Paganism? They don't think so.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-24-2005
Paganism? They don't think so.
Mon, 03-21-2011 - 9:20pm

I live west of Seattle across the Puget Sound so most of my news comes from there. Not too long ago there was a tragic shooting by a cop who was too fast with his gun and he killed a well known downtown Native American woodcarver. (long story) To celebrate

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-20-2007
Tue, 03-22-2011 - 11:01am

I can understand why particular Pagan groups don't bring attention to their rituals as a part of Paganism. For one thing, "Paganism" is an umbrella term that encompasses a lot of different paths. For a lot of outsiders the New Age movement is a part of Paganism, so we also have to deal with the people channeling 10,000 year old aliens from Atlantis and the likes. And of course, none of this has anything to do with Paganism and a lot of us don't want to be associated with them in a religious/spiritual sense. Also, for many of the different groups, they aren't only celebrating their spirituality. They are also celebrating their culture. Yes, there are Pagans who have embraced the American Indian rituals and a lot of the Indians are upset over that. It's not seen so much as the white man stealing from the Indians once more so much as the non-Indians can't truly know and understand the rituals unless they have were born into the culture. And I can understand that. This is why my own personal path, Druidism, is something from my ancestral heritage. Many of my ancestors were from Wales and Gaul, where the Druids were prominent. I know people who do follow a path completely outside their culture; for example, people who follow an Egyptian or Greek path and don't have that ancestry. I'm not going to come down onto them about it, but I personally feel more comfortable following a path that my ancestors followed. So for me, and for the groups you mentioned in your post, Paganism isn't just about religion. It's also about culture and family ties.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 03-22-2011 - 5:35pm

Unfortunately certain words just bring a negative connotation to most peoples mind, and Pagan is one of them. What makes is so bad is like Sisterhoney said, Pagan incorporates such a wide umbrella of people.

All we can do is try to change peoples perception one person at a time.



Avatar for nawleansdarlin
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-27-1999
Tue, 03-22-2011 - 11:26pm

Tommy, thanks for sharing that with us.

siggy line


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2001
Thu, 03-24-2011 - 12:43pm

Just some of my rambling thoughts...:smileytongue:

I think "labels" or "semantics" can often be twisted to be derogatory and disrespectful. And the press is guilty of twisting things solely to gain readership or viewership, rather than respectful reporting of the news and events. frown.gif More sensitive people try to find non "trigger" words, if that makes sense. Knowing the deliberately nasty connotations that are out there, using different words often helps people see and respect differences rather than judging them and putting an internal wall up. If calling something "cultural" enables people to celebrate their beliefs without enduring strong prejudice or disrespect or discrimination, or even actual disruption, maybe that's a good thing? Even though not truly being "seen" and valued as "religion" or "spiritual traditions." Which is kind of belittling, IMO. Maybe finding "safe words" to describe something so that people who would otherwise be disrespectful or hateful, might help such people of closed minds to see and experience, become a little more "educated" so that they hopefully can come to not to feel threatened by what is different.

There are many Pagan traditions and even symbols taken over by the dominant religion of Christianity in all its various formats, and a lot of ignorance of the origin of these practices and symbols. Even denial of those origins. ;) I think it's a "re-invention" perhaps, with the practices or symbolism of the different religion, taking on some of the concepts and practices that came before, you know? Nothing wrong with that, the "borrowing." What is wrong to me, is the NOT recognizing, respecting and acknowledging and even perhaps, thanking the "originators. :| To me, if wisdom or a practice resonates and enriches me, it is not disrespectful to adapt the concept or practice to my own personally created spiritual practice, to enable me to go deeper. To help me expand my understanding of the Universe and my small place within it. I acknowledge and thank the sources of the elements that help me along my way. I believe all of religion is a combination of what came before, some long time ago. Somebody, the designated wise one or leader, combined concepts or practices from what came before; they didn't invent something new "out of whole cloth," after all. They created a divergent path that made some kind of spiritual sense to them. They evolved the belief system, in other words. I don't believe *any* religion can claim to be 100% "original." Every practice and belief system has borrowed from what was created before, all the way back to the first humans to decide to worship powers they didn't understand, that were beyond their own, in an effort to make sense of their existence.

I think it's sad people can't just be open and not have to worry about labels. Could just accept that there are different beliefs, and in the end, they all enrich us in one way or another. Rather than twist words to be derogatory. It's especially sad to see here in a country that was founded on freedom, that many who came here sought religious freedom (even though intolerance and disrespect by those new arrivals for the native inhabitants, their customs and religions, was a part of that history :(). And now those considering themselves the "majority" taking it upon themselves to place a straight-jacket definition as to what's a "worthy" religion and what's not. Or what religions are allowed to be "recognized" as such. :|

At least, regardless of whether it's billed as "cultural" or "religious," it is good that such traditions have not been lost and that those with eyes and hearts to see, can learn and appreciate. :)