I probably should have started with this post, but I was just so excited about those clotheslines that I had to share that first. I gave a brief introduction when I started, but a lot of the terms I used may be unfamiliar. A lot of Pagans don’t know what preppers are and many preppers have no knowledge of modern Paganism. Interestingly enough, there are several homesteaders who span both groups. So, let’s set up our terms so we’re all on the same page.
Paganism – when I use this term I am referring to the modern neo-Pagan religious movement. Neo for “new” and Pagan refers to non-Abrahamic (Jewish, Islamic, Christian) religions. However, neo-Paganism doesn’t typically refer to the two biggest non-Abrahamic religions, Buddhism and Hinduism or the religions of indigenous peoples. There are many neo-Pagan religions. I am a Wiccan, which means I practice one of the neo-Pagan religions called Wicca. I worship multiple deities, work with the traditional four elements (earth, air, fire, and water), follow the cycles of the moon & sun, revere nature, and believe in magick (which I define as science we don’t yet understand and is why I call myself a witch).
I practice my own special brand (we call them Traditions, you might use the word denomination) called Hearthkeeping. I’ll write up a whole post about Hearthkeeping later, but in short it’s a (very, very small) Wiccan Tradition based around the home and family as the center of life and is the basis for my values and interaction with the world. So far as I know it’s a Tradition of two people, myself and the friend with whom I developed the concept. She practices in her own way and due to her family commitments and the distance we live from each other we don’t really get to talk like we used to. So right now I’m solitary, meaning I have no religious community with whom I practice. (As a side note, Mr. WPW is pretty much an agnostic and we don’t share the religious side of things, though we’re both preppers and homesteaders.)
Since so many preppers are Christian, and in specific are fundamentalist Christian I feel the need to specifically state the following: I do not worship Satan. He belongs to your religious mythology, not mine.
So, that’s the religious side of it. Now on to prepping. In its most basic form preppers are just people who don’t want to be caught flat-footed in an emergency. There are people who consider themselves preppers who just have some extra water and canned food in the pantry and extra batteries for a flashlight in case of a storm. Then there are those who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on hidden bunkers, have years’ and years’ worth of food stored, and/or expect the imminent end of the world. Mr. WPW and I fall somewhere in between.
To start, we both are history buffs. We actually met doing historical reenacting! (And if that doesn’t expose us, well, we’re both complete geeks!) We know that things are rarely stable for long. History is rife with examples from what’s going on in Venezuela right now to the Great Depression all the way back to the fall of Rome. We also know that the science/news on planetary carrying capacity, new diseases, climate change, cyber terrorism, and peak oil (amongst other peaks) is pretty nerve-wracking. So, we want to be ready to handle most crises that may come our way. I was wishy washy about it until we lost power during Hurricane Sandy, had our basement flood, and were out of power for three days. After that very unpleasant experience I started to take this all a lot more seriously.
We’re not crazy tin-foil-hatters who are waiting for the gubment to take our guns, and we don’t think that FEMA is going to shove us into death camps. We just want to have enough food and supplies set by for a long-term emergency, whether we’re snowed in for a week, or if the electric grid is down for a month or more.
Lastly, we’re also homesteaders. This means that we are doing what we can to raise our own food and be self-sustaining. We are hobby farmers – we both have off-farm jobs that support us. But we’re doing what we can to live as light as we can on the land. I currently have a flock of chickens for eggs and at least once a year I raise a batch of meat chickens. I grow a vegetable garden. I can and preserve food. I sew, knit, and spin. We’re planning to get sheep and maybe some other fiber/meat/milk animals. Mr. WPW is an engineer by trade and brings those skills to our homestead. We have some limited solar power (we sell to the grid). All of these things will help us be prepared, to be ready should there be a major disaster, but they also let us ethically raise our own food and fiber so that we know from where our food comes and how it was raised. It helps us contribute to a broader, more sustainable food system (I also shop first from the farmer’s market before I go to the grocery store) and not support the agri-business that treats humans and animals and the environment so badly.
We still have a long way to go to live entirely within our values (and I’ll talk about those struggles in future posts). For example, I have a very bad bottled water habit that I need to break. But we’re working on it and doing what we can to make the world a better place for ourselves and our loved ones, and for future generations, too.
I hope this helps you to understand the terms I’ll use throughout the blog. Let me know if you have any questions!