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