Friday, April 27, 2012

The Pagan Blog Project: I is for Identity

Of course, the topic of identity applies to everyone, not just Pagans, and is really something that many wouldn't consider connected to Paganism at all.
I say different.
The definition of Identity is:
"The sense of self, providing sameness and continuity in personality over time."
"Condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is."
"The condition of being oneself or itself, and not another."
This means, Identity is the combination of everything about you, it is who you are, and therefore results in where you belong. Typically, this means, it's a very important thing and everyone should have an idea of their identity, but to know this someone actually needs to know... well, what goes into your identity?

The easy but vague answer is, everything.
But it gets so much more complicated than that.
Your family and friends, and even your enemies, are part of your identity. Your routines and daily events go into your identity. So does your favourite things, music, movies, books, fashion, activities, foods, and colours. Your opinions and thought patterns. Your interests and hobbies and tastes. They all mix and combine into the single, unique you. Your identity is the foundation of who you are.

Imagine, you've moved over seas away from your family to start a new career, and you wake up in hospital with a bandaged head... and you have no memories. What would you do? Where would you go? The doctors might be able to tell you your name, lucky you, but where from there? In your head, you have no address, no job, no friends, no nothing... No identity. Obviously, this could be terrifying and you would be stuck. Now, even with all your memories, it is still possible not to know who you are or where you fit in the world, what your purpose is, and therefore, you can get stuck - you can't move foreward if you don't know where you're going, and of course you can't go back either.
This is why identity is so important.

I'm going to now (because that was a large introduction), go on to talk about Religion and Beliefs, and how they are important to, and fit into someones identity.
Religious beliefs are a huge part of identity. This tends to be because religion itself has so many different parts of itself, just like identity. There are spiritual beliefs, practices, and influences. Religion can play a part in every aspect of our lives, especially if you're a 'practicing partitioner'.
Firstly, religion can play a huge part in spiritual growth, and ultimately, spiritual growth shakes the entire foundations of your identity - it is a change, and sometimes that change reverberates like ripples in a pond, out to affect everything in your life, and therefore affects your identity, who you are. That is why coming into a religion or changing faiths can be a daunting, terrifying, or maybe confusing - then of course there's the fact that this change might not even work or sit well with you, which makes everything so much more complicated.

Becoming a Pagan means adopting a whole lot of things into your life - it means changing part of who you are. The thing is, this could include any amount of things.
Activity-wise, it could mean meditating weekly, grounding and centering daily, celebrating the sabbats and esbats, practicing rituals, learning divination, or giving tributes/offerings to your deity.
In terms of beliefs, this could mean exploring what you think happens after death, whether you truely believe a god is out there, what control you have over your life or what is left up to karma or your deity.
It can also mean a change in your actions - if you believe in karma, you obviously are going to be watching out to do unto others what you want do un to you.
Then of course, there are your friends and family. From personal experience, I know that being Pagan can cause conflict with Christians, or just people in general who don't know the truth about it.

Now, if you're already Pagan or have another religion, what do you think would change for you if it was ripped away? Say you were forbidden to practice it, where would you turn for guidance?
Religion is a guide in many people's lives. It is an important part of who you are.

So, I'm hoping maybe this was an insight into how, even if you don't realise it, Paganism could be a huge, important part of who you are - a part of your identity. Comments? Opinions? Ideas?
Be proud of who you are, because without it, your are nobody.
Blessed Be.

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