Movements, Busses, and Marquees
My son said something to me the other day that got me thinking. He said that often on the internet a video, blog post, or even a personal status update may well have a stream of people writing their opinions about how wrong the poster was, how much they disagree, how lame they thought the video was etc, etc. But look again and that same post will have hundreds, sometimes thousands of little thumbs up likes.
It seems that people can be drawn into actually voicing their differences of opinion much easier, than typing out a long piece that simply agrees with the original writer. Is this how some Pagan topics become ‘news’? Recently there was the ‘Paganism is dying’ discussions. Now, I guess after Doreen Virtue announced her conversion to Christianity, there seem to be a number of threads about people leaving Paganism. There’s also been the discussions about the ‘P’ word, i.e. let’s not mention the name ‘Pagan’.
I often watch in utter bemusement to be honest.
I travel a lot, see a lot of Pagans, and know that Paganism is certainly not dying. Changing, possibly. Dying, no.
If someone finds Paganism isn’t for them that’s fine isn’t it? Sometimes people have to get on the wrong bus to discover that home is actually in another direction – hop off at the next stop and get on another bus. Is there really any good reason to write about how the bus you got on was awful/fake/made up/filled with fluffy bunnies etc etc – most of the other people are quietly leaving little thumbs up likes and carrying on their journey quite happily. You probably just got on the wrong bus.
As for the ‘P’ word – when I was at school there was much discussion about what was Heavy Metal, what was Rock, what was Heavy Rock. I didn’t care what people called it, it was all great music to me! I find this What is Paganism stuff the same. On a recent Down at the Crossroads podcast there was an interview with Druid John Becket. I love John. He speaks so well and thinks very deeply. One of the things he was asked was his definition of Pagansm. His answer was brilliant. He said that Paganism is a movement, not an institution. It’s easy to define an institution. It’s virtually impossible to accurately define a movement in a way that everyone within that movement will be happy. That doesn’t weaken the movement, in fact it can strengthen the movement.
It’s true, as a modern Druid I may have little truly in common with a follower of, say, the Northern Tradition. But somehow we know each other. There can be respect there. I’m a huge fan of Big Tent Paganism. In fact let’s make it a huge marquee! Come in, talk to me, tell me your Truths. Let’s share experiences. How cool is that. And although our busses often take different routes and reach different destinations, sometimes we meet at the same bus stops, sheltering from the rain and storms together, or basking in the sun, enjoying a chat. Our connection is deeper than verbal definitions, it is occult, esoteric, spiritual.
So why write this? I just wanted to add a written voice to the hundreds of thumbs up likes. All of the vast majority that are just getting on with being/doing Pagans/Paganism. I love it. I love Druidry. I love my Wiccan, Witch, Asatru, Shamanic, Eclectic, Solitary, Pagan Brothers and Sisters. We don’t always agree, but to me its the vastly different colours within Paganism that make it so vibrant, alive, potent and exciting.
Hold on, another bus stop ahead. There are lots of people there. Some getting on, some getting off, some changing routes. The seat next to me is empty. I wonder what adventures lay ahead on the next part of the Journey…