Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Double, Double Toil and Trouble

It is tempting to wade into the discussion about a prominent individual disavowing the label Pagan. There is, however, significant evidence that such decisions are commonplace within our community.

Over the last couple of years we have heard from T. Thorn Coyle that she will no longer teach Feri Tradition courses, We have witnessed this author (Peter Dybing) announce the decision to withdraw from Pagan Leadership.

Well-known Witch M. Macha Nightmare eloquently announced her resignation from Reclaiming tradition after decades of service.  Ed Hubbard at Witch School International has given up his ministerial credentials and announced his intent to step down as CEO of Witch School.

An incredible emerging Pagan Leader who founded Firefly tradition has left religious life completely. 

Couple with these events the reports of splits within traditions and one can easily get the idea that the community if rife with drama, conflict and tumultuous changes: well, not really, there is another explanation.

Pagans are known for their independence, their insistence that each of us has a personal relationship with deity.  We espouse the idea of independence in spiritual practice.  When the need to manifest change in order to experience growth is obvious we, as Pagans, tend to act decisively.

Each of these individuals have acted boldly and followed their path with dedication to personal relationship with deity.  Their actions are a great example of why community fears of “Pagan Institutions” are groundless; our focus is not on accruing power, or achieving popularity, but on personal growth. Sometimes that means speaking our own truth, disengaging, even disappointing others.

Over the years as the ‘fire burns and the caldron bubbles’, more Pagans will evolve, emerge, leave, step up and step down.  They will inspire us and then move on in the well-established tradition of seeking their own relationship with the Goddess.

These changes are not a cause for concern, but an opportunity to celebrate the unique character of our community. Self-empowerment, reclaiming, personal relationship with the divine, these are not small concepts; they are foundations of our beliefs. They also drive me to congratulate those making changes along the path and wish them well; no drama needed. 


Debby said...

What strikes me is that; yes, if a Pagan "leader" stays in the spotlight to the detriment of their own spiritual growth, solely FOR the spotlight, then are they someone one wants to look up to? I'd say, "no". Thanks for your insight.

YONKS said...

Well said! It's one of the most valuable aspects of my love for Paganism. The acceptance of individuality.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

One of the problems of organisations is that if you join them you have to accept the organizational precepts. I am a pagan because I am responsible for myself. It is all about my own relationship with the goddess. For awhile people asked "who was my teacher" and said things like "you can't call yourself a priestess if you haven't ......(fill in blank). Those who change paths or whose paths change direction, or who step off into the void are truely pagan. I don't want to be led, controlled, or maneuvered. I don't want to be told how to think or worship or whom to admire. If I wanted that I would be Catholic, or Church of England, or Baptist. Blessed be those who try to live by their own consciences.

Brigid Lenehan said...

Good point. Sometimes we also need breathing space from people that we have been around for a while and whose belief may overlap with ours only to a point... And at least locally, I have observed that personal incompatibility and fights over leadership are too often part of the reason people leave.

Helen/Hawk said...

Important points. Tho I can't help but wonder: you've named a series of people (presumably all different journeys) and then spoke for them all. ?????

What would fit w/your point is that everyone is on their individual journey. And then speak about your own journey, instead of clumping them all together. Unless of course, you've had this conversation w/each person (which you didn't mention).

Pagan In Paradise said...

Helen, I do not speak for these people, yet I have spoken to or listened to each about these issues. I would invite you focus on the content rather then deconstruct the writing, we miss so much by approaching everything with a critical eye, Blessings

Jeremiah said...

Thanks a really good article. I love that about Paganism it is about each person and the relationship each has with the Divine... on a good day. but alas on many other days it is about "stuff". I have never met anybody a Pagan (myself included) who after awhile, does not start talking about the "stuff" in their lives... I used to be... etc. but then I have not met everybody :o)

Accidental geographer. said...

Great points. Paganism really is the logical endpoint of Protestantism ;-)

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