King’s Student Demands Representation for Pagans

A student has started a petition to address the lack of fair representation of paganism at King’s College.

Yavanna Vanyari, a Pagan activist at the College, believes Paganism is ‘brushed under the carpet’ at King’s, despite it being one of the UK’s fastest growing religions.

Paganism refers to earth-based religions worshiping pre-Christian deities, with many of the nation’s festive periods, including Halloween and Christmas, originating from Pagan celebrations.

Yavanna’s petition hopes to see Paganism represented at the College’s Interfaith Committee, as well as bring in a Pagan Chaplain and established Chaplaincy space on campus to provide support to Pagan students.

Roar spoke to Yavanna about why she believes Paganism should be represented more.

“I think my diversity and inclusion initiative is not something unreasonable.” she stated, “There are many sources of support for Christians… why not allow a Pagan chaplain that could function also as a faith based counselling service?’

The 2011 UK Census revealed there are nearly 60,000 self-identifying Pagans in Britain, though the true figure may be as high as 250,000. The petition at the College has so far gained 109 supporters, however, it is unclear how many Pagan students attend King’s.

Yavanna claims there the stigma around Paganism prevents many from ‘coming out of the broom cupboard,’ and believes that a Pagan Chaplain would dispel some of the stigma around the belief system.

She claims her own experiences in seeking religious advice from a Chaplain at the College left her feeling patronised and derided:

‘It took me quite a long time to take heart and speak up against issues such as the discrimination against Paganism and stigma against Pagans,” she told Roar, “Pagans are people too and paganism in the UK is not going away. It has historic roots that run deep. Paganism wants to reclaim its rightful and well deserved place in harmony and equal opportunity to all other religions and why not at King’s College London?’

The Lyre Boy of Paris has been for many years a friendly Pagan meeting point for British and French Pagans in Paris. Lots of Pagan friendships were made and lots of Pagan philosophy discussed there, it is a place with immense positive energy and encouragement and anyone can visit it and feel the positive energy of Pagan friendship’.

The Pagan Space petition can be found here.