I had a very interesting talk with a good friend yesterday evening about different kinds of paganism. I identify myself as a devotional pagan and I've come to realize lately that I might have been trying to connect with the wrong crowd.
For many of the Pagans I know here in Holland the pagan path is above all a personal path. It's about feeling good connecting with nature, doing a little magic when you need something, enjoying fun gatherings, sharing food and talking a lot about personal stuff.
A big difference between me and many other Pagans is devotion. I often find it easier to connect with liberal Christians and Muslims. They might not agree with me in details, but at least they understand the basics, at least I don't have to defend my believe in 'a greater Power' outside myself.
It's really nice to connect with nature, and I'm very glad that more and more people respect Mother Earth again and celebrate the cycles of the seasons and of life. That's good and important!
But to actually acknowledge the existence of the Gods as powers beyond yourself, independent of what people make of Them, is a completely different ball game. It's not about just you anymore.
A devotional relationship with the Gods is based on mutual benefits and comes with extra responsibilities. It's not only about what you want and need anymore, the Gods have wants and needs too. This doesn't really fit into the modern western individualistic lifestyle. "What can I do to serve a greater good", instead of "me, me, me, what's in it for me?!"
There is a difference between 'feel good rituals' and rituals with a 'higher' purpose. Sadly I found that many pagans love the first and shun away from the latter. And now I think I may have been hanging around the wrong people for too long. Just because we call ourselves pagans, doesn't mean we share the same values.
My path as a pagan priestess is about being in service, my rituals are about more than just personal experience. Of course personal development is part of the package, but not the main purpose.
While writing this blog I realize that I'm using a lot of old fashioned words and write about old fashioned ideas, not at all popular in the modern world and not so popular in the Dutch pagan community. I evenmight be stepping on some toes here…..
Oh well, all that matters for me right now is to stay true to myself and my Gods.
Feel free to share you thoughts, but please keep it polite and respectful.