The Issue of Drug Use in Paganism – Charles Wilson, Guest Blogger

 

~~~Bloggers Note: Charles is a Senior Administrator at Magicians Paganism Witches Necromancers Friendship Group on Facebook. He is a frequent contributor to group discussions, both in starting discussions and adding valuable insight to the group discussions other’s start. He is very knowledgeable, plain spoken in a way that teaches others without offending or intimidating.

Charles is not affiliated with SacredHandsCoven and I have never been blessed to meet him IRL, but from what I have read of his posts he strikes me as one of those people you want to hang out with in a quiet corner of a local pub for hours on end as you trade ideas, concepts, and learn all you can from him. Thanks for permission to post, Charles!~~~

This is certainly an uncomfortable topic to write about, next to sexuality, but alas there are misunderstandings with those outside of the community so it is worth writing about. To begin, we have to define what a drug is. According to the Oxford Dictionary, a drug is “A medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body.” This broad definition would include everything from conventional medicine (such as pills), common chemicals found in beverages (such as caffeine or Alcohol), and plants, both poisonous and medicinal. However, most are focused on either the age restrictive or the illegal drugs so I will as well with this discussions.

Now, do pagans use drugs? Some do, and others choose not to. Those who follow pagan belief systems are just like any other group of people in the sense that no absolute statement will work as there is always an exception. Those who choose not to do so either out of personal preference (based or not on past experiences), issues with their health or because it could put their employment to risk (coming from a path that emphasizes family, community, and self reliance, I can understand not wanting to risk employment). It is pretty much the same reasons as anyone else would choose not to.

Before I get into why others choose to, let me clarify what kind of drugs I am talking about. Hard drugs that are not prescribed by the doctor or found in food are very rarely mentioned in the use for ritual (so that knocks out heroin, cocaine, morphine, meth, crack, and various other street drugs). The ones usually mentioned are Alcohol, Nicotine, Marijuana, Peyote, Shrooms, Ayahuasca, and various plants that promotes relaxation. There are three main reasons I have found to why those in the pagan community choose to use drugs. The first reason is pain management (this is especially the cause with pot), which makes sense as medicine has taken many forms throughout the years. Another reason is to help an individual interact with their gods and other spirits through what is known as journeys or “crossing the hedge” sessions for the sake of themselves or another. This is nothing new, as many individuals in cultures throughout the world did the same for their communities in history (usually after years of training of course). The final reason,reason why some in the pagan community may choose to use the drugs I mentioned is simple: pure pleasure, just like anyone who enjoys a beer or wine after a long day at work.

Which brings us to a question that I am sure both my family and others wonder: Do I personally use “drugs”? Yes and no. I am a smoker and I do drink in moderation prior to ritual to aid in the relaxation process. I have had my college experience, which I will not go into details with, that have reinforced my moderation view on things. Now if I were to become seriously injured, I would certainly choose pot to manage the pain over opioids because I have an addictive personality and rather not go down that rabbit hole. It’s one of those plants that makes no sense to keep illegal in my eyes and helps many people with pain management. Over the years, I have became pretty open with the topic of drugs and their uses, but I do not jump into it as quickly as some may think due to my focus on my personally responsibilities. However, I do not judge anyone who do use them.

To wrap this whole thing up, absolute statements never work. People will constantly prove that there are exceptions to every rule and many reasons for their behavior. Not all pagans choose to use drugs, just like with any other faith. It is the same with every other stereotype, and the only way to fight those stereotypes is through education. And it might as well come from someone within the group. Thank you all for reading

From the Forums: Guard Your Privacy by Heather Treehugger

If someone is new to the Internet, using FaceBook or other communities, to the practice of their path or seeking a new path:

If you have questions or are seeking help please, please be wary of people who want you to contact them via private emails, private messenger, and/or phone calls. Guard your privacy well. People who run scams, steal identities, ask for money for false claims of skills, and the types who send viruses to people whom they judged to be “not like them” are not above lurking in these groups and doing what damage they can to people out of sheer maliciousness. Requests for these “private” conversations have been happening a lot more frequently in this group lately. If someone is actually there to help, provide accurate information, etc. it can be done in the forum just as easily.

As several people have been mentioning lately in threads, if you are seeking information, ideas, etc. and someone says that they can help, there is no reason that they cannot help you right here in the open forum area or via Facebook message area. One big reason to go outside Facebook is to ask something personal or ask for personal information that is better off guarded and protected. Another reason is to separate people who are new from those who know better. When posted in the group, anyone trying to pass false information, charge an outrageous fee, or collect information of a personal nature not actually needed will be called out by those who know better and are willing to help protect other members.

Going private on Facebook messages should be more than sufficient until you get to know that person and trust their judgment. Granted it might be necessary to discuss personal info in creating a specific spell and the private chat function on Facebook is more than sufficient for that purpose. (i.e. I went private in FaceBook messages area to ask a member about a personal health issue for a friend as I did not know how private or embarrassing her friend’s issue might have been and I was discussing a specific targeted spell for that issue.)

Just be careful, please. Not everyone who joins these groups is who or what they claim to be and that could be dangerous for people new to Facebook, new to a specific path or just seeking info in general. Better bet may be to watch the threads until you get a feeling as to whether or not you can trust the person or ask the advice of people who are on here often whom you DO trust to see what they may know of that person.

On a personal note: Just because a person is in a group with you and may share magickal beliefs in the group, wait until you know more about each other to go around inviting them to be your FaceBook friend or accepting their invitation to you. You may not want to see their other opinions and beliefs (other than magickal) on your regular wall. i.e. I am a rabid liberal and not everyone wants to see all my liberal rants on their walls!

Attributed to Domenicus van Wijnen (1661–after 1690) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

From the Forums: Real Pagans Are… by Kieran Tala Dawnshadow

~~~Bloggers Note: Kieran is a smart and savvy woman. She can put up with a lot of crap in group discussions before she “puts her foot down” verbally. She is very even-tempered and extremely bright. We have had many good conversations in group, on each other’s walls and in private messages. She recently decided she had enough of the silliness that occasionally goes on in our group discussions and made her point quite well in the following post. It is a point that I believe can be used on every witch’s wall to remind all who stop by and read that there are many paths and only you can choose your path. At the same time, remember, you cannot choose or dictate a path for anyone else.

For some reason a great many of the interesting posts seem to come from the same handful of people, one of whom is Kieran. She is not a part of SacredHandsCoven and I have never been graced to meet her IRL, but from what I have read of her posts and the conversations we’ve had, she strikes me as one of those women you want to hang out with in a kitchen, trading recipes and cooking all night while talking over life, the universe and everything! Thanks for permission to post, Kieran!~~~


I am getting really sick of people trying to dictate what “real pagans” are or should be. I try, I really try, to let it roll off my back, but after a while, the absolute ignorance just starts to be too much. So, for anyone who hasn’t been reading the recent posts (for which you are blameless), let me lay this out for you.

REAL PAGANS:

  • are (mono or poly) theists, atheists, and deists;
  • vote republican, democrat, green, or independent;
  • do harm or do no harm;
  • are male, female, trans, or questioning;
  • are gay, straight, bi, pan, or asexual;
  • revere nature, believe in science;
  • mostly study, mostly practice;
  • go/went to college, didn’t receive formal education;
  • hold hate in their hearts, hold no hate in their hearts;
  • they are liberal, conservative, and moderate;
  • they believe that our fate is in the gods’ hands, or that it is in our hands;
  • they are vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters;
  • they believe in karma, or don’t.

We all found our faiths in different ways and for different reasons, and we all live our lives in different ways, too! So for the love of god/gods/goddess/whatever, can everybody please stop trying to shame and scare others into doing what you think they should be doing, or more specifically, conforming to your personal definition of what a pagan should be?

It’s long past old.

~~~ Want to read more from Kieran? Check out her blog: http://darkwolf547.com/ ~~~