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Author Topic: All Pagans Should Celebrate the Wheel of the Year Regardless of specific Religion?  (Read 15934 times)

MadZealot

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Quote from: dionysiandame;73171
Which is sad. I need to convince my husband not to wear a white shirt because somewhere between the fork and his mouth, food makes a run for it.

 
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veggiewolf

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All Pagans Should Celebrate the Wheel of the Year Regardless of specific Religion?
« Reply #241 on: September 10, 2012, 10:26:04 pm »
Quote from: dionysiandame;73171
Which is sad. I need to convince my husband not to wear a white shirt because somewhere between the fork and his mouth, food makes a run for it.

I stopped wearing white shirts to the office the first time I had to change the toner in the printer.
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nellethiel

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Quote from: RandallS;67544
I think that most of the people pushing Pagan unity (especially those pushing it because they want to control the appearance of "Pagan brand" to the non-Pagan world) consider the actual diversity of Pagan religions to be a major complication. After all, if all Pagans celebrated the same holidays or better yet all followed a "Harm None!" moral law, it would be so much easier to convince non-Pagans that Pagans really weren't following Satan.

 
I'm a little late in coming to this thread, but I think that the original, original sentiment of the person who wrote to RandallS was maybe touching, very briefly, on something that I have felt before in my life (despite generally disagreeing with their proposal): the feeling of community that can be experienced in the right setting when celebrating holidays (and in my experience, the Wheel holidays) all together, despite our differences.

Meaning: when I was in university, it was simply just more practical to follow a Wheel-based calendar for our on-campus Pagan club/religious group (yes, we really did have one! The benefit of attending a larger, more diverse university, I suppose...) because of the vast number of different Pagans in the group and the fact that we would have run out of time if we'd tried to celebrate everyone's individual holidays...of course, the group asked each and every person to teach a short lesson on his or her own specific path during the group sessions each week, and if there was a different sort of holiday coming up that could be celebrated by all, then we did celebrate it. But in the end, it was easiest for us, as a university run club with the university calendar to keep in mind as well, to manage a schedule for bigger events and community driven get-togethers (fundraisers, etc.) centered around when the Wheel holidays fall (so I guess, really, it was more of a seasonal thing than a "follow this Wiccan way of doing things" thing...meaning, it made it easier for us to say, ok, we're doing something in August, something in October, something in December, etc). We would "choose" a Wheel holiday, like Beltane for example, to have a big event, because of its timing, but do nothing specific to Wiccans during our celebration, unless we wanted to - the group decided on the activities as a whole (with voting).

ANYWAY, what I'm trying to say is: I thought that club's system was an extraordinarily wonderful experince of being in an envrionemnt where I could be myself, with my own brand of Paganism, and still get to easily know other Pagans in community events and settings that just so happened to fall on the Wheel holidays and be sort of related to them. It is perhaps not what the writer of the original message to RandallS fully had in mind, but I think it kind of captures the idea that, if community IS desired (and I understand that it isn't, not by every Pagan, and that's totally understandable and fine) it's sometimes easier to come together around holidays...and because of the diversity and the sheer number of Pagan holidays, sometimes we have to settle for attending something based on someone else's path if we want to even meet or get to know some other Pagans.

The truth is, the university setting that I was a part of, with a club that could bring many different Pagans together like that if they desired to BE together...is not the reality for many people or many other settings (such as the city I live in now, for example). I sometimes wish there were easier ways to have get-togethers with other Pagans in my area. I don't think those get-togethers necessarily HAVE to be holiday related, and I don't think by any means that anyone should be forced into celebrating holidays they don't want to....but I get it. I get the original sentiment. I get the writer of that note's desire for connection. I don't like the way they want to do it, but I can understand it.
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yewberry

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Quote from: nellethiel;73511
The truth is, the university setting that I was a part of, with a club that could bring many different Pagans together like that if they desired to BE together.


I understand where you're coming from, but saying "we're inclusive" while structuring meeting schedules around a very specific pagan path is inherently problematic.  It's bound to immediately alienate most non-Wiccanesque pagans.  These folks will simply never engage or show up to a meeting.  In short, you'll never even know you alienated them, and as a consequence might think you're being as inclusive as you hoped, but actually missing the mark.

Brina

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Quote from: nellethiel;73511
I'm a little late in coming to this thread, but I think that the original, original sentiment of the person who wrote to RandallS was maybe touching, very briefly, on something that I have felt before in my life (despite generally disagreeing with their proposal): the feeling of community that can be experienced in the right setting when celebrating holidays (and in my experience, the Wheel holidays) all together, despite our differences.

 
Even back in my neo-Wiccan days, I never really got on with the WHeel of the Year.  It didn't make any sense to me on a structural or mythological level, and so - barring a specific reason to attend a wheelyear-based ritual - I never went to such things.  It didn't so much provide me with a feeling of community, but a feeling of people actively going to effort to exclude me from community.

Now that I have better-defined religious paths, I don't take it as personally, but I also don't feel a need to go play in someone else's religion.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

nellethiel

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Quote from: yewberry;73516
I understand where you're coming from, but saying "we're inclusive" while structuring meeting schedules around a very specific pagan path is inherently problematic.  It's bound to immediately alienate most non-Wiccanesque pagans.  These folks will simply never engage or show up to a meeting.  In short, you'll never even know you alienated them, and as a consequence might think you're being as inclusive as you hoped, but actually missing the mark.

Brina

 
Maybe I didn't explain this right...the meetings were structured around discussions that would vary each week...and often times, we would focus on a specific path on a meeting day so that everyone could learn about everyone else (ex: one day was learning about Wicca, one day was learning about Hinduism, one day was learning about Heathenry, one day was simply learning about Buddhist meditation techniques from our resident Buddhist, etc. - so I guess not all of them could technically fall under "Paganism" completely, as some here have suggested about Buddhism and Hinduism). The goal was actually to prevent alienation, and to foster education and togetherness and understanding one another. Naturally there were days where some people had more interest in something than others, but the meetings themselves had no specific path-oriented structure, we simply voted on who would lead the discussions each week. The Wheel of the Year holidays were chosen as dates we could use to set up larger events, because it worked out nicely with the timing of the year and our school schedule. Also, we liked the idea of all celebrating seasonal holidays together (again, our approach to those holidays was likely not the approach many Wiccans might take, even, etc., it really was quite eclectic). I guess some alienation could have gone on without us all knowing, but I think people who weren't happy with the way the club worked simply left and found other ways to get involved with our university community, or simply continued to be spiritual on their own, etc.?

I mean, what I experienced was only one of many ways a Pagan group like that could work, and for some reason, even though Wicca was not the dominant religion in the group, we all just sort of agreed on the Wheel holidays...

It certainly might not work for everyone! And I'm sure there are those Pagans out there not interested in interfaith-related discussions/groups, etc. I guess I just personally enjoyed the atmosphere ^__^;;
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nellethiel

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Quote from: Darkhawk;73521
Even back in my neo-Wiccan days, I never really got on with the WHeel of the Year.  It didn't make any sense to me on a structural or mythological level, and so - barring a specific reason to attend a wheelyear-based ritual - I never went to such things.  It didn't so much provide me with a feeling of community, but a feeling of people actively going to effort to exclude me from community.

Now that I have better-defined religious paths, I don't take it as personally, but I also don't feel a need to go play in someone else's religion.

 
And that's fine! It obviously doesn't work for everyone. I have a much higher tolerance for, as you say, "playing in other people's religions", in order to make connections with them and get to know other Pagan people. It's been hard for me throughout my life to make lasting connections with other religious people...when I was a kid and involved in Judaism, I had some bad experiences with friends/the community, and then when I became Pagan, and ultimately chose Kemeticism as my focus, I was able to make only one really good, solid lasting friendship with another Kemetic (likely because there just aren't that many of us in America living all in the same place, etc.). I found places like TC much later, and only now realize that online communities like this exist to meet and talk to people on.

I suppose my experience with the Wheel of the Year holidays has, very very simply, been a good one...and a very non-forcing-my-religion-on-you one. So, in that way, I can think of them fondly, even if I don't have any reason to actually celebrate them on my own, if that makes sense.
“I have made bright Ma’at which Ra loves, I know that He lives by it; it is my bread too; I eat of its brightness.” (Jeremy Naydler, Temple of the Cosmos)
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dionysiandame

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Quote from: Darkhawk;73521
Even back in my neo-Wiccan days, I never really got on with the WHeel of the Year.  It didn't make any sense to me on a structural or mythological level.


I kind of never got it either though during my Neo-Wiccish-Eclectic-DJ Conway days I did celebrate the four big festivals I could actually remember. Heck, even groups I've participated in that were "general" pagan tended to focus on the big-four with the other four being foot-notes one celebrated if one was 'really devout.'

Like I said before, I'm just not inclined to want to spend time celebrating or participating in religious holidays that mean nothing to me what-so-ever.

I am dreading that Samhain is coming up. DREADING. But at least October is the month they put a lot more paranormal stuff on The History Channel, Discovery, etc.
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Quote from: dionysiandame;73532
Like I said before, I'm just not inclined to want to spend time celebrating or participating in religious holidays that mean nothing to me what-so-ever.


This. I mean, FSS, the Religio has more holidays then I could even consider remembering. Strictly speaking, my priestly duties alone require I know the dies natalis, dies mortis, and significant other assorted days for roughly 70 separate Emperors give or take. In addition to the various hundreds of festivals for regular Dii such as the Twelve, household rites, etc. My tradition is rich enough that I don't need to celebrate froofy Wiccish holidays for some flimsy sense of community.
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yewberry

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Quote from: nellethiel;73524
Maybe I didn't explain this right...


I think you explained it just fine.  My point was that people seeing the Wheel of the Year holidays on, say, a posted flyer or email, might never attend or contact the group because of the Wheel of the Year holidays.  They might, I think understandably, believe it was for a Wiccish crowd.

Please understand that I don't think you did anything wrong.  To a great extent, real inclusiveness in an interfaith group can be dicey, and even when you do everything right, you can never please everyone.  I just think structuring an genuinely interfaith group around the holidays of a single faith is problematic, even if it didn't look that way from where you stood.

Brina

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Quote from: Castus;73556
My tradition is rich enough that I don't need to celebrate froofy Wiccish holidays for some flimsy sense of community.


Do we need to dis other people's religions to make our point?  I know I don't.

Brina

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Quote from: yewberry;73568
I think you explained it just fine.  My point was that people seeing the Wheel of the Year holidays on, say, a posted flyer or email, might never attend or contact the group because of the Wheel of the Year holidays.  They might, I think understandably, believe it was for a Wiccish crowd.

Please understand that I don't think you did anything wrong.  To a great extent, real inclusiveness in an interfaith group can be dicey, and even when you do everything right, you can never please everyone.  I just think structuring an genuinely interfaith group around the holidays of a single faith is problematic, even if it didn't look that way from where you stood.

Brina


Ah, I see what you mean! And yeah, it can be dicey. I certainly do agree with that. Just because I had a good experience, doesn't mean everyone would. At the time, it was the best I could get as far as regular contact with Pagan people. I didn't know about any online communities and I only had one other good friend who was Pagan at the time. But I agree that, in general, interfaith groups that use one set of holidays are perhaps not doing it exactly right, or actually including everyone they could...and just because I ended up being very ok with the choices the group I was in made, doesn't mean everyone would. I guess the ideal for an inclusive group like that would be not to use holidays at all, in the end. But who knows!
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RandallS

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Quote from: Castus;73556
My tradition is rich enough that I don't need to celebrate froofy Wiccish holidays for some flimsy sense of community.

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Castus

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Quote from: yewberry;73569
Do we need to dis other people's religions to make our point?  I know I don't.

Brina

 
To clarify, the comment on the froofy-ness of the Wheel holidays was not meant to be a reflection on Wicca or other faiths which celebrate the Wheel of the Year, but rather on the specific holidays themselves and the celebrations thereof. I feel that the holidays have become more watered down from original religious intent into having little sincere religious meaning. Granted this negative view of the affairs probably stems from my few offline encounters with Wiccans, whom I have mostly found to be ghastly rebellious teenage folk for whom Conway and Ravenwolf are as gospel. I have nothing but the deepest respect, cliched as that may sound, for those followers of Wicca or other Witchraft traditions who take their faith seriously, rather than an accessory or fad. It was not my intention to offend and I sincerely apologise if I have inadvertently done so.
“Castus, meanwhile, goes straight for the bad theology like one of those creepy fish that swims up streams of pee.” — Darkhawk

Maps

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Quote from: Castus;73579
To clarify, the comment on the froofy-ness of the Wheel holidays was not meant to be a reflection on Wicca or other faiths which celebrate the Wheel of the Year, but rather on the specific holidays themselves and the celebrations thereof. I feel that the holidays have become more watered down from original religious intent into having little sincere religious meaning. Granted this negative view of the affairs probably stems from my few offline encounters with Wiccans, whom I have mostly found to be ghastly rebellious teenage folk for whom Conway and Ravenwolf are as gospel. I have nothing but the deepest respect, cliched as that may sound, for those followers of Wicca or other Witchraft traditions who take their faith seriously, rather than an accessory or fad. It was not my intention to offend and I sincerely apologise if I have inadvertently done so.

 
Aaaand you're gonna get dinged for deciding who takes their religion seriously and who doesn't.

Not that I don't agree that there aren't people out there with whom I wouldn't want to share company with, but I try not to make blanket statements about who those people might be based on age and the like. There's a different between ignorance and militant ignorance.

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