Is a Pagan Filter Like an Oil Filter?

The idea of this “filter” is that the world is filtered through my perceptions, and I’m a Pagan, so the worldview that is expressed here is going to be a Pagan one. But what on Earth does that mean?

If I were Christian you probably could get a general idea of my beliefs from that label alone. Granted, there is quite a bit of disagreement among and about Christian theology, but for good or ill you, as my reader, would have formed an opinion about my beliefs pretty quickly were I Christian, and if you were perceptive you would be able to fine-tune that opinion as you read more.

Now that’s possible still, with me being a Pagan and all, but trickier. As a Pagan, I don’t necessarily reflect the beliefs of a much larger group. Rather than being pigeonholed together because of a common source of belief (e.g., the resurrection of Jesus Christ), Pagans a lumped more as a free association of folk that don’t belong somewhere else. A more accurate term for it is really Neopagan, since myself and most of those I’ve met follow a path that was more or less created or reborn within the last century or so, not handed down from Paleolithic times like you may have heard. But even that term doesn’t necessarily narrow down the beliefs too much, or make it easier for a reader of my ramblings to conveniently categorize me and my beliefs.

Quite a few Pagans identify themselves with Earth spirituality or Earth-worshiping. I count myself among that number; not all of my Pagan friends think the Earth is of primary importance. The vast majority of Pagans are focused on leading an ethically positive life (albeit one whose code is not laid out in a revealed text) and shun association with forces and practices generally considered evil. This same vast majority recognize the force called Satan as being one of the Christian gods, and rather than rejecting him, we just don’t permit him power over us. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t people that follow a spiritual path that they identify with as both Pagan and Satanic, but this is the slipperiness of language: just because you call it something doesn’t mean it is that thing. Educated Pagans and Satanists alike agree that their paths don’t intersect in any meaningful way.

As a Pagan I recognize that the most powerful force that humans have any meaningful control over is sex; this is the power of creation in its most basic form. Metaphorically and literally it is the source of all life and power on this planet. Even as we honor that force more openly than many other religious paths, we’re less likely to condemn sexual acts that do not fall within the confines of a heterosexual marriage. “Do what you will, but harm none,” is a common Pagan ethical belief that I adhere to, and what happens in privacy among willing people is not something I would condemn, even if the act in question is one that I would find distasteful.

My own beliefs draw from the precepts of Wiccanism, Shamanism, Discordianism, and Eclecticism. In the final judgment I label myself a Gaiaped, an Earth-walker, a sacred backpacker. I follow the wilderness code of “Leave No Trace” as an ethical code, and find that I am most likely to find divinity waiting quietly in the trees for me. As such, my beliefs tend to support human population control, environmental protection, and waste reduction. Humans are able to effect the world far more powerfully than we are ready to comprehend, and are not likely to recognize the consequences for generations. What we do now is blindly guess, with our words and our deeds; we’re not cut out for much more than that.

As a Gaiaped I strive to approach things in a way that emulates the Earth. Slow changes, guided by irresistible forces. Don’t be hasty, but don’t be afraid to commit to a course of action.

So that’s the filter through which I see the world. We can talk about oil some other time.


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