It has been rightly pointed out that we have not posted anything to this web site in over a year. It’s true. And yet, despite our obvious neglect, the web site survives. This says more about the Pagan community than it does about us.
The most obvious reason we have been so neglectful goes back to a crisis of conscience, really. Our foundational principles have changed. The reality of our situation is that we are called “PaganCentric”. Yet we feel a disconnect with the larger community which identifies itself as “Pagan”. You see, we have always thought of the word “Pagan” in a larger sense. Our approach has been more animistic in nature than specifically Pagan, in that when we think of “Pagan” belief it connects with pre-Christian, pre-Islamic, and pre-Judaic spirituality. That’s really how we’ve always used the word “Pagan”. It’s never been connected to Neo-Paganism, Wicca, or any of the currently popular strains of spiritual belief which people think of when one says “Pagan” now. It’s simply been a reflection of what people believed long before organized religion was a thing.
Hopefully, you know what we mean. Each human being is born knowing certain things. It’s in our DNA. Long before we’re indoctrinated into various social, national, and religious traditions, we are raucous, spirited beings culled directly from the very fabric of the Universe. We know what we know, long before anyone tells us, much less convinces us, that we are wrong to believe. This is why so many “seekers” are stunned to find that, when they finally break out of the boundaries of whatever religious institutions they grew up in, that within other religious texts are ideas that do not seem so much to have been learned, but remembered. Just as we are drawn to the oceans, we are drawn to certain ideas. This is the inherited genetic truth which exists within every human being, and which every human being proves so desperate to rediscover.
As such, our dilemma is obvious. Much of PaganCentric’s support comes from a community which we feel only a familial connection with. Our founder is a woman who descends from a line of women she calls witches, and yet not one of her ancestors would likely be recognized by contemporary Pagans as a witch. These women’s beliefs were never found in a book. They were not drawn from the revisionist or revivalist movements which saw the establishment of relatively new religions such as Wicca. In practice, their beliefs, which were handed down, we so patently common-sensical that the word “religion” hardly applies. Animistic, yes. But inherently realistic.
So. The question presents itself. Since that community is the source of our web site’s resilience, do we serve that community, or do we continue our original mission of promoting an alternative to all contemporary religious belief? Yes, our origins are firmly embedded within the contemporary Pagan community. Yet we have evolved. Our purpose has evolved. PaganCentric was supposed to be about stripping away the veil and seeing the world as it truly is, rather than how we wish it to be. And yet somewhere along the path, we lost our way. We began to cater to those people who wished to commune with us. Not as any form of prostration to other ideas, but rather in a communal spirit which embraces all paths as equally valid and valuable. We did not challenge our context within the larger tapestry because we felt a kinship with each and every soul we’ve engaged with. But in doing so, we lost our voice.
At the moment, we’re not sure what this means in regard to PaganCentric itself. There are two schools of thought within the organization. One is that we should abandon the name “PaganCentric” altogether in favor of something which is less connected with contemporary Paganism. The other is that the very name “PaganCentric” defines our reason for being, and that we should instead attempt to refine what it is that PaganCentric does, and what it is.
In the end, it will be one of the two. We are not Wiccans. We are not Druids. We do not follow Asatru. We are not Hellenic, Kemetic, or Native American. It could be said that we believe in Immanence. But at our foundational core is a determined rejection of all religion. Too many people worship the religion rather than a god or gods. Yet we even reject the existence of gods. We are all a part of the Universe, and the Universe itself could be said to be a living being, in the same way that the body of the Earth could be said to be a massive living organism. There is no religious ideology or iconography which sums up this one simple idea. It is certainly true that you may find this simple idea at the heart of all religious thought (phrased in countless different ways), but each and every time it is corrupted by the human intellect, which cannot resist layering “tradition” upon these simple, basic truths.
If we continue as PaganCentric, it will be with a very different focus and agenda. We are returning to our roots, and strengthening our foundations. Only time will tell how that will play out, and what it will mean in the larger scope of things. At this point, all we really know is that while we feel a kinship with followers of all spiritual paths, we firmly believe that it is only in rejecting the traditions and constraints of religion itself that the inherent spirituality of human beings can truly be free.
Thank you for this explanation. Many years ago, I would leave church feeling empty. I took the pastor out for lunch to tell him I was changing inside, was leaving, and it had nothing to do with him. He was a great guy, I was what was changing. I felt like the church was big business and had lost something to the greed and control by man. I was seeking the last sentence of your second paragraph, …..”what people believed long before organized religion was a thing.”
I am now a solitary practioner for the most part and have several friends of like mind; we are growing together. I honor the elements, love herbs, crystals, and our forest in every season. I listen and just know. It is peaceful and I feel so at home.
So thank you for this article. It reveals your thoughtful consideration of your purpose. I will follow this site with interest.
I have been struggling with defining myself, as well. I called myself Pagan for a while, but the meaning of that word is ever evolving. I am now somewhere between pantheist (everything is deity) and panentheist (deity is in everything). There are also pantheists who don’t believe in deity. I just feel a strong connection with the natural world, and that connection feels very spiritual to me.
I think that your blog will naturally evolve as your spirituality does. Being honest with your readers about that process and how it feels gives them permission (for those who feel like they need it) to evolve on their own path.