A Faith Ever New
Reform Pagans celebrate Mid Spring (also called “Ostara”), a sabbat of regeneration, breakthroughs, and new beginnings, around the time of the vernal equinox, when hours of light and darkness in a day are most nearly equal. This time of year also sees new life emerging everywhere from winter’s dormant Earth.
According to ancient wisdom traditions, the part (microcosm) and the whole (macrocosm) resemble each other. This principle holds true of the relationship between, on the one hand, each of the eight sabbats of the Wheel of the Year and, on the other hand, the entire Pagan Renewal. On the occasion of Mid Spring, as the equality of light and darkness in the heavens at the vernal equinox coincides with the emergence of new life on the Earth, so Reform Paganism’s insistence on achieving union amidst diversity, of bringing together the antipodes of ostensible contradiction, creates something greater, something more comprehensive and coherent, something new.
This is the very meaning of Pagan Reformism: unceasing rebirth and renewal of humanity’s once and future faith. In order to make rebirth and renewal a reality, we commit to each other not despite our differences but because of them — we must find others whose beliefs and practices differ from our own so that we can learn from each other and grow together in Nature.
Reform Paganism is necessarily a faith of continual question and answer but, perhaps, less of answers than of questions. Our questions arise as not a symptom of idle, passing curiosity but an earnest and purposeful expression of our inexhaustible fascination and incurable infatuation with Life, Truth, Love, Power, and Divinity. Reform Paganism refuses orthodoxy not only in the contents of belief but also in the very mode of attaining understanding. For sometimes addressing an old question through a changed perspective leads us to a new answer.
Reform Paganism entails embracing change and ambiguity, even the kind of cognitive dissonance that is like holding light and darkness together in balanced, equal portions in a single day at the precarious point in the year when the ratio of light to darkness is changing most rapidly, the moment of balance most fleeting. Reform Paganism demands unshakeable open-mindedness to that which “blows one’s mind” and willingness to destroy and rebuild one’s assumed paradigm day by day. After all, as we see around us at Mid Spring, that which has died gives life to that which now lives.
Reform Paganism involves, we might say, a process theology of the Divinity not only without but also within. So we say, in the spirit of regeneration, breakthrough, and new beginnings that Mid Spring embodies: ours is a religion not of being but of becoming.
Originally published at Pagan Renewal.