This year at Samhain I’m coming to terms with the realization that Paganism, itself, does not serve me in the way that I thought it did. Stranger even, I’m feeling pulled back to the Episcopal Church, to the God of Christianity, and to Jesus.
The timing of this couldn’t be more disruptive and inconvenient.
It would have been easier if this hadn’t happened; if I could have gone on to build a name and reputation as a writer and thinker in the Pagan community. It would be easier if I could savor in the experience of being on the cover of a Pagan magazine for the first time, rather than looking at it and thinking, “Oh, print… if you could only move as fast as we all evolve.” It would be easier if I didn’t have to try and navigate and negotiate my language around all of this. I don’t like offending people, and I anticipate that there will be plenty of people who will feel (if they don’t already) betrayed by this change of course.
But an authentic spiritual life is rarely, if ever, easy.
Answering the call of a God is not supposed to be convenient. When I felt touched by the Morrigan I had no idea the kind of disruption that would be forthcoming in my personal life. It was a serious rough patch. I wasn’t called into her service as some of my other friends have been, but she certainly made a mark on me.
And this feels even more encompassing than that ritual awakening at Pantheacon. This is even more immediate and intimate, albeit a little less war-like. Simply put, I’m feeling called back to the worship of God in Christ, and I can’t deny it even if I wanted to.
This is a difficult transition for one in the public eye to make. Teo is brave to make it and be honest about it.
When I was in college, there was a girl who participated in the campus pagan group. She was very active in the group, and very comfortable in her Kemetic-influenced paganism. She rejected her native Judaism emphatically while among other pagans, but kept up appearances and participated culturally in Jewish traditions, despite her revulsion for them.
She was very deeply entrenched in the broom closet, and made no pretense of ever coming out. Her dream, you see, was politics — the only thing she was more passionate about than her paganism was her political activities. But she aspired to power, and was utterly convinced that even a liberal Democrat could not hope to win an election if openly pagan. So she wore a cloak of proud Judaism and pursued her politics.
I haven’t spoken to her in many years. She is very active in political and Jewish circles. I have no idea if her newfound enthusiasm for Judaism is genuine on her part, and if she has turned away from her pagan path, or if she practices in secret and wear her Judaism as a mask for political gain.
I don’t think it’s such a big deal really. Here’s this guy and he’s having some spiritual realizations which are causing him to move toward what he feels called to. We all have them. I think the only reason this is a big deal is because Teo has a bit of fame (outside of being Pagan) and so people are upset because this person who has a bit of fame might suddenly not be Pagan anymore. Let’s ask the honest and tough question everyone seems to be avoiding: Would you really care so much about Teo’s conversion if he didn’t have some fame attached? I know that must make me sound terribly, terribly cynical, but really, why are people getting so bent out of shape because someone shares that he’s going through a spiritual change?
And yes, anyone who is hurt, upset or sad because there was a public figure who happened to decide that they no longer felt that they belonged on a ‘pagan’ path is a butthurt bitch. Being sad that someone is doing what they need to do for their own growth is sad. You can’t force someone to stay on the pagan path if they don’t feel they belong there anymore, end of story, and as much as you may feel the need to claim that it directly impacts the community, it doesn’t.
Dumbs it down barney style.
If an individual says, I don’t feel like Wicca is right for me anymore, I think I’m going to pursue Celtic Reconstructionism, Traditional Witchcraft, Norse Heathenism, etc….
NO ONE BATS AN EYE
The same individual says, I don’t feel that ____________ (insert pagan path here) is right for me, and I’ve been feeling a strong pull to Christianity
THE COMMUNITY AT LARGE SHITS BRICKS— La La, again.
I refuse to close with “I wish you well” sentiments because this is not a farewell. Your path might lead you into new communities and you might write on different platforms. But if I were forced to create circles of “us” and “them” I would not base them on religious labels. I would base them on values. And as much as you value integrity, honesty, compassion, and love for deity, I can’t help but think we’ll be in the same tribe no matter what religious paths we travel.
There’s no betrayal when someone leaves the Pagan fold. We don’t renounce any gods before stepping onto the path and don’t pledge eternal loyalty to any gods when we step on it