Monday, June 11, 2007

Paganism is Rebellion?

I should probably know better than to wade into this discussion, but I am compelled to give a couple of thoughts.

This same argument came up amongst a few members of a "lodge" organization, (that I will allow to go unnamed). The main thrust of the discussion was how to deal with those people who claim to be "Pagan" as per say, but yet still fall into the position of either being Jewish, Christian, or Islamic.

I am sure you have all heard of the types that I am speaking of, and many in the community scoff and laugh at the types they refer to as fence sitters and "broom closet" wannabe pagans. However, in all actuality some of Paganism's best writers come from this "crossbreed".

Case in Point, Peter Levenda, who is a member of a Gnostic Christian church, calls himself pagan, practices pagan beliefs and is responsible for one of the pagan community's most recognizable text.

(If any reader of this post doesn't know, I ain't gonna tell ya, look it up)

In the Jewish religion, Kabbalists consider themselves completely Jewish, and yet a lot of ceremonial magick is based of the study of the Zohar and Kabbala exclusively.

And in the Sufi branch of Islam, (different than the Shia and Sunni), this small group of Muslims practice only what I would describe as a pagan tradition with rituals that look to me to be left overs from some ancient Babylonian rites.

So what we realized is that it in some circumstances it was possible to be either, (in a sense), Christian, Jewish, or Islamic, and still be Pagan.

So now that we realized we had no common thread, at least in being a religion that was totally different than the big three, we argued the point of the nature based aspect and asked if that, at least, commonly defined us.

Obviously we realized that could only be a resounding no, since most of us couldn't agree on single point of what that actually meant. There are pagans that could care less about any aspect of a nature based morality, (or morality at all for that matter), so that didn't seem to fit the bill either.

We found that the crux of our inability to find common ground, WAS our single common thread. It was our stubbornness to not conform to anyone's definition of pagan, EVEN OUR OWN.

What was finally decided after weeks of debate, was the one thing that unified all pagans was simply this . . . a complete lack of will to be a part of mainstream religious organization that exists in the cultural area that we live in, regardless of what that organization is.

Which by the way may explain the visceral hatred and AUTOMATIC distrust that many in the pagan community have towards some wiccans who are pushing make Wicca a mainstream religion . . Just a theory.

However, to get back on topic, the definition we came up with I think got to the heart of the rebellion that I believe is in the center of the pagan soul.

Pagan : An Individual who follows a counter-cultural religious belief, for spiritual purposes, that in essence rebels against mainstream religious practices, and is either based off a religion that is uncommon for the geographical and cultural area that the Pagan lives, or is reconstructed and/or loosely based on a religious belief that is common for that area.

In essence, a pagan is an individual who does not accept the organized religion, or religions of where he/she lives, and chooses to still live there, but follows a belief that is foreign to the area.

By the way, this post is not meant as an argument against TC's definition, just given as a different perspective. I already know many aren't gonna agree with it. If we all did . . .we wouldn't be pagan.

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