Pagan Voices is a spotlight on recent quotations from figures within the Pagan community. These voices may appear in the burgeoning Pagan media or a mainstream outlet, but all showcase our wisdom, thought processes, and evolution in the public eye. Is there a Pagan voice or artist you’d like to see highlighted? Contact us with a link to the story, post, audio, or image.
It’s like the plant you forget to water. You forgot to water it and now it’s wilting. When you see this, usually you’ll feel shame and berate yourself, but then you shrug it off and water the plant, reviving it.
Your altar is like that plant. If you forget to care for it properly, it’s going to wilt. The trick is to take note and change your behavior when you see it wilting. Apologize, acknowledge you fucked up and then do something to revive it. If not, your wilting plant is just going to die.
Shame is not a completely evil emotion, but rather an uncomfortable tool for us to recognize that our behavior is not congruent with the life we want to lead and who we want to be.
— Anna Griffith, Feeding the Spirits
In the modern capitalist economy, many of us are not even employees as such but independent contractors. Precariat rather than proletariat. Such is the case at the Patheos Pagan Channel, which is a Pagan-managed section of the Patheos interfaith website. The Patheos website is now owned by Beliefnet, a Christian evangelical organization with some deeply sinister connections. When Beliefnet tried to impose a contract giving them the right to control all content, bloggers on the Patheos Pagan Channel raised objections. The company replied by cutting off their access to their own blogs, in violation of the terms of the existing contract.
It doesn’t matter if you work for a co-op, a non-profit, a Pagan-owned business or as an independent contractor for a Pagan blog site. Capitalism is capitalism.
— Gilbride, Down With Pagan Capitalism
Those who are poor, ill, and struggling are a vulnerable, easy target for haters and blamers. It’s the demographic least able to fight back, least likely to have energy or resources to take you to court or otherwise seek justice and rebalance.
We like to think we know. We like to think we’re clever enough to see exactly what’s going on in someone else’s life. We think if something wouldn’t hurt us, or make our brains stop working then it shouldn’t be a problem for anyone else either. We are persuaded that our life experience is a fair measure of someone else’s struggles.
What it means, when we walk this path, is that we only judge other people, and never have to judge ourselves.
— Nimue Brown, The urge to judge
I’m not going to sit here and say that covering cured my depression. That would be an incredibly simplistic statement for a complicated issue, and it’s not like covering was the only approach I took. Besides, it’s not like I’m cured anyway – I still have good days and bad days, the same as anyone struggling through. But I will say that I personally find covering to be an incredibly useful way to help manage my depression and anxiety symptoms. I checked with other ladies who cover and a few of them reported the same type of thing, so it’s not isolated to just me, either.
Mental illness is all within the brain, it is in the very physical matter. A hallucination will have its roots within the person seeing it. Chronic depression and anxiety will be caused by the imbalances in the brain.
But a spiritual revelation in the shape of a vision will be from the exterior, because it is the spirit revealing itself to the person. In the case of anything acting upon the person that may be causing symptoms such as anxiety or depression, (negative energy attacking, bad spirits lingering around, a spell gone haywire) it is often exterior acting upon interior.
I am the wife, I handle the household stuff, and my kids are all still in elementary school. You know who writes spiritual blogs from that point of view? Evangelicals and Mormons. People in big, organized, conservative church systems that heavily stress missionary work and raising children in the faith.
Pretty much all the more liberal and DIY paths — humanism, pantheism, Paganism, Unitarian Universalism and its like — are pretty much for grown-ups. Kids are, at best, a problem to be solved. It’s not that helpful to me, it doesn’t speak much to my life, but I don’t blame them. Sometimes kids are a problem to be solved. . . . . It’s pretty hard to be all deep and enlightened with a bunch of kids in your face needing things all the time. Which is why most of the biggest, most accomplished writers in this area are childfree to varying degrees. I get it.
— The Doubting Druid, Daily Practice with Kids Underfoot
I treat them as individual beings in their own right. I look at lore as a way to get to know them, to get to see aspects of beings it is impossible for me to fully comprehend. And I respect the fact that I will never have a complete picture of a single deity, the same way I respect the fact I will never have a complete picture of another human being. It is impossible to fully comprehend the depth of anyone else – hell, we have trouble comprehending the depth of our own unique selves.
I can look at my own lack of knowledge, lack of comprehension, and not only accept it but be comfortable with it. And it is in being comfortable with that lack of knowledge that I can find the faith required to believe that the gods are speaking to me when they seem to be doing so. Even if I sometimes feel that I’m making it all up in my head, how do I know that isn’t a method the gods use to communicate? Why would I deny myself that potential conduit of connection? That potential avenue to develop a relationship?
I refuse to discredit any potential forms of connection, any potential conduits for the information the gods wish to pass on to me. My goal is to listen, to understand as much as I am able, the messages that they wish to share. Because if there is anything that connects gods and humans, it is the desire to have someone who is willing to listen.
— Kyaza, Communicating with the Gods
I absolutely would not be comfortable using a god’s name as my craft name. All I can picture is that you are willingly and openly taking on . . something of the god if you take their name. I can’t definitively say it’s their spirit, personality, vices or just essence. It’s more amorphous than that. But I really do believe that if you take on a god’s name, you are welcoming their direct self into your life. And far more than just when you’re worshiping, working with or honoring said same god. It seems to me that I would not want that kind of attention or burden. Hell, I’m not even ready for the attention that comes from formally dedicating myself to a god for a permanent, official, proper relationship. I’m more a fan of devotion, working with, and honoring as I may, on my own time.
— Emily, On Using the Names of Gods
I advocate co-opting the elevator speech (sometimes called the 30 second commercial), a term generally mentioned in the context of job hunting, where it is designed to act as a way for you to sell yourself to prospective employers. The main difference between the personal 30-second commercial and the conversational 30-second Pagan infomercial (other than the fact that you aren’t trying to get a job) is that we aren’t selling Paganism (that would be proselytization), we are ‘selling’ the idea that we are just everyday people with a different religious opinion.
Because that’s all we are. Everyday people with a different flavor of religion.
— Thalassa, Explaining that Pagan thing