It seems of late some folks are dead set on defining Pagan beliefs in the context of an overall religious structure. It drives me crazy even though I still fit easily into the umbrella rapidly being folded into a box shape. “Nature religion” “Duotheistic'” and the loud insistence of a few others have already alienated a good chunk of people who used to fit in just fine. And that sucks. These narrow definitions pushing for homogenization is the exact opposite of what appealed to me about Paganism in the first place.
But I have an observation, perhaps even a solution.
There are certain traits Pagan culture does share that Pagan religions do not. Two in particular come to mind immediately:
All practicing Pagans of any Pagan religion:
- Esteem hospitality, both the giving and recieving of it, as a sacred act of trust.
- Honor their dead with truth, thought and effort.
Also, the majority of Pagans
- Do not consider a single book as the last word on divine intention
Given the number of naturalistic Pagans, i.e. Pagan atheists coming up, anything more detailed than identifying that the world we live in has value that merits honor is probably too much.
All else falls on a spectrum around these first two practices – some believe in an afterlife, others don’t. Some are flat out monotheists, just not Biblical/book monotheists. Some are hard polytheists. Some worship nature – I argue that even those that prefer the urban, such as myself, must have a relationship to it. I’m certainly dealing with a whole lot of nature right now. Some like me flow fluidly between animism and Gnosticism, to the teeth gnashing irritation of the more insistently literal or insistently tradition poobah secrets adherent.
I feel that these two traits are enough and can even apply to those on strict hermetic paths (small h deliberate.) Why? Because for those who choose withdrawal any act of communication is an act of hospitality and requires enorrmous trust (exceptions, obviously, for any transaction involving “get off my land!” and a shotgun.)
Because trying to get it down to more than that just excludes people who deserve better.
Note: I only post comments that are sane. Comments that are “are you talking about me?” are NOT sane. Insisting that you are “totally accurate” is not the same as being totally accurate – and this stuff is pretty darned fluid. If all you want to do is be outraged, I’m just not the person to talk to. Well, at, really. If you’re outraged it’s not a two-way conversation anyway.
Also, apparently, someone doesn’t know how Zemanta actually works.
- Pagan/Wiccan Terms(sisteronyx.wordpress.com) : note from Di – I posted this as part of my routine “increase the connectivity of the web” stuff I do via a plugin called Zemanta. After all, most Pagans don’t know each other, despite certain behavior otherwise. Said blogger responded with “are you talking about me?” in her own post (I was actually referring to some stuff from Jason Pitzl-Waters, among others – and he handles our differences quite gracefully.) I did not see the comment because I just glanced and went, “hey, I’ll add that, it fits the discussion for other views” and was not just staring at her post. She then posted over here – apparently when I did not respond, because I wasn’t going to look, ever, since as a Wiccan of more than 17 years I don’t need to read beginner blogs – carrying on about how “accurate” she is (as though cyber shouting proves it, rather than, y’know… proof) and telling me that she was going to delete any comments I made. It did not seem to matter that a)I never commented on her blog to begin with b)she was never certain I was talking about her and c)she completely ignored an opportunity for dialogue. Notably her “accurate” research is completely uncited. Guys, it’s behavior like this child’s that is ruining the Pagan dialogue. Start with questions. If you’re just getting mad because you get high from getting mad, don’t have a tantrum when your comments get deleted after a careful analysis of why the behavior is completely insane. Notably, now that I’ve looked at it… her uncited work isn’t too accurate. Given the movement against cultural assimilation the use of the term “Great Spirit” in connection with Wicca would cause most adult practitioners to have a mini-stroke.
- Special Snowflakes and Pagan Hipsters(mapletreedruidry.wordpress.com)