I will be among the first to admit that at times I am overly concerned with the past, be it the study of history or being unable to get to sleep at night because I keep thinking about all the things I regret in my life. It’s both a personal quality that I share with many, many other people but also a quality that a large number of Pagans and Heathens share as well. In some respects the very state or act of being Pagan or Heathen is actively reaching into the past and making it a part of the now. Certainly, the importance some Pagans and Heathens place on the length of time since they started studying or how old their path is etc is exemplary of the value placed on the past by Pagans and Heathens, whether rightly or wrongly.
Nevertheless it is nigh impossible to cease stepping forward into the future, you might say that it is an irrefutable aspect of living with Time. Time moves forward and all things affected by Time must also move forward with it.
Though not solely attributed to Pagans and Heathens (by any stretch of the imagination) the near constant state of having one eye on the past and one on the future is something that I have not really devoted much thought to before, but come to now because of a few things I read today (something I do when I’m struggling to think of something totally off the top of my head).
Survivability and collective longevity is something that Pagan and Heathen groups are in an unusual limbo state with. In recent years there have been groups celebrating some quite impressive anniversaries while at the same time simply surviving from one year to another is something a lot of Pagan and Heathen groups struggle with. Its a weird dichotomy whereby the longevity of some groups are beginning to approach the significant is juxtaposed against the almost flash in the pan half-life other groups experience.
The idea that Pagans and Heathens might achieve ‘real power’ as I read one person put it, is becoming more and more possible each year that passes and yet I cannot help but think that the further into the future we get as a species the more the relevance of Pagan and Heathen belief becomes a question waiting nay demanding to be answered. When the future of the planet is overshadowed by such disasters as cataclysmic climate change, growing warfare and disastrous economic shift (among other things) the question of our relevance needs to be addressed: Can there exist belief in the old gods of wood and woad when no such things exist anymore? When the climate has changed so dramatically that the lords and ladies of the storm no longer represent the new weather can we still call them gods?
Do we adapt, do we die out or do we fight in the now for a brighter future?