I am Pagan

You may or may not have not noticed that I tend to try to avoid controversy and focus instead on the Gods and what I actually do for Them. The Pagan community seems to always be in an uproar about something or other, and frankly I find it exhausting. I’m commenting briefly because this latest hubbub pertains to the very meaning of the word Pagan and what it means to us. This discussion, which Sannion has called Pagan Identity Crises 2011 was started when Drew Jacob posted a short essay on why he did not consider himself a Pagan. the gist of it seems to be that he doesn’t think he has much in common with Wiccans, and so he is not Pagan. But Wiccans are not the only religion under the umbrella term “Pagan”. I proudly identify as Pagan. In specific terms I am a Greco-Egyptian Pagan, but Pagan will suffice. I like the term Pagan because it carries the weight of history with it and is easily recognizable as meaning a non-Abrahamic traditon. In addition I agree with Laura LaVoie that polytheists of all stripes need to present a united front. Many have weighed in on this subject already, and I feel there is little else I can add to the discussion. See Jason Pitzl-Waters at the Wild Hunt for a more through covering of this subject and links to various blogs of various veiwpoints. I just wanted to state for the record that I am a Pagan and proud!

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3 Responses to I am Pagan

  1. Drew Jacob says:

    I’d just like to correct for the record that it is not because “We aren’t Wiccan.” We feel we have very little in common with the broader Pagan community – even other Celtic-inspired traditions like Celtic Reconstructionism or Neo-Druidism.

    I’ve been active in the Pagan community for 15 years and I know the immense breadth and diversity of that community. It’s just that I no longer fit there and, based on the input from the members of my Temple, our group doesn’t either.

    I continue to have nothing but the highest respect for my wonderful friends in the Pagan community. I’m glad to see you are proud of the community you’re part of, and you should be. We are also very proud of our own community and want to be clear and honest about what we do. Defining ourselves correctly is an important part of that.

    • I apologize if I misunderstood what you were saying. You do define yourself as polytheist, right? I think part of the problem is that for some people, Pagan and polytheist is much the same thing. While this may not be true for Hindus, for example, I see a lot of this thinking at least among Pagans and admit to being guilty of it myself.

  2. Ruadhan says:

    Hindus, Buddhists, Shintoists, and Indigenous American and Australian religions eschew the term “pagan” and tend to be stronger for it. In fact, Western/European&Mediterranean-tribe polytheists are kind of an oddity for tending to call themselves by the well-recognised slur more than avoiding it.

    The problem with the word “pagan” that I have has a lot to do with its history. It’s basically the Abrahamic equivalent of “muggle”. It’s history includes its Latin root, paganus, a word with a literal translation of “country dweller”, but a contextual implication of “ignorant hillbilly”.

    It’s also a word of negative definition — it “defines” only so far as to say what something is not. A positive definition would be to define something by what it is. I expand on this more on Urban Hellenistos, and have come to the conclusion that, while I can respect a person’s right to call themselves whatever they wish, I’m still perplexed by the push to call oneself, and not to mention many others “pagan” when the kindest definitions of the word are utterly meaningless, and the most prominent definitions of the world are highly pejorative, to put it lightly.

    Furthermore, “pagan” is absolutely not a synonym for “polytheist”. Many Christians will call opposing Christian sects “pagan” — I’ve met such people, and can forward evidence, if you care to challenge that.

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