Paganism and simplicity

When a lot of Pagans start out, they get a bit of the “gear witch” vibe about them.

They buy stuff. Lots and lots and lots of stuff.

In the Pagan community, there’s so much stuff to be had, so many fabulous tools and toys. It can all be a bit overwhelming. And if you like to spend and possess and have lovely things, it can be real easy to start collecting a lot of stuff.

I went through this, and a lot of my friends did too. Tarot sounds interesting, so you collect a few tarot decks plus some books on the subject. Runes sound great too, so before you know it you have a few sets of rune stones and some books about them too.

You figure you must have a Wand (everyone knows a you’re not a Real Pagan[TM] unless you have a Wand!!!) and you must have a Blade (because they’re cool too, and a Blade has different energy).

Before you know it, you’re eyeing off those fancy swords online and wondering which you can afford. Or how many. Maybe a collection. Yeah…a collection would be great.

It all adds up, and builds up, and when you add the candles and bells and Tibetan singing bowls and God and Goddess figurines and chalices and cauldrons to the collection, no wonder so many Pagans are drowning in stuff! Plus the clothes – you feel like, as a newbie, the right ritual robes and capes will give you pagan “street cred”.

So you buy, buy, buy.

It’s all very addictive. And very, very easy to do.

And very, very wrong.


Paganism comes from within

All the stuff in the world won’t make a person a Pagan. Which is a good thing. We’re a bit selective like that! Likewise, I’d argue that any path that encourages you to buy and own lots of stuff is a fool’s path.

You’ll find lots of Pagans with lots of fancy stuff all around the world…and they’re usually the silliest Pagans of the lot. They’ve forgotten that the Divine is immanent. Within us. It can’t be bought or sold.

The more stuff you collect, the harder it is to focus on the inner self, your connection with the Divine, and what really matters. Fancy stuff is just a temptation; a lure. A diversion from the truth.

A diversion from the truth.


We all know that of course. It’s written clearly in one of the most valued early texts in modern Paganism, which is the Charge of the Goddess:

    “…If that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee.

    For behold, I have been with thee from the beginning; and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.”

You won’t find Paganism in stuff, and you certainly won’t find Divinity. All the tools, and toys, and robes are just props.

You could even call them diversions for the weak-minded. They help set the scene for those who can’t focus without them. They hold no real power by themselves. Only living matter can do that: living energy.

That’s what we Pagans do: channel energy; create energy; focus energy. A wand in the end is just a stick. A blade in the end is just a hunk of metal. This is the real truth. Connection to the Divine comes from within, not from these lifeless things.

If you want to find the Divine, get rid of everything that isn’t essential. Then you will find what you truly seek.



5 thoughts on “Paganism and simplicity

  1. I have a post I wrote about a month ago about living without any tools other than myself and another in draft that talks about the tools I actually USE being every day items most wouldn’t think of as tools (think Kitchen/Hearth Witch here).

    I believe that the only tools we truly require are ourselves and beyond household items, I’m very simplistic…basically candles and things that smell. It’s a way of practice that has served me for 20 years and that will continue to serve me into the future.

    1. I agree completely. We don’t need tools.

      Over the whole time I’ve identified as Pagan (since I was 18 or thereabouts, so about 25 years EEP!), I’ve had one tool that has remained with me, and that’s a small dagger that I bought in a junk shop for $30 when I first started my path. That’s it.

      When I first started I did the whole “gear witch” thing of owning heaps of stuff. Now I own very little. I might have half a dozen books on my shelf that are Pagan-related, and I have a tarot deck still (the Rider-Waite – I’ve found none better), but none of it is important.

      As my life goes on I find I’m happier needing less. It’s a trend that I hope will continue 🙂

      1. I think the “gear Witch” thing is something the youth of our path are more apt to. I think the “less is more” concept really sinks in as we get older and realize our own power and potential. Our self-confidence increases with age, knowledge and wisdom (at least, mine has) and I believe that has a direct effect on what we consider necessary in all aspects of our lives.

      2. My self-confidence has increased too. I know that a lot of my being a “gear witch” had to do with finding my place in this path because, of course, I had no elders to look to for guidance really. Yes, there were older people around, but a lot of the time they were finding their feet too.

        Now I’m older I generally feel secure about who I am and what I want, and don’t feel the need for my “stuff” to illustrate anything about me.

  2. While I agree with you that one’s personal connection to the divine comes from within the worshiper, I find that using tools and items and other magical tchotchkes helps to concentrate my focus and make my actions and rituals tangible. For example, dedicating an item to Aphrodite imbues that particular item with Her spirit. I’m a very visual and sensual (in the way of physical contact) person, and being able to worship the Divine in the form of a physical item helps me to concentrate on dedicating myself fully. Otherwise, I spend so much time trying to reach or conjure Aphrodite’s spirit in my mind that I lose focus and end up not accomplishing anything! That’s just me, though.

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