Pagan students should come together in new assocation

By Tamilia Reid

Ours is the ecstasy of being

Walking in the beauty of the great green Earth

Ours is the touching of the mystery

Ours the experience of death and birth

Ours is the liberating voice of nature

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    Knowing that there isn’t any more than this

    Ours the ritual of love and pleasure

    Ours the delivery of the five fold kiss

    Who are the constituents of the pervasive “Our” presented above, you ask? Well, “Our” is composed of we Wiccans, Shamans, Witches, Asatru, Druids, Goddess-Worshipers, and many more. We are Pagans.

    Given the history of Paganism and the much debated content of its “character”, I think I should offer a very basic definition of the term. Paganism is a poly-pantheistic, Earth-centered spiritual tradition that has under its auspices many denominations both old and new.

    While not all Pagans would subscribe to the content of every one of the lines cited above from Gaia Consort’s song, “Drawing Down the Moon”, in my opinion, the excerpt reflects the essence of Paganism as a religious/spiritual path and implies its diverse body of beliefs and practices.

    As students enter the hallowed halls of higher education, all bring with them their spiritual and religious convictions. Via various University-sanctioned means, those beliefs are honored within the campus community.

    Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) come immediately to mind as ways that various religious and spiritual groups make their presence felt on campus.

    For many weeks, I searched the UIUC Web site feverishly for a student organization committed to supporting Pagan students on campus.

    A search of the Student Activities & Programs Office Web site proved fruitless. General searches on the UIUC Web site for the terms “Pagan”, “Wicca”, and “witchcraft” were equally void of result.

    I was (and still am) shocked to discover that no such entity exists on this campus. Public and private universities with far smaller student bodies have a Pagan student organization, but the University with its 42,728 students from all over the United States and the world does not.

    When the sheer size of the campus and all the diversity that the University’s size implies is combined with the fact that there is an active Pagan community in the greater Champaign-Urbana area, it becomes obvious that the absence of a Pagan student organization is a great discredit to the University.

    The University, according to the list of student organizations available on the Student Activities & Programs Office Web site, currently has Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Hindus among its ranks. Given that Paganism is a growing spiritual path which boasts adherents from many walks of life, I say Pagans can and should leap in and join the party!

    In that spirit, I propose that Pagan students on campus – who are so inclined – come together for fellowship, knowledge-sharing, and celebration. From that togetherness may spring a bona fide Pagan Students Association capable of harnessing the great diversity of the UIUC campus and the passion of the greater Champaign-Urbana Pagan community!

    Enthusiastically, I enter the University community with my Pagan spiritual convictions in tow. I invite UIUC Pagans and Pagan-friendly individuals to contact me if you are interested in building community on campus. I can be reached at [email protected].

    Blessed be!