artist : Giovanni Franceso, Hercules and Omphale, located in the Hermitage in St.Petersburg, Russia

I hope you won't mind if I get a little testy. Not that it would stop me, but it might spoil your day and there's no need for that.

One of the many things that absolutely gets under my skin is observing, as I go into the "Pagan" category of the Yahoogroup member listings, how many of the listings belong to the oversexed. By this, I don't mean those with healthy libidos, but those who seem positively obsessed with the subject to the point of behaving in a compulsive and joyless fashion. "Click here to see my happy joyspot". "Dear child, please put on some clothing" is my first thought. Part of a healthy libido is understanding the value of a little restraint and a lot of anticipation.

Then I look in a search engine and most of what appears under "Pagan" seems to be graphically tasteless sexual material. I can not help but be amazed. Gaze upon the arts, the literature and all else that remains of Classical Paganism, and one can't help but notice that restraint (and yes, good taste) seem to manage to find their way into so much of what the ancients did. What a shame that so many of us, their descendents, have had so much trouble following in their footsteps.

Education of Amor, Francois Boucher

The truth that some have had such difficulty accepting is that in following divinities who have an interest in love and sexuality, our purpose as Western Polytheists is not to drag the Divine down to the level of the brothel, but to remind the worshipper that wherever we go, we carry that spark of the Divine within us and we ought to bring a touch of that Divine nobility into whatever it is that we do. Sexuality, most of all, because as much as some might think it sophisticated to refer to it as being a "mere bodily function", it is the drive that brings us together with our mates, gives us the passion that grows into familial love, makes families possible, binds society together and in that way allows the will of the gods to enter the world.

Young Girl Defending Herself Against Eros, Adolphe-William Bouguerau

Bumping and grinding, indeed. When, as we've seen some (who shall remain nameless) referring to prostitution as "sacred sexuality", we can't help but wonder who they've been worshipping and if a light sprinkling of Holy Water might drive them away. Sacred sexuality, properly speaking, is best found in the relationship between a husband and wife, or those at least on their way to someday becoming such, and it is based in love and respect. By truly embracing it, we call on ourselves to live by a higher standard than the rest of society, not a lower one. We may speak openly of mature issues, when in adult company, and there are lists such as Illinois Adult Pagans for such purposes. But like the ancients who viewed the drunken bouts of the barbarians with revulsion, we know when to say when, and when not to start at all.

Please keep that in mind as you visit the Chicago area, and connect to the local community via lists such as the Wild Onion Network, Chicago Judeo-Pagans or the new Hellenic Pagan Chicago. A little openmindedness will go a long way, but a little respect for those you meet will go even further.

The Pagan Pride Web Ring

The Pagan Pride Web Ring
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