real

The Sober Pagan

July, 2018

A Home Group, Finally

I have finally found a home group! I knew as soon as I walked into the room that this was going to be the group for me. The time is perfect – 7:15 a.m. – it meets Tuesdays and Thursdays – it’s easy for me to get to – the meeting room itself is lovely – very Zen, although it’s a room in a Presbyterian Church. But it has large windows that look out on a courtyard with flowering trees and well-tended gardens and places to sit and meditate – much like any Buddhist Temple might offer. I felt at home immediately.

This spring I have struggled through one of the worst depressions of my life – at least, in last ten years. I had trouble getting to the store for basic groceries, let alone getting to an AA meeting or anywhere else. My entire spirituality suffered. I was amazed to find that I didn’t want to live anymore – and I was sober.

There were many dark days and many long sleepless nights.

Even though I thought I had lost my faith, yet I sat in meditation. Sometimes I sat for hours. It seemed like my brain had stopped to utter stillness but it was simmering like a sober stew. I needed that time of quietude. No sound except the chirping of the birds, vehicles driving past the house and children laughing as they walked to the corner to wait for the school bus. I didn’t dwell on any of this – I just noted each sound and let them go.

My son’s father came to town on route to somewhere else. He has over ten years in AA and is a social worker – he works with the homeless in Florida. He is Buddhist and has many years of practice. We spent the afternoon together, talking and meditating.

The next day, I started going to meetings again. The next week, I found this particular meeting – my new home group.

Soon after this, my son – who has six months sobriety – moved back in with me. I am so grateful for his sober support.

It is still a daily struggle. I have to admit that. At least once a day, I have a wicked bad jones. Something always triggers me. It can be almost anything. The weather – the time of day – a certain smell. I white-knuckle it hour by hour. Then – it passes – and I am so grateful that I didn’t give in.

I know that I have complained about AA for years and found every excuse under the sun not to go to meetings. But now I actually look forward to going to the meetings on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I haven’t felt like this about a meeting in over ten years.

Now I wonder – will the Goddess come back to me?

***

About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

Spiralled Edges

March, 2017

Spiralled Edges – Real Pagans

 

witches

 

Occasionally, I see a resurgence of the perpetual “What is a ‘Real Pagan?’” argument. Usually connected to something that has been reported in the news, or a round of gossip or bitchcrafting.

Nothing new under the sun, these same arguments made the rounds years ago without the aid of social media. Invariably, any argument or discussion that being with “Real Pagans or True Pagans…..” finished with a list that manages to include everything the person does and excludes everything the person doesn’t. And for every single “Real Pagans don’t do X” I have seen I can point out a Pagan somewhere who does do it.

All Pagans are real Pagans. Not just the ones who follow a limited definition. This means that the Pagan who does curses is just as real as the Pagan who never curses. The Pagan who follows one God is just as real as the Pagan who follows many, or none. The Celtic Pagan is just as real as the Hellenic Reconstructionist. The Polytheist is just as real as the Pagan atheist. The witch who studied at grandma’s knee is just as much a witch as the witch who looked herself in the eye and recited “I’m a witch” three times.

Am I saying that anyone who calls themselves a Pagan is a Pagan?

Yes, actually, I am. It is neither my role nor my place to tell anyone else what or who they are. Pagan is not a single religion, it is an umbrella term that encompasses many religions.

I also see Pagans placed on pedestals by other Pagans, with a somewhat naïve expectation that because someone is Pagan, they somehow are above or incapable of negative actions. So let’s clear up a few of those myths and misconceptions.

Pagans come in all shapes, sizes, colours, and flavours. There is no one size fits all here.

  • Some Pagans cast spells, some don’t.
  • Some Pagans celebrate the Sabbats on the Wheel of the Year, some don’t.
  • Some Pagans follow the three-fold law, or the 7-fold, or the 9-fold. Some don’t.
  • Some Pagans follow the Wiccan rede. Some don’t. (Hint, if someone isn’t Wiccan there’s a good chance they don’t.)
  • Some Pagans are lefty-leaning, eco-warrior, long-haired hippy freaks. Some Pagans aren’t.
  • Some Pagans are right-wing fundamentalists. Some Pagans aren’t.
  • Some Pagans never eat meat. So do.
  • Some Pagans would never dream of doing a binding spell on anyone, let alone a curse. Some Pagans won’t hesitate to zap your butt if you threaten their family or loved ones.
  • Some Pagans are pro-life. Some are pro-choice.
  • Some Pagans are criminals. Most aren’t.
  • Some Pagans abuse their spouse or partner or children. Most don’t.
  • Some Pagans are obnoxious assholes. Most aren’t.
  • Some Pagans are sexual predators. Most aren’t.
  • Some Pagans I wouldn’t trust as far as I could throw them. Some I would trust with my darkest secrets.
  • Some Pagans are extroverts. Some are introverts.
  • Some have chronic illnesses, or mental health issues. Some don’t.

Pagans do not hold a monopoly on goodness and light. The vast majority are every day folk, just going about their lives the best they can. But, we are human and like all humans we have our good and our bad points.

We are all Pagan because we all claim the title of Pagan. It is not my place to exclude someone just because they aren’t the same kind of Pagan as me. Nor is it yours.