A Wordless Definition

Disclaimer: This post is not about you.  I did not write it with anyone in mind but myself.  If you are thinking it is about you, please stop because you are most likely wrong.  It is instead a snap shot at my self reflective process of identifying who I am as a Pagan.  Thank you.

Photo of my altar, taken by my friend Del

There is a lot of talk about definitions, labels, and the like within the Pagan community right now and when I first started this blog I was coming from a totally different perspective.  And then I starting thinking, with the help of an incredible Priestess friend, about what Paganism is to me.  I could choose to join the forums and lists of people and engage in discussion that is not really heard and becomes more of a battle of words… or I could stop.  Why would I stop?  Because I don’t have time.

This is what I mean.  My beliefs in spirituality, be it Pagan or whatever title I choose, push me to action.  My spiritual life is about action.  I rarely have time to be in a ritual circle due to the amount of things I have willingly, and unwillingly, chosen to engage in to add magic to a world where so many people are suffering.  In doing the Goddess’s work, I have to put aside the privilege I have to sit behind a screen and get my hands dirty in the needs of her children.  I have to show my work through helping to create a world that is just, fair, honorable and caring.  I choose to wake up in the morning and work in one of the top 10 most dangerous cities in theUnited States, with children who are rarely fed, unshowered, often unloved, under-educated and deprived of the basic needs that I enjoy.  I go to work, hug those kids, fight for them, work with them, teach them choices, hold them when they are crying, find resources for them, work with their families, help them find food or clothing, and I suspend my selfish need for a computer debate about philosophy.  I have work to do and the Goddess pushes me to get it done.

And it doesn’t stop there.  Whether I look at the areas of my life around community or Pagan community volunteerism, raising children in the system or even being in the middle of a Master’s program in social work…. My life is about service.  To me, being a Pagan is about supporting, preserving, honoring and creating the world of today and tomorrow.  It is about getting my hands dirty in social justice work and sacrificing in order to support balance in the world.  It is about acknowledging the privileges I DO have and fighting for equality and hope for others.

Photo of my Yemaya altar, taken by Del

Instead of writing about why I think others have missed the boat, I instead am choosing to write about why I like my self chosen Pagan boat, where the seat seems to fit my ass and it takes me across Yemaya’s waters.  My spiritual journey pushes me to go inward, to look at who I am and who I am to become.  I struggle with the realizations I find inside sometimes, as we all do, and yet I know that my struggles are meant to create a strength in which I can push the paddle of my boat with.  I was chosen on this path by the Gods, I wasn’t looking for it and yet they knew what I didn’t.

The liner inside of my spiritual box begins and ends with respect; respect for others, respect for myself, respect for the Gods and respect for the mission.  Yes, the mission.

And so I find that I have too much left to do, so much to plan, too much to consider, too much love to give, too much service to give, too much privilege not to forget and too many expectations of myself to worry about anything other than my action in the world.

This is a very self reflective issue for me.  I personally don’t care what other people chose to call themselves, I feel it is a personal matter and I respect people’s choices to self identify. For me, I know that my Goddess pushes me to keep digging until she is done.

And so I challenge myself to think; I don’t want individual lines in the sand to stop our collective ability to work together for a more livable world.  If someone’s name tag says Pagan, Wiccan, Polytheist, Spiritualist, Earth Worshipper, Priestess, Priest, Hellenic, Druid, Animist, Indigenous or even Christian…. I still see it as saying human.

  • Lisaspiral

    I think we forget that interfaith work can involve all the different expressions of spirituality regardless of what we might call ourselves.  Isn’t that really what making spiritual connections with others is ultimately about?

  • http://patheos.com/blogs/confessionsofapagansoccermom/ krisbradley

    A label means nothing when you put it on another.  It means everything when you put it on yourself.  

    I carry several labels with pride (mother, wife, Pagan, witch, clergy).  I’ve had people try to stick some on me (most not complimentary).  You hit the nail on the head, though.  The most important label, the one we should take notice of, is human.  

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    Beautifully expressed–thank you for this, and for your work and your commitment to it!

    It’s fascinating how many of us Patheos Pagan bloggers/columnists are dealing with this issue at present…Jason Mankey just did a post on this, and I’ve got one coming up on Friday that deals with some of these issues, too (but ones that both yourself and Jason did not err on, in my opinion!), so there must be something in the air at present…

    Can’t wait to meet you properly at PantheaCon next month, and be on the Patheos panel with you!

  • Animerlon

    Thank you muchly for this personal revelation. It expresses a lot of what i feel/believe but i had never given it conscious thought. I am still searching for my personal spiritual path and this has helped clarify my focus on what is right for me.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X