Spiralled Edges – Real Pagans
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.