I’ve seen many posts over the last few weeks (especially after Pantheacon) complaining about various things such as: Wiccanate Privilege, building institutions, labels, polytheism v. monism v. panentheism, etc etc etc. It’s brought up a lot of good discussion about privilege and all the -isms which, I think, is badly needed in our community. But it’s also brought up a lot of tired old complaints of “I didn’t become a Pagan for this!” or “I don’t want us to become like THEM!” (“Them” being Christians usually.)
When I started on my witchy journey 15 years ago, we were just starting to become visible and creating things like Pagan Pride Day. The Witches’ Voice was the hub of much of the neo-Pagan news and internets (at least, it seemed that way to me). Most of the discussion was focused on getting official recognition through the military and fighting for first amendment rights in public places, schools, and other places. We complained about Hollywood’s portrayal in TV and movies. In other words, we were still looking to be considered a legitimate spiritual path.
But we’re in a very different place in 2014. We’ve gotten to the place where arguing about theology, labels, privilege, and -isms are the big topics. Not that these topics shouldn’t be discussed, but if you think about it, it shows just how far we’ve come. We have the luxury of talking about them now. Even the the American Academy of Religion has included a pagan track in their proceedings!
We’re not in the shadows anymore, no matter how much people would like to think we are. This is where we wished we were 20, 30, 40 years ago!
The other thing we’re learning now as a movement is that, just like all of those other religions, we have all of the same crap to deal with. We have our fundamentalists, our bigots, our fringe elements, our mainstream paths, and our own issues with race, gender, sexuality, and class. We’re seeing that, while we like to think otherwise, we’re no better than any other religion on the planet and that we’re just as human as the rest of them.
The truth is, we have always been like them, we just haven’t had the time to really look at it until now. We still have plenty of work to do, but it’s the same work that every other religion is working on.
So congratulations, my fellow Pagans (or whatever you’d like to call yourselves)! We’ve become what we wanted: just like everyone else!