There have been few texts that have given voice to the vast cultural diversity within the Pagan community. As our community grows, the need for this has increased and there are more people of all different types that are practicing different forms of Paganism. I am grateful to see all the different types of people that are brothers and sisters in the Craft. It is quite exciting.
Having an opportunity to contribute to giving a forum for the voice of minorities on this path has been incredible. First with the Shades of Faith anthology and then with this Daughters of Eve blog. I am not sure how or why I was gifted these incredible opportunities but I sure am glad because I have always had so much to say.
With so little texts that are voicing the minority experience within Paganism, I was quite surprised to see the Shades of Faith; Minority Voices in Paganism anthology made the Huffington Post’s list of 27 Essential Books for the Pagan bookshelf. How exciting and liberating to be included. This book has so many incredible authors contributing to it that it is a good reflection of many different people and many different paths.
In the sheer excitement of this acknowledgement, I got a rude awakening that was unsettling and concerning. This article sparked so much conversation and what appeared to be disdain among other Pagans because there were so many different opinions about what books should be included. While Shades of Faith was not one of the books that was disputed by others, it still really hurt to see the community so up in arms about the very thing that I was celebrating.
And so it has been, and so it is.
With every step forward we still seem to be determined to take two steps back. Instead of celebrating those accomplishments in the publishing of such an article, the community is too busy disagreeing, fighting, or making sure some opinions are heard over others. I do hope that as a community we do not allow our egos to outgrow our missions and our collective concepts of integrity. If we are always poised to find the missing pieces or what is wrong, how do we ever acknowledge what is closer to whole or right?
So I would like to take this opportunity to do what I feel has been missing so many times in the acknowledgement of our accomplishments in the Pagan community.
I first want to say that I am excited to see the Huffington Post show some acknowledgement of the Pagan path by first publishing this list and then publishing a post by Teo Bishop (fellow Patheos writer). Fabulous movement on such a site as the Huffington Post’s religious section.
It is also important to say that authors in our community do not always get the acknowledgment for all the hard work that goes into creating and publishing a book. Whether I have a personal opinion on a book is not the point, I value the work that authors put into their product.
The work of the contributors of the Shades of Faith anthology have made a difference in my life. Connecting to others with similar stories and experiences have enhanced my personal practice and my place in the Pagan world. It supported a sense of “me” that I didn’t know was missing. I attribute that to these writers and other minority Pagan writers that are publishing incredible blogs and articles as well. The visibility of our diversity has supported many people by just showing up and being counted. I honor the accomplishments we all are making towards a more culturally aware and cohesive spiritual community.
I am grateful for the incredible historic texts that have created a foundation for many of us to practice and to follow our own aspirations to write for our community. While many of these text were not named in the list of 27 books, there is just not enough room to honor every book that deserves to be acknowledged. And in the naming of the books on that list we are also honoring the books that helped to pave the road for their creation as well. No one is forgotten in the growth curve of a community or a culture. It is a collective experience that spans over time.
Lastly, instead of arguing about who was NOT on the list that should have been, I would like to say that I hope for many more lists in the future. Our community is too large and vibrant to be captured in any one list. I do not expect any list to get it all right but I do hope it opens more doors for a sharing of information on sites such as Huffington Post, where we are able to claim our place at the table and support a movement of more spiritually understanding and enlightened beings in our broader communities.
May we all be so lucky.