Updated: Mar 5, 2018
I get asked this quite often: Kristan, you're not shy about the fact that you're Pagan (specifically, Wiccan) but you're also not shy about being very pro peer-reviewed science. How do you reconcile two vastly different worlds?
If you actually read the title of my post, that should be explanation enough.
I am not a scientist. I didn't go through university for anything STEM related, but my Dad and my Mom did. I also graduated out of high school and I had to take (and enjoyed) numerous courses in science. My favourite channel on TV happens to be the Discovery Channel. I follow the blog IFLS because I enjoy watching "woo" get taken down.
But I also happen to follow a faith and sometimes the two don't mix.
Except it really should... and I'm not talking about going on a campaign to make our political leaders sit up and take notice of our delicate little feelings because the big bad scientists are out to take away our faith.
Because here's a hard truth: If you're actually following the Lord and Lady, and nature, then you should be paying very close attention to both climate scientists... and other scientists even if you don't like what you're hearing. They study how our world works and that knowledge is ever evolving as they unravel more and more about how things work. That's why what was true thirty years ago isn't exactly the same as it now when it comes to medicine, technology, climate... everything.
Let me put it this way. If what was true thirty years ago in technology science was still true today, we would not have smartphones and FaceBook to perpetrate the woo based on thirty... forty, fifty... or older... science that has been since built on and new things discovered because that's how this all works. We would still be using black and white fuzzy TVs. We would still be be using land lines and needing to wait weeks, if not months, to find out what the newest thing in Sears is or for a letter from Grandma to arrive with our birthday money. We would not have PayPal, Bitcoin, or the ability to use Interac. We would not have FaceBook to keep in instant contact with our friends.
There would be no email. No internet.
Climate science is the same thing. You can't bury your head in the sand and say that things on our world isn't changing. As a Pagan, I can sense that. As someone who believes in science, I can see the facts presented to me. And even if I was a climate change denier (and I'm not), I have a huge problem with wasteful actions when there is a better, more effective, and prudent option available to us that happens to also be renewable... especially when it doesn't take up any more room physically or on land that would otherwise be barren. I also recycle, reuse, re-purpose and compost because, "Waste not, want not". If you're a climate denier, at least repeat the following mantra to yourself: WASTE NOT, WANT NOT.
The rest of us will at least be able to live with you.
As a sailor on top of this, if anyone comes to me and says that things aren't changing, I'm going to slap you with a rotting fish (figuratively) until sense comes out. I can tell you that my sailing season has no shortage of WTF moments because of weather patterns being out of whack, and interesting flooding situations around anywhere with a shore line that didn't exist before.
And now for my favourite (or least favourite) woo - dealing with the homeopathic bullsh*t and anti-vaxxer. I have to say I don't love this but for some reason whenever it comes up in the news about someone exercising their "religious" freedom to refuse medical advice or vaccines for some ungodly reason the first thing that comes up is that they're claiming to be Wiccan.
*cue sound of gagging from Kristan, who is a Wiccan, here*
I don't know where to even start here, whether it's the questionable claim to being Pagan and/or Wiccan or the anti-vaxxer bit. Either one is enough to make we want to gouge my eyes out with spoons, but when it's both... yeah, I'm just going to have to shake my head in disbelief for a moment.
First off, no study (even one funded by the anti-vax movement) proved there was a link between autism and vaccines. In fact, it's been the complete and total opposite.
My grandmother lived through the times where the iron lung was a thing. You want to know what ended that?
Yes, it seems like there are loads of new vaccines, but if you bothered to read this far, then you know that science is constantly evolving thing. We learn so much each day to build on what we knew before that what we know now, thanks to science, has pushed us further than we thought possible.
If you are Wiccan or Pagan, and you say you follow Mother Earth, then please learn to listen to those who dedicate their lives to knowing her as a doctor knows your body.
And now for the flip side of the coin.
There are numerous scientists (and science blogs) who love to make fun of us who read Tarot, use crystals as part of ritual, etc. They blame us for the rising cost of basic geodes and crystals.
Okay, fair, there is a hack who loves to make things overpriced because of the sacred chocolate and use Avocado as a middle name and not a food, and there are those who like to scam people, however, I would like to point something out.
Yes, my crystal pendants and jewelry are perhaps making quartz a bit more expensive than it's generally supposed to be but, let me point this out:
It is a generally accepted fact that clay, and what elements go into creating paint, are basically worthless on their own.
But you would never call a Picasso worthless. You would not call a sculpture by Michelangelo worthless, or anything by Da Vinci worthless. Yes, the clay, the rock, and the paint cost very little but the art created by it is priceless.
The same for local artisans. Just because the beads, the wire, and the tools cost less than $20 individually, does it mean the work that went into that art is only worth what the individual pieces are worth?
The same thing is true when it comes to the quartz and other crystals we like to use. Often, we aren't just using the crystals as decoration (although, they are pretty by themselves) but it's how we set them up and the patterns. Many of us make jewelry and other artwork with them that just happens to be inspired by our system of belief... and sometimes not. Sometimes it just looked pretty to put the pink one with the blue and white one and it looked really neat when we made it look like a Steampunk decoration...
As to the use of ritual and ceremony... there is a certain comfort to marking the passage of time. We do it anyway when we celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, or when great things happened. When terrible things happened, we commemorate and remember them to hopefully prevent them from happening again.
Wiccans do the same thing only we also follow and revere the changing of seasons and the patterns of nature. Axial tilt is a huge event for us, both instances of it, as is other points where the seasons change, or when planting is done.
Understandably, as a faith, some of it may seem strange or funny to others outside of it, even if they have a faith of their own.
Ours is just different but no less valid.
All we do is celebrate what scientists study and learn about.
There are no sides. We're on the same side, or we should be.
I'd hate to say it, but those who reject the science in favour of woo that has been disproved, or even proved harmful, need to take a giant reality check, pull the crap out of their ears and listen to what our Mother is saying to them. At the same time, it would be great if the scientists who paint us all with the same brush would please stop that too. Most of us follow science because, well... it's our planet too and we want to know how she works so we can continue to live here, and live well.
Crystal images - freestock.com
Stonehenge - Andrew Dunn
(used under Creative Commons license, attribution required. Photographer not associated with this site and may not share the same opinion as the author.)