe as major Celebrations the yearly sway of Sol and its four major stations in the sky: the summer and winter solstices, and the autumn and spring equinoxes.
We also enjoy observing the phases of the Moon, especially new Moon and full Moon, which are reflections of Sol based on the Moon's position.
These wonderful moments are defined by Sol, serving as natural times to give pause and dance.
Quality of Life
We encourage Sols to think carefully about how many children they have. Overpopulation is a looming Spectre. Each child is a Person that needs to be cherished and nurtured. Having too many children dilutes the attention they need.
We here at Pagan Today think we should also pay more attention to the people that are here already. Its not just children that need support and development but also adults.
Let's start treating all with the care we give children. Let's ensure that everybody has an opportunity for a fulfilling Life.
We choose Quality of Life, over Quantity of Life.
We choose our morality, as we always have.
The famous quotation by Terence reads: "Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto", or "I am a human being. I consider nothing that is human to be alien to me."
We would hope that you choose to be Respectful, fair, non-violent. But if you are not and choose to be Turp, if you choose be an asshole, be prepared to be treated as one. This would be sad because you would miss all the Happiness and Pleasure that is available.
Sols are powerful Persons. No one is obligated to accept disrespect from any Turp person. Should you choose to be Turp, an asshole, you will find yourself unwelcome.
Hell / Afterlife
We here at Pagan Today do not pretend to have an idea of what happens after we die. We suggest you enjoy Life while you have it.
We do, however, know that each person can make their own Life Hell. And one can make other's Lives Hell. We suggest you do neither.
Perhaps most important to know...
As a People, and as a Person, we all should know and understand about the Web of Life (Ecology) simply because it impinges us directly, and bad or ignorant decisions concerning it affect everybody.
We can choose to poison ourselves. We can choose to fight Nature rather than work with it. We can choose to ignore Nature and our relationship to it, and its relationship to us.
We can choose to ignore all the obvious signs that everyone sees that we are surrounded by sentient Life that can at all levels feel and suffer.
Or we can choose the opposite of these and find a World of Peace, happiness and caring. A World of respect, a World of Wonder.
What this means for you
You are free.
You are responsible.
You grant Respect and freedom to all, and you accept the same given to you.
You consider what you say. You consider what you do. These are the signs of your presence on the Earth.
You can Appreciate as you like.
You realize you DO NOT have the right to tell others how to live or Appreciate.
You put beauty in your life and in your actions. Seeing this in ourselves, and in others, reminds all of us of Sol and the potential we have.
You realize exercising Respect is our only hope, otherwise the situation of the World remains as it is now.
You realize that you can change the World.
What this means for us
We are free.
A calm World.
A happy World.
A beautiful World.
We are responsible.
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