Reclaiming Pride

Reclaiming Pride
by Starcat

This fall, BlackLion and I took a workshop called The Iron Pentacle. It’s part of the Reclaiming tradition, and more details can be found in T. Thorn Coyle’s excellent book Evolutionary Witchcraft. At each of the points of the star is a word which represents a topic covered in the workshop. These themes are meant to be somewhat controversial, in the sense of recovering areas where many people feel dis-empowered and perhaps fearful. The topics are :sex, pride, self, power, and passion.

When I was making BlackLion’s holiday collage card, I found a picture of a pentacle necklace in a catalogue. I had an idea – I’d glue it on the card, add the five words at the appropriate points, and then add pictures that represent how each of them are reflected in his life. For passion, a picture of a pen and journal to represent his writing, an orange sun to show his power, and so forth. As I clipped words and pictures, the concept came together quickly…except for the one missing word.

I couldn’t find the word “pride” in any of the various magazines, catalogues, and fliers that I was looking through. I had a wide variety of magazines, reflecting the interests of those who had given them to me: sports, outdoor life, AARP, cooking, fashion, yoga, a veteran’s publication, mainstream women’s magazines, crafts. The catalogues were similarly mainstream, nothing especially conservative. Yet I couldn’t find this simple word anywhere, in literally hundreds of publications.

What’s wrong with pride? Our culture is based on a Christian world-view, and pride is one of the infamous “seven deadly sins.” I suppose that might be one reason, although I presume a subconscious one, that writers don’t tend to use it in their articles or companies in their advertisements. We’re also advised not to be too proud of ourselves, lest we cause others envy and jinx our own good fortune. For some reason, it’s seen as a character flaw to take pride in the things that we do – or at least, too much pride. If you do that, you must be conceited or self-involved.

The pride discussed in the workshop, however, is about our unique abilities. These are things that you do that are of value to you and of service to the world, with no need for comparison to anyone or anything else. There’s no wish for another’s approval, just a pure desire for mastery, coming from deep inside your soul. This type of pride says, “this is who I really am, regardless of what you think or who you’d like me to be.” Pride is worth reclaiming. It’s the drive to be good at something simply because you love it. Pride has been reclaimed in some subcultures – think of the “black pride” and “gay pride” movements of recent decades. I think it’s time we also reclaimed it as a positive description of our own personal talents.

By the way, I did eventually find the word “pride” for my project. It was in a Vogue article about an Olympic team, described as the “pride of America.” I glued it on BlackLion’s card, next to a picture of – what else? – lions.