What does the future hold for Paganism? What about Druidry? Well, honestly, I don’t know. I’ve asked a few Pagan and Druid friends over the years, and they normally shrug their shoulders too. A few have discussed what they HOPE the future looks like. The typical standard is fifty or a hundred years into the future. Pagan churches and gathering locations will find their place next to Christian churches within the sprawling suburbia of the United States. Shrines will be in more populous locations such as train stations, city blocks, and elsewhere. Pagans will stand side=by-side in equality with Christians. People will not have to hide their beliefs. There will be seminaries throughout the world to train Pagan Priests to do things the “right” way. Because, as I climb my desk to stand taller, reaching my arms towards the skies above my ceiling, for Paganism to grow like Christianity – WE MUST COMPETE!
Ok, so the imagery of me standing on my desk with my arms akimbo really does have a silly outlook. Plus, even standing here I can feel myself getting a little dizzy from the height. Yeah. My fear of heights. Let me get off the desk, first.
To be openly honest, none of that appeals very much to me, aside from the point that Pagans can live openly with who they are – with no repercussions from a world and governmental systems built on the premise that Christian standards are the only ones that matter. So, what does my vision of Paganism look like for the future? Or as Cat Treadwell queried me on Facebook yesterday – what does my Druidry look like today, particularly here in my small, dusty corner of the world? Ok, I added a touch of descriptive to what Cat asked, but its essentially the same thing. 😊
I cannot and will not try to predict any kind of future. I can look through the information in front of me and try to see a pattern headed into that future, but my focus is firmly on the present. Will we have Pagan “churches” in the future? I don’t know, maybe. But then what defines a “church”? The building? The land on which the building rests? The people that make up that small, intentional community? My feeling is that such a thing doesn’t matter. My Paganism, my Druidry are not defined by a building, a parcel of land, or even a group of people. My Druidry, my Paganism – all of that exists from the daily experiences that I have, the choices that I make, and my perspective that helps drive those choices.
Right now, it’s the start of August here in Texas. This is the time of year that signals the start of higher heat. Texas begins to feel like living in an Easy Bake oven that’s always on. Despite the temperatures, I have always tried to find time to be outside – just not in the ultimate heat of the day. Short morning walks are a nice method to being out among nature. When the air is more humid, and the petrichor is far more distinguishable, the animals seem to be more alive and awake than usual. The songs of the birds, coupled with the small yips of coyote pups or foxes make for a wonderful cacophony for the ears. Added to that is the rustle of leaves in the small breezes that are the starting signal to the approach of an unstable air mass. Rain is on its way. A cycle of water for all, for water is life.
On the days when the heat will be high, the humidity a touch lower, and the promise of rain is nowhere to be found, the early mornings will start the same. However, quickly things will quiet down, as animal life finds shelter from the blazing sun. Even the cows in the pastures will seek whatever shade they can find for the full day, content to huddle in a tight mass away from the sun’s heat until much closer to sunset. Me, a single human being, does the same. I head indoors, behind the walls, under the ceilings, and in the cool air conditioning that allow me to avoid the outdoor conditions.
Living in a rural part of central Texas, I watch the seasons change through the cow pastures, wheat fields, and corn fields around me. The year of the Wheel is in full force around me. I see small baby cows appear in the pastures that I drive past. They grow into more mature cows, as another cycle of newborns comes into the herd. Older cows are sold by the farms to provide the food we have on our plates that we buy from the local grocers’ shelves. I watch the corn grow in the fields until it turns into a light brown color – ready to be harvested and replanted as seed corn. Then, I watch the same field grow again and be harvested closer to winter, placed into the beds of large trucks, and sent off to processing to become more of the food we purchase at our local grocers. I see the same cycle in the trees in the neighborhood and at the local park, which sprout new leaves, that grow and green throughout the year, until the early arrival of Winter’s chill begins. Leaves turn brown, fall from the trees, and cover the ground in their dead husks that can provide Winter sustenance for plant life all around.
All of that is my Druidry, my Paganism. In all of that, I see the Gods and Goddesses in the far background. I see the Spirits of Place, and my own Spirits of Ancestors, their silhouettes scattered throughout. The far images of those who had come before to find a way of life and survival with far less capable technologies than we have today. I can also imagine a much further future, where those technologies will far outpace the technologies of today. An evolution of mankind’s survival if you will. That future; however, is murky and unknown to me. Perhaps it exists, perhaps it doesn’t.
So, again, I ask myself – could the previously mentioned future of Paganism and Druidry exist? Could all that come to pass? Perhaps it could. Certainly, I wouldn’t rule it out. However, much of that future works on the cognitive balance that the future of Paganism and Druidry is solely encased within the realm of groups alone. While I do enjoy my time within my extended tribes that I find myself a part of within Druidry, as well as Paganism, in general – I am still very much a solo Pagan. Thus, a future that claims that working within groups is the only way to survive and thrive runs in conflict with how Paganism and Druidry works for me. Plus, there’s the baggage to unpack around terms such as “church” and “Priest” that would certainly arrive from such a direction. Is there a way to remove the entirely Christian and Catholic perspective of a “Priest” or “pastor” being the sole intercessor between people and their Gods? But that, perhaps, is a discussion for another time…with the willingness of someone wanting to read the entrails of my opinion on the matter. Regardless of how I feel about the prognastications of the future, I do know this: the future of tomorrow will always look bright if you stand outside and wait for the promise of the rising sun to happen in front of your eyes.
Here’s a little trap
That sometimes catches everyone
When today’s as far as we can see
Faith in bright tomorrows
Giving way to resignation
That’s how it is, how it’s going to be
It’s such a cloudy day“How It Is”, Rush from “Vapor Trails”
Seems we’ll never see the sun
Feel the day has possibilities
Frozen in the moment
The lack of imagination
Between how it is and how it ought to be
Between how it is and how it ought to be