A Winding Path: Adventures of Life on a Magickal Pagan Homestead

My wife and I have made profound changes in our lives through green Paganism and simple, ecological living, which have resulted in unforeseen, yet very positive opportunities for peace, joy, laughter, and success. In fact, these opportunities have been so powerful, that I was stirred to share them with others, and not keep all these amazing discoveries to ourselves. We 'unplugged from the matrix' that is the cause of so much distraction and busyness in our lives and created a magickal Pagan homestead. I will share some of these discoveries of how, as a Pagan, you can simplify your life, while living more in sync with your purpose, nature and open up an incredible world of opportunity and possibility.

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Knowing You're Right

More drama has surfaced within wider Pagan community within recent weeks, particularly within the blogosphere between “polytheists” and “humanists”. I put those terms in quotes to blanket a lot of people under them, and because after all I’ve read regarding either camp, I’m not sure I understand what those terms really mean anymore.

 

I’m not going to get into specifics or mention names, not because I don’t want to or that I enjoy vague posts about important topics, but because I’m lazy, there is too many folks with easily bruised egos, which they defend in the guise of witty retorts and academic-sounding explanations for something which goes far beyond academia. The specifics don’t even matter, as I’m sure you can read this post a year from now, swap out the two factional names with others, and the whole thing will be just as relevant then as now. What is important is understanding the danger, and dare I say stupidity, of knowing, as a Pagan, that you’re right about what a Pagan is, who Pagans are, and all that is wrapped up in Pagan culture.

The reason it’s so dangerous for this kind of hubris is that it’s false. You simply cannot exclude a group of people, in your attempt to ‘reclaim’ a word just because you don’t like that they identify with the culture of that group. It’s not your ball to take home so others can’t play with it. Besides, the term “Pagan”, or even “Wiccan”, “Druid”, or “Heathen”, for that matter, are not static or stale, they are dynamic and ever-changing for the very reason that people are still interested in being associated with, and finding an identity within, those communities.

When I first consciously stepped onto a Pagan spiritual path, I was overjoyed at feeling a sense of, “wow, folks who view things at least close to how I do,” and it was a wonderful feeling. Now, it feels full of opportunists looking to carve out their own niche, while attempting to marginalize everyone else. It’s seems to me that at least a vocal few are trying to out-Pagan one another, and it makes me sick. I didn't even think I'd see the day when I would witness Pagan privilege first hand.

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Peter is an American of British and German ancestry who lives in Missouri with his wife Mary, where he is (re)discovering his connections with nature and the Gods. When he's not tending to their homestead, which feeds his family and provides an expression of gratitude and work in veneration to the Gods, he writes for several blogs, and works as a freelance artist/graphic designer. Having many years of experience in various forms of occult systems, including Asatru, Celtic, and Dragon Hollow Wicca, and Witchcraft, Peter finally found what he had been looking for all his life in a blend of Traditional Witchcraft (the nameless art), Heathenry and personal gnosis/exploration (vision/mystic).

Comments

  • Editor B
    Editor B Thursday, 20 June 2013

    I think it's an internet effect. It acts as an echo chamber, and it's easy to forget we are such a tiny minority in terms of the mainstream culture. Even those who claim to be in opposite camps have much in common, and we are all in the margins here. While critical dialog is a must, solidarity must be our byword.

  • Joseph Bloch
    Joseph Bloch Friday, 21 June 2013

    I'm not sure I agree with the very last part of your comment, here. How does one have "solidarity" with someone else, when there is absolutely no commonality aside from a shared label?

    It's one thing to preach inclusiveness in who gets to use the label, and I'm for it. But there are people under the huge sprawling "Pagan" (and "Heathen" for that matter) umbrella that I have nothing in common with aside from the label, want nothing to do with, and will have nothing to do with. The label only goes so far; people get judged on their actions.

  • Editor B
    Editor B Friday, 21 June 2013

    I'm know you are skeptical of solidarity in this context, Joseph, which is why I relish your question. And in fact I agree with you: There can be no solidarity when values are diametrically opposed. In such a diverse grouping, there will be some chasms that are simply unbridgeable.

    Within those limits, I still think it's important to seek solidarity and practice it when we can. It should be the default we strive for. It may not be universal, but still bunches of us can find common ground and common cause.

    For example, a good number of people hold the equinoxes and solstices as holy days. We may have little else in common, we may have huge theological disputes, but perhaps we can come together on efforts for broader recognition (at schools for example) of these days.

  • Joseph Bloch
    Joseph Bloch Friday, 21 June 2013

    Precisely. Asatru went through this back in the 1990's, with various camps on various issues going through paroxysms of "You're not really Asatru if you do a hammer rite/do animal sacrifices/combine blot and sumbel/are folkish/are universalist/exclude gays/include gays/etc. etc. etc."

    It's definitely a phenomenon that predates the Internet, though. The Internet does perhaps exacerbate the problem.

  • aought
    aought Saturday, 22 June 2013

    It is sad to see the Pagan community aping the Abrahamic sects. Per the dictionary definition, Pagan or Heathen refers to those who do not follow Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. Personally, I include Atheists under the Pagan umbrella, they too burned with the witches.
    I certainly hope that people just get over themselves and remember that each of us have our own path to follow. Agree to disagree, and move on.
    We should be more concerned over the Christian sects that are working to destroy the separation of Church and State.

  • Peter Beckley
    Peter Beckley Saturday, 22 June 2013

    Sorry it took me so longer to reply, thank you all for your comments. I'm not sure what the path ahead looks like, but one thing seems clear to me, the term 'Pagan' no longer suits all of us as that blanket term of commonality. I fear if we're not careful, the same craziness that did run through the Asatru community, as Joseph mentioned, will happen with us. I, for one, identify as 'Pagan' or 'witch' when speaking with people who I feel really wouldn't see the difference if I said 'green, three-eyed monster'. Come to think of it, I usually say I'm 'Pagan' no matter what. I wonder if I'm wrong. lol

  • aought
    aought Sunday, 23 June 2013

    I've always thought of myself as Heathen. Pagan works too, though I do get tired of explaining that I do not consider myself a Witch, as I am not on the Wiccan Path. Which is why I prefer Heathen, as it's not as closely linked in peoples minds as Pagan is with Wicca. Of course, the fact that my path is still rather amorphous doesn't help much when it comes to explaining my views. But, perhaps that is the way it should be, à la carte seems to work best for me :)

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