Public or Private, Are You Fully Embracing Your Pagan Faith?
Article ID: 15033
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Rev. Omi [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: April 22nd. 2012
Times Viewed: 5,210
In my opinion, finding the Pagan path is an extremely personal decision. If you choose to be a participant in a group, that is fine, however, worshiping as a solitary practitioner is just as appropriate. What is not correct is anyone telling you that either option is a better choice than another. Obviously, if you plan to be a teacher, training is essential, but if your goal is to simply enjoy the lifestyle benefits of being a Pagan (being loved and adored by the Gods) there is no requirement to get training, earn acknowledgements, or to make your faith public knowledge. In my opinion, if you walk our path as a solitary, know that you are no less Pagan than any other who worship the Old Gods.
Our faith is about a personal relationship with Divine entities. The Pagan pathway is not blocked by a mortal holding the key to admission. Unfortunately, that is often what occurs after someone is defined as Pagan Clergy. Raymond Buckland, the first author in the USA to write about modern Paganism. In his 1980’s book, Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft, he addressed this shortcoming. To paraphrase – he stated that few American HPS’ have an understanding that The Gods commune directly with each of us. Handing out degrees is not what the Gods had in mind as necessary to our worship of Them.
Dogmatic religions require the path to heaven to be paved with highly trained mortals and a steady stream of donated coins. Does that means that we do not tithe, donate, volunteer, or serve the leaders in our faith? No, of course not, but it does mean that lacking cash, equipment, or a local teacher should not prevent access to spiritual satisfaction or knowledge.
If getting a good job is motivated by needing enough money for spiritual tools, books, or classes, then I say: ”What a positive motivator!” However, if you are struggling to pay for food, or other basic necessities, the road to blessings by Divine beings’ need not require fasting instead of eating.
Additionally, everyone is entitled to worship the Gods, alone, or in a group. Even those with physical, mental, or emotional challenges are to be welcomed – “Harm none” means no one is to be kept from the blessings of the Gods if they so desire them. Likewise, those who speak a different language from English (the written language of most books on Paganism) should be offered a welcoming hand. Buckland’s book that was based on his upbringing in Europe by Native Gypsies is translated into several languages for that reason.
Finally, Elders should be shown respect and welcomed into Circle or honored for time donated to teaching or counseling with or without compensation. Each student has to decide what way teachers will be compensated for their time. In 1992, when I began teaching publicly, a $2 donation for each adult was requested to pay for the copies of lessons offered each week. The space we occupied, the back of a New Age Store was free of charge. Within a year, we rented a space of our own, and the charge was $4 per adult to cover rent, utilities, and magickal supplies. Everyone accepted that no student was ever turned away for nonpayment of class fees.
Today, the options for finding qualified teachers is far broader and wider due to Internet access, but so are the rental fees. Offering to teach without any compensation is irrational. My early teachers required bartered labor and purchased supplies that included cleaning weeds from our sacred circle, buying and preparing ritual food or drink, supplying homemade robes, or other needed materials for other participants, or running errands for one or more teachers so that they could write a ritual or a class. Time is money in this modern society. The balance of cash spent for benefits received is a personal choice.
Nearly everyone has a different story about how they found the Pagan path. For me, it felt like falling in love. I felt safe, loved, cherished, honored, respected, “good enough, ” and dozens of other affirmations flooded over me from Pagan Gods that I had not found on other religious or spiritual paths. In all honesty, the only time, I feel both completely secure and loved is in meditation with a God. When I am awake, I typically feel guilty without any basis in past, present, or future activities and never “good enough” for the expectations of other mortals. I feel blessed to have a nonjudgmental faith to keep me reassured during times of feeling insecure.
Right after I finished high school, I promised myself I would get a PhD. It took 43 years to keep that promise. To gain acceptance into the University of Arizona, I was mute about my faith. I felt like a prostitute during that time, but it seemed to me that I had no other option. I worshiped every day as a solitary. Additionally, I stayed private about who I was communing with spiritually. I always felt loved and blessed by the Gods. I never felt less appreciated by Them. I finished because They loved me and guided me along that exceedingly difficult academic roadway. They were with me every step of the way. They never judged me harshly for being private about my love of Them. The day I was “hooded” I was wearing a clerical stole with the equal armed Celtic cross as thanks to my deities, but not because I felt that I had to do that for Their acceptance.
Years after I graduated, my Pagan mentor said I could have taken a hard stand to be accepted into the PhD program as a Pagan – equal to all other students and respected under federal law. However, after fighting for so many years to resolve The Church of Iron Oak zoning battle, I was tired of fighting bureaucracy. I may have been a disappointment to those I highly respect on this planet, and I am sorry if they may see me in that light, but I know that the Gods did not fault me for doing what I needed to do to protect my personal resources and not be passed over for scholarships due to my commitment to my matriarchal indigenous European roots instead of the more accepted patriarchal religious options (with specific recorded dogma in lieu of individual moral and ethical responsibility) , or any other social prejudices. Being a solitary was easier during those five and a half years. That is one time I am not sorry I made my own choice. I was thrilled that the Gods respected me and never deserted me. I feel that all those who chose to remain solitary have the same love, honor, and respect from the Gods.
Now, that I have finished my academic efforts, I will continue openly down the Pagan path, knowing full well that public or private worship of the Gods are equally honorable. The Gods love of us is present for each of us, regardless if we are public or private about knowing Them to be our Divine Deities. In my opinion, if you walk our path as a solitary, know that you are no less Pagan than any other who worships the Old Gods.
Copyright: owned by Summerland Monastery, ATC
Location: Salinas, Ecuador
Bio: About the author: “Omi” (Amaterasu Omi Kami) earned her credentials as Pagan Clergy or initiations with ATC English tradition, Asatru, Druidism, Gardnerism, Sun Bear Water Pourer, and Shamanism. To meet federal guidelines to enable her to offer prison ministries in Florida and Arizona she faced many certification challenges. She was Founding HPS of The Church of Iron Oak and a member of Coven of Phoenix Rising for many years in Florida. Lord Jacobus who received his training and initiation in 1957 founded coven of Phoenix Rising. Omi now resides in Central Mexico as Presiding Elder of Summerland Monastery, ATC, where she is a chronic volunteer for socioeconomically marginalized and/or disabled Mexicans.
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