• Ule-Alfarrin (a/k/a Robin Artisson, if I am not mistaken) lists differences between “New Ager” and “Heathen.” I like this one:
13. Almost no one who in the course of their religious practice, takes a first, middle, or last name which is the same as an animal, a plant, a weather-based phenomenon, an element, a mineral, or a combination of any of those things can speak for me, nor do they likely believe anything like me.
Being a Heathen is often about making such distinctions, ja?
• Anne Johnson discusses building fairy houses. She understands that the fairies are not always cute.
• Talking to Unitarians about animism. I have to do something similar later this month.
• Anne Hill suggests two great books on dreams. She should know.
3 thoughts on “Gallimaufry with Distinctions”
I guess if you name yourself after a minor incubus you can speak for him then? is that how it’s supposed to work?
I thought Ule was right, although “Asatruar” might have been more accurate than “Heathen”.
On the topic of such distinctions, something I raised recently over on Wildhunt, and got shouted at, was whether people who call themselves “Pagan” have anything in common.
If I meet people who call themselves “Christian”, I tend to assume that they accept the Nicene Creed, more or less. There are non-Nicene Christians, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but I at least assume that Christians believe in God, believe that Jesus was the central communication between God and man, and believe that the New Testament is the most important religious teaching.
Obviously, there is no such clear doctrine in Paganism, so the bounds tend to be drawn by values. Now, I always used to think of Pagans as people who are anti-authoritarian and personally experiential about religion; politically anti-authoritarian; nature-revering and strongly environmentalist; striving for non-oppressive approaches to daily life; and sympathising more with tribal peoples than with civilisations, and more with peasant than with urban parts of civilisations.
However, I now think there are too many exceptions. I have repeatedly been told that not all Pagans are “dirty, hippy tree-huggers”, etc. Furthermore, the basic meaning of “Paganism” is the teachings of late classical Mediterranean thinkers, and I have nothing in common with those, and generally find neo-Hellenism and neo-Romanism objectionable.
Of course, it’s possible to define Pagans as people who are not materialists or Abrahamists, say, but I can’t see the point of negative definitions. I can’t see the advantage of claiming to belong to a group with nothing positive in common.
I think what pagans have in common and why so many go to Wildhunt is the fact we are all looking for our spiritual roots and trying to figure out if we are crazy or not. It is hard divesting oneself of childhood beliefs or even ferreting them out to look at. It’s a search for fellow travellers. We are ‘other’ and trying to find the right definitions.
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