You're not the boss of me! You're not my cat.y
Pagan, Pagan Groups, Paganism

To Some Pagans: Grow Up.

Snark in three, two, one….

I will never forget that time I joined a Pagan organization and single-handedly caused it to fall apart with my blatant disregard of sacred Pagan values and support of oppressive mainstream concepts such as “officer roles” and “actual organization.”

I know, I know, how dare I!

You're not the boss of me! You're not my cat.y
Only my cat gets to tell me what to do.

To my knowledge, the other people from that group, though they formed another attempt at an association that excluded me, never accomplished anything. How could they, when they couldn’t bring themselves to accept that structure just might be necessary in order to get anything done?

Sometimes, the idea of Paganism as a religion of freethinkers and free spirits does more harm than good, in my opinion. Which is not to say people shouldn’t be those things, but it’s okay to be those things and also like a bit of structure. I’m a Taurus. I like structure because it brings stability. Not claiming to always achieve stability! I just really prefer it to chaos.

This concept that being individualistic and free means one must always disregard anything that looks like an institution is, quite frankly, adolescent. Right now, there are Pagans who are trying to move forward, and help our religion become something to be reckoned with in the larger spiritual community. Then there are the people within Paganism caught in an adolescent state of being, where the only goal is to throw off the restraints of those religions that came before (please, let’s not get into a discussion of modern Paganism as “the Old Way”). Those of us who realize we can’t continue to survive this way can feel like our voices are lost in the crowd of other voices screaming “You’re not the boss of me!”

No one is the boss of Princess MoonDust DewyMeadow!
No one is the boss of Princess MoonDust DewyMeadow!

At least, it feels that way to me sometimes. Or a lot.

Maybe I’m being a bit unfair. After all, there are plenty of Pagan organizations that don’t fall prey to this attitude; I’ve mentioned before the Temple of Witchcraft, and ADF, both organizations that are actually organized. Both show the strength that comes from a union of purpose and spirituality by being long-lasting, true forces of good in their communities (the ADF community being the world, considering they’re so good at organizing that they’re international!). I spoke in that previous blog post about community as connection; how on our green Earth can we hope to have connection if we can’t be bothered to build? Building takes patience, structure, and above all, planning.

For me, I don’t understand why individuality automatically means a disdain for organization. It makes no sense to me.

Perhaps those people would say it’s really a disdain for any authority other than their own. In fact, I do remember that word being thrown around. “Authority.” So many people were concerned about giving up their personal autonomy if someone were actually named the president of this organization. One person actually said “I only take orders from the Goddess!” Good luck with that, dude.

Seriously? Grow up.

In the real world, to accomplish anything there needs to be structure. In any kind of organization that involves people, those people need to take on specific jobs, understand those jobs, and what the boundaries of them are, so they don’t go stepping on the duties of someone else. Especially if you’re forming what you hope will become a non-profit organization, because the reality is that NPOs must have a board of directors, with officer titles.

And in the real world, when Paganism becomes a religion of service, there comes a time when to serve you must set aside yourself. Not always, and not forever, because it’s still true that to help others, one must help themselves first.

Look at this fancy word. Fancy Pagan.
Pagan means a lot of different things to a lot of people.

When you set about to help others, though, leave your ego behind.

If that means that, for this moment, for this goal, for this service, you must acknowledge that someone else is in charge in order to be involved, then that’s what you have to do, Pagan or not. In that ill-fated organization, everyone wanted to be in charge themselves, or they want no one to be in charge, and the physical world simply does not work that way.

We are Pagans, we are mystics, shamans, Witches, magicians, diviners, and seekers.

We are Pagans, and we are also lawyers, doctors, cashiers, writers, carpenters, veterinarians, and cooks.

We live in two worlds, and there needs to be balance between them. Personally, I see no problems with doing so; we can be mystics and lawyers, shamans and doctors, Witches and cashiers, without one having to subsume the other. It seems easy to me to be an individual while also serving the community, to be free while acknowledging the authority of another. The trick is to know that their authority isn’t over you, it’s over the goal all of you are trying to achieve together. If you can’t do that, then you won’t be able to accomplish anything.

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “To Some Pagans: Grow Up.”

  1. Love this! Thank you! I loved it so much I reblogged it on Magikos Musings. Seriously happy dancing at the way you worded this topic, one I’ve been ranting off and on about for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Whilst I agree that “organisations” need to be organised ….Please stop referring to the umbrella term of Paganism as a religion, whilst the Pagan way of life does incorporate and embrace many religions it also includes other pathways that are definitely not so, as someone who does not follow any set path,enforced ethics or morals other than my own, I find the use of the term religion to describe Paganism distasteful…….Your rhetoric on those that act like teens kicking away any formalised, organised structure is however spot on…..modern life and a successful society needs some level of structure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I refer to Paganism as a religion because it is MY religion and the only religion I have. I have not connected to any of the established religions beneath the umbrella term of Pagan–we sound rather alike, you and I, neither of us fitting within the established Pagan religions–but instead of rejecting Pagan as a religious term I have embraced it.

      I will continue to call Paganism a religion because it is MY religion and will not change it because one person finds it distasteful. Pagan and Paganism can be both broad terms describing many established religions AND religious in and of themselves.

      If you do not want to call Paganism a religion, you don’t have to, but I will continue to do so for myself.

      Like

  3. Organized religion is anathema to me (having been involved with several over the course of a life-time). I consider myself a grown-up – I have zero problem with differing opinions from my own. Perhaps if we look at “religions” as “communities” it clarifies the approach to spirituality (sort of like the difference between sending your child to school, where s/he also receives socialization and home-schooling, where you have to be creative in discovering activities that “socialize”) we can all relax and take a breath. I am a solitary who, for various reasons, comes together “in community” with other solitaries for specific purposes (no egos involved πŸ˜‰ ). We are all in our late sixties/early seventies and have found this works for us. We are Aries, Cancer, Libra and more. No-one is the boss of anyone else and we do – as they say – play (and work) well with others! πŸ™‚

    Like

    1. I understand the urge to pull away from anything resembling Christianity or any other “organized” religion with a reputation for being abusive to its members and non-members alike, but I think it’s a knee-jerk reaction that should be reevaluated. I do not think that “organized religion” is the same thing as “having organization and also being religious.”

      I don’t think that because other religions that have structure and organization have been abusive that Pagans should abjure all organization (correlation does not equal causation–it’s not having a sense of organization that has caused these religions to become abusive). I’m not even talking about the same KIND of organization. I’m not talking about having hierarchies within groups that come together to practice, though I also don’t see an inherent problem with having such a hierarchy under the right circumstances (hierarchies that become abusive are a symptom of a group or religion that has lost its truth and lost sight of their own values). I’m talking about Pagans who want to form organizations to do good work out in the physical world but refuse to accept that doing so comes with certain realities like needing some organization within the organization.

      I have other blog posts on this that talk about Pagan religions in the context of community. I think it’s important for Pagans of all kinds to be able to practice individually what is in their heart to practice, but also important for Pagans of all kinds to have access to a community where they feel accepted. This is NOT what I’m talking about in this blog post.

      I am pleased you have found a group that works well for you and your values. This is always a good thing for anyone.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s