The pagans have invited me in their circle and that brings me joy! It also makes me nervous. It seems like a significant step away from my rearing and current practice. They haven't actually acknowledged it as a pagan group though. I first heard of this group by name last month. When I asked what it was, I was told it was a women's spirituality group. Later, it's name was sent to me through e-mail. I googled it and hit pagan things. I don't remember the group's name. As my sister thinks she was born to be pentecostal, I may have been born to be pagan. After all, it was number 2 on my beliefnet survey (Unitarian Universalist was number 1). Okay, so I'm not going to the group once I get the invite in order to become pagan. The invitation came about as I expressed the desire to dance around in the woods in a circle... naked. I've never found pagans to be evangelical so I don't imagine anyone will try to convert me. I imagine I can be pagan and Christian at once; the world needs more of us ('cause those pesky traditional Christians by and large- gish!). I gave up on paganism my first 'bout with it because (1) I found a Christian church that I liked and (2) There was a lot of new stuff to learn + there was no one to baby feed me. I guess that's one advantage of Christianity. You can find 1001 people to introduce you to basic beliefs, beneficial texts, etc.
The invitation came up in book club. I squeeled all night in my sleep. Yes, there is the conflict between the beliefs of "the pagan" (pretend that means something in particular) and the beliefs of my mom. Mostly, I just wouldn't want my family to know I had my toe in the other's waters. That scares me more than coming out as bisexual to them. It scares me just to have them know I don't think a person has to be a "Christian" to go to heaven. (I'm not saying they necessarily know that)
Why is the invitation so exciting? (1) I think that pagans do a beautiful job of demonstrating unconditional love. I would be honored to be part of a community such as that. (2) I long for unconditional love. Perhaps I have some of it, but I can always do with more. (3) The stars, the sky, the air. There is so much there. Here is a group that looks to it. (4) The love and respect of nature that runs through this group. (5) The understanding that there is wisdom in nature. (6) Better access to tarot reading and other divination. (7) It is a religion that fully accepts lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender individuals. I no longer have to tip toe through the religious web to check to see if I'm okay at that venue. There's no longer the need for places to identify as open and affirming. It just is. (8) The news isn't full of incidents of proclaimed pagans being idiots and assholes. I really do have a hard time loving and respecting my Christian neighbor. I have a harder time being known by the same label as him and her. (9) I am a Cancer-Scorpio. That is important to me. Perhaps here I can learn to better understand why. Now, it's more like something deeply ingrained in my soul. Water. (10) Drums! (11) Woods! (12) Mead!? (13) Dancing in circles in the woods and in other outdoor places with or without clothing (14) Past deeply meaningful religious/spiritual experiences in pagan spaces. And there are more reasons. There are also hesitations: (1) There's an implied conflict between Christianity and paganism. I don't wish to give up one for the other. I simply wish to learn more about myself and God and grow using both paths. There will be language and thought barriers on both sides of that fence. (2) Frankly, it's gonna be one more reason to think I'm going to hell. God hates fags. I bet he hates pagans too. (3) I can't promise I'll walk away from all potentially dangerous situations I'm on the edge of. I'm adventurous. What's to keep me bound? (This is more an observation than a true hesitation 'cause why not jump off the cliff? It'll be fun on the way down. I just hope I die when I hit the ground if I'm not gonna get up 100% or more normal compared to how I was before the jump.)
Or maybe the group isn't pagan. Maybe it's just a woman's spiritual group. Maybe they just like to dance in circles. Maybe it's like Unitarian Universalist in a home. That'll also be good.
P.S.- Rereading this before the publish, it occurs to me that I sound a lot like those that I mourn-- people (lgbt) that leave Christianity for paganism because the pagans treat them better. Right now, I really don't plan to "leave" it. I just plan to grow more into me, however eclectic that is. Jesus was an awesome example then, now, and forever more.
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