Neo-Pagan. Eclectic. Non-Wiccan. Hellenic. Non-Reconstructionist. Polytheistic but not Pantheistic. Ex-Christian that was Christian. Unitarian Universalists. Liberal. Feminist that believes is gender equality rather that superiority. Free thinker. Non-Monogamous. Bi-sexual. Pro-sexuality. Polyamory. Free Speech.
Neo-Paganism is an interesting theological idea and is an interesting path. But there are times where I feel like I’m traveling down this road alone. I don’t seem to belong anywhere. I don’t fit in Wiccan circles. I don’t really fit in Dianic and Goddess centered groups. I don’t fit in the strongly conservative religious traditions, be it mono or poly theistic. And I surely don’t fit in the New Agey guru life coach groups. I don’t fit anywhere that I’ve looked and tried.
Those labels in the opening paragraph are incomplete, both as a list and as a total picture. They pigeon hole me rather than explain me. And perhaps my fondness for labels is limiting me or at least limiting my view of the whole issue. But even still I don’t feel a sense of belonging within the Pagan community. Perhaps that’s due to the complete lack of community in my local area.
I’m outspoken and blunt, when I do speak. I look normal. I don’t have extra holes or tattoos. I don’t have an over abundance of black clothes. I don’t wear wacky hair styles or outfits. I enjoy going to church. I’m a Pagan that likes to go to church. Gasp! I attend a UU fellowship and I love the Hel out of it. I enjoy being in a religious community that UU builds. But I still feel just a bit separate like I’m just a single step out of pace of everyone else.
I’ve often found myself biting back words, some hasty and some not; in public discussions. I hold back because I feel that my opinions and views are uncommon and can easily bring an unwanted confrontation. Not that I don’t enjoy a measure of confrontation, I do. I just prefer rational debate that is conducted with a measure of emotional aloofness that rarely occurs in face to face discussions. Or online discussions for that matter. It is much easier to gain that necessary aloofness if the engaging parities know the rules and framework before hand, as it is within structured debate. I really enjoy a good debate.
I guess the thing that causes me to feel like a Pagan heretic is that I rarely walk lock step with the trends in the Neo-Pagan movement. I find myself shuddering at the gross misconceptions about the historical-ness of Wicca that is so often repeated and rehashed ad nauseum. I bite my tongue when I hear other Pagans and Pagan friendly folks speak of the Goddess as that all encompassing All-Mother of the duo-theistic variety found in Wicca. My eyes roll back into my head when I read another Wiccan-ism being touted as the mainstay for all of Paganism. I want to go a bit berserk when a Recon denies the validity of UPG in personal worship. Many New Agey ideas that are whole heartily embraced seems like pointless ego stroking. And all these sub-cultures that are springing up…it feels like a new one emerges every day. It’s all fantastic bull so folks feel special because they are different but still in a group. Well that’s great..pats a few heads…everyone’s special.
I can not embrace all the ideas that are attempting to huddle under the banner of Paganism. I don’t expect anyone to do so. Attempting such is tempting vile madness. But to me it feels like each sub-group, movement, idea and agenda are all vying for awareness and acceptance from the majority. And I’ve had it. I won’t do it and I’m tired of keeping my trap shut or at least my fingers from typing. I’ve grown a thick skin and I have a mind of my own. I’m using it.