What is it Like to Be a Pagan?

Jan 14th, 2018 | By | Category: Articles

Something I enjoy doing is sitting and talking with someone about our own individual paths through life. I have had such awesome, thoughtful, and revealing conversations with friends, acquaintances, and even complete strangers that have been some of my favorite memories. Sitting at a table sharing some food and/or drink, sitting on a stone wall looking out over a horse pasture in northern Kentucky, walking along a wooded path near that person’s home, or even chatting via Skype online. I learn so much about the other person from simple conversations. And I learn a lot about myself as well, as I answer their questions as well. And believe me, when they find out I am a Pagan, and they are not, the questions flow like water traveling downstream on the Boyne. One of the odder questions that stand out for me over all those conversations was the result of a conversation over Skype with a Christian friend of mine from up in the northwest sector of the United States. I do not have permission to use their name for this so I will keep all of this part (the question) as anonymous as I can.

What is it like to be a Pagan?

The question seems easy enough to answer. In fact, the desire is to be slightly flippant with the response – it is really no different than being any other kind of person. However, as flippant as the response may seem, the reality is that there is a great deal of truth in the statement. There is really no difference in how I approach my daily life than any other person in the world. In the simplest terms:  I get up, I go to work, I come home, I go to sleep, and wake up the next day to complete the entire cycle. That is about as simple as it gets. When you drill down to some of the more specific parts of my day, then you might be able to parse some differences between me, as a Pagan, compared to others who are not. But again, even with those differences noted, if you find someone else that is approaching their Spirituality from an honest, sincere direction – you may find that there is not much difference between the approaches to everyday life, aside from the words that are said, the God(s) that are referenced and any aspects of daily ritual (if any) that there may be.

My Mornings

My mornings are fairly straight-forward and simple. I get up, make a cup of coffee, and observe the rising of the sun. No matter the weather. If it is colder than I want – and living in Texas has me well adjusted to warmer temperatures – I will observe the rising sun from the window of my office. Otherwise, I do this standing outside next to my backyard stone circle. There are no ritual words for me to say. No particular movements or motions I need to make. This is my moment to clear my mind of what the day will hold for me and to relax. This is my reminder that there is more to me than what I do for a living. This is my moment to open myself to the experience of the world around me. To listen to the wind (if any) in the branches of the trees, the sounds of the birds and other animals, and yes, even the nearby traffic on the state highway approximately 700 yards away. Depending on how rushed I might be to getting myself ready for work (or not if its a day off from work), I will stand outside for a few sips of coffee or continue until I have drained my cup. After that, it is time to go to work or head to my home office to do whatever tasks I have listed on my calendar.

My Afternoons

Afternoons can be a little more chaotic. I handle data retrieval for a living. That includes creating reports, reporting Federal and state data, writing queries, programming code to parse information from the data, and providing quality control over the data within the nearly four-hundred tables and five database systems that I connect to. There are days where I start working at 8am, and look up and see that it is nearly 3pm before realizing I need to have lunch. Regardless of the time, when I get to the end of my lunch, I will gather what crumbs I have leftover, and step outside to the rear parking lot. There, I will leave the crumbs in the grassy area near the spot I usually park in; making sure that the nearby crows, grackles, and chickadees see me placing it there. There are days where I have nothing to provide, for which I keep some unsalted crackers in my desk drawer. In that case, I take two packs out and crush them as I make my way out to the parking lot. This small moment in my day is a simple offering to my fellow inhabitants, particularly in the colder months when their food supplies are a bit more scarce.

My Evening

My evenings are a bit more difficult to define. When I come home, the first thing I have to do is feed my three cats; otherwise, they might kill me and eat me. I have been doing this as regularly as I can (except when I am traveling), and my little girls know what is expected and around the approximate time. If I am home at this time, they will come to where I am to remind me that it is time to eat. This little ritual plays out every day without fail. Aside from this – the rest of my evening can be filled with database work (I am building a baseball database that compiles stats from Major League baseball, Japanese Professional baseball, and the Mexican Professional Baseball league), writing (I now write two blogs – one here at Moon Books, and another over at my personal site “Life With Trickster Gods“), or just cooking something more extravagant than simple sandwiches.

Tommy's backyard stone circle

Tommy’s backyard stone circle

Occasionally, all of this routine can be interrupted by a Pagan ritual that I wish to attend down in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro-mess or traveling to a conference somewhere or some unexpected event. Regardless, like anyone else – my life is a series of rituals, as I have detailed above. And I have not even tackled the idea of solo rituals that I do out at the stone circle on my own. But really, how is that any different than what others may do in their lives?

I am a Pagan. I am a Polytheist. I am a Druid. None of that negates the fact that I am a human being trying to make my way through this crazy world that we all live in. I am a Priest of Crow. I work with Coyote. I have – what seems to be unceasing – flirtations with the Celtic Gods and Goddesses. I believe that all the Gods are individual, unique entities. I seek to discover how I am connected with the wider world around me. I look to strengthen those ties that I perceive as positive and needed – I look to protect my environment the best that I can. I want equality for all regardless of their skin color, height, weight, eye color, hair color, gender (however the individual wishes to define that), and whatever differential characteristic or concept you can come up with. And I believe everyone should understand and agree that David Bowie is a genius. Ok, maybe that is not so much a requirement of others, but it is a point that I believe.  🙂

What is like to be a Pagan? I would love to say that it is a wonderful experience. To be able to perceive and experience the world around one’s self through concepts of connectivity. But that is not really something that is exclusive to Pagans. Anyone can experience that, provided they are willing to open their mind and senses to the experience. Perhaps, Pagans are a bit more aware of their Spirituality than others – but that is a supposition, not a fact. Plus, it means I would have to denigrate the experiences and self-truths of others and that is just not a part of who I am.

For me, being a Pagan is no different than being a Baptist, a Catholic, a Unitarian, a Muslim, a Taoist, or what have you. Paganism is my way of connecting to the world around me in a manner that I can readily understand and relate to. It works for me. That does not mean it will work for everyone else. I am not arrogant enough to believe that there is any one single way to the truth or to living one’s life. But, Paganism is the framework where my daily practice lies, and that framework is Druidry. What works for you may be completely different. And while it may be different from my own in whatever manner – the beauty of it is not diminished.

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Comment