Spooky in the South: More Annoying Things to Deal With as a Pagan

Spooky in the South: More Annoying Things to Deal With as a Pagan December 2, 2018

The Door-to-Door Recruiters

This is one that I always find amusing because I never know how to approach the situation, I am a very social person and love to talk to people but I always get nervous about what to say to these people when they ask “Would you like to hear the Good Word of Jesus Christ?” Of course I do not want to listen to their spiel, but I could never close the door in their face either.

Door to door guy by Tumisu. Public Domain Image.

So, when I try to tell them “No thank you”, that I am not interested, or do not believe in the Christian god, I get caught in this endless cycle of “why not?” “could we talk to you about it?” “we would love to come in and share the word!”. The more I reveal about my Pagan faith in order to explain why I am not interested, the more interested they become in trying to talk to me! I mean, there is no nice way to just slam a door in someone’s face, but what else am I supposed to do! I could always just take the pamphlets and mini-bibles just so they will leave me alone, but then that gives them the satisfaction of thinking they “reached” me and I am far too much of a stubborn Southern woman for that!

Remembering All the Names of the Gods

If you are a polytheistic Pagan like I am, it can be quite difficult to try to remember all the names of the gods, goddesses, and spirits. I have often been caught in the middle of a little solitary ritual and completely blank on the name of who I am communicating with. It feels so awkward to stop in a middle of a ritual and be like “I call upon the God of healing… oh wait, hold up what is the name again? Gimme a second” and then go digging through my books to find the names! I have begun to just keep my encyclopedias of Norse and Celtic mythology next to me with the pages marked for the deities I need for a specific ritual. The Celts have several deities for the same things, and often the names pertain to the region in which they were worshipped. I have my main deities memorized but sometimes I need a very specific deity for a particular spell/ritual, and then I am forced to flip through my books and highlight the sections needed.

“Assembly of the Gods” (detail) by Jacopo Zucchi (1575/1576)

The Assumption That You Are Just “Uneducated” on Christianity and Need to Read the Bible

This is a very common one, and I will admit that some Pagans may not know all the facts about Christianity, but it drives me crazy when people just assume that I know nothing about it and just need to be educated. Someone once told me that I needed to read the Bible and once I told them that I had read it before, cover-to-cover, they just reiterated that I needed to read it again and again until I begin to believe it. (Umm… I pretty sure that is called brainwashing, Susan.) My personal favorite phrase I hear from an older relative often is “You are going to study/learn yourself out of faith!”, and I am always left befuddled because they actually think this is a legitimate argument and that in order to truly believe in Christianity I need to be less intelligent and not question the information which I am presented.

Pagans who Reject the Use of Modern Medicine Like Vaccines

Now this one I have seen personally in the Pagan community and it always irritates me, but this may not hold true for everyone. Sometimes getting so caught up in all the herbal remedies, essential oils, and crystal healing leads Pagans and any other nature-centered individuals to become one of the conspiracy theorists who think modern medicine is bad and makes you “sicker”, and therefore deny themselves or their children medical care. I have come across a handful of Pagans who all said they do not plan to vaccinate their children because they believed herbal medicine would keep them from becoming infected or heal the illness. Try as I might I could not convince them that herbs and oils cannot prevent or cure measles, hepatitis, diphtheria, etc., and that their children really need vaccines for these possibly deadly illnesses. As a Public Health student this is one of the most hilarious and simultaneously frightening things I hear from some people; like, “No Carol, that chunk of Agate and burning rosemary and sage is not going to keep your child from dying because of measles.”

“Prince Arthur and the Fairy Queen” by Johann Heinrich Füssli. From WikiMedia.

Those Who Think Witchcraft is Just a “Fun” Thing To Do

While I admit, witchcraft can be fun, it is also a practice that takes dedication and thoughtfulness. Many Pagans use witchcraft as a tool for their religious practice, and we can consider it something very sacred. Often the people who find out you are a witch who are not frightened by it usually become excited and start asking questions like “Can you do a love spell for me?” or “Can you put a hex on my ex who dumped me?” It is very frustrating to have something as personal as your own religion and its practices reduced to nothing more than a commercialized form of play for sell to anyone. And when you try to tell people that you do not just do a spell or ritual for anyone, they will make jokes like “What does it matter it’s not like it is actually real or anything? It is just for fun!” Well if is not real then why are you so determined to get me to perform a spell for you? Hmmmm……

About Sarah Franklin
Sarah Franklin is an undergraduate studying Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). She runs a religious organization at UAB called Path of the Ancient Ones, which provides religious education and guidance to those seeking it. She has spoken on Interfaith panels in Birmingham and works to build bridges between religious communities. You can read more about the author here.
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