I came across Star Foster’s blog Choosing Paganism and Processing Regret tonight. I occasionally read Star Foster when she pops up through other blogs (like The Wild Hunt). I have mixed feelings on her writings and have heard mixed reviews of some of her approaches to discussion.
This particular blog really disappointed me. Star Foster is a pretty widely read voice in the pagan community and thus, has a far reaching audience. The blog addresses having regret about her path to paganism. She points out that many good things have come into her life because of it, but she also looks back on all the easy things in life that she’s missing out on. She says, “For all the benefits of being Pagan, I can’t help but be aware that it has limited my life, made it more difficult and left me more isolated than I would have been otherwise.”
She comes to the conclusion “I think I should be able to have my dreams and my religion as well. I don’t know how to do that today, but I’m thinking hard about it. I don’t want the next decade to be full of the same compromises and sacrifices that filled the last decade of my life”. She ends with a request that others use her forum to speak about what they have given up by choosing to be pagan.
When I first read this, I expected her to end with the line of thought that for all that she’s given up, the things she’s gained outweigh what she has sacrificed. There are certainly difficult things about being pagan: we all deal with closed-minded people who are afraid of what they think pagans are, with bigoted co-workers, and with legal issues. But overall, I found the tone of this particular blog to be very defeatist.
Being a pagan is extremely empowering for me. I don’t see any limitations on being a “pagan woman”. Having faith in what I believe in allows me to have a much more confidence in myself, which is probably a goal of any religious path. Being pagan allows me to follow my dreams even more actively than I did before I found this path. I don’t allow my paganism to be a limitation. I don’t let those closed-minded people dictate how I’m going to live my life. I honor my Gods and my path by the way I live my life. My paganism is my strength.
I found a large community and many close friends through paganism. For all that I like to complain about the coven, part of being in a coven is having a family. This particular coven hasn’t quite coalesced yet, but we’re working on it. And my first Pagan contact, my pirates, are definitely my family and always will be. They picked me up during a hard time in my life and got me through it.
I’m upset that a widely-read voice in our community is expressing such open regret about this path. These are the sort of people we expect to help the rest of us stand up to the bigots and to those that would deny us the individual rights we enjoy in our religious practice.
Earlier, I was thinking that I would write some of my thoughts on the current women’s rights issues that are under discussion and how conservative Christian America is doing it’s best to ignore alternate view-points of non-conservatives in this country. But Foster’s rant sidetracked me. In the face of conservative pressure, we need our community leaders to be even more outspoken than before. We need them to be loud and clear about how they are proud to be different and to be accepted in America. We need them to be willing to fight and counteract the voices of those who would stand against us.
“Oh Common’! You’re being too hard on someone who’s clearly said that they’re having a rough night!”
Yeah, yeah, I hear ya…but when you’re someone like Star Foster, you don’t always get the luxury of having that weak public moment. Star Foster has a platform that can reach a wide audience. Is there some pagan teenager out there who’s struggling with being pagan who’s going to read this and give up? She talks about turning 30 and being depressed about it. Maybe that’s all it is. I don’t read enough of Star Foster’s blog to know if this is a re-occuring theme or not. But after reading this, I have to wonder why she’s been so actively involved in paganism. When I went to look her up, it says that she’s even founded her own tradition. Does she regret that? Was that a mistake? Did it mean anything to her in the long run?
I didn’t mean to have this blog be so critical of someone else, but I think it demonstrates the great need that our community has for positive, strong voices. We already have enough people out there who are willing to stand against us and take away our right to our community. We’ve already suffered through hundreds of years of hatred. We finally live in an age where we can openly be witches and magic users and have different religions than that of the majority. We need to take advantage of our ability to speak out publicly on behalf of the amazing community that ours is. We should use our community to tackle the hard path and defeat it. And we should allow our community to lift us up so that we can do great things.
I have no regrets about being pagan. Being pagan is not for everyone, and I’m sure that most people come to a point in their life where they question their major life decisions. But I sincerely hope that I’m never at that point where I second guess something that I’ve so actively sought and cherished. I’m sorry that Star Foster is regretting her life choices, but if you don’t want to be here, why are you staying?