When I first became a pagan (of the Wiccanoid variety), I believed any number of things that I now look back on and, well, cringe. I am sure that I drove the other pagans around me crazy – I was full of light and love (despite not being that variety of human in any other circumstance), and blessings, and merry meetings, and ancient matriarchies, and Joseph Campbell, and Margaret Mead and…and…and
I was, in a word, better. Better than those hapless Christians who knew not what they stole from us; better than monotheists who refused to believe in more than one god; better than the random people walking 0n the Earth who couldn’t feel the incredible connection between themselves and Mother Earth.
And then, I woke up. Or, rather, then I was smacked across the head repeatedly by a clawed hand and told to listen and that, until I was able to sort things deftly, I wasn’t permitted to do anything but watch and learn. And I nearly keened with frustration because I needed to do ALL THE THINGS and I KNEW WHAT I WAS DOING!!!! But I listened, and I watched, and I read, and began to learn what was based in fact and what wasn’t, and where to apply salt liberally, and what made sense and what didn’t in my own brain.
(I was also spared participation in a circle gone horribly wrong, but that’s a story for another time.)
Eventually, I started to put together a rudimentary practice based Ancient Egypt. It resonated for me and the fact that the goddess I worshiped (Sekhmet) wanted it so…and Mother Earth became Geb (a god), and the sky became Nut (a goddess), and the MOON WAS MALE. The more I dug into it, the more it resonated and the more it turned everything I’d ever learned about being pagan on its head. The Wheel of the Year? Gone. Casting a circle? Gone. Earth-centered religion? GONE. Group practice? Not possible within the local community.
And even as my head was spinning and I was trying to refuse to acknowledge the changes, it felt right. I fought it tooth and nail because it went against all those things that everyone knows…and that’s when I learned that many of the things everyone knows are inaccurate because people are different and there’s no one truth for everyone except that we all, eventually, stop functioning. Cardiopulmonary failure? This is a thing that affects everyone. Other things? Not so much.
There is no overwhelming pagan truth, a thing that we all do, or believe, or know. If you use the definition of pagan that makes the most sense to me, the only thing pagans as a whole have in common (besides the cardiopulmonary failure thing) is that we’re all non-Abrahamic and self-identify as pagan…and really, with the advent of the Christopagan movement, that first bit may soon become irrelevant. It’s not up to me, though, to define what other people are. I am responsible only for defining myself, and telling others what they are and what they should be doing (unless they ask me for advice) is presumptive and just plain rude.
And so, I ebb and I flow, and I move toward my own understanding of how things work, and I do my work so that I will, one day, have a completely cohesive practice and be perfect in my roles as Priest, and Dark Flame Wayfinder, and Mystic, and God-Slave, and Filler of Holes.
May I gain more epithets in the future. Kheperu.