2015 was a dynamic year in the world of Paganism. Social justice dominated the year, and members of the Pagan community struck out against racism, religious favoritism, and environmental destruction. At the same time, 2015 saw polytheist and anti-capitalist groups underneath the Pagan umbrella truly hit their strides and stand up for their own views, whether or not those views were popular anywhere else. 2015 was a year of owning our identity, fighting for that of others, and standing up for our beliefs.
With such a diverse community, there is inevitably disagreement over what justice looks like, the ideal political landscape, and how our individual identities fit into the picture of larger society. So while we planted many flags of identity this year, we also engaged in profound internal dialogue about how we interact as Pagans within the larger world. We challenged each other spiritually and politically. There was friction, but friction leads to fire, and fire burns away the deadwood, giving us a new vitality. Friction, as the sign of free thinking and free expression, is healthy.
Once again, here are my selections for the top 10 Pagan quotes of this year. As usual, they must be written or spoken by a Pagan. I use a very large definition of “Pagan” here. The “Pagan-ness” of some of these writers may be arguable, but I felt that they were all a part of a broad definition of our community.
These are based on my reading and my tastes. I love a good turn of phrase, but I can’t read everything. If I’ve missed something that you loved, please feel free to add it in the comments section. The more the collection of our words grows, the better, so please add any words that inspired you. With the rules our of the way, here are my choices for the top 10 Pagan quotes of 2015:
10. “Alex portrayed us as exotic beings who are equally eccentric as we are connected to something that makes us feel strong. And while everyone has a right to how they feel, this doesn’t make me feel exploited. It makes me feel like a witch.”
– David Salisbury, October 29
9. “If a teaching leads you to take action in accord with your soul’s will, take action. Find others to take action with you, but do not assume that the action you take is the action everyone should take, or must take, or you fall into the traps of more institutionalized religions.”
– Christopher Penczak, August 29
8. “There are plenty of areas in the United States crying out for a counter-balance to existing graven tributes to archaic Abrahamic barbarism. Arkansas is looking rather appealing.”
– Lucien Greaves, July 7
7. “[I]f who you need to be is a polytheist, if something deep inside whispers the Gods are many, if the call you feel is from one of those many Gods, then be a polytheist. Stop trying to square your beliefs with the mainstream – you can’t.”
– John Beckett, December 8
6. “If someone is seeing something that you’re not, then you should treat that moment as an opportunity, not a nuisance. There’s a whole other reality hidden from view! If you work at it, you might gain access to that hidden reality! You’d think that, as mystics and magic practitioners, we’d be chomping at the bit for such an opportunity.”
– Asa West, February 28
5. “We hold that living a fulfilling and meaningful life, and allowing the same for future generations, is only possible if the entire Earth is healthy. We will therefore strive as individuals, as groups, and as members of a global society to promote the current and future health of our entire Earth, including the water, air, land, and the web of life.”
– From “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment,”April 22
4. “If you don’t hear the scream, you are choosing to be spiritually deaf. Stop. Listen. Act.”
– Courtney Weber, February 19
3. “So once again, I’m making friends with my discomfort, because until we live in an equitable, post-scarcity world, making friends with discomfort is the only way through to justice that I can see.”
– T. Thorn Coyle, December 2
2. “Patriarchy and Capitalism are cozy bedfellows. They are happy to convince women that their bodies are disgusting, so they can sell us one more product to make us more “productive”, to make my vagina smell like candy or flowers, anything that will stop these cunts from bleeding.”
– Niki Whiting, May 19
1. “We don’t care if you call our gods devils. That is just another power you give us. We would sooner kiss the ass of a thousand ‘devils’ than bow to your fears.”
– Jason Thomas Pitzl, February 17