Pagans and wiccans and druids, oh my!

[Promoted] From the diaries–PD. There goes my cred with Jack Chick types.

This diary is intended at least as much for the non-pagans as for my fellow pagan types. I mentioned in a comment yesterday that we have a wonderful opportunity here to educate those who, out of simple ignorance, don’t really know what we’re about. It will also, I’m sure, show that “pagans” are about as far from monolithic as any spiritual subgroup can get ;-).

I’m going to go through some “dull” definition stuff, then post my take on things and invite the other pagans to give theirs.

First, some etymology.

Pagan, in English, dates to c.1375, from the Latin paganus meaning “villager, rustic, civilian.” “Religious sense is often said to derive from conservative rural adherence to the old gods after the Christianization of Roman towns and cities; but the word in this sense predates that period in Church history, and it is more likely derived from the use of paganus in Roman military jargon for ‘civilian, incompetent soldier,’ which Christians (Tertullian, c.202; Augustine) picked up with the military imagery of the early Church (e.g. milites ‘soldier of Christ,’ etc.). Applied to modern pantheists and nature-worshippers from 1908.”

Wiccan is both more modern and more ancient. Witch derives from the Old English wicce or wicca, meaning roughly “sorceror/ess” and dates back to at least c.890, and was pretty universally derogatory. OTOH, the modern usage is both a reclaiming of the root of witch, and the adoption of a term with a similar meaning that doesn’t immediately conjure images of Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz :-). While it may have ancient roots in some ways, modern Wicca dates from the 1940s. Further details, IMO, belong in a separate diary, and should probably be written by one of our wiccan siblings :-), but I’ll offer the wikipedia entry on wicca in the interim. There are also those who make a major distinction between Wicca and wicca, but again I’ll let the W/wiccans explain that one :-).

Druid, also, has an ancient and a modern meaning, and some will use paleo-druid and neo-druid to differentiate. The word is first attested in English in 1509, deriving from the Latin, but the Druids themselves obviously date far earlier. The Old Irish word was drui, and they were the educated class. Again, this is something I’ll go into in more detail in another entry, but I offer the wikipedia entry on druids for now.

For Asatru, I’m just going to add a link, since I don’t feel I know enough about them to add anything useful. I do know that many of them don’t like being called “pagans,” prefering “heathen.”

Now, what do we (on the whole) believe? Well, our beliefs are often as individual as we are. It’s been said that if you ask 10 pagans a philosophical/theological question, you’ll get 12 answers :-). To save bandwidth and to not spend time reinventing the wheel, I refer folks to the wikipedia entry on Neopaganism.

Now, so this isn’t just a bunch of reference links, I’ll get a little into my beliefs. I consider myself a “druish neopagan,” though I’ll often use just pagan for simplicity (i.e. when I don’t feel like trying to explain both Druidism and how I’m not really a straight-up druid). From the time I first considered myself a child of the Goddess, the word Druid felt right to me. Some druid groups are almost “wiccans with Celtic gods,” some use a different structure of belief and ritual, some are in between. I can only speak with some authority on a) the organization that was my introduction to Druidism, which I won’t name in the Thumper Principle (I don’t have much nice to say about them) and b) Keltria, the tradition I am initiated into. Most everything else comes from being (like many pagans) an avid reader who’s studied a lot on her own.

The Beliefs of Ketria are:

-We believe in Divinity as it is manifest in the Pantheon. There are several valid theistic perceptions of this Pantheon.
-We believe that nature is the embodiment of the Gods and Goddesses.
-We believe that Natural Law reflects the will of the Gods and Goddesses.
-We believe that all life is sacred and should neither be harmed nor taken without deliberation or regard.
-We believe in the immortality of the spirit.
-We believe that our purpose is to gain wisdom through experience.
-We believe that learning is an ongoing process and should be fostered at all ages.
-We believe that morality should be a matter of personal conviction based upon self respect and respect for others.
-We believe that evil is not a matter of inheritance but of intent, therefore actions are not in themselves evil. Rather, it is through the intent behind actions that evil can manifest.
-We believe in the relative nature of all things, that nothing is absolute, and that all things, even the Gods and Goddesses, have their dark sides.
-We believe that individuals have the right to pursue knowledge and wisdom through his or her chosen path.
-We believe in a living religion able to adapt to a changing environment.
-We recognize that our beliefs may undergo change as our tradition grows.

For the most part, I still agree with the above. Note that it said “theistic perceptions.” Here is where I get fuzzy :-). ReligiousTolerance.org has a list, but I’ll only cover the ones I’m inclined towards. [Note: This link works fine in some browsers but crashes others. Proceed with caution.]

Animism: The belief that all entities have life force, a soul or mind. For example, rocks, trees and mountains have an awareness of their surroundings: (e.g. Native aboriginal religions).
Henotheism: belief in many deities of which only one is the supreme deity. This may involve: … One supreme God, and multiple gods and goddesses who are all simply manifestations or aspects of the supreme God. (Though IMO this is an oversimplification, and many find it insulting to the individual dieties.)
Monism: The belief that what people perceive as deity, humanity and the rest of the universe is in fact all of one substance – that divisions among the body, mind, flesh, spirit, material, physical are not real. All are simply aspects of one being.
Panentheism: The belief that the entire universe — substances, forces and laws — is God; the universe is God’s body. God transcends the universe as well.
Polytheism: belief in many Gods and Goddesses.

How to reconcile all that?

My belief is that there are many deities (polytheism), but that all are to some degree or another manifestations of aspects/facets of the IS (henotheism). The Animism, Monism and Panentheism sort of combine, sort of like the Force being “an energy field created by all living things that surrounds us and penetrates us and binds the universe together.” Whether divinity is the combination of the individual spirits or the individual spirits are all parts of the divinity is, IMO, not really important, in a chicken/egg manner. I do, though, think that Divinity is more than just the sum of the universal parts.

Another brief sidetrack into definitions: For me, “worship,” while being OK from the dictionary definition, carries connotations beyond reverence and service. It implies a separateness that I don’t feel, and in some cases a feeling that the reverence and service is demanded. I prefer the term “honor.” My analogy is that, for example, I honor my parents and others whom I respect, but I don’t worship them. It’s a fine semantic distinction, and one that I don’t argue about if someone else prefers “worship.” Heck, my hunny says he worships me :-). I’m not sure I made myself clear on this, since it is such a fine point, and if asked I’ll endeavor to explain further.

That said, I honor the IS, the Divinity, the Godhead if you will. A term I’ve heard used is “the God behind the Gods.” However, deity at this level is impossible for incarnate human minds to really comprehend, so I usually work with my chosen Matron and Patron deities. And the choosing tends to be at least as much on their part as on mine :-). My Patron all along has been Manannan, and I’ve had three Matrons over the years but am currently working with MOM.

While these are the deities I call on/talk to/work with the most, I sometimes work with other deities (either because I feel the need or because they’ve called me). One book I read spoke of having “household gods” for the hearth and the threshold, and while Manannan is my threshold god we honor Brigid as our hearth goddess. That connection was strengthened when my husband joined the family, since he’s a writer and Brigid is, among other things, a goddess of inspiration. She’s also a goddess of fire, and many neopagans have extrapolated deities of fire and the forge to cover computers (the fire of electricity), so that’s yet another connection we have to Her :-).

Going outside the Celtic pantheons, I feel a connection to Isis, and work with Her on occasion. This was another bit of “synchronicity,” since my husband, independently, developed a connection to Horus. I’ve also had other Gods show up from time to time, mainly Herne, and Robin (who tends to show up whenever someone is taking things to seriously, and in this household manifests a sense of humor similar to that of his famous namesake).

Another thing that enters into discussions of neo-paganism is the concepts of religion/spirituality and craft. One of my first Druid teachers said, “Wicca is something you do, a Druid is something you are.” I don’t use it anymore because I’ve since come to realize that this statement is not only not always true but is often offensive to many spiritual wiccans, but it does point up the difference. For some, paganism is about casting spells (the craft aspect), for some it’s a relationship with the divine (the religion/spirituality aspect), and I think it’s safe to say that for most it’s a combination of the two. For me, I think of Druid as my faith, but when I’m going to do a working my techniques tend towards the wiccan. There will be more along these lines in the post where I explain the upcoming Samhain ritual.

OK, I got interrupted a few times with 8th grade science homework and other household stuff, so any train of thought I might have had for continuing was derailed :-). I’ll leave it off here, post anything else I come up with later either as a comment or in another diary entry, and open the floor both to questions and for other neopagans who have different interpretations to give their views. Have fun and play nice (not like I need to tell this bunch that ;-).

40 comments

Tip jar (4.00 / 16)

Since it’s become semi-traditional :-).

by Morgan on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 17:15:27 PPDT

Tip (4.00 / 2)

:: The WereWolf Prophet drops a Four Spot into Morgan’s tip jar … ::

Propheticus Lycanthroponica
Lycanthrope (Greek; lukos, wolf + anthropos, man; literally, “wolfman”)
The WereWolf Prophet.
Get it ? <canine-toothy grin>

by Propheticus Lycanthroponica on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 18:16:34 PDT

Were wolf? There wolf. ;-). (4.00 / 2)

Wolf-folk are always welcome in my neck of the woods. I’m a wolf person myself :-).

by Morgan on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 18:44:55 PDT

Howl ! (4.00 / 3)

:: The WereWolf Prophet howls in pain at Morgan’s baaaaaaad pun ::

Actually, as a gay man, I am more found of Bears, but Wolves have their place, too.

Full Moon Orgy ! Full Moon Orgy !

(Yes, my humor can be deranged at times … )

by Propheticus Lycanthroponica on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 18:53:47 PDT

But (4.00 / 3)

If you don’t feel comfortable putting up a tip jar, we at Street Prophets are ok with that…

😉

Thanks for the diary – I’m hoping you’ll do more.

by Austin in PA on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 18:19:28 PDT

I feel like I should say something (4.00 / 3)

informative about Asatru, but as a practicing heathen I’m only an egg.  I will add that there are numerous other reconstructionist religions and traditional folkways, and a lot of those folks might call themselves heathen or then again they might not.  

Also, is anyone planning on doing a virtual Samhain circle or feast or something?  ‘Cuz that would be groovy.

“As scientific knowledge advances, it does not mean that religious knowledge retreats.”
– horse69 on the bnet recon C&C board

by lonespark on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 17:25:59 PDT

Oh and (4.00 / 2)

excellent point about worship vs. honor.  To respect and serve our gods we need not bow and scrape.  We want them to respect us back.

“As scientific knowledge advances, it does not mean that religious knowledge retreats.”
– horse69 on the bnet recon C&C board

by lonespark on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 17:28:34 PDT

Yeah, me :-). (4.00 / 3)

My first pre-ritual post was last week, and I’ll post the next one next Monday.

by Morgan on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 17:39:19 PDT

Cool! (4.00 / 2)

“As scientific knowledge advances, it does not mean that religious knowledge retreats.”
– horse69 on the bnet recon C&C board

by lonespark on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 18:33:40 PDT

asdf (4.00 / 3)

An Animistic, Henotheistic, Monistic, Panentheistic, Polytheistic Pagan, of the Reclaiming Tradition, checking in !

😀

Please consider writing a diary entry explaining “Ritual”, since non-pagans are likely to prefix “ritual” with “satanic” (implying sadistic and/or murderous), at least on a subconcious level. Since ritual is kinda-worship, kinda-honoring, kinda-meditative, kinda-ecstatic, kinda-scripted, kinda-improvisational, it’s kinda hard to explain.

by Propheticus Lycanthroponica on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 18:03:31 PDT

Good point (4.00 / 2)

I’ll make some notes and work on this tomorrow. Maybe I’ll just put up the next pre-Ancestor Night (Samhain) post early instead of waiting until next Monday.

by Morgan on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 18:46:35 PDT

asdf (4.00 / 2)

“Animistic, Henotheistic, Monistic, Panentheistic, Polytheistic Pagan, of the Reclaiming Tradition”

I feel so confoosed. lol!

by Elizabeth D on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 20:29:12 PDT

Theisms (4.00 / 3)

Sorry Elizabeth, I know it’s confusing, but I truly do slide easily amongst them all, as appropriate to a given situation. This sort of flexibility in how one perceives and relates to Deity is a large part of what attracted me to a NeoPagan path.

However, I tend to be more fluid in my group interactions than in my private spiritual practice; in a post elsewhere on The Street, I describe my primary Deity concept as “Infinite Love”, which is closest to Henotheism, though I don’t think of it in hierarchical terms.

In the final analysis, I believe that the Power(s) Greater Than Ourselves are not directly knowable by human consciouness, except at the risk of being drive God-Mad. So at core, I am a Symboltheist, meaning that ALL deity concepts – and religions – are human created symbol systems, “Languages of Spirit” if you will, that attempt to name / describe / relate to what is ultimately Mystery.

by Propheticus Lycanthroponica on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 21:45:49 PDT

Actually, wolfguy, (none / 1)

that explains it reasonably well. Thanks.

by Elizabeth D on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 21:47:23 PDT

One of the things (4.00 / 4)

I find most compelling about belonging to a mainstream Christian church is the sense of ritual and community.  

The ritual comes from the worship symbols, the text, the music, the traditions, the locations, etc.

The community comes from the fellowship– from worshipping togther, praying for each other, working in service togther, and of course, the mainstay of Methodism– the potluck suppers. 😉

Reading your piece, I’m struck by the similarities in the way we might both approach a worshipful experience.

What role do you find that community plays for you?  What are some of the ways/places where you find that sense of connection, service, and fellowship?  Or is that something you find necessary, or do you find that connection apart from  the more spiritual aspects of Paganism?  

(And thank you for writing this all up– I love the idea of Street Prophets being a  true crossraods.)

Add mine to the voices crying in the wilderness.

by Deborah Brown on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 18:24:49 PDT

Yes and no 🙂 (4.00 / 3)

I’d love to be part of a larger in-person community (as opposed to the online ones), but since there are so relatively few of us I don’t often get the chance. There are many “solitary” pagans, those who don’t practice with a coven/grove/group, both by choice and by circumstance. Some are solitaries most of the time but visit a local group for the “holidays,” sort of like people who aren’t part of a congregation but who go to church/temple on Christmas/Passover/etc.

Right now, I’m getting most of my community here on the Street :-).

Hope that answered your questions. I’m a little fried at the moment (I got bumped to the front page, wow!) so I may have missed something.

by Morgan on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 18:51:35 PDT

community/continuity (4.00 / 5)

one of the best things about the druid grove I semi-belong to is that it is very structured.  As a recovering catholic (no offense to practicing catholics out there, it was NOT a good experience for me) it helps me to have structured, planned ritual with smells and bells and a hymnal.  Our grove has standard ritual format with the parts that slide in and out much like seasonal catholic masses, devotions to certain aspects of deity, and songs I know. (which everyone is encouraged to sing)

Within the structure is plenty of space for spiritual growth. My profound experiences tend to happen around beltane/samhain for some reason.  The first was a song that took place during the “praise offering” segment of a samhain ritual, a trio of voices offered a soaring harmonious hymn to the mother that was both beautiful and transformative in some ways.

 The second was at a beltane maypole when all were invited up to ask a boon of the elemental forces summoned into the pole… everyone that wanted to had gone, and my “heart dog”, Max, decided he was going to go up to the pole.  You can imagine what I thought he was going to do, but he just walked around the pole, gave it a thoughtful look, and walked back to my side.  The grove all laughed and said “bishe”.  (sorta/kinda amen-so be it-thing)  I don’t know what he asked, but he was a great friend to the grove and to the pagan community in general.  

The third profound experience was this past beltane, just before I got married.  My then-fiance and I took our special crystal (that was to go on the altar at our wedding and serve to ground and center us) and we went to the pole at the same point in the ritual, each of us one hand on the pole and holding the stone between us… we felt the power and promise flowing out of the earth through the conduit and into us… it was pretty unforgettable.

I don’t get to spend as much time with the grove as I used to spend, but hope to get to do it more in the not too distant future.  I miss them, and I miss the connection, both with community and with my spirituality.

Minutus cantorum, minutus balorum, minutus carborata descendum pantorum

by jlongs on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 19:12:08 PDT

Form is important… (4.00 / 2)

…to me as well. One of the reasons I’ve stayed with the Anglican church so long is because I love the structure, but I frequently (Not as frequently any longer)step out of the church and into self-created places, or places created by our own circle in ways that the church, even one as progressive as the ECUSA can be, would probably frown upon.

There’s a whole subset of ritual forms that run beside the established catholic and Anglican traditions — most people know them best (or would at least recognize) through organizations like the freemasons, or through older sects like the Golden Dawn. The traditions are still there, still being built but even among the sparse neo-Pagan community they are rare because so much of what they do and use and focus on, springs directly from more structure Christian traditions, from the blessing of holy water, to the erection of a temple instead of a circle (or sometimes combined.)

And Elemental forces play a huge part in all the rituals and celebrations, which is what pushes it past or aside from both Christian and pagan rituals.

But I envy you your grove. [g]

by common veil on Thu Oct 20th, 2005 at 10:24:04 PDT

Community (4.00 / 5)

When I was a NeoPagan NeoPhyte (you may groan now), the 2nd book I read (after Scott Cunningham’s Magical Household) was Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance : A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess. In it she says (paraphrased) that spirituality is lived out in community, and I have taken that deeply to heart.

Deborah Brown wrote : The community comes from … :

  • worshipping togther … Most modern Pagans / Heathens have some sort of solitary practice that often includes prayer, meditation and private ritual (roughly approximate to “worship”), in addition to occasionally / frequently joining with like-minded others in group ritual. “Ritual” as we use the term is hard to define – it is just as often wildly improvisational as it is carefully formulaic; just as often informally co-created by the “laity” as it is formally lead by a hierarchically designated High Priestess and/or High Priest; just as often open to anybody who shows up as it is closed except for members of a particular grove / circle / coven; just as often ecstatic as it is contemplative, joyful as it is somber, chant-filled as silent, mirthful as reverent, theatrical as scholarly. Typically, the only thing consistent is a general adherence to the group’s common format plus an intent, often the celebration of a Holy Day within the Tradition’s calendar, such as Samhain (Halloween) in Wicca, or Winter Nights in Heathenry, although the intent might also be for healing, guidance, prosperity, or as a rite of passage (birth, coming of age, marraige, coming of wisdom, or death).
  • praying for each other … We do the same, though most of us are scrupulous about NOT doing so unless given specific permission and/or in response to a specific request. Prayer for another may be a private request to a personal deity, or the one being prayed for may be the focal point of an entire ritual.
  • working in service togther … Sadly, much of the Pagan community is rather lacking in service to the larger community, due in part to our very limited numbers and our wide geographic dispersal. However, specific service to others within one’s grove / circle / coven is frequent.
  • potluck suppers. LOL ! We do that too, but are also just as likely to gather in a large group over coffee at Starbucks.

For me personally, community is spiritually invigorating, intellectually challenging and socially energizing. And in the context of ritual, often profoundly transforming.

by Propheticus Lycanthroponica on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 20:19:33 PDT

good stuff (4.00 / 4)

Thanks for this.  Hoping you’ll keep writing, here’s some stuff that I, for one, would love to read some more about.

  • What I’ve read seems to suggest that at least some of the (forgive me if I’m using incorrect terminology please!) variations on pagan / druidic groups were pretty much invented out of whole cloth by 16th – 17th century aristocrats (I’m obviously fuzzy on the details)  What’s your take on that??
  • Similarly, didn’t much of the popular understanding of witchcraft and satan-worship and paganism all get rolled up together, mixed up and regurgitated by the medieval church.  I remember reading recently about some of the early Inquisitors publishing treatises on these topics, and that they all pretty much referenced each other, took bits and pieces of traditional worship, and fabricated the rest.  

Please understand, I’m not trying to criticize or to be disrespectful here.  It’s just that from these two bits, I’ve gotten the impression that there’s not really much of a connection between modern Wicca/wicca/NeoPaganism/ etc as some of the ‘marketing’ might suggest.  

by Austin in PA on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 18:35:10 PDT

I’m a dummy (4.00 / 2)

I started working through the links in your diary, and it’s addressing some of these issues.

keep writing though!

by Austin in PA on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 18:39:17 PDT

No disrespect taken 🙂 (4.00 / 5)

What I’ve read seems to suggest that at least some of the (forgive me if I’m using incorrect terminology please!) variations on pagan / druidic groups were pretty much invented out of whole cloth by 16th – 17th century aristocrats (I’m obviously fuzzy on the details) What’s your take on that??

Heck, some were made up in the 20th century 🙂 (see Gerald Gardner for one example).

In many cases, the Catholic Church was very effective in their ongoing campaign to be truly Catholic (from the Latin catholicus, universal) so that there’s little to go on. Some pagan groups accept that we’re reconstructing (and often just plain constructing) traditions, other claim ancient unbroken lineage.

Similarly, didn’t much of the popular understanding of witchcraft and satan-worship and paganism all get rolled up together, mixed up and regurgitated by the medieval church. I remember reading recently about some of the early Inquisitors publishing treatises on thes:: padding:4px;border-top:8px solid #cccccce topics, and that they all pretty much referenced each other, took bits and pieces of traditional worship, and fabricated the rest.

The Malleus Maleficarum was the big one. The early Church had a history of co-opting what it could (many saints have pre-Christian origins) and condemning what it couldn’t co-opt. This, though, is a large and sticky subject, because few people who write on it don’t have an axe to grind in one direction or another. But, yeah, we got the “they’re not with us so they’re with Satan” treatment.

by Morgan on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 19:03:57 PDT

that’s the neo-bit (4.00 / 4)

there are a several schools of druidry currently, some claim to descend unbroken from the ancients, some attempt to recreate the past as it was, which is a neat trick considering the ancient druids had very limited written language (no paper, you see) and the third group, of which I am, (ADF Druidry) uses what we know of the ancient traditions to express our spirituality without claiming any direct ancestry.  It was founded by Isaac Bonewits in the 70s and is still going very strong today.  

Generally speaking, when you see “neo” in the name of the path, it means it’s fairly modern and doesn’t claim a descendancy from any ancient peoples, though it may draw strongly from them.

Another excellent resource is Isaac’s website, that contains a wealth of information on many pagan paths, as well as a handy dandy cult-detection system, and some really terrific essays.

Minutus cantorum, minutus balorum, minutus carborata descendum pantorum

by jlongs on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 19:18:13 PDT

I wondered which trad you were from 🙂 (4.00 / 2)

I don’t recall how much Keltrian ritual format has in common with our Parent Trad, but if it does you should find Samhain familiar :-).

by Morgan on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 21:23:06 PDT

OOooooo …. (4.00 / 2)

We gotta explain “fluff-bunny”. too !

<EVIL canine-toothy grin>

by Propheticus Lycanthroponica on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 18:46:40 PDT

And (none / 1)

“Jewelry Witch”

by ogre on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 23:18:51 PDT

The High Priestess Race … (none / 1)

… at the Pagan Olympics ?

ROFLMAO !

by Propheticus Lycanthroponica on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 23:39:54 PDT

Now now, let’s play nice 🙂 (4.00 / 6)

I’m sure hungry werewolves lick their chops at the thought of fluffy bunny stew, but really… 😉

In all seriousness, as someone who gets exasperated at those who think that evil is ‘just’ part of how we co-create the universe, I think “fluffy bunny” is all too often a snarl word pessimists use against optimists. Sure, we can roll our eyes at the Pixie Moondrips [1] (warning: satire alert!) of the neopagan world, but I feel that dismissing anyone for their beliefs is a slippery slope. One that ends with names like Dobson and Robertson.

Now that’s not to say we’re not allowed to have our personal tastes. The sweetness-and-light types who think the world’s a game make me grind my teeth and think of 50 lb. teenagers in Africa. I make a deeply concerted effort to keep an open mind about Islam as our Muslim-American friends face prejudice at every turn, but “there is no God but Allah” makes this polytheist a mite twitchy. And hell, I am part Taoist, but the idea of cleaving to the Yin…well, let’s just say I’m a Yang kind of guy and leave it at that. I just think it’s important to show respect for others’ beliefs as long as they’re not trying to shove theirs down our throats.

I think the short form is, extremism is always the problem, even when it comes to being sweet and cheerful. Examples: Kaylee, good; Barney, bad. >eg<

(/) Roland X
aka Mr. Morgan ;^)

by Roland X on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 19:53:23 PDT

Bravo, Roland ! (4.00 / 3)

I especially like your point about extremism, even if it is of the diabetic-coma-inducing sweetness sort.

When I use the term “fluff-bunny”, I usually mean one of a few specific sorts :

  • Someone too lazy to exercise their brain in order to learn basic history, ritual etiquette and group dynamics
  • Someone who demands the respect due a true Elder, when they are 20 years old, claiming a “Tradition” based on the latest episode of “Charmed” mashed-up with Atlantis mythology, while wearing a hubcap-sized pentagram and Marilyn Manson makeup
  • Someone who refuses to acknowledge that some of our dieties are spectacularly NOT nice, and that death and grieving are agonizing, even if part of the Circle of Life
  • Anyone not of real-world royal descent who prefixes their name with “Lord” or “Lady” especially when said name sounds like it came from the Pagan Name Generator or follows the “Metal Bird-Animal” formula i.e. Silver Ravenwolf.

:: The WereWolf Prophet fires up his Number Two washtu …umm, cauldron and begins sniffing about for some nice tender Fluff-Bunny to stew …

Hoooowwwwwwwwl !

😉

by Propheticus Lycanthroponica on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 21:01:52 PDT

With a couple of caveats (4.00 / 3)

Members of historical re-creation groups that grant titles within the group can use their title along with their persona name, but only in the context of the group :-).

In the SCA, I’m the Honorable Lady Muirghein (inter-kingdom anthropology: Caid uses the Honorable for awards that include a Grant of Arms), but anywhere else I’m just Morgan, not Lady Morgan.

Also, IMO people who have earned a position of respect and leadership within a group can use Lord/Lady Whatzername, sort of like priests are Father Whozits. But it should be an earned title, not one adopted by oneself.

by Morgan on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 21:29:59 PDT

Doh ! (4.00 / 2)

I completely forgot about Scadians, sorry, my bad ! And I agree with you about titles if they are truly earned.

Regardless, I’m totally satisfied with being just a plain ole scruffy wolf.

Hoowwwwl !

by Propheticus Lycanthroponica on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 21:58:24 PDT

Although … (4.00 / 2)

… I will conspicuously bow, with much flourish, to a Lovely Lady or Handsome Lord, whereupon I will proceed to flirt outrageously, a social grace I did learn for my brief encounter with the SCA.

:: The WereWolf Prophet sits on his haunches, head cocked slightly to one side, tongue hanging out, tail wagging, looking altogether tooooo innocent for words ! ::

by Propheticus Lycanthroponica on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 22:09:23 PDT

Former SCAdian here, too (none / 1)

Lady Vanessa de la Poste du Fouet, AOA, OM, OBT, and some local shire and barony awards that I forget about!

Add mine to the voices crying in the wilderness.

by Deborah Brown on Thu Oct 20th, 2005 at 04:53:17 PDT

* FLIRT * (none / 0)

WereWolf Prophet, looking totally handsome in his very snug 😉 velvet brocade Italian Renaissance outfit, silk shirt rakishly unlaced enough to reveal just a hint of his lushly hirsute chest, sweeps a magnificent feathered cap off his head with great flourish, bows grandly over Lady Vanessa’s hand, and ever-so-faintly brushes the Lady’s middle knuckle with his lips, while shamelessly winking at the exceptionally studly Knight standing to the Lady’s left …

Hooooowwwwwwl !

(Told yah I learned how to flirt from SCAdians!)

by Propheticus Lycanthroponica on Thu Oct 20th, 2005 at 09:49:44 PDT

Well, then, my lord, (none / 0)

let me pass you this cloved lemon!

Add mine to the voices crying in the wilderness.

by Deborah Brown on Thu Oct 20th, 2005 at 19:08:29 PDT

Thank you for the information (4.00 / 2)

One of the beliefs of Ketria is the immortality of the spirit. What spirit – humans or the Gods?

If it humans, does the personal human spirit live over many lifetimes? Does it gain experience as it gets older?

If I’m being too personal or something, let me know.

God has many names

by leftofcenter on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 22:03:29 PDT

Replying off the top of my head (4.00 / 4)

Since it’s late but I don’t want to leave this for morning and forget it :-). By no means are you getting too personal!

The phrase that comes to mind is “As we are now, they once were. As they are now, we may become.”

I can’t speak for the official Keltrian opinion, since my path has diverged, but I’d say there isn’t that much of a distinction. What are human spirits now may eventually achieve “godhood,” or at least union with Divinity.

I can’t think of any pagan of my experience who doesn’t belive in reincarnation in some form. We incarnate many times, to learn lessons, have experiences, and generally grow spiritually. I’ve had flashes of memory from past lives, some while I was still a practicing Christian before I’d really learned much about things like reincarnation.

by Morgan on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 22:53:05 PDT

Just checking in (4.00 / 2)

Very good diary, and very interesting thread. Since no one mentioned this here, I want to point out Witchvox: http://www.witchvox.com/ as a resource for and about Witchcraft and NeoPaganism.

I tend to identify as a Witch, rather than a Wiccan. I see this difference as Witchcraft is what you practice, Wicca is what you believe. I’m still not sure what I believe, and it changes from day to day. But I observe the full moons and 8 holidays if I possibly can. I started doing full moon rituals as a teenager.

I’m probably the Crone of the bunch here; I’ve was formally initiated in 1978. I’ll post a diary on initiation one of these days; I have very mixed feelings about it.

by MagentaMN on Thu Oct 20th, 2005 at 10:46:48 PDT

Initiation (none / 1)

Since you say you have mixed feelings, I’d be interested if you have anything to say on initiation into a tradition vs. initiation by the divinities themselves (into the mysteries, into their service, I couldn’t think of one phrase that really fit).

Personally, I feel that my initiation was when I faced death during a convenience story robbery (I forget which diary I mentioned that on this morning :-). Then there was the time that several of us initiated each other using Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft (some interesting stories from that one), and then there was my initiation into Keltria. So, I see a substantive difference between initiation as a personal affirmation of starting/being on a path, and initiation into a particular tradition.

by Morgan on Thu Oct 20th, 2005 at 11:49:08 PDT

Oh, (none / 1)

And thanks for the link! That’s sort of a “duh” on my part, mainly because I tend to think of it as more “wiccan” than general “pagan.”

by Morgan on Thu Oct 20th, 2005 at 11:50:15 PDT


[1] link originally to http://www.widdershins.org/vol3iss4/m9710.htm part Taoist, but the idea of cleaving to the Yin…well, letp

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