Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Claiming authority and speaking for us all

I have been pagan most of my life.  I was raised and baptized Mormon (my family was part of the original believers and eventually traveled west with the Mormon wagon trains), but had fully rejected it my the age of 12. Slowly, Wicca became part of my awareness, but by the end of high school, I had largely rejected it as well.  I am a pagan.  I don't belong to any organized religious groups, I celebrate many holidays with friends from many faiths.  I am raising my children to appreciate the infinite variety of human beliefs and customs, but I do not force my beliefs on them.  My religious and spiritual life is a reflection of my life experiences and the contact I have had with the Divine.

I don't claim to speak for any part of the larger pagan community (as widely disparate and ultimately innumerable as it is).  I write to share my experiences, to engage in conversation with other souls and to learn.  You can disagree with my views, you can challenge my assumptions, or you can offer your own interpretation.  That's fine, great even.  It's why I started writing.  What I don't appreciate, is when someone claims to speak for all pagans.

The pagan community (including the many varieties of Wicca, Druidism, and Heathenism) is not in any way homogeneous.  We don't fit on a bell curve, you can't pick one of us to hold up as a shining example of the average pagan.  You have to be careful to separate the religious from the life style (much like talking about Jewish or Muslim culture versus the actual religious worship).  Witches aren't all pagans, pagans aren't all Wiccans, Wiccans don't all practice exactly the same.  There are even the people who include Christ and Mary as part of their pantheon.  On the other hand, there are the people who use paganism as a lifestyle, but don't ultimately believe in it. Point being, nobody has the right to speak for all of us.  It's not like Catholicism, where the Pope is the ultimate authority on the faith.

So, for all of those who crave power and authority, please be warned: You don't speak for me, and I think many other pagans would agree, you haven't been elected as our spokesperson, so speak your mind, but qualify what you say with a disclaimer that it is only your opinion or your experience.

If you'd like to know what brought this on, take a look at this link:

http://www.patheos.com/community/paganportal/2011/10/04/dont-worry-wicca-isnt-a-real-religion-a-rant/

Also, please check out Delphi's blog "Celestial Witch" and Kallan Kennedy's "The Secret Life of the American Working Witch" to participate in ongoing positive protests against DC-40.  The links are on the blog roll.  Thanks!

2 comments:

  1. I read your blog and I completely agree with you. I went and read the article..I have to say I was a bit suprised and the almost vicious tone the writer takes. To me there are those who do documentaries or articles etc..on different faiths and I find nothing wrong with that as long as it is honest and objective. I think that particular blog post is colored heavily with the writers personal prejudices. Thank you for sharing the article on panthos and being so honest and forthright.

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  2. I agree with your analysis of the article and the situation, Delphi. I think the "one for all" or fundamentalist approach to pagan spirituality keeps a lot of people from participating in the larger community. It also makes us look bad to the people who aren't pagan but receive bigoted, inaccurate or preachy views only.

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