I saw a post on fb this morning that I wish I had saved. It basically said that just because you worship Norse gods doesn’t make you a Viking. (Truth be told, you might actually be spreading racism…) It hadn’t been long when I came across it and knew immediately the fragile male masculinity would not stand to have themselves questioned. As I suspected, the “Vikings” in the group bitched and whined about how judgemental the post was and it was eventually removed.
Such “manly men”…
Under most circumstances, I don’t make fun of people’s beliefs, because, honestly, I don’t think anyone has it right. I just worry about those whose beliefs become their whole idently (and that goes for anything, not just religion) because that isn’t healthy. Beliefs should enhance your life, not dictate it.
I am a pagan/agnostic at heart. Have been since I was 17. I try to be more spiritual than “pagan”, because the method is just the vehicle for better understanding, not the destination. But I admit, I sometimes get tired of the neo-Christian Wicca followers who “swear to gods” (really?), don’t understand the point of gods beyond the Christian concept, and seem over all lost as to why they are following what they follow. I won’t gatekeep anyone. Far be it for me to make any attempt to ruin their path. We all learn on the journey.
Then you have those who want to be a “certain type of witch”. A hedge witch (thanks, The Magicians, though, I’d love the arm tattoo that designates one’s progress), kitchen witch, lunar witch, etc. All these names to self identiy and find a place seems counterintuitive to what being pagan is. Be you. Wholly and fully. Experience your life through the senses you have and make your own way through. Why label one’s self to one thing when we can be all things we want?
I did a lot of study and research when I was 17 in regards to paganism and agnosticism. I learned that there are absolutely no people who follow any “old ways”. Sorry. There just isn’t. In fact, being a Christian and celebrating the traditional catholic/christian holidays are as close as one will get to the old ways. Most of what is done today was created during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, when occultism, spiritualism, Egyptian fetishing, and other such movements came about. Most were created by groups of people, or a single person who basically had a cult following, and their principles are what are followed. None of it actually dates back to earlier times.
Sorry. It’s just the truth. Today’s spiritualism and paganism was created due to spiritual fads in the Victorian era.
But that’s okay! And it’s okay to take all that seriously, if you need that. Because, the originators made things up based off what was popular at that time. You can take and pick what you like and what you don’t and create your own path. That’s the joy of it! That is the delight! Want to be an apothecary? Great! Want to be a part of nature? Fantastic! Want to create potions and spells? Beautiful! Want to do all that and more? I support your decision!
In the end, we are all just trying to find a way to feel comfortable in our skin and our place in the world. If that includes magic, nature, belief in gods, fae, powers of the planets, the elements, whatever, then do it! But be aware of the truths of what you follow. Be truthful to yourself about the origins. Be honest with yourself about what you do, how you do it and where that information came from. Because the worst thing we can do when it comes to the building of our spirit, and the path we choose to walk is to deceive ourselves about what it is at its very core. Otherwise, you end up either gatekeeping, or looking foolish when you insist things that simply aren’t true. Beliefs require truth and self accountability. If we can’t have those, we will receive nothing of worth on our chosen paths.