Saturday, November 19, 2011
44 Days of Witchery: Day 34
Something I think people who don't know much about Paganism/Witchcraft should know.
I think I'd like to bring forward the idea, as put forward by Michael York, that we shouldn't be talking about Paganism, so much as Paganisms.
The sheer diversity that our community possesses means that there are always exceptions. One can only talk about their own beliefs and experiences and use the lens of other's experiences and history to test what has happened to you.
When a Wiccan talks about the Threefold Law or Law of Return or the Rede, that only applies to Wiccans, and different traditions deal with them in their own ways. And there's a lot more out there than Wiccan witchcraft.
It all seems to delineate along certain lines though:
Eclecticism vs. Cultural Specificity
Historically based vs. Inspirational
Gods-centered vs. Magic-centered
God is One vs. Gods are Many
Really it isn't a clear distinction however, as each category is really more of a spectrum.
For example, I lean slightly towards eclecticism, but don't cross the line of approaching Gods from multiple pantheons in the same ritual. While I may maintain certain devotions to Bast-Mut and Amun, I don't do those things in the same rite as one to Hekate. The rituals are even different based upon their cultures.
To know what needs to change for the rituals, I look to history, but I also listen to my intuition and when I am inspired to think of something new, I try it out. If it works, I may keep it. If it doesn't, I toss it.
I fall pretty far towards being focused on my relationship with the Gods rather than working a lot of magic. Magic happens, sure, but it usually has a lot to do with something I'm doing for the Gods. I don't cast spells for parking spaces or the like. I do cast healing and love into my cooking, and maintain some basic magic for my home and sanity, but really my work is about learning about myself and how to become a better devotee to the Gods in my life.
When it comes to the last bit I'm a blend. I believe that the Gods are unique parts of one greater whole. Just like I'm part of humanity but am independent. Or the way that we're all part of Earth's ecosystem without losing our individuality.
The important part to consider is that other Pagans would fall in a completely different pattern than I. Some of us are conservatives politically, and some of us are assholes. Some of us are big ol' hippies and others aren't at all.
And some, like me, may cast spells and do divination, while holding great affection for the world of Science.