Those who don’t know….I’m currently working on a Masters in History. Its a selfish degree to an extent – and a little bit of defensive play on my career. Nine Hells, I already have three degrees: A bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems, a Masters in Information Systems Management, and a Masters of Business Administration. The History degree does look a little out of place.
The two-year college where I work is always in need of History professors – so I realized that getting a Masters in History would insure that I stay in the classroom environment. Plus, I’m one of those History geeks that reads History books for the fun of it. On top of that, I have a huge love for Computer History. So it all makes sense for me. Its a degree that allows me to indulge one area of my life, and allow me to utilize that in a professional manner to work in an environment I absolutely love.
When I started the degree program, I also saw a chance to balloon-animal another part of my life into that mix: I could study the path of Druidry. There is plenty of scholarship there to provide my working Path (hat-tip to Ronald Hutton here), so its not as outlandish as I had thought it would be. Over the first month of my first two classes, I’ve done my best to hyper-focus papers in that area – with a little indulgence from my professors. But as I’ve moved along, I’ve started to notice my gravitation back towards an area of where I started my love affair with Historical works…the Romans.
I have to jump back a little and explain here. The Romans have been one of those topics that has been under a super-large magnifying glass for me. Since junior high school, I have been completely fascinated with the Romans. I’ve read many books on various aspects of the Romans, seen quite a number of documentaries (some several times over), written a great deal of topical papers for class assignments, and even corrected my World History I professor’s exam (DURING the exam, no less). And yet with my love of everything Roman History – I don’t lean into of the Spiritual aspects (a notation that was made by a member of a Wiccan Tradition that I belonged to). An interesting notation, which I’ll come back to in a moment.
When the class hit the block concerning the Greek and Roman Historians – I found myself leaning heavily into the Roman writings. I covered the Romans in both of my assignments – despite my stated desire to cover a strictly Druid-ish tracking. And I’ve actually found myself decoupling my wagon from that area to a strictly Roman one. This won’t change my degree track, which was heavily focused on the Roman and Greek material to begin with. But I just don’t see trying to mix my Spiritual Path with this degree program. I can see where it fits, but I can see material outside and beyond that which I crave to get to. So, I had a choice to make…and I’ve removed the two from one another as a result. If that makes me a “bad Pagan” – so be it. I have to be true to who I am as well.
But all of this got me to thinking about the way I see the so-called “old Gods”. I know a large majority of the spiritual practices of the Romans – as interpreted by Historians – and many others. I didn’t live in that time period – at least not that I am aware of. I have a hardcore belief in reincarnation, but I don’t have a desire to explore any past lives that I have. I’m just as much a complete person without knowing any of that, in my opinion. My perspective of the Gods becomes a very complicated vision for me. A mix of archetypal perspectives, as addressed by Jung, along with an understanding that each God and Goddess are singular entities as well. What that means – I’m not completely sure, nor do I really care. It works for me – and that’s what counts most in my eyes.
So, in the end – I’ve had to set my Druid Path off to the side – at least where my degree plan is concerned. My concentration comes back more to the Roman civilization. Bad Pagan me? I certainly don’t believe so.