What is in a debate? Is the purpose of a debate more about varying opinions or perspectives that don’t always have a right or wrong? Often I find it important to acknowledge that a version of right is subjective and can often vary from the universal truth.
Here is the thing about the “Pagan” debate that is happening online right now. Identifying as any label does not include or exclude you from the associations that others will put on you. Whether you want to be identified as a Pagan or not, the world will still assume that position for you if you fall into certain categories of worship. This is the same as any qualifiers for any category or label, just the same as I am black because I have kinkier hair, darker pigment and black features. No one asks if I am Black nor does it usually play a factor that I have some different mixtures of other ethnicity’s within me prior to the categorization process; for all intent and purposes I am a Black Woman….period.
I feel the same about being Pagan. I can sit and separate all the different parts of my practice that vary from other Pagans but in the end I have to make a choice about how I can find community with those who I have some similarities with instead of focusing on the differences, otherwise I am fighting against the one community whom I might be able to find some level of connectivity with spiritually. It is a title people. Titles don’t define us but they are a framework that allow for us to built acceptable and commonly understood concepts that we can support one another with and find support for ourselves within.
We are so conditioned to fight against perceptions and structures of power that we often would rather be without support than to feel as if we have to conform to anyone or anything else. I would much rather stand in solidarity with others that have some common beliefs and understandings of support than to stand alone in a world that equates numbers with having a voice. And as a Black Woman, I have been raised to understand how important having a voice and a community voice, gives power and opportunity for growth when there are none.
If it were not for some of our ancestors and revolutionaries that stood together in solidarity to encourage and demand future rights, respect and a place within this society, I would not be sitting here writing this post to be published for others to read and reflect on. They didn’t allow skin color, religious sect, community, education or community status to separate them and make them ineffective for the movement; they stood together as African Americans.
I feel it is an obligation to be a part of community and stand in opposition of oppression and fight for opportunities for those who will benefit from them in the future (including myself, my family and my children). The Pagan community has so much more to concentrate on in securing the liberties and freedoms for our people than to spend our time turning inward and splitting ourselves apart from one another and rendering ourselves ineffective.
I am proud to be a Pagan and a active part of the Pagan community. I hope to teach my children that community is about building something for the future that is sustainable and supportive. While we are honoring the divine connection between ourselves and the Gods, we have to honor the divine connection between one another or else we just become hypocrites. In the act of honoring one another we see that we are family and we are community.
And with that I echo one of the anthems of the revolutionary movements of my people, “Say it Loud!! I’m Black (and Pagan) and I’m Proud”. (RIP James Brown)
May we all choose to put our efforts and attention where they do the most good for everyone and for our future.