There was recently a flare up of concern about the overall physical health of the pagan community due to the early death of a young community contributor. I'd like to touch on that from a slightly different angle, and possibly explain it in a different way than was done in order to smooth some raised hackles I have seen from various opinions and contribute to a more constructive dialogue.
Firstly, there is no fat-hating pitchfork mob descending upon out-of-shape Pagans to take away their processed foods and force them onto a treadmill. There is no sense of smugness or skinnier-than-thou among vocal Pagans who are on the thinner or "more fit" side, at least as far as I have seen and read. I just want to get that out of the way.
I can speak only for my wishes to see discussions of health and well-being injected into Pagan dialogue. I see physical health in all its forms as integral to our sense of universality and connection that we cherish so much as Pagans. There is so much focus on healing via ritual and herbs, and yet, I see resistance and even hostility when it comes to suggestions of eating healthier and exercising, the popular clamming up of "its none of your business" ringing in the air.
When did it cease to become 'our' business? Why can we recommend herbs for headaches, charms for fertility and conduct healing rituals for cancer, but not invite our brothers and sisters to try yoga for strength, flexibility and joint relief, or encourage dishes of fruit salads and roasted chicken to pot lucks instead of cupcakes and macaroni and cheese casseroles?
Tagging along with "its none of your business" tends to be "religion has nothing to do with physical health." I disagree. In the same way that religion affects sexuality, child-rearing, mental health, and other important facets of our lives, it too can affect the way we care for our bodies. I'm not going to wax poetic about "harming none" or respecting the sacred vessel that is our flesh, but however you slice it, one's spirituality can greatly impact the way he or she deals with the body. After all, can you really contemplate the universe and your place and responsibilities within it without thinking of the complexity and care of the body with which you experience said universe? There is room in the discourse for frank and honest discussion of physical health, and I believe it is our responsibility to encourage a wholly healthy community in every facet of life.