My grandmother (Mamaw) is surrounded by angels. Well…statues of angels, anyway. Resin angels, porcelain angels, ceramic angels—I think we might’ve even unpacked a crystal angel or two during the move. There are angels inscribed with blessings of home, angels guarding the preparation of food in the kitchen kitchen, an angel bedecked in glimmering seashells perched on the lapping foam of tides rolling in. There’s an angel for every possible occasion.
The angel outside in the site of Mamaw’s future garden once stood next to my grandfather’s (Pop) gravestone. It kept getting knocked over and it’s so brittle we decided to take it back home to keep it from getting ruined.
There’s a small resin statue of a farmer holding rabbits that sits by her new back door. She’s named him Dan the Man and gave him the specific task of watching over that part of the house.
A photo of Pop is hung up in the living room, and underneath it, a certificate from the military that was given to us after his death. The specially folded flag is in a shadow box near by. Mamaw dusts these lovingly each day, and—when she’s feeling emotionally strong enough—talks to Pop as she does it.
Unwittingly, my Christian grandmother—the daughter of a Baptist preacher— has filled her house with things that closely resemble fetishes as well as created a space to interact with and venerate her dead husband.
And that’s the problem.
These things make her no more pagan than my first aid kit makes me a doctor. Just like my work with (some) Saints doesn’t make me a Christian, her unknowing foray into slightly ‘mystical’ shit doesn’t change the fact that Christ is her Savior.
Which is why I get so goddamned irked when I see these lists of shit “Real Paganz” (tm) do/should do. As far as I’m concerned, the only thing that needs to be on that list is “educate yourself”.
So let’s just stop it, aigh’t? Instead of trying to paint a large, diverse group of people with a broad stroke in a color you’re comfortable with, look inwards and figure out what it is that you believe. That will be much more helpful for you to know than it is for me to know that I’m not a Real Paganz (tm) to you because I don’t work with crystals or follow the three fold law or whatever is in vogue right now.
Shove and Blight,