Sunday, 8 March 2015

A Pagan year.

Crescent moon at sunset, Castlecliff beach.
Photo by Anne-Marie MacDonald

All my life I've been a spiritual seeker, searching for the Divine.

I grew up with a devout Catholic faith, in a close Catholic community. Until I was a teenager I barely knew anyone who wasn't a Catholic {except for my dad, and he went to Mass with us anyway}. I could go to Mass or say the Rosary right now and feel immediately comforted by those familiar prayers.

As an adult I tried hard to remain a Catholic, but eventually the realisation that I was lacking such essential beliefs as the divinity of Jesus and the authority of the Bible caught up with me.

Later, I felt comfortable with the Quakers. After a while, though, I felt like I was at a Green Party meeting; the Divine was an optional extra and seldom mentioned. For me, the Divine is front and centre. Not optional.

More recently, hooping has been the place where I encounter the Divine. But I never lost my interest in religion. I love to learn about other people's religious beliefs. If I'm honest, part of my interest comes from the desire to put a label on my own beliefs.

One evening last spring I came across the website of the Pagan Federation, based in Britain. I read their Three Principles:

1. Love for and kinship with Nature. Reverence for the life force and its ever-renewing cycles of life and death.
2. A positive morality, in which the individual is responsible for the discovery and development of their true nature in harmony with the outer world and community. 
3. Recognition of the Divine, which transcends gender, acknowledging both the female and male aspect of Deity.

There it is - my own core beliefs and spirituality written out in three short sentences. You can read more about the Pagan Federation's Three Principles here.

I had heard of Paganism and was familiar with the solar festivals, known as The Wheel of the Year. But beyond that I didn't know much about it. Were Pagans witches? What was Wicca, and Druidry? Do you have to cast spells to be a Pagan? Is Paganism even a religion? What's the theology of Paganism?

I didn't know the answer to these questions so I decided to spend a year living as a Pagan, beginning with the festival of Beltane last year {1 November in the southern hemisphere}. What do I mean by "living as a Pagan"? Celebrating all the solar and lunar festivals, reading and meditating and exploring exactly what Paganism is and how it might fit into my life.

It's been interesting so far. I've discovered I don't really want to find a Pagan community - I'm quite happy to be a solitary {which is an acceptable thing to do in many strands of Paganism}. That may change later, though. I've discovered that I am not interested in staging elaborate rituals, I prefer simple rituals with meaningful prayers. I've even written prayers myself. I've discovered I have no interest in doing spellwork, again I'm open to that changing. I'm reading about Pagan theology and I find it fascinating.

I've discovered nothing is off-limits to me in Paganism - I feel comfortable praying the Rosary, meditating, doing yoga, and bowing to the Moon.

So what will happen at Beltane when my year of living as a Pagan is up? I have no idea. I'm open to whatever feels right for me.

For more on Paganism, visit the Pagan Federation's description here.


  1. Oddly enough I've always been attracted to paganism. If I didn't love Jesus that's what I'd be.