From time to time, I receive statements or comments from folks about how I am not following what they consider to be a “proper” Pagan Path. I’m not part of a group – even when groups are readily available around me. I don’t follow the prescribed methodology of using ritual circles or certain properties of ritual. I tend to emphasize being an individual more than being a part of a group.
Yeah – I hear a lot of that. A few years back, I would have been fairly well upset over statements like that (and some that are even worse). Back then, I got upset if people could not see the need or desire that I had for being inclusive in acceptance of others or in my embrace of individual spirit. These days – my reaction is a little different. It still upsets me when people berate me over my chosen Personal Path – or if you prefer, unverified personal gnosis (UPG). The way I view things, what works for you — well, it works for you. It might work for someone else, but what about those for whom it does not? Are those folks then doomed to an eternity of darkness? To a pit of hellfire, brimstone and eternal pain and suffering? How Christian of you. Seriously.
I am precisely who I am. I am no Priest. I have no desire to be such an individual. I hear people call me a Leader quite a bit. I may possess some of the qualities of leadership, but I ascribe to the Edgar Friendly philosophy of this point: “I’m no leader. I do what I have to. Sometimes people come with me.” I am a firm believer that everyone must find their own way through this mess we call Life – and that includes finding the Spiritual Path that works for you. For some folks, its moving along a Path similar to someone else’s – for others, its forging their own way through the wilderness. For others, it can be something radically different than those two choices. Who the fsck cares? Each person picks where they place their feet on their Path. Whether that Path is paved, a dirt trail, or just a choice of direction through a wilderness with no discernible Path – it does not matter. Except to the person walking it.
Unverified Personal Gnosis? Sure. Put it into a bar-coded sticker, and I’ll wear it. I’ll call it my own UPG code.