The Green Eclectic

{May 14, 2011}   Paganism: One Religion, or Many?
A photo of a creek that runs near Hystery's home.

Plainly Pagan

I recently happened across Plainly Pagan: A Quaker Journal.  I have been musing over this post from that blog for a few days now.  I thought about simply replying at her site, but this is sort of a post unto itself; my thoughts lack the succinctness required for a mere comment.

Is Paganism a single religion or many?  It’s something with which I wrestle a lot.  I can recall that feeling, years ago, of ‘coming home’ when I learned of the label ‘Pagan’.  I recently heard someone describe it like this: “I’ve been on this path my entire life, but I’ve only been aware of it for a couple of years.”  That was how I felt a couple of years down this path as well: Paganism seemingly encapsulated so much of what I’d always felt inside.

But I quickly learned that it also encapsulated a lot more things to which I couldn’t really relate.

My core beliefs have never changed, but my willingness to be lumped under various labels vacillates wildly sometimes.  I’ll go from “of course I’m Pagan” to “well, yes, I’m religious — but it’s complicated and it’s personal” with a hefty unspoken dose of and I don’t particularly feel like discussing it with you so please quit asking me about it tacked on for good measure.  Were it not for some of my ‘more mainstream’ Pagan friends (i.e. polytheistic, or Wiccan, or non-solitary Pagan friends), I probably would have abandoned the term Pagan long ago.   But those friends listen patiently when I go through my “I am not like those other Pagans” phases and then calmly reply, “You’re right, you’re not like most of the outspoken Pagans everyone sees, but you’re Pagan, and there are probably a lot of Pagans out there just like you.”

So I suppose in the end I’d like to think that there are many different sorts of Pagans out there, and that we can all claim that label, if labels must be claimed, and that we can all be truthful in our claims, even if we sometimes believe wildly divergent things.

I am thankful for the entries that can be found over at Plainly Pagan.  I’m enjoying them and will hopefully be following them well into the future.


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