One of the cool things about being Pagan is the freedom of choice. There is no set dogma or rules. You can follow the Rede or Hammurabi’s Code. No judgment. However there is one drawback when it comes to role models and their role in the overall community. We do not have one person to point to to say, “Hey, what do you think about this guy? Pretty cool, eh?” I am not talking about a religious leader, such as Jesus or Moses. I am talking about a community elder. Someone to pass on traditions and to be an example for younger Pagans of what it means to be a good person.
Part of this conundrum is in the framework Pagans create around their independence. We’re a loose community of believers. Covens are an obvious foil to this idea, but even then they are limited by size and secrecy. Also, some festivals, such as the Pagan Spirit Gathering, have leadership within that particular community. It can be just for the event or for the entire year, depending on the group and the dynamics. Yet all these instances are still very specific to a subset within the overall community of Pagans.
If the Pagan community has large-scale role models, who are they? The most obvious is the Gods and Goddesses themselves. Whether you have a patron or stick to the Lord and Lady, they serve as a moral compass in personal and group work. Authors such as Scott Cunningham and Starhawk also fall into this category because they diffuse information to everyone, not just a small group of people.
As we as a community develop in the coming decades, I will be interested to see if any clear-cut leaders and role models do emerge for the Pagan community. Who knows, reader? If could be you.
© Ariadne Woods