Full time pagan

Whilst I was planning a blog on the subject of BDSM Tom and I got talking about the degree to which people do things full time, or as a weekend hobby. The popular image of BDSM is very much one of full time slavery but the reality is that many people only do it sometimes and have relatively ‘normal’ lives the rest of the time.

Talking around this issue, it occurred to me that the same can be said of a lot of other groups. There’s the steampunk folk who love their dressing up and going out at the weekend in their Victorian style gear, but who probably don’t do it the rest of the time. There’s re-enactors – another costume group who spend their spare time dressing up and exploring ‘living history’ eating and living authentically for short periods. At the end of which they go home. There’s the nightclubbers – I used to hang out with lots of goths and punks who would get out wild attire for the weekends, but many of them didn’t get to do it the rest of the time. I think about how people at music festivals change themselves for the duration. In many ways BDSM has similar things going on – the exciting clothing that takes you out of ‘normal’ life, the getting together with likeminded folk to share your passion, the brief periods of total immersion and the return to ‘normal’ in between.

It wasn’t a big leap to go from thinking about this, to considering paganism. The dressing up in gear that marks you out as part of a group, getting together at weekends to really immerse in the culture, and the eventual return to ‘normal’. Thinking about rituals, conferences, camps and even moots, there’s an argument for saying that paganism has all the same appeals as other passionately supported sub-culture activities.

What’s the difference between spending your weekend being a steampunk, a goth, a folky, a kinkster, or a Druid? It’s all counter-culture, fancy dress and escapism, right? It can be. It depends a lot on how you relate to it.

There is a fun and social aspect to paganism that is very much akin to all sorts of other social activities humans go in for. If we make that the total of our paganism, with the emphasis on having the right frock, jewellery and magical wand then it’s not very different from gothing up. Whether or not we carry our sexual preferences, music tastes or other points of identification into a wider life is a matter of personal choice. I tend to dress like a sort of folk-goth hybrid most of the time because I can, but I can pass for tidy, and normal, and it does not cause me much trouble to do so. I spent a while dressing up as a Viking at the weekends, but that didn’t really filter into the rest of my life. There was no place for it and no particular need.

Being a pagan is not a hobby. It’s a defining aspect of who I am, and a choice I have made that, by its very nature must influence every other choice I make. Being pagan full time doesn’t mean wearing the gear, or even spending hours sat under trees in deep meditation. But it does mean carrying my Druidry, my philosophy and my ethics with me into all parts of my life. Being a Druid full time doesn’t mean doing Druidry to the exclusion of all else. It’s not a life of ritual and contemplation. My Druidry is my life. It’s there in everything I do. I can’t take it on and off like a hat.

For most people, overt and visible paganism, robes and all, is something to do at the weekend. That’s inevitable. We have families, jobs, other roles, other duties. But even when we aren’t out there being obvious, we can still be pagans.

5 thoughts on “Full time pagan”

  1. I quite agree ” Being a pagan is not a hobby. It’s a defining aspect of who I am, and a choice I have made that, by its very nature must influence every other choice I make.”

    Every day, if you take Druidry or your pagan path seriously, you are making decisions based on what you aspire to be and the reality of your situation. There is always room for improvement and the trick is not to get too demoralized when you fall short of your own expectations!


  2. Brynneth, I’ve just found this site through a friend. I love the fact that it’s so sensible and down to earth and most of all, so empathic.

    All of your articles/blogs I’ve read so far are comforting and reassuring, as is this one.

    I have had what I now consider to be Pagan philosophies all my life, as I grew up in solitude in the wilds of the countryside with very little contact with other children. The only other influence on me was my mother’s attempts to force me to be a Christian, but this put me in direct conflict with my own feelings about Nature and the nature of creation. There were many battles.
    I had to fight for my instinctive and heartfelt spirituality and now I have come to own it and love it and nothing can or will take it away from me. It is in my bones as it always has been from a child.
    In the last 16-17 years of having discovered that I was, in fact Pagan, and therefore not alone as I had assumed, I have encountered many, many other Pagans as you describe, and I still find it incredible to discover that there are still those who describe themselves as Pagan and exhibit all the superficial trappings of ‘pagan’ clothing and ostentatious jewellery, who ‘talk the talk’ and yet at the same time disparage and scorn other pagans whose philosophy does not exactly match theirs, or who do not practise or demonstrate their beliefs in the ‘prescribed’ manner.
    Many such people, I find, constantly preach tolerance towards other faiths and religions, yet have next to none for the myriad variations within their own, even criticising the personal lifestyle-choices of others, particularly dietary ones. I myself have suffered from this bigotry and been the target of sarcasm and unkind remarks.
    As long as I remain true to myself, and no-one tries to tell me I’m wrong, or tries to convert me to another way of thinking, I am perfectly happy to accept anyone as they are. I will walk my quiet road in peace. I have no need to advertise the fact that I am Pagan, I just am.

    Love, light and blessings to all.



  3. Hi Beanie and thank you for sharing! I think it’s the case that the disparagers just tend to be louder than other folk, and more inclined to make their voices heard, but there are so many lovely people out there in the pagan community too, it juts takes a while to find them.

    I’m continually surprised by how many people are reading and responding to these blogs, and delighted that I’m managing to be resonant and useful. It keeps me writing,


  4. Oh Brynneth, you are certainly that!
    The threads my friend posted links to were For your own Good and You shouldn’t feel that Way. Oh how the things you said resonated with me. I felt like I was reading about my own childhood. I’m 61 now, and the things my adoptive mother said to me as a child are still fresh and they still hurt, and what’s more they still affect me, as those things went so deep that it only takes a small trigger to remind me.
    She was the worst kind of religious bigot, and when I told her I didn’t want to be confirmed at the age of 13, she shouted at me with her face contorted with hate, and said I was nothing but a little heathen. It was a terrible shock, as I’d never expected a reaction like it, just for expressing a personal preference. In my innocence and naivety I had thought I was entitled to one, and now my mother hated me for not doing what she wanted. In her eyes I was a ne’er do well for the rest of my life, and nothing I could do would ever please her, so I gave up trying in the end.
    For decades I thought I was an atheist, until I found others who thought as I did, and I discovered that they were Pagan, but mother thought anyone who wasn’t Christian was disgusting, and moreover, who didn’t belong to her particular brand of Christianity, which I later found out was Anglican. I still remember listening to her critical comments about every other faith you can think of, which put me off for years. What an example to set an impressionable child! I admit it’s taken me many more years to deliberately unlearn all the prejudice I was fed.


Please Share or by all means, COMMENT

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s