Soooo in my feed today was this article in Patheos by the lovely Gardnerian HPS, Thorn Mooney. It is a response to the often heard statement ” “I can’t find any insert your preferred term for modern Pagan here in NC”, which I have more to say about, of course, but please go read her article FIRST. “There are Fucking Witches in North Carolina” Seriously… go ahead…. we’ll wait….
Ok ok settle down fellow Pagan clergy, in my state AND others. I do agree with her. I am originally from NY and when we moved to NC 25 years ago, I thought for sure I would never find another Pagan, let alone coven, here. Yet I was initiated into the EXACT very specific tradition I dreamed of, within 2 years of moving here, and my own hived coven (Clann Caladvwlch in W/S) is now over 18yrs old and still going strong. Now I will say that though Clann C has always been HIGHLY visible via our website, social media and many public platforms, most of our inquiries DO still come through Witchvox. So part of the “can’t find” problem may just be that people don’t know how to word their Google searches in such a way as to receive the results they want. That said………
Over the years, I’ve personally come to realize that the statement “I can’t find any “Pagans” in NC” doesn’t actually mean can’t find one AT ALL, it means can’t find one in a place “convenient” enough to pursue. To be able to practice with and be trained by the HPhood/lineage I wanted, I drove what was then an almost 2hr drive EACH WAY between W/S and my initiatory coven in Durham, 2-3 Saturdays a month, leaving my oldest, and then very young son, and hubby, (and later on my newborn son as well) behind to do so. When Path of the Moon was in its infancy back in 2000-01, we frequently had people come from HOURS away for our public rituals. But let’s face it, the average PRACTICING Pagan nowadays won’t drive over 15mins to buy their supplies from a local esoteric shop instead of AzureGreen, let alone to attend public ritual for Goddess sake; so are seekers going to? That said seekers, you really need to stop saying that you can’t find us, if what you really mean is that you aren’t willing to travel to where we are!
Ive also come to realize that “I can’t find a teacher/coven/grove/group” has little to do with not finding the specific TRADITION they are looking for either. Nooooo, “I cant find a coven” more often translates to “I don’t want to actually have to do the work.” Plain and simple. Now granted, mine is a degreed Kabbalistic based Western Mystery tradition coven, so it is a huge academic endeavor that is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I know plenty of Wiccan coven leaders who require far less, yet receive the exact same responses I do. It seems that today’s seekers, who have learned about Wicca / modern Paganism from fiction, or the Llewellyn section of their favorite bookstore, don’t even seem to know, let alone understand or VALUE, the idea of being “properly prepared”. They just want to be able to do it…. ALL of it….. RIGHT NOW! So fine… grab your book and go DO it, but don’t say you can’t find us if what you really mean is you can’t find a person/grp/etc who doesn’t have some expectation that you will read/study/train/etc with them FIRST.
Wicca/ Modern Paganism extends an immense privilege to our practitioners, one that MOST other religions/spiritualities do NOT – the ability to know, inside and out, the history and MEANING behind every item we wear, tool we use, action we take, words we speak/sing, and ritual we perform. And each and every practitioner of Wicca / modern Paganism is also afforded an honor no other religion/spirituality extends – the opportunity to, as a “layperson”, advance to carry the traditions/practices of our spiritualities beyond ourselves, and our own individual grps/covens/groves/etc into the future as Priesthood. But the spiritualities that were our forebears were not passive, easy Paths; they were demanding, arduous, and even perilous to take on; because NOTHING worth having comes easily.
So my dear seekers, we, the Wiccans, witches, strega, ceremonial magicians, Druids, Heathens, Asatru, Voduin, Yoruban, Santerian, priesthood, teachers, organizers, leaders (etc terms I have missed) of the colorful communities that fall under the umbrella term “Pagan” here in NC are probably NOT going to make it any easier for you. We are going to continue be where we can be, and do what we can do. The rest my pretties, is ENTIRELY up to YOU!