The Pagan blogosphere is a little odd at times. At certain points, it seems that the topics run from helpful perspectives on things such as ritual form, meditative techniques, or just interesting observations on daily life itself. At other times, the blogosphere seems to become a snarling, snapping beast, where topics and comments derived from those same topics can take a turn towards the nasty and personal in tone. Lately, there’s been a move back towards getting slightly dogmatic about what does or does not make up a polytheist and what does or does not make up a Pagan.
At this point, I want to be extremely clear – I have zero desire to set a standard definition for either term. I realize that this may sound a bit wishy-washy or non-committal to someone reading this. My reasoning – for me – is very straight-forward: the only area where I can define things is for myself. Trying to define what is right or wrong for someone else, for me just doesn’t fit into my way of thinking and understanding the connections around me.
I understand what being a polytheist is – for me. I also understand what being a Pagan is – for me. I understand how these terms and their related concepts fit into how I approach my beliefs, how I approach my worship and relationship with the Gods and Goddess that strongly call to me. But taking all of that and utilizing it as a template to paste on to another individual that is also a polytheist and/or Pagan… Well, it just makes me remember all the in-fighting I saw in the Catholic and Baptist faiths.
Yes Virginia, the Christians have some of the same in-fighting that Pagans do. There are many “my-dick-is-bigger-than-yours” and “I-can-pee-further-than-you” battles within the Christian faith as well. Where people have to “prove” their understanding of their faith by a measuring stick provided by someone else. Personally, this was one of the things that drove me out of the Christian faith, and eventually had me at the doorstep of the Pagan faiths. Yes, Pagans are more open and understanding of how people approach their Spirituality, but we also have our share of folks aiming for a litmus test. A short while back, there was the “Are you Pagan enough? battle-cry that floated around. When I heard about it, I refused to play. And I still do. I just don’t have the desire to “prove” who I am to anyone, other than myself. I walk my walk. And I tend to walk it alone.
Who am I? What am I? What do I believe? All very easy questions to answer. I am Tommy. I am a polytheist, a Pagan, and a Druid…sometimes all at the same time, sometimes not. I believe that the Gods are singular, individual beings that are not completely definable by human understanding. I believe that the sacred is all around us, ready to be experienced, if we take the time to explore our surroundings and all that encompasses that. In honoring the sacred and the Gods and Goddesses, I utilize the framework as outlined in the courses and teaching of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids. Within the Order, I find my true family. They may not all believe exactly as I do, but we are bound together in respect, honor and love of the sacred, the Gods and Goddesses, the Earth, and one another. How all of that equates or does not equate to someone else’s understanding of what encompasses their Spirituality does not matter that much to me – but I respect its aspect of sacredness in the understanding of that individual. Even when it is diametrically opposed to what I believe. Because I believe that respect is the first step to understanding one another. And in understanding one another, we can honor the sacred in one another – and find peace and balance.
My Paganism is most likely not the same as Your Paganism. But together, our individual understandings of Paganism gather under the perspective of Our Paganism. So, when people ask the question of Whose Paganism is right; I can respond easily and comfortable that ALL of our Paganism is right…individually. Combined together, we find the strength and various common factors that bind us together…as a common Paganism. So, whose Paganism is it? Its OUR Paganism – individually and collectively.
Two Pence. #Sayin’