Last week I think it was, I described my relationship with Paganism that even for me clarified my thoughts on it in a way I wasn't expecting:
Paganism for me is a bit like being Transgender: it's an umbrella, I technically fall under it as a non-binary person, but I do not use it to self-identify in most situations.
One way I do use it to self-identify is to introduce my spiritual self to others whom I have no intentions on getting to know beyond a superficial level. "Weelllll just consider me Pagan" has been my default for many years, it works in a pinch, usually prevents people's eyes from glazing over the same way stating "I'm Kemetic!" would.
But truthfully, fitting into Pagan communities is very difficult when you are on the outskirts. First, we (Kemetic Orthodox) don't consider ourselves Pagan. Second, modern-day Pagan communities can be frustratingly narrow in what they accept or do not accept, in some cases to the same degree traditional organized religions (including the modern-day assumption and/or insistence that Paganism be synonymous with Wicca).
Finally you have the fact that Paganism, by definition, existed as a type of antithesis to organized one-true-way systems like Christianity, though the primary definitions of the word come from Latin pāgānus which actually meant "rustic" or "civilian". Still, it picked up its additional meaning as one who worships -false- Gods, and therein lies a problem.
I'm all about reclaiming vocabulary, for what it's worth. Pagan can be, and is, a positive thing, along with many other words the world is learning to reclaim.
But it does make things difficult when trying to decide if this is an umbrella that suits you, or not. For me, I admit it's one of convenience, and functions as the closest mass-social space I can be a part of.
No one wants to be lonely in their walk of life, and when you are in a minority practice, it's natural to seek out like-minded individuals, even if the paths don't match up exactly.
@Nesi You have the way of it. I appreciate Paganism, but I also have a connection to the Celtic through my akhu.
@Nesi One approach, recommended and written about by an old friend Dr. Jenny Blain, is to talk about paganisms, rather than paganism. Thus, by that reasoning, Wicca is one paganism. Heathenry is another paganism. Kemeticism could be yet another. Arguably within each paganism, there are many more.
I like that, though my personal approach is just to say I'm Kemetic, whether or not I'm expecting to get to know someone in greater depth. Genuinely interested people might, for example, ask for the spelling (as someone did today). For others, it might just bounce off their glazed look—which is also fine!
I guess I'm different in that I'm used to and am happy with solitary practice. A large group seems like a luxury for me! But I do realize that some, perhaps many, people feel the need for identification and even validation within a group, and will feel lonely without it.
@Nesi oh! I have come across this a few times in my practice. I don't ever want people to feel downsized by the term pagan. I respect orthodox systems of worship even if my eclectic, dynamic self is far from it. I am going to resolve to try and be more inclusive.
A place for serious content to casual interest, discussions, practices, and all things pagan, heathen, and witchy; nature, magic, and self discovery and growth.