I call myself a Pagan. This is partly because of my beliefs but mainly because I like the word. I like the sound of it. I like its connections and connotations and I enjoy the way other people react to it.
I use the term ‘Freelance Pagan’ because my beliefs are very personal and specific to myself. I don’t follow any particular Way or teaching, I’m not part of any group and I appreciate and incorporate ideas from various sources, religious and otherwise. It’s the idea that matters, not the source.
I don’t worship nature – I venerate it. Advanced as we may be, we are still part of the world. As much as we affect our environment we are still affected by it. I feel it is dangerous to think ourselves above and beyond nature. I strive to live simply and consume little. I pay attention to the natural cycles and celebrate various traditional festivals: the quarter and cross-quarter days. To me, these festival days are practical and sensible, natural even: Lughnasadh to celebrate a successful harvest; Imbolc, a festival of light in the darkest days of winter; Beltane, to commemorate spring and the return of life to the land. I can’t think of better reasons to celebrate.
I’ve been a greeny for as long as I can remember and I’ve probably been pagan for just as long. I just never named it until fairly recently. I don’t believe in magic in the spells and curses sense. However, I do believe that what the ancients thought of as magic was more like what we would call science. Knowledge of astronomy, medicinal herbs and the power to turn stones into metal must have seemed like magic to those without those skills. Knowledge is the sort of magic I believe in.
So, I’m a pagan but not a witch. I look back to old traditions and believe they have an important place in the modern world and I believe that magic is everywhere – you just don’t need a spellbook to find it.