Build It or Walk In It?? – a Personal Perspective on Pagan Temples

Lately, there’s been a lot in my news feeds about statuary and temples that are of interest to many in the Pagan community. There has been discussion concerning a stolen statue of Manannán Mac Lír which was located at a viewing site on Binevenagh mountain in County Londonderry in Ireland. Some view the theft as a hate crime, because of a wooden cross and a message of “You shall have no other Gods before Me” that were left at the site. That will eventually lead to another post concerning ‘hate crimes’ – but that’s another topic for another time. There has also been some discussion on the potential creation of a Pagan temple – depending on who and where you read, the reasoning is different. Let’s just say that the gist is that there is some ground-swell concerning such a creation. Needless to say, the culmination of both topics was intriguing enough for me to click links and read the various articles – as well as some of the comments left behind.

Temples v. Nature

Some of the sentiments that made the trail of comments related that there was no need for a Pagan temple.  Pagans are – for the most part – worshippers of Nature; therefore, the “natural” world is where worship should be. On the opposite side of that spectrum were the folks who noted that living in the cities, “natural” spaces were hard to come by. Plus, even when you are out in the “natural” areas, its rather difficult to meet folks of a like mind. Obviously, the notation was that a physical temple would solve both of these issues. Perhaps it might, perhaps it might not — that’s a bit difficult for me to speculate on. But I see merit in both sides of that so-called “argument”.

Building Requires a Lot

One aspect that I thought was interesting was the perspective that building a temple would require a lot of capital, time, and resources. After all, to build a temple will require land, permits from the city, other legal issues (such as taxation relief), and most of all – common public support. In other words, the Pagan community – as a whole – would have to stop some of its in-fighting and rally around the cause, and then put up on the issue that will require the most need – funding. Both areas, in my opinion, would be quite difficult to do on a large-scale economy within the wider-arching Pagan community. However, all of this is very do-able on a smaller scale. As an example, look at Circle Sanctuary. Created by a specific group of Wiccans, the funding started on a small-scale effort – and through the desire to be inclusive with the wider Pagan community, the funding has been able to expand to a greater degree to allow further development of the land there. Going forward, I would tend to believe that this type of model – where a smaller group of Pagans banded together in a small-scale vision to purchase land and develop a Pagan-oriented sanctuary – would be most likely to succeed. Of course, this means having not only a small-scale vision, but also have a vision going into the deeper future. And that deeper vision would have top be malleable enough to change and potentially morph into something that may not resemble the current long-range vision. That, in my opinion, winds up being one of the tougher aspects – having a long-term vision and willing to let that vision go and grow in directions that may not have been foreseeable in those earnest beginnings. That leaves the question of capital…

In the End – It IS the Money

I dislike money. Not so much that I think the world should do without it. But I do dislike the greed and over-consumerism that is so lately associated with it. And let’s face it, the wider-based Pagan community is not really the richest folk in the entire world. Like anyone else, we tend to be folks who are working towards making a living in whatever societal aspect that we are in. We all tend to work forty hours -sometimes more – a week at whatever job we have. We all have bills to pay.  We all have a certain amount of money left over with which to purchase items that we would like to have – as opposed to the items that we have to purchase because we need them to survive. In other words, we all have expenses that we must pay. Whatever is left at the end of each pay cycle is typically not much. Sometimes, we have to hold over certain bills to the next pay cycle because the money ran out. That’s no different than anyone else living in today’s ever tightening middle-class and upper-lower class. Thus, the folks we hope to get funding from for projects such as temple building…well…its not really there for the most part. Thus, if one endeavors to build a temple or purchase land where a temple could be built – its going to take a lot of patience. The cash isn’t going to flow in like a massive tidal wave – rather its likely to be a small trickle, which would need to be collected a bit at a time.

But Wait!  There’s More….

I can already hear some of the clamoring that may come about.

Tommy is not for a Temple because he prefers to be within Nature.

Tommy lacks an understanding of what tradition really means.

On the first count, it is true.  I do consider the outdoors as my Temple. However, my personal preference does not mean that I sit back and believe any effort placed towards the creation and erection of a Temple to be foolhardy or foolish. In fact, I believe that such efforts are noble, and the causes behind these are to be championed to the best of the abilities of the individuals that comprise the wider-arching Pagan community. On the second count, I will merely point out that I do not stand on “tradition” in any sense of the word — but I do not discount it as something to be spit on and trampled at every step, either. For me to be dismissive of the desires of others to achieve a Temple of any sort, merely flies in the face of who I am. I may disagree with the notion that a Temple is a necessary thing; that the wider-arching Pagan community will dissolve into nothingness and serve no useful purpose (that is the other extreme of that coin), but that does not mean that I have no support to throw into that arena. It simply means that my support will not have the same fervor or pitch that others may have. And if my perspective is to be articulated as “dismissive” simply because I do not shout at the same volume or length of time that others do – then there is nothing more I can do to convince someone otherwise.

My temple is the outdoors…if only I lived in or near a forest…then I would be able to walk in my version of the Cathedral of Notre Dame on a daily basis. But I am thankful for the ability to walk within the natural elements that exist in my little suburban corner of the DFW metromess…

My Backyard Stone Circle

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