I know I might incite anger and extreme disagreement with this article, but I feel I need to talk about my perspective concerning the term “techno-Pagan”.
Let me start by laying some groundwork. First of all, it’s quite obvious that I’m not totally against the use of technology. After all, here I am – on the Worldwide Web – talking to you via computer! Without the use of my trusty desktop, I would have no web site, no Facebook listing, no Twitter, no LinkedIn account. I would have far less communication with friends and family and would be less able to meet new and interesting people from around the country and around the world.
Although I don’t have a cell phone – I live in the hills and there’s no service here – I can see how, for some, they can be a useful tool to stay connected to home and work.
The other side of the coin is the definition of Pagan – the one I learned many decades ago: “One who resides in the country. A Pagan is not always a Witch, but a Witch is always a Pagan in the sense of the worship of nature and communing with it.”
In 1983, when the first Goddess Gathering was held in a state park here in Ohio, there were no cell phones, no laptops, no tablets. In fact, the site we held that first Gathering at didn’t even have electricity and only latrines. It was truly us communing with Nature and each other. It was both relaxing and invigorating. There were no distractions from our connecting with each other and getting to know each other.
In 2002, the last year I was coordinator for Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary, cell phones were already starting to creep into the midst of our Gatherings. It was a distraction. People seemed more concerned about whether they could get a signal than connecting with the other people on the site. It was sad.
It’s been ten years since I’ve attended any kind of Pagan festival, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t heard about all the technology that now accompanies festival-goers. People are building fewer communal fires and getting to know each other. More are staying connected to the web and outside world while they attend and, in my opinion, being distracted from the real purpose of being there: To reconnect with Nature.
Perhaps you’re beginning to see my frustration at the term techno-Pagan. It truly is an oxymoron to me. Our senses are already bombarded on a daily basis by technology of all varieties and all that comes with it. Most of us live lives that are fraught with hustle and bustle. We feel like we’re constantly running to catch up. Yet, when we have the opportunity to take ourselves into a complete change of scenery and lifestyle, instead of leaving our connection to that stress behind, or, at the very least, turning it off, we take it with us and stay connected! Where’s the communing with Nature and other humans in that?
There’s another aspect to this that puzzles me also. Most people who attend these festivals, claim to have an interest in magick, in the invisible realms, and/or in psychic phenomena. How can you possibly investigate and practice those things when you become so anchored in this world and its technology that you can’t even turn off your phone?
Technology is of this physical world/reality. To some, it can be a type of magic, but not the kind that resides within each of us. Face it, it’s pretty amazing to be able to call or write someone on the other side of the world and instantly get an answer, but it’s not as amazing as being able to create healing in someone with the touch of your hands or telepathically send or receive a message from a loved one. Traveling by airplane or jet and covering vast distances in short amounts of time is pretty cool, but can it top lucid dreaming or consciously being able to astrally project? Being able to watch a movie on your smartphone, no matter where you are, is pretty awesome, but does it top being able to remote view (mentally project) or see into the past, present or future with your mind?
Witches and Pagans of old (and those who continue to keep with tradition) could do many of these things and more because they kept a close connection with Nature and the spiritual side of life. Some will give me the argument that I need to come into the 21st century. My piece of Truth is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Some things were (and are) the way they were (and are) because they work just the way they are and don’t require modernizing or “fixing” to keep working – especially those things that are of a spiritual nature.
Yoga, tai chi, and qi gong are a few of the spiritually oriented practices that are still practiced the same way they have always been practiced. Older spiritual paths have found no reason to change the way their followers practice those beliefs. They work as they are. The idea being, to take us from the mundane and remind us of who we really are, that we are all connected, and that connection extends to everything that exists in heaven and on Earth.
To me, technology has its place, like any good tool, but when that tool becomes a distraction or even an obsession that takes us away from the realization that we are so much more than any technology can provide for us, then it may be time to rethink the place of that technology in our lives.
Techno-Pagan? Not in my world. A Pagan who uses technology, perhaps. At the end of the day, and the end of the week even more so, we need to turn off our phones, tablets, computers and get up from our desks, go outside take a deep breathe and take a look at the awesomeness of the outside world. It’s time we begin to realize how wonderful life is and how powerful each of us really is. Best of all, it’s time to really believe that we are never alone because we are connected to each other and everything else in our world!
May peace and harmony be with you always.