The “Thinness” of Pagan Culture

Stephanie Drury’s blog Stuff Christian Culture Likes (which, she admits, refers mostly to evangelical Protestant culture) is up to to 204 posts (the numbering is confusing because she sometimes recycles older posts).

In contrast,  the blog Stuff Pagan Culture Likes seems to have hit a wall last March, with no new posts for six months. Too bad.

Our “culture” is just a lot thinner, despite the fact that contemporary  Pagans have been engaging in self-parody since Day 1. Consider some of the material that Isaac Bonewits produced in The Druid Chronicles in the 1970s, for example. (Isaac, amazingly prescient, was already paying attention to chronologies and sources, knowing that future scholars would use his material.)

Right now, on  the academic side, I am feeling the “thinness” all too much. Submission to The Pomegranate are down. (That could be related to the economy, as another journal editor told me that they have the same problem—it’s a general gloominess.) I am reduced to sending plaintive emails halfway around the world: “Won’t you please revise and re-submit your papers?”

And let’s not even talk about the academic job market.

4 thoughts on “The “Thinness” of Pagan Culture

  1. temperance

    Alas, it was more a case of both my and Glaux’ lives intervening. We’ve been down, but I hope not permanently out; there are certainly an abundance of topics yet to cover!

  2. Pitch313

    I’m not sure that it’s any sort of subcultural “thinness.” Whether driving informal blog posts or formal articles. There’s still lots of Pagan-themed writing and such, and I sure don’t see but a little of it. The situation of the economy probably does.

  3. Rombald

    I don’t think it’s much to do with “thinness” in your sense. If anything, Pagan culture is too “thick”; a lot of what goes on could be loosely classed as Pagan – most celebrations (Christmas, Easter, Halloween, etc.), most outdoorsy stuff, most stuff to do with nature, gardening, Scouts, a lot of art and music – the list goes on.

    I think what “Paganism” lacks is
    (i) intellectual rigour
    (ii) a willingness to acknowledge that it is not one religion, but several, and that the different strains do not share anything meaningful.

  4. Although there has been a rise in scholarly approaches to this kind of material, it is a relatively new phenomena and there is still a great deal of academic bias against the investigation of certain kinds of sub-cultures in the West. In my own thesis days (Anthropology) I was told that I couldn’t investigate Caucasian witches but could investigate Brujas or Medicine Women. The faculty were of the opinion that one was a career killer and the others were a career starter. That attitude wasn’t (and isn’t) universal but it exists far more than is good for the field.

    Also, I have to say that some books that pass for academic works on esoteric fields actually read more like apologetics than anything close to analytical works. So I do think that Rombald is right about the various strains of the pagan world lacking enough intellectual rigour. Of course there are good (even great) works and there will be more but I suspect it is going to take quite a bit of time and work.

Comments are closed.