Faith and flexibility

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Feeling the change in climate conditions has reminded me of some thoughts I’ve had in the past about religion and values. Followers of the Wiccan faith are likely to have celebrated the Spring Equinox recently. It makes sense to observe and possibly celebrate seasonal changes. Such an outlook suggests that the celebrants are aiming to be at one with nature, which should be a good thing.

I was once involved in a production of a Mummer’s play, out in West Sussex. The play didn’t have much music in it.  I performed as an actor. We managed to get a fair number of young local people interested in an aspect of English culture that existed before the arrival of Christian values in England and Britain as a whole.

It was probably over ten years ago, so I have forgotten the sequence of events in the drama. I do remember that there was a dominant Earth Mother type character in the narrative. A male character expressed strong feelings of opposition to her influence over the community and in his first appearance in a scene, described her as a “witch”.

As it happens, the performer that played the opposing male character has a daughter who is a Wiccan adherent. His daughter objected to the term “witch” being used in a pejorative way, so he had to think another epithet to hurl at the Earth Mother. The ensemble of performers accepted that the Wiccan views should be respected and we moved on from there.

Isn’t it interesting that in the heart of England, folks could easily accept this notion and act accordingly, yet amongst Africans, who are more recent in accepting of Abrahamic faiths (introduced to them by English missionaries, amongst others), there is a strong intolerance of the values of those who adhere to our original indigenous belief systems?