My Heart is a Temple and My Religion is Love
“My heart has become capable of every form; it is a pasture for gazelles and a convent for Christian monks, and a temple for idols and the pilgrim’s Ka’ba, and the tablets of the Torah and the book of the Koran. I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love’s camels take, that is my religion and my faith.” – Ibn Al-Arabi
Wow right? That is what I said when I first read this quote recently. I was so inspired by the imagery and message in this Al-Arabi quote! How much more peace and happiness would we have in the world if everyone followed the religion of love instead of religions of hate, intolerance, segregation? I think this quote is great food for thought and an opportunity for us Pagans to take a look at ourselves and our religious community. Are we a religion of love? Are we offering up ourselves and our services to all people and to all religions?
I was reading through a list of Pagan jokes yesterday and one of them was a list of “you might be giving Pagans a bad name if…” things. The surprising thing about that list is that a lot of Pagans I know do the things on that list and the things listed are things that could potentially really turn people off to Paganism. Ironically many of the traits listed are things that other (meaning non-Pagan) religious people also do, and they are the same things that the Pagan community often complains about. It always makes me sad when I see some of the things I disliked about Christianity creeping into the Pagan community. We need to be careful that we do not allow our religion to become as closed minded and closed off as some of the other religions have!
When people think of words like intolerance, hate, or segregation I would hope that they do not immediately think of Pagans or Paganism! I have seen many a Pagan who think that just because they are open to the GBLT community that means they are tolerant and loving people. Are those same Pagans as tolerant and loving towards Christians or Muslims though? Would a Christian feel as welcomed at a Pagan event as a gay person would? Are Pagans separating themselves from the “mainstream”, just like so many Christians claim to do? Or are Pagans a part of this world, integrated with the many diverse people and religions of this planet? We are not separate from the mainstream because the mainstream is made up of people, just like Paganism is made up of people! We are all living on this planet earth together. We may worship the Divine in different ways, but we are all still Divinely created! Let us work towards making sure our Pagan community is a community of love, tolerance, and unity! I think it would be beautiful if one day we could all claim the religion of love. A day when people not only associate Pagans with the word love, but that they associate all people and religions with the word love! It is time for us Pagans to offer our hearts up as temples for all and to live out a religion of love!