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Author Topic: Pop Culture Paganism  (Read 2934 times)

Scales

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Pop Culture Paganism
« on: January 30, 2014, 05:11:26 pm »
(curious about it)

I couldn't help the above Fet reference. Anyway, Pop Culture Paganism. I just read about it for the first time yesterday, and I'm curious about who does it, how you do it, etc. I have the gist of it- a religion or part of your beliefs wherein a person deifies a character or item from pop culture (eg Silent Hill god, Harry Potter spells, Sailor Moon staff), considering it either an aspect of an existing deity or whatnot, or something that has been willed into existence by the person practising. (very summarized, though if I sound VERY wrong feel free to correct me).

There are parts of this that appeal to me (it explains why a certain thing I've been seeing forever greatly reminds me of a pop culture thing), and parts that very much do not (feels like making stuff up, trying to make things something they're not), and I'd just like to hear what other people think, their experiences, etc.

As this is apparently something many people are sceptical of for the same reason that I am and others, remember that we're not allowed to bash religions.

Aiwelin

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Re: Pop Culture Paganism
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2014, 05:48:45 pm »
Quote from: Scales;138341
Anyway, Pop Culture Paganism.

 
I hesitate to identify part of my practice as Pop Culture Paganism, since I'm not sure my personal theology is in alignment with most people who practice it.  But I'm happy to offer a bit of insight from a rather outside perspective.

I regularly honor a few Goddesses from Tolkien's pantheon in The Silmarillion, and occasionally offer a ritual to the pantheon.  I came to these deities when I was young the way many encounter the Greek pantheon in their youth: I stumbled upon the myths in 6th grade, and was immediately entranced.  Since then, I have always felt the presence of Yavanna and Varda as distinct deities.  It is my personal belief that these spirits have been around for a great long while, just like other deities of 'real' pantheons, and chose to reveal themselves and inspire Tolkien in his search for a native English myth; of course, others' opinions vary greatly.

The reason I continue to honor these deities is that I feel them in my life.  When I pray to Them or give Them honor, I feel Their presence and have seen the effects of Their blessings in my life.  After being with Them and giving Them honor for so long, I'm not about to stop just because some people don't think They're 'real' deities.
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Re: Pop Culture Paganism
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2014, 06:23:47 pm »
Quote from: Scales;138341
Anyway, Pop Culture Paganism. I just read about it for the first time yesterday, and I'm curious about who does it, how you do it, etc.

Where did you read about it?
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Jack

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Re: Pop Culture Paganism
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2014, 06:41:31 pm »
Quote from: Scales;138341
(curious about it)

I couldn't help the above Fet reference. Anyway, Pop Culture Paganism. I just read about it for the first time yesterday, and I'm curious about who does it, how you do it, etc.


Ooh, me, me, I do it! I do it!

Well, I do fictional reconstruction with pop cultural pagan and pop culture magical aspects. Close enough.

Quote
I have the gist of it- a religion or part of your beliefs wherein a person deifies a character or item from pop culture (eg Silent Hill god, Harry Potter spells, Sailor Moon staff), considering it either an aspect of an existing deity or whatnot, or something that has been willed into existence by the person practising. (very summarized, though if I sound VERY wrong feel free to correct me).


IMO, PC Paganism is when you're actually doing "religious" work with PC elements, whether that's worshipping Queen Serenity or the Ainur or working with Loki in the guise of, say, the Joker. The nature of the reality of Queen Serenity is up for debate. Some people go in for the "tulpa"/thoughtform explanation (though I have issues with the way the word tulpa is slung around in Tumblr-esque circles) and some go in for more archetype-based explanations.

Sometimes it's as simple as working with a deity in a more pop-cultural than historical form. The obvious example of that would be Marvel!Loki, Marvel!Thor, Marvel!Odin, etc, but it could be Supernatural!Lucifer, or Buddy Christ, or Skuld from Ah! My Goddess! or... well, you get the idea.

I was first introduced to my primary goddess years and years ago at Disneyland, where her temple also happened to be the setting of the Indiana Jones ride.

In other words, there's lots and lots of things that get tossed under the umbrella of Pop Culture Paganism, depending on who's talking about them.

When I say I do fictional recon, what I am referring to is the effort to build a religious practice around the fragmentary beliefs and practices known of fictional religions rather than, say, the ancient Celts. We don't know a whole lot more about the ancient Celts than we do about the ancient Gallifreyans, you know? So the same principles apply - study the lore, experiment, make offerings, be open, use discernment, etc.

Something like performing Moon Healing Escalation as a healing/purification spell is definitely a kind of pop culture magic, but IMO not PC paganism unless it's incorporated into a larger practice of Serenitism. Otherwise it's just a magic spell.

Quote
There are parts of this that appeal to me (it explains why a certain thing I've been seeing forever greatly reminds me of a pop culture thing), and parts that very much do not (feels like making stuff up, trying to make things something they're not), and I'd just like to hear what other people think, their experiences, etc.


I dunno, I feel like I'm making stuff up as I go along and seeing how the gods like it when I'm dealing with Odin and Loki, so the fictional recon is more work, maybe, but the same thing.
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Scales

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Re: Pop Culture Paganism
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2014, 08:37:44 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;138349
Where did you read about it?

 
Someone I follow on tumblr mentioned it, then I followed a link somewhere, and soon read about a billion links from a mixture of reliable and possibly quite unreliable sources.

And thank you Jack and Aiwelin

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Re: Pop Culture Paganism
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2014, 05:48:05 am »
I'm more of a pop culture 'occultist' then a pop culture pagan, so that's the position I'm coming from here.

Quote from: Scales;138341
(curious about it)
I have the gist of it- a religion or part of your beliefs wherein a person deifies a character or item from pop culture (eg Silent Hill god, Harry Potter spells, Sailor Moon staff), considering it either an aspect of an existing deity or whatnot, or something that has been willed into existence by the person practising. (very summarized, though if I sound VERY wrong feel free to correct me).


That's a reasonable summary.  This tends to be an area where there's even more variation in beliefs then normal, so you'll find an incredibly varied interpretation of how people consider pop culture aspects, but you've outlined two of the main camps.  Another important one is the concept of pop culture deities as projections of someone's will.

That links into what I'd consider another important distinction.  Pop culture as religious practice vs pop culture as magical framework.  The latter is probably more common actually, though the former certainly exists.  Both can use pop culture figures as deities, but it's about whether people are doing that as an end or a means that makes the difference for me.

Quote
There are parts of this that appeal to me (it explains why a certain thing I've been seeing forever greatly reminds me of a pop culture thing), and parts that very much do not (feels like making stuff up, trying to make things something they're not),

For me, the "making stuff up" thing isn't a bug, it's a feature.  It allows me to embrace my own subjectivity and interpretations.  The making things something they're not part is interesting. This is very much UPG, but the more work I've done in this area, the less I'm sure exactly what I'm dealing with.  Whether it's entirely my imagination, the actual pop culture figure or an entity that is willing to be addressed as a pop culture figure.

Quote
As this is apparently something many people are sceptical of for the same reason that I am and others, remember that we're not allowed to bash religions.
While bashing isn't allowed, it's my view that pop culture magic and/or religion actually needs reasonably heavy interrogation.  Too many people working in the field are unwilling to do so.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2014, 08:00:39 pm by SunflowerP »
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Jack

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Re: Pop Culture Paganism
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2014, 10:50:03 am »
Quote from: Jabberwocky;138365
For me, the "making stuff up" thing isn't a bug, it's a feature.  It allows me to embrace my own subjectivity and interpretations.  The making things something they're not part is interesting. This is very much UPG, but the more work I've done in this area, the less I'm sure exactly what I'm dealing with.  Whether it's entirely my imagination, the actual pop culture figure or an entity that is willing to be addressed as a pop culture figure.

 
I agree with the phrasing of this being a feature and not a bug.

To a certain extent I'd say I like not knowing exactly what I'm doing when it comes to religion? Putting the puzzle pieces together is a lot more fun than having a finished puzzle.

Using the puzzle pieces to build sculpture is even more interesting. XD
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Tom

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Pop Culture Paganism
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2014, 12:24:01 pm »
Quote from: Jack;138383
I agree with the phrasing of this being a feature and not a bug.

To a certain extent I'd say I like not knowing exactly what I'm doing when it comes to religion? Putting the puzzle pieces together is a lot more fun than having a finished puzzle.

Using the puzzle pieces to build sculpture is even more interesting. XD

I often think of it being a bit like an adventure in which you never know what's coming next. I also like putting puzzles together so there's that.

As for my view of Pop Culture Paganism, I'm not sure if I would describe what I do as pop culture paganism, but I do find a lot of my truths in fiction, in both what I read and write and engage with them in the same way I do with myths.

Plus I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have developed the relationship I have with my patron god if I had not started writing my own fiction as he used one of my characters as a mask basically, which matches up to some people's conceptions of Pop Culture Paganism even if it is my own writing.

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Re: Pop Culture Paganism
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2014, 09:10:19 pm »
Quote from: Tom;138391

Plus I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have developed the relationship I have with my patron god if I had not started writing my own fiction as he used one of my characters as a mask basically, which matches up to some people's conceptions of Pop Culture Paganism even if it is my own writing.


Weird, that's how I first encountered my patron gods too, only they were "playing themselves" as my in-story pantheon. It was kind of confusing.

I don't practice any other forms of Pop Culture Paganism, though when I write fanfiction I'll get pretty deeply into any in-universe belief system as part of the writing process.

Scales

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Re: Pop Culture Paganism
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2014, 09:32:40 pm »
I'm putting this at the top because although I'd rather it was at the bottom this means it doesn't get confused with my replies.

I think the aspects that really appeal to me are the more explicit drawing of inspiration for spell-type things from what is around me, and also a sort-of verification that drawing in rather... shallow elements is not completely silly and unheard of. I don't mean this in a 'x god from x world is shallow' way, but more 'if this modern thing seems really important, usually that would be just silliness of a fan, even if it doesn't feel that way.' Also, knowing that PC paganism is a thing makes having certain fictional heroes as idols I seriously look up to in my adult life feel less silly.

Yes, silly comes up a lot.

Quote from: Aiwelin;138344
I hesitate to identify part of my practice as Pop Culture Paganism, since I'm not sure my personal theology is in alignment with most people who practice it.  But I'm happy to offer a bit of insight from a rather outside perspective. [...]

The reason I continue to honor these deities is that I feel them in my life.  When I pray to Them or give Them honor, I feel Their presence and have seen the effects of Their blessings in my life.  After being with Them and giving Them honor for so long, I'm not about to stop just because some people don't think They're 'real' deities.

I don't really know what I was going to reply to this I just found it interesting.
 
Quote from: Jack;138350
Well, I do fictional reconstruction with pop cultural pagan and pop culture magical aspects. Close enough.

IMO, PC Paganism is when you're actually doing "religious" work with PC elements, whether that's worshipping Queen Serenity or the Ainur or working with Loki in the guise of, say, the Joker. The nature of the reality of Queen Serenity is up for debate. Some people go in for the "tulpa"/thoughtform explanation (though I have issues with the way the word tulpa is slung around in Tumblr-esque circles) and some go in for more archetype-based explanations.

When I say I do fictional recon, what I am referring to is the effort to build a religious practice around the fragmentary beliefs and practices known of fictional religions rather than, say, the ancient Celts. We don't know a whole lot more about the ancient Celts than we do about the ancient Gallifreyans, you know? So the same principles apply - study the lore, experiment, make offerings, be open, use discernment, etc.

Something like performing Moon Healing Escalation as a healing/purification spell is definitely a kind of pop culture magic, but IMO not PC paganism unless it's incorporated into a larger practice of Serenitism. Otherwise it's just a magic spell.

Regarding the first and last points, the distinction of religion v. magic, I definitely agree that there is a difference (though they can also go together, of course), but for the purpose of this thread I was referring to both spelly magic and religion.

That aside, what you do is what I want to do; not (necessarily) with magic but as an English student, and I'm really jealous because I'm too bogged down with official work to start compiling notes like that. I do have certain books all marked up and notebooks filled for that sort of thing.

Quote from: Jabberwocky;138365
I'm more of a pop culture 'occultist' then a pop culture pagan, so that's the position I'm coming from here.

That's a reasonable summary.  This tends to be an area where there's even more variation in beliefs then normal, so you'll find an incredibly varied interpretation of how people consider pop culture aspects, but you've outlined two of the main camps.  Another important one is the concept of pop culture deities as projections of someone's will.

For me, the "making stuff up" thing isn't a bug, it's a feature.  It allows me to embrace my own subjectivity and interpretations.  The making things something they're not part is interesting. This is very much UPG, but the more work I've done in this area, the less I'm sure exactly what I'm dealing with.  Whether it's entirely my imagination, the actual pop culture figure or an entity that is willing to be addressed as a pop culture figure.

While bashing isn't allowed, it's my view that pop culture magic and/or religion actually needs reasonably heavy interrogation.  Too many people working in the field are unwilling to do so.

I have trouble distinguishing UPG from... well, anything else, as coincidences happen and dreams can be random and whatnot, so that doesn't matter to me. I found this just generally an interesting read and would like to hear more about how it fits into your practice, if you find time to type about it.

For bug vs feature, I think that is rather true, and like I said in my opener, it being a known feature means it's less like some options wherein one wonders if they've done something slightly wrong and messed their world/godphone/charm up.

And re:bashing, I agree, a critical eye is important. It's just that reading various things before asking here, I came across some less-skeptical-more-mean comments pretty often.
 
Quote from: Tom;138391
As for my view of Pop Culture Paganism, I'm not sure if I would describe what I do as pop culture paganism, but I do find a lot of my truths in fiction, in both what I read and write and engage with them in the same way I do with myths.

 
Word~

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Re: Pop Culture Paganism
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2014, 03:52:28 pm »
Quote from: Scales;138341
(curious about it)

I couldn't help the above Fet reference. Anyway, Pop Culture Paganism. I just read about it for the first time yesterday, and I'm curious about who does it, how you do it, etc.


I make up stuff all the time, and am proud of it. Something is only sacred if humans make it so. I use fictional characters as representations of human emotions/behaviors to meditate upon and gain self-knowledge. I don't deify anything, and un-deify fictional gods.

Experiences? It's a good excuse to read more comic books, and helps me to be more patient with really irritating people. How I do it...read a lot of fiction that sound like a good read, maybe I'll find something that'll be cool in a religious context, maybe not. Urban legends, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert Howard, and DC Comics are my main focus right now. I get some ideas from reading a few chapters, then make up a ritual for it.

From what I've read of people's experiences with worshiping gods, doing stuff with Yog-Sothoth or something, is the same. It's like the difference between hard and soft polytheism, it's an immaterial ideological difference that doesn't affect the success of a ritual.

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Re: Pop Culture Paganism
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2014, 01:16:30 pm »
Quote from: Scales;138341



There are parts of this that appeal to me (it explains why a certain thing I've been seeing forever greatly reminds me of a pop culture thing), and parts that very much do not (feels like making stuff up, trying to make things something they're not), and I'd just like to hear what other people think, their experiences, etc.

 Although I personally do not practice pop culture paganism, I definitely have come to have more of an aloof respect for it in a way since I recently just put two and two together and found that my childhood obsession with Sailor Moon and how quickly I fell in love with Artemis in my devotional work are probably connected, as in she, in an indirect manner, called to me in childhood through the guise of this fictional meatball head. But I suppose what makes me not too eager to dive full on into a pop culture worship of Usagi is that even though she is designed with aspects of Artemis, she is definitely, at least as far as my adult experience has revealed, is not Artemis herself. But this discussion definitely makes me ponder the idea of adding a Sailor Moon visual to my altar in honor of that initial connection between me and Artemis.

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Re: Pop Culture Paganism
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2014, 01:22:39 pm »
Quote from: sihaya;139116
Although I personally do not practice pop culture paganism, I definitely have come to have more of an aloof respect for it in a way since I recently just put two and two together and found that my childhood obsession with Sailor Moon and how quickly I fell in love with Artemis in my devotional work are probably connected, as in she, in an indirect manner, called to me in childhood through the guise of this fictional meatball head. But I suppose what makes me not too eager to dive full on into a pop culture worship of Usagi is that even though she is designed with aspects of Artemis, she is definitely, at least as far as my adult experience has revealed, is not Artemis herself. But this discussion definitely makes me ponder the idea of adding a Sailor Moon visual to my altar in honor of that initial connection between me and Artemis.

 
That's really neat! I'd definitely agree that Serenitism and Dianic or Hellenic worship are pretty different, but I can see how Sailor Moon would also be a good symbol for you when you were a child, and how that symbolism could continue to be useful for you now.
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Freesia

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Re: Pop Culture Paganism
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2014, 06:33:28 pm »
Quote from: sihaya;139116
Although I personally do not practice pop culture paganism, I definitely have come to have more of an aloof respect for it in a way since I recently just put two and two together and found that my childhood obsession with Sailor Moon and how quickly I fell in love with Artemis in my devotional work are probably connected, as in she, in an indirect manner, called to me in childhood through the guise of this fictional meatball head. But I suppose what makes me not too eager to dive full on into a pop culture worship of Usagi is that even though she is designed with aspects of Artemis, she is definitely, at least as far as my adult experience has revealed, is not Artemis herself. But this discussion definitely makes me ponder the idea of adding a Sailor Moon visual to my altar in honor of that initial connection between me and Artemis.


I found this to be very interesting. I had a similar situation with Neil Gaiman's Sandman back in the 90's when I was really into comic books. Sandman started popping into my dreams and meditations. Eventually the figure began to physically manifest always at the foot of my bed. I'd see him when I was in that half sleep state. He never moved, just looked at me with his red eyes. I wondered if I made the figure appear or some other being took that shape because of my familiarity with it. Anyway, I haven't read Sandman in years (my mom gave away my graphic novels when I left for college), but that figure has returned to the foot of my bed the night before last. After over ten years I was surprised to see him.

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Re: Pop Culture Paganism
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2014, 05:52:17 pm »
Quote from: Scales;138341
(curious about it)
I'm curious about who does it, how you do it, etc.


My practice is loosey-goosey to begin with, but being a Marvel Comics guy, I find myself often referencing two pop culture archetypes that resonate deeply for me for the feminine and masculine divine: Storm of the X-Men, and Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, respectively. The interesting thing is that Storm is a weather-witch (air, a "masculine" element; plus she has an indomitable will, so fire, again "masculine") and the Sub-Mariner is an aquatic character (water, a "feminine" element; plus he's physically superstrong, so earth, again "feminine"). I attribute the scrambled gender associations to my gayness. Or something.
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