Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in December we will be asking people questions about Paganism and Pagan religions and culture. Want to weigh in? Find the next question at the bottom of this post!
There are a lot of different ways pride is viewed in our communities: pride of self, pride of tribe, pride of ancestry, pride of country. What place does pride have in your spirituality?
Candice McBride responds:
Speaking as an American, we don’t have a great deal of history or mythology to fall back upon as a source of cultural pride, which often leaves us in the hands of people who would exploit with false history. From my own personal point of view, I find there is a lot that is shameful about American history, though the same can be said about history everywhere. However, everything about modern culture encourages folk to look forward, not back, which in my opinion is detrimental to the development to any true sense of national pride and contributes to our tenuous grip on a cultural identity.
We can usually rattle off our cultural bloodlines (German, French, English, Irish, Scottish, Native American – my own familial blend), but between the often ignored history of our immigrant ancestors and accusations of cultural appropriation from indigenous peoples, we are essentially a people without a heritage. I feel this inhibits the development of self-esteem, particularly in children. When we finally have reason to take note of this lack and begin looking for something to fill the void, we are better served by looking to our ethnic heritage and plumbing the depths of the religions and mythologies of our forebears. What we are seeking is a sense of pride in the accomplishments of our ancestors, people but for whose actions we would not be here today. Pride in our ancestors’ accomplishments can help inspire us to greater heights and to overcome adversity. Considering today’s social, political, and economic climate, we can use all the inspiration we can get. Though some will speak of pride as flaw, pride through self awareness can be a great growth opportunity as well.
Does anyone exude pride more than Aretha?
Kathy Nance responds:
When I think of the word “Pride,” I stand straighter. I can actually feel myself expanding energetically outward, filling in my body and my aura more fully and fiercely. Pride is a tailfeather-shaking virtue.
Pride is the energy that allows us to take our place in the world. Not someone else’s place. Not a place that is too big or too small for us. The place that is ours, and ours alone.
Pride is an essential part of being a whole and healthy person. In the Anderson Feri Tradition and its offshoot, Reclaiming, Pride is the second point of the Iron Pentacle. This pentacle of red-hot, earthy energy symbolizes qualities that flow into one another, feed one another, and balance one another to transform us to fully-realized human beings. The points are Sex (or Life Force), Pride, Self, Power and Passion.
If the Pentacle were drawn on each of us by God Herself, Pride would be on the point held by the right foot—the foot many of us step forward with first. Pride allows us to move forward confidently in the world.
One of the earlier exercises my teacher, Thorn Coyle, assigned our group is called “Taking Pride Out of The Box.” It can be found in her book, Evolutionary Witchcraft. It calls for asking people what they are proud of. I remember that some people were surprised by the question, and seemed a little sheepish—even ashamed—at being proud of something in themselves. And then as they talked about it, they stood up a little straighter. They looked me straight in the eye. They smiled.
It feels good to be proud. Tailfeather-shaking good.
Next question is:
Our communities are made up of a majority of converts from other traditions. Is this a problem? A blessing? Should there be more emphasis on passing on our traditions to the children in our lives?
If you’d like to weigh just e-mail me your short response (250-500 words) before Dec 6th. It’s sfoster at patheos.com.