Exploring the crossroads of religion, culture, and science through a Pagan lens


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:

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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 .

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Quotes of the Year: Runners up

Every year as I work on the top quotes of the year for The Juggler, I sift through a wide variety of quotes from Pagan authors.  Sometimes they are beautiful; sometimes they are vicious.  I love looking at the words our community has expressed over the years, but every year I have to cut very good quotes from very good people. As I begin this blog, I’d like to add a few brief posts featuring some of the quotable Pagans who almost made the top 10 list this year.

There was this one from Crystal Blanton:


“What a beautiful thing to look back upon the faces of the brave, and know that I have been gifted this chance at life because of those who’ve been willing to lay their lives in front of the bullet for justice.”

– Crystal Blanton, December 5

Crystal is always at the forefront of challenging the Pagan community on race, social justice, and inclusion.  Here she opens up about the funeral of the great Nelson Mandela.  She also took December to problematize Megyn Kelly’s “Santa is White” comments.

Or this one from Sam Webster:


“Love, mercy, compassion, care, kindness give value and joy to all we do. But is not a solution to our problems. Our problems are from bad choices, from promoting the stupidity of selfishness over general wellbeing.”

– Sam WebsterNovember 27

Sam has gift for words.  He has the  uncanny ability to tear anything apart with his weapon of choice.  I have sat in many of his lectures and marveled at his ability to cut directly to the linguistic heart of the matter.  In this instance, he calls the Pagan community out for trusting in “love” as the magic that can solve any problem.

Finally, there was this from “Raise the Horns” author Jason Mankey:


“It often feels as if we Pagans are far more likely to share an article that undermines Christianity than we are to share something written by Pagans for Pagans. That bothers me as a Pagan writer of course, but it also bothers me as a Pagan because I feel as if it hurts Pagandom long term”

– Jason MankeyOctober 13

Goddess, that is true.  Jason is a young, dynamic force of the modern Pagan movement, and his words remind us that we need to stop convincing ourselves of the problem of other faiths and start discussing our worldviews with each other.  Only then can we unite as a strong and loving religious movement.

I may post some other quotes I had to cut from my Top 10 article over the next few days.  If you’d like to see this year’s list, go over to my newest annual post on The Juggler.