I am a Modern Pagan
By Geoffrey Stewart
I have been practicing and living as a Witch for most of the last 17 of my 36 years. I have recently begun a relationship with Hecate and Dionysus; this has led me to sign up on some Hellenic Recon discussion groups and to start researching Hellenic Recon Paganism. I have also been feeling an internal urging to begin blending my Nationality with my Spirituality, part of this has been joining the Religio Americana discussion group.
So I was, until recently, concerned about how to integrate my worship of the Lord and Lady of Witchcraft; and my recently begun relationship with Hecate and Dionysus. I was also concerned about trying to craft a liturgical Calendar for myself.
In the last day or so (March, 6th, 2008) I have realized that I am a 21st Century Pagan citizen of the United States. I know, startling realization that… but bear with me, I do have a point. The thing is, although I may worship and revere ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses (among others), I am neither Greek nor in Greece, nor living in the Ancient world. I am a Modern American Pagan.
I do not need to recreate or live my life by some ancient Greek Calendar to honor the Greek Gods. Just as the Gods are an important part of my life so to should they be an important part of the 21st Century. For me, part of that is interweaving my honoring of the Gods, and my Witchcraft, with my life as a Modern American.
I find myself realizing that I, like a lot of Pagans, felt this need to somehow reinvent the wheel when it came to my spiritual and religious life. What’s wrong with honoring the Divinities in accordance with the rhythms of MY life? NOTHING!
I can honor the Gods as best I can in accordance with the Gregorian calendar and the Modern Wheel of the Year. February, for example, is a perfectly good time to honor Aphrodite. The Sabbats and Esbats are for Witchcraft and for my budding relationship with Hecate. Now don’t get me wrong, the Sabbats and the Seasons and the Esbats and the Wheel of the Year are important. Attuning oneself to the rhythms of the world around one is an important part of being a Pagan. But trying to recreate some ancient cycle of celebrations is not for me. I am living in the 21st Century and the patterns of my life are in some ways drastically different from those of an Athenian in the 5th Century BCE.
While this may seem like a simple realization, I am finding rather freeing. I can stop worrying about “am I doing this right?” and start getting around to the business of living my life and worshiping the Gods.
I am also free to develop my sense of needing to weave my Paganism into my nationality as an American. I can pour libations to the Founding Fathers, and Mothers; I can light Candles to Liberty and to Columbia and Uncle Sam.
I feel like I also have some research to do as to how I am going to do this, but this doesn’t feel like work. Somehow, trying to weave together an ancient Calendar of religious observances with the modern Wheel of the Year and my daily life did seem like work or more accurately drudgery. And while honoring the gods should involve some work, some effort and even thought, it should never seem like a bother or a chore.
PS_ I have no problem with Recon Pagans who feel the need to honor their Gods and Goddesses in accordance within the framework of the ancient calendars; it’s just not for me.
I would welcome any thoughts or discussions on this point.
2 thoughts on “I am a Modern Pagan”
I take a very similar approach. I look to the past for inspiration, but I am firmly rooted in the present, and ushering in the future. My interest is in a living Paganism.
Did you ever get my email, by the way?
With the Calendar info? Yes, and thank you! Somewhere along the way my intention to email my thanks must have morphed into the thought that I had sent the e-mail already. My appologies for that, and thanks again for the info!