A question was posed today in one of the groups I’m a member of: “As a pagan have you celebrated Easter this weekend? Do you think it’s ok to walk in both the Pagan and Christian worlds, or do you feel strongly about just walking one path?”
As a pagan, I’d say no, I don’t celebrate Easter as it’s known in Christianity. But also as a pagan, I don’t have a problem with them wishing me a Happy Easter or offering me chocolate symbols of springtime. *shrugs* It’s chocolate after all!
As a Southern Hemispherian, it’s not anywhere near the right season for Easter symbology of rabbits, chicks and eggs; the overwhelming imagery for us here at this time would be more akin to Thanksgiving and Halloween. Uh-huh, I said it, I equated secular (and rather commercialised in the case of Halloween) American celebrations with my pagan ones for this time of year.
Whilst I have a bugbear with the commercialisation and adoption of the American candy-from-strangers customs of Halloween and it’s morphing from a celebration of our ancestors to that candy-from-strangers point, the overall imagery of pumpkins, ghosts et al does fit with our seasonal Samhain. The harvest imagery of (again) pumpkins, squash, corn, giving thanks for the harvest etc of Thanksgiving ties in with our Mabon or Autumn Equinox. Both are a good reason to get together with friends and celebrate, so that’s covered in the whole Thanksgiving dinner/visiting and the Halloween party as well as the Sabbat celebrations!
However, I’m on a tangent…
As a person who lives in the modern world; a world which is still running on Christian holidays as being the only ones acceptable to have state/national holidays on; I think I walk between both worlds. I accept good wishes of the respective holiday from Christians; I have no quarrel with them enjoying their sacred celebrations. I’ve seen the joy it brings to them. Same as my celebrations bring joy to me.
But, when they come knocking at my door, leaving pamphlets in my mailbox and promising me that I’m going to hell for my belief that there’s not just their one God but that he shares the job with the Goddess…that’s when I feel strongly about walking the path of “Just booger off, we have our beliefs, you have yours, good day” accompanied by a closed door. I find it interesting that they only appear in the weeks leading up to Easter and Christmas. Part-time believers only at the major holy days perhaps? Whatever it may be, I feel they are the joyless ones, and I refuse to have anything to do with them as individuals. They are merely a small representative number within the greater whole. Much as there are small representative numbers in any belief group. These small numbers get labelled quickly as ‘radicals’, ‘fundamentalist’ or ‘fanatic’. I wonder however if pagans would be offended if they were labelled with those rather than ‘kooky’, ‘hippy’, ‘weird’, ‘flaky’? Goddess knows most of us get peeved about ‘devil worshipper’, ‘devils handmaiden’ and my especial favourite ‘baby/animal sacrificer’…
I’ve met Christians who sat with me for hours discussing our respective beliefs, with respect and genuine interest. I’ve met at least one Buddhist nun who had no problem spending her Saturday mornings hanging out at a pagan shop with my friend and myself. I had a doctor in the hospital department where I worked give me a “Happy Solstice” present rather than a Christmas gift when he found out I wasn’t a Christian. I’ve had some interaction with people of the Muslim faith, but not enough to safely form an opinion on how they feel about my beliefs. I dare say I may get that opportunity one day, because as often happens when I wonder these things, the Universe tends to have people wander into my life (or I into theirs) to answer my question. I’ve mumbled over cauldrons (had to throw in a stereotype somewhere!) with other pagans, and there’s as many opinions as there are drops of rain just from amongst them.
And after all that discussion and knowledge sharing, I can safely say that I will continue to walk between the pagan and Christian worlds. I see it as a parallel to a shaman or a witch being able to straddle both worlds equally and effectively. And if it makes me someone that is able to smile and offer back a blessing of the holy day, regardless of belief, then I’m all for it.