So I am an average pagan. Not that I have knowledge of all pagans- as our religious beliefs do not require formal membership. However, I consider myself an average pagan as I strongly subscribe to a belief system which has been cast in varying shades of contempt, fear, and confusion. Because of this I, and many others of like-mind, need to constantly walk the line between our non-pagan face we show society and our pagan side which we show only to those who truly understand us and what we stand for.
As many of my fellow religious followers within more mainstream faiths I regard my spirituality and its tenets in high regard- and feel they are inspiration and aspiration for my life and future goals. But we are a religion without a codified document to show the world, without specific buildings with which to practice our craft, and without recognized members of our faith to openly spread our word. Ours is a ‘mysterious’ faith that has been left to interpretation by those who are unfamiliar.
Back to the average part: I am a husband and father, I hold a professional position of respect, and I have friends and neighbours who enjoy my company. However, with all of the trappings of modern domestic life I constantly need to consider my thoughts and words to prevent any change in other’s impression of myself should they discover my faith. It is as though the path I walk down is littered with all manner of traps and pitfalls which could jeopardize the balance of social acceptance. Why do I need to do this?
After careful reflection, and some rather interesting conversation with family, I decided that one of the main drawbacks with the pagan faiths is a lack of knowledge amongst those that do not share our views. A discussion about pagan religions needs rational, thought-out, and honest knowledge about who we are and what we stand for. This is to counter popular media and social outlets which depict pagans sitting around cauldrons and chant incarnations while staring at magical altars conjuring up all matter of ill-will for others. I think if mainstream society could understand where the foundations of pagan-based faiths come from they would see how non-threatening we can be.
I cannot speak for all members of the pagan community, as that would not be appropriate. In this forum I serve to give the view of an average pagan and his reflections on wider religion, society, and the world. In doing so it is hoped that some would see our faith as being founded on similar ideas as other religions- and with this understanding both sides can look to grow.