The Canons of the Council of Eugene

For a while now there has been a growing movement to declare me the Pagan Pope. I have remained steadfast in my refusal to accept such honors because 1) wearing a tiara and womanly gown – as the heads of other religions seem to favor – is not flattering with my figure and 2) I feel a white-hot hatred for humanity and therefore prefer to limit my interactions with others as much as possible. It has become apparent over the last couple days, however, that there is great divisiveness and confusion within the Pagan community and it is times such as these which excellent men were created for. It is universally acknowledged that there are none who surpass me in wisdom, piety, eloquence, virility or humility – therefore I accept the office of authoritative head of all Pagandom so that I may once and for all settle such disputes. Henceforth it is permissible – nay, obligatory! – to refer to me as His Phallic Awesomeness Pope Sannion I, though those whom I permit a measure of familiarity may address me as Big Poppa. Further, let all acknowledge that the Pagan Holy Land is the eminent city of Eugene, Oregon – or at least for as long as I continue to reside here – and that it is incumbent upon all Pagans, regardless of their station or personal finances, to make a pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime to offer sacrifices upon Skinner’s Butte and at the shores of the sixteen-times sacred Willamette.

On the evening of May 28th, 2011 by the common reckoning, His Phallic Awesomeness Pope Sannion I convened a council in the eminent city of Eugene, Oregon to definitively decide matters pertaining to the religion of Paganism. His Phallic Awesomeness Pope Sannion I was the only one in attendance, but since he is the final arbiter of all that pertains to Paganism his sole presence is all that was deemed necessary for the council to be authoritative and binding. What follows are the Canons of the Council of Eugene which all Pagans everywhere are obliged to adhere to.

Canon I:

Paganism shall be understood as the natural and proper religion of humanity, excluding those people who have fallen into the ignorant and pernicious error of the accursed sons of Abraham. Paganism is the worship of a multitude of divine beings – including gods, spirits, heroes, divinized mortals, abstract personifications and all such related entities – who are universally acknowledged as the source of all blessings and good things in life. Each nation has devised its own methods of proper worship for these divine beings over the span of countless centuries; furthermore the divine beings have communicated to men their own preferences with regard to the worship that they ought to receive. Pagans, therefore, should not concern themselves with idle speculation and unnecessary controversy when it comes to religion. It is not necessary to know more than what is pleasing to the divine beings, nor should anyone meddle in the affairs of others or attempt to coerce, convert or compel another to believe or worship as they do. If a divine being is not pleased with the worship that they receive at the hands of an individual that divine being is more than capable of making their displeasure known to them. It is not the responsibility of a Pagan to correct or chastise his fellows, nor should any Pagan become involved in disputes over who is or is not entitled to call themselves a Pagan. Only His Phallic Awesomeness Pope Sannion I has the authority to make such a decision and the only persons he deems unworthy of being considered a Pagan are those who deny the existence of the divine beings or refuse to grant them the worship that they so richly deserve.

Canon II:

Anathema shall be all those who seek to bring electronic devices into the worship of the divine beings, especially those who would attempt to text or speak on their cell phones while the ritual is underway. There is a time and a place for all things, and during ritual our minds should be entirely focused on the divine beings and the worship that we are conducting in their honor. It is permissible to use musical devices to amplify worship, though it is vastly preferable for Pagans to make their own music, even if it is of an inferior quality. Likewise one may record the ritual for educational purposes, to preserve the event for posterity, or to enable others to participate from a distance provided permission has been granted by all parties beforehand and it is not intrusive. However it is best not to do this as all participants should be fully engaged in the worship and it precludes deep and powerful encounters with the divine beings. It is best to record only the beginning and aftermath of a ceremony, letting the mystery remain inviolate. All other uses of technology are forbidden without the prior consent of His Phallic Awesomeness Pope Sannion I.

Canon III:

Pagan worship is best conducted out doors in the wild places of nature unless the participants have access to a properly functioning and dedicated temple or the divine beings have communicated that they prefer to be worshiped inside. These natural places – forests and mountains, rivers and lakes, deserts and city parks, etc. – are inherently sacred places and the abodes of the divine beings, therefore Pagans should especially seek them out in a desire to be closer to the divine beings and know them better. Pagans should spend as much time as possible in these places, including non-festive occasions.

Pagan worship should, of course, be tailored to the specific needs and desires of the divine beings, with nothing done that would be contrary to their preferences. But as a general guide Pagan worship should include: processions, offerings, libations, dancing, music, feasts and sport. Pagan worship should be exceptional, beautiful, memorable and above all engaging. It should intoxicate and involve all of the senses. It should be entertaining not only for the participants but especially for the divine beings in whose honor such worship is conducted. Pagan worship is best when it involves masks and dances and alcohol and anything else that contributes to ecstatic celebration. It is not enough to merely give a speech or recite poetry from a book. Let the impious Christians bore their god with such things – ours require more of us. It is permissible to use strange drugs in your rites, provided that you first share some with His Phallic Awesomeness Pope Sannion I.

Canon V:

Anathema are all those who would drag their politics or hobbies or non-religious interests into Paganism; likewise those who would use our worship as an opportunity to find a mate. Paganism is about honoring the divine beings and that is all. There are plenty of other opportunities to share the banality of your existence with people who may even find it of moderate interest, but we Pagans are not those people. We do not care about the television shows you watch, what bizarre conspiracy theories you hold to, how you stay up at night weeping over this or that injustice in the world, what excites you sexually or who you were in a past life. Be sparing when you speak of your encounters with the divine beings or the other extraordinary experiences you have had. This is especially important when you are meeting strangers for the first time. If someone does not know you well they will not be able to judge whether there is any merit to your words or if you’re just completely insane and this oversharing puts them in an uncomfortable position. Just because Pagans happen to believe in certain things which are considered unconventional by the standards of our broader society that does not mean that we believe everything indiscriminately or that we have any desire to hear all of your absurd and outlandish notions.

Canon VI:

Anathema are those who wear tie-dye, Renfaire or Steampunk clothing, excessive jewelry, makeup or perfume, and t-shirts with slogans on them. (Unless those slogans extol the virtues of His Phallic Awesomeness Pope Sannion I, of course.) It is also not permissible for a Pagan to have more than three bumper-stickers on their vehicle or anything, anywhere, representing dragons, unicorns, or rainbows.

Canon VII:

No Pagan shall claim for themselves a title which they have not properly earned – especially if it is liable to elicit derision in all who hear it. One should also put much thought into the choice of a religious name, shunning anything from popular entertainment or which sounds even vaguely Native American. If you want people to respect you, then pick something sensible, humble and pious like His Phallic Awesomeness Pope Sannion I.

Canon VIII:

Pagans should not take advantage of other Pagans – it is permissible to mistreat those who do not honor the divine beings, however – nor should they ever feel a sense of entitlement. Nothing in the world happens without effort: someone had to work hard to make that ritual, gathering or piece of art you enjoyed possible. Do your part, particularly when it comes to cleaning up after yourself and compensating organizers for the expense of putting on an event. You should go to extravagant lengths in demonstrating your appreciation, especially when His Phallic Awesomeness Pope Sannion I has done something for you.

Canon IX:

Although all creatures are to be treated with pious respect, Pagans are to revere spiders above all others for spiders are weavers of great magic, bringers of good luck, infinitely wise and beautiful and in close communication with the divine beings. Under no circumstances is a Pagan to ever harm a spider, destroy its web or impede it from traveling wherever it wishes to – even if that means permitting it to crawl on one’s person or enduring its bite. If the bite should prove lethal the Pagan is to consider themselves singularly blessed in having been chosen to die in this manner. And all other Pagans should henceforth consider the deceased divine through association with the spider.

After the spider the raccoon and goat are the most holy creatures – though it is not necessary to endure their bite without defending one’s self.

Canon X:

All Pagans must show the highest reverence for the phallos.

***

Thus ends the Canons of the Council of Eugene, convened by His Phallic Awesomeness Pope Sannion I on the evening of May 28th, 2011 by the common reckoning.  His Phallic Awesomeness Pope Sannion I reserves the right to call as many additional councils as he deems necessary to address issues which may arise within the community of Pagans, over which he is the absolute and undisputed authority.

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57 thoughts on “The Canons of the Council of Eugene

  1. All Hail Big Poppa!

  2. I’m sad that I wasn’t invited to this Council, seeing as how I’m nearby. However, I wouldn’t have objected to any of the Canons (even IX, as you know). Though I’m glad I will still be able to fend off any mad raccoon attacks. You never know, around here.

    • Well, it was conducted very late at night so I doubt you would have wanted to be invited. However, you may certainly attend the next Council that’s convened, which should even be announced with proper notice.

      I felt it necessary to include the clause about raccoons since two of them sat there watching me draw up the Canons. It was a little disconcerting, to say the least.

  3. While I could be induced to be on-board with most of these, I have some questions about Canon VI. Since my normal wardrobe has been mistaken for “steampunk” (which it is not, as I am too old to join new subcultures – my normal, everyday wardrobe takes its inspiration from the American Old West and the 1980s-era gothic rock scene), does this mean that I am to be anathematized? If so, I find that, with regret, I cannot support these canons after all. If otherwise, however, I may be induced with various (ideally excessive) inducements to help bring these most excellent canons to the people, at swordpoint if necessary.

    • While I would dare not speak for HPA, my guess is that it isn’t the style of steampunk, per se, that is found objectionable, but the superficial nature of the subculture itself.

      Personally, I am much more in favor of someone who dresses that way *every day* (whether subtly or even extravagantly) than the people who spend all their time and money on making costumes that only are worn at special events, but look absolutely boring in their everyday lives.

      • We can but hope, until His Phallic Awesomeness returns with his pronouncement on the interpretation of the Canon in question. O, how I await with eager anticipation the vindication of this most reasonable position that you have articulated.

    • Dver is very wise indeed. It isn’t so much the style of steampunk that I object to – I’m almost rather partial to it in theory – it’s more the faddishness of it.

      I’m afraid that these Canons cannot be altered without convening another Council – however, like any good Pope, I can offer indulgences to special individuals. (Particularly those willing to pay my hefty fee.) You are a most exceptional individual, therefore consider yourself indulged.

      • Erynn

        I’m with Faoladh — a good bit of my wardrobe (most of the time though not every day) skews in a steampunky direction. I do have a few costume pieces but I don’t wear them in ritual. I would not wish to be anathemized by my dear friend Big Poppa, to whom I have given rides and food and tea and such.

        Of course, I’m also one of those Outsider types, and we geilta aren’t exactly known for our conformity. So, in the end, it doesn’t really matter if I’m anathemized or not…

      • I do enjoy being indulged. That’s a pretty fine inducement, I must say.

        Erynn is also correct, of course, that it hardly matters whether we, ultimately, are anathematized, because we’ll just go off into the woods anyway.

        Finally (for the moment), and entirely as an aside, I was trying to remember what your most excellent title, His Phallic Awesomeness, reminded me of, and then I remembered. It’s this.

  4. Wonderful!

    You lost me at dragons, though. It is very hard to devote oneself to the Lord Ningishzida without serpent and dragon imagery coming up. Maybe that should have been *cartoon* dragons … and then you could easily include gods-awful pop-culture faerie kitsch among the anathemata.

  5. amobi_san

    I absolutely concur, your Awesomeness, but I do have a question of Canon Vi: must we abstain from all besloganed t-shirts, or merely the twee “Pagany” kind? I completely agree that there should be mandatory burning of any garment with sparkles, excessive gaudy pentacles, or obnoxiously “witchy” quotes, but I have this lovely t-shirt about the library of Alexandria that I don’t want to give up, nor all of my necromancy t-shirts… Would you be so gracious as to clarify this pressing issue, O Majestic Big Poppa?

    • I was thinking primarily of t-shirts with advertising on them. Yes, I’ve been at rituals where people were walking billboards, perhaps without even fully realizing it.

      Anything that is clever – especially if it references Alexandria – is permissible.

  6. Nice piece of writing; I do, however, object to the “no unicorns” rule; it was the man who created the term neo-Pagan for all of us that raised real unicorns, as an act of magick (bringing magick back into the world with the return of the unicorn).
    Unicorns are magickal and as such should be revered.

    • He did not coin the term neo-pagan. That was already in use in academia. He was very likely the first to self-apply it in print.

      If the act of goat abuse you refer to was also magical, it was as an attempt at prosperity magic.

    • Although I have great respect for Oberon and the work he’s done on behalf of Paganism (it was so exciting to see articles on Hellenic reconstructionism in Green Egg back when I was first starting out) I am afraid that I cannot, in good conscience, rescind the Canon banning representations of unicorns. That might be seen as giving tacit approval to things of this nature.

      • Jay

        That has to be the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. How could it be that I’ve remained ignorant of art such as this? And how did you know to find it?

        *crawls, weaping hysterically, to bed*

  7. Yes, that’s correct, he applied it in print; it was also in use, by the Catholic and other churches and was derogatory and he applied it to a group people who also embraced the name. As for prosperity magick? No, not true. It was done to bring magick back into the world, I’ve talked with length about it to himself. No, it was not goat abuse, no animals were hurt or in pain. It’s a medical procedure done at birth to make the 2 horns into one.
    But, hey, feel free to badmouth him all you want, if you feel a need to think the worst of him.

    • From what I have heard, he’s a very intelligent fellow, and very magical as well as magical-learned. No problem there. We all give up something to get involved with magic (of any sort, including divination or theurgy); I think what he gave up was the mental agent that warns when one is making a damned fool of oneself. Bless his heart.

  8. Mia

    I agree with all of these canons, but Canon IX was my favorite (I’m studying spiders as part of my undergrad).

    • Spiders are so fascinating – one of the most numerous and complex species on the planet. I am completely envious of your studies!

  9. I’m having a hard time reading Canon IV–is it hidden somewhere? One little quibble about VI as I enjoy those who wear excessive makeup and jewelry. Otherwise I am on board with the Council of Eugene :-)

    • Canon IV is only visible to those Pagans who have undergone proper initiation. (And forked over the $32.95 initiation fee.) That may seem like quite a bargain until you realize that there are 116 Super Awesome Pagan initiations in all if one aspires to attain the highest rank within Pagandom and that the prices increase steadily with each level.

  10. Shadow Pagan

    Let it be known that now that there is a final authority in Paganism, a resistance has formed. We will shadow your reign, forever resisting the idea of authority. At 5 p.m. each day we will lay down our rhetorical arms and happily drink mead with all Pagans.

  11. daniel reid

    I was impressed with the quality of writing. I love your use of humor. I am glad I stumbled onto this article.

  12. I’m in! Big Poppa’s writing always makes me swoon.

    But, how many wives must His Phallic Awesomeness have? Given the title, the question is not one of mere nosiness or non-religious issues.

    Perhaps it was covered in the hidden Cannon IV?

    • None. His Phallic Awesomeness Pope Sannion I detests the vile institution of marriage and all that it stands for. If the gods had meant for us to be joined to another person for eternity we would all be named Evelyn and sing fanciful songs about elephants.

  13. watcher457

    I am most sorry, your Holy Phallic Awesomeness, but I have considered and find that I cannot live according to Canon IX. With greatest honor and respect to awesome Spider, I am utterly terrified of her children, and do not believe myself strong enough to stand within the vicinity of one, let alone let it crawl up and bite me. It is with greatest regret that I feel I will have to renounce the term Pagan and… well… carry on doing what I’ve been doing anyways, I guess.

    • It’s okay. Not everyone is cut out to be a Pagan. Thankfully it’s not necessary to be a Pagan in order to worship the gods or any of the rest.

  14. I would have thought that rabid misanthropy were an ideal qualification for a Pope, if the other bearers of that title have been any kind of yardstick.
    Naturally you are not the first leader of the pagan world, for we must remember Lord Pecksniffian Roorback, the so-called British Pope of the 13th Century who, shortly before his untimely martyrdom, declared a coda not dissimilar to yours, though also bearing the Commandments,
    “Yea shalt ye remember that simony is most irksome unto the Gods”, and “Let those who write noisome poetry bereft of metre or form be hoist upon their own stang”.

    Have you chosen a nice hat yet?

    • I imagine I’d greatly enjoy the company of this Lord Pecksniffian Roorback chap!

      Sadly, alas, I have yet to decide upon my Papal hat. I’m thinking it’ll be a raccoon skin head-dress or something similar.

  15. henry

    hell with canons! give me cannons!!!

    • Cannons may be more effective in the short term but a finely crafted word endures for all time.

      • Kalinides

        Obviously the cannons of the Phallic Papal armies must have the “Ultima Ratio Regum” engravings!

  16. Not bad! Works for me!

    Truly most excellent Papal Bull.

    BB-OZ

  17. Kalinides

    Hail to Canon VI; tie dye weren’t pretty in 1969, not in 89′ neither in the 10’s… Any violation of this canon will be punish with energetic flogging on the buttocks with nettles…!

    • Easy to accomplish, for nettles grow in abundance here in the Willamette Valley. :)

    • I leave such punishment to you. In my experience the further one stays from the buttocks of those who wear tie-dye the better!

  18. All hail His Phallic Awesomeness Pope Sannion I! And may the unbelievers be visited with a Plague of Spiders.

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