Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Peter Panism

A few years ago, I took a Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion class at school. The class was pretty interesting for the most part, and we had an awesome teacher. For our final, she assigned a paper in which we had to create our own religion. I asked if we could write in narrative form, and she said yes.

Tonight, I was looking through my e-mail account, and I found this paper. I hadn't updated in awhile, so I thought I'd share this now. The writing isn't the best, but I still find the concept of it interesting. Enjoy!
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On a Sunday morning at the Giving Tree of Lost Boys, a small group of children gather. Their teacher, Miss Bellevue, brought them to order with a slight tap of her wand on the side of the Giving Tree. All the little children came to attention and sat patiently, waiting for her to speak.
"Class, today we're going to learn about where we came from, and why things are the way they are," said Miss Bellevue. "I'm going to tell you about Peter Pan and the story of how he created Panism, our most beloved religion. Panism is a polytheistic religion, children. Does anyone know what that means?” The children all gave her blank stares. “Well,” she went on to explain, “What that means is that we have more than one god in which we celebrate. We actually have two. The first is Peter Pan, the creator of Panism. The second is Tinkerbell, our Goddess of creation. She created all that you see and many things that you don't. But she couldn't do it all herself, so she enlisted the help of Peter who organized simple rules to which to live by."
Miss Bellevue went on to explain the details of Panism. "The rules that we live by are simple:
Be happy at all times…
Never grow up…
Always help others smaller than yourself…
Raise yourself up to a higher position… that which can only be done once you've completed the other steps and you finally believe in yourself and true happiness. Then and only then will you be able to fly to Neverland. There is a legend about all of this, told by Peter himself many moons ago. When Tinkerbell first started the long task of creating Neverland she made it the most beautiful place ever, full of vibrant colors. She wanted clear skies, blue oceans and the greenest grasses. She, in essence, was making our heaven. When someone passes away who has been following Panism to the best of their ability and has been living a “good” life on Earth, they come here, to Neverland. It doesn’t matter what race or gender they are: if they believe in the laws of Panism, they are more than welcome. Once they arrive here, they turn back into their former childhood age in which they were the happiest. As you can tell, I was happiest at the age of 14. When you are reincarnated into your younger self, you are given an age in the range of 3 to 15. No older, no younger, so we can keep with the theme of childhood. As many of you may recall, you play with toys when you are younger. When you come to Neverland, you get to bring your favorite toy with you to remember that you are a child and to always have fun. This makes sure that you have something to play with at all times, and you will always be happy."
Billy, a small 7-year-old boy raised his hand from the front of the group. "Miss Bellevue… If all the good people come to Neverland, what happens to all the bad people who didn't believe that die? Do they come to Neverland too?"
"That's a very good question Billy," She answered, "When a person dies on Earth, if they have been good and have reached all the goals set by Peter himself, they come to Neverland. If you don't do all these things, and you've been a bad person, you're sent to Pirate Island where Captain Hook is the master. You see, when Tinkerbell created all of this good, a bit of evil was created. Since there must be a balance, good will always have evil in the shadows. That is why there is Pirate Island, to keep the evil people away from the good.”
“How do people get into Neverland?” asked Jamie. “Is there something that they have to do to show that they truly believe in Panism before they can get in?”
“Good question, Jamie!” said Miss Bellevue. “There is something called a Rite of Passage that people need to do before they can enter into Neverland. It is a very hard thing to do, but it is actually quite possible. When the time comes to show that you are finally ready to prove your full belief and devotion to Panism and that you are truly happy, you begin to fly for the first time. Once you have learned to fly, you're on your way to Neverland! With all of your goals complete, you will be guaranteed entrance to Neverland. For those who lived bad lives, or those who aren't happy, and who don't believe in the rules of Panism, they are incapable of flight and are taken to Pirate Island and left to fend for themselves on Captain Hooks pirate ship.”
"Now children, as you know I am your teacher. All of the teachers are hand-picked by Peter Pan himself to be his religious specialists. We are in charge of helping to keep the wisdom of Panism alive and strong in the world today, and to, of course, answer and aid any of you with your questions. The other religious specialists that help heal you are the Indians. Tiger Lily and her father are the head religious specialists over here on Neverland. They make sure that the children are always healthy, and if any issues arise, they help settle them by using their special drugs and potions. They also help to make sure that as followers of Panism, we help one another whenever possible. We live in a very basic society, mainly based on a tribal belief system. Can anyone tell me what that means?” Again, she was met with blank stares. “A tribal belief system means that we are just a singular family style group. We all co-exist and strive to be united with other bands of families throughout Neverland. Each region of Neverland has it's own family and each family is part of an even larger family with strong communal and social bonds."
"Miss Bellevue, are there any celebrations or holidays? Like Christmas? Does Santa come here? Does Santa go to Pirate Island ?" Jill asked from the middle of the group, her blue eyes shining with anticipation.
"Why, yes, Jill, there are holidays. Each year we have an annual holiday celebration called a Harvest. During this time all the tribes of Neverland and even Pirate Island come together at Peter Pan’s court and celebrate the creation of Neverland. Because this is such a big holiday, everyone on Neverland and Pirate Island put aside their differences and get together to celebrate. This is the point in time when our imaginations are put to the test. You, as a participant, have to come up with the food that we are eating. We eat all the best foods imaginable, and even foods that aren't imaginable! We dance the best dances to the very best music ever created. We play the very best games ever to come to fruition."
"What kind of games?" asked Jake, a curious ten year old. "Are there competitions too?"
"Oh, yes, of course all the best players from each region compete in the biggest game we have. It's called Extreme Coaster!" All the children smiled at the sound of such a game. "In Extreme Coaster, the competitors each have to race through a giant obstacle course that goes throughout the entire island. Can you imagine that? First, you skate around half of the island on a skateboard or a scooter, depending on your vehicle of choice. Once you get to the Indian campgrounds, you have to do a short dance that they will teach you. After you finish that, you come back to the amphitheatre, where you have to fly to the highest tree in Neverland and back. And as if this was not hard enough? If you finish first of everyone, you have to solve a very hard riddle! If you win, you get to be Peter’s helpers for a day, which is one of the highest honors possible."
The children looked amazed. A big celebration with skateboarding, dancing, and flying? How could you ask for anything more? This great Harvest was the single best thing they'd ever heard of and couldn't dream of what it would be like to celebrate it with all their fellow lost boys.
"That sounds like incredible fun Miss Bellevue. But, when we're not at the Harvest do we worship Peter together like we are now?" asked a curious young boy.
"All Peter asks is that you keep living a good life and abide by the simple rules he's set. If you feel that you must give thanks to him you can do it individually by playing with your toy, or you can get together in a group of children and play together as we are now. Another way is if you help someone smaller than you do something that they need help with. He does not ask for your thanks or prayers. Your acts of kindness to each other are enough for him." She replied. "Ok, kids. Time for cookies!"
As the class ran to get the cookies, Miss Bellevue smile to herself. "Not bad for my first time teaching!" She thought.
"Miss Bellevue?" A little girl was tugging on Miss Bellevue skirt.
"Yes, Marissa?" said Miss Bellevue.
"I can't wait to get to Neverland."

2 comments:

Angela said...

Wow, that's really cute! I hope your professor enjoyed it, too.

Kelsey said...

i love that you don't have to praise or thank pan, you just do good. that's my kind of religion.