Honesty is important, I truly think it is one of the most important things in life. Honesty, about yourself, to yourself and to others. I feel it’s important as a blogger to be honest to my readers about myself as a Pagan, Witch and Hellene.
So here are some of the many reasons I am not actually a Real Pagan, Real Witch or Real Hellene.
No Sabbats or Esbats
I don’t really observe/celebrate the Sabbats, other than the Summer Solstice – because that is close to Christmas time for us and my kids deserve some kind of replacement for the Christmas I evilly deny them. But even there, our celebration of the Summer Solstice is purely a celebration of the longest day and has naught to do with my religion. I do plan to try an observe some of them every year – the equinoxes and solstices at least – but it just never works out. Best laid plans… Is one of my commonly used phrases. I still like the Sabbats, mostly, they are marked on my calendar, I post about them in various places, I am always interested in how others celebrate and I wish everyone a joyous whichever festival it is – I just don’t observe them personally.
I do however observe the Deipnon, Noumenia and Agathos Daimon every lunar month, and I am looking into how I can incorporate some of the other Hellenic festivals into my life, in a way that fits with life Down Under. So I am not totally devoid of religious days and festivals. Just, not the typical ones.
Just like the Sabbats, I don’t observe the Esbats. Or, I do not observe them in the typical Witchy/Wiccan/Pagan ways, not being in a coven or group certainly helps in this. I do however make offerings to Hekate on most full moons.
I am a bit of a cynic. I was raised Agnostic bordering on Atheist and while my family was quite New Agey – mum and grandmother were all tarot and runes, grandfather and step-grandmother into Native American lore and Reiki, and my dad was also a Reiki master, ghosts were/are believed in by many of my close family members, among other things – and despite the fact I am Pagan, a Witch, Hellenic and Omnitheist/Hard-Polytheist I am still Agnostic at heart about many things.
I believe in ghosts. I believe in divination and witchcraft and magic and psionics and all of it. But sweetie, when you come up to me and tell me about the aliens and ghosts you saw and the demon that possessed you and say “I know you will believe me Bek because you’re all Wiccan and stuff!” you can bet I don’t believe you. At all. I may be considering calling Ward 9 (psych ward) on you.
Also I am not Wiccan. Why are you my friend?
Okay so this is probably something most Pagans and Witches have to endure actually, and likely most of you feel the same as I do. But it’s not only at times like that when I feel doubtful about the veracity of some peoples stories. Sometimes I feel the same way about some of the Pagans and Witches telling me their stories of ghosts and aliens and demons and how they’re full on psychic and empathic and, sorry but “I am a natural born witch and have been able to use ‘insert super power here’ since I was 2 years old!” kind of makes me want to scratch my eyes out, poke myself in the ears with a hot poker and fall on my sword.
Yeh, I believe in all those things. But dear Gods, not all Pagans and Witches will experience every single one of those things or have every single one of those abilities. So no, I won’t believe every single one of you when you tell me about your experiences. I do believe many of you, but there are some stories that are just, hahaha nope.
Crunch, Crunch, Crunch
I am not Crunchy. A fairly significant number of Pagans are crunchy, and annoyingly, so are a significant number of homeschoolers. I may have some crunchy tendencies, but I am not crunchy. I eat meat and other animal products, and feed such things to my kids too. I vaccinate my kids and believe immunisations are important. I formula fed all my kids after only brief stints at breastfeeding, I use a pram/stroller and a baby wrap, my son slept in his own room and bed (cot/crib) from day one, my eldest daughter much the same and yet my current baby slept in bed with me for the first three months. I have never given birth naturally and though all of my births were technically emergency caesarean sections, the second was my choice and not medically necessary and the third was planned from day one. I do not have free range children, they have set and strict eating schedules and bed times (except the baby, she’s a rebel), and my kids are disciplined in not always nice ways (aah timeout, the horror!).
Yes, I am generalising a bit when it comes to crunchiness, and most of it is in regards to parenting (crunchiness often is) but the fact remains, I am about the least crunchy Pagan Homeschooler on this entire planet. In some ways I am less Pagan than my non-Pagan homeschooling friends! Which is just insane, but terribly amusing. And I feel no shame or guilt about any of it, but neither do I think I have chosen the better path in life – it’s just better for me at this moment in time.
Harm All The Things
Okay not really, but it’s a catchy little sub-title isn’t it? As I have already said, I eat meat – so obviously by doing so I am complicit in the death of animals. Not only that though, I have and will again, harvest animals for meat. I also am in the midst of a genocidal war against the mousies that invade my home, it’s been a long fought war and the end is nowhere in sight, but I struggle on.
I obviously do not follow the Wiccan Rede of Harm None. This is not to say I go out of my way to harm people or animals, just that I will do so if and when necessary, or for food, or if it is a mouse. I am not sure if I could ever practice ritual sacrifice to my Gods – unless perhaps the animal is to be harvested for meat anyway, and I just merge the two processes. But just kill an animal for the Gods and no other reason? No, I don’t think so.
I also do not believe in the three-fold return. In all honesty the idea of it drives me insane. It seems so very imbalanced to me. The idea of karma, in either its original form or even the Westernised form, seems fine to me – I am not sure I believe in it, but it at least is balanced. But the three fold return is not balanced, what goes out comes back three times stronger? Where do the extra two parts come from?
I don’t really care if other people follow the three fold return, just stop trying to tell me that what I do will return to me three times stronger. I am not a Real Pagan, so it doesn’t apply to me.
The Triple Goddess
Hekate is often erroneously relegated to the role of Crone in the Triple Goddess but I (and history and the majority of Hekate devotees) disagree with Her being placed in that role. Many of us also often disagree with the whole concept of the Triple Goddess itself.
For me it started when I left Maidenhood but was not yet a Mother, not even married, just a sexually active teenager. The Triple Goddess, one of the biggest things in all of Paganism and Witchcraft, had no place for me any more. I was upset about that to be honest, I couldn’t make any sense of it. So I went to work, thinking and divining and studying and all those things you do find something, anything, to get to the truth. And thus it was that I got the UPG of the Pentadeia – the five-fold Goddess, Girl (pre-pubescent), Maiden (pubescent), Mistress (sexually active), Mother, Crone. Not only did this give me a place, but it also fixed a few other problems I saw within the Triple Goddess – such as how infertile young women must automatically become Crones… In this they could fill the role of Mistress instead.
Don’t get me wrong though, I am not against the Triple (of Five Fold) Goddess for other people, and I totally get why She/They are an important part of so many Paganisms. But She/They are not for me, even if Hekate is my Goddess.
My Non-Pagan Home
My home has evolved over time, so it is not as non-Pagan as it used to be, but it is still not obviously Pagan either. Though, to be honest, I am not sure what a Pagan home should look like. Of course, that whole thing is from a non-Pagans perspective, telling me my house is not Pagan enough, therefore I am not actually a Pagan. Yeh. So I can’t really figure what she meant – should I have shiny crystals and dreamcatchers hanging all over the place or something? I don’t know. But looking at stereotypes, I can pinpoint what looks Pagan and what doesn’t.
Of course there is my altar and shrine, but that is in the back room that is rarely seen by people who visit. I have fantasy and gothic art all over the house, including skulls – but that is part of many sub-cultures, and I am still gothic even if I am almost 29 and 12 months old and do wear colourful mum clothes a lot nowadays. Skull, dragon and witchy figurines also decorate the house. Crystals and gems are all over the place – but funnily, most of them are not mine! Each of my kids have a dreamcatcher, gifts from a friend of mine who makes them. Stick incense burners are all over the place, even if I can never find them. Oil burners are also all over the place. My large bookcase in the hallway does have a long shelf full of Pagan and witchy books. I live in Australia, so we have spiders, a lot of spiders – I totally have that stereotypical witchy cobwebs in the corners thing going on.
But for the most part, my house is mostly normal. Or, maybe not normal. I suppose most houses don’t have maths, English, sign language, space and geography charts all over the walls. Or bookcases everywhere full of kids books and work books. Or labels on almost everything to help the kids with word recognition. Not to mention the pens and pencils and other stationery everywhere. My house is far more obviously a homeschool home than a Pagan home.
And that time when we had a power outage and I couldn’t find any candles? Proof positive, I am not a real witch!
The Non-Pagans Say So Too
Of course there is an upside to being not a Real Pagan or Real Witch. For instance, I do not sacrifice people to the Devil, indeed I have never offered anything to the Devil nor tried to make any contact with Him at all. I have never poisoned anyone, nor even hexed or cursed anyone – never had the need before. Also, I do not eat babies. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I do frequently nom on my baby daughters feet, hands, cheeks, belly and neck, but I have never swallowed and digested any part of her!
I have never flown on a broomstick, or turned into an animal – though I wouldn’t be against doing either of those things, if only I could. I have never made livestock sicken, but I am the Green Reaper and plants whither where I walk. I have never danced naked in the woods, but I will, I will! And, worst of all, I have never ever turned anyone into a frog.
I Have No Idea What I Am Doing
Sometimes, with Paganism, Hellenism and Witchcraft, I feel like I have been thrown into the pool at the Olympics and I only know how to doggy paddle. I have been Pagan for 20 or so years, even if I have only known about the label for about 16-17 of those years, and still, I sometimes have no clue what I am doing. Sometimes I feel like I must be a fraud, literally not a Real Pagan or Real Witch or Real Hellene.
A Real Witch and Pagan would surely be able to always remember, easily, which element goes to which direction and all of the other correspondences that go with those things, right? Well, I have to think about it and sometimes refer back to my notes to remember things like that. I should know these things, but sometimes I don’t. A Real Pagan wouldn’t wish 2000 people, in a newsletter, a joyous Ostara when it’s actually Imbolc – a Real Pagan would always know the difference.
A Real Hellene wouldn’t have to google which word to use when making khernips, for the tenth time in a month, when she really should already know this. A Real Devotee of Hekate should remember all of Hekates epithets and what they mean…. But I can’t for the life of me remember most of them at all. Phosphorous is Torch Bearer? Soteira is Saviour. Kourotrophis is Protector of Children and Mankind. Triceps is three formed, or something to do with three. Brimo, is enemy of mankind or is it the ragey angry one? Yeh, not a Real Hellene.
Not a Real Pagan. Not a Real Witch. Not a Real Hellene. Not even a Real Devotee of Hekate. These are some of the many ways in which I am not a Real Anything.
How Real are you?
In case you didn’t realise, and it’s possible some people wouldn’t, this post is about making fun of myself while also making fun of the many generalisations, misconceptions and stereotypes that exist within and about Paganism. Everything I say about myself is true, if a bit tongue in cheek at times, but none of it means I am not a Real Pagan, Witch or Hellene.