2017 felt like being dropped into the bubbling cauldron of a new reality. After what seemed like many years of progress on important human rights issues women’s rights to LGBTQ+ rights, this year began with women marching for inclusion, a theme that carried throughout the year. It found the LGBTQ+ community fighting to retain marriage rights, the right to serve in the military, even the right to purchase a wedding cake.
Always fighting for justice, people of color stood up and knelt, bringing greater attention to their constant struggle against the backdrop of white nationalists angrily carrying tiki torches through the streets of Charlottesville as chants of “blood and soil” rang out.
In what felt like a regression to the days of the Scopes Monkey Trial, scientists, of all people, were forced to take to the streets to protect evidence-based truth from attacks against national parks, climate science, even disease control. With banned words telling researchers what they cannot include in funding requests and renegade national park Twitter accounts opening in droves, the U.S. witnessed the strange dichotomy of modern technology being used as a weapon against a dangerously medieval way of thinking.
The Pagan community, which has long been involved in most of these issues, found itself alongside many in the mainstream culture as we joined the struggle against repression and for the future of the planet. That battle occupied much Pagan discourse over the year, so it heavily affected this year’s Quotes of the Year.
As usual, these Top 10 quotes are my opinion only based on my what I have read. If I missed something you loved, please feel free to say so in the comments. The comments must be made by a self-identified Pagan of any tradition to be considered. Alright, with the disclaimers and rules out of the way, here are my Top 10 Quotes of 2017…
- “In whatever form it takes, fake news is a serious concern, and it is one that all of us must manage; writers, readers, editors, artists, and leaders. That is a tall order, especially in a digital world where emotions drive content and where the immediacy of response, absent all discretionary controls, supersedes reasoned research and composed reaction. The speed of digital sharing, the ease of creation, and the ever presence of digital devices is what has made a very age-old problem a supersized monster.”
– Heather Greene, January 14
- “Religions that are based on belief always fracture into different factions…but in religions like Paganism and Judaism, no one cares what you believe. If you show up at the temple and make the offerings, that’s fine. In tribal societies, you wouldn’t have been burned at a stake for what you believed.”
– Oberon Zell, October 24
- “What concerns me is that some Pagans in the UK seem to believe that all Muslims are responsible for these acts of terror. It concerns me particularly because we know what it is to have a very small number of people make claims to perform terrible acts in the name of our beliefs. We know there are some who claim their Paganism gives them justification to abuse others, and we know that we reject and denounce their actions in the same way that Muslims around the world reject and denounce the terrorists and their claims that the actions are in any way justified by Islam. We should know better. But it seems some within our Pagan community do not.”
– Mike Stygal, June 7
- “‘But I don’t want to get my hands dirty! I don’t want to risk something bad happening to me! Can’t I just light some candles and celebrate Imbolc and Brigid and creativity with my circle in peace?’
– Hecate Demeter, February 3
- “Working magic against a figure as powerful as the President of the United States is extremely difficult. He’s supported by the attention of millions of fans and voters, and he’s as charismatic as they come. Attracting the attention of his supporters makes our work that much harder.
Remember the Witches Pyramid: to know, to will, to dare, and to keep silence.”
– John Beckett, February 26
- “[W]hat the hell did I wake up to this morning where I had to justify not having any effs to give about the delicate sensibilities of Nazis, one of which just killed a chick? Oh hey! You know who else is a useless childless sl*t? Me and many of you! But I’m supposed to be like, oh no I don’t hate Nazis, I hate what they believe in which is the total destruction of 85% of the people I associate with. Dude. I hate Nazis. I’m not going to run my car into a bunch of them unlike some people but I’m not required to be nice about Nazis.”
– Deborah Castellano, August 15
- “To me, #WeAreAradia says we don’t need a savior, or one voice to save us. We need to save ourselves, we need to be the teachers. We need to be the learners and the guides. We need to be the Witches. It’s a call to stand up for your beliefs. A message, a call to action to build and use your practices to protect and to empower everyone who needs it.”
– Laura Tempest Zakroff, January 24
- “If this had been a pagan event, of course, we would have had a community-wide Potluck and Torch-Making a few days before.
But for the organizers of the Charlottesville alt-Reich event, apparently buying bulk at the nearest minimum-wage Big Box store was good enough.
If this is the Great White Hope of the “white race” (whatever that means), I’m afraid the prognosis isn’t very good.”
– Steven Posch, September 13
- “If intention were everything, there would be little point to studying and learning to properly employ magick. We could simply buy a copy of The Secret and have a life full of everything we dreamed of.”
– Mat Auryn, April 29
- “I’m going to put my energy and my work out there to try and protect those who need protection. This is not being a “social justice warrior” this is being a damned human being who cares about the people around them.”
– Jason Mankey, January 20