Pagans, Folklore, and Dogs

Click over to Pagans for Archaeology, where Yewtree interviews Australian Pagan scholar David Waldron, author of Shock! The Black Dog of Bungay: A Study in Local Folklore, about dogs, folklore, and the Pagan revival.

I think a key issue for me was that transmission of symbols, images and ideas from the pagan past are very fragmentary, complex and ambivalent. People are very quick to throw the “Pagan Survival” label around because they so badly need to feel a connection to the past and a feeling of pastness in what they do. People can also be very quick to deny connection to a Pagan past when debunking. One thing that was really apparent to me when doing my research on the Black Dog of Bungay from a local history perspective, was that it is not a zero sum game. Let’s look at the Black Dog of Bungay for example. There are fragments in the myth from the Celts, Vikings and Romans for example. However, if I was to speak to a 16th century Puritan in Bungay he may not even know what a Celt was and would certainly take offense at the suggestion his view of the attack on St Mary’s church by a Black Dog or “Devile in such a likenesse” was Pagan.

He makes some interesting points about how folklore incorporates outside interpretations, digesting them, and  presenting them as truly indigenous and original. Worth a read.

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