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Top 10 Pagan Quotes of 2017

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.


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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.


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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…


  1. “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

  1. “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

  1. 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

  1.  “‘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?’ 

Um, no.”

             – Hecate Demeter, February 3

  1. “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

  1. “[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

  1. “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


Photo credit: Laura Tempest Zakroff


  1. “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

  1. “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

  1.  “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




Top 10 Pagan Quotes of 2016

2016 was a difficult year in Pagan quotes.  It has been a year of radical change.  It included painful losses of beloved musicians and actors.  It has seen the international stage struggle with surprising and potentially world-changing transformations in the status quo. Marginalized communities feel threatened and unsure of the future.


In the midst of mainstream lurches in the norm, the Pagan community was embroiled in political and theological arguments even as we were grasping for answers to the larger questions in world’s sudden changes.   As I prepared this annual list, I realized just how much the Pagan microcosm was reflected in the international macrocosm.


And yet, through darkness comes light.  Our bodies heal when we sleep, and we learn valuable lessons from life’s difficult moments.  This year’s top 10 quotes embody the many struggles the Pagan community has been through, both internally and externally.  As usual, these quotes must have been said or written by a Pagan (large umbrella).  They are based purely on my reading and my tastes, so I undoubtedly missed something you loved.  Please feel free to continue the discussion by adding your favorite quotes to the comments.


Alright Witches and Pagans, here are my votes for the Top 10 Pagan quotes of 2016.  We’ll begin with a quote from January that, looking back, seems quite prophetic:

* * *

10. “You may not know how to embrace change, but I am here to show you the way. Let me introduce you to my Lord, Loki.”

Heather Freysdottir, January 11


9. “If we hope to create societies without domination, violence, and war, then we must transform the distorted images of masculinity and femininity that have been developed in patriarchy. We must insist that domination, violence, and war are no more part of masculinity or male nature than passivity and lack of consciousness are part of femininity or female nature. It may feel good to speak of reuniting the masculine and the feminine, but feeling good will not help us to transform cultures built on domination, violence, and war.”

Carol P. Christ, January 25

8. “But self-reliance is a myth. We are all co-dependent upon everything else on this planet. We do not exist in a vacuum. We need others in order to exist, let alone thrive. We are not separate. Without the innumerable other factors in our lives, beings seen and unseen, we simply could not be. I think that this is why I believe in the gods.”

Joana van der Hoeven, November 14


7. “I find Power in the things Christians shout at me–damn straight, I am Lucifer’s f*ggot spawn!”

-Pat Mosley, May 12


6. “You know who a lot of those newbs were? Young women. You ever notice how we make fun of anything young women like?

“The internet is full of people bitching about what is and isn’t real witchcraft. Jesus, just look at Patheos’s pagan section and be bored to tears after the tenth article on the subject. That hasn’t changed since the dawn of the internet, and it never will. The only thing that changes is the target everyone is trying to tear down. Pastel Instagram-worthy witchcraft is a fucking easy target because it looks shallow as hell.”

-Mama Fortuna, May 29


5. “We don’t run away from the monsters.  We make the monsters run away from us.”

-Greywolf Moonsong, December 21


4. “Seriously? When did Witchcraft become a pissing contest?”

-Jason Mankey, April 7


 3. “Power comes from all kinds of places, even the places you think are trivial.  Remember that when your sisters that you were so eager to step on as you were coming up get strong enough to come for you.”

-Deborah Castellano, June 1


2. “We are most happy to report that none of our clergy subscribe to your views on mixed race or gay marriage, and so we cannot assist you in your upcoming visit to Ireland. Fuck Off. Yours very sincerely, Everyone at the Pagan Federation of Ireland.”

-Everyone at Pagan Federation of Ireland, April 24




1. “In drawing on the momentum of emotions and saying what he pleases, with no apology, Trump has trumped American politics.”

-Taylor Ellwood, March 3



The Top 10 Pagan Quotes of 2015

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

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Top 10 Pagan Quotes of 2014

The words we write leave a record. They help define us to others and to ourselves. They tell us where we have been, the struggles and joys we have experienced, and give hints at the future. When I was writing for the Juggler, I began compiling an annual list of the top 10 Pagan quotes of the year.  I find it to be one of my favorite projects of the year.

This year we seem to have struggled with identity. Some of that was defining ourselves to the rest of the world, but a good portion of it was negotiation within our intertwining traditions. Honest disagreements flared up now and then, as always, but there were also deeper questions of self-identification and marginalization. In the WTF department, Time magazine compared witches to terrorists, proving that we still have a long way to go in defining ourselves within mainstream culture.

We also dealt with tragedies – the loss of two deeply loved elders among many others who crossed over this year, and the ongoing mainstream racial and gender tension. This was the year of Ferguson and the misogyny-fueled UC Santa Barbara killings.

On a lighter note, who can forget this little girl:

I’d love to include “Piehole: Shut it!” on this list, but sadly I don’t know if the girl is a Pagan. So she gets an honorable mention.

As always, these quotes came from articles that I read.  They are just my opinion. I can’t read everything, so if you feel I missed something, please feel free to share it in the comments. We can all benefit from seeing more of the great work done by Pagan writers. The quotes must have been said or written by a Pagan. I choose these based on significance of topic and use of language.  Alright, with that out of the way, here are the quotes:

10.  “In 1964 the future was supposed to be flying cars, cities on the moon, and 20 hour work weeks.  Instead, we got the internet, smart phones, and Wal-Mart.”  – John Beckett, March 9

9.  “I think that the “herding cats” myth we tell ourselves does us a disservice, just like shrugging and saying, ‘Oh, that’s Pagan Standard Time.’ It excuses rudeness and poor leadership.”  – Shauna Aura Knight, January 20

8. “In the chaos of busy lives, I find that we often forget that immanent love surrounds us and is as close as the dirt at our feet.”  – Erick DuPree, September 24

7. “I know that no harm was meant by equating witches to terrorists, but given the general level of stupidity in this country maybe it’s not a good idea?” – Jason Mankey, October 31

6. “Perhaps our interfaith work as Pagans needs to begin with ourselves.  If we cannot find tolerance and an ability to work together between the various forms of Paganism, what chance do we have of finding it in the outside world?”   – Carol Kirk, March 20

5. “I have to keep questioning, struggling, fighting and dancing with the complexities of power. If I do, maybe I will grow personally. Most importantly, these lessons might help me do more good than harm in this world.”  – Cecily Joy Wilowe, August 26

4. “Cooperation is possible, it is not easy. It is messy, but it can be done.”  – Ivo Dominguez, Jr., March 12

3. “Yesterday we laid Morning Glory’s body into the Earth, to rest in the bosom of Mother Gaea until she may return again in new flesh. I planted an apple tree over her loving heart, that someday her substance may return to us all as sweet nourishing fruit.” – Oberon Zell Ravenheart, May 17

Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart

Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart, 1948 – 2014

2. “The world is a better place because of Margot. Let us remember and give thanks for Margot, her brilliant mind, her loving heart, her beautiful voice, her activism, her writings, her news reporting, her other works, her magic, her bright spirit.” – Selena Fox, July 28

Margot Adler

Margot Adler, 1946 – 2014

1. “You’re certainly not alone in your megalomania. Everyone feels that way—and for good reason.

Because it’s true!” – Lon Milo DuQuette, March 17

Update: quote number 5 was originally attributed to Crystal Blanton. This attribution was incorrect and the accurate attribution has now been made. Special thanks to Crystal Blanton for bringing this to my attention .