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May 7, 2006
After many years of religious indoctrination, rebellion against that indoctrination, attending a variety of religious services and spiritual gatherings, I found my path to the Divine: I am a pagan.But, even in my paganism, I am different. I belong to no coven, no orthodox group of ritualists. I burn no candles, nor do I draw the Magic Circle, except in my own mind. On the back of my car is a bumper sticker that states simply, "Proud To Be Pagan." It's not only a way for me to acknowledge my spiritual orientation, but it's also a great way to identify my own nondescript black car in a parking lot full of nearly-indistinguishable black and dark-colored vehicles.

The most rewarding by-product of displaying that bumper sticker, however, is the questions and conversations it sparks from strangers. For instance, a few years ago I was flying to Texas to visit a friend. All of the municipal lots at the airport were full, forcing me to seek private valet parking. I found a lot close by the main road to the airport, signed in and turned over my keys. As he was hoisting my bags into the shuttle van, the driver looked at my car's back end and asked, "What's a pagan?"

Now don't laugh. Many people have no familiarity with the term in a contemporary sense. I'm sure for most mainstream folks, "pagan" conjures visions of crazed Attic Maenads or long-ago Tower-of-Babelonians worshiping the golden calf. One of my colleagues at the respected university where I once worked thought a pagan was an atheist. Some, Christians and Jews alike, are horrified at the concept of worshiping more than once face of the Divine, but others are surprised, usually pleasantly, when I explain what being a pagan is - at least according to my lights.

I confess to knowing very little about the true nature of the Divine.
One thing I firmly believe, however, is that there are many, many paths available to discover and worship that entity. My own path is very private - not without prayer, or my own small rituals - but not meant to be shared with anyone, even a group of likeminded worshipers. I am most comfortable praying to Kwan Yin quietly, opening my heart to her in hopes that she will pour merciful blessings into it. I speak forthrightly to Ceridwen about my grief and the misuse of power I see everywhere in the world, and honor Demeter with my sowing, nurturing and reapingof green growing things. I ask the Horned God for perseverance and the Green Man to help me grow closer to the cycles of the earth.


There have been - and occasionally still are - times when I contemplate joining a group of my sister and brother pagans in a ritual coven or worship family, but in the end remain a solitaire. And while I accept that there are Words and Rituals of Power and Magick, I trust my personal explorations will show me those I need to know. For now, I surround and bathe myself in the White Light while continuing to worship alone.      

But back to the van driver - I knew there was no way, in the five or six minutes it would take to reach the terminal, that I could adequately share my views of what a pagan is, to either his or my satisfaction. I contented myself with quoting the Wiccan Rede:

"An ye harm none, do what ye will"

to capsulize my beliefs.

Then I told him, as simply as I could, my definition:

A pagan is one who accepts the Divine in whatever form s/he finds it,
respecting, while not accepting, the beliefs of those who worship differently.
That, to me, is the essence of being pagan.

Brightest blessings upon you all as you travel your own paths,
shared or solitary, during the coming days.
                                                            
© 2006 Regina Coeli deWinter
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Posted: May 7, 2006 7:55am

 

 
 
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RC deWinter
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Middletown, CT, USA
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