Pagans are all sorts of people. The Pagans I know are librarians and engineers, counselors and researchers, tech geeks and artists, writers and teachers, staying at home with their kids or working in retail, working in state jobs and for large corporations, and pretty much everything else you can imagine. Like other religions, our ethics and personal commitments shape these choices – but people come to a wide range of answers that suit them. We also come in all shapes, colors, and genders.
You may not notice us: A lot of the Pagan community is hard to spot unless you’re looking for it – we don’t generally have churches you can drive by, or lots of big obvious public events. But we’re around – even in the Bible belt, even in rural communities and small towns, and across much of the world.
Paganism isn’t like what’s on TV. (or in Harry Potter, or in movies.) Those things may borrow some lore and ideas from Pagan practices – but they also need to tell a good story. Much of what we, as Pagans do, is a lot more matter of fact. We’re people who get up in the morning, who go to work, or take care of a home, or work on a passion or interest. We have families and friends and hobbies and other interests.
There are many different Pagan paths. Paganism is a broad term for a whole group of religions that don’t always have a whole lot in common with each other. (My “What is Paganism” essay goes into this in a lot more detail.) What we do have are some common interests and common approaches.
Many Pagans are glad to talk about what they do and believe – as long as people are thoughtful and respect the fact it’s a personal subject.
Many Pagans are very aware of other religions. In part, that’s because many of us were raised in other religious traditions. Some Pagan groups even require members to learn the basics of other religions to make sure that they wouldn’t rather be in one of those.
Magic doesn’t come with fireworks: As you’ll see in the further descriptions of these pages, a lot of what we call magic is actually a form of psychology and self-development. Even when it isn’t, it’s a lot more about changing our immediate environment than it is sending up fireworks or doing anything flashy.
Some Pagan paths are very structured. Others aren’t. Likewise, some paths have hundreds or thousands of members. Some may be limited to a single small group – or even an individual. The best way to know what an individual Pagan cares about or does is to ask that person.
Pagans are human: And like all humans, some of us have bad days. Some people will be great, amazing people who do wonderful things for the world around them. Some won’t. (And like all religions, we do have the occasional predator or abuser, and a share of people who claim skills and experience they don’t have.) In this site, you’ll find some ways to help you sort out whether someone knows what they’re talking about.
[last edited October 28, 2011]