Author: Brid’s Closet
What does it mean to be a Pagan in today’s world?
I was sitting by my desk, thinking about topics for classes at my store. Many topics come to mind, but nothing seemed to “jump” out at me. I brought up this subject to a good friend of mine (who is not pagan), and she brought up this topic.
What does it mean to be Pagan? A “card carrying” PAGAN?
Many people are still very quiet about their choices in life, even to how they practice their religion or their form of spirituality. Many friends of mine are still in the “closet” about being a Pagan or being Wiccan. That is their choice, but not mine. I have the wonderful opportunity to be open about whatever it is that I do because I own my own business.
My sons also have choice as far as to what they believe. My oldest was degreed by me, because that was his choice, and I am proud of him because of that. My middle son considers himself to be agnostic (like his dad), but still is always looking. My youngest is still not sure as of yet. He takes in a lot, asks a lot of questions and is processing what he receives. They are fine young men, all of whom I am fiercely protective and proud of.
Some keywords that come into my mind are “love, strength, happiness, comfort, inner confidence empowerment, and honor”. Being a Pagan has helped to see that I have the ability to make a change in my own life, whether it is on a magical level or a mundane one.
A lot of people come into my store asking very similar questions, but what I do most of the time is to explain what I am not:
I am not a Satanist (the term “Satan” doesn’t exist in the pagan world.)
I don’t work or believe in the devil.
I don’t walk around in black clothes all the time (though it is fun sometimes!)
I don’t sacrifice animals…or use them in any rituals (my dog does like to run in and out of circle sometimes!)
I don’t bash other Pagan traditions.
I am not evil, nor is my spirituality evil.
I don’t run round naked, except in the privacy of my own room (maybe!)
I don’t have sex with others in ritual.
I don’t insult or blast other religions. People have done that for far too long in history to Pagans. I won’t do that to others!
Nope…don’t do the orgy thingy either!
What I do….hmmm…
I do honor Mother Earth. I see the earth as a living and breathing organism.
I do believe that all animals have a soul, and should be treated and loved as we expect to be loved ourselves.
I do try to live as “chemical free” as possible. This means that no chemicals or bug killers are applied to my lawn. 2 of my animals eat the grass on my lawn if the weather permits. No bleached flour, raw sugar, recycled paper. A friend of mine raises organically raised chickens, so I have organic eggs!
I keep as many trees as possible on the land that I am blessed to live on. Trees block the sun and keep your home cooler!
I do honor other people’s religions and their chosen paths.
I go love the Goddess and the God, as I would honor my own parents.
I try to use cosmetic products that are cruelty free.
I do try to grow my own herbs and vegetables when possible.
I recycle my paper, bottles, plastic and cans.
I do a full moon ritual once a month and celebrate the 8 holidays in the wheel of the year.
I guess I could just go on and on!
Once, a person came in and asked me why I was insulting myself by using the words “HEATHEN”, “PAGAN”, and “WITCH” to describe myself! In his teachings, he was taught that these words were an insult. He was shocked that I was proud of these terms!
The word “PAGAN” actually means “country dweller” or “civilian” or “peasant”.
1: Definition: Refers to any of the pre-Christian, (usually) polytheistic religions, or those who practice them. Wicca is one Pagan religion, as is Asatru, Santeria, Voodoo, or Shamanism.
The term “HEATHEN” is old English for Germanic paganism.
2: Definition: Among non-Pagans, the term ‘heathen’ just means anyone who is non-Christian. But Pagans use the term to refer specifically to those who follow a Norse or Germanic path.
A WITCH was known as a “wise” person, an herbalist, a midwife or a medicine person. (I’m an Alexandrian Witch!)
3: Definition: A witch is someone who practices witchcraft (either male or female), regardless of their religious standing. Not necessarily the same thing as a Wiccan (someone who follows the religion of Wicca)
These are words that I have come to embrace and be proud of. These words open up conversation and dialog, so that others will learn, understand and appreciate. Sometimes people appreciate the information that is given, other times, they don’t.
As a Pagan, I’ve raised 3 fantastic sons, have a “metaphysical” store that I share with my best friend, counsel people, rehabilitate birds, rescued a dog, a chinchilla and a bunny (who think they own my home!), teach classes, train special needs people (personal training) and in love with the most remarkable man.
What does it mean to be a “PAGAN”?
It means being a mom, a lover, a caregiver, councilor, herbalist, a cook, storeowner, and a woman dealing with today’s modern world who practices a very old way of worship.
Bernadette Montana is a very eclectic 3rd degree Alexandrian Priestess, a pipe carrier in the Sun Bear Native American Tribe, professional Tarot reader, a mom to 3 sons, one dog, 2 parrots, a bunny and a chinchilla and owns a metaphysical store named Brid’s Closet in Orange County, New York. Bernadette@bridscloset.com
Thanks to Terri Paajanen who posted the definitions of Pagan, Heathen, and Witch on the About website!
Terri Paajanen who posted the definitions of PAGAN, HEATHEN, and WITCH on the About website!