I have a little time on my hands before work, and just got in from a nice long walk outside in spring-like weather, which for us here in Northern Illinois is magical considering it’s the middle of February! So I figured I’d take a moment to answer the question to Week 6 of the YouTube Pagan Challenge.
YTPC W6: What are you cultural influences?
Like a lot of people who find this path on their own and are not born onto it, my first conscious exposure to paganism was through Wicca. Wicca is British. However, I never really connected deeply with a lot of the British and ceremonial influences is Wicca, which is why it wasn’t long at all before I was off on my own trying to find deeper meaning.
I had to go off on my own because a lot of what you find in regular bookstores about pagan paths are influenced by Wicca and/or other British/Old European practices, which I appreciate, but again – they didn’t give me the connection I was looking for.
A while ago I started connecting with Aztec Reconstructionism. Half of my ancestry comes from southern Mexico, and I myself was born in and have lived most of my life in the deserts of the American southwest. As a result, a lot of my identity is tied to the southwest and the desert. While I identify strongly with this area of the globe in the sense that it’s where I physically have spent most of my time, unfortunately I did not receive a whole lot of direct acculturation of my Mexican heritage due to how I was raised. However, I feel that this part of my ancestry is more *within* reach than my European ancestry, and I feel drawn to honor it as a pagan.
I find the Aztec gods to be amazingly powerful. I’ve never felt in such awe and humbled by deity as I do when I spend time with the Aztec pantheon. The imagery, the language, the stories – it all touches me deeply.
Besides this, my path is very much my own. In the 14 years I have been a practicing pagan, I have moved quite a distance from traditional British practices and have spent the last many years searching for cultural pagan roots that I truly connected with.
In my practice today I focus a lot on the world around me, which is now the world of the Midwest, but I also continue to feel a strong connection with my roots in the Southwest. At my daily altar, I honor the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl and the goddess Coatlicue – but I think there’s another question about deity somewhere in the TYPC, so I won’t go into much detail about that here.
Additionally, the spiritual path that I was raised on is from Asia/South Asia, although my family is not from here. I’m sure I still hold many of the things that I was taught growing up with me to this day, although they’re not really as much in the forefront of my mind as they once were. My being raised on this path definitely had a part in me feeling as comfortable as I did stepping into the world of modern American paganism when I finally learned about it, because a lot of what I was taught growing up is echoed in paganism (and you could definitely argue that I was raised pagan anyway, since the path I was raised on is not Abrahamic, but beyond that fact alone the argument could still be made). So I’ve always been very comfortable with traditional Eastern ideas about the nature of god, reincarnation, everything being one, including nature, and so on.
I think that’s all I have to say about this! I wrote this pretty quickly so I apologize if some of this seems a little disjointed.
Happy Friday, everyone.