Tuesday, 2 December 2008


Having been perusing a few profiles of online pagans recently and watching some of the people who swan in and out of pagan/witchy shops, I have come to the conclusion that I may not be your typical pagan. What's more, I am not the only one thinking about stereotypes as the topic came up on a pagan message board just today as I was thinking of doing this post.

You see, I don't do a lot of things other pagans do.

I work in an office in the city and I drive in to work and I drive home. I prefer it that way and, one of the reasons I work nights is because I couldn't stand the daily commute on the trains/buses - it made me ill. I have this job because it pays well and is (relatively) stress free, not because I like it or its something I feel benefits my community.

I drive a car - everywhere. I'd drive a Bugatti Veyron if I had the money. I relish watching Top Gear because cars and fast driving fascinate me, always have, though I'm not that keen on actual day-to-day driving. I like speed - fast planes, fast boats, water skiing and, I'm sure if I were to try it, snow skiing. I don't like motorbikes, but that's because I've come off twice and sustained injuries. If I could own and run a helicopter, I would. If I had an unlimited budget, I'd also have a fully integrated entertainment system, home computer with all the top of the range software. in my eco-friendly, but high-tech home/farm.

I am not an eco-warrior. Sure, I do my bit of recycling and composting and I take in my own shopping bags with me when I go out. When I use my car, I drive sensibly in order to keep fuel consumption and emissions low (unless someone were to give me free reign on a track that is). All my lights bulbs are eco ones and I turn off lights and other electrical equipment (even in the office ), but, I don't chain myself to trees or involve myself in protests, because I am time poor. I do support various groups through subscriptions, memberships and donations.

I have a black thumb, i.e. I can't grow anything. The only success I had was a rose vine outside my sister's window back in Australia. I eat a lot of microwave meals. Yup, you heard me. I work in an office, mostly after hours, so preparing meals from scratch isn't possible, especially when you don't have an "official" break time, nor it is possible to cook anything in an office without Health and Safety stepping in. I keep cans of soup in the office as well. That's not to say I don't cook when I have the chance. I have a bench top stove/hob where you can only use one thing at a time, so its mostly one pot cooking or baking. I do try to buy locally sourced products however. So my fruit and veg is local, my juice comes from my home county, as does my honey, milk, meat, cheese, etc. I don't drink alcohol, except for the odd "hot toddy" when I have a cold/sore throat. I don't do drugs, either.

I support fox hunting having seen what pests the blighters are to farmers, who have it rough enough as it is. Actually, I support hunting and fishing in general. I wear leather and eat meat and I'd wear fur, too, provided it came from an animal who has been wholly consumed, not just killed for its fur/hide.

I don't do fancy dress. Yes, I like the velvet medieval gowns, and have a penchant for the fashions of other bygone eras, but I couldn't wear those things today; not in public. I live and work in the real world, where a suit and sensible shoes are deemed appropriate. I wear t-shirts, shirts, jeans and boots away from work and track suit trousers are for indoors. I do wear a charm bracelet that has a pagan/witch theme, but that's because I like it, not so others will "know" who I am.

I don't have an overtly pagan home, either. I have four statues, a pendle witch, a resin skull, a green man next to my back door, no indoor altar (unless you count the family photos) and a dreamcatcher above my bed and a few herbs in a bag under my pillow for bad dreams. Yes, I have lots of candles, but I prefer the softer lighting at night.

I use both conventional and complementary medicine. I'm different from most, though, because in a crisis I revert to homeopathy and magic, rather than the conventional route. I've been through the New Age scene, but am glad to be out of it. That said, I did train in Reiki and I think it works if you've gone and learned from a lineaged master. I've found most are fakes and it really pays to check their credentials and sample their work before paying out any money. That said, Reiki is very basic in comparison to the energy work most witches do, especially those who've been working at it for years.

I don't do: chakras; crystals; auras; kabbalah; demons; angels; spirit guides; using my pets (cats and dogs) as familiars; the necronomicon; the goetia; the eight sabbats and however many esbats; solstice at Stonehenge; ritual nudity; Wicca; pointed hats; unicorns; dragons; otherkin; Victorian-style fairies; and I'm sure a host of other things pagans are supposed to do. I don't subscribe to the "love and light" brigade, nor do I go around saying "blessed be" and/or "merry meet".

I don't dream of living on a commune with like-minded folk, as I'm too much of an anti-social hermit/home body. I don't go to pagan camps/festivals/moots - mostly because they occur during my working hours but also because I don't want to align myself with the weirdos that attend most of them. That, and the incessant, arhythmic drumming.

I laugh as people buy the tat from various shops they believe will make them pagan, or buy the books they think contain all the secrets. But that's okay, because I was once one of them. I do concern myself with historical fact when considering my pagan path, but I balance that with my own experience and beliefs.

I don't camp, mostly because I never have and wouldn't know how to do so safely and without damaging my surroundings. That said, were I to be given instruction, I'd be more likely to try it. I don't traverse the great outdoors as much as I used to, either, but that's because I have a condition which limits my ability to venture far. My idea of roughing it is a two star hotel (minimum), though I prefer 4 and 5 star accommodations. I like fine dining, quality theatre, Armani watches, Chanel perfume, designer silver jewellery, my digital cameras and lenses, my iPod and other lifestyle luxuries. I am not immune to rampant consumerism and collect books, DVDs and CDs by the shelf.

Am I your stereotypical pagan? I think not.


Dawn said...

As one who walks to a different drum beat to another, labels are only things society, per se, stick on us. people can be uncomfortable with folk who do not fit in to a prescribed slot. My answer there is for folk to open their minds, to embrace the rich diversity of human kind in all its differences and judge not. Dawn

Heron said...

You are definitley not a PC pagan! But who wants to be an identikit anything?

Haunch of venison anyone?

Ancestral Gael said...

Yes, please. I like venison, veal, too.

Cygnus MacLlyr said...

man you GO girl!!! hope the double-b
comment in the next post's comment section didn't bug ya; neither do i use it incessantly- in fact almost never, but then i relate a lot more to your mindset on paganism than many of those described herein...
more soon


Ancestral Gael said...

*LOL* Cygnus - doesn't bother me at all. To each their own. ;)

The Shepton Witch said...

Oh, and you think you're the only Pagan petrol-head? No chance! Better to be true to yourself and what's right that some vapid clone - what's the point in that?

Is that a picture of you? You shouldn't be having trouble finding dates and company - goodness no - perhaps the words you have written are a bit scary to the average namby-pamby...?

Ancestral Gael said...

Hello Shepton Witch. I do remember you being a bit of a car fanatic - I read your post about your new 4x4.

The picture is of a woman who appeared on the American version of "Wife Swap". What one could consider a typical pagan according to those for whom I am an anomaly.

Livia Indica said...

I'm not a new age-y pagan either. No Kabbalah, angels and chakras for me, thank you. I suspect there are more of us plain and simple pagans than some people think. In my experience, the new agers aren't quite as concerned with nature and history as others like me. They seem to be more concerned with the expensive "must have" items from the occult shop than the fascinating magic of an ancient fossil still covered in a fine layer of dirt. They just don't seem very earthy and sincere to me. But that's just my opinion, of course, and may have something to do with the brand of pagan in my area.