Articles/Essays From Pagans
January 10th. 2017 ...
The Gray of 'Tween
Becoming a Sacred Dancer
Little Dog, Big Love
December 9th. 2016 ...
A Child's First Yule
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)
October 10th. 2016 ...
Witchcraft from the Outside
September 11th. 2016 ...
How Did I Get Here? (My Pagan Journey)
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
September 3rd. 2016 ...
Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?
What is Happening in My Psychic Reading?
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
An Open Mind and Heart
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
June 13th. 2016 ...
Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
How to Bond with the Elements through Magick
Magical Household Cleaning
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected
The Fear of Witchcraft
Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
Magic in Sentences
Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess
The Evolution of Thought Forms
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion
Spring Has Sprung!
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Energy and Karma
Community and Perception
December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
Native American Spirituality Myopia
A Dream Message
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?
Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
I Claim Cronehood
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
The Gods of My Heart
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
Pagans All Around Us
Broomstick to the Emerald City
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Article Specs |
Article ID: 11154
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,782
Times Read: 4,198
RSS Views: 47,311
Posted: September 17th. 2006
Times Viewed: 4,198
I have recently had the unfortunate opportunity to spend some time contemplating both my past and my future. I say unfortunate because the opportunity was predicated upon the premature death of my mother. She died on the 1st day of January. An auspicious day perhaps, marking as it does a transition of the calendar year. It will however be a day forever marked with sadness and accompanied by a call for reflection, even introspection. As we approach the start of the Pagan New Year, that introspection will, as it has in the past, force me to ponder the future. Not just a future for myself but also a future for my own children and the circumstances in which they will find themselves when I too, as we all must, pass into the Great Beyond.
What will comfort them when that time comes? To what will they turn for solace? Will they find it in their personal faith and in the knowledge that death, like birth, is not just an end but also a new beginning? What will that faith be? Will it be the same Pagan path I follow?
Most of us come to our particular religious paths after years of soul searching and personal introspection. While some of us claim to be born into that path as members of one of the various Family Traditions, I would hazard the opinion the vast majority of American Pagans today are first generation Pagans. They have found a path upon which they wish to tread and they are following that path, perhaps in the hopes it will, as Frost suggests, make all the difference.
Is that enough? If the Pagan community is to survive as a vibrant and viable thread in the fabric forming the American religious tapestry, it is going to need to move beyond first generation Pagans. Even if the next generation and the one after that and the rest ad infinitum have their share of Seekers, they will do little more than sustain the existing community. It will not grow. If the Pagan community is to grow beyond the tiny minority it now comprises, it must take root among our children.
This brings me to the point I wish to discuss: Family Traditions. Within the Pagan community, Family Tradition means far more than what meal we serve on which holiday. It means an inheritance or legacy of Pagan practices passed down from mother to daughter, from father to son. For some, it is tantamount to fraud as the sad fact is many who claim to be Family Tradition Pagans are, to be charitable about it, indulging in a flight of fancy. I think those days are just about past.
As I said, if the Pagan community is to survive, we are going to need to involve our children. Many pagans are Eclectics or Solitaries or followers of some other individual path, often one they have created or perhaps discovered for themselves. If this silent majority of Pagans pass these practices on to their children, we will have witnessed the birth of literally thousands of new, but real, Family Traditions.
Soon enough, we will not be able immediately to write claims of being a Family Tradition Pagan off as fiction or as fancy. They are increasingly becoming reality. Even now, we can see the possibility of legitimate claims to membership in a Family Tradition among a third generation of Pagans, albeit rather young Pagans. When my own sons or daughter tell their friends that they are Pagans, Pagans belonging to a Family Tradition, they are telling the gods honest truth. This new truth is sure to have an impact on our community.
What will that impact be? Will we see the American Pagan community drown itself in an ever-deepening sea of religious diversity? Will the American Pagan community gradually coalesce into some sort of hegemony akin to the Christian diversity we see with the variety of Protestant sects, different but recognizably Christian? The answers to the questions are important to us. As a military Pagan, one faced with the very real possibility of dying in the current wars, these answers are important to me from a very personal perspective. For instance, what symbol will adorn my own grave?
The Department of Veteran’s Affairs gives as one of its reasons for refusing to accept a Pagan grave symbol the lack of cohesiveness among Pagan beliefs and the lack of organizational hierarchies. Will the explosion of Pagan Family Traditions even further muddy the waters on this issue, among others? Will these nascent Family traditions all be recognized as “valid” Pagan paths under some broader rubric or will each individual Family tradition be confronted with the need to fight for official recognition? What can the Pagan community as a whole do to help fellow Pagans win the recognition to which we are all entitled?
There is strength in our diversity and nowhere is that diversity reflected as well as it is within Family Traditions. However, there is weakness within the growth of Family Traditions. We risk factionalizing the Pagan community. We risk diluting our strength even as our numbers grow. We risk allowing an increasingly hostile government to divide us as a community into such microscopic pluralities that our voices can be ignored with impunity. There is another even more insidious risk though.
We risk being forced to forsake our diversity in favor of the protection afforded to us as members of a broader community. We risk the herd mentality of Christendom. I suspect that most of us were drawn to Paganism because it rang true to us. It allowed us to explore our individual truths and at the same time did not require us to deny the truths of others. Where does that leave us though?
We need the strength and power of numbers, of a mass movement, if we are to protect our rights. At the same time, we risk losing the very uniqueness that drew us to Paganism if we come together to protect ourselves. It seems almost an oxymoron to speak of Family Tradition paganism as a particular Pagan belief system when it is by definition a collection of disparate, even incompatible, belief systems. However, it seems to me that this is exactly what we must do. We must find someway to speak with one voice, in public at least, while at the same time we preserve the very foundation of our belief systems.
I wonder if perhaps we do not need a Pagan umbrella group or “church” to which individual Pagan groups and families can belong. Individual covens or Family Traditions would be like individual congregations, free to believe as they wished but part of the broader “church.” I suspect many American Pagans already envision themselves as having such a relationship with their fellow Pagans. However, we have done very little to convince the government of this. Instead, we allow it to see us as individuals rather than as a movement. This allows it to treat us as individuals rather than respecting us as a movement. As a result, we have widows unable to get a grave symbol on the head stone marking a fallen Soldier’s grave or a coven unable to convince a local zoning board that its woodlot and cabin is in fact a house of worship and thus entitled to tax-free status.
I certainly do not have all the answers. More and more, all it seems I have are questions. I am faced with a conundrum that defies any simple resolution. I need help to defend what I am building, a Family Tradition that allows me and mine to practice our religion as we see fit. At the same time, in gathering that help, I risk forging something that places that very freedom at risk. I find some small solace in knowing that I do not wrestle with these issues alone. As the veil between the worlds thins with the approach of Samhain, perhaps some of my mother’s wisdom with return to guide me.
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Author's Profile: To learn more about Lawmage - Click HERE
Other Articles: Lawmage has posted 1 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Lawmage... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2017 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).