I’m watching Jumping the Broom on a lazy Sunday afternoon as I put off doing laundry. I’m also trying to plan out my month. And as the fabulous Loretta Devine is arguing over the cultural necessity of jumping the broom, and I’m planning out my spiritual activities, I’m wondering what would the spiritual or cultural necessities be for Pagans?
In the concentration camps some Jews would risk their lives by hoarding just a little food during the week so they could have a Sabbath feast. Even many non-religious Jews have traditional Jewish elements in their weddings. Every culture has these elements that people cling to, these traditions that are non-negotiable.
So I wonder if push came to shove, what would I cling to and what would I let go? And I find the answer fascinating. So much of what we find important involves elaborate ritual or big events. We dress up for rituals that are productions, each of them different, carefully planned and choreographed with ritual tools and materials. So what I think my faith would boil down to out of necessity wouldn’t be many of the things that I consider to make up the bulk of my faith today.
I would meditate and pray. Those are things no one can take away from me.
I would take time to honor the moon and sun cycles, even if only in silence.
I would do something to celebrate the full and new moon, no matter how small.
I will keep pouring libations, even if it’s only with collected rainwater.
If I have a child I would ward, bless and shield it that I have read about and been taught. I would formally name the child before the Gods. I would tell it Pagan stories and teach it Pagan virtues.
Even without children, I would keep telling the stories and singing the songs.
If I marry again there will be a handfasting, even if it is only with a piece of rope or thread, and a shared cup of wine even if it’s Arbor Mist in a Solo cup, and sweet cake that has been magically baked even if it’s just from a Duncan Hines cupcake mix without icing.
And I think that’s it. Those are the things that at the very worst, in the most dire circumstances I would fight for. The incense, the candles, the robes, the chalices, the jewelry and even the athame that is so precious to me would not be what I would hold onto in the roughest of times.
Maybe as I grow older I will develop other traditions that I would cling to uncompromisingly. I’m looking at celebrating the Deipnon, Noumenia and Agathos Daimon each month this year. A monthly housecleaning and big family meal just seems like a good idea, but maybe it will become spiritually important to me as well.
So if things got really bad and you weren’t allowed to celebrate your faith fully, or if you were facing an interfaith marriage, what traditions would you cling to? What would you refuse to let go of?