It seems that each day, I find more people coming to Paganism. A recent article in the English newspaper The Guardian, stated that, at least in England, Paganism is on the rise. They come in a variety of ideologies. Some are Druids, many are some form of Wicca, some heathens, and some eclectic. I’m sure they come for a variety of reasons. I think I know at least on reason.
Why Paganism is on the rise.
Why do people come to faith? For most, it is for selfish reasons. The main one might be for a sense of purpose or maybe answers. Why are we here? Where are we going? What’s this thing called life all about?
Another selfish reason might be what I used to call fire insurance. If I don’t want to go to hell, or whatever the bad place is called, then I need to get in line with all the “right folks.” Most monotheistic religions are death religions. What I mean by that is that their main focus is after you die. Sure there are guideline on how to live here and now, but the big focus is on what happens after you die.
To be honest though, I think a lot of people just want their lives to be better. Less flat tires, more food on the table, whatever it is that makes your life better. The way to do that for anyone who believes in a higher power is to get in the right line.
Here comes the rub.
The main religions don’t seem to measure up. They are big on telling you what you can and cannot do and short of delivering any sort of comfort in life. The comfort is always, “When this life is over, your reward will be waiting.” Great, but what about my sick child today? The major religions traded in their magic for power.
Let me explain from the only platform I can speak from, Christianity.
If you read the gospels without the church’s influence, you read Jesus telling his disciples, and others, to heal people, calm storms, and feed people when there is no food. Ladies and gentlemen, that is magic. No not Harry Potter magic, but magic nonetheless. It is using the energy, the magic, of the Divine to cause certain effects in the here and now.
The church didn’t want people going around using Divine power and so they stripped that away. Now what you get is little hope in this life and a promise in the next. Sort of a carrot and stick situation.
For many people, this just doesn’t cut it anymore.
If there is a God, then let’s get some action when and where we need it. Why do you think so many people are so easily led to things like “The Secret,” that was the rage just a few short years ago? When your life is in the toilet, you don’t want to wait until you die to get it fixed!
Paganism is a much more experiential spiritual path. Notice I was careful not to use the word religion. There are some Pagan paths that are religions, Wicca being one, but many Pagans prefer to have no doctrine and go the way they feel led by the Divine.
How do we know we are going the right way?
We don’t. Neither do you. You may say that the bible, or whatever holy book you follow, say so, but we don’t really KNOW. We believe, but we don’t know. We walk the path that seems right to us. For some that is one of the big three religions. For many others, it is increasingly becoming a path that may have less hard and fast answers to who or what God is, but is more here and now centered.
Instead of begging a God who lives “out there” we are working in concert with a God or Goddess, that is present. Instead of wondering if our prayers are heard, we work the magic, the spell, that uses that Divine power that Jesus was talking about to change things.
We see the changing season and the patterns of the Earth and know that there is a message for us in them. We celebrate life now, not in the future, after this body has passed on.
Paganism is not a cure all. There are problems within the Pagan world too. The thing is, at least here we have some control.