I was very touched by this post from the blog “A Forest Door.” There has been a lot of drama in the “Pagan” online community lately. Paganism vs. Polytheism. Secular Humanists Pagans/Atheist Pagans vs. theists. Vegetarian Pagans vs. Omnivorous Pagans. Pop culture icons as deities vs traditional Gods. The list goes on and on, and, honestly, the topics aren’t new. They come up every once and awhile. It’s no surprise – they’re actually quite interesting! Yet the drama and mental masturbation that result can be completely exhausting. I’ve largely avoided these topics because I just don’t have the mental energy to deal with them right now.
So why did the aforementioned blog post make an impression on me?
The author is showing self-integrity. There are plenty of people writing things that impact, or could impact, everyone in the Pagan community. Or rather, there are a lot of people trying to do that (it’s very hard to please everyone)! And that’s all well and good, but there are still plenty of us who want to focus on our own thing. We’re not blogging to argue or persuade necessarily – we just want to share our thoughts.
The internet is a wonderful tool in that I’ve been able to connect with a variety of Pagan/Polytheistic folk with a wide array of perspectives of deity, magic, liturgy, cultural influence, etc. A great many are fellow ADFers or people influenced by some degree of reconstructionism. Many others are very “eclectic” for lack of a better word. I get that and I respect it. It’s not for me, though. I always feel a bit awkward when getting to know a new eclectic Pagan (online or off). Some are new to the scene and don’t realize there’s more out there than what is essentially Wicca. Others have been eclectic for years and, in trying to be helpful, provide suggestions or interpretations to my experiences that are not of my own religious practice. I appreciate that and find it interesting, but it’s always really awkward explaining how some things just don’t mesh with what I’m experiencing or my hearth culture. And then there are folks who view deity differently and try to get into intense philosophical debates with me. I’ve never been really interested in that… I enjoy learning about different perspectives, but people who try to tell me how and what to believe are not individuals I enjoy spending time with. And trust me – I have a great many friends who view deity differently and we get along fine because we are accepting of one another.
What I’m trying to say is that all of us are called to practice in our own way (if we want to practice a spirituality/religion at all). It’s a beautiful thing! I celebrate diversity and love joining others of different paths for their rituals, but I don’t want folks to feel bad or discouraged when I don’t want to incorporate something from their tradition into my own practices. I also don’t want people to take terrible offense when I embrace history and place value on cultural authenticity rather than “whatever feels right.” I’m not perfect and don’t claim to practice a purely Celtic path, but I try the best I can, and my efforts to infuse my spirituality with authentic Celtic tradition give what I do great personal meaning. I also hope my own readers understand that what I write about is about my experiences in Druidism and Celtic-inspired spirituality. I don’t feel my way is the only way. I definitely don’t want people to look at this blog and think I’m the best representative for ADF or liberal Celtic Recons or Pagans or Polytheists, etc… I want people to look at my blog and see what I do. I keep this blog to record and share my experiences, inspiration, and things I’ve learned. Maybe some of it will be useful to you, but if not, that’s fine too! More than anything, I hope to inspire others seeking to live a Druidic life to do so in the best way for them! My approach is: “This is what I learned in my research, this is what I feel about it, this is how I applied it to my life, and here are my results. Now you try – if you want!”