What on earth is a pagan?

In light of the big announcement I made a couple weeks back, it occurs to me to share what being a pagan means to me.  It turns out many of you are curious.

The cool thing about this religion is there are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of flavors of paganism. There exists no one definition of “paganism.” The closest any definition comes to capturing the essence of the religion is, “a recognition of the divinity in all natural things.”

The closest any definition comes to capturing the essence of the religion is, “a recognition of the divinity in all natural things.”

There is also a general acceptance that pagans revere nature, and recognize a feminine deity. Outside of those, we each enjoy great freedom and flexibility to choose how best to connect with the divine.

As such, I’ll share with you the ways I observe my religion, and what I believe in.

My paganism is very modern-day, very progressive. It starts and ends with nature. In my religion, black lives matter and every adult is free to marry.

I’ve never danced naked at midnight. Never sung under a full moon, never chanted a spell. I don’t wear crystals. I don’t chart the stars or cast circles in which to invoke the goddess. I rarely wear dresses. I hate incense.

I have no judgment about any of these things, and maybe one day I will dance naked in the rain at midnight. They’re just not how I practice.

My god is the earth and the water and the seed and the compost. It is the sun and the rain. ... It is my dirt-encrusted hands planting and weeding and nurturing and harvesting. It is the nourishing food that the earth creates. ... It is my family. It is me. It is you.

Instead, I garden. I plant seeds and starts and tubers in rich soil, tend to them lovingly every day, water them, fertilize them, and finally, one day usually months later, I get to harvest the rich bounty that our earth created.

Some say that is the work of god; I say, that IS god. My god.

My god is the earth and the water and the seed and the compost. It is the sun and the rain. It is the wind that blows and the buzzing bees that fertilize the blossoms. It is my dirt-encrusted hands planting and weeding and nurturing and harvesting. It is the nourishing food that the earth creates. It is the bread I bake to feed my family. It is my family. It is me. It is you.

The products I make are also an extension of my beliefs. 800 years ago I might have been a Celtic crone in a thatched hut, stirring up salves and tinctures of herbs and oils in an iron cauldron for my villagers. Instead, my potions are potent serums and cleansers and moisturizers. My cauldron is a glass bowl and a stainless steel vat; my wooden spoon is an industrial-sized immersion blender.  My corona of wild hair is tucked safely under a hairnet, and my wizened fingers are nestled inside latex gloves.

I created real. kind. so modern-day goddesses could anoint themselves with the magical, powerful ingredients the earth has been endowing us with for hundreds of thousands of years.

Maybe the only thing that’s the same is the ingredients. I still use ancient herbs, lavender, calendula, and chamomile. Pure essential oils are the backbone of my creations. Natural, unrefined butters and oils give my products powerful nourishing and healing properties.

I created real. kind. so modern-day goddesses could anoint themselves with the magical, powerful ingredients the earth has been endowing us with for hundreds of thousands of years.

As much as one can capture her entire religion in a blog post, this is mine: I revere nature and I recognize the divinity in every living thing. I will always choose the side of goodness, kindness, justice, and equality. I try my damnedest to do no harm.

So that’s it. That’s who I am, and why I do what I do.

I really hope you share with me below what you believe, and how you practice. We are so much stronger together, when we learn from each other and lean on each other. I’m grateful you’re a part of my community.

Love,
Suz