[Imc-bigmuddy] Imbolc interview with Tara
bethemedia at alliedaccess.net
Wed Feb 2 19:08:05 PST 2005
Thanks for the info Treesong. Sorry I didn't mention the solitaires outside
of SIPA, which I totally shoulda done in hindsight. Also, your media angle
is great (he says sheepishly being on a media radio show). Let's absolutley,
positively flesh that out for Beltane if that's okay. April 27 sound good?
Plus, we can can cover the solitaries too. Sound okay?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Treesong" <treesong at treesong.org>
To: "Big Muddy IMC - Discussion" <imc-bigmuddy at lists.indymedia.org>
Sent: Wednesday, February 02, 2005 11:56 AM
Subject: [Imc-bigmuddy] Imbolc interview with Tara
> Hello all,
> Thank you for doing a show about Imbolc. There are actually hundreds of
> us in Southern Illinois -- perhaps even several thousand -- who
> celebrate this and other Pagan holidays in some form. SIPA is a large
> organization that celebrates such holidays through public rituals. There
> are also an equal or greater number of "solitaries" and small Pagan
> groups who celebrate it independently of SIPA. So, this is a big day --
> newsworthy material for our region, if you ask me. And yet, we're still
> at the point where none of the other media outlets even acknowledge its
> existence, and few non-Pagans are even aware of its existence. So,
> covering it in the independent media is very appropriate, and creates
> the opportunity for community dialog.
> I listened to the entire show, and I'd like to add a few details of my
> own for those who missed it or are looking for more information. At the
> end of this email's information, I include a few of my personal thoughts
> on local/regional media and Paganism.
> But first, here's a website about Groundhog Day:
> *** The Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groundhog%27s_day
> The story behind Groundhog's Day is actually related to folk
> meteorology. February 2nd is roughly the midpoint between Winter
> Solstics and Spring Equinox. Therefore, depending on your climate, it's
> approximately the time when the weather starts transitioning toward
> Spring weather. However, people living in agricultural societies in
> Europe wanted something a bit more precise than "approximately." So,
> they observed the weather and noticed a general correlation:
> *** If it's sunny on February 2nd, then the cold, dry days of Winter are
> still here. The Spring rains haven't come yet, so it's too early to
> start preparing for the Spring. However, if it's rainy or even cloudy on
> February 2nd, then the earliest Spring rains have arrived, and the
> weather will soon be warmer and wetter. So, it's time to start preparing
> for Spring.
> The whole bit about the groundhog was mostly just a cute cultural story
> that "explains" this bit of folk meteorology. Some farmers who don't
> care a lick about Pagan religion or may even be conservative Christians
> still see this "Groundhog's Day" as important information today. I've
> been told that some farmers take this even further -- rather than having
> the outcome of February 2 predict the next six weeks, they have this be
> the first of three days spaced out evenly over those six weeks. This
> provides several checkpoints, which provides more accuracy, which is
> very important when trying to plan for the growing season.
> Judging by the weather today, chances are very good for an early Spring.
> Then again, with climate change in the air, I suppose that it may start
> hailing fire any day now.
> Now, on a related topic... here are two great websites about Imbolc:
> * The Wikipedia article on Imbolc: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imbolc
> * The WitchVox articles on Imbolc:
> Many Pagans believe that the Christian holiday of Candlemas is a
> Christianized version of Imbolc. Tara mentioned this belief on the show.
> In reality, though, Candlemas is one of the few "Pagan Parallel"
> Christian holidays that has evidence of an origin independent of the
> Pagan holiday. Imbolc was primarily celebrated in Ireland, while
> Candlemas has its origins, along with very early Christianity, in the
> Middle East. Of course, all "post-Pagan" religions arguably have roots
> in the Pagan religions that preceded them. And certainly, as
> Christianity spread throughout Europe and ultimately into Ireland, the
> holiday of Candlemas became the Christianized version of Imbolc. But in
> the interest of fairness, I try to be careful not to make too many
> Now, on a related topic... here is my online shrine to Brighid, the
> Goddess associated with this holiday who was mentioned by Tara:
> * http://treesong.org/brighid/
> This holiday is a major one for most Pagans, but it has special
> importance to me due to the fact that Brighid is my "matron deity" -- a
> Goddess who means a great deal to me and is a focal point for much of my
> spiritual practice. She has been "Christianized" in the form of Saint
> Brigid. However, she is rather uncommon among Goddesses and Saints in
> that Christians and Pagans are coming together in her name to promote
> interfaith peace and understanding.
> Finally, I have a few important thoughts to share about Pagans in the
> Southern Illinois media. So if you've been snoozing through the Pagan
> history information, wake back up for some media commentary!
> On the one hand, it's true that as Tara mentioned, I've never seen a
> newspaper article or TV news story specifically attacking or smearing
> Pagans. There's plenty of that in private churches and conservative
> religious programming [700 club on local TV? Conservatives on local
> radio?], but not so much in the official news stories of big public
> media outlets.
> On the other hand, this is not to say that coverage of the Pagan
> community has always been positive!
> The Southern Illinoisan, along with other papers, has printed many
> letters to the editors complaining about Pagans. It would be interesting
> to do an analysis of these letters to see whether pro-Pagan or
> anti-Pagan letters are given more space, which might indicate a bias.
> That, however, would be a minor issue of editorial bias. The more
> important media bias that I see lies in the way that Paganism is treated
> in actual news stories.
> Paganism is seldom if ever treated with open hostility. Quite often,
> though, Pagan-related news is treated either as a "fluff piece" or as a
> "News of the Weird" story.
> For example, every Halloween, they love to do stories about Witches.
> Some of these are fairly decent, and move quickly from stereotypes to
> real discussions of religious diversity. But others simply like a fun
> and spooky story about ghosts and goblins and people with pointy hats
> who do magic on Halloween. Don't get me wrong -- I still enjoy the
> holiday of Halloween too, and some of that attitude in a news story is
> to be expected, since for most people, it's not at all a serious
> holiday. But having what is arguably my most profound spiritual holiday
> treated as a "News of the Weird" story sometimes rubs me the wrong way.
> I don't necessarily fault them for it, but I don't consider it
> "positive" coverage either.
> For another example, there is SIPA's most recent Beltaine ritual.
> Someone from my Coven was leading the ritual for SIPA, so I had a
> prominent role in the ritual myself, and was very aware of how the day
> unfolded. To my chagrin, a local TV news crew was there, taking video
> footage of some of us that went beyond the privacy guidelines we had
> agreed to -- i.e., ask consent before showing anyone's faces, don't
> distract us during the ritual, etc. I never did get to see a tape of
> their news story, but from reading the transcript and talking to friends
> who saw it, it's very clear to me that they did a "News of the Weird"
> story about a bunch of Pagans going out into the park to do titillating
> fertility rituals. I think that the news crew was hoping we'd get naked
> and get busy -- but even though we disappointed them in that regard,
> they still managed to present Beltaine as a lustful fertility ritual
> rather than a holiday that also has a deeper meaning. Granted, Beltaine
> is a holiday with a focus on sex, sexuality, and fertility -- but
> there's a world of difference between the actual meaning of this day and
> the way that it was presented in the media.
> So, on the one hand, the corporate media has done a good thing by not
> actively presenting Pagans as people who eat babies or hold Black
> Sabbaths where they make sweet burnin' love to Satan. Having a dozen
> relatively positive stories a year that DON'T support those stereotypes
> is a good thing. And yet... they still have so far to go if they are
> striving to present a "fair and balanced" perspective. This is why I am
> grateful for independent media outlets like the Big Muddy IMC, where
> people of a "minority religion" or any other minority group can present
> their views from their own perspective rather than being painted as
> weird or exotic as they are viewed through the eye of the Other.
> Anyway, there's my two cents. Now, I'm off to celebrate the day... have
> a happy Imbolc, or Groundhog's Day, or "Cold, Rainy, Midweek Blues" Day...
> Love and Healing,
> IMC-BigMuddy mailing list
> IMC-BigMuddy at lists.indymedia.org
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