Happy New Year, everyone.
Pagans get a bad rap. We’re at the bottom of the barrel of the religious pecking order. The common conception of pagan is not a friendly one; yep, us pagans are crazy folk, evil folk, yada yada yada. Tell someone you’re Protestant or Catholic and they probably won’t bat an eye. Tell someone you’re pagan, and they are likely to back away slowly then turn and bolt for the door.
This annoys me.
In a country that prides itself on religious freedom, we still get little respect. I’m hoping that, as the green movement snowballs, people come to realize that for a lot of us, it’s a matter of finding divinity in the natural world. No, I don’t worship trees. I just love them. No, I’m not out there killing goats or plotting the destruction of the universe. But the misconceptions continue. And the odd thing is, when you start looking back in history, you find the roots of all religions entwined, at some point.
Religion, like everything else in life, is a matter of choice. For me, I find the bardic path of druidry fits me perfectly. Why? Well, for one, I’m a writer. By definition, that means I’m a storyteller. People have been telling stories since we lived in caves. We’ve always had the capability to imagine, to dream. Whether it’s cavemen telling stories of, one guesses, the hunt, a shaman at a campfire speaking of the Raven, the trickster god, or a Viking retelling stories of Odin, storytellers do more than spin tales. They tell us who we are and where we’ve been, and force us to believe, if only for a moment, the unbelievable. And though the mediums change, from primitive ink scratched on a cave wall to the sheer memorization skills of the druids, from pen and quill to our current electronic medium, there is something sacred about that. Druidry recognizes that, and it recognizes the divinity of creation, something no other religion does. For two, I absolutely love the forest. I feel nothing in a church, but put me in a pretty little wood and suddenly I feel one with the universe. For three, I just feel an affinity to the old ways. But even so, I’m just not really into ceremonies.
Personally I think there are points of validity in all religion. And really, all faiths lead to pretty much the same place. I kind of think arguing over it is like arguing which road is the best one to take.
After all, freedom of religion means any religion.