Valdosta Pagan Community

This profile was last updated in 2006

This profile was prepared by student researchers Walker Gross and Michael Jeffers of Valdosta State University, under the direction of Dr. Richard Amesbury.

Introduction

The Pagan community in Valdosta is a loose network of individual practitioners and is itself pluralistic in nature. Hereditary Paganism has been an undercurrent in the area since settlers began to farm here before the Civil War. This “Old Granny Magick,” as it is referred to in the Pagan community, is steeped in Christianity as well as pre-Christian and Native-American spiritualities. Other local Pagans identify with the traditions branching out of the “Pagan Renaissance” of the 1950s. The latter include loosely organized Norse and Druidic communities, as well as the Wiccan and Pagan Solitaire community which has established itself in Lowndes County. Pagans in Valdosta attribute the vitality of their tradition to this passing of traditions from generation to generation.

Description

Pagans who inherit the tradition are not as numerous or as easily identifiable as members of the Neo-Pagan community. Indeed, certain elements of traditional Earth-centered religions — both European and Native-American — are so deeply ingrained in the culture of the region as to be considered otherwise unremarkable “folk” customs. While there is no strict division between the two groups, Neo-Pagans tend to be more visible, given that they consciously identify as such. However, because the community is made up largely of people who value their individuality, the idea of a central place of worship is not very appealing. As a result, the community does not have a specific meeting place; rather, Paganism in its various forms is practiced in individual homes, parks, and student groups.

History

Pagans have resided and practiced in Lowndes County for an unknown period of time; however, the community began to solidify in the 1980s, coalescing around Moody Air Force Base and Valdosta State University (both of which have helped to draw new residents to the area). In 2005 members of the community began to collaborate with other religious minorities through Atheists, Agnostics, and Free Thinkers (AAFT) — a VSU student organization which they helped to found.

One of the most interesting aspects of the local Pagan community is that the internet has helped to catalyze its growth. Various websites and online bulletin boards have allowed individuals who share similar beliefs and interests but who were previously cut off from one another to connect and begin forming relationships. This has enabled otherwise isolated individuals to discuss their respective views and to gather for solstices and other times of transition. The Pagan Librarian blog is maintained by a local Pagan bibliophile.
The Pagan community in South Georgia is in a period of growth, spurred on by the internet and an increasing interest in “alternative religions.” While media reception — and thus the community’s visibility — is minimal, over time the community expects that its existence will become recognized and accepted, even without the institutional presence of a formal meeting place.

Activities and Schedule

Websites such as Witchvox.com, Tylwythteg.com, and Meetup.com are used to organize meetings and community events. Many local Pagans observe the nine Sabbats. These events are ordinarily open, and any person wishing to take part may.

AAFT meetings occur Wednesdays during term time at 9:00 p.m. at VSU’s Odum Library.