Guest Post: Musings of a Militant Pagan

Guest Post: Musings of a Militant Pagan October 4, 2010

On a recent trip to Washington D.C. to attend a Pagan event, I had an experience at the airport that has taken me time to process. This experience reminded me that as a nation we still have a long way to go in establishing a culture of tolerance for the diversity of beliefs that make up the rich fabric of American religious life.

On the surface, this event rightfully made me resentful that my beliefs could be so easily ridiculed by someone I do not know.  While proceeding through security, a TSA employee noticed the pentagram and medicine bag that I wear and stated, “Oh, are you going to sprinkle fairy dust from your bag on us all?”.  I was dumbfounded.  In my mind, I responded with “Do you make fun of everyone’s beliefs or are you just singling me out?”.  Silence and a smile was what this individual received as a response.

Once upon a time, there would have been an indignant response, demands to speak with a supervisor and a letter to the Director of TSA.   So what has changed?  First, the Feminine Divine has taught me compassion. No longer do I feel the need to confront and be ‘right’.  Through the Goddess I have learned to see narrow-minded views as a human condition from which we all suffer from time to time. How can I withhold compassion from this stranger and still be able to express compassion for those whom I know, yet disagree with?

Next, I have come to understand that changing society’s attitude is a matter of interfaith and civil rights activism.  This individual’s ability to develop insight is most likely to be influenced by leaders of his own faith or tolerance being codified in the culture where he is employed.  Having a conflict with a “Militant Pagan” would only serve to embolden his narrow view of religion.

Finally, participating in a confrontation driven by indignation could have resulted in my forgoing an important task,  going to DC to honor an individual who has done much for Pagan rights through calm discussion and interfaith work.  Choosing to address Pagan issues in a positive and constructive manner is what I was traveling to honor.

While passion for Pagan rights still fills the sails of my heart, as I have grown in my faith, it is reason that sets my course.  Yes I am still a Militant Pagan, yes I still speak truth to power, but I will choose my battles, direct my intent and assist my community in obtaining acceptance through positive action that has a chance of success.

In Service to the Goddess,

Peter Dybing
First Officer Elect
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  • Wes Isley

    Your response is probably best–and yet, I wish I always had time to come up with a little humor, to throw them off and make them wonder exactly what’s up. Some optional responses might have been:

    “Pfff! Fairy dust? That stuff’s for amateurs!”

    (looking around frantically) “You see fairies?! Where?!”

    “Works really well on nosy people.”

  • Somehow, my mind comes up with the following possible response to use in such a situation:

    Look very sadly at the individual, then say, “Tell your family that they have my pity.”

    But then, nobody with any sense ever called me a ‘nice guy.’

  • Eh, I’d have been tempted to give a friendly smile, lean in close, and whisper; “Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.”