Articles/Essays From Pagans
July 9th. 2015 ...
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June 7th. 2015 ...
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March 29th. 2015 ...
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March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
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Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
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January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
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October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
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October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
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September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
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September 20th. 2014 ...
GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)
September 7th. 2014 ...
Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
A Strange Waking Dream
August 24th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
August 17th. 2014 ...
To Know, to Will, to Dare...
On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows
August 10th. 2014 ...
As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?
The Power of the Gorgon
August 3rd. 2014 ...
Are You a Natural Witch?
You Have to Believe We Are Magic...
July 27th. 2014 ...
Did I Just Draw Down the Moon?
Astrological Ages and the Great Astrological End-Time Cycle
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July 20th. 2014 ...
Being an Underage Wiccan
Greed, Power, Witches, and the Inquisition
Malleus Maleficarum - The Hammer of the Witches
Thoughts on Ghost Hunting
July 13th. 2014 ...
A World Of Witchcraft: Belief Is Only The Beginning...
From Christian to Pagan (Part III)
My Wiccan Ways...
July 6th. 2014 ...
Keys: Opening the Portals into Other Worlds
The Lore of the Door
Leaves of Love
June 29th. 2014 ...
What Does the Bible Say About Witches and Pagans?
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Everything's Alright, Yes: Mary Magdalene
Invocations of the God and Goddess
Results Magic and the Moral Compass
June 22nd. 2014 ...
Witchcraft vs. Religion
Christianity and Paganism: Why All Of the Fighting?
June 15th. 2014 ...
Becoming Your Own Wise One
Canine Familiars: Role of the Alpha
June 8th. 2014 ...
Moral Relativism and Wicca
Paganism in Cebu, Philippines
June 1st. 2014 ...
Rediscovering My Pagan Faith
13 Keys: The Wisdom of Chokmah
May 25th. 2014 ...
Some Differences Between Priestesses and Witches: Duties and Trials
How to Work With Your Muse
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Article ID: 9147
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,765
Times Read: 3,967
Author: Phae Talon
Posted: April 10th. 2005
Times Viewed: 3,967
There seems to be quite a push for a show of Pagan unity floating around lately. Though it can be found just about everywhere, it seems to be strongest within the North American Pagan Community.
At first glance, one could surmise that it is a reaction to the re-election of George W. Bush as US President. Many are afraid that the damage he and the neo-Cons have the capacity to cause would not only take decades to undo, but could also plunge us into a time of darkness and persecution. Everything from the reversal of Roe vs. Wade to the outlawing of faiths deemed not ‘real’ religions by the Religious Reich, are trotted out as examples of what could befall us if we let our guard down.
The answers to these numerous threats to American freedom are often just as varied. Activists suggest that Pagans get more involved in local government and the political process by writing letters, running for local office and even staging protests when the situation warrants it.
Others feel that our only chance is to conform…to prove to the mainstream public that Pagan faiths are ‘real’ religions deserving of Constitutional protection. It is from this side that the assorted Pagan unity campaigns seem to spring. Ideas like Pagan-run charity shelters and soup kitchens, Pagan-slanted educational and environmental campaigns, and even structured Pagan churches are all designed to build a strong united Pagan front.
Many of these are great ideas and are being put into effect all over the world. But I have also seen calls for all Pagans to jump from the broom closet for the good of the community, and proposals for the creation of ‘Witch Clans’ or Tribes so that our true numbers may be known.
Many Pagans can see the flaws in this idea, and refuse to be involved in anything promoting Pagan unity. The ever-hopeful and optimistic among us are often crushed by the naysayers, unable to understand why we can’t just put aside our differences for the sake of protecting our rights and freedoms.
There are a myriad of reasons behind the refusal to conform (trust me, it isn’t just a bunch of old cranks out to spoil your Utopia):
The main reason for such resistance is the diversity of Pagan faiths. One of the most beautiful things about the Pagan Community is that we can follow such vastly different paths and still occasionally come together in pursuit of a common goal. But having a Wiccan and an Asatruar work together for the duration of a festival or a protest is worlds apart from expecting them to work the same ritual together every Esbat.
Many fear that the result of structured Pagan unity will be a homogenization of our varied and sacred paths into one non-denominational, soulless Universal Pagan Church, where truth and mystery are lost to the desire to remain non-exclusionary.
Another point is that any clan or tribe set up has to be run by someone (or a group of someones). As it stands now, there really is no standard by which we can judge someone’s experience and/or credentials. Any council of elders (assuming that one could be created that everyone would accept) would face continuous problems with some group or other being unwilling to accept that everyone’s knowledge and experience were as valid as their own, as well as complaints that someone’s concerns were not being heard due to no one of their path being on the leading council. This sort of in-fighting has a tendency to permeate just about every place, in real life and online, where Pagans gather.
On the flip side of that coin, there is always the possibility of certain individuals and groups being excluded from the tribe all together because their path does not conform to someone’s view of ‘accepted Pagan practice.’
Even if we could work past the first two problems, there is always the lingering question of ‘Who is gonna pay for all this?’ In a coven or grove-type setting, the priests and priestesses still must maintain regular jobs. If we expected our leaders and elders to take on the challenge of running groups that are likely to be at least three times as large as a normal coven, we would need their undivided attention. And that means providing them an income to help support their families. Many of us can barely afford to feed ourselves, let alone finance the start up and maintenance of a tribe and council.
Still another objection to the whole idea is that of ‘Why should we have to do this?’ I understand this stance intimately as it tends to be my own when this issue comes up.
Why should Pagan faiths have to unite to be deserving of respect and Constitutional protection? Why should we have to water down our mysteries and practices so that they will be acceptable to the mainstream public? How is that freedom? How is that any different than sitting in a pew every Sunday? Because you still get to wear your pentacle? Symbols don’t mean much when the faith and practice they represent must be gutted to appeal to the palette of the ‘normal.’
As we tell our Seekers and Newbies, ‘Pagan’ is not a religion. It is a term used to describe those of us who fall outside of the religiously ‘normal.’ If you try to strip away those differences, you strip away the attraction that Paganism has for so many. The assorted Pagan paths are meant for those who want to make their own way in life…those who don’t want to be told how they should feel and what they should believe.
In the end, the quest for structured unity is doomed to failure. Though we all hold in common that we are not of an Abrahamic faith, we are still too different from each other to be forced into the same mold. We are a mosaic, not a melting pot. Enjoy the unity of the annual Pagan Pride Day and Witchfest, for in actuality, that is really as long as it will last.
Location: Calgary, Alberta
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