The Part-time Pagan

I have come across many people in my life who are part-time Pagans. Like a Christian who only considers God when in church on Sunday, I cannot relate at all to this form of religion or spirituality. For me, my religion is utter dedication, a full-time affair that seeps into every decision I make. I am not überPagan, I know. I make mistakes. I do fail. I am always questioning, however, looking for ways to improve my life for future generations, for the ancestors yet to come and in honour of the ancestors of blood, tradition and place.

This is going to be a critical blog. If it upsets people, I apologise for upsetting you.

The part-time Pagan doesn’t consider the food that they eat. They’ll happily munch away on fast food while piling on the pounds, regardless of the effect that it is having on the planet and on their health. They do not say a prayer or words, or even think before they shove it into their mouth.

The part-time Pagan doesn’t meditate. On anything. At any time. They live a reactionary life, filled with excuses for not meditating. They allow their emotions to rule their actions, their behaviour often less than appealing. They often act out of fear and insecurity.

The part-time Pagan performs ritual at the seasonal celebrations, and may gather at pagan moots or events, but for them it pretty much ends there. They fill their free time with crap television shows and computer games.

The part-time Pagan does not consider the ethical implications of the life that they lead. They buy the cheapest factory sweat-shop clothing, enscribed with the emblem of their faith, and proudly wear it to display their religion. Oblivious to the fact that the religion they are promoting is simply capitalism and selfishness, corporate bodies and entities, they support dubious industry with the money that they spend. Crystals raped from the earth, animal skins hunted for sport, cigarettes and alcohol. They do not look into the banks that they use, the companies that they work for.

The part-time Pagan does not take care of their body. They do not exercise or eat well.

The part-time Pagan does not consider the ancestors, most importantly the ancestors of the future. They care not a jot for the generations to come, not wanting to sacrifice any of their comfort in the present moment. They are afraid of changing their habits, even for the benefit of all, for it would require willpower and sacrifice.

The part-time Pagan may have rooms full of ritual gear and regalia, but has yet to actually commune on any level with the world at large. They often seek the “easiest” path – to deity, to power, to wealth and fame. They hate hard work.

Small changes can turn the part-time Pagan into the full-time Pagan. It requires a willingness to step out of the comfort zone, of perhaps giving up some of the things you “love” – meat, television, cigarettes, time on social media. Becoming more present in the here and now, giving your full attention to another and respecting them is another step forwards. Stop buying cheaply produced things that will fall apart. Grow vegetables. Meditate. Look at how you relate to the world, and where you can improve upon those relationships.

This is but a start. Sometimes I just want to scream, to shake people by the shoulders and cry out: “This is not Paganism!” I do know that my Paganism will differ from others, however, it is my belief that all Paganism is rooted in a love for the land. Changing any of the above would be a step towards strengthening that relationship and that love.

May we all walk our paths fully awake and aware to the gods, the ancestors, the land and to the cycles of life and death all around us.

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16 thoughts on “The Part-time Pagan

  1. Do NOT compare us to “Christians like…”………….the worst of us cannot be compared to the best of them……….you lost me after that.

  2. I hope, I really hope that you didn’t have to delete this post from possible “hate” you might have received from it. This was such a beautiful message and the precise hate that you received is specifically from those that need to hear it the most. I fall into your category of a part-time Pagan kinda. I am a vegetarian and buy them at the local farmers market. I do some rituals at the main celebrations and some randomly throughout the year… I don’t exercise much but do yoga when I can… but I am working on it. But that is the thing. To consciously work on it, to better ourselves and our communing every day of our life. Yes, we have off days, yes we have our phase of the new moon that we just have to reconnect to the physical realm… but that is part of the seasonal change, that is part of life. I LOVE this post. I need to print it out and put it on my wall. The reason that I messaged you because I wanted to comment on the bottom but your site says that the page is not found. Considering the target audience, I thought that maybe you had deleted it. I hope not. It sends a wake up call to many who need it and reminds those of us on this path to pick ourselves up again. This is a practice. Not a study. We much DO to experience. I was very happy to find this in my inbox this morning. I am going to save it so I can read it again and again. Spiritualism isn’t all fluffy bunnies and easter eggs. There are dark truths more associated with THIS season that also need to be taken into consideration. This post was perfect timing and beautiful. I hope, if you did take it down, that you will reconsider. Those that would want you to are the exact audience that need to hear it.

    Thank you again,

    A fan forever,

    Melissa

  3. Nice to see the post back! I thought I was going mad after reading it on my newsfeed.
    I can see where you are coming from, and understand some of the ‘grr’ of the sentiment. Call me a liberal, but I think there’s a danger of generalisation here and polarising the ‘part-timer’ and ultimately driving them away. My journey of the path has been twisty turny and I would have ‘occasionally’ fit into your part-time model. It I had been presented with this criticism I would have been put off a little and perhaps wandered from the path.
    As I write this comment I think I’m having more difficulty with the term ‘part-time’ – I’ve never seen that as a negative thing. The term I keep coming back to in my mind is ‘stick-on’. Perhaps they are the same. – Sticking on them fairy wings, garland and a velvety dress and going to an event. An 8 days a year pagan. Now that winds me up. Equally though so does a pagan who is full of fanciful knowledge as to how our spirituality came to be (but that’s another story).
    A bit of a rambly comment I know, but yours is a brave post and I hope it stirs some (necessary) debate.
    /|\

  4. I agree that many people do not pause to live thoughtfully or consciously but happily today there are many ways to eat meat respectfully and thoughtfully which do not have to involve purchasing from industrial agriculture (which is the same problem with vegetables and grains grown this way, really), which is the real culprit, not meat-eating in and of itself, as our ancestors clearly had no problem with doing so, and were able to do so more respectfully than our present industrial system allows for. Organic, local farms, CSAs, buyers clubs, so many good options now to eat healthy meat from respectfully-raised and slaughtered animals who were genuinely loved and cared for. So glad that this situation is improving for us carnivores, especially those of us with blood-sugar issues who really need animal protein for balanced health.

    • Indeed Erin – a beautiful friend of mine has switched to eating local meat that he hunts himself as for him that is the best and most respectful way forward in his relationship with nature. I respect his choice. x

  5. I partly agree with what you say – I sometimes have the feeling that some people are just in it for the wrong reason: to offend other people or trying to be ‘cool’.

    However, there are also people who aren’t that spiritual. (Okay, usually, they do try to make sure they take good care of their body, but just don’t do rituals on their own and they aren’t used to praying everyday.) Why should we critisize them? If they are fine with it, and they are in for the right reasons?

    Also, because I eat meat (a conscious desision) – am I a lesser pagan?

    However, fascinating post! Love to see more of it!

    • Hi Dervabodua – thanks for commenting! The no meat is simply my personal choice, and I do acknowledge that there are ways to eat meat that are much more respectful to the planet. I realise that everyone is walking their own path and that’s good enough for them – I simply wanted to challenge people on their relationship to the earth as part of that path, being a nature-orientated path. Your question is interesting – do we need to criticise, and if so, what is it we should be criticising? Something new to chew on… x

    • Hi Damon, thanks for posting. I’m vegan by choice, as I see that being the least harmful path regarding my relationship to the world. Certainly, reducing meat the conventional, big industry meat consumption in the West could go a long way to helping this planet survive a little longer. I’ve replied to the meat query in other’s comments – I’m not against meat eating, per se – I just think we need to re-evaluate the meat that we eat and why we do it, what we are supporting if, say, we eat MacDonald’s drive-thru instead of local veg, for instance. x

  6. These things irk me, too! I am confused why people are even drawn to an Earth-based religion when they continue to live blind, Earth-destroying lives. Oftentimes, I think people are drawn to costumes/accessories/music they “think” are pagan and therefore they assume they are part of the pagan religion.

    Anyway, I agree with you. You’re just calling it like it is.

  7. I think it is fundamental what you wrote and I thank you for it. All the things you mentioned make the difference between playing druid and being one. Excellent entry,
    Hans /|\

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