I’ve come out of two closets in my life. First through the rainbow-coloured door – coming out as gay. Then out of the broom closet – coming out as pagan.
Every time I’ve come out as pagan, I get asked the same sort of questions. Here are some of those questions and my responses:
What is it all about?
Paganism is a nature-based religion, so as a pagan I have a reverence for nature. Paganism has a dual aspect of divinity – meaning we have both a god and goddess.
This god and goddess duality symbolises balance that can be seen in all aspects of the world and universe. We cannot have life without death, happy times without sad times, etc.
Unlike most other religions we don’t have a bible or other book that tells us what to believe. What pagans believe is much more individual to them. But the two big focuses in paganism are nature and individual responsibility for our own actions and omissions.
Paganism has values that encourage equality, respect for all living beings and empathy for others, so generally pagans are very accepting of gay people. Acts of love, pleasure and beauty are important to pagans regardless of the sexuality or gender of those involved.
Do you worship the devil?
No…we actually don’t believe in a devil.
Do you have a Church?
Nature is our church. Some of us like to worship, celebrate and practice on our own; whereas others like to get together with other pagans.
Covens are closed groups of pagans usually consisting of a maximum of thirteen people. They have a High Priestess and a High Priest as leaders of their group, kind of like priests/vicars. Coven members will teach one another what they know, including the initiates (those new to paganism). Rituals, rites, magic, music and dance will all be taught within the closed coven circle.
Pagan moots are much more open. They are open to anyone and usually held at local cafes or pubs. Some moot organisers will arrange for talks on a range of pagan topics such as: herbs, crystals, healing, ghosts/other spirits, etc. Organisers usually ask for a donation or minimal charge to attend these fascinating talks.
Is magic like that on Charmed? Or like Willow on Buffy The Vampire Slayer does?
No…sorry. But it can be equally effective – it just works in a different way.
Imagine I cast a Spell for money. Money won’t magically appear. But I might see a job that I can apply for that’s better paid than the one I’m doing.
Just because I’ve cast the Spell, doesn’t mean the job is automatically mine! I still have to apply for the job, go to the interview and WOW the interviewers. I have to work hard to achieve my goals – like everyone else.
What’s the difference between a Pagan, a Wiccan and a Druid?
Paganism is a broad term to describe lots of different paths that have the same principle beliefs. Wicca, Druidism and others paths may have slightly different practices but share the same principle beliefs and are therefore are all encompassed under the term paganism.
Think of it in terms of Christianity. Christianity is the over-arching term, but within that you have the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church and many others all with the same principle beliefs but with slightly different practices.
So you don’t celebrate Christmas?
We have our own holidays, many of which coincide with Christian holidays. But our big celebration is Samhain or Halloween, which to pagans is like Christmas and New Year rolled into one.
We are all individuals. Personally I celebrate Christmas with my family, because they do and because it’s a positive time for all. It’s the one time of year my family takes the time out to spend precious time together, to eat, drink and be merry – oh and of course there’s the presents!
Where can I learn more?
The best gay pagan book I’ve come across is Gay Witchcraft by Christopher Penczak. Christopher Penczak is a pagan gay man who wrote this for gay men. It even has a section on gay deities.
Other non-gay books I’ve learned a lot about paganism from are: The Real Witches’ Handbook by Kate West, Elements of Witchcraft by Ellen Dugan,Witchcraft: Theory and Practice by Le De Angeles and Everyday Magic by Dorothy Morrison. There’s also a myriad of information on the internet –just do a Google search.
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