Fair Weather Pagan

I admit it, I’m a fair weather Pagan. My willingness to go out and celebrate the seasons depends highly on weather conditions and temperature. This summer we started a monthly venture of going out to celebrate the full moon in a bardic way. The last session was in September because by October, the idea of standing round outside, at night, for an hour or so to share songs and stories, held no appeal whatsoever. We’ve moved to the pub, where there is less sense of the magical natural world, less of the shining full moon, but also less risk of accident, injury, or just getting very cold.

Having had chilblains during several winters, my willingness to stand around in the cold is not what it might be. Having fallen on the way out of a session in the dark – painful and embarrassing – I’m in no hurry to put myself forward for that again. Being out as a bard by the light of the full moon is a glorious thing, in the right conditions, but during a British winter, the prospect does not inspire.

There are always balances to strike between connection and viability. The younger, fitter, healthier and better resourced we are, the easier it is to do more extreme things. Gone are the days when my body can easily bear the experience of a sleepless night on the cold side of a hill.

I’ll continue to connect with the seasons, but I have to do so on terms that work for me. Daytime rituals and gatherings in the winter mean better light levels for dealing with the more slippery ground conditions – be that mud or ice. Staying warm, not being out for as long, not being as far off the beaten track, are all part of how I respond to winter. Waterproof trousers and thermal socks, a flask of something warm and a flashlight. These are not things my ancient Pagan ancestors would recognise, but then that’s true for the larger percentage of how I live my life.

‘Getting back to nature’ is something we as modern Pagans can often only do because we have a car to get us there and a washing machine to deal with what nature does to our trousers. It’s easy to kid ourselves that our particular work-around is somehow more natural, or more authentic – be that ski gear, energy drinks, or thermal underwear. We don’t live close to the land and seasons in the way our ancient ancestors did. Most of us don’t have the physical capabilities, knowledge or experience to live as our ancestors did. Doing what makes sense to you is fine, but don’t avoid looking at what you’re doing.

I think it’s better to be honest about what we are, and aren’t, and to modify ritual behaviour according to what we can genuinely cope with. Driving out to ‘nature’, dressing up in expensive, modern kit and knowing we can warm up with something hot from the microwave when we get home does not mean being especially in tune with our ancient ancestors. It just means we can afford this stuff – not everyone can. It’s worth thinking about the kinds of effort involved in winter rituals, and being honest with ourselves about what we’re doing. It makes more sense to me to have a practice that reflects how you live, rather than having to do things that are otherwise quite unnatural to you, (or prohibitively expensive) with the idea that this will bring you closer to nature.

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About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

9 responses to “Fair Weather Pagan

  • firespringsfolktales

    I think that the ancient pagan ancestors would have gone out with thermal socks, their most waterproof and warmest clothes, and maybe something fiery to warm the insides. Or held ceremonies in their round houses long houses etc. in the dark of the night instead.

  • Linda Davis

    Thanks for that. From a creaky 66yr old!x

  • Yvonne Ryves

    Oh I am so glad it’s not just me. In the warm weather or if I am somewhere warm it is hard to get me inside anywhere. In Australia a few years ago I refused to even sleep in a building but back home in sometimes chilly, often damp Ireland, my time with the natural world, and my own outdoor rituals are completely dependent on the sun shining and the temperature being high enough not to require thermals. At other times of the year it’s quite amazing how many fire ceremonies I seem to need to hold 🙂

  • Christopher Blackwell

    I don’t do outside ceremonies, I prefer indoors, privacy, being able to know that no one really knows what I do. Of course being 71 has a lot to do with that, poor eyesight, often using a walker, and no longer able to drive. I did outdoors for years as an agate miner, and then my ceremonies were outdoors. At my age,heat and air conditioning are much more important.
    Meanwhile I live out in the desert feed all the critters and can look out my window at the wild life and get a few laughs fro their antics. My cat is my best friend and we understand each other, and each others schedules. I like quiet, lots of it. I don’t do many spells any more, my ceremonies are fairly simple, but I still cast a mean circle even before my nightly meditations, with my voice echoing off the walls. That seems to keep me balanced.

  • Widdershins

    Yep … we can be heard just as well from our living rooms (or pubs) as we can under the stars. Sacred is Sacred.

  • Sue Marsh

    I really like this post Nimu. I don’t “dress” for ceremony at all. First of all, I couldn’t afford it, and secondly, I don’ feel it is necessary for me to look like the Druids of old in a modern day life. My intent is clear, the Awen is with me at all times, with or without ceremony. Because New Zealand can often experience four seasons in one day I would have to lug around a suitcase with changes of clothing anyway. I don’t mind other folk seeing me – it often starts interesting and rewarding conversations and I’ve yet to have anyone put my spirituality down. Some times in warm summer nights I may be sky clad, but only in my private yard – no one wants to see a naked 74 year old! Well, my animals don’t mind, ha ha! Our intent is what’s needed, not how we look… Thanks again for all your messages. I read them all, haven’t written back for a long time, but you are often in my thoughts and prayers…

  • Seasonal rituals and connecting with nature | Druid Life

    […] written recently about being a fair weather Pagan, it struck me that this is a perfectly reasonable way to do things, if the wider context supports […]

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