Skye Thomas

Skye Thomas
Writer, Rebel, and Soapbox Ranter

Friday, July 29, 2005

A Bit of New Age Humor

Cheers! -- Hath`alud
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Author: Brendan Cathbad Myers

It is my pleasure to announce the founding of the first fully Pagan sovereign nation in the modern era. A lot of people might be wondering, how did it all get started? Well, a few enterprising Pagans read in the news that there is a Christian Fundamentalist group that wants to get as many Christians as possible to settle in the state of South Carolina and eventually declare the state an independent Christian theocracy, devolved from the rest of America. This got us thinking, we can do the same! A few months before that, at the death of John Paul II and the inauguration of Benedict XIV, we got to thinking, wouldn't it be cool to have our own Vatican City, somewhere in the world? It's been tried before, and never successfully, but our attempt has something no previous attempt at herding Pagans into one mould—I mean uniting them in harmony—has had. People are showing up! Huge crowds are converging on our sovereign territory, a farmer's field in Greenland, every day. And it can only get better from here.

Our new state started slowly. At first, only a few Pagans even showed up. Many stayed at home to gripe about how the proclaimed new Pagan state didn't consult them, or doesn't have any real authority. They said to themselves, "Who are they to rule over all Pagans? What gave them the right to tell me what to believe?" Of course, these are the Pagans of the Ancient and Venerable Begrudgery Tradition. We sent them invitations, of course, so they wouldn't feel left out—but we gave them the wrong time and place. Our pollsters determined, however, that most of the naysayers to our state said nay because they felt slighted for not having been asked to become the leaders of the state. You know the kind of Pagan we mean: he's the one who hates all forms of religious and spiritual authority but is secretly willing to accept the creation of a Pagan Catholic Church just so long as he himself gets to be Pagan Pope.

So who did show up to the proclamation of the Pagan state? Most of them were American refuges from the "Democrat" tribe, fleeing the reign of George Bush II. But a few came from the "Republican" tribe; they kept muttering something about not wanting the new state to tax them. Yet they came from all over the world, from every walk of life, from every Pagan tradition and community. The crowd was so large we had to count it with both hands. There was, of course, a small troupe of the members of the Druid School down the road who set up their own Pagan State in opposition to ours, just a hundred yards away. Their leader, a self-proclaimed enlightened elder, encouraged his followers to play their drums as loud as possible to disrupt the founding of our state.

Putting together a nation and a government is not like putting together a Wiccan coven, a Heathen tribe, nor a summer camping festival, nor an umbrella service organisation like the Pagan Federation or the Covenant of the Goddess. Large amounts of money, material resources, labour power, and military power has to be mustered. We had to get the backing of wealthy people: bankers, industrialists, entrepreneurs, had be secured, which is not an easy thing to do. Most of them have no need for spells to make money, because they've already got their money. So Paganism doesn't offer them much they don't already have. But we managed to convince a few progressive-minded wealthy people to bankroll our cause in a different way. We told them we had the secret of turning lead into gold, and once we struck our blow for freedom, we would make our Pagan state a banking haven. Little do they know we plan to turn lead into gold the old fashioned way: clubbing them with a lead pipe and then stealing their gold. Anyone reading these words is asked not to leak the secret, or else the jig will be up on us, and we'll have to raise money by reading tarot cards again.

Our fledgling state still needs leaders who can make decisions about economic planning, criminal justice, national defense, labour allocation, foreign relations, and the like. But so far all we have are Pagans who made themselves famous (in the Pagan community, that is) for their ability as spell casters, workshop presenters, and ritual performers. It was, after all, the best we could do on such short notice. (Pagan Standard Time being what it is, after all). The ritual for the Opening of Parliament was absolutely lovely, everyone agreed, but the next day, when Parliament was in session, no one brought forth any bills to debate. No one had thought that far ahead.

However, we in the Inner Circle (I mean the Provisional Cabinet) have not been idle. We've recently agreed to put forward a good long list of new laws and executive orders. Starting with the armed forces. Now the White Light Pagans complained that the very existence of the army was contrary to the Goddess' wishes, since the Wiccan Rede clearly says "Harm None." And isn't it the job of the soldier to harm people? On the other hand, no other nation in the world would take us seriously without an army. So we reached a workable compromise. We would still have an army, but it would not have any guns. Instead, it will have soap-bubble rings. Our soldiers will march into battle blowing bubbles of peace and love. The United Nations Security Council recently asked us to send our Bubble Battalion to join international peacekeeping forces stationed in a high school in Arkansas.

Actually, unbeknownst to the White Light contingent, we have secretly created a `special forces' unit. We're recruiting them from the SCA, and arming them with swords, pikes, spears, knives, and axes, and the artillery units will operate catapults and trebuchets. We also have a unit of Celtic warriors, recruited from the Celtic Reconstructionist tribes. Their heroic spirit, their courage and bravery, will be both admired and feared all over the world. Their first mission will be to see if they can find any trace of the Bubble Battalion, who we haven't heard from in over two weeks.

We have been busy on the home front too. In primary school education, for instance, we have decided that the myth of the burning times should be a standard item on the curriculum. Every child of ten years old will have a solid backing in the work of Gimbutas and Margaret Murray. We don't really care if the myth is true or not—it will give our graduates a reason to think themselves lucky. For history classes we'll get them to watch The Wicker Man in grade eight and Robin of Sherwood in grade eleven. At our colleges and universities we will have departments of divination and magic right alongside departments of physics, economics, and engineering. Graduates from the PhD programme at Lady Raven Moonspider School will now be able to up shop next to PhD graduates from Oxford, Harvard, and the Sorbonne. Students at the National Pagan University will have a morning of lectures on classical Greek philosophy and literature, followed by an afternoon of experimenting with telepathy. Surely our progressive system of education will be the envy of the world.

What about health care? Our new state has the whitest of white Witches in all hospital emergency wards, both accredited third-degree Witches and fam-trad hedge Witches, to cleanse the charkas of car accident victims and to purify the aura of leukemia sufferers. Surgeons, nurses, and paramedics will have to be Reiki masters and we'll revoke their license to practice if they refuse. This, of course, is borne from the experience of Pagan culture before the foundation of our state. I remember fondly at a Pagan festival a few years back, never mind where it was, where a woman fell unconscious with heat exhaustion. Immediately a small crowd of Witches surrounded the patient and started chanting and placed little coloured stones on the patient's body. Meanwhile, the festival's unofficial nurse, who had been trained as a combat medic by the Canadian army, had to fight his way through this gaggle of well-meaning idiots to reach the patient and give her the treatment she really needed. This was, of course, after searching his tent for the equipment he required—another well meaning lunatic ransacked it for bandages and penicillin, without asking him first. Scenes like this in the accident and emergency wards of the National Pagan Health service will be a daily event. And what about housing? The National Pagan Housing Authority reported in its year-end review that it has not built a single house, in part due to protesters rallying against the use of the word `authority' in the agency's name, and in part due to legislation preventing infrastructure development within one hundred and fifty meters of a tree. Naturally we're not happy about this dark spot in our government's performance, but the money was used to buy some nice canvas tents which have been set up in the capital city's Bealtaine fairgrounds. The four newly naturalized immigrants this year (up 50% from last year) are presently being sheltered in them.

Some people have been asking whether our Pagan state is a democracy. Most of the ancient Pagan societies in history which we looked at for inspiration, and which some of us regard as our direct forebears and predecessors, including the Celts, Norse, and Greeks of Europe, and the Egyptians and other societies of the ancient near-East, to the pre-"civilisation" societies of aboriginal people, were not democracies. They were tribal societies or chiefdom societies, or they were kingdoms, even empires. And many Pagan organizations and societies of today are not democracies either, but rather are run by their founders as benevolent and enlightened (one hopes!) dictatorships. This is true of small groups like covens and ceremonial lodges and also true of larger groups: British druid orders, fellowships for Egyptian goddesses, a few Wiccan lineage traditions, and a few `democratic' groups that really are monarchies in disguise because they keep re-electing the same people. Well, we've decided to merge the best elements of modern parliamentary democracy with the age-old, time-tested system of absolute monarchy that our ancient forebears believed in. Yes, the spiritual and political head of our state shall be a King, or a Queen, depending on which way he swings. But to keep our king honest and just, to put in place a fair system of "checks and balances" (as our refugees from America keep demanding), we're going to insist that our elected king rules for only seven years, after which time he is killed. That way, if you want to be the king, you have to really, really want it. This system of government used to be called "the sacred king." We think that other countries will soon see the wisdom of this system, and will follow suit.

The Inner Circle and I have just finished drafting the new Constitution. We just agreed that the document will indeed be called a Constitution, and have resolved not to use words like `he' or `she' in case anyone feels excluded. We were stalled for quite some time by the Radical Tree-Hugger Party who wanted the constitution to outlaw fossil-fuel engines, electricity, and steel foundries. Their persuasive party pod-people pontificated passionately about the need to return to our ancient roots, and do things as the ancients did things. But it rained on the day we planned to vote on it, and all the pod people ended up in hospital with pneumonia (and the best energy-healers in the world are even now smudging them with sweetgrass that was blessed by a Real Live Indian.) Meanwhile the Fair Weather Pagan Party, whose members stay indoors on rainy days, were told the vote would take place in a rented Unitarian Universalist church. So they showed up to vote in greater numbers, and managed to turn the tables at the eleventh hour.

Our economic planners have thought long and hard about the skills and resources available in our community, so that we can put them to best use in the dynamic global market of today. We decided that our state will put the lion's share of its economic development budget into the entertainment industry. After all, so many Pagans are also such excellent showmen, whether they know it or not. So the shenanigans that we get up to at our camps and festivals will be turned into fodder for soap opera writers. We're also going to focus on the fashion and design industry. A survey of the merchant's areas of most festivals showed us that most of what was on sale was what the British call `bling:' that is, fancy clothing, rings, bracelets, armlets, necklaces, anklets, earrings, tiaras, window hangings, leather medicine pouches, and all kinds of other crap. We'll be able to sell a few of them for ridiculously inflated prices by adding little notes about how it was consecrated by a Witch to attract love and money to its possessor. There will be a few fools in the world who will buy them, but we'll try to reserve them for the export market in case the fools who want to buy them are mostly our own citizens.

Our government leaders, however, will have much better fashion designers. They will not bother with robes sewn from curtains and flappy Birkenstock sandals. They will wear proper business suits. The men will have snazzy silk ties and the women will have the super-sexy platform-heel boots that all women of power are wearing these days. We have certain appearances to keep up, after all! For no one will take our state seriously if our leaders dress like flower children (if there's anybody watching).

And speaking of the entertainment industry, here's how we will attract tourists from abroad. Some of you might remember a venerable institution from the ancient world called the Temple of Ishtar. The idea was that young adolescent women would go to this temple around the time they become sexually fertile. There they would stay as handmaidens to the temple until a man came to, well, share with them the communion of the Goddess. Then they would be free to rejoin the community. We are planning to rebuild this temple. Think of the revenue it will generate, especially when our marketing campaigns extol the virtues of the young, free-spirited, sex-positive and stunningly beautiful Pagan woman!

All in all, we are planning great things for our Pagan state. We'll grant licenses to perform marriages and funerals to just about anyone. And all kinds of marriages will be legal here: straight, gay, polyamourous, and so on—and the list might get larger still, depending on the lobbying power of the animal rights movement. We'll legalize marijuana, which we think will cut down on domestic crime rates as well. After all, when you are stoned the last thing you want is conflict. We'll legalize public nudity. We'll make Samhain and Bealtaine national holidays and make them a whole week long. We'll put a horseshoe over the arch of every door for good luck. And most important of all, we'll standardize that long list of elemental correspondences. Our state will be a shining beacon of liberal freedom, where anyone and everyone will have the right to live any way they want, and believe whatever they want. We hope you will join us, and raise our flag over your homes and magic circles as a sign of your solidarity.

Solidarity!

The Inner Circle of the Sovereign Pagan State.
Copyright: Copyright 2005 Brendan Myers



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