Interview with a pagan.

Posted: January 26, 2009 in Christian, church, faith, life, love, paganism, Personal, Religion, Thoughts, wicca, wisdom, witch, women

Jonolan is a self described Pagan who serves the war and death godess Morigu and the hunter god Cerrnunos. This interview is posted with his permission. Comments are welcome here and you can also find his blog at http://blog.jonolan.net/

Nancy (10:16 AM):  Hello, jonolan! Do you have time to chat this morning?

Nancy (10:27 AM):  Some other time.

jonolan (10:37 AM):  OK

Nancy (10:48 AM):  Are you available now?

jonolan (10:48 AM):  yes

Nancy (10:49 AM):  Super! I am intrigued how you got into grief counseling. I am interested in counseling as well.

jonolan (10:50 AM):  It was a strange and uplanned vocation on my part

Nancy (10:50 AM):  Did you receive any training?

jonolan (10:51 AM):  Some, later after I’d been doing it for a while

jonolan (10:51 AM):  It’s a fairly new form of counseling – insofar as any standards are concerned.

Nancy (10:52 AM):  How does grif counseling fit with your view of your life’s purpose as a warrior for your gods?

jonolan (10:54 AM):  It fit well – especially after the 1st time I was part of the detail that handed a flag to a young widow in trade for her husband, who’d been my close friend

Nancy (10:55 AM):  Hmm, I had suspected that you served in the military. That must have been very hard for you. Where did you find comfort at that time?

jonolan (10:57 AM):  I found comfort in my faith and it gave me the strength to lend comfort to the others. You see, we don’t have Pagan chaplains in the military, so I served as an unofficial one

Nancy (10:57 AM):  I see. How did you choose your gods? What criteria did you use?

jonolan (10:59 AM):  It’s more like they chose me. I wasn’t really looking for them. It’s hard to explain other than just a knowing and a feeling – like when many Christians read or hear scripture

Nancy (10:59 AM):  OK, why do you suppose they chose you?

jonolan (11:01 AM):  I think it is because I am a useful tool for them. My nature is that of a fighter and defender, though there’s always the strain of choosing which fight and how to prosecute it in a way that achieve the greatest good while doing least harm

Nancy (11:02 AM):  You mentioned that your faith gave you comfort, what do you have faith in?

jonolan (11:04 AM):  That what we see as death is only the death of the flesh and we – in some form – will continue, that a life given up in service is not a wasted one

Nancy (11:04 AM):  What makes your service valued?

jonolan (11:05 AM):  I don’t quite understand what you’re asking, sorry

Nancy (11:06 AM):  If your life has value because you can serve a god, what value has someone without that ability?

Nancy (11:07 AM):  I suppose another way to ask is, what determines your value?

jonolan (11:09 AM):  Ahhh – I feel a person’s value in the end will be determined by what the strove to accomplish, why they did so, and how well they strove to do so (as opposed to wheter or not they were empirically successful)

Nancy (11:09 AM):  If you were chosen by your gods because of your value, what happens when you are no longer of use to them?

jonolan (11:10 AM):  Hopefully, I will be allowed to “retire” as it were and rest in peace (pun not intended)

Nancy (11:10 AM):  Who or what determines your value?

Nancy (11:11 AM):  Is there some universal standard by which we are all measured?

jonolan (11:11 AM):  The Gods will render their judgment of me on this life when it ends.

Nancy (11:12 AM):  and what standard do they use? You must have some idea of what you should be striving for.

jonolan (11:13 AM):  I would say that there there is a universal standard, but I would also say that it is probably both so prosaic and so profound that we mortals won’t fully understand it during our lives.

jonolan (11:14 AM):  I believe the standard is – at least somewhat – how well you served Good in your heart in the fashion that you were made to do so. By that I mean how well you tried to do so.

Nancy (11:14 AM):  How do you determine what is good?

jonolan (11:17 AM):  For me it’s simple – possibly too simple – that which serves to help the human soul grow and thrive.

Nancy (11:18 AM):  And are you the one who determines what that is? In otherwords, is good relative?

jonolan (11:21 AM):  No, I’m not the one who determines that – but I am, as are we all, the one who must at times interprate what is Good vs. Evil. Is that relative? I’m not truly sure.

Nancy (11:24 AM):  Within the Christian worldview, we can know what good is because an objective universal standard exists by which to measure. Yes, that standard is infinite and finite minds fail to fully comprehend it. But that infinite good put on our limitations in the person of Jesus to reveal Himself to us. I can know what evil is because I know the standard of good. You are wise to say you do not determine what is good. What happens to you if your gods judge you unfavorably?

jonolan (11:27 AM):  That would involve torment – much like the Christian’s Hell – before eventual rebirth to try it again. Or – in the most drastic case the destruction of my soul and therefor oblivion.

Nancy (11:28 AM):  So do you live day to day without any security of your destiny?

jonolan (11:29 AM):  Yes. Don’t you? Jesus may love all, but even a loving parent must sometimes inflict harsh punishment…

jonolan (11:34 AM):  <- – BRB

Nancy (11:36 AM):  Christians are secure in their destiny because eternal life is a gift independent of my character or deeds. Salvation from eternal separation from God (hell) is entirely dependent upon the character of God and his love. If I do nothing to earn salvation, I can do nothing to lose it. My deeds and my character are evidence of His presence in my life, but His presence in my life is not dependent upon my deeds or my character. God compares himself to a parent often especially in the matter of discipline. Scripture agrees with you.“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” Heb 12:5- 6

Nancy (11:37 AM):  How do your gods disciple or guide you in this life? Through your feelings?

Nancy (11:40 AM):  From what I understand of pagan practices you have no “scriptures” but you design your own worship practices. How can you know that your behavior honors your gods?

jonolan (11:42 AM):  In this life I am punished by myself for my failings and by what I feel is the more mechanical process of recriprocity. Good begets Good and Evil begets Evil – not Karma exactly, but word will serve well enough

jonolan (11:43 AM):  As for guidance, yes I’m guided by my feelings – especially after prayer

jonolan (11:44 AM):  And your right – we have few iff any scriptures left to us. Even our oral traditions were most abolished under ROme .

Nancy (11:44 AM):  What do you think you did to deserve losing your friend?

Nancy (11:45 AM):  Good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people. How do you establish a connection?

jonolan (11:46 AM):  From a religious standpoint, nothing. When we are called to fight, some must die. That is a sacrifice that must be made and I don’t believe it’s meant as punishment.

jonolan (11:46 AM):  That was to the 2nd to the last question, BTW

jonolan (11:48 AM):  How do I establish a connection? Unles it’s something happening to me or someone I’m responsible for, I try not to make the connection. To do so, implies more knowledge or judgment than I have.

Nancy (11:49 AM):  What is death to you?

jonolan (11:50 AM):  Some odd combination of: going on leave, getting a performance review, and waking up from a dream.

Nancy (11:51 AM):  How do you know that you can have eternal life?

jonolan (11:52 AM):  That has been promised and is part of the traditions that we managed to hold on to.

jonolan (11:53 AM):  Call it faith if you will.

Nancy (11:54 AM):  How do your gods relate to what you are going through? How do they know suffering?

jonolan (11:56 AM):  I think my Gods relate to my suffering, such as it is, in the manner that parent reacts to their child going through a difficult but necessary time in life.

Nancy (11:59 AM):  That parent has experienced suffering himself so he can empathize as one who bears that pain with the child. But it seems that you are a pawn for your gods and they cannot empathize with you or comfort you as a parent would a child. I say this as an observant from what you have told me of your gods, not to be demeaning. How do your gods comfort you?

jonolan (12:04 PM):  I have been remiss in explanation then. My Gods have set me in harm’s way because they must. It is more of a parent sending their child off too war – or school – than a tyrant spending a pawn. I serve them true, but it is out of love; they are stern but not unloving. How do they offer me comfort though? They guide me to people and places that show me that what is happening has meaning and purpose.

jonolan (12:05 PM):  It doesn’t take much really. Sometimes just seeing families playing the parks and knowing that they have no clue about many of things I’ve een and done is enough.

Nancy (12:06 PM):  Do you see yourself as privvy to special revelation? How did you come to this revelation?

jonolan (12:08 PM):  No, I don’t see myself as privy to special revelation. Anyone can see the same things; they just have to look.

Nancy (12:09 PM):  What happens to all the people who do not see what you see?

jonolan (12:09 PM):  How do you mean?

Nancy (12:11 PM):  What happens to all the people who do not have your revelation or your understanding of reality? How are they judged by your gods?

jonolan (12:12 PM):  They do not serve my Gods; they will be judged by their own Gods and held to Their standards.

Nancy (12:13 PM):  How are people matched with gods?

Nancy (12:13 PM):  Are you saying they are judged according to the gods they choose? what if they do not choose a god?

jonolan (12:13 PM):  I really don’t know and it’s a question I ask myself fairly often.

jonolan (12:15 PM):  I’m saying that their Gods will judge them according to Their standards. I’m frankly unsure of what happens to those without Gods.

jonolan (12:15 PM):  I’ve got to go for about 20 minutes

jonolan (12:15 PM):  sorry

Nancy (12:16 PM):  That’s fine it’s been lovely talking with you this morning. Have a beautiful day, jonolan!

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