I was already heading to bed when I decided to pop over to PANTHEON to read Star's daily post. The lesson here is that I should not do this now I have a blog on which I can publish my opinion on subjects that interest me.

Star's post today is entitled 'Search Not My Heart' and in it, she speaks more clearly than I will ever be able to do about the orthodoxy that is slowly creeping into Paganism, a rather frightening trend I've been noticing as well through my interaction with the (on-line) Pagan community. While I oppose this orthodoxy (perhaps mostly because I don't fit in it), I want to address something else she wrote about and which raised my eyebrows.

"In the conversations over yesterday’s post someone was surprised to learn I believe that the Gods can assume a mortal form. I got the impression it was as bizarre to them as if I had said that I believe the Gods are the bacteria the live in the drain of my sink. It was a small interaction, and not dramatic in the least, but it stayed with me."

 ...and all I could think upon reading that was 'doesn't everybody belief that?' Because I have never believed anything else. As you can see to the left, in my bio, I practice mostly by myth and mythology is filled to the brim with Gods and Goddesses assuming human (or animal) form and walking amongst us. To warn, to test, to support, to punish, to make love to, to rape.

It's times like this when I realize how hard my polytheism actually is; I have difficulty imagining other people might view Deity in a way that does not grant them personalities, lives and the ability to do what they do in myth. I have less trouble accepting that people do not believe in Gods than accepting people see Gods as archetypes or parts of a larger entity. Yet, like Star, I am so grateful that other Pagans believe and practice differently than I do. Because I dare to wager that our differences are what makes Paganism so dynamic. It provides it its longevity.

That is why I oppose the formation of a Pagan orthodoxy and I still believe in the Pagan label; we are a varied bunch and some question who should and should not be able to lay claim to the name. Pagans define what Paganism means. The label consists out of commonalities found within most practitioners. This is unfortunate, as it tries to limit a term that is, by nature, unlimited. Perhaps, internally, we would all be better off without the Pagan label as it holds no meaning to us. We all identify ourselves differently under the Pagan label anyway. But towards the outside, towards the major religions, we need it. Because if we ever want religious rights, if we ever want to be understood instead of feared, if we ever want to leave our fringe position behind, then we need to stand behind our Pagan name. Not because it’s accurate but because it matters to be heard.

So no matter how far removed I might feel from the Pagan label, I will fight for it. And for my believe in the Gods within that label. Because like everyone else, I have the right to believe what I believe. I have the right to tend to my altar in the way I feel I best serve my Gods. When I read mythology, I have the right to take this as a description of history and not as a story someone thought up. And I have the right to believe I walk this earth with my Gods at my side. I may be wrong but really, why is it up to anyone else to decide this for me? It's not. It's really, really not.