I’ve recently been thinking about vocation within paganism and how rarely it is discussed. I was going to write a blog post about it, before a brief Google search revealed Dver at ‘A Forest Door’ had already done it. In this insightful article she discusses the difficulties of navigating the conflict between living a life of devotion to the gods and spirits and supporting oneself in a world where this work is neither valued nor accepted.
I don’t think it’s easy to live a life of intense commitment in any religion. But the more established religions do have mystical traditions and people trained in dealing with those who experience such a calling and the spiritual crises that accompany them to talk to. Because paganism has never developed such systems of support we have only bemused, half-understanding family and friends. Are forced to go screaming to the gods and ancestors; the long-lived and the long-dead as they are the only ones who understand our loneliness and fury.
I can’t see a solution to this right now. All I can see is the unending pain of compromise.
Lately, I’ve been feeling rather poignantly the relative uniqueness of my choice to make spirit-work and devotional mysticism the focus of, and force behind, my entire life. This is, to put it mildly, not a common occurrence in modern polytheism/paganism. Of course, it wasn’t a common occurrence in ancient polytheism (or currently-practiced polytheistic and animistic religions around the world) either. Spiritual specialists have always been a very small percentage of the population, and that makes sense on many levels (not many people called to, or capable of, the Work; tribes or societies unable to support more than a few at a time, etc.). It is obviously even more difficult in our culture, which does not support us financially or emotionally in these endeavors.
But there are times I feel frustrated at the apparent lack of anyone these days willing to make that commitment. I’ve seen countless people profess a…
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