Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Pagan Values or the Values of a Pagan?

I found out yesterday that in the Blogosphere June is the month of the Pagan Values Blogging and Podcasting Event.  This event is in its third year and it dovetailed nicely into my last post and also into my thoughts at the moment.

Other bloggers have and will be looking at what Pagan Values are and I will probably post at some point on a similar vein.  However, I was thinking last night about whether my values brought me to Paganism or did I adopt them as a result of discovering Paganism.  And the answer is a little of both.

I was brought up to be responsible for my actions and to accept responsibility when I make a mistake.  I was also brought up to seek out my own answers rather than rely on others to give me an opinion.  Maybe my parents were different to others in their attitudes but they encouraged me to explore who I am and to be who I want to be and to not let others dictate my actions. Independent thought was highly prized in my family.

My values grew up around my experiences in childhood of being shown respect and offering respect in return.  Personal space was acknowledged and permission was sought before entering another person's room.  I remember being shocked when visiting my best friend's and her parents walked into her room without knocking.  The idea that anyone would do that was completely alien to me.  This sense of respect and self-responsibility has stuck with me throughout my life and Paganism, to me, incorporates those values.

I stumbled across Paganism about nine years (eek) ago.  I often think it found me rather than I found it.  I was drawn to it because I found a faith that answered that feeling of rightness.  My path has led me to look at different branches of Paganism but in all areas my own values matched with the values of that branch.  So, were my values Pagan in nature?  Yes.  Had I been a Pagan all the time I held those values? No.

I guess what I am saying is that my values played a huge part in becoming Pagan.  Those values influenced my choices and the way I view the world which in turn led me to a Pagan path.  Have I adopted different values as a result of being Pagan? Not really.  Instead, Paganism held me to solidify and understand my values and how those values fit into the context of my community - both Pagan and secular.  If I had never discovered Paganism would I understand myself as much? I really don't know but the encouragement I have found in Pagan Paths for self-exploration have certainly aided my understanding of my values and why I hold them.

So, my values are Pagan but they are also Pagan Values.  I get a sense of belonging from knowing my values are Pagan Values but I would have them regardless.  So maybe looking at Pagan Values is less about values and more about finding that sense of belonging?  And I think that may be the subject of another post.


Anice Silvercat said...

I understanding what you're saying. I believe the biggest draw to a Pagan faith practice, for me at least, was the idea / ideal of personal responsibility. The whole notion that there is a devil who is tempting you to do bad is absurd to me.

Anonymous said...

I think it can turn very much into a "what came first, the chicken or the egg?" scenario when it comes to how we develop our values. I know that while my values have matured, at the core the ones I developed in my Christian upbringing matched well with Wicca in the late 90s.

Sgnr.Perceval said...

Very interesting post. Contrary to popular belief, I've always been pagan with a small p... this sort of organised, official version with the capital P is a new idea/discovery for me, as I've often wondered how the ancient pagan mindset that I relate to so easily, can be squared with modern thinking, politics and laws. That's why I've always wished you'd talk about your faith a bit more to me! Tho, since I've come quite convincingly disguised as a Christian in some periods of my life, I can understand why you didn't lol :)