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Author Topic: Am I earth-centered enough?  (Read 2417 times)

anonymus

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Am I earth-centered enough?
« on: August 01, 2013, 08:25:48 pm »
Recently I've become interested in incorporating  paganism into my spiritual path. However I've often heard paganism described as "earth centered" or having a "deep reverence" for the natural world; now on an intellectual level I understand the significance of the natural world and I'm all for cleaning up pollution, switching to more sustainable forms of energy, and protecting key ecosystems but I'm not exactly what you would call a "back to nature type" either, nor would I consider myself the outdoors type. Frankly the thought of living without running water, electricity, AC, internet, and more than 20 minutes from the nearest grocery/bookstore terrifies me[deliberate exaggeration]. So does this disqualify me from being pagan?

Sorry if this sounds ignorant or prejudiced I couldn't think of a better way of phrasing it. :o

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Re: Am I earth-centered enough?
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2013, 08:29:54 pm »
Quote from: anonymus;117609
Recently I've become interested in incorporating  paganism into my spiritual path. However I've often heard paganism described as "earth centered" or having a "deep reverence" for the natural world; now on an intellectual level I understand the significance of the natural world and I'm all for cleaning up pollution, switching to more sustainable forms of energy, and protecting key ecosystems but I'm not exactly what you would call a "back to nature type" either, nor would I consider myself the outdoors type. Frankly the thought of living without running water, electricity, AC, internet, and more than 20 minutes from the nearest grocery/bookstore terrifies me[deliberate exaggeration]. So does this disqualify me from being pagan?

Sorry if this sounds ignorant or prejudiced I couldn't think of a better way of phrasing it. :o

 
The short answer is no, it doesn't disqualify you.

The long answer is that that's not actually a very good definition of pagan, and is the sort of thing that results in long threads about what is or is not pagan enough. Lots of pagans live and have lived in cities. Ancient Athenians lived in a city. So did a lot of Greeks. Not to mention Romans, and Egyptians, and the followers of religions like Shinto and Hinduism that are often classed as "pagan" by modern people. And also pretty much everyone else, but making a list of All Cities Ever In Pagan Cultures would probably be overkill. I think you get the idea.
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Re: Am I earth-centered enough?
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2013, 08:37:23 pm »
Quote from: anonymus;117609
Recently I've become interested in incorporating  paganism into my spiritual path. However I've often heard paganism described as "earth centered" or having a "deep reverence" for the natural world...

Some Pagan religions are earth-centered. Other Pagan religions aren't. If you are interesting in becoming a member of a Pagan religion that is eath-centered, then not being "earth-focused" yourself might be a problem (how much of one would depend on the specific earth-centered Pagan religion). If you aren't interested in becoming a member of an earth-centered Pagan religion, it is unlikely to be any problem at all.
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Re: Am I earth-centered enough?
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2013, 08:47:58 pm »
Quote from: anonymus;117609
Recently I've become interested in incorporating  paganism into my spiritual path. However I've often heard paganism described as "earth centered" or having a "deep reverence" for the natural world; now on an intellectual level I understand the significance of the natural world and I'm all for cleaning up pollution, switching to more sustainable forms of energy, and protecting key ecosystems but I'm not exactly what you would call a "back to nature type" either, nor would I consider myself the outdoors type.

 
What Jack said.

And on a more practical note, there's a lot of ways to honour earth cycles if that *is* part of what you do.

Some really simple ones:
- Kissing your hand to the moon every time you're outside. It's an old devotional gesture, but it also means that I'm looking at the moon and noting its phase that is handy.

- Paying attention to the changes in sunrise and sunset, and what they mean in your life. (I usually don't have external lights on at home except what I absolutely need for this reason: I notice when it gets dark out, and then on nice nights I stick my head out the door and look at stars for five minutes.)

- Eating seasonally, at least occasionally. Some people do this for ritual meals, some people abstain from non-seasonal foods a couple of days before the Sabbat (if that's their ritual cycle), some people just make a point of joining a CSA or going down to the Farmer's market and making a meal out of what's in season.

It doesn't have to be an 'every meal' thing - once every week or two will do wonders for your awareness.

- Be aware where your water, your heat, your electricity comes from. Not only does this connect you to the local world, but it leads to more informed voting about things that affect where you live. Never bad.

- If time/energy/health/location allow, regular walks outside, or finding an outside space that you return to regularly can help you get familiar with seasonal changes. (5 minutes every week will do nicely, but it's usually more fun if you make it as far as something with a little bit of nature - a park or a garden of an enthusiastic gardener, or whatever.)

In short, there are bunches of options.
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anonymus

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Re: Am I earth-centered enough?
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2013, 09:05:04 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;117612
Some Pagan religions are earth-centered. Other Pagan religions aren't. If you are interesting in becoming a member of a Pagan religion that is eath-centered, then not being "earth-focused" yourself might be a problem (how much of one would depend on the specific earth-centered Pagan religion). If you aren't interested in becoming a member of an earth-centered Pagan religion, it is unlikely to be any problem at all.

 
so If I go with panentheistic universalist eclectic I should be fine?

Fagan_the_Pagan

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Re: Am I earth-centered enough?
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2013, 09:32:09 pm »
Quote from: anonymus;117616
so If I go with panentheistic universalist eclectic I should be fine?

 
Sounds good!  There is no one options that is required for paganism.  Being earth-centered or polytheistic are common traits for pagans, but neither are actually required.  I don't believe there are any qualities that are common to all groups or types of pagans (except not being Judeo-Christian-Islam).
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pennylane

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Re: Am I earth-centered enough?
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2013, 10:31:10 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;117615
Some really simple ones:
- Kissing your hand to the moon every time you're outside. It's an old devotional gesture, but it also means that I'm looking at the moon and noting its phase that is handy.

- Paying attention to the changes in sunrise and sunset, and what they mean in your life. (I usually don't have external lights on at home except what I absolutely need for this reason: I notice when it gets dark out, and then on nice nights I stick my head out the door and look at stars for five minutes.)

- Eating seasonally, at least occasionally. Some people do this for ritual meals, some people abstain from non-seasonal foods a couple of days before the Sabbat (if that's their ritual cycle), some people just make a point of joining a CSA or going down to the Farmer's market and making a meal out of what's in season.

It doesn't have to be an 'every meal' thing - once every week or two will do wonders for your awareness.

- Be aware where your water, your heat, your electricity comes from. Not only does this connect you to the local world, but it leads to more informed voting about things that affect where you live. Never bad.

- If time/energy/health/location allow, regular walks outside, or finding an outside space that you return to regularly can help you get familiar with seasonal changes. (5 minutes every week will do nicely, but it's usually more fun if you make it as far as something with a little bit of nature - a park or a garden of an enthusiastic gardener, or whatever.)

In short, there are bunches of options.

 
Such wonderful daily reminders. Thanks for helping me to remember to acknowledge nature every day.

Lokabrenna

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Re: Am I earth-centered enough?
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2013, 12:02:25 am »
Quote from: pennylane;117626
Such wonderful daily reminders. Thanks for helping me to remember to acknowledge nature every day.


I consider myself to be earth-centered, and I loathe camping, hiking, and other outdoorsy activities (fishing being the exception). At most, I will sit outside and read when it's warm, but I always try to greet the sun and moon and pay attention to the seasons. I pick up litter and recycle, and I pay attention to politics that affect the environment.

Also, I don't like spending too much time in the country, I'm a city kid, though and through, give me my concrete jungle!

I think only you can determine if your earth-centered enough. Some people get into permaculture and homesteading, live off the land and stuff, others live in cities.

yewberry

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Re: Am I earth-centered enough?
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2013, 01:19:47 am »
Quote from: Lokabrenna;117636
Some people get into permaculture and homesteading, live off the land and stuff, others live in cities.


And some people do a bit of both.

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Re: Am I earth-centered enough?
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2013, 09:13:46 pm »
Quote from: anonymus;117609
Recently I've become interested in incorporating  paganism into my spiritual path. However I've often heard paganism described as "earth centered" or having a "deep reverence" for the natural world; now on an intellectual level I understand the significance of the natural world and I'm all for cleaning up pollution, switching to more sustainable forms of energy, and protecting key ecosystems but I'm not exactly what you would call a "back to nature type" either, nor would I consider myself the outdoors type. Frankly the thought of living without running water, electricity, AC, internet, and more than 20 minutes from the nearest grocery/bookstore terrifies me[deliberate exaggeration]. So does this disqualify me from being pagan?

Sorry if this sounds ignorant or prejudiced I couldn't think of a better way of phrasing it. :o

 
Quote from: anonymus;117616
so If I go with panentheistic universalist eclectic I should be fine?


I felt the exact same way when I first started out many years ago. I agonized over it. I wasted a lot of time and energy chastising myself for not being "pagan enough" because I am not the earthy type. Finally, a much more experienced Pagan took me aside and explained that just like there are different flavors of Kool-Aid, there are different "flavors" of Pagan. She opened my eyes and took a load off my shoulders all at the same time. She spoke the truth.

Anyway, what I'm basically saying is that you should focus on what feels right for YOU. :)

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missgraceless

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Am I earth-centered enough?
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2013, 01:30:07 am »
Quote from: anonymus;117616
so If I go with panentheistic universalist eclectic I should be fine?

Panen-what now? O.o I understand "eclectic." That's it.
 
Quote from: Lokabrenna;117636
I consider myself to be earth-centered, and I loathe camping, hiking, and other outdoorsy activities (fishing being the exception). At most, I will sit outside and read when it's warm, but I always try to greet the sun and moon and pay attention to the seasons. I pick up litter and recycle, and I pay attention to politics that affect the environment.

Also, I don't like spending too much time in the country, I'm a city kid, though and through, give me my concrete jungle!

I think only you can determine if your earth-centered enough. Some people get into permaculture and homesteading, live off the land and stuff, others live in cities.

I agree. I do love going offroading/mudding/wheeling (whatever you call it), but I'm not a big camper. Although I do consider myself "earth-based," for the most part.
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anonymus

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Re: Am I earth-centered enough?
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2013, 09:46:32 am »
Quote from: missgraceless;117722
Panen-what now? O.o I understand "eclectic." That's it.
 
 

 
panenthiestic: essentially it means believing that what some would call "God" is actually something that both permeates and transcends the universe. I like to think of it as being like the "World Soul" in Hinduism, the "Tao", or the "Force"

missgraceless

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Am I earth-centered enough?
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2013, 08:02:02 pm »
Quote from: anonymus;117737
panenthiestic: essentially it means believing that what some would call "God" is actually something that both permeates and transcends the universe. I like to think of it as being like the "World Soul" in Hinduism, the "Tao", or the "Force"

Oh, okay. Now I have a word for it.
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Thebes

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Re: Am I earth-centered enough?
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2013, 02:26:28 pm »
Quote from: anonymus;117609
Frankly the thought of living without running water, electricity, AC, internet, and more than 20 minutes from the nearest grocery/bookstore terrifies me[deliberate exaggeration]. So does this disqualify me from being pagan?


I live off-grid without running water, in a self-built and half-recycled home nearly an hour from the nearest store. I do have solar electricity, semi-reliable internet, and cellphone. The idea of living without internet does frighten me on some basic level- I love my internet- all hail Mercury, God of Communication and blessed be this medium we are using to talk across the bounds of time and space (= magic?)

Frankly- as much as I am "living the dream" I still often feel I'm not "living my beliefs" enough for my own personal self-fufillment. I do find religious strength in my efforts to strive towards living my beliefs. I would like to raise more of my own food, have harvest festivals truly mean putting up my winter's food, barter rather than use instruments of usury, and hunt and slaughter my own meat. These are intense and time consuming actions, even hauling one's own water takes a lot of effort- and I often feel less than completely satisfied with what efforts I can personally make. That is for me, in my own world view, and I accept that I will likely never be able to live as sustainable of a life I desire, but I make steps towards that lifestyle each day as a matter of personal devotion.

That said--- I have never thought that any these self-perceived short-comings kept me from being a "qualified" pagan. It certainly never kept me from finding the Goddess or working magic.

Even when I lived in a city, ate entirely processed foods, and rarely did more than sort my recycling, I was always a pagan and could connect with nature as needed for my spirtuality. There is life energy all around us, even in a city you are still standing on top of mother earth.

Live your own beliefs, your path is your path, not anyone else's. There is no authority anywhere to "disqualify you" from it. If you require modern society, well humans are basically social creatures, so that should be no great surprise. It is entirely understandable if you don't want to poop into a compost pail, and even many homestead types would be hard pressed to give up electricity, refrigeration, and internet.

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Re: Am I earth-centered enough?
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2013, 03:53:12 am »
Quote from: anonymus;117609
Recently I've become interested in incorporating  paganism into my spiritual path. However I've often heard paganism described as "earth centered" or having a "deep reverence" for the natural world; now on an intellectual level I understand the significance of the natural world and I'm all for cleaning up pollution, switching to more sustainable forms of energy, and protecting key ecosystems but I'm not exactly what you would call a "back to nature type" either, nor would I consider myself the outdoors type. Frankly the thought of living without running water, electricity, AC, internet, and more than 20 minutes from the nearest grocery/bookstore terrifies me[deliberate exaggeration]. So does this disqualify me from being pagan?

Sorry if this sounds ignorant or prejudiced I couldn't think of a better way of phrasing it. :o

 
If using "pagan" in the context of "pre-Christian polytheist religions, usually from Europe and the Mediterranean (including the Middle East and North Africa)", obviously ancient people from the various places that encompasses built cities, embraced technology, and did what they could to get away from "nature".  (Land developed for farming is not "nature", by the way.)  They were religious, and they respected the wild lands, but they tended to associate it and people who willingly lived in undeveloped lands with madness, at best, and getting eaten alive, at worst.

So no, you don't have to be "a back to nature type" to get along in paganism, but at the same time, it'll raise many eyebrows amongst many if you call yourself pagan of some sort and don't even give a crap about recycling (I've known a few), but in all honesty, so many people have an incredibly lassiez-faire attitude toward defining what paganism is and is not, that only a handful of people in the pagan community will actively call such people "not pagan", and even then, only if they aren't explicitly polytheistic or animist.

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