Z is for… Zeal

Paganism is fortunate, I think, not to produce many people with the kind of zeal that leads you to go knocking on strangers’ doors. We have new converts, often, who can be keen, and talk enthusiastically to their friends and sometimes family; but just as often I hear about people who are scared to discuss it, or who prefer to keep their paganism secret from bosses and neighbours.

It would be better if we didn’t have to. But the choice itself, to keep it quiet, is not necessarily a bad one. There is a power in studying alone or with a very small group, for example, progressing at one’s own pace and without having to deal with the questions of outsiders. Sometimes when I’m writing, a big project especially, I can take the wind out of my own sails by discussing it too much or too soon, and I can easily see how that might happen to a spiritual practice, too.

That doesn’t mean we don’t need zeal, though. Pagan zeal is, at its best, the quiet steady kind which keeps you going on that private path of thought and discovery, even when it seems hard and you have nobody with whom to share it. Later, when you’ve worked things through, that same zeal can be used to share with those who want to hear it. (This might go some way to explaining why this blog has been largely private during the Pagan Blog Project year, but will probably be more widely shared next year as I work on Quaker topics.)

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