Happy Green Beer day…or whatever you want to call it. For me, its Monday.
Took a trip over to the Clinton Presidential Library over in Little Rock this past weekend. Its a really nice place with lots of exhibits and information about Clinton’s two terms in the office of President. He remains my favorite President – and many of the initiatives he helped sponsor and start are near and dear to my heart to this day. The exhibits throughout the facility are an interesting and memorable walk through my own recent past. All of which eventually brought me to wondering about the future of the Pagan community.
There’s no doubt, if you read through the Pagan blogosphere, that there is a lot of thought being placed into how the Pagan community will look beyond the time of many of us older Pagans. And when I define older Pagans, I am referring to people 45 and older who have been on the Pagan Path in one form or another for quite some time (pick your own arbitrary number to define “quite some time”). At 48, its certainly a point that I think on quite a bit. What will the Pagan community look like in the future? Are the seeds that I have helped lay down in various areas take root and grow?
I’m not much of an activist in my life. I abhor politics in any shape or form. I don’t feel a need to tangle with the governments over whatever pet issue comes down the line. They leave me alone, and I will leave them alone. For my life, it really is just as simple as that. I leave the crusades for people that have the time, energy, and will-power to move those endeavours. I have my own belief system. I have cultivated the ways in which I practice, the manner in which I connect to my environment, my own prayers and meditations with the Gods and Kami. When I finally pass beyond the veil into the unknown, what will I leave behind? Whoot footprints will I press into the Earth herself? Does it really matter to anyone other than myself??
Regardless of how I view things from my own perspective, no matter how much I wonder over my own contribution to the Pagan Community…I do see one thing that brings a smile to my face. Young Pagans. Young adults that are exploring what Paganism offers to them, embracing what they find works for them, bringing their own individual spin to what it means to reconnect to our environment. I had the chance to watch and meet quite a few of these younger folks at last year’s Pagan Pride Day here in Dallas. They are dynamic, full of energy, full of ideas, full of enthusiasm, full of awe and wonder…watching them got me to remember when I first took my steps down this Pagan Path back in 1986.
I still wonder where the Pagan community will be in ten years, twenty years, and even thirty years down the road. I helped shape part of it when I was in Germany, where Pagans were given Chapel space on a military installation for the first in 1993. It took a lot of work, not just with the group of Pagans I was a part of in Germany, but also with other Pagans at other military installations around the world. It took some time to show the military commanders that we were not a bunch of flaky individuals bent on sacrificing animals and runaway children in blood rites. It took patience and a bit of persistence. Its a part of my own legacy that I have left to the Pagan community…and I was only a small part of it. Last year, I helped folks with getting Pagan Pride Day back online and running here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Even there, I was a very small part of it – but in both instances, it took a group of individuals committed to getting something into a working solution. Each individual contributed to the entire cause, no matter how large or how small their individual contribution or effort was.
I see a lot of that same resolve, stick-to-it attitude from these younger Pagans. Certainly, there is an generational gap between myself and some of them – so I don’t necessarily “get” them all the time. But to be completely honest, I don’t need to “get” them either. They approach the Gods and Goddesses in far different ways than I do. They have their own (rightfully so) unique, individual connection to the world around them. They are working on finding avenues and methods that work best for them. The ways in which I make those connections with my environment and the Gods and Goddesses – might be relevant to them, and it might not. Its not for me to shove my perspective in their noses and ask them if they have tried this or not. As the adage states – when the student is ready, the teacher will be revealed. As I often remind myself – who said *I* was going to be the teacher?
No, I cannot predict what the future of the Pagan community will become or how it will evolve. I can see a vision of how *I* would want it to be. But I am not the future. They are. Those younger Pagans, new to this Path, and searching with the Hope and Happiness that comes with finding a new Path through Life. They will follow in my footsteps and the footsteps of others, but eventually, they will find the end of that trail. Where our footsteps stop. And it will be up to them to forge a new Path beyond. And in my heart, I find nothing to be more exciting than that prospect.
These younger Pagans not only excite me, but they impress me as well. They are bright. They see Life from a perspective I have not often considered. I cannot predict the future, but I definitely see the future of the Pagan community in the right hands. In the hands of explorers, Pagans with an innate curiosity. Pagans with a love for their environment. Pagans with a deeply profound respect for all they see. Pagans who can be serious and still find the “fun” in their lives as well. Yes, in my eyes – the future looks so bright – I gotta wear shades.