The Unmotivated Heathen
Every day is a rush. We work on getting up on time, find something to eat to break our fast, commute to work, spend the day being a cog in the wheel of corporate life and finally come home to a house full of chores and family. We try sitting down in front of a giant screen to relax and be entertained, or going out to do the same. Rinse and repeat. Does this sound familiar? Is some variation of this theme one you’re living every day?
There does not seem to be a lot of time for meaningful connections, spiritual exploration, or just being present.
For those of us who are non-Christian and living in an urban, setting it can be daily struggle to find any lifestyle that has not been molded either by Christian culture or it’s secular off shoots. We are products of our environment without even being aware of the depth to which this affects us. This is an unique or even uncommon problem in the world as any smaller groups or individuals that are not in the “majority” find themselves reshaping their life, faith, and personal habits to minimize the friction of being different.
Alternatively, we may not even see on a daily basis that the core of our beliefs are not in tune with the Western culture in which we take part until we experience an alternative culture or a transformative experience like a Pagan Summer Festival. To have the paradigm shift our beliefs, the first task is to acknowledge and accept that the current state of cultural affairs is not our ideal.
What is ideal?
Heathens of any stripe have another set of choices to make.
Do we wish to make the world a better place? (sustainable living, environmental renewal, etc.) Or is finding spiritual peace via inward exploration the answer? Is our personal change going to be immediate and profound, or a gradual more evolutionary approach? The answer of course is “it depends”. With these choices, some of which feel like they could be a substantial burden, many may become unmotivated and world-weary.
Books and online interaction have been staples for both solitary and group-based Pagans. These tools have made it possible to construct some form of culture closer to being free of other religions’ social pressures. However, the ability of these tools to make us feel at “home” reach their limit once we get beyond the initiate level. This actually creates a major road block to growth because neither provides a clear path to establishing intra-personal connections or further learning to open the way to continued self-enrichment.
How then do we develop and live a lifestyle in sync with our beliefs? How can we be culturally and personally pagan?
The first, and perhaps the easiest, step to take is to brainstorm a list of all the things you could do in your daily life to celebrate your path. From here, if the list is not very long, ask yourself
when and where you can fi t these things into your life.
It may be a challenge at first to squeeze these practices into your busy schedule, but a partial solution is to make a list of what aggravates you or you feel is in need of change. Then look for opportunities to swap out one activity for another.
Start your morning with enough time to be able to lie about and enjoy being alive, after all — that is one of the most important things you can do. The key to adopting new elements into your life is to do so with moderation. Doing one thing for 21 days to a month helps establish it as routine so you do not have to use your active attention. In the long-term, this is a more successful way to ensure changes are transformed into daily practice.
Along with the actual physical changes in your habits should come a greater awareness of the seasons, their durations, natures, and how the sun and the moon tie the cycles together.
However, if you are one who has embraced “pagan time” as one of your behavior models you may want to incorporate a calendar and alarm into you collection of tools. Especially if you are solitary — having a reminder of “when” you are in the year can really deepen you opportunities for understanding and for communicating with the Gods at their pace. If you are part of a group, being aware of your “when” will also strengthen your bonds and the possibilities for more consistent ritual and energy raising.
The fact remains: we live in a public culture based in a faith not ours, while at the same time having echoes of an older classical age. This sets us all up for times when we choose whether to participate in a public spiritual event or holiday. While there can be no clear generic advice for these occasions, ask yourself if it furthers your own life and spiritual goals. If not, then do you really have to be involved? It should be a point where you only compromise for people or other things that rank equally for you. Why? Because the dominant faiths of the land expect everyone to fall into rank so their systems can be perpetuated smoothly.
One of the lessons that we can learn again from the “99%” movement is that
sincere change does have to be won.
This is true both at the personal and the public level. If it is our place to pressure others into our beliefs, which is as it should be, and then we should not shy from displaying our pride and our points of view when we can.
You must be logged in to post a comment.