Big Rowan Ackison (greensh) wrote,
Big Rowan Ackison

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The Past's Challenge to Pagan Assimilation/Acceptance

lupagreenwolf wrote a very insightful article about the spread and acceptance of the pagan culture. At one point she said, "I think my biggest concern is that as paganism becomes more widely accepted, that it doesn't get so assimilated that it loses its unique flavor." I've seen this sentiment elsewhere and I have to say I don't fully connect with the thought. These are my opinions.

I live in the Sunny South. Bob Jones University is located it the town I work and the Redneck Shop is in the town I live in. I welcome a wider tolerance of pagan beliefs. It is nice to not have to hide (as much) in plain site of my very nice and terribly Christian fellow citizens. I have little need to be the "hardcore" pagan who frightens those around me with my non-assimilated beliefs. The spread of the pagan culture has tempered the persecution of the past into the tolerance of today. Acceptance will follow, and as lubabitch notes, there are strong signs of this already.

My second thought is that there are those who are looking back at the 'Pagan (not so) Good Old Days'. They are bemoaning that the youngsters have it too easy. In respectful humor I can imagine the nostalgic statements of the elder pagan:
When I was young we had to walk to ritual in the snow, up hill both ways! Being a pagan meant something then. We struggled to become what we are. It wasn't handed to us on a silver plate. No sir, we suffered for our religion and then we said 'thank you Goddess, may have I another one?'
Is it easier now? Probably. Is this a bad thing? Do people today have to endure the same hardships and persecution to be 'true' pagans? What would this bring to them?

The past puts rose-colored glasses on our memories. Perhaps some are looking back at the years and see the people and groups that have passed by. It is natural to both rage, smile and cry over the things that are no more. There has been a lot of good, bad and ugly events in the lives of modern pagans. These include finding our pagan selves, creating groups, initiations, rituals, dissolving groups, war, peace, festivals, death, births and more. The challenge is to separate these feelings from the things that are going on NOW. Resisting the pull of the future will not bring the past back. Desires for the hazing of the current generation and the colored memories of our own pasts do little to aid the present. The pagan community has grown. There is some degree of assimilation. There is also incredible opportunities to move the pagan community forward, reviving that which is beneficial and putting aside that which is not (as) appropriate for the present.

Paganism is alive and well for all. The unique people will continue to find ways to be unique. Paganism will find ways to deeply honor the past and reinvent itself above the drag of assimilation. The avant-garde will not be stopped. The tired pagan warriors will find a place of rest away from the dogged persecutions of the past. It is OK to mellow some. The future will be carried forward by those just as driven as some of us once were.
Tags: assimilation, paganism

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