Paganism is Changing

Recently, hrafnblod over at Grennung Hund Heorþ posted a piece entitled “Paganism Isn’t Dying, It’s (Finally) Maturing” that’s a riff on the “death of Paganism” thing that’s been going around the blogosphere.

 

It’s a short but good read. Basically he says that Paganism isn’t dying, it’s changing…for the better.

 

Hraf uses the examples given in blogs about Paganism “dying” such as the decline of Cherry Hill and institutions such as OBOD no longer attracting the kind of membership that it once did as evidence that Paganism is no longer about these sort of institutions.

 

I definitely agree with that with the polytheist movement becoming prominent in the Pagan blogosphere and online discussion being a sign of growth to me. However, I don’t know to what extent conversations online or in the Pagan blogosphere have an effect to Paganism at large or in “real life”. Real life Paganism, to me, still seems very much Wiccan-based and unaware of many of the significant figures, blogs, discussions (or drama) that goes on online.  

 

So despite the failure of institutions, I do not think Paganism is dead or dying. Also, while any changes or growth seems substantial to those of us involved in conversations online, I’m unsure how much that affects Paganism at large or in “real life”.

 

I think that what we can all agree upon is that Paganism is changing. Some of it is good, in my opinion. (The serious belief in, and worship of, our gods, for example.) Some of it I’m not too keen on. (The higher profile and presence of fascist or racist groups or ideas.)

 

 

Mead starts off as honey. It is incredibly sweet. Perhaps too sweet and sticky to eat directly on its own. Mix it with water (and some ambient yeast) and it will eventually ferment. It remains cloyingly sweet for a while. First, effervescent..like a sort of honey-flavored soda. Eventually, as it matures, the fermentation imparts more complex notes and flavors.

 

I’d like to view Wicca and Wiccan-based Paganism as the cloyingly sweet stage of modern Paganism. Right now, I think we’re still in the “honey soda” stage but we’re maturing into mead. As we get older, we’ll be progressively less sweet until we’re not really sweet at all. Perhaps a little dry. But we’ll be a fitting offering to the gods and a gift to humanity as well.

~ by sacredblasphemies on 05/24/2017.

5 Responses to “Paganism is Changing”

  1. I’d agree that paganism is changing and maturing. My fear is that what follows maturing will be death as it is failing to appeal to younger people.

    • I think that’s a problem with religion as a whole, unfortunately. My hope is that as Paganism matures, it will be passed down to children and become family tradition.

      I would rather there be quality than quantity. That is, a smaller but more devout population.

      • I don’t think it’s a problem with religion as a whole. Christianity and Paganism are failing, but not Islam, Hindiusm, or Buddhism. Which leads me to think it’s more that religion in Western European culture is failing due to the rise of atheism and folk having more choice whereas folk in the East are more likely to be born into a religious family and brought up with a religion and to have less choice.

  2. “However, I don’t know to what extent conversations online or in the Pagan blogosphere have an effect to Paganism at large or in “real life”. Real life Paganism, to me, still seems very much Wiccan-based and unaware of many of the significant figures, blogs, discussions (or drama) that goes on online.”

    I’m not sure if it’s still largely Wiccan-based (don’t have enough interactions with the real world pagan community in a broad sense), but I agree that there is a lot of pagan practice going on out there in “real life” that has nothing to do with what’s going on online, and I’m extremely happy about that fact. I know several polytheists and animists, for instance, who are just quietly going about their practice, doing really wonderful work, but totally uninvolved in any kind of pagan community either online or offline. And if pagan institutions fall apart, they’ll still be doing their thing. “Paganism” as an idea might die some day, but polytheism and animism are, I believe, not only true but our natural state of spiritual awareness, and keep winning out over and over again even against great odds.

    • I would like to see things like temples or more polytheist-based groups. I’m not anti-institution. Just the type of institutions that Pagans have currently do nothing for me because they’re not for people like me. (Perhaps because I’m not actually Pagan…in the “Neo-Pagan” sense.)

      Personal devotional practice is, of course, the keystone of polytheism…but I also like the possibility of community.

      What really drew me into the polytheism movement was going to PantheaCon and visiting the Temple of the Morrigan by Coru Cathubodua. I’m not a devotee of the Morrigan but I was moved by both the presence of the goddess in the space and the respect of the group for Her presence.

      I would love conferences or gatherings where there were many such temples of many different deities that people could give their offerings and prayers to. Spaces for the gods where They are taken seriously and respected.

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