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Which Witch is Which?

Defining Halifax’s diverse Pagan community is no simple task.

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I’ve been asked to write an article about Paganism in Halifax—to provide some insider insight on what it means to be Pagan in our city by the sea.

I’ve struggled over the last few weeks with how I should write this piece. One of the biggest concerns I have heard in our Pagan community has been “How can you speak for me?”, or “I don’t want anyone speaking for me”. I have no intention of speaking for anyone other than myself, but it is likely that someone will take offense to something I have said.

Trying to define “paganism” is a bit like trying to define “aboriginal peoples”— we are all individuals, and while we use the umbrella term ‘Pagan’, we identify differently. Some call themselves Witches or Wicca; some are Druid, Heathen, Dirt Witch, Neo Pagan, Shamanic Pagan. There are as many labels as there are people, it seems.

To me what identifies a Pagan is their love of, or identification with the earth and/or the ability to see magic everywhere (here I already envision heads shaking, as some paths do not call it magic).

I call it magic—but what it truly is, is nature and the energy that creates everything. If we start to learn the rhythms of our universe, we have the ability to work with it to benefit not only ourselves, but also the entirety of humanity and the universe. If we don’t, we are doomed to repeat over and over as the rhythms reset themselves to fix whatever we have broken. To work with this energy requires intention—being able to actually focus your true will or intent on something to manifest it into being.

Pagans are also generally “earth” people, but how they work with the earth can be different for every person or group. Individuality is a very key component to Paganism. It is the factor that both enlivens and darkens communities. Individuals bring wonderful ideas and amazing energy to groups. Individuals also can stand alone, feeling isolated and solitary (some like being solitary, which is cool too!). The individuality of beliefs can sometimes make “Pagan” community a tough thing to achieve on a large scale.

The Pagan community here in Halifax defies definition—it is a community full of amazing individuals who can work together in small groups, solitarily or sometimes in large groups. We are a conglomerate of somewhat like-minded people who have the ability to focus our intentions (sometimes for only short periods, sometimes consistently). We are pieces of the amazing jigsaw puzzle that is humanity itself. Ultimately, we crave knowledge and peace on an earth that we long to understand.

There are several groups around that are open to the public and hold open events year round—the AEGIS Pagan Gathering, The Witches Ball, monthly meet-ups, and open sabbat rituals. Sometimes finding them can be overwhelming. We have recently lost our stronghold in the community—the shop Little Mysteries closed in August, leaving the one consistent spot for people to enquire and find books and information empty. We miss them terribly!

There are other shops around the city but none that have the same focus that Little Mysteries had. As the circle of life turns, someone will step up and we will once again have a place to get our tools and information. In the meantime, the internet appears to be the best place of gleaning information, and there is always The Witching Hour (Earth & Sky/ Sun & Sea) on CKDU 88.1 FM (www.ckdu.ca) on Friday Evenings at 7:00 pm.

For those who happen to pick up this paper the day it comes out—do you want to take part in a wonderful Samhain ritual with dancing, happy pagans?

There is a public event at the Halifax Commons on All Hallows Eve at 7:30 (October 31). The only requirement is that you bring your wonderful individual self and your energy. Feel free to join in as we honour the ancestors and celebrate the turning of the wheel of the year!

Blessed Be.

 

Oceanna is co-host of Earth & Sky – The Witching Hour on CKDU 88.1 FM.

 

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