Patheos Pagan asked this question via Facebook. It turns out, I have opinions. Who knew?
more representative sampling of races in the movement as a whole. I
know many pagans of color and yet wherever I look in the more . . .
institutional or voice-amplifying elements of the community, such as
Pantheacon, I see far more white people than in the general population
(or at least, the general population of San Jose and Oakland, the two
cities where I have made my home). White people (like me): that means
we need to do some fucking hard work and invite some scary-ass demons
and shadows over for tea.
over our myopia and self-involvement. By which I mean, growing up. By
which I mean, living up to the social justice implications and
culture-creating responsibility of our various theologies (pantheism,
immanent divinity, bountiful animism, apotheosis, et cetera) by
developing a strong network of services for a wide variety of situations
of need - soup kitchens, homeless shelters, old folks' homes,
hospitals/clinics, et cetera, et cetera - and innovating new structures
for creating and enacting those that resist power-over, hierarchical,
hyper-individualist, capitalist structures while remaining embodied
spells founded in our ontologies and values at a radical and structural
level. Recognizing that we can bring pagan perspectives and powers to
bear in creating secular priest/esshoods working to honor and tend the
cultures and organizations we walk throughout the world in, and
DEMANDING that that work be honored by the overculture, without turning
it into a pseudo-secular holier-than-thou assertion of our religions.
the desire and push to mainstream and assimilate. Not only honoring
our own paths, but honoring those under the pagan umbrella that confuse
or throw us off, and uncompromisingly demanding that the rest of our
overculture respect and honor them as well. WITHOUT CHANGE. Taking a
special stance for the outsiders, the freaks, the mystics, the hermits,
the wise crazy ones, the witches (see what I did there?) that they -- we
-- are holy and important and must be accepted as full members of
society or as much so as they wish/need for their work as they are.
wide variety of temples and organizations scattered densely throughout
the land, as various in size as those of the classical world. So:
everything from the grand temples of the Forum Romana with multiple
colleges of priests to the Nile-side shrine of Osiris-That Random
Peasant Dude Who Drowned In The Nile with maybe -- MAYBE -- a single,
part-time priest. And I want these temples to be even more varied in
style and type and work as they are in size. And I want them fully and
truly self-defined with support from the greater community. Maybe there
is a specific priest/esshood out there who's work is the go-between
work necessary to mimic the benefits of grand monolithic structures such
as many Christianities have.
that "paganism" is a useful concept and not just in some sort of
cynical, policy-writing kind of way. There truly is a pagan community
and it is important. BUT IT IS NOT A RELIGION and, ultimately, has
little meaning in and of itself. Within the paganism community are
manymanymany religions that are vastly and fundamentally different. And
there are many people who work multiple of those religions at the same
time. And there are many people who focus laser-like on only a single
one and cannot/will not participate in others. And that's okay. And
everyone's paganism is different for a hell of alot of reasons.
Third-wave feminisms have responded to a similar situation by
pluralizing the word feminism. Maybe we should start pluralizing
paganisms . . .