I believe that we Pagans are becoming dogmatic. I know this, because I am one. When I was a younger “Seeker” I had no problem reading anything from the “Four Agreements” to the “Book of Thomas” I practiced Angel Magick, to reading about “brahma” but once it was evident I was going to start and maintain my own coven…I let “what others thought Pagan was” and “what I was told and taught Pagan was” influence the direction of my coven. Then after years of reading only "Pagan/Wiccan" books I forgot about my original heart song.
Now, I would like to think that I was such a strong spiritual leader that it did not matter what others thought or would say about my practices but that would not be true. I was so young that it was important to me that my teacher patted me on the head and told me I was doing great and that the people coming to me were focused and directed only on Witchcraft, or Wicca. I am not stating that she stated that I could not do these things; I just felt a "Wicca/Witchy" peer pressure not to be X.
Being, an easily bored curious sort I let my own spare time go to practicing and dabbling and reading whatever I wanted but sharing that with people in the coven did not happen….I was “scared” they would think I was too “fluff bunny” too “white light” and so I continued on teaching only God, Goddess, and the five elements because it was expected; and traditional. It did not matter that the Wiccan Rede did seem to believe in Universalism…”All Gods or Goddesses are just the face of one God/Goddess; or that all paths or just different roads leading to the same destination.” Any time, I tried to explore that option with others that had come to the craft it was shut down if it seemed “too Christian, too New Age, too fluff bunny”. (Fluff bunny in the Craft is a derogatory term used to make people feel bad about their path and themselves because they would never cast against another and they concentrate on light work ) Ps. I am what you would call a White Lighter or Fluff bunny....:)
After, ten or more years of this if any of these paths were presented to me or people I had a “wall up” I had gotten so used to “not listening” or “considering it an option” I was closed off. Several years ago, after we started the Temple (A legal Wiccan Church) I had a seeker say to me…”he had thought to tell me he was going to dedicate his life to Jesus…” just to see what I would say. He laughed; I stopped and wondered…Why and when did it happen that I had become so rigid? I asked the question, but I had no answer right then. Then, the hundreds of invitations came in inviting me to go to Christian Churches, and I naturally assumed they wanted “to convert” me since I had founded a Wiccan Church. This made me resistant; but in truth I could “claim busy” and point out to them…I did not “invite them to my church their pastors, so why invite me?”.
This theory is true, and the logic very astute if you are looking for conflict and being very defensive but it did not lead me to where I was headed; or where my Goddess wanted me to go…so she gently nudged further. Another student (a few years later), asked if Jesus was a valid option to worship as a Pagan God. I found myself saying….”Yes, that is a valid option…why not? Tell me why you see him that way…” Voila! I opened. A few months later, we had to do a Baby blessing, and it became clear the person involved wanted something unique…to present their child to all spiritual paths. Jesus, came a calling.
“Sonya, why are you so angry at me?” he asked. My heart hurt, I thought of all the bad experiences I had felt and experienced as a child, as a junior high student, as a high school student at the hands of a Christian Church and School. “ What did I have to do with any of that he asked?” "You didn’t" I had to say. So, I let it go, I cried, and I felt the love and comfort of that Deity. I thought of how I had sung so many times as a young person…”What a friend we have in Jesus” and how I had loved that song. I realized I was not angry or hurt at Jesus at all; just hurt and angry at the humans that had been angry, mean, cruel, or judgmental to me. The Baby blessing was fantastic, and I had made peace with Jesus and I had noticed he had not “judged me or preached I was going to hell”. (BTW he never has, to me)
Two more years have passed, and another Baby blessing rolled in…the Father was Christian the Mother Wiccan and so it seemed Jesus and Hekate would be called to bless the child. Brian and I presented the Child to all paths; and there was not hesitation or tugging within me a beautiful ritual happened. As we started that Circle, one of my Elders asked me what aspect of the Goddess I would call in…I stopped and asked Spirit, who would you like to come? Hagia Sophia it said, and so I said…I am Hagia Sophia. I have had rapid visions of her lately, the Queen in Red with Angel Wings. I am devouring all of her words, any mention of her, and of course the connection with Isis is obvious. But then, Isis does have 10,000 names and faces.
I panicked after a month of this obsession realizing that I was walking into deep Spiritual mysticism, and Gnosticism I asked advice from fellow Clergy because once again I seemed to “need and want” peer support. Luckily for me, I am surrounded with ATC Elders that encourage me to go and find, learn, search and grow; apparently I had not “grown” enough to not need that support. It was interesting and refreshing to note that at this age I had enough backbone to be honest; and to freely share my fork in the road. It panicked me, all my life I had been hardcore Witch/Pagan/Wiccan and now it seems...I am Wiccan. I am a Wiccan being led to explore the other paths and see how they merge with what I already knew.
I want to apologize for my former resistance and rigidity. I had become dogmatic and not willing to consider any other option. I helped create a spiritual environment that was "not truthfully exploring all options". I had become hypocritical saying all paths lead to the same destination but letting excuses and "feelings from my past" hold me back as a spiritual leader. I see that now, but I cannot fix the past only remedy the future. No excuses just truth.
I do not want the future of any Spiritual community to be "closed off" especially one as cool as Paganism/Wicca. I would like to share openly and peacefully with other faiths like I do in my mind but in the physical planes, and truthfully live in a world where we all share our ideas and learn from each other. I am (with the help of many others) taking big step to get there and tearing down all defenses and walls that I have erected to place myself in such a "neat Wiccan/Pagan box". Of course, we might want to start with ourselves by not labeling our own lightworkers as (practicing black magick, too fluff bunny, not good at magic, etc).
I still take offense to any path that does not see the “divine feminine” but those are not fighting words to me anymore. We, as Wiccans/Pagans do not even hardly acknowledge the “divine masculine” we seem to shy away from it and are embarrassed of it at times (it’s our backlash at Christianity and the Patriarchy). Maybe, if I start to take steps in this direction with all the other Temple members then we will be more than a ripple in the ocean?
I am still Wiccan and still Polytheistic and I know Wicca as a Spiritual Path has much to offer the Spiritual community, it is a system easily used to commune with any Angel/Guide/ face of God/ddess, it delights in the divine feminine. It also has no issue of having Mary Magdeline and Anubis or Hekate and Jesus being called in to work together to dispense the Sacraments and share wisdom. That is what is wonderful about Spirit; it is showing us that we can all get “beyond” our boundaries…and live in a “time and space” beyond our human limitations. I love this path for this reason.
I have learned that love is the answer. I have learned that if you pick up the sword you will die by the sword and that bitterness, anger, cruelty, anger and revenge are all things I struggle with but refuse to choose as my path. I have learned that if you pick up a shield to defend yourself, you will have to fight because to defend is to fight. I have learned that Love, and acceptance are more powerful energies than anything I have ever conceived and they can truthfully MOVE MOUNTAINS. I am grateful that Jesus, Isis, Sophia, Sekhmet, Osiris all do not care what I call them but Humans do…and I have learned, that I cannot let others tell me what to believe, practice, or what is right for me. I have also learned to stop being so dogmatic, stubborn, rigid, and to stop judging and labeling others.
So this HOLY season know this. Whether you Pray to or resonate with the Holly King, Jesus, or Horus they are all the same to me; and I believe in your heart you know this too. If you spend time dwelling with the virgin Mary, Isis, or Brigit it is all good because they are all Goddesses that are communing with us at this time of year. This time of year is not about who is WRONG or who is RIGHT or who started this Holy Day first or who stole it from WHOM. This time of year is about re-birth, re-newal, about a new clean slate being born for us and you.
Thought for the Season: What will you write on this new clean slate handed to you by Spirit? What will you do with it? I am not positively sure what I will do with it yet, but I know the first word I am going to write on it is Love, the Second is Acceptance (and yes that is for myself and for others).
Thank you for the Gift of your Time.....