Cultural cohesion is an important bedrock upon which we build pagan relationships. Modern paganism is made up of several schools of thought and practice and very often adherents from various cultures who have been practising ancestral beliefs undisrupted by the vagaries of history.
In our current times when knowledge is easily accessible through the internet and books, it becomes alluring for people to reach out and amalgamate aspects of other practices into their own. However, when done in a vacuum or in a diluted manner totally divorced from context and stripped of its mystical essence, this can cause cultural appropriation or even the reinvention of deities and spiritual practices in a totally garbled fashion.
This sadly can ostracise pagans who have been following their cultural practices and preserved their knowledge and heritage, just to have them hijacked by misled new age people who wish to incorporate elements of other cultures without understanding the context or expressing a genuine interest in the faith.
This pick and mix attitude can give rise to fetishism of indigenous or other cultures, stripping them of their meaning and the erasure of the voices of people of colour. We in the cultural cohesion department are tasked with creating a cohesion space in paganism that includes all the voices and streams in paganism and overcoming the Eurocentric standpoint that can often result in narrow mindedness.
We focus on routing out racism and discrimination within paganism, combatting the rise of racist far right ideologies hijacking paganism for their nefarious agendas and allowing paganism and its spirituality as expressed by other cultures to be given its voice on the pagan platform.
We are aiming to invite the dialogue between other pagan movements and having their voice added to our pagan context of inclusiveness, since modern paganism has borrowed from other cultures and incorporated beliefs. Modern pagan practices could very much benefit from including the voices of those cultures they appreciate and creating a harmonious dynamic.
Our team is still in the making, but we are aiming to recruit capable people who have a deep understanding of the spiritual practices of other cultures, their historical context and the intricate relationship between honouring a culture and expressing genuine curiosity and treating a religion as an accessory.