© Drew Wilson, 2011. All Rights Reserved.
Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation
January 30, 2011

Although both my Sister and I were brought up in a UU church, her spiritual path has taken her in a different direction, which for many years has been as a practicing Pagan. As the sibling who followed a path of Science and Atheism, this has been a bit hard for me to accept. In fact, I was estranged from her for many years, when I couldn't really accept where she had gone.

I realize that we as UUs are supposed to include thought from all major religions of the world, but I am far from the only UU who has found Pagan Theology just a bit too far out. As the home page for CUUPS, the UU pagan group, puts it: "Human beings being what they are, opinions vary on the inclusion of a Pagan theology within the UUA. Each individual UU congregation has its own personality, and may be either supportive or skeptical." They go on to say though that "Most congregations are at least tolerant of Paganism as a spiritual expression within Unitarian Universalism. Many congregations have welcomed UU Pagans and have an active Pagan presence among their membership."

Why might there be these reservations about Paganism? Scared Cosmos 2, available from the CUUPS web site, quotes Helen Berger from her book, A Community of Witches: Contemporary Neo-Paganism and Witchcraft in the United States: "Pagan Witches performing magical spells believe that their wishes and spoken words directly impact the physical world." Further, the chapter "Believing in Magic" in Scared Cosmos 2 states that: "Pagan witches apply magical spells to a wide range of tasks going from the mundane chore of locating a suitable apartment to finding a cure for AIDS."

Now I should point out that not all modern Pagans believe in literal magic. I like a lot of Pagan rituals myself, but don't ascribe any more "power" to them than I do to any other ritual. I have been told by other Pagans I know that I have power and am a Warlock in denial, so maybe that's why I like Pagan rituals so much. Perhaps I should try a spell to get full attendance at the upcoming Retreat!

But another quote from Helen Berger's book shows why Paganism, which is a part of our Seventh Source, is rightfully a part of UU: "Their magic depends on a concept of this universe being an "ordered web" of interconnections where seemingly unrelated events are not chance occurrences." In other words, all things are connected, whether we understand exactly how or not. Thus, as UUs we must recognize and accept that Paganism is another religious path to the Truth, and respect those who are serious followers of that path.

Back to my Sister, who is a 3rd order High Priestess and presided over her own coven for a number of years. When our parents died, my Sister and I held a backyard memorial service for them at their house. We both gave eulogies, but my Sister's was much more powerful than mine. I was quite impressed! I have since spent more time with her, especially recently, and now realize that she is actually quite a good Minister of her particular faith. I have passed through acceptance, after the memorial service, to admiration. It is great to feel connected to her again.

So let us strive to make UU Pagans feel welcome in our congregation too. And, since "coming out" is a big topic at this church, let me mention that International Pagan Coming Out Day is this May 2nd.

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