Movements, Busses, and Marquees

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…


26 responses to “Movements, Busses, and Marquees”

  1. Thank you for this.
    In my search for who I am I have,in your analogy,changed buses many times,even changing seats and going upstairs and downstairs on the bus I was on!!
    You have such a gift with words.
    Instead of worrying that my travelling was getting me no-where…I see it is the journey that is important,the people we meet en-route,the views we see from the window, even how we leave the bus with no regrets or incrimination that the driver has taken us the wrong way. Even waiting in the rain and not fretting about wasting time because another bus will be along soon ! I may never arrive at my destination but I am going to have fun exploring the land ahead. As always ,blessings to you and yours .

  2. Really like your analogy. When we try to define or label we loose that sense of flow and freedom to continue our own personal journeys into the mystery. It is about stepping on, choosing to sit in a different position on that bus to gain new insights and then stepping off if our inner sacred voice prompts.
    so… choosing to sit alongside you for a bit!!

  3. Actually, in the London Street Dictionary 10 years ago ‘pagan’ meant ‘liar’; today, it has the meaning of someone not to be trusted in money acts. Even urban youths have an opinion, it shows..
    There seems to be a lot of tension within the pagan community ( if such exists ) between those who want set rules and those who are not so afraid for changing and going where spirits guide us.
    Let’s meet in a tent and party and for Pagan’s sake rejoice in the differences.
    It’s all organic, changing, growing, deminshing at some times.

  4. Brilliant! I’d love to find myself sat next to you on the bus, or indeed any other such enthusiastic well informed brother or sister!!

  5. I’ve been on a few busses in my time, from growing up “mellow Baptist” to quietly becoming Born Again, then leaving the “church” altogether when the PTL scandal of the late 80’s hit. Found Wicca a couple of years later and have developed my pathway to Shamanic Animistic Paganism with a heavy dose of Kitchen Witch (hail Hestia!).

    I’ve led hundreds of rituals and workshops in my 30 years of being Pagan, been in newspapers and magazines and on radio, and have always been very public about my faith. It’s my pleasure and my personal Sacred Service to help diminish the boundaries between “them and us” that exist in social and spiritual conditions.

    To you, Damh, and to us all: may we be Happy, Healthy, Safe, and Strong!

  6. Well said, considering topic a thumbs up just will not do. Lets just say some seekers haven”t really found what they are looking for and move on, other mature like a fine wine.

  7. I love the BIG TENT analogy! Thanks for another erudite post. I look forward to reading your words and hearing your songs! Rock on – as we used to say (regardless of which ‘type’ of rock – like you i just loved it all!)

  8. Great post, and much appreciated! I frequently talk with my wife about how negativity seems to make itself much more apparent than positive messages, so I think it’s important to call out the good, like you’ve done here.

  9. This is why I love() your Blogs. You always give me food for thought. I recently attended a Christian service & afterwards I was amazed when the person who had invited me apologised for it being “too Christian”! It was an enjoyable meeting, I was made welcome by the minister & the other attendees & yes the readings were from the Bible we did sing hymns, there were prayers & the sermon/ talk did have a Christian theme, but I expected all that. It saddened me to realise that someone would think that I would have a negative feeling because a Christian service may have been “too Christian”. On the other hand I had an amazing Labyrinth walk & discussion, at my local Maggie’s Centre, wither a hospital Chaplain. We discussed the benefits of a Labyrinth Workshop, Christianity, Paganism & Druidism in the modern world. Both the walk & the discussion left me feeling very positive about inter-faith inclusion & acceptance. Apologies for rambling on, I just wanted to say, keeping on giving us things to think about Damh.

  10. Well said! As usual in all things that matter, it should be the journey that we value and learn from, the process rather than the destination.
    Blessed Be

  11. well said! also reminds me of an old saying….”you’re either on the bus or off the bus! “! ” …hehehe. although my heart longs not to be, i have always been a solitary….arent many believers in the way i see things around here and most of the ones i have encountered were always too arrogant, mean and power hungry, i am sorry to say….. but that’s ok. i have certain friends i can always share with and i think they and my family appreciate my point of view most of the time 🙂 so, it’s all good! 🙂 would sure be fun to be in that tent, though, once in a while 🙂

  12. Greetings, 🙂

    Damh, I really enjoy your insightful, creative, & inspiring Blogs. Thank you.

    I was recently at an amazing Spiritual Healing Camp, and was thrilled to find out how many people wanted more information about Druidry, The Fay, etc. Many already had strong connections with Herbal & Spiritual Healing, Oracle & Tarot work, Dragons, Unicorns, Nature Beings, etc., and had very similar (or the same) “Spiritual Guides” as I do. People came from all over the world, & we all felt like “Family.”

    It was amazingly powerful, & full of respect, Love & support for each person’s individual practices (& Ways of Spiritual Service & development). One of the concepts we All focused on, is “Non-Judgement,” & Loving each other “Just the way we Are.” I felt this strongly within & throughout our camp, a few days in. 🙂

    What we all had in common, was the desire to be our Best True Spiritual Selves, to serve & support Gaia & all Her Beings, & to bring in “Light” & help heal & create the New Earth, (for the Best of all concerned) on This Planet (& beyond).

    Many of us had deeply experienced & practiced a variety of Spiritual Paths in This Life (& in Previous ones), so we could relate to many Paths @ this point. I found that all my previous paths were combined & merged in this retreat. I practice all of it generally, in a Druidic Way, & it works well.

    I led some traditional (& my own) Goddess/Pagan/Eclectic Spiritual chants @ the fires. Some knew the traditional ones (even a couple in other languages), & later in the week, I went to a “House Concert,” on another part of the mountain, where the Hosts led us in the same Pagan songs, along with some Eastern Indian chants. The female singer sang some hauntingly beautiful Gaelic tunes. It was delightful!

    Damh, I took some friends (from the camp) to your web site, & they really enjoyed hearing & experiencing your songs. I especially love “The Cauldron Born,” & they did too! They thanked me for introducing them to your work, & plan to explore more. We also went to the OBOD site, which they were very interested in, & I may create an OBOD “Druid Grove,” when I move back to the area.

    Back in town, An Author of an amazing new book about the future of Gaia, was interested in deeper study of The Traditional Faery Path, & already had strong connections with Gaia, Dragons, Spiritual Guides, etc. I led him to Druidry, books, websites, organizations & a Teacher, for future study/knowledge of Traditional Faery..

    At the camp, one of our private activities was to connect with Gaia, & Her Fay, various Nature Beings, Trees, Waters, Stones, Animals. etc. I can see how our “Ancient Druid Ways” are resurfacing & expanding, even outside of our OBOD Druidry. It’s in the “Ethers,” & Gaia is leading us, when we “tune in” & listen.

    In the area where I am temporarily living, it is generally “Right Wing,” in politics & spirituality. Surprisingly, I was asked by a lovely friend, to create & lead an OBOD Alban Arthan ceremony for a small group, a couple of years ago. I was delighted to find that most of those who came, had already experienced a little bit of Paganism (although not OBOD Druidry), & were very supportive of, & appreciative of the Ceremony. I led a Healing Meditation afterwards.

    It seemed to have a positive impact on their emotional & spiritual lives, & a couple of them formed a general Pagan group for education & celebration. It seems to be growing, & is helping to “open minds” to new ways of thinking & relating to spirituality & Gaia. I have attended some, to help & support their work.

    Through the person who asked me lead the Alban Arthan ceremony, I was VERY surprised to find a small group close by, with an OBOD Bardic student & his Pagan wife (who seemed to be Wiccan oriented), leading ceremonies. We were previously unaware of the OBOD aspect of their work & paths.

    So in my travels & life, I am seeing & experiencing an interest & move Toward “Pagan Ways,” especially with “Gaia’s Ascension.” “Networking” has always been a Way of Life for me, & I enjoy sharing Druidry, & experiencing all the ways that we can communicate, understand & support each other in our various Spiritual Paths.

    Brightest of Blessings to All, 🙂


  13. I grew up with ‘something’ that didn’t call itself Paganism. It didn’t need to. It just was itself. But I call myself Pagan these days because it’s the nearest I can get to what I am without having to explain myself.
    To me it’s a broad umbrella and anyone who wants to associate with the word is welcome to share.

  14. I never considered Doreen Virtue a pagan. More of an opportunistic entrepreneur. She made thousands on CDs and Books and in any other area I’d praise her but not in exploiting the hazy areas of the occult. Her angel merchandise may well have bought some comfort, it didn’t work for me. Far too commercially promoted and pushed feeding off peoples desperation rather than impart teaching. With real pagan artists and authors you know you are getting the works, nuts, screws, and bolts. Yourself, Kristoffer Hughes, Professor Hutton, Philip Carr-Gomm and many more. Respectfully advertised not pushed like the latest tin of baked beans. In my view, she perhaps realised this and is looking for atonement. It may not have been her doing, the marketing world is a vicious arena and greedy for sales but whether by her fault or not she kept feeding the Doreen Virtue beast. We do have a responsibility what we give out, I have a lot of books that prove it in that they are only fit for door stops or the bin. Doreen Virtue cause Paganism to die because she’s turned the Church, Nah! Had it been Doreen Valiente then I would have panicked lol.

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