Wednesday, June 12, 2013

30 Days (or so) meme: Why I am Pagan

Well, I figured it's high time I joined in the 30 Days meme.  That's me - join in after everyone else had done it and moved on.   Plus, it's hard for me to talk about my beliefs.  Faith is such a personal, private thing. 

So...I've got the headphones on and Voltaire's singing Oh Lord.  Let's rock this thing, shall we?      

Day 1 - Why Paganism?

Short answer?  It's one of the few faiths I explored that allowed me to be myself.  It also allows for the mystery of the world to be real, without excusing it as simply being an illusion. 

When I was a kid, we went a nearby Cumberland Presbyterian church.  Except for my grandmother, we weren't a very religious bunch.  Church was just Something You Did.  I remember Sunday School could be interesting - the older kids would start talking to the teacher about the latest horror movies they've seen or something they did during the week.  Surely, we worked through the lessons but I don't remember them.
I do remember some of the mystery of the church.  I remember at Easter when the "juice and crackers" were passed around.  The preacher would talk about how they were the body and blood of Jesus but whenever I saw them, they'd change back into crackers and grape juice.  I also remember constantly looking up at the sky because I had been told "God is watching you!"  It was like always being under the gaze of a third parent was way more stern than my mom or dad.  He'd send me away forever just because he didn't like something I did.
When I hear about seeing the world as a child would, this is what I think about.  Never did catch a glimpse of that guy that was always watching, either.

I started questioning things when I was about twelve.  My parents had divorced two years before and my dad was going to a Southern Baptist church.  I did. Not.  Like. It.  AT ALL.  There was no mystery.  No wonder.  Just a bunch of people who came to See and Be Seen.  Oh yeah, there was some guy standing up front talking about how we were all wrong too. 

This was also about the time I began walking the woods behind our house after school.  I couldn't wait to get home every day because I had a good three hours before my got home from work and I could go looking for a mystery.  I would have at least one cat journeying with me, usually more.  The trees were my friends.  I once followed the path of a turkey vulture flying overhead and found a spot I had never visited that was very sacred and magical.  The pawpaw tree growing through a pile of rocks was a faery mound.  Where did the water in the spring come from and were there caves in the bluffs at the top of the hill?  Where would they go if I found them?  What lived in the woods besides the cows and deer?  (I longed to catch a glimpse of Bigfoot but hoped I wouldn't too.)  The world was alive and full of joy.        

This is why I'm Pagan.  Now, not only the world but the universe is alive and full of joy.  The sky is full of bright, distant stars but it is part of the body of Her as well.  The sun is not simply a flaming ball of gas but it is also Ra on His Barque, protected by Set and Khnum as it travels through the Underworld at the end of the day.  At the same time, I sit vigil every Yule so the Sun will rise. 

Someone has to.  If the world forgets its stories, it forgets its reasons for being alive.  Life just becomes drudgery, a ceaseless routine of colorless chores.  I don't want that to happen on my watch, mister.                    

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