Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 9th. 2014 ...
Healing the Witch Within
Discovering Wicca as a Young Child
March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright
March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence
Alternative Medicine – What Is It?
February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Building a Magick Mirror
The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression
January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
The Story of You
Article ID: 14072
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,248
Times Read: 2,386
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Posted: October 10th. 2010
Times Viewed: 2,386
This essay was inspired by something I heard in a panel on Gay History. But it is not just for Pagans who call themselves queer – perhaps it’s not even just for Pagans at all, but for people. There is one particular group of people, though, with whom I would like to share this. That group of people is the Pagan community.
I was at an “over the rainbow” GSA (gay-straight-alliance) festival at a high school that I had never previously been to. It was rather far away, actually, and people were stunned that our humble GSA of five people drove out from our city for an hour and a half just to be there. Among the many events that were hosted, we first popped into the Gay History panel and later the Gender Identity speakers. I wish I could reference the names of those people here, as they were some genius and inspiring people, but I can’t recall.
This is, as best as I can piece together, an approximate quote from the gay history speaker:
“The history of the gay movement is different from lots of other histories. We’re a very future based movement, interested in attaining certain rights and recognition. We sometimes lose track of where we’ve been...and our history in general, it would appear, has not been a pleasant one. It’s not taught in schools, often not publicly acknowledged, and usually not brought up in the home. Most often, we don’t have parents or grandparents to sit down with us and teach us the history of it, the way ethnic groups can pass down their history.”
Does that sound familiar to anyone else?
The histories of the gay movement and Pagan movement have very much in common. I have never seen the gay movement taught in schools at all – up until junior year, a paragraph in my U.S. history book (luckily, my teacher had a better sense of what kids should know about the world around them, and elaborated on this one paragraph) . Nor have I seen the Pagan movement taught in schools. The only time I ever heard ‘witch’ brought up was, of course, studying early Americans and hearing about the Salem Witch Trials. Words like ‘Pagan’ or ‘Heathen’ have never been used, even when talking about tribal groups in Europe that quite clearly established some of the traditions that are considered “Pagan” by today’s standards.
Our history is not written down in very many books. I mean our real history, as a Pagan movement, not all the ‘How to be Wiccan’ books everyone says we need to be reading up on (which is, for me, a peeve of its own genre) . It’s not taught in schools.
Now, part of this is because Paganism is so vast, widespread, and untraceable in many ways. But wouldn’t it still be of value if, in basic world foundations and history classes, kids were taught more about the roots of Paganism – like the needs of ancient people to have markers for the seasons for the sake of their crops and survival? The importance of “mother earth” once the Neolithic revolution came along? When hunter-gatherers and agriculture merged to create a society that functioned in sync with the seasons and when the well being of children and the well being of the land were linked so closely?
Apparently not. When I wanted to give a presentation for my history class on such practices (as everyone had to pick a different topic) , the principal told me I would need the entire class to take permission slips for their parents to sign – and to clarify, I attended a public high school, in which we are expected to learn about a variety of religions.
I’ve heard similar stories in the gay community about people wanting to do reports on the roles of Gays in historical events, and who are met with the same standards: print permission slips, have administrators check your work (“So we know you aren’t ‘corrupting’ anyone”…) , be graded on a much harsher scale than other students, etc. This is the same way they go about determining if a class can watch an R-rated movie, if relevant to the curriculum, in a classroom.
Our history is not an R-rated movie.
Also, as it was stated in this panel, we often aren’t born into that history. It is likely that someone who identifies as queer does not have queer parents, and though not always, most of the time we don’t grow up hearing that history in our homes. So we set out to the Internet and the library, to see what we can find. Then there is the earth-shattering moment when we realize that it’s not enough. You have to get out there, in the world, and find people who share your struggles. You have to learn and teach people this history – YOUR history – and the lessons it has taught you.
This is much like the transition I went through as a Pagan. Not being born into a Pagan family (though I wouldn’t trade my family, their beliefs included, for the world) , and thus taking the Internet and books to be the teachers. Research, research, research. Maybe even feeling a little bit of regret that it’s not my family sitting me down to talk to me about these wonderful concepts, but a cold, worn book. And then knowing that simply understanding the words isn’t enough. You have to go out and do it. You have to learn to do the things you’ve read about, like tuning with the earth. You also have to go out and interact with people – on the Internet or in the community. You have to go out and help the cause. Plant trees, recommend books, attend festivals, whatever resonates with you as right. Teach the things that this path has taught you, and pass on little bits of faith.
But you are not just Pagan. You are other things.
For example, I consider myself to fall under many labels. Pagan. Queer. Half Swedish. Artist (ic) . Student. Nerd. Female. And so on and so forth. And I am these things, irrevocably, for the rest of my life. If I am Pagan now, I will always be Pagan. It is a part of myself that needs to be recognized and leave its story in the world. If I never painted or sketched ever again, I would still be an artist in the way that I see and experience the world. No matter what, I will always be a nerd, despite my previous attempts. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This leads to the most important point of all: There is a history of Pagans, women, artists, Swedish and European people, nerds, gays, and many other things that are important to me. But I am not only the sum of the labels I fall under.
I am myself. And just like all the things that are a part of me, I have a story.
So do you. You as a Pagan. You as a man or woman; You as a race or ethnicity; you as a talented and skilled person; you as a son, daughter, husband, wife, brother, sister, mother, father, uncle, cousin, aunt, grandparent or whatever you are. There is a history behind being every one of those things – where those groups are and where they are going, how they came to e an established group. And although these histories need to be cherished, the most important one right now is the story of you.
Your identity. What shaped it. How you came to be this way. What did your environment do for you, and what did you do for it. These are the most important histories for you. You will be left to write and rewrite them. You will pass them down. You will leave your imprint on everything you ever come in contact with, but perhaps most heavily on the people closest to you.
And it is likely that history will not be taught in schools. But you can teach it, and the lessons that come along with it, to others. In a sense, you have a responsibility to pass on the best qualities of you to the rest of the world.
The man who gave the lecture that inspired this article is the author of the book 'Gay Seattle'. This essay was not inspired by his book, per say, but his point of view on the history of people and the significance of each.
Location: Bellevue, Washington
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