Assumptions in Paganism
My father has always said
When you assume it makes an ass out of you, not me.
There are so many assumptions in regards to Paganism and spirituality as a whole. All humans like to categorize things. We like things to fit into neat little columns and rows and when we can’t do that we can sometimes get .. well .. pissy.
The worst part about it all is the amount of assumptions I have seen/heard about Pagans BY Pagans! Here is a long list of examples.
“You aren’t a real Pagan because you wear makeup.”
Really? Are you kidding me? Pagans aren’t allowed to wear makeup? Why!? If my heart tells me wearing makeup is somehow wrong, then I won’t wear it. I have no spiritual conflict wearing bright purple eyeliner and multi-colored eye shadow
“You can’t possibly be a real Witch because you don’t wear long flowing skirts and shawls.”
While it is true that some Pagans enjoy wearing a certain style of clothing – we are all individuals. We don’t ALL like it. I love seeing the stereotypical witchy lady – but I don’t feel I can pull that look off. Does that make me less spiritual? Of course it doesn’t! How insane!
“You aren’t vegan?! You’re not a true Pagan.”
Some Pagans choose to be vegan. Others don’t. While many Pagans follow the rule of “An it harm none, do as thou wilt” – (in my opinion) is pretty damn vague. Does that mean only humans? Humans and animals? What about plants? Its very open to interpretation. I do know of non-Pagan vegans who use ketchup on their fries. Unless it clearly states it is vegan … ketchup is flavored with beef. I know of Pagan vegans who use drums during ritual. They’re covered with animal hide! Life is all one huge contradiction – and I’m totally cool with that. But don’t force your views of whatever it is upon me if you, yourself can’t fully accept them!
As a community (whether we’re physically connected or not – we are all the walking, talking, breathing representatives of whatever it is we believe) we should support each other. I know that sounds like ‘tree hugger bullshit’ but its true. There is so much harsh criticism outside our own faiths (ANY faith!) that we shouldn’t meet that kind of judgmental stereotyping within it!
So many years now I have heard how Pagans are so misunderstood and want to be accepted … but time and time again there have been many who have shown me that they can’t even accept each other! How can anyone else except us if our own brothers and sisters can’t?! I think its sad. It really does hurt my heart.
I, for one, do not agree with all aspects of all Pagan paths. I do not, however, judge those who do! Is it not possible for us to follow these steps:
Does this work for me (Yes/No)
If Yes – Adapt it! Share it!
If No – Move on. Nothing more to see/hear. Thanks for sharing, though!
My whole point is: don’t assume. To my knowledge there is no total right and wrong. Circumstances make everything in life complicated. What works for A won’t work for B – and there is nothing wrong with that. If you see something wrong with that – that is totally fine! Regardless of how big the group you belong to feels it is wrong – doesn’t make you right! What’s right for me probably won’t be right for you. That’s what makes being a human beautiful! We’re all different. Celebrate it instead of hating, criticizing, demeaning, assuming, and putting other negativity into it.
Here is a great exercise:
Make friends with someone who has totally opposing views to your own. Give them a chance to break any stereotypes you might have about them. Maybe you already have a friend like that. Ask what kinds of things they assume about people who present themselves with some kind of difference in religion/politics/sexuality/race/economic standing.
I think everyone should meditate on who they are. Are you being true to your spirit? What can you do differently to improve? Have you improved in some way? Are you guilty of rampant assumptions? Let’s talk about it.