Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Finding spirit in nature

Perspectives: Finding spirit in nature
By Harry Dorman

Within the Wiccan faith, earth, nature and natural processes represent deity through which Wiccans align with the central realm of spirit where all faiths ultimately meet as equals.

For this reason, Wiccans choose to worship in nature settings as a rule rather than the exception, with the majority of of sacred events in the Wiccan religious year being held outdoors.

One such holy day is Lammas ("la-mahs"), also known as Lughnasadh ("loo-nah-sod"), which occurs in the early days of August, when followers of nature-based religions in the Northern Hemisphere celebrate the first harvest of the growing season.

Lammas is rooted in ancient Celtic practices dating back considerably more than 2,000 years and is a time of thanking Divine Spirit and the Earth Mother for once again bringing forth life in many forms.

This past weekend, as thousands of Pagans and Wiccans across the nation observed Lammas, Pagans from northwest lower Michigan gathered in a private nature setting near Traverse City where families worked together to build a community celebration. A special worship ceremony co-facilitated by a Wiccan priest and priestess took place Aug. 1 within a large outdoor circle surrounded by woods and hills — and charged with love, trust, peace, equality, humility and humor.

From a Wiccan perspective, it was a truly safe and sacred place in which to follow one's faith.

While such occasions do include serious and meaningful religious expression, they are indeed celebratory in nature offering abundant food and libation, workshops, games, music, drumming, dancing and much more. It is the eloquent balance between all aspects of the gathering that drives its higher nature. It is a celebration of life, our religion and religious diversity itself.

Blessed be such things.

Traverse City resident Rev. Harry C. Dorman is an ordained Wiccan priest and minister associated with Circle Sanctuary of Barneveld, Wis. He is a co-founder of the Area Council On Religious Diversity.

--published in the Traverse City Record-Eagle on August 7th, 2009.

Monday, February 2, 2009

ACORD founding principles

1. Belief in, and active support of, Freedom of Religion as guaranteed in our Constitution's First Amendment rights, including the right to follow no religion.

2. Belief in and active support of the concept that no single religion, faith tradition or spiritual practice is right for everyone.

3. Belief in and active support of the concept that no single religion, faith tradition or spiritual practice is more, or less, valid than another.

4. Belief in and active support of the separation of Church and State.

5. Knowing that as the Earth's most religiously diverse nation, it is crucial that the United States' many faiths work together to build better interfaith communication, understanding, trust, respect, and cooperation. Serving the community in this manner shall help bring about healing on an individual, community, national and planetary scale.

ACORD's mission

The mission of the Area Council On Religious Diversity (ACORD) is that of community service through:

1. Working for the advancement of better communication, understanding, trust, respect, and cooperation among the many faiths of our community.

2. Acting as a voice for education and illumination concerning local, national, or planetary faith-related issues.

3. Working in support of our First Amendment Rights under the U.S. Constitution regarding Freedom of Religion including the right to follow no religion.

4. Working in support of Human Rights in general.