I love being pagan. I love the way it lets me make connections that are meaningful with nature, with my community, and with myself. I love the way that simple archetypes and symbols are like mirrors to my self, how they let me explore all of life as a deep reflection of my own, and celebrate it.
I can’t remember how I discovered paganism. I knew it resonated with me, and I wanted to be a part of it, but I didn’t know how.
Nearly six years ago I remember reading about Wicca, and loving it. I loved the balanced way it seemed to view the spectrum of life. I wasn’t used to celebrating the feminine along with the masculine, the earth along with the transcendent, the sexual along with the devotional, and the personal path along with the group effort. It was more than a welcome relief, it was like an ecstatic experience.
I was still plagued by my doubts. I’ll try not to pretend I remember more than I do, but I do remember which issues with my LDS upbringing that led me out of it. I cannot honestly remember if I had been looking into paganism before I left, but I have to assume I was enjoying a unhealthy amount of cognitive dissonance, so maybe I was. I remember my leaving the church was all at once with little warning. I confessed to my dad (to myself?) that I not only didn’t want to go on a mission for the church, I didn’t believe in God either. I’ve been back to church services 4 times since, and never to worship.
I wanted to be Wiccan, though. I knew that even though it related to me on such a clear level as an escape from sexism and arbitrary authority, I didn’t really know what it could mean to be worshipful of the Lady and the Lord. I couldn’t make myself believe. I wanted to reach out to someone, even through the internet, to help me learn and find my way. I was still under my parents’ roof, and had severe restrictions on the books I could read, the company I kept, and the websites I could learn from. More than disliking that I had left their church, they hated that I was into paganism.
So I was alone, doubting, and practically absentminded about the path I was enamored with, but restricted from.
I went to college the next year, up here at Utah State. I bought my own computer, I had my own place, and my roommates were all surprisingly non-Mormon. I looked up local pagans on Witchvox, as well as a couple pagan groups on Yahoo Groups (they were a thing back then). Cache Valley was full of pagans that didn’t like to talk. But at least I had my computer, and I could learn on the internet.
Over the next few years, I had bouts of paganiness, but it was in between being skeptical and irreligious. For whatever reason, I had been hesitant of exploring paganism eclectically. But a highly personal path, once I got used to the idea, seemed perfect. I owe Wicca my understanding of balanced spirituality giving celebration to all facets of life, but it wasn’t until I abandoned the framework of thinking I had to believe and be worshipful in certain aspects of practice that I began to grow.
I can bring what I want to my path. I think of my path as exploration first, and a symbolic celebration of life second. Paganism is a way to form connections, to draw meaning from simple practice. To me, the old gods and goddesses are archetypes of the human experience; symbols are mirrors to our understandings; ritual is a way to approach life in all its nuances in the best way we know how.
We come together in group ritual with many differences, yet we all share those values. We value what the old pantheons bring, how it connects us with nature, and what meanings we discover from that basis. The rest is just flavor.
I love being pagan. I don’t expect others to, but I enjoy it when they do. Life comes in many flavors, and being pagan lets you celebrate it.
- Dano -
so mote it is!