Eons ago (ok, last month) the Keeper of the Grove tagged me with a meme. Here at long last is my response.

Here are the rules:

1. You have to use your own belief system for the meme. No fair using someone else’s to make a joke or satire. Being humorous about your own religion is encouraged!
2. You have to have at least one joy and one trial. More are encouraged. And no, they don’t have to be equal in length, but please be honest.
3. You have to tag at least one other person. More are appreciated!
4. Please post these rules!

Joys:

1. Sitting in a room lit by candlelight, chanting softly or going into quiet, deep meditation while my cat purrs beside me. Connecting with the Gods. Walking in the forest at night and feeling the Fae all around me. Sitting with my back to an oak tree on a sunny summer afternoon and feeling the energy of earth, sea and sky passing through me. Joining together with my Grove friends in an Awen chant that rocks the earth. All those quiet (or not-so-quiet) ineffable moments that are the real point of all this.

2. The wonderful people that I have met as a result of my practice – connections that could not have been made in any other way.  Pagans are brilliant, quirky, funny, and free in a way that I can easily connect with.

3. Pagans get all the best jewelry, and our altars are the prettiest. We also get fun religious accessories like Tarot cards and ceremonial knives. Really, Pagan swag is the best religious swag there is.

Trials:

1. Almost everyone thinks that we are a pack of socially deviant kitten-sacrificing freaks. Well, the ones who know we exist think that. The ones who don’t have other reactions. (“Druids? You’re serious? What is this, an art project?”) In other words, the only Pagans who aren’t invisible are the ones who wear flowing robes and giant pentacles to the grocery store, so everyone thinks that this is what we are. For the record, I have nothing against flowing robes and giant pentacles, even in the grocery store – variety is the spice of life, after all, and the more of that sort of thing I see, the happier I am. Many others people (even other Pagans) seem to find it threatening, though. I don’t really get it, but it’s sad. So the choice is to be invisible or to be seen as a freak.
2.  The constant struggle and debate for authority and authenticity. Being nonhierarchical and decentralized all that is great, but it leads to lots of bickering. I try to just stay out of all that – my test for authenticity is “does it work?” If it does, great, if not, I don’t do it – but I don’t tell anyone else that they shouldn’t. Everywhere you go, there are Pagans who will gladly tell you what books are taboo (just try saying “Douglas Monroe” to a Celtic reconstructionist, or “Silver RavenWolf” to a Gardnerian Wiccan, and see what happens), what practices or philosophies are All Wrong, which histories or origin stories are inauthentic – you can find whole websites devoted to this sort of things, usually with the word “fluffy” getting tossed around. I have nothing against being discerning or reading critically, but much of what I’m describing is not that. It’s a knee-jerk reaction that tries to define a group by defining what is outside the borders. “We’re not like those other, wacky Pagans!”

tagged: Maebius, you’re it!

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