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Author Topic: Titles and Labels  (Read 3654 times)

SunflowerP

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Re: Titles and Labels
« Reply #30 on: March 13, 2012, 06:27:21 pm »
Quote from: nbdy;45727
The woods were part of my property. It would be common guest courtesy to respect my wishes regardless of spirituality or tradition, but BECAUSE of the title he did not feel this was necessary. Instead of respecting my multiple request to stop, he nonchalantly quipped how fortunate I was to have him gathering wood because he was a hoodeedoo. This is only one example, and I have no intention of revisiting every instance of disrespect from the entrenched and/or titled Pagans who will rant for hours about how intolerant, hypocritical, and arrogant Christians are and then act the same way, just using a different dogma. I certainly would not have gone into his coven and disregarded the behavior requested of me.


Ah, now that makes a difference - you may not have authority over his actions in general, but you most certainly had authority over his actions in that place.  He's clearly an arrogant asshat, and it sounds like he thinks he farts sparkly rose-scented rainbows, too.

And, yes, there's no shortage of pagans who rant about the horribleness of Christians, but turn around and do pretty much the same things - though I've never, myself, found it to be restricted to long-time pagans or to those who've done the work to earn titles; in fact, IME it's more common among (though not exclusive to, by any means) fairly new pagans, who, if they have titles, have usually bestowed them on themselves.  I don't think it's so much a failing of labels/titles themselves, as of human assholishness, and people who (falsely) assume that having a title somehow magically makes them superior people.

Quote
I agree that it is word often misused because it is used to describe attacks on non-living things. I understand that you may see this forest as a non-living thing. I reported how I felt, and don't assume that you know this better than I do.


No, I'm an animist - I talk to trees (and rocks, too).  I have no problem taking your word for it that the trees felt violated, and that you felt their outrage.

Trouble is, it's not just a misuse of the word "rape" to use it to describe attacks on non-living things; it's also a misuse to apply it broadly to any and all sorts of attacks on living things.  There are many. many things that are attacks, and are thoroughly reprehensible, that are not rape, and should not be miscalled so.  To call an assault that is in no way sexual "rape" may appear to emphasize how horrific the assault was, but in the end it only has the effect of watering down both.  I'm very doubtful that the trees felt sexually assaulted.

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Annie Roonie

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Re: Titles and Labels
« Reply #31 on: March 13, 2012, 09:53:58 pm »
Quote from: monsnoleedra;45673


Now I don't know whether I answered this or just muddied the waters even more.


I had been thinking of answering this, but you pretty much nailed my thoughts about titles and labels. I appreciate the time you took to do it.

Your explanation reminded me of my father. When he was elected the head of his lodge, it made him uncomfortable. But it was democratic and it would be unseemly to fight such things. So we asked him to explain what it meant and he said the had to function like the big toe on a foot. So we called him The Big Toe and he like that much better than worshipful master. And the guys in his lodge, when they heard, all laughed and agreed it was fitting. Most of those guys were former military. I expect that service has some universal learning about such things as titles and labels.

Auress

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Re: Titles and Labels
« Reply #32 on: March 14, 2012, 07:22:42 pm »
Quote from: Agonistes;45551


So, my question, what does the forum think of labels and titles? People assuming a title that you, perhaps, have worked hard to obtain and people coming out of the blue and wanting to assume that title with little work and/or effort. Or those who seek a path, but are met with opposition from the people you believed would help you.

This could pose more of a rant on my end, I respect those who differ in my beliefs, but I don't believe I should be put down, for I am human and therefore a learning individual.


I despise labels and titles. I think they pigeon hole people into preconceived roles and hierarchies and I generally do not give any amount of thought to them or what they might mean.

For instance, a Priestess in paganism is just as good as any other pagan. I see them as equals and I don't give people with "Lord" and "Lady" titles any more recognition than I would give to any other pagan. I doesn't impress me when people toss those titles about either. I don;t think them any higher on the totem pole. Same with "Reverends" and "Priests" etc. Means nothing to me. What DOES mean something to me is how much knowledge of their chosen subject they have and what they've contributed to that end. I know of "Priestesses" who haven't done jack for their religion, but regular schlubs like me who've done significantly more.

I also shy away from trying to label my beliefs, while actually trying to label them. I would like to be able to just toss something like "Heathen" out and be done with it, but the truth of the matter is that I can't and probably never will be able to. My beliefs are far too complex and diverse to be roped and caged into something that exists, right now.

I don't like using "pagan", in fact, I haven't used it actively for awhile, now. Every time you say "I'm pagan" people automatically assume all kinds of things that aren't true based on popular opinion. They think you're a wiccan right off the bat most of the time. Or that you believe in multiple Gods, whether or not you really do. They think you dress like a leftover from the Ren Faire or the SCA and that you dance around the yard at night naked. "Pagan" is also beginning to be see AS a religion, which just chaps my butt.

So, when people ask me what my religion is, I tell them it's the Verm religion. Or that it's too hard to explain without steak and tequila shooters. Or that I'm not Christian, Jewish or Muslim and leave it at that. And, I don't really give much praise to all the "priests", "priestesses", "Lords" and "Ladys" that seem to infest non mainstream religion.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2012, 07:23:55 pm by Auress »

Lokabrenna

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Re: Titles and Labels
« Reply #33 on: March 15, 2012, 05:07:52 pm »
Quote from: Agonistes;45551

So, my question, what does the forum think of labels and titles? People assuming a title that you, perhaps, have worked hard to obtain and people coming out of the blue and wanting to assume that title with little work and/or effort. Or those who seek a path, but are met with opposition from the people you believed would help you.


I'm probably going to repeat what others have said, so just bear with me.

I know some people are against labels, but for me, labels are a concise way of telling someone what you're about. If someone says they are a "Christian", I have some idea of what to expect (someone who thinks Jesus is Way Cool) even if I don't have the specifics. I use the term "Vanic Pagan" to describe myself as: a) someone who worships the Vanir and b) someone who feels more of an affinity for Neopaganism than Heathenry (which I personally associate with reconstruction and conservatism). I also answer to "Norse Pagan" and "Vanatru", but not "Heathen". I think if I were to really unpack what it is I do, I would find that I also honour deities traditionally thought of as "Aesir" (like Idunna), plus Loki, but I don't consider myself Lokean by any means, but "Vanic Pagan" is a good enough label than "Pagan who mostly honours the Vanir but occasionally honours other gods".
 
As for titles, I personally would never give myself a title, although there are some traditions (particularly Goddess/Women's spirituality groups) that see everyone as their own priest or priestess, if only in a sense that everyone has the authority to make and perform rituals. For a title to truly have weight, it needs to be bestowed and recognized by others, IMHO. You can call yourself "High Priestess Copper CrowFox" all you want, and maybe it will boost your self-confidence, but if others don't see that title as significant, what good is it?

I'm going to use another example from the kink community, another group that loves using titles. "Master" or "Mistress" is a common title that one adopts to indicate that they are in a certain relationship with another person (identified as their sub or slave). There's some disagreement as to when and where it is appropriate to claim the title, but one of the fastest ways to annoy a lot of people is to insist that everyone should refer to you by that title. From what I understand, the general consensus (with room for disagreement) is that titles only apply with the people with whom you have a relationship, and to expect anyone else to call you by a particular title is considered rude. (Kinksters can feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. This stuff's very nuanced.)

yewberry

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Re: Titles and Labels
« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2012, 06:24:10 pm »
Quote from: Vermillion;45897
I don't like using "pagan", in fact, I haven't used it actively for awhile, now. Every time you say "I'm pagan" people automatically assume all kinds of things that aren't true based on popular opinion. They think you're a wiccan right off the bat most of the time. Or that you believe in multiple Gods, whether or not you really do. They think you dress like a leftover from the Ren Faire or the SCA and that you dance around the yard at night naked. "Pagan" is also beginning to be see AS a religion, which just chaps my butt.

So you don't really hate the labels.  You hate the way people react to them.  I think that's distinction-worthy.

Me?  I'm with Lokabrenna.  Labels are useful encapsulations when long explanations are impractical or confusing.  Overall, though, I don't talk to people about my religion (or theirs).  It rarely comes up, and I never instigate.  When it does come up, I don't assume people are jerks because they have assumptions.  I try instead to tactfully correct them.  People make assumptions about everyone.  It's hardly the end of the world, and getting all reactionary and offended is (while entirely human) usually unproductive.

I'm not a member of a hierarchical tradition, but I'm loathe to tar them all with the same brush.  If a given high priest/ess is a power-hungry douchecanoe, it's probably got more to do with the individual than the title bestowed upon them.

High Priestess Copper CrowFox (a.k.a. Brina)
« Last Edit: March 15, 2012, 06:25:37 pm by yewberry »

SunflowerP

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Re: Titles and Labels
« Reply #35 on: March 16, 2012, 02:27:32 am »
Quote from: Lokabrenna;45968
I'm going to use another example from the kink community, another group that loves using titles. "Master" or "Mistress" is a common title that one adopts to indicate that they are in a certain relationship with another person (identified as their sub or slave). There's some disagreement as to when and where it is appropriate to claim the title, but one of the fastest ways to annoy a lot of people is to insist that everyone should refer to you by that title. From what I understand, the general consensus (with room for disagreement) is that titles only apply with the people with whom you have a relationship, and to expect anyone else to call you by a particular title is considered rude. (Kinksters can feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. This stuff's very nuanced.)

 
I've often noticed the parallel myself, and it's spot-on - and, yep, has much less to do with anything wrong with the titles themselves, and far more to do with whether people are being assholes about it, in both cases.

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Auress

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Re: Titles and Labels
« Reply #36 on: March 16, 2012, 10:36:32 am »
Quote from: yewberry;45975
So you don't really hate the labels.  You hate the way people react to them.  I think that's distinction-worthy.

Me?  I'm with Lokabrenna.  Labels are useful encapsulations when long explanations are impractical or confusing.  Overall, though, I don't talk to people about my religion (or theirs).  It rarely comes up, and I never instigate.  When it does come up, I don't assume people are jerks because they have assumptions.  I try instead to tactfully correct them.  People make assumptions about everyone.  It's hardly the end of the world, and getting all reactionary and offended is (while entirely human) usually unproductive.

I'm not a member of a hierarchical tradition, but I'm loathe to tar them all with the same brush.  If a given high priest/ess is a power-hungry douchecanoe, it's probably got more to do with the individual than the title bestowed upon them.

High Priestess Copper CrowFox (a.k.a. Brina)



Unfortunately, there are more "douchecanoes" (I'm so borrowing that word, LOL) than there are normal people behind those titles. Obviously, I've never met one here, but the ones I meet out and about are the reason that I don't put much stock in the titles and why I have little do with pagan communities outside of the internet.

Other pagan sites are filled with them, too. It's just hard to take the title seriously after about the 50th person, then you start rolling your eyes every time you see it brought up. It's just a natural reaction to a contagious problem. More often than not, it's the "read one book automatic priestess" syndrome".

As for the labels themselves, yes I actually do hate them. The reactions to them are a direct result of people mixing and matching and borrowing labels. When you say witch, people see Laurie Cabot or some chick with her hair dyed black. When you say pagan, people think crushed velvet and circlets and SCA types. The only reason for this is because that's what's readily seen. If you saw me on the street, you'd think I was any old soccer Mom. Driving my minivan, etc. It's that those stereotypes are the most readily available to be seen and they are attracted to pagan gatherings, it's just a fact. Witches tend to like dark, and black and.....well Laurie Cabot. I hate the labels because I can't use them. None of the stereotypes within them do me any favors.

Jenett

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Re: Titles and Labels
« Reply #37 on: March 17, 2012, 01:40:29 am »
Quote from: Vermillion;46024
If you saw me on the street, you'd think I was any old soccer Mom. Driving my minivan, etc. It's that those stereotypes are the most readily available to be seen and they are attracted to pagan gatherings, it's just a fact. Witches tend to like dark, and black and.....well Laurie Cabot. I hate the labels because I can't use them. None of the stereotypes within them do me any favors.

 
The thing is, you see the ones who are noisy about it.

I'm currently at Paganicon - weekend Pagan convention, 225 people, about 150+ of whom are here already. I know at least 50 of them well enough to know their degree of training, titles they're reasonably entitled to, etc.

We do have people wandering around in Paganish garb - ritual looking clothes, fun stuff. But we have even more people wandering around in what they wear every day.

(I was joking that I was really in Pagan librarian mode for the opening ritual session tonight when I was doing board introductions: black skirt with sensible pockets, deep green plain t-shirt, black cardigan over the top, hair stick in my hair with book charms attached. I *am* a Pagan librarian, but really, you couldn't tell the Pagan part from what I was wearing. Tomorrow and Sunday, I'll be wearing t-shirts, but one has an Uffington horse, the other has a bit about Welsh mythology. One might make reasonable guesses from them, but it's a far cry from a pentacle, or an obviously Pagan joke.)

But one of the things that's struck me here is that it's about the community you build.

This event grew out of the Twin Cities Pagan Pride event, and for a number of years, it's been important to us to have a varied experience on the board. Two of us, right now, are formally trad trained. (I'm a 3rd degree in my trad, and one of the others is Gardnerian - though, honestly, I've never asked what degree.) The rest are a wide range of other things, from other paths, to solitaries, to people for whom labels are just plain really complicated.

Paganicon as an event grew out of that, as well - we want a space where that's not the underlying focus. People's badge names are usually just their name. Or their Craft name. A few people have group affiliations listed, but the vast majority (even of the groups who are active in the area, etc.) don't.  Almost no one has a title included (the only one I've seen is a joke title, more or less, and as much about her cooking skills as her Pagan ones.)

And these are people who have quietly, over the years, run events, lead open rituals, hosted training circles, taught any number of students, facilitated public events, and all sorts of other things. The people who do the most tend to need the titles the least.

There are communities where those things are less true. And it sounds like you've found a lot of them. But they're *not* the way things have to be. Or the way things are everywhere. And I'd bet even in the places you've been, there are other people who are not impressed by the titles, but are thoughtful about the people doing the real work (whether they have or use a title or not). You may just not be seeing them, because the people being noisy about the titles and the labels are drowning everything else out.

Thinking about this particularly because I had an awesome conversation this evening with a group of friends (and one person who's pretty new to this) who wandered into explaining different approaches to initiation, and where the people in the room included two Reclaiming witches, two people with experience in several other practices, and me, who was filling in the gaps in other conversations (because I tend to know lots of random stuff, and random people who do that stuff.)

Label were useful in that conversation, and titles (in broad senses, like "what does being an initiate mean?") were too, because it gave us handles for the conversation. But it was even more interesting to talk about what we meant by them, and how different places do and don't use them.
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AthenaiiseSofia

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Re: Titles and Labels
« Reply #38 on: March 23, 2012, 02:58:08 pm »
Quote from: Agonistes;45551


So, my question, what does the forum think of labels and titles? People assuming a title that you, perhaps, have worked hard to obtain and people coming out of the blue and wanting to assume that title with little work and/or effort. Or those who seek a path, but are met with opposition from the people you believed would help you.


 
A label is like a simplified way to describe yourself. On our little profiles where is asks you what religion or whatever you are, it's alot easier to just put "Wiccan" or "Khemetic Pagan" as opposed to "single white witch who worships Egyptian gods and mixes a bit of Wicca here and there, oh and also training in hedgewitchery." You can change your label as you see fit, which is awesome. And in my time here on the Cauldron, I've noticed many people seem proud of their labels. But then again, we're in a community of fellow pagans.
"Go then and make of the world something beautiful, set up a light in the darkness." - from Awakening Osiris by Normandi Ellis

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