How the Internet Changed Paganism
The Internet is a wonderful tool used by numerous people worldwide. Although some might not admit it, most people rely on the Internet for most things that they do. Now, how does this relate to Paganism, one might ask? Well it seems that the Internet has made information on Paganism and the various traditions that it encompasses (i.e. Druidism, Wicca, etc) more accessible to people now a days. There are many articles on Paganism available to read on the Internet (not all are good but there are many informative pieces out there) .
If it weren’t for the wonder that is the world wide Internet, I probably would not be on the spiritual path that I am today- I cannot say that for sure but it is improbable. To be honest, I can’t quite remember exactly how I ended up typing “Wicca” into the Google search engine on my laptop computer. However, what I do know is that for some reason I did and it led me to reading various articles on the religion, that I now call my own. It led me to discover that there is a spiritual path that seems to encompass basically everything that I believe- in terms of what the divine is. It felt to me like I finally had found the spiritual path that I was meant to be on. Many people will understand what I am saying by this; that something which had been missing was finally filled. In fact, Wicca helped me become a better person and Paganism in general, is something that I find myself feeling extremely passionate about.
Now, I am a very music oriented person and immediately after making my little “discovery”, if you will, I went to YouTube and listened to various Pagan chants. It was the reassurance that I needed to go out and buy a few books on Paganism in general and Wicca specifically. Now, my story may seem a bit off topic, but I assure you it is perfectly relevant. The point I am trying to make it that through the Internet I had found Paganism- without the Internet I probably wouldn’t have. I even learned much of what I know from Pagan Podcasts, which I listened to on iTunes.
I do not consider myself what some would refer to as a Techno Pagan, to be honest, however I do believe that technology heavily contributed to my finding my current spiritual path; and I do not doubt for one second that many others would have similar stories to mine. So this may be a bit repetitive, for I mentioned it in various forms throughout this article, but I am very grateful that the Internet helped lead me to my Pagan spiritual path.
Some people may argue that the Internet making information on Paganism more accessible to be a negative thing; that it is becoming too “mainstream” because of how easily people can learn about it through the Internet. However, I strongly disagree with the people who say that, sure it is their opinion and they have a right to it but it is something that I will argue with- because quite frankly I disagree with it.
For one thing, just because something is mainstream doesn’t necessarily make it a bad thing at all. Sure some people may find that Paganism being a bit mysterious adds to its appeal. However, it is my belief that it also leads to some of the problems that people who do not consider themselves Pagan have with the spiritual path that we choose to follow. It is fair to say that generally people are afraid of what they don’t understand or what they don’t know. For example, most people are afraid of death because there is no one can definitively say what the afterlife is like, furthermore if there is even an afterlife. Sure we have many guesses about what comes after death but we never will really know. Therefore many people are afraid of death.
My analogy can apply to Paganism as well; some may see it as something that is to be feared and that it is something evil when in truth it’s not. But when something is shrouded in mystery then it is easier for people to be ignorant about not just Paganism, but anything in general. So basically what I am trying to say is that information about Paganism becoming more accessible to anyone isn’t a bad thing at all and in fact it is probably a good thing. If people at least have an idea of what something truly is, then it is probable that people will not jump to ignorant assumptions so much.
So basically, I think the Internet’s impact on Paganism in general has potential to be quite positive. In fact, I think it actually already is quite positive. Not only does it give basic information on our beliefs it also can help unite the Pagan community. Think about it, the Internet’s principle purpose is communication.
Even this article that I am writing is a form of communication using the Internet. I am communicating to you, the readers, my opinion on the matter of the Internet’s impact on paganism. Not only does the Internet help unite the Pagan community through *Witchvox (for example) , but other websites are helpful in allowing us the ability to communicate with one another.
Sites such as forums help us get to know about other members of the Pagan community as well as allow us to discuss and debate different issues and the like within our community. As well as communication, the Internet makes life easier for those of us who choose to remain “in the broom closet” do so. The web allows us to purchase things such as books, music, and tools for ritual, etcetera through the Internet. It allows those people anonymity that they may not have if they had to go to a Witch shop. Speaking of which- not everyone has a Pagan store where they live which is another way in which the Internet positively affects Paganism.
Any tools and such that one may need who do not happen to have a Witch shop where they live, have the ability to purchase whatever they might need through the internet. So in conclusion, the Internet has enabled us as Pagans to do so much. Communication, anonymity, and access to information being only some of the positive impacts that the Internet has made on Paganism.
Sure, one could argue that there may be some negatives when it comes to Paganism and the Internet. However, I ask you to ask yourself, is the Internet really making more of a negative impact on the Pagan community than a positive one? I certainly think not.
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