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Author Topic: I have a problem with the word "witch" (and I would like your help!)  (Read 9962 times)

Daecon

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Re: I have a problem with the word "witch" (and I would like your help!)
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2014, 03:24:30 pm »
Quote from: stephyjh;152826
"Deistic"? No, that's not what that word means.

 
The meta-category of deism is simply any religious view that acknowledges the existence of one or more divine beings.  It is distinguished from atheism, which acknowledges no gods at all, and agnosticism which claims that the existence of God or the gods is inherently unknowable.  

The style of deism that is most familiar is monodeism, which assumes a single all powerful God, which conforms approximately to the Christian concept except that It does not generally answer prayers.  This God is often compared to a watchmaker who built the Universe and set it running, but who does not otherwise interfere.

If you prefer, I could use the term "theistic," but that generally assumes that the god(s) have an independent personality, whereas deistic only assumes their existence and makes no claims about their nature.  Even confining the discussion to just variants on Wicca yields a range of opinion from a monodeistic Monad to a host of individual gods and spirits with their own desires, personalities and agendas.

An Abrahamic religion is one that is descended from the patriarch, Abraham, that is: Judaism, Christianity or Islam.  Bahá'í is also often considered abrahamic, though not all theologians agree.

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Re: I have a problem with the word "witch" (and I would like your help!)
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2014, 03:57:26 pm »
Quote from: Daecon;152822
I am well aware that there are neopagans who are not Wiccans, but the original post was asking about Wiccans only.


I went back and reread the original post, to see if I could read it as being 'about Wiccans only'. I can't. If you mean that it was about that sort of Wicca-inspired/derived neoPagan religious witchcraft that is often called Wicca, yes, it was - but even in that context, 'Pagan, Neopagan, and Wiccan all describe the religion and its rituals,' is a false statement.

Quote
If you want to get technical, pagan and neopagan aren't synonyms either.  The former includes any deistic religion that is not exclusively abrahamic, while the latter only includes ones that developed in a religious environment otherwise dominated by monotheism.

 
I agree that they are not exact synonyms (and in fact considered including that distinction in my earlier post, but decided it wasn't necessary to either the OP or to rebut your errors of fact). I disagree with your framing of how they differ.

Primarily, I disagree that, 'not Abrahamic' vs 'developed in a predominantly monotheistic environment' is definitive. Is there a reason why you are avoiding mention of chronology here? That seems odd, since the very prefix 'neo-' denotes a specifically modern iteration.

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stephyjh

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Re: I have a problem with the word "witch" (and I would like your help!)
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2014, 04:08:20 pm »
Quote from: Daecon;152849
The meta-category of deism is simply any religious view that acknowledges the existence of one or more divine beings.  It is distinguished from atheism, which acknowledges no gods at all, and agnosticism which claims that the existence of God or the gods is inherently unknowable.  

The style of deism that is most familiar is monodeism, which assumes a single all powerful God, which conforms approximately to the Christian concept except that It does not generally answer prayers.  This God is often compared to a watchmaker who built the Universe and set it running, but who does not otherwise interfere.

If you prefer, I could use the term "theistic," but that generally assumes that the god(s) have an independent personality, whereas deistic only assumes their existence and makes no claims about their nature.  Even confining the discussion to just variants on Wicca yields a range of opinion from a monodeistic Monad to a host of individual gods and spirits with their own desires, personalities and agendas.

An Abrahamic religion is one that is descended from the patriarch, Abraham, that is: Judaism, Christianity or Islam.  Bahá'í is also often considered abrahamic, though not all theologians agree.
I think you're mistaking deism for theism, when they're actually very different concepts. It might be to your benefit to make sure you understand a word before lecturing others on what it means.
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Re: I have a problem with the word "witch" (and I would like your help!)
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2014, 04:34:34 pm »
Quote from: Daecon;152849
If you prefer, I could use the term "theistic," but that generally assumes that the god(s) have an independent personality, whereas deistic only assumes their existence and makes no claims about their nature.


I am finding no references that support your definitions. Sources please?

I'll provide mine on request, but I am disinclined to take the extra trouble to include them without a specific request, since there are indications that you don't bother to read sources others provide.

Quote
An Abrahamic religion is one that is descended from the patriarch, Abraham, that is: Judaism, Christianity or Islam.  Bahá'í is also often considered abrahamic, though not all theologians agree.

 
Is there some particular reason why you think we need to have this explained to us? It doesn't appear to be a response to anything in the post you were replying to.

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Aster Breo

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Re: I have a problem with the word "witch" (and I would like your help!)
« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2014, 04:49:56 pm »
Quote from: Daecon;152849
The meta-category of deism is simply any religious view that acknowledges the existence of one or more divine beings.  It is distinguished from atheism, which acknowledges no gods at all, and agnosticism which claims that the existence of God or the gods is inherently unknowable.  

Defining paganism as deistic (or theistic) ignores those pagans who don't acknowledge the existence of deity.
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Re: I have a problem with the word "witch" (and I would like your help!)
« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2014, 05:56:00 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;152857
Defining paganism as deistic (or theistic) ignores those pagans who don't acknowledge the existence of deity.

 
Which would include me, actually, for certain values of deity non-existence.
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Re: I have a problem with the word "witch" (and I would like your help!)
« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2014, 07:24:30 pm »
Quote from: Daecon;152849
The meta-category of deism is simply any religious view that acknowledges the existence of one or more divine beings.  It is distinguished from atheism, which acknowledges no gods at all, and agnosticism which claims that the existence of God or the gods is inherently unknowable.  

The style of deism that is most familiar is monodeism, which assumes a single all powerful God, which conforms approximately to the Christian concept except that It does not generally answer prayers.  This God is often compared to a watchmaker who built the Universe and set it running, but who does not otherwise interfere.

If you prefer, I could use the term "theistic," but that generally assumes that the god(s) have an independent personality, whereas deistic only assumes their existence and makes no claims about their nature.  Even confining the discussion to just variants on Wicca yields a range of opinion from a monodeistic Monad to a host of individual gods and spirits with their own desires, personalities and agendas.

I have only rarely seen this typology used for religions in the social sciences, presumably following Durkheim, who occasionally referred to "the deistic religions" in this sense (Elementary Forms of the Religious Life). I don't like the use of 'deism' as an umbrella term - it's inaccurate. For example, monodeism is quite a different philosophy from monotheism, and the use of 'deism'  as a higher-level category can therefore lead to some major misunderstandings. I'd be interested to hear why you use it in this way.
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Re: I have a problem with the word "witch" (and I would like your help!)
« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2014, 11:14:14 am »
Quote from: Queen of Wands;152686
I've been doing this little song and dance for ten years now...where I am fully aware of my spirituality and certain deities who call to me and I'm happy but when it comes to introducing or explaining myself, I am thrown for a loop.

I've wibble-wobbled over the definitions for the last few years now and I'm waffling on the best word to use. Pagan, Wiccan, Witch?

I find Pagan to be a good, general, no-nonsense term, if nondescript and umbrellas over many kinds of Pagans (and definitely suggests to me, that one is a Pagan of a certain pantheon's worship, which makes me feel all muddled when I don't necessarily 'belong' to one and only).

Wiccan is closer - but again, for me personally - I'm what is referred to as eclectic, since I don't follow any traditional forms. And, to be fair, my practice is more spiritual, everyday and even sometimes mundane; more so than religious.

So, I come down to the word "witch". And I don't like it. I find when I try to call myself a "witch" that the word is too haunted by Macbeth, colored with Hollywood's green skin, stabbed by history's pitchforks and more recently dusted off with the likes of Harry Potter, Buffy, Charmed, American Horror Story. It's too literary, too fantasy, too CGI effects, too complicated to be real for me. "Witch" feels like a disfigured word, much like many slurs I don't think I can be typed on a public forum - sure, some folks out there are proudly reclaiming these words for themselves, but I'm not a folk who feels like she can get around it easily.



Is there a better word for what I am seeking? Has anyone else struggled with these definitions?


If you don't follow a specific path you could always use more descriptive words like animist, polytheists, deist, atheist, occultist. As far as witch there are terms like diviner, cunning folk, spell crafter or wise woman. Problem with any are that outside the community most people will need some type of follow up to understand what you are saying.

a.walker.abroad

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Re: I have a problem with the word "witch" (and I would like your help!)
« Reply #23 on: July 17, 2014, 11:04:59 am »
Quote from: Holdasown;152897
If you don't follow a specific path you could always use more descriptive words like animist, polytheists, deist, atheist, occultist. As far as witch there are terms like diviner, cunning folk, spell crafter or wise woman. Problem with any are that outside the community most people will need some type of follow up to understand what you are saying.

 
In the vein of descriptions, since you have logically reduced down to witch, and it is the connotation you have issues with, you could apply a descriptive term to witch, like plytheistic witch, hearthwitch, animist witch, etc.  Doing so still defines you as a witch, but lessens the focus on that one term, altering how others may perceive it.  Just beware of adding too many descriptive terms.  See left for an example!:o

a.walker.abroad

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Re: I have a problem with the word "witch" (and I would like your help!)
« Reply #24 on: July 17, 2014, 11:06:07 am »
Quote from: a.walker.abroad;153167
 Just beware of adding too many descriptive terms.  See left for an example!:o

 
Not that I have a problem with calling myself a witch.  I just like being descriptive!

BrighidsAura

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Re: I have a problem with the word "witch" (and I would like your help!)
« Reply #25 on: July 19, 2014, 10:11:57 am »
Quote from: Queen of Wands;152686
I've been doing this little song and dance for ten years now...where I am fully aware of my spirituality and certain deities who call to me and I'm happy but when it comes to introducing or explaining myself, I am thrown for a loop.

I've wibble-wobbled over the definitions for the last few years now and I'm waffling on the best word to use. Pagan, Wiccan, Witch?

I find Pagan to be a good, general, no-nonsense term, if nondescript and umbrellas over many kinds of Pagans (and definitely suggests to me, that one is a Pagan of a certain pantheon's worship, which makes me feel all muddled when I don't necessarily 'belong' to one and only).

Wiccan is closer - but again, for me personally - I'm what is referred to as eclectic, since I don't follow any traditional forms. And, to be fair, my practice is more spiritual, everyday and even sometimes mundane; more so than religious.

So, I come down to the word "witch". And I don't like it. I find when I try to call myself a "witch" that the word is too haunted by Macbeth, colored with Hollywood's green skin, stabbed by history's pitchforks and more recently dusted off with the likes of Harry Potter, Buffy, Charmed, American Horror Story. It's too literary, too fantasy, too CGI effects, too complicated to be real for me. "Witch" feels like a disfigured word, much like many slurs I don't think I can be typed on a public forum - sure, some folks out there are proudly reclaiming these words for themselves, but I'm not a folk who feels like she can get around it easily.



Is there a better word for what I am seeking? Has anyone else struggled with these definitions?

 
On a side note: what beautiful descriptions! You are a lovely writer.

I think this is very relatable to most of us. I find myself in the same situation since organized religion gives me anxiety. I've turned to the word "witch" which I believe is not attached to any religious practice but still encompasses what I practice and what I do. With my friends, I use it and they know I'm not being silly or Harry Pottery and they have done ritual with me so they give me a sort of "credibility" that I appreciate. On the other hand, I went to Target the other day and was wearing a very small and dainty pentagram necklace and the employee asked me if I was Jewish. Reluctant to say "no, I'm Wiccan" (since I don't identify as a Wiccan), I said "No, I'm a witch." He was quiet for a minute and said "a witch?" and I smiled and said yes. Then he said ok and started to walk away to find the thing I was shopping for. I asked if I shoudl follow him and he said "Sure but dont cast a spell on me." Needless to say, I felt a little mocked.

I think the most neutral of terms to use is "pagan" in this case. A pagan is such a huge umbrella term and--if you arent of any Abrahamic faith--then it's a true one. People know what "Paganism" is for the most part or have at least heard of it and, if they havent, its a learning opportunity for them and you get to tell them it means what you want it to mean. Since it's not a limited term, it doesnt need a limited answer.

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Re: I have a problem with the word "witch" (and I would like your help!)
« Reply #26 on: July 19, 2014, 04:27:00 pm »
Quote from: BrighidsAura;153308
On the other hand, I went to Target the other day and was wearing a very small and dainty pentagram necklace and the employee asked me if I was Jewish. Reluctant to say "no, I'm Wiccan" (since I don't identify as a Wiccan), I said "No, I'm a witch." He was quiet for a minute and said "a witch?" and I smiled and said yes.

That happened to me with my (very much so) Russian Orthodox grandma. But she gave me a dirty look when I said I was a witch. Then my mom chimed in with "it's just a phase" to avoid an argument, since I was 16 and just a teenager. Psh.

Quote
I think the most neutral of terms to use is "pagan" in this case. A pagan is such a huge umbrella term and--if you arent of any Abrahamic faith--then it's a true one. People know what "Paganism" is for the most part or have at least heard of it and, if they havent, its a learning opportunity for them and you get to tell them it means what you want it to mean. Since it's not a limited term, it doesnt need a limited answer.

That's exactly how I describe it when I call myself pagan. I usually say the dictionary definition is anything that isn't Abrahamic, i.e. Buddhism, Hinduism*, etc., along with saying that there's still a HUGE following of the ancient religions (Greco-Roman, Kinetic, all that fun stuff :p)

*someone please correct me if Buddhism/Hinduism/other Eastern religions don't fall under "pagan." I'm under the assumption that they do because they aren't Abrahamic.

To the OP: I describe myself as an eclectic [solitary] pagan, but I do use the term "witch" on occasion, strictly to mess with people, as I don't practice magic. I know, I'm a terrible person.
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missgraceless

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Re: I have a problem with the word "witch" (and I would like your help!)
« Reply #27 on: July 19, 2014, 05:02:21 pm »
Quote from: missgraceless;153335
That happened to me with my (very much so) Russian Orthodox grandma. But she gave me a dirty look when I said I was a witch. Then my mom chimed in with "it's just a phase" to avoid an argument, since I was 16 and just a teenager. Psh.


 
That's exactly how I describe it when I call myself pagan. I usually say the dictionary definition is anything that isn't Abrahamic, i.e. Buddhism, Hinduism*, etc., along with saying that there's still a HUGE following of the ancient religions (Greco-Roman, Kinetic, all that fun stuff :p)

*someone please correct me if Buddhism/Hinduism/other Eastern religions don't fall under "pagan." I'm under the assumption that they do because they aren't Abrahamic.

To the OP: I describe myself as an eclectic [solitary] pagan, but I do use the term "witch" on occasion, strictly to mess with people, as I don't practice magic. I know, I'm a terrible person.

 
I was on Tapatalk and thought I could post then edit and add more on my laptop. Apparently not the case. And apparently my phone autocorrected "Kemetic" to Kinetic. Sorry.

I do practice magic in the mundane sense as the OP stated, colors, crystals, etc. But I don't really celebrate the eight sabbats, nor do I cast circles or actively use magic in the sense of manipulating the energy around me.

So it depends on your definition of witch. I'm honestly a fan of Elphaba (AKA Wicked Witch of the West), Charmed, Buffy, ALL the pop culture references. As long as they don't portray said witch as evil/bad/villianous, I'm good.

As for calling myself witch, I don't really do it to be mean, but playful. Unless they're JW's or someone else knocking on doors, I explain that I'm not really a witch, but pagan. Then explain what pagan is if they don't know. I just want the world to know that we pagans/witches/what-have-you are not bad people, and herro! we're here to stay.
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Aster Breo

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Re: I have a problem with the word "witch" (and I would like your help!)
« Reply #28 on: July 19, 2014, 06:50:45 pm »
Quote from: missgraceless;153335

That's exactly how I describe it when I call myself pagan. I usually say the dictionary definition is anything that isn't Abrahamic, i.e. Buddhism, Hinduism*, etc., along with saying that there's still a HUGE following of the ancient religions (Greco-Roman, Kinetic, all that fun stuff :p)

*someone please correct me if Buddhism/Hinduism/other Eastern religions don't fall under "pagan." I'm under the assumption that they do because they aren't Abrahamic.

On TC, the definition of "pagan" that we generally use is non-Abrahamic AND self identifies as pagan.

While there are certainly people who are Buddhist or Hindu and who self identify as pagan, my understanding is that the term is not usually applied to those religions by outsiders.
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Re: I have a problem with the word "witch" (and I would like your help!)
« Reply #29 on: July 19, 2014, 06:53:25 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;153343
On TC, the definition of "pagan" that we generally use is non-Abrahamic AND self identifies as pagan.

While there are certainly people who are Buddhist or Hindu and who self identify as pagan, my understanding is that the term is not usually applied to those religions by outsiders.

 
Especially considering the fact that there's a history of white Christian colonialists (and later religious scholars) pointing at ethnic traditions and calling them "pagan." Self identification is important when using labels.
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