I follow a pre-christian path for my spirituality; in simplistic terms, pagan. There, I’ve said it. What I don’t have is an athame, as for me an athame is just a pretty dull knife just begging to be sharpened.
I’ve been reading blog posts, facebook posts, and message boards lately and I have become less and less charmed with the idea that there is this common misconception that *ALL* pagans follow an identical path, that we all share the same practices.
So to make it simple:
- I don’t have an athame, it is just a pretty trinket to me.
- I don’t have an 8-fold year, that’s a fairly newish concept.
- I don’t cast a protective circle for ritual.
- I don’t mix pantheons.
- I can read & speak in Lithuanian – that means I do not need to rely on a spotty translation to understand my customs & traditions.
- I do not hate Christianity – it’s not a spiritual path for me, but it is just as valid as any other. It’s disrespectful to make fun of others’ spiritual beliefs.
- I don’t wear a pentacle, small or hub-cab sized.
- I will wear amber, no matter where I am – I am a Balt, there’s no way in hell anyone call tell me not to wear what has been traditional in my ethnic culture for the past millenium or more, cos I don’t happen to be a 2nd Degree or whatnot. Suck it up, the amber you’re wearing is probably from the seashore of my uncle’s summer home.
- I have a Sun Goddess, not a Sun God.
- I will tell you it is inappropriate to stick a big ol’ crescent moon on the forehead of a goddess who has no correlation whatsoever with the Moon .. this means it irks me to no end to see a crescent on the forehead of Brighid.
- I don’t appreciate people pick over my culture for little nuggets they can incorporate into their own ritual – cos it’s cool & sounds wonderful. My culture is still alive & well, thank you very much, unlike the ancient Egyptians/Romans/Greeks/Syrians etc. I come from a culture that was the last, I mean THE last, to convert to Christianity in Europe – in the 17thC. The last Oak Grove was chopped down in 1795. All kids in my family get a Catholic name and a Pagan name. This is a living & breathing culture I come from, a bit of sensitivity with regards to cultural appropriation would be apprec iated.
- May 1st is not a happy day in my family .. that’s when the Soviets did their annual celebration of “conquest” by having huge parades with the Red Army and all their glorious tanks across Red Square in Moscow. Many of my family members died trying to fight off the Soviets in the 40s & 50s. My mom was nearly sent to Siberia cos she dared to cut the eyes out of a picture of Uncle Joe (Stalin) that was at the front of her classroom when she was 8yrs old. So no, I do not have the greatest of desires to go wag some hankies at sunrise on May 1st.
So in brief, “paganism” is an umbrella term for a collection of spiritual practices & beliefs which are not judeo-christian in origin. I am not the same type of pagan as the one down the street from me — we all have different beliefs & practices, and to lump us all as the same is just causing a great disservice.