Saturday, March 13, 2010

Project Pagan Enough

Project Pagan Enough is my movement to raise awareness in the pagan community about our treatment of one another in public, online, one-on-one, and any other time we are faced with talking to, about, or meeting with other pagans.

It has become quite obvious over the past few years that the pagan community likes to talk the big game of being tolerant and inclusive of all peoples, but seems to lack that tolerance when the person in question dresses well or is attractive or is otherwise garbed in a cloak of 'mainstream.' This intolerance seems to be derived from a standpoint that we, as the pagan community, believe we are ridiculed or ostracized by the mainstream, thus people that look mainstream must be our enemy.

Project Pagan Enough seeks to say that - no matter your beliefs, practices, looks, or loves - you are pagan enough. We can argue theology back and forth all day long and disagree with one another's fluff-factor until the cows come home, but it is high time that we stop denigrating one another's level of being pagan. Paganism does not have a set definition, and there is definitely not a dress code or music-loving requirement.

If you listen to Lady Gaga right alongside Kellianna, you are still pagan enough. If you don't mind wearing Abercrombie & Fitch, Prada, or other name brand, mainstream clothing to the local pagan festival, you are still pagan enough.

Also, Project Pagan Enough seeks to encourage members of the pagan community to be more tolerant of other religions, beliefs, and practices. What do I mean? Aren't we the most tolerant of all faith-based communities? Well, what happens when you hear the word 'Christian?' Are you still that tolerant, loving, inclusive pagan?

Many of us, and this is not specific to Paganism, choose not to really understand other faiths. Thus, we base our ideas of that faith on actions of the people that practice it. We say that Christianity is a mirror of the Christians who claim it as their faith. But, this is a horrible method of learning about other faiths, just like trying to learn Paganism by looking at the actions of self-proclaimed Pagans. People kill in the name of all faiths. People hurl insults in the name of all faiths. People foster hatred and jealousy and ill-will and harm in the name of all faiths. Project Pagan Enough seeks to say that we should be secure enough in our beliefs and ourselves to truly tolerate other religions and stop laying blame for what we consider to be the evils of the world on the doorstep of other faiths.

So, Project Pagan Enough is a movement, a cause, a Harmonious Riot that includes bloggers, podcasters, pagans, non-pagans, me, you, and the whole pagan community. It is my hope that the Project Pagan Enough logo becomes a beacon of progress and change for those of us living a magical life. By putting the Project Pagan Enough icon on your podcast's site, blog, or other website, you're making a set of promises:

  1. You are pagan enough, despite how you look, act, smell, dress, believe, or are.
  2. You recognize that others are pagan enough despite their appearance, smell, manner of dress, belief, practice, or other aspect.
  3. You recognize that you can have an academic debate on the finer points of belief or practice, but that it does not take away from someone else's level of being pagan.
  4. You welcome, befriend, and encourage others in the pagan community despite their appearance, dress, or other physical or superficial characteristic.
  5. You promise to treat members of other faiths, despite the faith, with honest-to-goodness fairness, equality, and grace, not judging them or their faith based on the actions of fringe members of their same faith. 
Like the points of the pentacle, these 5 tenets of Project Pagan Enough work together and will, I hope, launch our community into a new era of tolerance, love, and all of the qualities we like to think we have.

You may copy the Project Pagan Enough logo for your own website - below - but please make sure to link back to this page to allow others to know what promise you've made to the community at large. 

It is my sincere wish that we move forward into the new millennium with tolerance and open arms to all existing and new members of the Pagan community.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

The Project Pagan Enough logo:


51 comments:

  1. I will definitally put this on my blog as well.. People need to know tolerence for others. Thanks Fire Lyte!
    Renee

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  2. I am putting this on my blog. Thanks for the post! It's something that needs to be said.

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  3. Fire Lyte, I love this. It is going on my personal and podcast blogs. I will definitely mention it in the next PFP episode. Do you mind if I read the post in it's entirety on the show? This really is a truly important message.

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  4. love it... pertains to so much more than just paganism... posting about it tomorrow....

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  5. Excellent! I'd like to mention it on my podcast as well! (Standing Stone and Garden Gate)

    http://stonegatepodshow.net/

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  6. http://mountainsidepagans.blogspot.com/
    its on mine now =)

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  7. Nice. We just had a convo about this on Divining Women. It's good to see something like this firing up.

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  8. This is very important and I will post about it and include the link back. I worked in the Christian Church for 20 something years as an educator. I can't tell you how that excludes me from many pagans "inner circle" almost at the moment I mention my resume. I feel I have knowledge behind my belief system now having known the Christian side. I feel I can be more tolerant because and inspite of it. Love this cause. It is important.

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  9. http://hearthwitch-cottage.blogspot.com/

    Proud to display it on mine. Thank you for promoting this important issue.

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  10. I love this idea. I am proud to display it on my blog.

    http://greenwillowwitch.blogspot.com

    I also nominated you for a Sunshine Award on my blog.

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  11. I have met so many pagans, witches, and Wiccans that think their way is the only right way. I am so glad that you have started this movement and will display the Project Pagan Enough button on my blog!
    www.thedomesticwitch.com

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  12. I fully endorse this. I am often discouraged and embarrassed by the way some Pagans feel it necessary to attack other Pagans - especially in the public forum known as the internet. Following the rules of debate and critical thinking is one thing, but being a condescending, self-righteous ass only makes all Pagans look bad.

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  13. Here here!
    It's silly, and nothing will ever get done about discrimination against us when we can't even not discriminate against other people!
    Posted a link on my blog!

    http://sfawc.blogspot.com/

    Blessed Be!

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  14. I totally endorse it! Just added and linked the logo at my blog!

    Kisses and happy Ostara!

    Nydia.

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  15. Hello from Portugal - I will put your batch on my blog !

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  16. Posting about this right now on one of my blogs, http://janetcallahan.com - will be adding the badge to http://ourlittleacorn.blogspot.com and my other two blogs too.

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  17. Heard about this on Twitter. Love it!!!! If we can't love each other how can we be tolerant of others?

    Will be posting on my blog about this. I will be sure to link back here!

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  18. All religions are not automatically deserving of respect. Why should they be? Are all political ideologies deserving of respect? How about fascism and other totalitarian ideologies?

    But then what about totalitarian religions?

    Those religions that explicitly call for, and have committed themselves to, the eradication of all other religions need to be seen for what they are.

    Of course any religion that, by its teachings and by its actions, shows respect for other religions should also be seen for what it is: tolerant and accepting. But not all religions meet this standard, and we (Pagans of all people!) know this to be the case!!

    Half the human race have been the victims of forced religious conversions by monotheistic faiths. That means half the spiritual heritage of humanity has already been lost, much of it irreversibly. Should we "tolerate" that?

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  19. This is going on my radio show on Tuesday.

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  20. Fire Lyte: "People kill in the name of all faiths. People hurl insults in the name of all faiths. People foster hatred and jealousy and ill-will and harm in the name of all faiths."

    The above claim is wrong. In fact it is disinformation. Most religions do not, as a matter of historical fact, do what is claimed above. But some do. Being able to tell the difference is important.

    In fact, most religions do not give rise to violent, intolerant forms of extremism. For example, here is a quote from Arthur Versluis, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at MSU (and a Christian):

    "When we look at Buddhist or Taoist cultures, for instance, we don’t see enduring bureaucratic apparati generated in order to hunt out ‘heretics,’ torture them into ‘confessions’ of their errors, and murder them by way of ‘rendering to the secular arm’. Why not? This isn’t to say heretic-hunting appears nowhere else - a species of it exists in some forms of Islam, for example. But why did the institutional Inquisition arise in the West, in Christianity? Why was it extolled as a fine contributor to ‘social stability’, even by influential ‘secular’ intellectuals? I realise that these may be uncomfortable questions, but it seems to me valuable to inquire. We need to understand and avoid such institutions, which we also see in modern totalitarianism. We must beware of the temptation to generate or adhere to an ideocracy - especially in times of economic and social disruption. As Sinclair Lewis put it in the title of his 1930s novel, It Can Happen Here. The West has a great legacy that emphasises not centralised power, but decentralisation, subsidiarity, federalism. This is the legacy of cherishing individual liberty, a very precious contribution to the world, and one I would like to emphasise."

    That is from an interview with Dr. Versluis in Nov. 2007, available online here:
    http://www.battleofideas.org.uk/index.php/site/battles/1073/

    Here is another quote from another scholar of religion, Bernard Faure, at Columbia University:

    "The claim that Buddhism is a tolerant religion is based on the fact that Buddhist history does not show the kind of fanatic excesses familiar in the histories of Christianity and Islam. Opponents of the Buddha may have been labeled as 'heretical masters,' but (in part for lack of an ultimate authority) the accusations of heresy rarely led to physical purges."

    And Faure then goes on to say that when real examples of anything like "physical purges" do occur in Buddhism, "these cases are the exception that proves the Budhist rule, and they underscore the contrast with the practices of Inquisition in Christianity." Those quotes are from an essay that Faure recently published on the issue of Buddhism and violence. The full citation, and more background material, can be found in a blog post of mine here:
    http://egregores.blogspot.com/2010/01/buddhist-history-does-not-show-kind-of.html

    The point being, first of all, that in most religions, thank the Gods, persecution is a rare exception. That is a good thing!! We should emphasize and celebrate the fact that most religions are by their natures tolerant.

    But the second point is that there are, unfortunately, religions in which persecution is the rule and tolerance is the exception. There are two especially glaring cases of this, and everyone knows what they are: Christianity and Islam.

    Again, the analogy with political ideologies is important. To a limited extent it is true that all governments, including democratically elected ones, dislike dissent and take measures against it. But not all governments round people up by the millions and execute them. Being able to tell the difference is important.

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  21. Thanks for suggesting that 'mainstream' Pagans deserve some respect, too. In my case, we're not talking Prada or A & F... we're talking stuff I can buy at Wal-Mart or department stores.

    'Pagan' outfits (outside of T-shirts) tend to either be itchy or dumb-looking on someone like me. Yes, I tend to feel out-of-place at certain gatherings.

    The good part: My wife and I went to the funeral of a prominent Pagan (in rural Kentucky). Most of the Pagans arrived in full regalia to honor the deceased. We wore more 'standard' black clothing.

    After the service (largely secular), we were approached by Pagans we didn't know, because they assumed we were family... the family approached US because everyone else there scared them, and they knew we weren't relatives. We felt like ambassadors. :)

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  22. It is interesting that it is in no small part due to the comments of folks like Apuleius Platonicus that I see a need for this project. I sign up, add the logo to my blog, and as I check the comments... there he is!

    Well, I hope I'm speaking for the majority of Pagans when I say I don't see it as Pagan to attack, defame, or overgeneralize about any religious group. But whether that makes me among a majority or a minority, I'm pleased to find others who agree that Christian-bashing isn't representative of our Paganism.

    And that we, and others, are "Pagan Enough." (Including Apuleius, though we do disagree when it comes to interfaith.)

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  23. Well spoken Sarah G, Cat, Fire Lyte, this is one of the better ideas I have seen.. I will add you to my blog as well.. Goddess Bless

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  24. Apuleius Platonicus All PEOPLE (not religions) are deserving of respect within reason. This project isn't about tolerating someone trying to cause another harm. It's about treating each other with the love and respect that we all deserve. Treat others as you wish to be treated....if you want to be treated like crap then keep on automatically assuming that someone should be judged based upon their religion. It makes you no better than the ones you are fighting.

    And yes ALL people of various religions have killed. To deny that ancient pagans have killed in the name of their faith is to deny historical fact. And although it's rare these days, there are people who have committed heinous crimes and then blamed some non-monotheistic tradition for their crime. Religions don't kill, people kill. And people do use whatever excuse they can come up with to rationalize it. Let go of the hate man!

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  25. lol, there is something fascinating about watching arguments on tolerance.

    First, Fire Lyte, I think this was a great segment. Paganer-than-thou is a stupid disease and I'm happy to see it bopped on the head. I wonder if it stems in part to the academic and fringe of society people that were so involved in the early years of the rise of modern paganism.

    In my own part of the world, when I first got involved, many of us were students or just plain young with very limited means and being broke was part of our definition of pagan. I was one of the more, shall we say, responsible ones early on and I did feel at that time on the outside of things when I had to go to work or to class and my fellow pagans were off to Wreck Beach (local nudist beach, gorgeous btw, the beach that is). There still seems to be something of an unspoken issue surrounding money and pagans and that can feed into the paganer-than-thou issue, as can the idea that appearing different needs to be an important part of the religion for some people (gods know why cuz I don't).

    On the flip side, I do prefer discriminating tolerance, which is an oxymoron and yet describes how I feel about it decently well. I'm not for blind tolerance. Blindness on any level invites the opportunity for something truly stupid to happen. To be blindly tolerant is to say that it is okay for anyone to do anything and too many people do things that are harmful and/or stupid for me to be comfortable with that.

    On the flip side, I agree generally with the message of tolerance. There is too often back-stabbing, in-fighting, hate-mongering amongst any group of people, and pagans are far from exempt. Our free-thinking tendencies also lead us to argumentative stances that too often degenerate into something personal rather than staying on the topic of the issue. Unfortunate.

    And present in this comments section, as well. Apuleius laid out some researched arguments on one aspect of what you said in your article, that I personally read as clarification of an issue and debate of the point you'd made but subsequently there are responses to it that take umbrage to his post.

    Which makes me wonder if there is a tendency amongst us pagans to like hearing that which can make us feel good about ourselves, and be angry those that argue with that feel-good thing. I also often see this kind of disparity arise when scholars and non-scholars start discussing things because they do not share a common basis for that argument. Rather like a hockey player suddenly put up against a baseball player. They're both playing sports but the rules are so different that they just don't have a common enough arena to intelligibly play with each other.

    But I digress. I believe true tolerance arises from an open heart and open ears, literal and metaphorical, and an honest and discriminating assessment (where discriminating means discernment between different items, not a picking on harassment type meaning) of what is being received via those mediums. It also helps to recognize that we are all different, and that is good, and that we are all connected.

    (and one last aside, imo self-identification isn't sufficient for being a pagan, some of the beliefs and practices must also be present within the person, okay, now I'm done lol)

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  26. did my blog post

    http://thepaganmomblog.com/2010/03/30/what-is-pagan-enough/

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  27. Count me in... A noble cause indeed...

    http://crookedways.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/project-pagan-enough/

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  28. Hey, Fire Lyte, Carmen Kickass and I mention your Pagan Enough Project on the podcast (Episode 29, in post-production). Hope you can give it a listen.

    Keep up the good work!

    ~Luckylicious
    Eat My Pagan Ass - pagan podcast
    http://www.eatmypaganass.com

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  29. I LOVE IT! (I found your post/blog thru Nydia at Bringing Up Salamanders) And I too will proudly display your project link & button on my blog - Crafty's Cuppa Coffee http://craftychickscuppacoffee.blogspot.com/

    I would like to ask permission to print your entire post- as well as a few of the comments to it- with my own opinion on this topic as well.

    I think this topic hits home with SO MANY of us! Personally, I agree with everything you stated above- and also give credence to Apleius Platonicus' viewpoint as well.

    However, I think that they are 2 very different subjects.

    #1) As 'awakening indviduals', open minded & hearted people, who 'claim' to have tolerance (religious or otherwise)- we (Pagans or not) should attempt to raise our standards of living and behavior to correspond with our higher conciousness & spirituality.

    It doesn't take a genius (or a Christian-LOL) to see the value & benifit of treating others with the same respect we ourselves deserve to be treated. Do unto others...

    That said.... it brings me to my #2 point/thought/opinion- that just because we are 'respectful' and kind to ALL peoples- that is not the same as 'respecting' the veiwpoints, lifestles or behaviors of all people.

    I can be a kind, tolerant& openminded individual- and still say that I think that something is wrong- or harmfull, etc.

    (Just as I can still love & respect all life on Earth and at the same time protect myself fom the attack of a bear- or even eat said bear! LOL)

    As for Paganism, as we know it today... we have a LONG way to go! Thankfully, I try not to worry to much about how others see Paganism, etc....I do more to make sure that I SEE MYSELF in the best way possibe- and I try to LIVE MY LIFE in a way that not only will better myself, raise my own conciousness, etc.- but will also provde a living example as to what (my version-LOL) of Paganism is. I CANNOT be resonsible for other Pagans- or for how others veiw Pagans. Only my own actions.

    We CAN BE TOLERANT PEOPLE- WITHOUT TOLERATING all behaviors. Bad behavior does not get a free pass, just because one is tolerant, or respectful of other's veiws.

    What about the Catholic Preist who uses his position to molest children. I do not have ill feelings toward his religion- I have ill feelings towards his actions. Same for the Pagan HP who manipulates Heiros Gamos in order to have sex with his female covnmates.

    Am I respectful & tolerant of this?! HELL NO! Do I think poorly of Paganism as a whole, based on his actions? HELL NO!- (But I DO think poorly of ANYONE 'tolerating' this (or any other)bad behavior that hurts others- whether under the guise of religion or otherwise.

    Look at Satanism- which (unfortunatley,IMO) is included under the 'Pagan Umbrella'. Does being a person 'tolerant of all Pagans & other Religions' mean that I tolerate the openly selfish, hate promoting & often violent beleifs & practices of those in the Satanic religion or lifestyle???? I think not.

    Does it make me less Pagan to say so? I hope not. (Actually, I could care less! LOL. Because my 'Paganism' is thankfully not dependent on another's criteria or opinion of my Paganism.)

    Okay...well, the wheels are deinitely spinning words & I would LOVE to post this on my blog in its entirety- with YOUR PERMISSION, of course!

    Please let me know. And THANK YOU for your awesome & thought provoking post! Button & link are on their way up on my site.

    ~Danae at Crafty's Cuppa Coffee
    craftychick1221@YAHOO.com

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  30. I am so glad to see this! As an older witch ( I'm a granny twice over ) who has had little exposure to the internet pagan communities until just the past few years I have been shocked and appalled at what I've seen. I've always been a solitary by choice since the 70's and I guess you could say I was living in a bubble. But I had always thought of pagans as very accepting people... talk about out of touch!! I admire anyone who is passionate about their spirituality and feel that all paths are valid when they are free of hypocracy. and prejudice and I hope that your Pagan Enough project causes a ripple effect to be reconned with!
    Maureen

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  31. I'm going to be adding the button to my blog. I love this post. I was told I wasn't a "real pagan" just because I celebrate Christmas and Easter with my family. I tried to make the point there is no set definition of Pagan and based on everything I've learned, read and feel, I'm Pagan.

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  32. On my blog as well! http://amoderndaywitch.blogspot.com

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  33. Button added. Good motion, good podcast, glad you're on the 'net and inciting!

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  34. I do not have a blog, but I am posting this! :) Thank you so much, it fits perfectly in my life right now! :)

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  35. As person we are enough. Enough already, despite our beliefes and path choosen. Having said that, I love your description, whoohoo.

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  36. I have read so many interesting comments on this page. And I agree with all of them, as it is pretty much the way I feel. I think all pagans should stick together no matter how controvesial their pagan beliefs may be.

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  37. What a wonderful thing. I'm adding the button to my blog. Thanks for keeping us in check!

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  38. Thank you so much for this excellent resource. I've enjoyed reading your writing both here and on The Examiner. I love your honest, direct approach and wicked sense of humor. I've also added a button to my blog.

    Best wishes from a fellow Chicagoan,
    Jessie

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  39. Salut I also agree...
    I find it very disrespectful for pagans to slam one another, and I ask myself does a true pagan do this ? For if anyone knows and understands persecution wouldnt that be a Pagan ?
    Really ?
    Anyhow I have a site for all pagans, where we discuss unity among pagans, come join.
    http://thevampirmetrou.ning.com
    Come check it out

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  40. What a wonderful post! I'm grabbing your button for my blog at http://paganbydesign.blogspot.com

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  41. Considering some of the bashing a gal I respect has had to deal with lately, I will add your button for my blog!

    Blessings and Love!
    http://darkmoonfaye.blogspot.com

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  42. Love it! I get issue with this all the time because Im a professional model. I put it on my Pagan Blog http://livingthepath.blogspot.com/
    Thanks for creating this!

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  43. MM,
    Excellent Idea, and right on target! Walk the talk or get off the Path.
    "1. You are pagan enough, despite how you look, act, smell, dress, believe, or are.
    2. You recognize that others are pagan enough despite their appearance, smell, manner of dress, belief, practice, or other aspect.
    3. You recognize that you can have an academic debate on the finer points of belief or practice, but that it does not take away from someone else's level of being pagan.
    4. You welcome, befriend, and encourage others in the pagan community despite their appearance, dress, or other physical or superficial characteristic.
    5. You promise to treat members of other faiths, despite the faith, with honest-to-goodness fairness, equality, and grace, not judging them or their faith based on the actions of fringe members of their same faith."

    Well said! I would add another thought: "What others believe is not threat to me or my connection to to those I honor."

    BB & MP

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  44. I love this. This is just what I need at the moment.

    Is it ok if I post the logo on Deviant Art?

    Big hugs for the lesson in tolerance!

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  45. This is just simply beautiful. I do not know how much more I can praise this other than by sharing it to others. Nobody should discriminate others just because they like things that is mainstream. Everyone believes that being Pagan, you have to wear dark clothing and such when really that is not the case. I can personally say that the pagan belief is one that has more of a tolerance base because everyone is so open minded. I am going to admit this, I am a person who has grown up with the Catholic beliefs and will say that being (at the moment becoming) a Pagan is a choice I will not regret because of how open the people are compared to ones who I know who are Catholic are so closed minded. Forgive me all if I am miss using this term but I am learning. Blessed be and much love to all.

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  46. :) definitely going on my pagan blog Living the Craft http://livingthepath.blogspot.com

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  47. I was thrilled to read this post and find so many others that agree with how I have felt for so long. I'm posting your badge on my blog. Thank you!!!

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