I assume that all five of this blog’s readers follow some other blogs as well, and if not, I highly recommend The Wild Hunt as an excellent source of Pagan-related news. Many of the articles make for fascinating reading, including recent articles covering the Pagan presence at the Parliament of World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia. The discussion on the blog articles there has been, well, worth thinking about at least. In particular, this article seems to have raised a few hackles among our community. It seemed pretty clear to me upon reading the presentation’s title that the intent was “these ancient Europeans were pagan”, not “only these traditions are allowed to use the word ‘Pagan’ to describe themselves”, but it looks like my Conservation of Oppression theory is raising its ugly head again, and folks are eager to complain about how mistreated they are.
Ultimately, I just don’t get it. I appreciate the efforts of the folks who have gone to the Parliament to introduce so many religious leaders from around the world to our traditions, at least in a general sense, and I think it will make things easier for us Pagans in the long run. But does anything that they said there last week really have any impact on what we Pagans do in our day to day lives, honoring our gods in our homes, working in our local groups, or even at our big festivals? So a few people out there in another part of the world might possibly think that Wiccans aren’t really Pagan. How many more people in our own neighborhoods don’t know who Pagans are or what they do because we just plain don’t tell them? Isn’t our own reclusiveness a bigger obstacle to our growth than any workshop could be? Yes, I speak in generalities here, and I know lots of Pagans (myself included) work very hard to be very open and talk about who we are and what we do, and I’m still a little sympathetic to the folks who really feel that they can’t be open for fear of reprisals from their neighbors and family. But if we really want to build a religion – well, group of religions, really – that people will take seriously, then we need to worry less about what other people do at conferences and more about what we do in our own local communities. I do wish well to the folks who want to make an impact at the global level, but I’m totally a “think locally, act locally” pagan, and I make no secret of that!
Speaking of which, I need to start getting things together for our Yule ritual on Saturday. I hope to see many of you there (weather forecast says some snow but not a blizzard, so driving conditions should be good), and I’ll let you all know how it went in next week’s entry!
Rev. Rob Henderson
Senior Druid, Shining Lakes Grove, ADF