Recently on Facebook, I added a particular opinion of my own about the pronunciation of the words ‘Samhain’ and ‘Beltane’. My perspective was (and still is) that the pronunciation is not as important as how you approach these (and the other) points in the Wheel of the Year. Two folks, one that I count as a very good friend, disagreed. I responded to neither of them, which drew some private responses as to why I wasn’t going to defend myself.
Picking One’s Battles
I have learned over the many years that I have survived, that some battles are not worth having. In this case, I had stated an opinion, and two folks had stated theirs. No one went after me personally, and both were expressing their own perspective contrasted with what I had said. Taking on either of them over their own perspective would be a counter-productive process, in my opinion. Everyone approaches the Gods and their own personal Spiritual practices in their own manner. Whatever those may be, it may not jibe with what I believe or practice. But that merely means that its not appropriate for me, not something that no one else should do.
Respect Never Implies Agreement
“If you do not agree and say nothing; then you agree.” I have heard this quite a bit. The implication is that if one stays silent when one expresses a perspective that there is agreement with what is said. Nothing could be further from the truth. If a statement is made, and a counter perspective is not made, there is no implication of agreement. One may stay silent to keep from fostering an argument or from turning a disagreement in discussion into a full fledged donnybrook. Keeping silent can also be a means of respecting the difference in perspective, but its certainly not a sign of agreement.
So I kept silent out of respect for both of these individuals? Yeah, that is certainly a part of it. I am not one to get into arguments over such things as the correctness or need for correct pronunciation of wording. If I do know the correct pronunciation of a word, I would quietly take an individual aside and explain the correct manner of doing so. But I leave things at that. In my mind, they have been informed. If they choose to continue with the incorrect aspect – that is on them.
All of what unfolded, including the people trying to get me to defend my perspective reminds me of the Polytheistic Re-constructionist debate that has seemingly been around forever. This, as well as the perspective of labeling things to fit into neat, tidy boxes are just not the way I work within my own personal Path. I am not trying to build anything that looks like the Past. My own Path is constructed with the focus on the here and now of my understanding of the world around me, as well as an eye towards the future. Nor do I believe a single soul on the face of this planet should do things the way I do, simply because I say so. Rather, if they wish to do things the way I do, they do so because it feels right to them. For those that are re-constructing the Past and wanting extreme fidelity to that Path, more power to ’em. I am hardly in a position to say that what anyone else does is the “wrong way” for anything. I do know it does not ring the bells of “truth” in my ears, so I do not incorporate it into what I do. But I am certainly not going to piss on someone else’s shoes and socks because their Path is not something I would do.
On My Own
I am a solo Pagan or a “Solitaire Practitioner”, if you prefer. There are a lot of reasons behind this, but one of the bigger ones is where I tend to send my footfalls. I tend to peek into areas of connectivity that most would not want to see. Some call it a Darker side of the Pagan beliefs. No, I don’t hear the Call of the Morrigan, and its doubtful that I ever will. I don’t lean into the world of Witchcraft, its just not an appealing arena for me. I don’t follow in the footsteps of Hecate. Seeking into the world of the Fae is also not where my Path takes me. Rather, its more into the world of Animal Natures. Not the cute, fuzzy side either. More like the snarling wolf pack that reigns over its territory in a dictatorial fashion. In those behaviors are a darker, more intense world that I seek to understand better. Those paths are not trod lightly. There is untimely and violent death in that world. Protection is only extended so far. One either learns to fight or one dies. I would never willing pull anyone else into those particular paths.
I also would not belittle any of the Paths that I did mention above or any that I did not, as being un-authentic. Those are authentic and very real to others. Again, I have no desire to piss into anyone’s boots. Each individual’s Path is authentic for them. And this is an over-arching point that keeps me from arguing personal perspective – on Facebook, face-to-face….anywhere. I am happy to add my perspective to the stack, but I hardly believe that I have the purest grasp on the truth, which everyone else should bow down to. Its the purest form for me…and that’s more than enough for me.