Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rattling Cages

It’s funny how we accept certain things as truths and then forget to ever question them again.  We think of ourselves as wild and free pagans who color outside the lines and are our own independent thinking creative selves, not adhering to anyone’s dogma.

And we’re wrong.

How many people in the pagan community, when asked about the use of sage in ritual would say “Oh, that’s for purification”?  Or if handed a piece of hematite would ask “Do I look like I need grounding or something?”  We accept little things like this as truth because everyone says it’s true.

But is it?

Personally, I can’t figure out why anyone thinks hematite is grounding at all.  It’s shiny silver on the outside and blood red on the inside, and I find it to be quite a pick-me-up to hold onto.  But if I tell the average pagan or new age person that, they tell me I’m mistaken.    I can’t get near fluorite for any length of time because it winds up falling to pieces just being near me.  Other people think it’s the most awesome stone ever because it’s so versatile, magically speaking.

Chamomile is also supposed to be soothing and calming, but since I’m allergic to it I just itch and get an upset stomach if I touch or consume it.  It’s a medical truth that chamomile calms a lot of people down, but I don’t react the same way.  I also don’t find caffeine to be a stimulant, it just doesn’t seem to affect me.  Roses are totally soothing for me, but deadly for someone I work with.  The scent of amber makes my throat start to close, while patchouli does that to someone else I know.

“But that’s just body chemistry”, some people have said.  So what’s the difference?  We’re all individuals, and we don’t react to everything the same way physically.  Why wouldn’t that same truth apply to us energetically, psychically, and metaphysically?

We have to be ok with each other having different reactions to energy, or we’re just being hypocrites when we say we accept each other’s differences in our community. If one of us has a reaction to energy, gemstones, herbs or food that isn’t typical, then we just need to accept it and move on instead of trying to “fix” the person (as I’ve had a few try to do with me).

We’re not cookie-cutter people, we’re individuals.  So maybe we shouldn’t just blindly accept what someone tells us is a fact in our fluid changing world, and think about it for ourselves.


  1. I hate the smell of burning sage... It makes me nauseous. I Mix it with sweetgrass or rosemary.
    I realize that to the purists this is a blasphemy. It's what works for me.

    The fact is, as Alan has stated, that we're individuals. I can suggest something that has worked from my experience. That doesn't mean it's written in stone, and it may not work for you.

    Yes, folks, we do indeed have dogma, because we allow it. We need guidelines, not rules, to prevent chaos, and to be tolerant of our differences to get along.

  2. The other thing on this topic I'm noticing lately is that we talk a good game about being inclusive, accepting, and welcoming of each others differences, but we're really not. People who claim to be "evolved" are gleeful about a "big name pagan" getting his hand smacked in the paper, and the folks in our community freely throw around accusations of prejudice and bigotry *just* because someone wants to do something ritually that requires some vigorous physical activity.

    We need to take off the self-deception glasses and see ourselves and our attitudes for what they really are.