It is amazing how paganism changes every aspect of your life.
I would consider myself to still have “dirt-fear,” where I’m not super comfortable being out in the wilderness for long periods of time. However, when I became pagan, I almost instantly became more connected to the Earth, animals, and the universe. Then by changing my diet, I slowly have become more and more connected and in-tune with the nature all around me. Yes, I still have a black thumb. Yes, I am still uncomfortable camping. But at least I am more compassionate, right?
So I became vegetarian.
I already knew all the horrible things that happened to animals in the meat industry because my best friend became vegetarian in 2007. Since she changed her diet, I mulled around the idea myself but never actually followed through with the commitment.
Until last summer. Becoming vegetarian was actually a lot easier than I thought it was. It was last August, and I was on my way to the Lake of the Ozarks for a weekend. I just decided, on a whim, to not eat any meat the entire weekend. It was an experiment, and I knew that if I didn’t succeed for the weekend, well… it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.
And now… It’s February, and I haven’t had a meat-based meal since. I have tried to be very casual about my diet change, so tasting things like venison burgers my boyfriend made, accidentally eating animal-based broths in soups, etc. have not discouraged me. However, I have noticed that meat has become disgusting to me, so I doubt I would ever be convinced to go back. I have also become a lot more strict on how my food is made.
Paganism has only affirmed this change.
My personal belief has become deeply rooted in the idea that all souls are equal and deserve their life just as much as I deserve mine. So why do I get to choose what species of animal gets to live or die just because I like the way it tastes? I am no more superior to any other being, so I feel that it is not my right to decide for any other being’s life.
I also believe that Earth is a living thing herself, so when I stopped eating her children and participating in destroying her, I felt this immense connection and satisfaction. There is just something about eating food that Mother Nature has provided for me (fruits, nuts, legumes, veggies, grains, mushrooms, etc.) that makes me feel more wholesome in general. I don’t have to contribute to suffering to easily survive.
Allowing myself to be as compassionate as possible to the world I live in, a world that completely provides for me, by not contributing to horrible industries that exploit this providence is so refreshing and spiritually uplifting.
But honestly, it is really hard for me to describe in words, so just go with it.
Another very important piece of the puzzle is health. Yeah, yeah, yeah… A lot of people go on and on about the health benefits of vegetarianism, but it is true that it makes a huge difference! Coupled with suddenly going to the gym (*ahem* a New Year’s resolution…), I have suddenly experienced a surge in energy. I can do tarot readings, organize my altar, and even participate in more rituals. Of course, this is when I am eating fresh, whole foods and not junk food. Because yes, there is vegetarian junk food.
Veganism has been on my mind since New Year’s, and I have tried my hardest to eat as vegan as possible every single day. Some days it’s hard, but most of the time it is so easy I forget I’m eating vegan at all. It is truly a mind-over-matter deal.
At this point in the journey, I would still call myself vegetarian because I haven’t completely made the switch. But I am definitely trying. I know going vegan would complete my compassion for nature, Earth, and the universe as a whole. I have seen all three “required” documentaries—Earthlings, Forks Over Knives, and Cowspiracy (all available on Netflix)—so I am equipped with the knowledge I need and confident that I could do it completely.
Honestly all that is necessary now is to get over my cravings (cheesy burritos), which is one of the stupidest excuses anyone could think up. I am a huge sucker for cravings, so it is just something I need to work through. Because of this, I think it will take me much longer, and with a more gradual transition, to go vegan than when I became vegetarian. But I am not going to back down!
My journey to being vegan is still in the works, and I’ll definitely give you a future update. I apologize for taking a week and a half off from blogging. There is a lot on my plate (literally), and I am trying to take some time to understand how work, health, and life in general balance to allow me to do everything I want in a day… Or maybe I watch too much X-Files.
For the Animals. For the People. For the Planet.
Do you think your diet plays a role in your spirituality, and are there any changes you’ve made to help you feel more connected to paganism?