In the past entire cultures and societies were Pagan and Heathen, yet not every member of those societies or cultures were able to do as all Pagans and Heathens seem to be able to do today – which is to say that in the past only a small number of the total number of Pagans and Heathens were able to talk to the gods, perform magic and do other such tasks.
I hadn’t really thought of this till the time came for me to write and submit my question to the PaganPerspective (see ‘Asked a Question [CR53]’) but the reality of being a Pagan and/or Heathen is that today we tend to think that every one of us is capable of communing with deity, drawing down the moon, trance work and the great many other practices we have. However in the past, rightly or wrongly, it cannot be denied that only a few were capable of doing so. For all the Pagan and Heathen attachment to the past, we’ve forgotten that not every Celt was a priest or priestess, druid or bard, not every Viking was able to call up Thor or Freyr and Freyja’s might.
This particular topic is hard for me, not just because of the nature of the question I asked the PaganPerspective, but also because I am not entirely sure what to do with it. The topic came to me and the note I wrote down was ‘lest we forget the past and that we live in the Now rather than Then’ – for the life of me I do not recall what the second part meant. Certainly, I share the first part, garbled as it is, because I do feel that its something important for the community. We really do tend to forget that in the ancient societies we so fervently seek to re-embody not everyone was a magical person, for lack of a better way of phrasing it. There were for all intents and purposes, Pagans and Heathens with no more capacity for the mystical or communication with the divine than a layperson in a Christian parish.
Perhaps the second part of my note was written to remind me that it seems ironic for Pagans and Heathens to live in a world where society seems to need constant reminding that everyone is not special. Yet as Pagans and Heathens there is this understanding that we are by our very nature different to other people because of what we are capable of doing or otherwise think that everyone can do what we do.