As a Pagan, what are your wishes for the future?
Cat: I have a few different wishes for the future, depending on what aspects of society we are thinking about. My hope for society at large is just that Paganism becomes more accepted, less frowned upon either for being “evil” or for being “silly.” I am about as out as one can be as a Pagan, and I have been very lucky that I haven’t suffered any social or economic consequences (yet), but there is always the chance that that can happen.
My hopes for the Pagan community as a whole are mostly that we root out the problematic people from our community. Paganism appeals to a lot of people that seek to hurt others. I’m talking about white supremacists and sexual predators mostly, but predators in general I would just like gone as best as we can rid ourselves of them. But it’s also reflective of society as a whole, and unless society makes changes to ensure those types of people aren’t welcome, it is going to trickle down into the more “fringe” communities like Paganism. But I hope Paganism can become less attractive to these types of people or we can do more to expose them in our community because they thrive in silence.
Kate: I want a future where Paganism is accepted. Where I can say that I am a Witch and that I then don’t have to debunk a whole series of misunderstandings about witchcraft. I want society to move beyond Paganism being this strange outlier to something that isn’t “scary.”
Tal: [Coming as soon as their schedule allows!]
Aleja: My wishes for the future, generally, are for a more equal, just, and sustainable society. In the realm of paganism specifically that translates into hopes that the various pagan faiths can come to be seen as acceptable alternatives to mainstream Christianity and other, more popular faiths. I would love to be able to say I’m a pagan, a polytheist, and a witch, and have people know what I mean and respect my beliefs even if they believe differently. I also want paganism to be more welcoming to people of a variety of backgrounds, not just middle class white people who left Christianity. We’ve got a long way to go to clear out some of the more problematic parts of paganism, like our history of sexual abuse by teachers, cultural appropriation, white supremacy, cis-heteronormativity, and classism. Many of these have crept in from the dominant culture, or have been brought in as baggage by those fleeing other religions, but that doesn’t absolve us of the responsibility to clean it up.
What are your go-to resources and references?
Cat: A lot of my practice is influenced by historical records of witchcraft and folklore. There are a few blogs that I follow, including Sarah Anne Lawless’s blog (which is probably archived by the time this is posted; you can now find her at banefolk.com) and Scylla from Root and Rock. For information about Anubis and the other Kemetic jackal deities, per-sabu.org can’t be beat (at least in terms of free and freely available resources).
Kate: Honestly, that really depends on what I am researching. I keep at hand Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem and Metal Magic as well as an assortment of reference books that I have picked up over the years. I try to read as much of the folklore as I can around a particular topic as well when I am working on something. That said, for me, my most important resources are my fellow pagans. I try to regularly have conversations with them about my work and get their insights and recommendations. I find this type of “sanity check” to be very important in my practice.
Tal: [Coming as soon as their schedule allows!]
Aleja: Does a deck of tarot cards count as a resource? That’s usually my first stop if I’m stuck on something or don’t know where to turn. I have a number of tarot books for when I get stuck on that, too, but Biddy Tarot is my favorite free online resource. I keep a number of herbalism books on hand, too – mostly more for healing than specifically witchy, but those are kind of the same thing in my practice – and the two I use most often are probably Culpeper’s Complete Herbal and the National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs. For general spell design ideas when I’m stuck, the first place I turn is tumblr, honestly, because I follow a lot of really knowledgeable practitioners, and I almost always find something inspiring. There’s a lot of stuff that won’t work for me, too, but it’s a matter of curating a list of potential resources, looking for bloggers on a path similar to one’s own. I’ll bounce ideas off of friends both on and off the internet, too, and that kind of feedback is a large part of why I got involved with the Fellowship in the first place!