Is it possible to be a secular pagan? As a scientist with a love of robust evidence why am I trying to reconnect with the Paganism which I had discovered and loved as a teenager? There are a few reasons…
My mental health is a problem, thanks to genetics I am regularly gripped by depression, anxiety and fear, though medication and psychological help have made great improvements, it is still a problem. I am constantly stressed and tired and life feels like it just rushes past. I feel direction-less. People regularly suggest mindfulness and meditation to me, which have great scientifically acknowledged benefits, but without any specific guidance I always just forgot to do it. In Paganism the emphasis on observing passing time, the changing seasons, and celebrating the beauty of each, I hope will give me that push to slow down, appreciate the moment, and be content. To accept the passing of time and the changes that come with no fear.
I am fascinated by other cultures around the world, the history and traditions passed down through generations, the joyous celebrations. I enjoy observing and learning from them but I know they are not mine to join in with or belong to. My heritage being British and European, I felt I had no culture to be proud of, to celebrate. Britain was a destroyer of other cultures, and I was ashamed of that history. But the very roots of British and European culture were also stamped out by Christianity, a vibrant and interesting culture did exist. Those people were scientists of their time, observing and measuring the passing of time, the changes of the earth, the cycles of life and death in everything, the movements of space, experimenting to see what might bring a better harvest, or good weather. And that is something to celebrate, remember, revive and learn from. There is some pride and wonder in my heritage.
With a huge thirst for knowledge and strong roots in science, I have studied for three science based degrees now spanning: biology, chemistry, physics, medical sciences, sociology and psychology.
As a teenager I became interested in Paganism and Wicca and practiced for a while but as my path into science went further I abandoned it for lack of evidence. I always looked back on that time as a time of excitement and happiness which I longed to have back in my life. I started to wonder if it was possible to be a scientist and a pagan at the same time, and the more I thought about it, the more it appealed. The more the potential benefits shined in my mind, and that excitement grew. I started this blog to follow my journey back into Paganism as a Scientist. It is an unusual journey. I want to record what I do, the Pagan (both ancient and modern) background to those things, and the science inherent in it too. And to see if I get the results I am searching for. Hopefully it will be an interesting and unique perspective and show that it is possible to be a “Sciencey Pagan”.