Tag: neopaganism

Life Betwixt – Wanna-Blessed-Be

Bunch of wannablessed-be’s. Nowadays every girl with a henna tattoo and a spice rack thinks she’s a sister to the dark ones.” – Willow, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Photo by Katie Tegtmeyer

I love that quote. It speaks to every judgment that can be made, one Pagan to another, that there is a right and wrong way to “do” Paganism, and that we all think we’re better for our way. Not to mention how it characterizes non-Pagans…

I’ve been mostly sitting back and watching the upheaval around public Pagan figures publicly questioning their Pagan paths over the last year, starting with Star Foster, and now Teo Bishop. There may have been a Facebook status or two, though for the most part, I’ve been silent, taking it all in.

Public personas aside, I’ve been seeing a lot of Pagan-bashing within the Pagan community, of late. I’ve received it, as I’m sure many who remain actively engaged with the wider world audience, have.

I’d like to say it’s disturbing. I’d even like to say it’s in direct opposition to all the things that make the Pagan path… Pagan. Mostly, though, what’s foremost in my mind is that it’s familiar.

Many of us weren’t born into a Pagan tradition; rather, we found one, after having been organized into a mainstream religion. And most of us who fall into that category have very clear reasons for why we left that confining spiritual path. While many don’t tend a particular flavor of Paganism, we gravitate to its freer pastures, its open landscape of possibility and connection.

The freedom to do just that is what made Paganism so accessible. Why, then, would any Pagan give grief to someone seeking out a more defined path, even if that path is defined by the strictures of a different religion?

Is it that neat and tidy for some, that it all fits perfectly into a single container, never to spill across the borders of other perspectives? Maybe. Apparently. I don’t think that’s the rub, though. I think it’s human nature to go off-road now and then, and frankly, to observe how others are faring in their adventure. Getting stuck in the mire of judging their religious choices is another thing, entirely.

As animists, we work the personal experience through the observation of and connection with all things around us, including other people. It isn’t about what spiritual path we’re on, or that anyone else is on. What matters is how well we’re working the tenets of whatever path we choose, perhaps particularly as Pagans. How true to our spiritual convictions can we be if we’re comparing ourselves to others? When we begin to personalize what everybody else is doing, how present are we in tending our own process?


Observe. Form opinions, then lay them at the altar of the ego, and move on. Ultimately it isn’t about being Pagan, another spiritual path, or some threatening, unidentifiable tract between. It’s about being a compassionate human.

Originally published at PaganSquare.

The Myth of Teen Violence and Spiritual Paths

What does it take to decode teenage America? How can we understand the confluence of factors behind rising crime rates involving our youth, changing sensibilities toward bullying, and violence in our society? Better yet, how do we inform ourselves and support young people in finding the facts? Every day I read articles asking these questions, and a San Francisco woman has devoted the last few years researching their answers.

2013-05-13-BethWinegarner.jpg A passionate supporter of social causes, a civic voice sounding our shifting cultural landscape, a wonderful mother, and a brilliant writer — meet Beth Winegarner. Creator of Backward Messages, a forum openly discussing social elements that feed violence in teen culture, and the media that perpetuates myths around them, Winegarner doesn’t hold back. She takes on sacred cows that have always clouded adult judgment where youth behavior is concerned — heavy metal, video games, the entertainment industry, and the occult. Her work deconstructs every façade that informs our policy, parenting, and perspectives on teens. Not stopping to just debunk socially accepted truths about teens behaving badly, her platform goes on to highlight the real issues creating problems. Among them she cites lack of mental health support, parenting, and in some cases, healthy social communities.

Having interviewed people from all walks of life to understand what creates the cultural myths of violence surrounding teens, a big trend noted in her work is young people turning from organized religion to earth-based belief systems. According to Winegarner, teens by nature “break away, to seek their independence and try on new things, because they’re in the process of learning who they are.” She noted that often those raised with a specific religion may strike out from that religion simply because it’s been a part of their lives and their families for so long. Teens raised without a specific spirituality may seek one out because they want something new.

Her research revealed more specific drives toward open spirituality than just innate rebellion. Drawing from the work of David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons in their book unChristian, of the majority religion, Winegarner noted that a lot of teens have “lost respect, because they find [Christianity] anti-homosexual, judgmental, or hypocritical.” However, this transition to a nature-based religion only reinforced a seeming turn to the dark side.

Winegarner cites common fear as the base reason that Nature religions are shunned by the overculture, a ‘what-we-don’t-know-will-hurt-us’ reaction. She also states that the presentation of various pagan faiths as scary or harmful in daily news reports and horror movies contributes to confusion around esoteric beliefs, tenets, disciplines, and rituals. Of them she says, “It can be tough to know what to believe.”

Of course, it’s anyone’s guess as to the intentions of such media influences, though their effects often work as deterrents. “You have religious leaders claiming that the Internet makes kids more prone to demon possession just by dint of the fact that it makes information about non-traditional religions more readily available.” That said, she noted that media such as books, films, or TV shows don’t necessarily change someone’s belief system or spiritual path. Her studies showed that while such may introduce young people to new possibilities, they were already open to change.

“I don’t know that they have much of an influence on shaping most teens’ beliefs, though they can be a catalyst in opening them to different modes of spirituality. A book like The Mists of Avalon or a show like Charmed might introduce someone to Wicca as an alternative path worth exploring.” She goes on to say that media certainly can play a role in spiritual change, and everyone’s got their own opinion whether that’s a good thing or bad thing.

In all, Winegarner is breaking into old territory in a poignantly new way. While she realizes the challenges in conveying her work and research, her commitment to redeeming teens and their unique culture are solid. “I strongly believe that there is good in all these so called ‘negative influences,’ and that the kids who seek them out know that. They know exactly what the benefits are and what they’re getting out of their interaction with these things.”

As a result, her view on these influences is more flexible, and her expectations of the overculture more stringent. “We need to stop trying to limit teens or take away the sources of culture, entertainment, reflection, and solace that hold so much meaning for them. When it comes to teens and violence, we need to stop blaming the wrong causes, because that prevents us from being able to stop teens from harming themselves or others.”

Learn more about Beth Winegarner and her publications at bethwinegarener.com. Arm yourself with information at backwardmessages.wordpress.com.

Spiritual Emergency, Awakening, and Tribe of the Modern Mystic

A component of shamanism that makes it different from other esoteric paths is servitude to a community. How one defines community can be as unique as the shamanist, herself. When I began my Masters work in 2010, learning what community I serve was a key focus. From my admissions essay through my thesis, I aligned my work with creating the Tribe of the Modern Mystic.  I don’t know how it dawned on me, as I’d spent 12 years creating and sustaining The Saferoom Project, a peer support nonprofit for adult survivors of child sexual assault. I’d also devoted 12 years to deepening my shamanic path, personally and in working with others. I fully expected my formation of community to comprise some facet of assault survivors, though no matter how much I devoted to that work, I was pulled to mentoring intuitives in spiritual emergency. No matter how I put out the intention for working with survivors to be my community, the clients and students who darkened my doorway were budding seers and healers, every day people reeling from some experience of the wyrd that left them wholly changed and oppressively alone in their transition.

Talking Stick, Tribe of the Modern Mystic, Soul Intent ArtsBut I didn’t want that to be my community.

The first time I heard the phrase “spiritual emergency” was from my therapist in 1994. It had just been added as a diagnosis in the DSM-IV  the year before. The day we met she told me that she could help me with symptoms of dis-ease in my life–depression, low self-confidence, PTSD, though she said flat out that she felt my distress was of a spiritual nature. She explained spiritual crisis as an awakening, in which the soul or consciousness is expanding more rapidly than the emotions or psyche can process. I can’t express what a unicorn she was, in the mental health care profession back then, able to make that statement with certainty. I spent just under 3 years working with her, experiencing great improvement of my symptoms, though the day we terminated, wholly affirmed that I was still experiencing spiritual crisis. Within two weeks of that last session I committed to deeper teaching on my shamanic path, had a soul retrieval, and felt relief from crisis for the first time in my life.

I didn’t want to walk back through that. To explore my capabilities in helping others assimilate spiritual crisis into soulful awakening required me to re-examine my rootless beginnings as an intuitive. It would force me to recall decades of knowing I was different in a way that defied vocabulary, the endless frustration and depression around feeling called to something that had no boundaries or guidelines, the loneliness of a solitary path, and the fear of many inexplicable phenomena that were part of my norm. I didn’t want to walk back through any of those things or the feelings they stirred.  Yet in greeting the stories of others, mine re-emerged as a strong shamanic narrative, encouraging others to stay the course and affirming that they weren’t alone. Along with reviewing my history of spiritual emergency came unexpected emotional snarls tangling my abusive childhood once again with my spiritual path, even if only that both were occurring at the same time, that despite trauma from those different sources, the pain felt the same.

[learn_more state=”open”] An isolated hour with someone who utterly understands you can’t sustain next to weeks, months of inundation from others who don’t, and likely can’t. [/learn_more] I also began to see patterns of those struggling into awakened life coping with mental illness, separation from lifelong beliefs about self, religion, and cosmology, and a resounding lack of support from loved ones during this intensely jarring time.  Their therapists didn’t understand, and neither their clergy, community, or other caregivers.  I found myself at the center of a gathering of people who badly needed support in an area that, like it or not, I was providing. Yet, in those tenuous relationships, I realized they needed more, just as I needed more.  They needed to hear it from someone besides me, more frequently than their routine trip to the local shaman, from a voice that could be engaged as needed, from others who understand what they were going through. An isolated hour with someone who utterly understands you can’t sustain next to weeks, months of inundation from others who don’t, and likely can’t. Most of them never spoke of the supernatural events in their lives to anyone but me.  They entrusted me with their most precious secrets. How in the world would I create community when we had all been so ostracized in our personal lives that we couldn’t even speak our truths unless we thought only the Divine was listening?

In indigenous cultures, this dialogue would likely never happen. Not that they don’t experience spiritual emergency.  They do–it’s called initiation. It’s called enlightenment, because they understand that enlightenment isn’t a sudden, dazzling solution to all of your problems. It cracks you open from the inside and requires you to rewire, start over, and do nothing the same. Shamanic cultures wouldn’t have this dialogue because they are born into their communities. They come into the world with the support system to witness, honor, bless, and grow their wild, intuitive selves from day 1. Such is not so clear in the west.

I’ve been on my healing path since I was six years old. From the age of seventeen I began my shamanic path. At twenty-seven I began working with others as a facilitator of healing. I realize now, as with all spiritual truths,  the shaman doesn’t find the community, the community finds the shaman.

If you feel a need for such support not only of your experience, but in the development of your mystical life, learn more about the Tribe of the Modern Mystic. My life’s work, my heartsong, and my compassion welcome you.

Ethics and Implications of Distance Soul Healing

Kelley,  Last year my friend’s eighty-some year-old father went into the hospital for the fourth time in a few months. He had fallen, had a brain bleed, and other serious problems. She sent out an e-mail asking for prayers for her dad, saying she had been “shown” the possibility of his full recovery. I offered a prayer and sent energy from heaven and earth to be received as his higher self directed. I had no intentions beyond these. When I was praying for him, I “saw” him and experienced his presence. I also saw an etheric issue in his field, which I could imagine my guides shifting. I asked him if it was okay to allow them to do this, and his response was along the lines of,  “Of course I want to be helped out of this! Anything you can do, do it. Let’s get started already!”

Our guides and some other angelic took charge of the energy. I don’t remember what they did, though the matter was handled.  A few days later I heard he made a remarkable recovery  and was released to rehab(Many people suffer from addiction. Click here to check your Premera rehab insurance benefits covers rehab treatment.). Eventually he went home, though he never fully recovered. He had other medical incidents and passed away two weeks ago.

My question is, did I do something ill-advised? I have since read that one should never do healing work of this nature without permission from the subject on the physical plane. According to these sources, they need to say “yes” verbally or in writing. Believing that one has permission from that person’s soul or higher self is not adequate. Also, could I have retained any energy from this interaction that is damaging to me?   Thank you, C.

Thanks for your note, C.  What a great question, and what a great experience!  I do distance soul healing as part of my shamanic practice, and I’m often asked about the ethics of it. For my professional work, I base my intentions from what clients inform me needs balance. I do a very careful assessment of the request and determine if I’m a good fit for that distance work. If not, I will say, and if so, I proceed with the client’s permission.

Working from a general request for healing is a very different approach. I am in the camp that you get the verbal agreement when possible, and that you don’t sit down and intend to do healing without someone’s knowledge of it.  In cases like you describe, where it wasn’t at all your intention, I think you were at the right place and the right time for some other touch that needed an earthly vessel to work through, for him.  Because you didn’t intend it, this experience is different.  You intended the space.  What happened in it was beyond you. You were likewise blessed by witnessing it.

As far as picking up things from doing healings for others…  You always have to clean yourself after, even when the session went great, with no tension or distress–to you or the recipient. In the same way that you wash your hands before you eat at a restaurant, clear yourself before healing work.  The same way that you wash them when you are done eating, clear yourself after.   Part of what makes shamanic healing successful is the long-established relationship with one’s guides, as well as great finesse in traversing the spirit realms.  That said, when doing healings, whether in-person or remotely for others or self, we pass through layers that are beyond our awareness.  Even those of us who do such healings and soul interactions regularly don’t know every little detail of  what’s in that space, what’s been there, ever. That’s why we do rituals before and after healings, to clear out what is not appropriate to the healing, and what isn’t appropriate for us to bring back from it.

Clearing yourself after directing healing can be as simple as, “I release anything from this experience that doesn’t bless me,” or “”I release anything from this experience that isn’t aligned with my wellbeing.”  Use the wording that literally gives you a tingle or some clear sense of a shift.

C, you are wise to consider the parameters of ethical remote healing, as well as its potential to affect you.  Thanks for probing thoughts we all need to consider as we become more responsible, responsive Universal citizens.


The Darker Side of Lightwork

Kelley, The spirit of Tara, my ex wife and dear friend, has appeared to a new psychic friend. She seems to be warning me of something harmful that is coming. Three days ago was the seven-year anniversary of her passing, which was very unusual and unexpected in the jungle of Ecuador, while doing Ayahuasca with shamans. Any insight? Thanks, Flash.

Ecuador Butterfly 5707 Thanks for your note, Flash. The anguished aspect of Tara that I met was still in the jungle. You and I have done work around her death years back, though something that became evident this time was that this aspect of her was being held back on purpose, through no efforts of her own. I realized this as when I met her this time, she pointed behind me to a seething spiritual presence of indigenous magick that draws on the abilities of others. It appeared as a group of men dressed in plants, wool, and body paint.

My understanding from the altercation that transpired between myself and the men was that Tara wasn’t being held only for her intuitive abilities to be usurped by them, but everyone who energetically reached back to the point of her death in an attempt to understand what happened to her or do release work around her death, was being wicked of their abilities, as well. I don’t pretend to know what this presence was, it’s particular method, etc. What was clear is that they were a local force that had long-mastered the ability to draw on the spiritual abilities of others for their own use. They recognized Tara as a powerful intuitive, and they decided to keep this aspect of her soul there for good, to continue using and attract other intuitives to come find her. As these innocents came to help Tara, they would be leeched of power, possibly rendered unable to help Tara. In other words, this magickal force attached to those who have attempted to help Tara, and remained attached, drawing on power from many people over the years–including you. Especially you.

My guides intervened and took over the whole situation. They bound that presence to Nature, such that it can be gradually healed and released. It didn’t feel right to just yank it out and remove it. There was a need for this presence to come to know a more connected, balanced way of holding magickal power. Until such time, it is bound to Nature. Healing was done for Tara, whose final words upon her deathwalk were, “Heal Flash.” All healing that could be done for you and those who have attempted to help Tara over the years was given, and rooted into all present lives.

For you this means a steady return of power you haven’t felt for a long while, or felt but couldn’t hold onto fully. What was being taken from you is now able to be fully possessed by you. There may be emotional healing needed around this, as its return could stir some echoes of grief and longing. Overall, nothing is coming, Flash. It was already there, and needed to go. A light you’ve needed to see for a long time is flickering to life.

Edited to add: This article on ambiguous spiritual tourism and the use of ayahuasca just came out this week.

To Heal or Not to Heal: Shamans in the New Era

“Rivers know this; there is no hurry, we shall get there some day.” – Winnie the Pooh

“Too many times we confuse motion with progress.” – Albert Einstein 

Soul Intent Arts, shamanic healing practice of S. Kelley HarrellA growing pain in the maturation of neoshamanism is the instinct to heal everything, that where there is energy imbalance it must balanced. Imbalance can occur in a person, a place, an animal, or an era. The inclination to heal at all cost can be viewed as a proactive model of health and wellbeing, no doubt the mindset many modern shamans bring to soul work. To indigenous healers, the ‘must heal’ mindset is very modern, and it embodies fear, isolation, even aggression. Because of its emphasis on the healer, the instinct carries with it arrogance, presumption, and idealism; thus is incomplete. It perpetuates the notion that imbalance is something to be viewed as broken, something unnatural, ideas that disregard the constantly changing state of Earth consciousness and experience. We are always in flux, and most of us realize profound growth not from balance or being out of balance, but in the process between the two. A task of the modern shaman is to embrace the full circle of Life, and in doing so, to impart that while perhaps uncomfortable, no facet of it is unnatural. More…

Wise Voice, Author and Modern Shaman–Dawn Paul

I learned about Dawn when I read about the December release of her book, “Healer of Souls.”  Based in St Albans Hertfordshire, she has a thriving shamanic practice as both a healer and teacher.

How does one become a Healer of souls?

Much time has passed since I received a vision of the Inca while at Machu Picchu, Peru, who told me in no uncertain terms that I was to follow the path of the shaman – and that they would help me. And now I see that they have kept their word, as for many years now I have run a thriving shamanic practice, assisting thousands of people from all over the world. These people have come from all walks of life and from all religions; the youngest has been seven months, the oldest 87. Some have been following a spiritual and personal development path of some sort, others have been desperate mothers, stressed out business professionals or even people from other healing professions who have never even really heard of shamanic healing, they just know they need help.

Dawn Paul and Don FranciscoOver those years my work has developed, with the assistance of my spirit guides and sometimes through sheer need. As is common to all in the healing professions, the more I have worked on my personal and spiritual development, the more my work has transformed and improved, for it is widely recognised that the healing received by the client is only as good as the levels of development and vibrational resonance the healer has attained, and I take this very matter very seriously.

A spiritual business is not like any other kind of business, for it is not run by spirit. They decide which clients to send, who I can help the most, with my blend of shamanic healing, general spiritual teaching and personal development methods. I found very early on that I could do a thousand soul retrievals and a person would still stay stuck in their old patterns, with their limiting beliefs and in their comfort zones, even though those zones may be very uncomfortable places indeed. In order for a person to truly heal and transform, change needs to occur on a massive level, ultimately, even down to the way a person thinks about themselves, their lives, and the world.

Although I am and will always remain a general practitioner, I specialise in healing sexual abuse, – which is currently a hot topic in the UK at the moment following the Jimmy Saville allegations – and I have seen wonderful results occur for both men and women. It is important to remember that when trauma occurs to a human being it occurs to them on all levels of their being, not just the mental level i.e. in my view, merely talking about something is not sufficient for full healing to occur. The great benefit of shamanic healing is that it works on all of the levels of a person.- not only the mental, physical, emotional, energetic, spiritual and soul levels, but also the conscious, the subconscious, the unconscious and the superconscious levels, as well as with the inner child.

In working with people suffering from sexual abuse ( I do not like to use the word victim), I recognised that they were often crippled with guilt and shame, which made me wonder why? Through my work I came to realise that during the abuse act, the abuser would offload his (or her) guilt, shame and hatred onto the person being abused. This person would carry this energetic burden around, thinking mistakenly that it was their own. I had one client, in her mid forties who completely hated herself, because she had not had the strength to fight off her abuser, and escape from a locked room in order to avoid the abuse. This was an intelligent, professional woman, who had not once questioned how she, at only four years of age, could have possibly escaped from such a situation. Once she realised the hatred was not even her own, a miraculous transformation occurred and she was able to free herself from a lifetime of neglect and self sabotage.

Machu Picchu by DawnOn the spiritual teaching front, I have found many spiritual seekers tie themselves up in knots over judging what is “spiritual” and what is “not spiritual.” Many will say, “Oh, I wanted to be a comedian, but that is not spiritual so now I guess I will have to be a healer.” There is nothing in this world that is not spiritual. We are spirit encased in matter. Even cleaning the toilet is a spiritual act, because a spirit is doing it. Being perfect is not being spiritual either, first of all it is impossible, and secondly, it requires us to disown and discard vast portions of ourselves. So not only do most people have a problem with the effects of soul loss, but they have a greater problem with what I call power loss, because often the aspects of Self that we disown hold our power, valuable aspects of our personality, and most importantly, our energy. Hence I found the need to develop a method called power retrieval, to bring these aspects of self out of shadows and the lower realms of consciousness and back to the Self.

We are living in very important times. Many people are picking up on that intuitively. They may have been carrying emotional burdens, depression or anxiety around with them for years, but now they are arriving on my sofa, saying they have to clear it, now. And they should feel so proud of themselves, because it takes a lot of courage to face our “stuff,” and make necessary changes in our lives, but it is important to know that our pasts need not define our future, we can heal our past and move forward, lightly and freely, and greet our new, happy and fulfilling lives with open arms.

Dawn Paul is author of “A Healer of Souls” and can be reached through her website or blog.

Pagan Is as Pagan Does

Soul Intent ArtsIn my shamanic practice, I work with people from all over the world. The first decade of working with others, easily three quarters of my clientele was international. That distant acceptance seemed to indicate that other cultures had a more accessible understanding of shamanism and of what someone acting in the role of shaman does. In more recent years the shift toward a wider range of healing paths becoming more mainstream has coincided with my client base being mostly within the U.S., with a good third of those people residing in my local area.

For those who don’t know, I’m a native North Carolinian and acting interfaith clergy. While there is strong support for and a very networked Pagan community throughout the state, half of my clients do not identify as Pagan. Specifically, they identify as various denominations of Christian. For some, stepping into a more mystical expression of spirituality is a comfortable and natural extension of their faith. Others don’t allow such an esoteric openness in their belief systems. Rather, they reach out to me because other venues haven’t brought them balance, including pastoral counsel with their own clergy.

Regardless of how they’re ushered into my work, it is within local circles that I encounter the most powerful misconceptions about shamanism. In talking with clients about how they find me, a startling idea emerged: For many of these clients the idea that I’m Pagan is softened by knowing that I’m a shaman, as if that role somehow makes the truth of my spiritual path somehow more approachable. Upon delving further into that assumption a deeper misconception was revealed: the assumption that I’m Native American. That I have a fine thread of indigenous blood runs entirely independent of my calling and choice to be a shaman. A handful of people besides myself would even know that fact, just as they don’t know that I’m Scottish, German or Irish. They don’t know, because it’s not relevant.

Had this assumption come up once or twice in the years of my work I’d consider it an anomaly — disturbing, but a fluke. The reality is, it’s come up dozens of times, leading to me to explore what drives it. Two base beliefs seem to lay in support:

  • The romanticized ideal of Native Americans being more spiritual than other cultural groups, an assumption that perpetuates the racist notion of the “noble savage.”
  • The replete misappropriation of all things shamanic to Native Americans, indicating a lack in base understanding of shamanism.

Both of these beliefs open a wide arena of cultural land mines, the least of which is cultural appropriation — the claiming of a facet of another culture as one’s own, historically for exploitation, personal profit or gain. Even though I do not claim the spiritual heritage of another culture, a good proportion of my clients assumed that I did, by virtue of projecting their ideals onto my heritage. That’s one problem. The other is that because they assumed my lineage, they rested comfortably in misunderstandings about my path. The message is that by assuming I’m Native American, my devotion to Earth religions is more OK than knowing I’m a modern Druid, Reconstructionist, Pagan.

Do most people not realize that in the animistic “country dweller” definition of Paganism, Native Americans are Pagan, under a diverse umbrella of spiritual traditions? Is there an instant, if not unconscious, distinction made between Pagans who are of European lineage and those who are Native American? And if so, does that not imply a judgement from many in the mainstream soul healing community that certain kinds of Pagans are better?

In the long run does it matter if the people who come to me for help know this distinction? Does it affect our work if they don’t know that shamanism is the tap root of all religions, branching through every culture? Probably not. All they know is something isn’t well in their lives and nothing else has brought relief.

For me it’s a question of how much integrity my path has if I leave clients making assumptions about my lineage and work that aren’t true. In my studies, personal spiritual discipline and work with others, I don’t feed the racist dispersions the western route into shamanism has cast; thus, I don’t want to mislead anyone about my ethical intentions.

For that reason I do take the time to educate clients who don’t understand how we arrived at shamanism in this age, and how I became able to carry a spiritual tradition forward in a new way that fulfills the needs of modern seekers while honoring an ancient tradition.

In the end, Pagan is just Pagan.