Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pagan Values and Compassion

Charge of the Goddess

Hear ye the words of the Star Goddess;
she in the dust of whose feet are the hosts
of heaven, and whose body encircles the universe

I who am the beauty of the green earth,
the white moon among the stars, and the mystery
of the waters call unto thy soul;
Arise, and come unto me.

I am the soul of nature who gives life to the universe.
From Me all things proceed, and unto Me all things must return.
Before My face, beloved of gods and of men, let thine
innermost divine self be enfolded in the rapture of the infinite.

Let My worship be within the heart that rejoices,
for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.
Therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion,
honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.

To thou who thinkest to seek Me, know that thy seeking and
yearning shall avail thee not unless thou knowest the Mystery.
If that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee,
thou wilt never find it without.

For behold, I have been with thee from the beginning; and
I am that which is attained at the end of desire."

- from Doreen Valiente's "Charge of the Goddess"

I'm not Wiccan. I started out on that road though, and what I learned there is deeply influential on my spiritual path. I've thought about joining a coven, preferably something a bit BTW (British Traditional Witchcraft.) The opportunity doesn't exist near me.

June is Pagan Values Month for a bunch of Pagan Bloggers. Last year, I really enjoyed reading all the entries. The sheer wealth of sources for values, ethics and morals that exists for Pagans is wide ranging and diverse. Shall we look to Cato? to the words of the Egyptian Book of the Dead? to the Nine Virtues of the Asatruar?

Warrior virtues. Earthy virtues. Values born out of the Laws of Nature.

As my Pagan Values series, I am looking to the Charge of the Goddess, as was written by Doreen Valiente, inspite of not being Wiccan myself.

" Therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion,
honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you."

These are part of my code of values. Over the next few weeks. I will talk about each of these.

Values are not neat and clean, but diverse and challenging.

We are given to find out what is right and true. To listen to our deepest self, the part of our life that can hear the voice of the Divine. This takes hard work, honesty and the ability to accept that sometimes we won't act appropriately.

We will make mistakes.

The importance is how we deal with those errors. We pick ourselves up and make amends. We check and see if we have lived up to the virtues that we hold close. Then we let go, and do better.

It's a process, a journey.

In so doing, we become a better person, a better child of the Gods.

The hardest part is letting go. I am terrible about it. I cycle through the past in replay, and it's a dangerous and dismal thing to do.

But we can do it.

The trick lies within Compassion.

Compassion is a virtue that can be found in every religion that I have met. Whether it be Jesus talking about the Good Samaritan or the Dalai Lama sharing his wisdom about loving kindness.

Compassion is about empathy, about being able to see the perspective of others.

"Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival." - The Dalai Lama

"The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another." - Thomas Merton

"No man is a true believer unless he desireth for his brother that which he desireth for himself." - Muhammad

More relevant for my purpose here, however is Pema Chodron:
"Compassionate action involves working with ourselves as much as working with others."

When we err, we must look to compassion. Rather than battering ourselves with the past, we must have compassion for ourselves.

This is hard.

In Kemetic, ancient Egyptian, thinking, the act of abusing yourself is called eating your heart. You are lost in thought, thinking about the future and then your mind turns towards past mistakes and before you know it, you have a great big bite of yourself, and you are chewing it to bits.

Let go. Honor yourself with compassion.

"Hail, Bast, coming forth from the secret place, I have not eaten my heart."
- The Negative Confessions

May the Gods light your way.