Author: Life is a Dance Regardless
Recently, someone spoke with me about some problems surrounding the word “Pagan”. This person told to be careful about who I speak to when claiming that I am one, even other people claiming to be Pagan. It is hard for me to agree with her. I can’t wrap my head around it actually. Truly, I understand exactly where she is coming from, but I disagree with her entirely.
What she is saying is that people may tell me that I am going about being Pagan in the wrong way. Other pagans may be angry with me for the way that I practice my faith. People may advise me on what I should do differently, whom I should speak to, and which people to avoid. What books should I read? Where should I go? What should I do? How should I practice my faith? How, in fact, should I practice my life?
Admittedly, I am new to it, and perhaps I need guidance but I have realized something important. There are people in every faith who think that their way is the Truth. There are people in Life in general who think their way is the Truth. This is something we all have to deal with throughout our entire lives because people have different opinions.
For the most part, I have not respected religion in the past because of its inability to recognize that everyone needs something different in his or her life. Some people do not need faith, and most religions fail to allow room for that view. I explained to my friend that being a “good Pagan” was like declaring oneself a “good Christian”. The term is likely to mean something different from one person to the next.
For one Christian, being good may be hating people in other religions, and another, it may be loving and accepting no matter what. The Bible can be interpreted differently, though some people think otherwise. As such, different people can interpret Paganism differently.
It is not, in fact, a problem with religion, which is why I respect religion so much at this point. It is, has always been, and will always be a problem with individuals. No way is the right way. No way is the wrong way. Religion is not math or science, where one false move can completely screw up your equation, or burn your eyebrows off. Religion is something to be taken seriously, but it is not rocket science. It is for the pure and sole purpose of finding yourself. What do you, as an individual think is right or wrong?
I am 18, graduated high school last spring and am now looking for a job. For me personally, I believe going into college using someone else’s money is wrong. It is my preference to earn enough money to enter a trade school of my choice without needing debt solutions. My aunt suggests I get a loan from my grandpa, but even then, I have debt. There are certain things I do not want to deal with at this point in my life. I would rather have the means to rely on myself. I believe that I should enjoy the little things. There are more important things than brushing my hair in the morning. Sometimes, it may be drinking coffee, watching the sunrise, or simply dressing and running to wish my neighbors good luck on the first of a new month. I water my plants every day. I enjoy what I have. I take time to enjoy my connection with Mother Earth.
I realize to some people that this may be the wrong way to go about my faith. However, I also told my friend that calling myself Pagan, to me, would be like calling myself Christian. There are many different facets to each religion. If I were a Christian, I could go more in depth and say I belonged to the Baptists, or that I was Episcopalian. I am not, as it happens. I claim to be Pagan because I am not yet sure of my choice of where to go on my spiritual path. I am also unsure of what I want to do in life.
I believe there are simple principles imbedded in the Pagan practice that I have tried to honor for my entire life. We must love, honor, and respect others regardless of what their belief is. It is best to live naturally. We must not harm others, regardless of our feelings toward them. If others discriminate, we should not sink to their level. We are better than that. We share a love of all things in nature and we worship that which enables to live and prosper.
I honor my Mother. I honor my Father. Both biological and spiritual. I love my neighbors. I love myself. I honor my Elders, but I also believe you have to earn my respect and attention to get it. I try to live in the best way I can. I try to love even those who do me wrong, because they show me exactly what I do not want to be.
I wrote a poem for one of my friend’s birthday. I put in what I thought she could use in her future, things I myself wish to live by.
Never regret the mistakes you have made
But never forget, or you’ll trip on your blade
Always know, you are never alone
Even when you’re lost, you always have home
Good people with good hearts are far between few
Always aim sharp, always aim true
Whether or not you can witness the fight
Fight for what you believe with all your might
Know that a moment comes only one time
Soak in the moment before the clock strikes and bells chime
Try to live each moment in grace
Those you hate, you should try to embrace
For they show you who you ought not to be
And that is a gift, to the highest degree
Do not get mad if a beggar can’t help you
They may be more in need, so bid him adieu
If possible, speak in whispers, and listen when you can
An inadvertent learning is most precious and most grand
And finally, never stumble on a grain of sand
But hold the world in the palm of your hand
You are a Goddess, and if you try, you’ll always win
The courage of a Goddess always comes from within
Forgive me if I am wrong, but for me, I am not.