Lightness, Darkness, and Pagan Values.

There’s something that I keep seeing that kind of drives me nuts. The idea that “light” is better than “dark” and/or (more accurately) the use of “light” and “dark” as synonyms for “good” and “evil”.

I can look to the ancestors and the weather, of course, and recognize that – in a situation where predators tend to be nocturnal and fires keep them away; or, before central heating and grocery stores, when the dark end of the year came with hunger and killing cold curled in its shadows – the Dark would definitely qualify as dangerous, as something to approach with caution and well-preparedness.

That’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about a very binary-dualistic dichotomy that fits better with Abrahamic and certain New Age (“newage”?) streams than it does with NeoPagan faiths whose gods are in and of the earth; whose calendar starts in the buried bulbs and ends in the compost of the year.

I was talking to a friend, eons ago, who asked me how long one had to be Pagan before one stopped swearing like a Christian. I think this is a similar situation. NeoPagans are a pretty new group, and by and large we tend to be very big on freedom of religion — which means that, even when some folks are raising their babies up as polytheists, our umbrella is still largely made up of religions of converts. And, by and large, the religions we’re leaving are Abrahamic — we’re extrapolating backwards to find the Heathen imagery in our families’ Christmas traditions; or trying to re-work Rosh Hodesh so it fits with our Goddess Spirituality.

And I think it’s that, as much as the fact that (here in Canada, at least) the dominant cultural (secular) paradigm is, whether we want to recognize it or not, based in a Christian cosmology and axiology. The stuff sticks in your head, whether you want it to or not, and it comes up at inopportune times like any time you aren’t watching yourself for it.

So I have a question for you, if you’re reading this. How do you handle it? How do you acknowledge the dangers that come with the dark – whether we’re talking about monsters under the bed, out on the moor, or in your unconscious mind – while also recognizing that good things come from the dark – the creative unconscious, the womb (human or otherwise), the depths of the ground – as well?

Leave me a comment and let me know.

Meliad the Birch Maiden

One response to “Lightness, Darkness, and Pagan Values.

  1. Pingback: L is for Listening – Pagan Blog Project 2013 | Urban Meliad

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