The post that set me off a week or so ago was about “armchair Paganism.” I’m not going to link it here, and I’m not going to read it again, but I thought I’d offer a few thoughts on the matter. The basic gist of the post was that while reading about, writing about, and talking about Paganism is fine, one is not really a Pagan unless he or she does Pagan stuff. And by Pagan stuff, I’m talking about rituals, going to Pagan gatherings, participating in things like drum circles, festivals…, you get the idea. In other words, you have to do something to be a Pagan.
Firstly, I don’t know why anyone would become a Pagan unless they were interested in doing some kind of Pagan activity. My best guess is that the majority of Pagans today are solitary practitioners, and that most of that majority have never attended a public Pagan event of any kind. Does that make them any less of a Pagan than someone who is outgoing, and loves public events? I think not. Most solitary Pagans do many rituals and spells in the privacy of their own homes.
The times I’ve written about my battle with depression, I get a lot of feedback from other Pagans. I have absolutely no documentation to back this up, but I think there may be a good many Pagans who battle depression and anxiety. For many of those people, going to a public Pagan event and participating in something like a drum circle might be very difficult for them. Also, many Pagans and witches are still in the closet, so participating at a public event is not a reality.
I was born into a certain religion. My parents were very laid back about it, and we basically went to services when it was socially necessary. Like a lot of Christians who go on Easter and Christmas. So I didn’t do much on a daily basis to “prove” I was of a certain religion, but I was. I’m not sure why some in the Pagan community think that Pagans are somehow required to constantly prove to anyone that they are, in fact, Pagan.
I, and many like me, are more dedicated and knowledgable about my adopted Paganism than I was about my birth religion. I was born into a religion, and poof, I was that religion. Becoming, and continuing to be a Pagan, has entailed lots of study for me and most other Pagans. I may not do rituals on a set basis, or work spells every time I want something, but I see, think, and process the world through a Pagan filter. My path has a great influence upon how I live my life.
The old me could go weeks, or more, without giving my birth religion a thought. The Pagan me thinks, writes, or talks about my spirituality dozens of times a day. My Twitter account is basically devoted to Paganism, as are most of my social media accounts. I scour the internet daily, looking for articles or sites related to Paganism. The majority of the contents of my computer and cloud storage is Pagan related. I live Paganism.
So please, just because I’m not a fan of camping, and don’t attend Pagan retreats, or care to participate in public events, don’t think for a minute that I am not Pagan because of that. I’m so tired of this trend of so-called “expert” Pagans judging others, attempting to define exactly what it takes to be a Pagan. Seriously, Pagans who do that are starting to resemble the far right evangelical Christians, who condemn anyone who doesn’t think exactly as they do. And none of us came to Paganism for that crap.