First I want to start with saying that I am grateful and I am lucky. I have had the pleasure of integrating into a beautiful community of various types of Pagans and have never felt as if who I was wasn’t good enough. I know that others have had to deal with feeling singled out in the crowd of Pagans because they were other than white but I haven’t. I have been lucky.
I think part of that is living in the Bay Area. Before I identified as Pagan, I was still the Black girl that didn’t “act Black”. I never really understood that, especially when I was younger. I didn’t “talk Black” or dress “Black” or even “act Black”. I remember asking what it meant to talk Black after being told that one time and the response I got back was that I talked too proper. To this day that saddens me and I have continued to hear that throughout my life.
I use to wear crystals, listen to alternative music and hang out with a multi-cultural crowd. I think I was being groomed to become a Pagan. Truth is, being born and raised on the West Coast (specifically in the Bay Area) I didn’t identify with racism and didn’t see why I had to be scared of others who were not like me. As I got older I began to understand a little more and yet still feel completely comfortable being who I am among others that don’t look like me.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of going to the yearly Pagan Alliance Festival and Parade in Berkeley, California and had a blast. There were plenty of different races, beliefs and preferences all together in celebration of deity and one another. I was not the only Black person there and there were Hispanics, Native Americans, women, men, straight, gay, transgendered, professors, teachers, tarot readers and therapists. There were so many different types of people there that I didn’t even think about being anything other than a Pagan and a Priestess of the Gods. It was beautiful.
As I mentioned before, I know this is not always the experience of others who walk the worlds between culture and spirituality. I know that different areas around the world have different levels of acceptance and different types of people around.
I found myself wishing that all African American Pagans could have this experience of community with other Pagans. I am going to continue to hold that space for all people to find peace within their own communities, it is a wonderful feeling. As many of us have heard before, look for the commonalities and not the differences. Community should be about acknowledging the commonalities and looking at the differences as the additional spices that make us all unique and valuable.
And with that, I say I am truly blessed and lucky. I love being able to have my culture walk and my spiritual path walk along side me together.