Winning the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay, 12 Years a Slave continues to generate conversation among people from all over the world. The movie, based on the true story of Solomon Northup, has brought the reality of slavery in the United States to the big screen – as others before it — but this time gaining lots of attention for a production well done. The story of slavery is not new, society is still learning from the impact and damage of this glitch in time, and ultimately how that trickles down to the many different factions within our world today. These conversations — generated by what is current on the big screen — help to shape culture and have a potential influence on discussions that help to further shape culture; this is not just within greater society, but even within the smaller sects of society, like it is within the Pagan community. The winning award for this movie shows some, previously lacking, acceptance for movies that depict people of color as the main attraction, but also for the story itself.
After reading the Wild Hunt article on the Community Wreath, Babette Petiot, a French Polytheist living in the Auvergne countryside, decided to begin a community wreath in France. When I read about this project, called Aureole Païenne, I immediately contacted Babette. I was terribly curious about the Pagan experience in France. Which traditions are prevalent? What obstacles do they face? Where do they make spiritual purchases?
Today, I’m going to share with you a personal revelation – an admission, of sorts. I frequently write about my Jewish upbringing. But now I must confess that I was really only Jew-ish. In actuality, I was raised a “none.”
As I child, I lived in a wholly secular family environment. We didn’t have a mezuzah. We didn’t belong to a temple. Religion had no place in our lives. Words like “prayer,” “faith” and “God” were foreign terms used by other people. Existence was explained through science and philosophy.
Last week I presented the question of Pagan solidarity. Does it exist? Should it exist? What is the impact and evolution of such a concept? Generally speaking, it is widely accepted that Pagan solidarity, in some form, is vital for both the protection and continued growth of the non-traditional religions that fall under the Pagan umbrella.
Last week, I reported on the Atlanta Pagan community’s wreath project. As explained, the wreath’s purpose is to build a sense of solidarity for that Pagan community. Following the post, several readers launched into a discussion that probed the very nature and meaning of Pagan solidarity. As one reader asked, “What is the purpose?”
Additionally, readers explored the concept of solitary solidarity. Can such a thing exist? Or, as one reader put it, is the concept of the solitary group “oxymoronic?”
These are serious sociological questions that, in exploring, could help to define modern Pagan practice as it expands and diversifies.