In my quest to learn more and start anew, I’m reading through the book Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions by Joyce & River Higginbotham. There are several areas in the book that contain exercises and questions for reflection, so I thought since I’m already writing these things out I might as well include my process here on my blog. I hope you enjoy the journey with me. Before I move to my questions, though, I thought I would share a part from the book that helps define just what Paganism is and that I found particularly resonant.
Paganism is Spirituality. [It is] a way of living, praying, and connecting to the flow of the universe. Pagan spirituality addresses the existence and nature of Deity, the relationship of ourselves and the universe with the Divine, the nature and scope of human existence, what happens to us after death, the nature of the physical and nonphysical universe, and our relationship to that universe.
Today’s blog entry focuses on the questions in the first section of Chapter 1 around Pagan Holidays.
Ever since I was on the younger side of teenage years, my favorite season always used to be Spring. As I’ve gotten older I have considered changing it to Summer, if only for the fact that it is the time I am warmest and I so hate being cold, but I believe that deep down my favorite season is still Spring. I remember walking along and just feeling happy and content that change was happening. Even now, it is the time I feel most happy because Spring, to me, is indicative of hope and promise of better things to come. I remember dewy grass and bright sunshine and, of course, the Easter egg hunts from childhood; how the mornings were always chilly on the cheeks, but warm under the sunshine. The magic of finding that bright pink or yellow egg hidden in the dark green grass. As an adult I still celebrate the season with those quiet walks and introspection, but I don’t so much celebrate Easter anymore. Usually the Easter holiday falls during Sakura Con weekend, so I spend it in costume with friends (perhaps celebrating it in a different way than in years past). I think I’d like to mix the two a bit, though, and start to once more celebrate Easter/Ostara.
I have never actually been to a Pagan holiday ritual (as this is all very new to me). Part of me thinks that I’d like to, but the other part of me struggles. I have never been comfortable in religious crowds because I’ve never felt of the same mind, even as a child. Church always made me supremely uncomfortable. It’s nice knowing that celebrations in the Pagan world are much different, but knowing myself as I do – especially as regards new group situations – I think this will take a lot of warming up to do. Eventually I’d like to be part of at least one celebration if only for the new experience. This, like with all things, will come with time.
Paganism includes celebrations of fertility into its sacred year. My thoughts on this are that it makes sense and I find it a good thing to celebrate. We want our grounds to be fertile for crops, and women, particularly those that actually wish to have children, should definitely find cause to celebrate fertility. I don’t know that I would celebrate it much except on behalf of the Earth and others. I do think it offers something positive to the culture – a celebration of life and of women creating a togetherness and wholeness. Without the fertility of women (and the Earth), we are nothing. We wouldn’t be here.
I also really like that Paganism includes the processing of death into its sacred year. Death is such a huge part of life and it’s a very positive thing to openly celebrate and acknowledge it. So often death is the thing that people don’t want to talk about – it’s almost taboo. I think, by having celebrations around it and acknowledging it as just another part of life, it helps people process it better. It’s more likely to create a positive, or at least healthy, outlook on one’s own life cycle and its inevitable end.
A/N: Are you a Pagan? How long have you been one? What’s your favorite thing about being a Pagan? If you are not a Pagan, what religion or belief system do you subscribe to, and what’s your favorite thing about it? Share in the comments!