Ever wondered if you could be a pagan? What is a pagan anyway? See how many of these statements sound like you; they could be proof that you need to come out of the closet.
1. You are awed by nature
If you’re amazed by the power of nature – the sea, storms, volcanoes, waterfalls, the sun and moon and stars… chances are you’re a pagan. When the rest of the world is watching their feet, are you looking at the stars? If you’re as awed by the rainforests as you are enchanted by a sparkling, dewy cobweb, it may be time to accept that you’re a pagan.
2. Science doesn’t have all the answers
Sure, we can explain most miracles away these days. Does science really make sense to you though? What about how babies are made, how plants grow, how the sun comes up everyday, how mirrors work, how computers work, how rainbows work, and so on, ad infinitum? And fax machines are just plain witchcraft.
3. You talk to yourself or the world around you
As a child I used to make friends with trees and build tiny boats for fairies out of leaves. I was always talking to myself and the living things around me. I used to talk to God, and then when I discovered the gods, I spoke to them instead. Pagan from birth.
4. You care about the bad stuff on the news
There are two types of people in this world: the kind that watch the news and think “Well, I can’t do anything about that,” and the kind that watch the news (occasionally because it’s too traumatic) and wonder “What can I do about that?” I don’t know many pagans who fall into the former camp. Start wondering about changing the world for the better too long, and you’ll become a witch, not a pagan!
5. You wish magic was real (and secretly think it probably is)
Reason 4 leads me onto this next part. Your favourite books are Harry Potter, Northern Lights and the rest of the His Dark Materials trilogy, and The Lord of the Rings. Fave films include The Witches of Eastwick, Practical Magic, Hocus Pocus, and The Craft. Give in! You’re definitely a closet pagan, and your inner witch, Wiccan or shaman is desperate to be free.
6. At some time in your life, you’ve said: “I’m not really into religion, I just believe in the Earth/Gaia.”
This is a dead giveaway, and it’s amazing how often I’ve heard the most unlikely candidates come up with the name ‘Gaia’. If you think religion is more trouble than it’s worth, and long to do your own thing, it’s probably because you’re a closet pagan. Pagans don’t have to be religious, you see, but they require an open mind. Also, if you’ve ever been caught saying “I believe in humans,” you could be pagan. Religious pagans personify nature into gods, goddesses and archetypes, and see parallels between the human existence and the forces of nature.
7. Folklore fascinates you
For many people, folklore is a path into natural spirituality and magical practice. Superstitious habits such as touching wood for luck or keeping a lucky horseshoe are just more evidence of your pagan tendencies.
8. You feel the pull of the ancestors
For UK pagans, the sacred sites dotted all over our fair isles can exert a pull which is too strong to ignore. What did the ancients know that we do not? How did they build Stonehenge? What would they think of modern technology? Who did they entomb in their marvellous structures, and why? Wondering about the ancestors shows that you are connected to them – which is a pretty pagan trait, I’m afraid.
9. You often wonder: “Is this all there is?”
Are we the only ‘intelligent’ life forms in the vastness of space?
According to NASA:
‘…Our star and its planets are just one small part of the Milky Way galaxy. The Milky Way is a huge city of stars, so big that even at the speed of light, it would take 100,000 years to travel across it…
There are billions of galaxies, the most distant of which are so far away that the light arriving from them on Earth today set out from the galaxies billions of years ago. So we see them not as they are today, but as they looked long before there was any life on Earth…
No one knows if the universe is infinitely large, or even if ours is the only universe that exists. And other parts of the universe, very far away, might be quite different from the universe closer to home.’
That knowledge makes it feel as though anything is possible, and that’s before we consider alternate realities and dimensions, and all that has yet to be discovered on this planet. It makes a money spell seem easy and mundane. Gods and goddesses? Sure, why not. Fairies and witches? Quite possibly. I’m afraid this kind of thinking is pagan territory.
10. You question everything, and disagree with me on at least one point in this article
Pagans are free spirits, and they rarely accept things at face value. They struggle to follow rules and respect authority. They question everything that they’re told. In the garden of Eden, they would definitely have eaten the apple. Pagans rarely agree with each other on all the various aspects of their beliefs and practices. So, even if you answered ‘no’ or ‘not really’ to some of the things above, you still could be a closet pagan. Time to break out the cloak and pentagram, and answer your calling – don’t stay in the closet!
These are some answers my friends gave to the question ‘When/how did you know you were a pagan?’
“I had a Moment while walking up May Hill in Gloucestershire. I felt the strength and glory of all things and from that moment, everything was alive.” – Shoshana Horobin
“I read Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Firebrand, and felt instantly connected to Apollo and Artemis and the ancient gods of Greece. Paganism resonated with everything I already felt about the power of nature.” – Anon
“I realised I was a pagan at the same time I realised that everything we need is available to us, here, on the planet. We have a symbiotic relationship with nature; we give and take, it gives and takes. I also believe in Fate – a meant-to-be-ness of our existence.” – Jim Common