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Wanton Wolf
March 20th, 2009, 03:57 PM
Sorry if this is the wrong area to post this, but it seemed like the most relevant. I'm considering enlisting in the Navy, and was wondering what life inside the military was (or, is) like for other pagans. Is it pretty much vacant of pagans, or does it depend on the location? Are there any pagan chaplains? (I've done some looking around but have only noticed mention of one getting booted out.) Also, any advice would be helpful.

Anthony41671
March 20th, 2009, 04:01 PM
We're out there...just not all that vocally.

I can honestly say I've really only come into contact with a handfull of them in my 20 years of service.

As for Chaplains, no there aren't really any "official" ones. At this point, the big fight seems to be getting Pagan emblems on head stones.

I tend to just keep to myself and keep my religious opinions to myself.

Maybe some of the other military Pagans have seen it a different way...

jodarius
March 20th, 2009, 04:02 PM
I am in the army and its been no problem for me, and i make it clear that i am pagan

monsnoleedra
March 20th, 2009, 04:22 PM
I would think for the most part that it really is a difficult question to answer inregards to what you might find. The dificulty not being in one being Pagan / Heathen and in the military but in what one defines as being able to practice thier faith. To some extent just what they define their faith as.

If you expect to have edged weapons in your room, maybe maybe not. Definatley not on a ship unless it's in the control of the Master At Arms (MAA) until you check it out then return after usage. It all depends. The same is true of incents, alters, etc. The same falls true on whether you expect to have all your holidays off. Some do and encounter troubles others don't and have no problems with it.

Me I never asked for I knew that just as many other's wanted time off and they would not or could not get each one off. It really seemed stupid to me to think I should be different.

The same goes for meeting other Pagans / Heathens or groups that really fall into neither category but are not Abrahamic or son religions. I'm refering more to VooDoo, Santeria, etc type groups here.

Many bases have had or currently do have combined groups that meet or hold meetings. Some are very active and vocal other's not so much except to those that are contacted. Yet the presence of a group does not mean it will work for you or you feel comfortable within it.

I will state that many that I new or know in the military were on the warriors path and that their beliefs and practice were private. I/We/They did not seek out other's though we often found each other.

Many times our alters and such were contained within. We looked to our spirits, dieties, whatever for strength and support and did not post of it for it was our journey. It was between us and God / Goddess / him / her / them and needed no external observance.

Our honoring was done in private and often alone.

Just to give perspective I am a retired Navy Vet who served for 23 years. Having served at stateside training units, shore stations, overseas shore stations, surface platforms and subsurface platforms.

Not sure it answered your question but there it is.

Shawn Cameron
March 20th, 2009, 06:34 PM
As MonSno_LeeDra said it often depends not only on the base or branch but on you. What are you willing to do or not to do in your faith and practice? Because as much as I hate to say it, when you join the military the military comes first.

I have spoken to many Chaplinís however and they will do there best to help you, none are pagan but that is because in order to become a Chaplin you have to have the backing of an offal recognized organization and permission from both that organization and the government and there is no official pagan organization or group out there to offer a Chaplin to the military. That is why when the one converted to paganism he was discharged, it wasnít because he was pagan per say so much as he had lost the backing and permission that had aloud him to join in the first place, he was quite capable of enlisting as a civilian but could no longer work as a Chaplin.

Iím in the Coast Guard, though I have only been in for about 1 Ĺ years Iím a very open pagan who has talked to a few Chaplinís so far and have access to them now if you have any specific questions you would like me to relay.

Wanton Wolf
March 21st, 2009, 09:36 AM
Thanks for the replies. They've helped shed some light.

Some questions to further my understanding, and I apologize if they are somewhat personal:

How do you adapted pagan spiritual and magical practice to the military life? Like, spiritual rituals and magick for magick's sake - do these go out the window completely? I'm wondering about this stuff, because it occurs to me as an enlistee I'll be bunked with lots of other people, or living in cramped quarters. A lot of my practice as a novice may remain somewhat external...and also I just wonder about where meditation will fit in when privacy and quietude in such situations may be questionable.

Lastly, and this shows my ignorance of military, how exactly do Chaplains help pagans if they are not pagan themselves? I suppose, this could be reformatted to say, "What is the purpose and role of the Chaplains?" And by asking so, I mean besides reading a bible to a bunch of soldiers about to be launched off to war, or on their sick beds.

monsnoleedra
March 21st, 2009, 02:17 PM
How do you adapted pagan spiritual and magical practice to the military life?


Actually the same as you do in any walk of life. The conditions you described, ie open squad bays and such will be encountered more so in a entry level training placement. Once you have finished your basic training and possibly A school training (Navy usage) you will end up in a barracks that is probally you and one or two roomsmates. LIkely in a quad situatio where one or two share a room with an open public area. If not that then a quad situation with a common area and sleeping quarters for the individual as a small dorm like room. However, you will under go room inspections of some sort.

If assigned to a ship then you'll have a bunk in a common sleeping quarters that is shared with X number of people. You will have a bedpan, space beneath your rack, and a locker to store personal items. Usually stacked three high. Most often the other's in the spaces will be assigned to your division though occasionally a rempty rack maybe used by riders.

This is not to say you may not have a shore housed room. Especially if you are assigned to submarine service or volunteer for it.



and also I just wonder about where meditation will fit in


When I went through bootcamp we had a member of our training team that meditate every night after lights out. He sat upright in his rack and meditated and chanted, most though it strange or unusual but that was it.

I have stood upon the weather deck of a ship under the full moon and meditated as I stood there. Surrounded by whatever crew member's were out for a smoke or just out. Me, I'm not a verbal person in that nature so I was alone in my own world the whole time.

On the sub I usually found a place where I was alone and could sit and reflect for however long I needed. Even if it only meant I pulled the curtains on my rack and the area became a small cocoon for me.

Now if your meditation calls for insense and such then yes you'll have a problem. However, I'll say once you have seen a full moon light the horizon when your out to sea that is all you'll need. Once you stand and watch the dolphins race the ship as they cross back and forth that is all you'll need to set the mood. When you hear the call of a whale echo across a dark night and hear the answering call of its pod that is all you will need. And yes, even when the fury of the sea is tossing the ship about and you walk on bulkheads that will be enough also. By the wall bulkheads are the walls on the ship and yes you may end up walking on them in strong storms.

You want motivation for meditation wait till your on a submarine at a hurricane rages above you but it's furry reaches down into the depths were your at. Or if your on a sub and it does an emergency blow drill and the sub shoots to the surface and you fly as it comes crasing back down. Heck even when the skipper does angles and dangles to check that gear is stowed.

But that is a different meditation than just saying mantra's and chanting.



how exactly do Chaplains help pagans


Because they are there for the spiritual needs of their crew or unit assigned to their chapel. They meet the needs of all, not just the faith they are sworn to. A baptist minister maybe their calling but they may also have to meet the needs of not only the other Christain callings but also other religious callings. And they do thier best to ensure that all brands and demoniations are cared for.

Granted one may encounter a "Bad" one now and again but that is the exception not the rule.

Kraheera
April 9th, 2009, 01:28 AM
Chaplains are definitely a necessity. Not just for the Abraham faiths, but for all faiths. Chaplains provide more than just spiritual guidance. They provide a place of peace, a person to consult with that CANNOT go back to your command and tattle on you.

True privacy, which believe me, is rare in the military. Unless you confess to murder, or attempted suicide, the chaplains can't tell ANYONE anything you have said. They help with marriage issues, with depression, with general loneliness.

And believe it or not, the Chaplains are very open to helping the minority faiths.

We have a small group here at my Air Force Base. They gave us a room inside the Religious Annex, only we have the key. When we want to do "field trips" to events happening 40 miles away, they will do the paperwork to get us a 15 person van.

The Chaplains like to be involved with ALL of the personnel, not just the ones that are involved in their faiths.

I have met ONE bad Chaplain in 6 years, and he was at my Tech School base. I have met many more Chaplains that would hand you the shirt off their back if they thought it would make your life easier.

rantnraven
April 27th, 2009, 01:00 PM
Paganism, in general, is not considered a "Religion" in the military. However, due to the efforts of Covenant of the Goddess (CoG), Wicca was adopted as a recognized religion, in 1996, by the U.S. congress and passed through Senate. Since then, the Chaplins Guide has been updated and ALL Chaplins have been educated on the diverse needs of the militant Wiccan (ie; Pagan).

I'm pretty sure that the Chaplins Guide also addresses the fact that "All Wiccans are Pagan but, not all Pagans are Wiccan". This would lead me to believe that the guide also addresses the Pagan community in general

Hope this helps

Phoenix Blue
April 27th, 2009, 03:22 PM
Unless you confess to murder, or attempted suicide, the chaplains can't tell ANYONE anything you have said.
To clarify: This applies to Air Force chaplains, and they in fact can't tell anyone even if you do confess to murder.

monsnoleedra
April 27th, 2009, 03:52 PM
...ALL Chaplins have been educated on the diverse needs of the militant Wiccan (ie; Pagan)..

I'm sure it was a typo but I really do not think we had any militant Wiccan's (Pagan's / Heathen's period) in the military while I served. Highy doubt there are any now.

rantnraven
April 28th, 2009, 08:22 PM
I Have been Wiccan the better part of my life and served in the Active Army for 4 years. As a soldier, I was required to bare arms against an enemy should the need arise. That, in itself, made me militant. I was already Wiccan.

I also shared Circle in a coven, in Dallas, where several members vowed to take arms should the Wiccan/Pagan communities become threatened.

So, it is no typo. There are Militant Wiccans/Pagans out there.

Blessings,
RnR

monsnoleedra
April 28th, 2009, 08:53 PM
I Have been Wiccan the better part of my life and served in the Active Army for 4 years. As a soldier, I was required to bare arms against an enemy should the need arise. That, in itself, made me militant. I was already Wiccan.

Perhaps splitting hairs but the willingness to take up arms in a cause not of your own makes you a solder and bound to that service or charge. Hense the reason one may enlist and follow out the orders of thier superiors but never consider it thier cause. Nor does the fact of being in the military make one aggresive and / or combative by nature.

As you stated you were required to bare arms should the need arise or you be called forth to do so. It does not indicate that you would be willing to do so of your own choice or desire.

I also shared Circle in a coven, in Dallas, where several members vowed to take arms should the Wiccan/Pagan communities become threatened.

In this content I could see one being labled as a militant. An agressive willingness to take up arms in support and defense of ones personal cause.

So, it is no typo. There are Militant Wiccans/Pagans out there.

Blessings,
RnR

Yes there maybe those that have a capacity to take up arms in defense of some personal (personal being the key phrase) cause. There maybe some that even speak of such a position. However, the military as a institution would not allow the open presence of such a grouping.

For the record I served for 23 years and retired as a senior NCO (Chief Petty Officer USN).

rantnraven
April 28th, 2009, 10:02 PM
All said and told, Wiccans/Pagans do exist in the military. one should not fear ridicule or solitary. You will find others, as yourself, Wanton Wolf. And you will also find those, such as myself, here to support and defend you - should the need arise.

Very bright blessings on your quest,
RnR

monsnoleedra
April 29th, 2009, 03:40 AM
All said and told, Wiccans/Pagans do exist in the military. one should not fear ridicule or solitary.

Definately agree. May take a bit of looking but they are there and many bases do have formal covens today.

You will find others, as yourself, Wanton Wolf. And you will also find those, such as myself, here to support and defend you - should the need arise.

I think there are many of us that are former and / or current military that would stand and defend that one.

Very bright blessings on your quest,
RnR
ryryryry

Aoife
May 17th, 2009, 11:32 PM
I'm coming a little late to the conversation, but I wanted to put my 2 cents in.

I've been in the Navy for almost a year now, and I have to say that all of the Chaplains I've met are the most open to other religions, and the least likely to try to convert you than any other minister I've ever met. They are there to assist everyone in moral, spiritual, and psychological aspects even. They definitely are not simply the person they call to read the bible and pray, and I've never even seen then do that outside of a service. They are very very respectful of others beliefs and willing to help anyone.

Of course, these are are just the ones I've met in my brief time enlisted, so I'm sure there are bad apples, just like in any other group.

rantnraven
May 18th, 2009, 12:24 AM
Good information. I ask that, if you are a Pagan in the Navy, perhaps you could contact Wanton Wolf personally. Then he would know that he already has a Pagan contact in the Navy. You may not be stationed together but, it does give hope that he will find others. It also gives good insight on the Chaplin's outlook. However, military chaplins are officers that have gone through more stringent training then most other officers. They have to follow a much stricter guideline. The chances of a Bad apple would be far, and few between.

Blessings and, very pleased to meet you,
RnR


I'm coming a little late to the conversation, but I wanted to put my 2 cents in.

I've been in the Navy for almost a year now, and I have to say that all of the Chaplains I've met are the most open to other religions, and the least likely to try to convert you than any other minister I've ever met. They are there to assist everyone in moral, spiritual, and psychological aspects even. They definitely are not simply the person they call to read the bible and pray, and I've never even seen then do that outside of a service. They are very very respectful of others beliefs and willing to help anyone.

Of course, these are are just the ones I've met in my brief time enlisted, so I'm sure there are bad apples, just like in any other group.

Aoife
May 18th, 2009, 02:08 AM
I agree, because of their training, and the possible repercussions, it would be much harder to find a bad apple in that bunch.

And in answer to your question, I am pagan myself. That's a good idea, it's always nice to know you're not alone (or in this case, potentially not alone).

DyfanSulien
May 22nd, 2009, 04:52 PM
I won't speak for any other branch of the service, but having been in the Army for the past 5 years (and re enlisted for another 5) I've never had a problem with either chaplains or being pagan in general in the military, though I will be honest, getting time to do things can and will always be a hassle, in the Army at least, and once again depending further still on your unit and op tempo, and a host of other considerations, the thing about any military branch, and you can ask my wife if you want, is the military, always comes first.

Hellebore
June 5th, 2009, 01:59 AM
I'm not sure about Navy, but for Army/Airforce : As long as you don't wear it on your sleeve too much it shouldn't be a problem. If you just have it on your dog tags you won't get hassled about it. If you are extremely open about it you might get teased a bit, especially in basic training(Do not bring it up there). Take your ritual out of the barracks, but that may be difficult in the navy on a boat.

6 years I've never really met anyone very openly religious at all, not counting Chaplains. Never met another Pagan at all in my units, but I wasn't looking very hard.

The military is a good life, just make sure you pick a branch and job that best matches a lifestyle you forsee yourself living. Ask others that do that job about it, and never trust a recruiter's answers.

Hangatyr 13
June 16th, 2009, 09:57 PM
I did eight years in the Navy, and now I'm in the Oklahoma Army National Guard.

There are a pretty good amount of Pagans in the Navy. In Norfolk, a BIG Navy town, there is a public Pagan drum circle at Mystic Moon across from the flea market on Military Highway. Atleast there was about three or four years ago. If it's still around, you'll find plenty of other military pagans there. I was on two ships out of Norfolk. They both had a crew of roughly four hundred, and they both had about three pagans on board including myself. Last I checked, you can't get "Pagan" or "Wiccan" put in your service record in the Navy or Marine Corps.

While I was in the Navy, I worked pretty closely for a while with the Airforce. I was attached to a Security Forces squadron for a while. At Lackland Airforce Base in San Antonio, there are actually Pagan services every Sunday. They are ran by a retired major. He's a wiccan, I think, and he seems to think that Freya is a goddess of fire, but It's not like I'm going to call out a retired major in the middle of a religious service. I'm sure he's great at calling the corners and doing Wiccan stuff. Anyway, there had to be atleast twenty Pagan airmen there. I was the only sailor. The major led a guided meditation and we all talked for a while about being a pagan in the military. From what I was told, an airman can have "Pagan", "Wiccan", or "Gardanian Wiccan" put in his service record.

When I first joined the Navy, I was a Traditional Satanist and very open about it. That was a bad idea. I was kind of a social pariah until I got on my ship and met two Pagans in indoc who happened to have reported on the ship a little before myself. I decided I was too nice a guy to be into the kind of Black Metal-style Satanism that I was interested in at the time, did the "Pagan Limbo" thing for a while, then I decided to become a Heathen. By the time I got to my last duty station, I was very out spoken about it. That was also a bad idea. I was interrogated for possibly being part of a hate group because some of the symbols in Heathenry are used by hate groups. I'm pretty private about my spirituality now, both for the sake of my career and for unrelated personal reasons.

I've been in the Army for under a year. I'm in the infantry. I've never seen one Pagan in the National Guard infantry. The closest thing I've seen to a Pagan service in the Guard is our prayer to the Mortar God prior to taking the gunner's exam. "Give us this day our reciprical lay, and lead us not to a compensated sight picture." Lol, I'm an 11C if you guys know what that means.

The Regular Army seems to have more non-Christians. My Warrior Transition Course platoon had one Odinist (myself), one Pantheist Wiccan (a Regular Army Medic), one Deist (a Regular Army Truck Driver, I think) and one, possibly two Modern Satanists (both Regular Army infantry) who both attended Catholic services. Those look like pretty good numbers for a fifty-man platoon, especially since I wasn't very open about it myself. I just notice things like tattoos and ask the right kind of questions.

As far as living conditions in the Navy go (BTW MonSno, they don't give you a bed pan in the Navy anymore. You have to get up and go to the head now, lol.) you have more privacy if you're on an amphib. There are almost always troop spaces that aren't in use. They're going to fvck with a you a bit if you meditate and do spells and that kind of thing in full view of others. I used to go out to some train tracks in Norfolk to do my thing.

On my last ship, the three pagans on board were myself (a Heathen Boatswain's Mate), a Germanic Wiccan Boatswain's Mate who was raised that way and not very open about being Pagan, and a Mesopatamian (i.e. Necronomicon) Pagan Lycanthrope (or so he said) who did things like howl at the moon while he stood aft lookout. How we all ended up in deck department is beyond me. The Germanic Wiccan got along pretty well with everyone and was a good, ESWS qualified Boatswain's Mate. The Mesopatamian Pagan was constantly fvcked with by about everyone but myself.

The moral of the story? Keep your personal spiritual business to yourself. Most obviously Pagan or occult things will be seen by most people as just weird. Think about it this way: How do you like it when Christians prey and proseletize as loudly as they can whether or not they're doing it directly at you or not? It's pretty annoying isn't it? That's my two cents I guess. Take it or leave it. Pagan or not, I think the military is a good thing for almost anyone.

monsnoleedra
June 16th, 2009, 10:14 PM
...
As far as living conditions in the Navy go (BTW MonSno, they don't give you a bed pan in the Navy anymore. You have to get up and go to the head now, lol.) ..

Hey that bed pan was an improvement over the old habit of climbing out onto the rigging and the head of the ship and letting her rip. he he he

I heard they were doing away with the bunk pans. I used to hate the hassle of lifting the rack up to get into the bed pan to get stuff. Never seemed to fail you would get it open and someone would come by and you were stuffed into it head first as they shuffled by you.

But you do did bring up a good point about keeping it to yourself. The Pagans / Heathens are there but a lot of us simply found each other through things we did, but kept it to ourselves.

I had hoped things were changing for the better, but didn't figure it would be quite that slow.

banondraig
June 17th, 2009, 09:56 PM
My Army active duty two cents:

When I was getting my dog tags in basic, I was still Wiccan (currently "pagan limbo" as Hangatyr puts it), and I had to spell W-I-C-C-A-N three times for the person whose job it is to ask new soldiers' religions. I wound up with some pathetic version of "other" for my troubles. Luckily I was able to circumvent this by having correct dog tags made off-base while I was in AIT (equivalent -- tech school).

There were two other female Wiccans in my company when I was in basic, and we asked the chaplain if some sort of services could be arranged. He basically told that wasn't really possible, but we wound up getting a room to ourselves to meditate while church was in session.

If you behave for the most part like everyone else, no one will bother you. If you insist on doing things like dyeing your hair airborne beret red and getting your deity's birthday (otherwise a regular workday) off, then you will run into some problems. I had a Setian roommate who did both those things and neither went well for her. Then again one of the E-6s in that same company was Wiccan, and you never would have known. She had no difficulties that I know of. It's best to remember that the military's chief god is Uncle Sam.

SkycladTiwaz
September 7th, 2009, 07:41 AM
I found my path while stationed at Fort Campbell back in 1992. The battalion chaplin was an old school southern baptist and belive it or not went out of his way to support our group and those of us in our group would do whatever we could to support the christians in the unit (taking duties on sundays if someone wanted to attend services etc.) I doubt that anyone other than the Chaplin knew that we were pagan, we weren't really "out there" at the time and I doubt that this warm and fuzzy environment exists everywhere but it worked for us at the time.

As a side note, I made my 3rd degree with that group. bunch of good folks in it, although I understand it slowly died off due to PCS and ETS stuff.

Pagan_Soldier
October 20th, 2009, 07:44 AM
I've found it very hard to even get my ID discs changed to read Pagan rather then C of E, to get my file updated to read Pagan took a little effort to but now there is a drop down box on the JPA system that can be picked not sure if that was from my efforts or others but its nice that UK forces have the choice, still waiting on my ID discs and i don't know of any other pagan's in my unit.

So i try to look towards the local area and as yet have been unable to find any group i can be active in, for me my path seams to be mainly talking on forums and looking things up i can try solo. I don't hide my Pagan views but i don't scream and shout about it either. The thing that makes it hard is finding enough private space to do things like meditate, and i'm pretty sure if i try to burn things i'd get into trouble.

Haerfest Leah
October 20th, 2009, 10:10 AM
While I was in the Navy, I worked pretty closely for a while with the Airforce. I was attached to a Security Forces squadron for a while. At Lackland Airforce Base in San Antonio, there are actually Pagan services every Sunday. They are ran by a retired major. He's a wiccan, I think, and he seems to think that Freya is a goddess of fire, but It's not like I'm going to call out a retired major in the middle of a religious service. I'm sure he's great at calling the corners and doing Wiccan stuff. Anyway, there had to be atleast twenty Pagan airmen there. I was the only sailor. The major led a guided meditation and we all talked for a while about being a pagan in the military. From what I was told, an airman can have "Pagan", "Wiccan", or "Gardanian Wiccan" put in his service record.


What year was this? I remember hearing nothing of the sort while I went through the jailhouse Nov 97 - Feb 98. They even sent us all off to a weekend christian religious retreat at some local ranch. When I was in basic however there was one or two girls in my flight who were Wiccan and went to a service on Sundays but I never attended to see for myself. This must be who you are talking about I guess.



The moral of the story? Keep your personal spiritual business to yourself. Most obviously Pagan or occult things will be seen by most people as just weird. Think about it this way: How do you like it when Christians prey and proseletize as loudly as they can whether or not they're doing it directly at you or not? It's pretty annoying isn't it? That's my two cents I guess. Take it or leave it. Pagan or not, I think the military is a good thing for almost anyone.

Ditto, other people don't really want to know. The group you belong to is a big deal if you let it known, and it could really come back to haunt you if you aren't careful.