“Pagans (of whatever flavor) don’t proselytize!”
I’m SURE y’all pagan folx have heard this bit of lore floating about the community-at-large, right? I’m gonna roll with the assumption that most of us have heard this trope before.
“If people want to know our mysteries, they will find us (or, they’ll leave your arrogant, gatekeepin’ ass out of it, and buy a book or go online and Google that shit).”
Most pagans find it tacky to “sell” their religion, and I can see why if one views religion as a commodity, or something to be sold. I’ll go out on a limb and assume that those same pagans are the folx who begrudge trained religious professionals from making a meager living doing the work they’re called to do. They want to keep their resources for themselves in the same way they selfishly want to horde their religion, commodifying it and using it for their own social advantage. They don’t want to grow consciousness or community… only selfish fame, and egoic “power”. After all, there are no rules in our overarching practice that dictates we share our faith and viewpoints and perspectives, therefore, since we don’t have to, we don’t. (#YoureNotTheBossOfMe #EgoPaganism)
Sure, there isn’t an obligation built-in to our religion that says we’re responsible for saving souls, or witnessing to strangers, or going on mission to spread the good news… and because we don’t HAVE to, only a small few get around to even mentioning the very thing which we claim to be most sacred to us. I’d wager that in more than 50% (my guess would be closer to 75-85%) of pagan-identifying households, from the 1970’s to the 1990’s, many parents kept their pagan-ing as something adults did, and they never even offered their children religious guidance (except for, perhaps, the non-committal “explore all things” and “I don’t want to shove my religion down my kids’ throat” bullshit), even though they themselves have claimed to have found their own long-lost lifepath. Gods be praised, many pagan parents of today are sharing our ways and views with their children, and others in the greater community. I’d hope we can agree that our ways are needed more than ever during this time in history.
What I’m saying is that I guess I’m just too privileged to understand why NOT sharing your religion with those in need of it’s guidance and reassurances is a good thing. I’ve always been of the mind that if something is so badass and special, why wouldn’t you want others to know how awesome it is too, and for them to try it themselves? I guess it’s the way of my people (Louisiana and New Orleans folx) to share in the things that raise us up, and make us all who we are as the special-individual in the collective-unique. Why WOULDN’T someone want to share that?
From my perspective, and only my perspective, mind you… I find the act of not sharing that which is most sacred to you inhospitable, miserly, and cowardly. Withholding that which could help someone out of a fog, and empower them to not get lost in the future is foolish, short-sighted, and barren of spirit. In most cases, not sharing those sacred things goes against the spirit of Hospitality, and is an act that is lacking of virtue. That’s what I tell myself when I’m not feeling like sharing my poly-consciousness with others.
I know the above words are hard words, but please understand that my JOB as a religious professional is to get people remembering, thinking, growing, evolving, and thriving… and use the lessons and truths of poly-consciousness, ancient lore, cosmotheism, Stoicism, and whatever else I can get my hands on to embody my vocation, and do that job.
So, yes… please spread the word of that which makes you a better you, that which aligns you with a complex, confusing reality, and that which could potentially heal the world.
Remember, the word proselytize comes from the Greek proselytos, which means “a convert, a stranger, one who has come over”, but it also means “having arrived”. What we’re doing when we freely and with joy share that which is sacred to us, is try and help another person “arrive” at similar awakenings and understandings that we have. We’re offering a hand for them to take the next step in their own becoming.
If we can’t share that which is most sacred, we must ask ourselves: are we sure that it’s not our egos which we’re holding as most sacred? Are we holding our fears as most sacred? Why are we religion-ing in the first place, if not to tune-in to something greater than ourselves…
… and why would we want to selfishly keep that for ourselves, or shroud it all in mystery?
After all, it’s not really yours if you can’t give it away.
(See y’all tomorrow)