A Letter on Lineage: Today I Cried
Written by Life Temple and Seminary Founder and Elder, Laith Angus Min (before his death in 2011)
Today, I ran across a local Christian television station which was featuring old Southern religious songs by a Bluegrass Gospel group. I sat bound to my seat with sentiment flowing throughout my body – not for the songs being sung, nor for the quality or type of the music, but for their joy and emotional connections to the renditions. My memory ran back about sixty or so years to when I first heard our people sing to the Gods. As I journeyed away, remembering a lost time long-forgotten, I was suddenly brought back to reality as there was something hot rushing down my right cheek. I swatted at it and drew away several burning tears that had begun a cascade of their own. Then I wailed at the loss for our people – a loss of emotion; a loss of joy; a loss of our sense of being, and most of all – for that which we say we are. A great sadness came and overshadowed me – not sadness for that which we once were – but for what we no longer are.
I do not communicate very much with other groups now-a-days, but the one thing of which I have recently become intensely aware is this: I do not know where we are…but I do know where we are not – and that is a long way from where we should already be. Our people do not know how to heal, as the doctors and clinics take care of that part of our responsibility. Our parents no longer trust their own instincts, turning to the volumes of child-rearing books available… applying the advice within, as our children become less and less manageable and delve daily into drugs, promiscuous sex, and crime with a passion. Half or more of our own people would starve to death if they were charged to rely upon the food from their own gardens and trees. Mention the ritual of sacrificing an animal for food and someone threatens to call PETA and save the poor animal from your dinner table.
Can you weave? Can you knit? Or – even more simply… can you cook simple, basic foods that are both filling and nourishing? Bored with the program, I switched to another station and there saw several women dancing in the spirit to their Lord. I wondered: when was the last time one of our Ladies became overcome emotionally, surrendered to her desires, and danced before the Goddess with all her might (as did Miriam, the sister of Moses, in an old part of their book)? It has been decades since I witnessed one of our infants (under a year old) being immersed into the waters of the Great Mother and then being brought forth and presented to the Lord of the Banks; the mother asking their guidance for her child and herself in raising the infant. Our children now have no ritual at their naming, no ritual at their coming-of-age, very few have a rightful hand-fasting, and most of our older Ladies are never honored with the title “Crone”. And when we pass to wherever it is we go these days, must we call someone and see if they “might happen to have” something we can read or say that doesn’t sound too Pagan at the funeral? Yes, I cried – TWICE!
We must bring back the old ways. Those emotions that once sustained and fostered and cultivated the hearts, lives, and minds of our people are gone; I hope it is not forever or we, as a religion, are doomed to extinction! Where are the ways of doing things that can be sensibly applied in our modern life? We must seek out the few remaining elders who are still willing to share basic information…information which was once available freely to any and all our children, and now seems to have become selfishly guarded with almost a vengeance. We must cease attempting to make Crafte conform to modern science and await that science to catch up with our knowledge of the operation of the universe, which we have had for years. Pomp and circumstance have to give away to logic and reason again… and it has to happen now! Our children have to learn to feel emotion other than anger at the loss of a video game; they must have a well-founded personal relationship with the Gods, a committed link to deity which cannot be broken because that individual connective link was formed by their emotional private spirit – not by logical teachings delivered by someone who has never felt the Goddess run over his or her body like waves of electricity.
We need to kick about half to three-fourths of current asses out from Crafte before we begin to add any more names to our little black books as students. We are rotting from within and those bad apples are stinking up the entire barrel, folks! What happened to those oaths we ALL took to preserve, protect, and defend the Crafte by any and all means possible, even unto the shedding of our blood and unto our deaths? I suppose those too got altered as they “may have sounded a bit “too harsh”” for modern ears to hear. Let me tell you right now; I am an old man, wracked by pain and almost incapable of walking from my home to my mailbox – but if my Lady called me 3:00AM and asked me to come to her, I would not question why; I would put on my clothes and start walking – no if’s, no and’s, and no but’s…period. If I knew that I would die on the journey, I would still begin to walk, just because she asked me to do it. We still need that degree of commitment; excuses are simply that – damned excuses and I for one, am tired of hearing them! There are ways to teach this connection: music, dancing, and drumming are but a few. I have seen ninety year old women who were so arthritic they could barely walk, dance to the Goddess unrestricted for hours.
I have known men, who by merely holding a handful of soil in their hands, forecast where the game was to be hunted that very day, and when they got to the location – it was there. I have seen a lost child become found by its mother who saw the heat imprints from the tracks where her child’s feet had touched the earth hours earlier and she followed those tracks until her baby was located. I have seen my mother wet her finger, hold it up in the air, and know exactly what time it was going to start raining. I have seen our men touch a hog that was suffering from cholera, and that animal rise up healed… and two years later, eat that hog, and it was good meat too! Most of us are not Buddhists nor of Native origin, so why do we chant? I am not of Eastern Indian ethnicity, so why do we do the sacred Aums of Buddhism? Our people need to know the uses and non-uses of spirit and how to sensibly apply that knowing in their daily life. We must teach them how to use vibrations and how to construct musical chords and tones to accomplish their needs and desires, rather than tell them to use their cords (cingulum) and work medieval Crafte of Fire mumbo-jumbo useless crap. Practical magic is pure logic, functionally applied emotionally, not some willy-nilly whatever happens, happens…snafu.
And perhaps, and most importantly of all: we need to bring the joy and laughter that is charged us back to ritual and into our daily lives – for when religion no longer serves the needs of its people and their children, it dies slowly away, becoming hidden underneath hierocracy and hypocrisy.
Lastly, we must learn again how to be humble, for we have been arrogant too long. If there is none to serve, how do we serve? This responsibility of unchanging love, called “being a minister”, is not a chosen task for most of us – it is not an option we decided to opt. This job is, or it is in my case, that which I am, must be, and one from which I cannot shy away. Step on a few toes; say that which we mean; we must take each others hands – we have to re-band – we need to dance again and make merry, bringing the joy received from unfettered servitude, back to the religion. There is no second chance to save Crafte – no reprieve. This our vigilant love, our hope for lasting life, our veiled and secreted faith, our personal individual responsibility – or do you have something of more importance to do today?
Laith Angus Min 12 March 2010