So I was reading a book today at lunch, Mediterranean buffet, and it really jump started my brain in a sort of rant mode. Warning, this is possibly controversial and possible radical thinking.
Proceed with Caution.
That is, why do pagan authors today draw so many parallels between Pagan traditions and Christian traditions? Let’s set aside how we feel about it for a moment and dig into reasons why it happens.
First off, we know that Christian religion is considered the majority view in the US. Are we a Christian nation? Nope. Separation of church and state is there for so many good reasons. That’s a separate topic. It could be safe to say that a majority of Pagans today and in the last few decades were brought up as Christians and then branched out to other paths on their own. So perhaps, to better understand Pagan traditions we must relate it to what you already know, Christian traditions. Write what you know as they say.
Second reason, Pagan authors relate back to Christian roots because “they stole our traditions first”! It’s not a wrong statement but it certainly seems inflammatory and accusatory. There are very many parallels between seasonal holidays. Yule being the rebirth of the Sun and Christmas being the birth of the Son. Samhain deals with harvests and spirits while Christianity, specifically Catholics have All-Saints Day to protect from spirits. I certainly hope that we aren’t playing the who’s older or who’s more correct game. That is impossible to prove and what’s more does it matter? We could all be wrong and there is no “god”. Again, another topic.
Honestly though, is my practice of my faith cheapened by how old it is or if it came first? No. If it came into being 10 minutes ago, it would still be as precious to me as one from 3000 years ago.
A third reason could be that it’s less scary for new people that way. “Shrouded in mystery are we the witches!!” (Sarcasm alert) New ones are afraid of doing the wrong thing and pissing off a diety or spirit. Which isn’t a bad approach but if you do something with whole-hearted respect, you will find it hard to upset others. Spirits, humans, etc. The concept of fearing god and fearing the wrong practice are deeply ingrained in new seekers and by relating everything together we can help soothe that fear and grow confidence. We aren’t so different.
I can get behind this reason for the most part. There is a prevalent belief that Witches, Wiccans, and Pagans sacrifice goats and corrupt children. I’ve not done those things but it doesn’t stop someone with no experience of me from wondering if those things might possibly true.
Last reason and the one I hope authors use. We relate each tradition because we are all one. Everything is dependent on something in this world. I depend on the computer I write on and depend on the electricity that drives it. The person at the power plant depends on my use and counts on his job being there. He does this to support his family, his children who rely on him to feed them and take them to school where a teacher relies on their education to properly do their job. We each rely on resources of the planet and on each other in this world.
And so we are all connected.
My version of worship, prayer, and idea of divinity can seem very different than yours. The idea of spells, herbal concoctions, and mystical tarot cards can seem like a world apart from another’s view. However, I get up each day and greet it. I put my pants on one leg at a time. I ask my view of divinity to give me the energy for understanding and empathy of my world. I say a prayer before eating a meal and give thanks to those that made it possible. I spend time in prayer and ask that someone be healed while stuffing a poppet of herbs to aid me in my energy work.
My religion is not so different than yours. By not letting silly things divide us, we can come together to build a better world for our future.
I’ve not met one person that didn’t wish for a better tomorrow.