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.