collapse

Author Topic: Objections against the terms of Paganism and Heathendom among Hellenists  (Read 7977 times)

OfThespiae

  • Apprentice
  • ***
  • Join Date: Sep 2011
  • Posts: 49
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
    • http://www.oddmodout.com
Re: Objections against the terms of Paganism and Heathendom among Hellenists
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2012, 06:49:43 am »
Quote from: Jezebel;75722
Of Thespiae sort of touched on this.

 
I've actually made several posts on the subject:

http://ofthespiae.hellenistai.com/2012/08/22/q-what-is-paganism-a-absolutely-nothing/

http://ofthespiae.hellenistai.com/tag/pagan-identity-crisis-2011/

My feelings about the term "pagan" are complex, but in general, it's not my favourite self-identifying term, and I only really call myself "pagan" when I need a word that's easier for some people to understand --it always strikes me as odd how many people can't figure out what "polytheist" might mean, when they hear it the first time, but hey, I guess the public education in the States are mightily underfunded.

The pagan community is also not without its usefulness to me, even if perusing some of the more prominent pagan blogs gives me not only assurance that, as a Boeotian polytheist, I have little in common with the "mainstream" pagan community, but I have some concerns about my continued abilities to be able to engage the pagan community in a manner that can benefit both myself and the community.

Haganrix

  • Sr. Apprentice
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 51
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Objections against the terms of Paganism and Heathendom among Hellenists
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2012, 08:16:55 am »
Quote from: youngsoulrebel;75783


The pagan community is also not without its usefulness to me, even if perusing some of the more prominent pagan blogs gives me not only assurance that, as a Boeotian polytheist, I have little in common with the "mainstream" pagan community, but I have some concerns about my continued abilities to be able to engage the pagan community in a manner that can benefit both myself and the community.

 

To me, this seems to be the most useful point of view. But I had to realize that several Hellenists dont share it.

OfThespiae

  • Apprentice
  • ***
  • Join Date: Sep 2011
  • Posts: 49
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
    • http://www.oddmodout.com
Re: Objections against the terms of Paganism and Heathendom among Hellenists
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2012, 04:57:09 pm »
Quote from: Haganrix;75796
To me, this seems to be the most useful point of view. But I had to realize that several Hellenists dont share it.

 
And many "out" gay people have no real interest in the GBLT community, but again, they aren't closeted, and are often fairly well-adjusted.  Lots of Heathens, Asatruars, and other Norse and Germanic polytheists don't have much use for the pagan community, nor the majority of Hindus, Buddhists, Shenists, Shintos, and others of Eastern religions.  It's no skin off my back, either way.

Of course, unlike some Hellenists who rather hotly eschew the word in their self identity, I realise that context is ultimately defining the word before getting hopping mad over the slightest insinuation that I might be "pagan". Language is just as much a part of any culture as one's daily actions and thoughts, and indeed, thoughts are articulated through the filter of language.  Language, as a cultural identifier, evolves, changes, nuance mutates, and so on.

Ultimately, yes, "pagan" isn’t the most useful word to identify a person's religious culture, practises, and beliefs. In Hellenic Polytheism, one's culture and practises and most rudimentary beliefs are defined by the tribal sect, as it were, and more complex beliefs are often defined by a philosophical school.  "Pagan" is only really a useful term in defining how Hellenismos relates to the overculture / mainstream religions, in that it's not one of them --but even then, because of the academic use of the word "pagan", including Pierre Chuvin's book, A CHRONICLE OF THE LAST PAGANS, and the etymologic of "Neo-Pagan" being initially applied as a playful good-natured ribbing against 19th Century Romantics who entertained Hellenic polytheistic imagery, including Shelley, Byron, Wilde, and Lord Douglas, there is clearly reason to assume that Hellenists might at least be interested in the modern pagan community --after all, those words were applied to "us", first.

But the reality of the modern pagan community provides me, personally, with little in common with most people who identify with the term, but at the same time there are still plenty of reasons I still keep a toe in.

It's like how you don't necessarily have to be a part of, say, the Teddy Boy and Rockabilly scenes to go see an Eight Ball Grifter concert, but if you enjoy the music, you're more than welcome. I was never married to or even going steady with the pagan community, but I see them on occasion and keep generally friendly feelings toward them.

RandallS

  • Administrator
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: NE Ohio
  • Posts: 10092
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 225
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Hellenic Pagan
Re: Objections against the terms of Paganism and Heathendom among Hellenists
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2012, 05:44:07 pm »
Quote from: youngsoulrebel;75821
But the reality of the modern pagan community provides me, personally, with little in common with most people who identify with the term, but at the same time there are still plenty of reasons I still keep a toe in.

However, one has a lot in common with "most people who identify with the term" when it comes to things like dealing with the non-Pagan majority culture -- many of whom could not tell a Hellenic Polytheist from a Druid or a Wiccan.
Randall
RetroRoleplaying [Blog]: Microlite74/75/78/81, BX Advanced, and Other Old School Tabletop RPGs
Microlite20: Lots of Rules Lite Tabletop RPGs -- Many Free
OSR.SPACE: Old School Tabletop RPG Community

OfThespiae

  • Apprentice
  • ***
  • Join Date: Sep 2011
  • Posts: 49
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
    • http://www.oddmodout.com
Re: Objections against the terms of Paganism and Heathendom among Hellenists
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2012, 07:00:03 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;75823
However, one has a lot in common with "most people who identify with the term" when it comes to things like dealing with the non-Pagan majority culture -- many of whom could not tell a Hellenic Polytheist from a Druid or a Wiccan.

 
Well, for certain definitions of "a lot", I suppose that would be true.  But at the same time, being of a philosophy that values science, I also may be argued to have "a lot in common" with atheists like Richard Dawkins, or Agnostics like Carl Sagan, or Deists like Stephen Hawking, and yet I'm not pressured to adopt any of those terms as part of my identity.  On the other hand, those other words, unlike pagan, actually have a positive definition, in that they define what something is.  Pagan, on the other hand, is best described as the Abrahamic majority's answer to "muggle", or "pink", but at the same time, there are many religions that fit that negative definition of "pagan", but rarely have anything to do with the pagan community, and I don't think a single, say, Hindu or Shinto officiant, for example, has ever participated in a major pagan event, like Pantheacon, or even a local PPD.  So clearly, there are many religions that are not "pagan" because they don't generally make an active identification of that religion as pagan --and for that reason, I, personally, have more in common with the Hindus I've known than I do with most of the self-identified pagans outside of the HP community I've known.  And I see more similarities between what I do and Hinduism than what I do and neo-druidry.  And to be fair, most Christians wouldn't see much difference between an ADF altar and a Hindu's home shrine, either, but the pagan community, in general, tends to allow for Hindus to distance themselves from the community, rather than engage in the subtle pressures that they do with HP's, CP's, Heathens, etc..., to identify with the pagan community.

I really don't find that subtle pressure to get people to identify as pagan to be at all polite, but I'm in an odd place, cos I see little room to argue it, because I do a lot of shopping at stores that pitch themselves as "pagan", or at least embrace the community, and like I said, more people I know understand the various potential  meanings of "pagan", but can't work out what "polytheist" means.  If I were to define myself, though, I'd say I'm a Boeotian polytheist; I see little reason to say "pagan", because that doesn't say anything about what I do or believe, it just says I've submitted to pressures to define myself as such.  Even as a "reclaimed word", looking at the etymology dating back to an ancient Roman equivalent of "hillbilly", I have no right to reclaim it, as my spirituality is urban.

OfThespiae

  • Apprentice
  • ***
  • Join Date: Sep 2011
  • Posts: 49
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
    • http://www.oddmodout.com
Re: Objections against the terms of Paganism and Heathendom among Hellenists
« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2012, 11:11:38 pm »
Quote from: youngsoulrebel;75824
So clearly, there are many religions that are not "pagan" because they don't generally make an active identification of that religion as pagan --and for that reason, I, personally, have more in common with the Hindus I've known than I do with most of the self-identified pagans outside of the HP community I've known.  And I see more similarities between what I do and Hinduism than what I do and neo-druidry.  And to be fair, most Christians wouldn't see much difference between an ADF altar and a Hindu's home shrine, either, but the pagan community, in general, tends to allow for Hindus to distance themselves from the community, rather than engage in the subtle pressures that they do with HP's, CP's, Heathens, etc..., to identify with the pagan community.

 
Also, to be fair, to some Evangelical Christian sects, there's no real difference between a NeoWiccan altar, a Hindo home shrine, or a CATHOLIC home shrine --in fact, I remember Jack Chick wrote several comics about how Catholicism is actually pagan and thus a Christian heresy and thus the work of "the devil", and in spite of the fact that his little booklets are highly mocked on the Internet, a lot of people seem to take his work seriously. Bug yeah, seeing as there is no practical movement of people pressuring Catholics to identify as "pagan", I can't say I see the logic of "most Christians can't tell the difference between this or that thing certain religions do" as reason enough to submit to the pressure to call oneself and one's religion "pagan", cos really, by that logic, Catholics are, too, and I don’t need Pope Palpetine to tell me how silly it would be if a proportionate number of people started insisting on that.

And as I've said, I don't really have the visceral problem with the word that, say, people in YSEE do. I just don't find it very useful to describe my religion as "pagan", when all that says, really, is what my religion is not, and I also have only a limited interest in the pagan community, for a lot of reasons, but even the occasional usefulness I see in that community doesn't really feel like enough to succumb to the social pressure to rethink my position on this.

Are there times when I resign to calling myself "pagan"? Sure, but there are also times when I, as a trans man, resign to admitting I have "female parts", if only cos of my family's history of ovarian cancer --identifying with that any more than I absolutely must (about once a year) wouldn't be very helpful to me, either.

RedHawk

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jan 2013
  • Posts: 221
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Objections against the terms of Paganism and Heathendom among Hellenists
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2013, 01:31:05 pm »
Quote from: youngsoulrebel;75821
And many "out" gay people have no real interest in the GBLT community, but again, they aren't closeted, and are often fairly well-adjusted.  Lots of Heathens, Asatruars, and other Norse and Germanic polytheists don't have much use for the pagan community, nor the majority of Hindus, Buddhists, Shenists, Shintos, and others of Eastern religions.  It's no skin off my back, either way.

Of course, unlike some Hellenists who rather hotly eschew the word in their self identity, I realise that context is ultimately defining the word before getting hopping mad over the slightest insinuation that I might be "pagan". Language is just as much a part of any culture as one's daily actions and thoughts, and indeed, thoughts are articulated through the filter of language.  Language, as a cultural identifier, evolves, changes, nuance mutates, and so on.

Ultimately, yes, "pagan" isn’t the most useful word to identify a person's religious culture, practises, and beliefs. In Hellenic Polytheism, one's culture and practises and most rudimentary beliefs are defined by the tribal sect, as it were, and more complex beliefs are often defined by a philosophical school.  "Pagan" is only really a useful term in defining how Hellenismos relates to the overculture / mainstream religions, in that it's not one of them --but even then, because of the academic use of the word "pagan", including Pierre Chuvin's book, A CHRONICLE OF THE LAST PAGANS, and the etymologic of "Neo-Pagan" being initially applied as a playful good-natured ribbing against 19th Century Romantics who entertained Hellenic polytheistic imagery, including Shelley, Byron, Wilde, and Lord Douglas, there is clearly reason to assume that Hellenists might at least be interested in the modern pagan community --after all, those words were applied to "us", first.

But the reality of the modern pagan community provides me, personally, with little in common with most people who identify with the term, but at the same time there are still plenty of reasons I still keep a toe in.

It's like how you don't necessarily have to be a part of, say, the Teddy Boy and Rockabilly scenes to go see an Eight Ball Grifter concert, but if you enjoy the music, you're more than welcome. I was never married to or even going steady with the pagan community, but I see them on occasion and keep generally friendly feelings toward them.

 
I've seen some Hellenists not wanting to use the term 'pagan' because of its connections. This has been covered on Tim's forum and I've talked about it on that site as well. I agree with anyone that doesn't want to use the term Pagan and those that do. It really all depends on how you feel about the word and term.

Gilbride

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Sep 2012
  • Posts: 597
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Objections against the terms of Paganism and Heathendom among Hellenists
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2013, 01:38:43 pm »
Quote from: Maps;75748
Yeah, I feel "other" in a ton of areas of my identity where binaries have been constructed


This is why I value the term. I don't think of "pagan" as meaning "people who agree with me" but rather "people with whom I can usually talk about what I really care about with minimal self-censorship."

Micheál

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Location: Belfast, N. Ireland
  • Posts: 566
  • Country: ie
  • Total likes: 14
    • View Profile
    • Gall-Ghael
  • Religion: Alexandrian Wicca, Gaelic Polytheism
Re: Objections against the terms of Paganism and Heathendom among Hellenists
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2013, 02:47:39 pm »
Quote from: Haganrix;75710

Now, and what are your views?

(Apologies first as I'm making this reply in general as someone outside the Hellenist community, but as someone who does use both the terms 'Pagan,' and 'Polytheist')

I personally don't think that the term 'pagan' is inadequate as despite some of its early Latin paganus references its use in modern English is quite different. Similar to what I usually say when a practitioner of modern pagan witchcraft influenced from Wicca chooses to use the label 'Wicca' because of its Anglo-Saxon roots alone, we simply just don't walk around conversing in Anglo-Saxon today. In other languages where 'pagan' exists in a loan word or such, take the Irish págánach for ex., it's also meant as a reference to something not, or pre-Christian, and is used here in describing pre-Christian traits¬ as a dated derogatory term.

'Polytheism' itself is a fairly recent word not dating any older than the 17th century, and as one Greek professor describes, "Polytheism is simply a less polemical substitute for what the monotheistic traditions formerly called "idolatry" and "paganism."  -"Religions of the Ancient World": a guide by Sarah Iles Johnston. Therefore I don't think the term is inadequate for practitioners that identify with it, however as with any label, perfectly acceptable for those that choose not to identify or use it. If a community chooses to scorn it in disassociation, or in preference of another term more specific or suiting, I think that's perfectly reasonable as well.

RedHawk

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jan 2013
  • Posts: 221
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Objections against the terms of Paganism and Heathendom among Hellenists
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2013, 03:28:00 pm »
Quote from: Micheál;92917
(Apologies first as I'm making this reply in general as someone outside the Hellenist community, but as someone who does use both the terms 'Pagan,' and 'Polytheist')

I personally don't think that the term 'pagan' is inadequate as despite some of its early Latin paganus references its use in modern English is quite different. Similar to what I usually say when a practitioner of modern pagan witchcraft influenced from Wicca chooses to use the label 'Wicca' because of its Anglo-Saxon roots alone, we simply just don't walk around conversing in Anglo-Saxon today. In other languages where 'pagan' exists in a loan word or such, take the Irish págánach for ex., it's also meant as a reference to something not, or pre-Christian, and is used here in describing pre-Christian traits¬ as a dated derogatory term.

'Polytheism' itself is a fairly recent word not dating any older than the 17th century, and as one Greek professor describes, "Polytheism is simply a less polemical substitute for what the monotheistic traditions formerly called "idolatry" and "paganism."  -"Religions of the Ancient World": a guide by Sarah Iles Johnston. Therefore I don't think the term is inadequate for practitioners that identify with it, however as with any label, perfectly acceptable for those that choose not to identify or use it. If a community chooses to scorn it in disassociation, or in preference of another term more specific or suiting, I think that's perfectly reasonable as well.

 
Interesting.

OfThespiae

  • Apprentice
  • ***
  • Join Date: Sep 2011
  • Posts: 49
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
    • http://www.oddmodout.com
Re: Objections against the terms of Paganism and Heathendom among Hellenists
« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2013, 04:24:31 pm »
Quote from: Micheál;92917
I personally don't think that the term 'pagan' is inadequate as despite some of its early Latin paganus references its use in modern English is quite different.

 
I disagree.

Yes, the word "paganus" was essentially equivalent to the current "ignorant hillbilly", with implications of unsophisticated rural people --and the current use is so closely related to implications of "nature religion" that the only major difference is the tone and prevalence of self-identification with the term.

Micheál

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Location: Belfast, N. Ireland
  • Posts: 566
  • Country: ie
  • Total likes: 14
    • View Profile
    • Gall-Ghael
  • Religion: Alexandrian Wicca, Gaelic Polytheism
Re: Objections against the terms of Paganism and Heathendom among Hellenists
« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2013, 01:56:15 am »
Quote from: youngsoulrebel;92943
I disagree.

Yes, the word "paganus" was essentially equivalent to the current "ignorant hillbilly", with implications of unsophisticated rural people --and the current use is so closely related to implications of "nature religion" that the only major difference is the tone and prevalence of self-identification with the term.

Fair play, I can understand the reasons behind the want of some to not self identify with the term, however outside of uses within neo-pagan communities its uses stretch further than references to "nature religions." For example I commonly hear&see the word 'pagan' used by historians on the radio&signs by our National Trust and the Republic's An Taisce dedicated to the preservation of areas with cultural&historic importance in describing their pre-Christian significance.

RedHawk

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jan 2013
  • Posts: 221
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Objections against the terms of Paganism and Heathendom among Hellenists
« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2013, 04:35:22 pm »
Quote from: youngsoulrebel;92943
I disagree.

Yes, the word "paganus" was essentially equivalent to the current "ignorant hillbilly", with implications of unsophisticated rural people --and the current use is so closely related to implications of "nature religion" that the only major difference is the tone and prevalence of self-identification with the term.

 
I can see where your coming from and I agree. Of course others will say that Heathen is worse but I don't see it that way.

Haganrix

  • Sr. Apprentice
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 51
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Quote from: youngsoulrebel;75821


But the reality of the modern pagan community provides me, personally, with little in common with most people who identify with the term, but at the same time there are still plenty of reasons I still keep a toe in.


 
Don't we have the same Gods but just consider them from different cultural-coined views? Are there several multiverses? Isn't the world we live in one? Isn't Zeus the Dyaus-Pitar of the Vedes, the Jove of the Romans and the old germanic God Ziu?

Melamphoros

  • Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 2746
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
Quote from: Haganrix;103175
Don't we have the same Gods but just consider them from different cultural-coined views? Are there several multiverses? Isn't the world we live in one? Isn't Zeus the Dyaus-Pitar of the Vedes, the Jove of the Romans and the old germanic God Ziu?

 
No.  I personally view them all as separate entities until "proven" (or at least a close approximation given the difficulty to prove such things) otherwise.


Jesus saves, Allah forgives, Cthulhu thinks you will make a great sandwich.
My Spiritual Blog

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
7 Replies
888 Views
Last post November 09, 2012, 11:55:05 am
by Catherine
33 Replies
2911 Views
Last post November 12, 2013, 12:33:38 am
by Allec
5 Replies
1273 Views
Last post March 02, 2014, 06:45:06 am
by Faemon
3 Replies
981 Views
Last post December 09, 2015, 12:35:36 am
by Darkhawk
40 Replies
6198 Views
Last post November 06, 2016, 02:52:41 pm
by mandrina

Special Interest Group

Warning: You are currently in a Special Interest Group on the message board with special rules and focused discussions.

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 46
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 2
  • Dot Users Online:

* Please Donate!

The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.

* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Co-Hosts:
LyricFox & Randall

Senior Staff:
Darkhawk

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Sunflower

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Board Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, HarpingHawke, Jenett, Morag, rocquelaire, Sefiru

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Reserve Staff:
Aisling

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Cauldron Assistants
[Non-Staff Positions]

Site Assistants
[Non-Staff Positions]
Webmaster:
Randall