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Author Topic: General Overview & A few Questions  (Read 783 times)

GuidedRaven

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General Overview & A few Questions
« on: August 07, 2013, 06:25:23 pm »
Okay, so from what I know and have collected via internet, word of mouth and from a few books here and there is this: Wicca is under the term Paganism. I sort of see Paganism like a large Oak tree, and Wicca is just one of the branches off of the tree. Is this a correct way to view it and see it?

***

Okay, now, my questions that I have accumulated:

  • Is Wicca itself more Earth Based, or is it again, depending on the person and their beliefs?
  • Your opinions on "An it harm none, do what thou wilt"?
  • I have come across some people who sneer or get a bit irritated when they here I'm Wiccan or Neo-Pagan as I've also heard, why is that?


There are just a few questions I've been dying to have answers on. I hope I worded it well and didn't offend anyone :) I really appreciate all of your replies/those who are reading this.

A bit of info on me: I have been Wicca for about a year and a half now, but I've yet to find someone or a place I can consistently ask questions and find answers. So I am very glad that I have found this website.
--Guided Raven

"Under your wing I feel complete safety,
Atop your talon I feel free,
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At your beak I intake breath.

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Darkhawk

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Re: General Overview & A few Questions
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2013, 06:47:29 pm »
Quote from: GuidedRaven;118316
Okay, so from what I know and have collected via internet, word of mouth and from a few books here and there is this: Wicca is under the term Paganism. I sort of see Paganism like a large Oak tree, and Wicca is just one of the branches off of the tree. Is this a correct way to view it and see it?

 
Really, more like a bunch of circus acts in the same big tent.  Nobody would mistake the acrobats for the lion tamers.

At least not in the case of most circuses.

Parts of a tree are rather more closely related than pagan religions.

Quote
Is Wicca itself more Earth Based, or is it again, depending on the person and their beliefs?


What do you think "earth based" means, aside from the rather literal "located on the planet called 'Earth'"?

Quote
Your opinions on "An it harm none, do what thou wilt"?


I wish it had been written in standard English so people would stop misinterpreting it.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

GuidedRaven

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Re: General Overview & A few Questions
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2013, 06:55:21 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;118318
Really, more like a bunch of circus acts in the same big tent. Nobody would mistake the acrobats for the lion tamers....

Parts of a tree are rather more closely related than pagan religions.


But in general saying that Wicca is just a branch off of Paganism, just a piece under the umbrella term, is a correct way of understanding/wording it?



Quote
What do you think "earth based" means, aside from the rather literal "located on the planet called 'Earth'"?


When I say Earth Based, I mean as in having a belief that you should take care of the Earth, and make sure to keep (Her) as alive and healthy as we can. Whether that is as simple as not throwing trash onto the ground, or as large as having rituals or celebrations to honor "Mother Earth" (depending on what you believe concerning that). But more of just giving back to the Earth/honoring it?
--Guided Raven

"Under your wing I feel complete safety,
Atop your talon I feel free,
Against your feathers my body is awakened,
At your beak I intake breath.

...
In the air I can be,
Holding fast to your scaly feet,
Large and powerful being,
Taking me higher and higher; So I can\'t breathe."

Darkhawk

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Re: General Overview & A few Questions
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2013, 07:09:18 pm »
Quote from: GuidedRaven;118320
But in general saying that Wicca is just a branch off of Paganism, just a piece under the umbrella term, is a correct way of understanding/wording it?


Well, that depends on what you mean.

One of the problems with the tree metaphor is that it leads a lot of people to think that pagan religions necessarily have things in common, and some of those people get really, actively pissed off when someone says that their new year isn't Samhain, that they don't have a religious holiday on May Day, that they don't deal with a goddess and a god, that they're not witches, that they don't perform magic, or a wide variety of other subjects.

"Paganism" is a category kind of like "fruit".   But, obviously, you don't get tomatoes off apple trees, or any other kind of tree for that matter.  The best you're going to get for an accurate replacement for branches is "bins located in the produce section", and that's only if you don't run into anything sufficiently exotic that you can't get it fresh in your location.  (And you'll still have to distinguish your fruit from your carrots.)

Quote
When I say Earth Based, I mean as in having a belief that you should take care of the Earth, and make sure to keep (Her) as alive and healthy as we can. Whether that is as simple as not throwing trash onto the ground, or as large as having rituals or celebrations to honor "Mother Earth" (depending on what you believe concerning that). But more of just giving back to the Earth/honoring it?

 
That's a reasonably common eclectic/neo-Wiccan beliefset.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

GuidedRaven

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Re: General Overview & A few Questions
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2013, 07:14:27 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;118322

"Paganism" is a category kind of like "fruit".   But, obviously, you don't get tomatoes off apple trees, or any other kind of tree for that matter.  The best you're going to get for an accurate replacement for branches is "bins located in the produce section", and that's only if you don't run into anything sufficiently exotic that you can't get it fresh in your location.  (And you'll still have to distinguish your fruit from your carrots.)



 I think I understand what you're saying ... It's hard to group together all of the different religions that can be identified as Pagan since they usually hold different beliefs all together?

Quote
That's a reasonably common eclectic/neo-Wiccan beliefset.
 


Okay, well I'm glad to hear that, since my goal is that whenever I am asked about my religion and I go into my explanation of Earth Based, more will agree within my explanation than not. But then also, going off of the "Neo-Wiccan" mention, why is it that there are some Pagans who sneer or get upset when hearing one is a Neo-Pagan or a Neo-Wiccan?
--Guided Raven

"Under your wing I feel complete safety,
Atop your talon I feel free,
Against your feathers my body is awakened,
At your beak I intake breath.

...
In the air I can be,
Holding fast to your scaly feet,
Large and powerful being,
Taking me higher and higher; So I can\'t breathe."

Darkhawk

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Re: General Overview & A few Questions
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2013, 07:30:00 pm »
Quote from: GuidedRaven;118323
I think I understand what you're saying ... It's hard to group together all of the different religions that can be identified as Pagan since they usually hold different beliefs all together?


Yes, exactly.

Quote
But then also, going off of the "Neo-Wiccan" mention, why is it that there are some Pagans who sneer or get upset when hearing one is a Neo-Pagan or a Neo-Wiccan?

 
Honestly, I'm less confident of answers to that one than other things, which is why I skipped it before, but giving it a whirl with a few thoughts:

There is a stereotype that eclectic or popularly available Wiccish religion is basically the pagan equivalent of baby talk; there are people (otherwise known as 'assholes') who assume that anyone with those affiliations is uninformed, has at best read several bad books on the subject, is a dabbler or dilettante, and/or will only remain in that category long enough to either get a different pagan religion or get bored and wander back to wherever they came from.

There is also the fact that pretty much all of the people who get shirty at other pagans for not conforming to Wiccish behaviour patterns are in the eclectic/neo-Wiccish category.  Since that category is overwhelmingly dominant in most pagan spaces, in my experience, it's very easy for it to develop into a sort of echo chamber in which less prominent pagan religions get erased and made invisible.  (And frankly since a lot of us are nerds at some level this feeds into the whole hipsteresque "Your religion is so mainstream, ew" attitude that crops up in some reconstructionist and occultist communities.)  People get burned out on that sort of thing.

But really, what it boils down to is that the default answer to "Why are people sneering on the basis of no data" is, within paganism, the same reason it is outside thereof: assholes. ;)
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Jenett

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Re: General Overview & A few Questions
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2013, 07:46:55 pm »
Darkhawk has said most of what I'd say, but a couple of pieces you might find handy...

Quote from: GuidedRaven;118320
But in general saying that Wicca is just a branch off of Paganism, just a piece under the umbrella term, is a correct way of understanding/wording it?


As Darkhawk said, not quite. There's a page on my website you might find handy in looking at some of the differences and some of the similarities. The link is http://gleewood.org/seeking/basics/ and the two pages are the 'things Pagans mostly share' and the 'things Pagans mostly don't share'.

Mostly, the similarities between Pagan religions are that we have some stuff in common being minority religions, we have overlaps between our sources with some other stuff under the Pagan term, and that some of our attitudes towards deity are more complicated than monotheism. But that isn't actually a definable group, except maybe in talking about stuff like legal issues for minority religions or some practical stuff (like finding suitable rental space for rituals when you don't have a church building.)

Quote

When I say Earth Based, I mean as in having a belief that you should take care of the Earth, and make sure to keep (Her) as alive and healthy as we can. Whether that is as simple as not throwing trash onto the ground, or as large as having rituals or celebrations to honor "Mother Earth" (depending on what you believe concerning that). But more of just giving back to the Earth/honoring it?


Here's the thing: I believe (and my religion is what most people would call Wicca - it's certainly comfortable in the initiatory-circles-Sabbats-god and goddess in ritual-etc. grouping, even though I define myself as an initiatory religious witch rather than Wiccan) that *everything* is interconnected.

So yes, it's good to be thoughtful about living on the Earth as a planet. But I also think about things like living in good relationship with other people. And keeping my email cleared out so that I can find the things that matter to me. And considering where I buy things from because I want to encourage small crafters and artisans who bring more beauty into the world. And it's about paying attention to issues of free expression and freedom of information in the world (not just my bits of it) when I can, because ideas are important, and talking about them is even more so.

And "recycling my glass bottles" is a part of that, because things are interconnected. But it's no bigger or no smaller a part of my life than all those other things.

I believe that trad Wicca is a fertility religion, and biological fertility is tied to the health of the ecosystem (both on a microcosm level - the individual - and on the macrocosm - the entire ecosystem.) And naturally, if you have seasonal celebrations rooted in agricultural markers, that's an Earth sort of thing too.

But I tend to think it's a Platonic Elements sort of religion, more than an Earth religion, if you see the difference. (certainly, my strain of religious witchcraft tends to be.)
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elyssa

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Re: General Overview & A few Questions
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2013, 07:55:47 pm »
Quote from: GuidedRaven;118323
I think I understand what you're saying ... It's hard to group together all of the different religions that can be identified as Pagan since they usually hold different beliefs all together?



Okay, well I'm glad to hear that, since my goal is that whenever I am asked about my religion and I go into my explanation of Earth Based, more will agree within my explanation than not. But then also, going off of the "Neo-Wiccan" mention, why is it that there are some Pagans who sneer or get upset when hearing one is a Neo-Pagan or a Neo-Wiccan?

Short answer is they have ran into too many fluff bunnies who follow that path.

 Long answer is basically many of the folks who claim neo-Wiccan ( I myself am neo-Wiccan/Pagan so not judging you here) do not really understand their own path and have not taken enough time to critically think though what they believe and practice,

 And they quote misinformation that was commonly found in the 80's and 90's  in New Age and Pagan movements that have since that time been proven to be unsupported by facts. Look up the term Fluff Bunny and you will get a better picture.

 I consider my self slightly fluffy but not too fluffy. I cannot decide if I am hard or soft polytheistic and float between the two concepts. (this is only one example of my fluffiness),  But I strive to be non fluffy by continuing to learn all I can every chance I get.
 Best advice is read, study, write, & read some more, then when you feel you can read no more,  practice, do rituals and/or spells (use common sense and ethics) write down what you did and what results came of it and do that for a long time, then go back to reading and studying and incorporate what you have learned to your understanding of your reading material.
 If during all this time you stumble upon a group who you desire to train with then do that. If you don't, then you know that you are following your own solitary path and that is okay too.
my .02 cents hope it helps

Aiwelin

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Re: General Overview & A few Questions
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2013, 08:10:32 pm »
Quote from: GuidedRaven;118316
I have come across some people who sneer or get a bit irritated when they here I'm Wiccan or Neo-Pagan as I've also heard, why is that?

I can help with this one.  I have a friend I met in college, about ten years ago now, and when I first told him I was Wiccan he sneered and told me it was just a phase.  Even for people totally outside of Paganism, Wicca has a reputation for being "fluffy" and not really into facts.  Since Paganism=Wicca in the minds of most people unfamiliar with the subject, that's probably why you get that whether you say Wiccan or Neo-Pagan.  

I personally come from a generation where a lot of teenagers decided to be Wiccan to be rebellious when they were 16 or so, spouted off a bunch of pseudo-history while wearing huge pentacles, and then dropped it a year or so later.  So my friend's initial reaction was understandable, though still really annoying.

Fast forward ten years, that friend is now married to my college roommate and we still hang out quite a bit.  He knows I'm still Pagan and still teases me about it occasionally, though it's mostly because he's a strong Atheist and thinks all religion is silly.  He takes me about as seriously as he takes every other religious person he knows :).  So once they've seen you live your same-ish life for a few more years, (as long as you're not spouting pseudo-history with huge pentacles :P) people will figure out that you're not jumping onto a fad or giving up your sense of reason!

Edit: Just wanted to add that I was one of those teenagers, except I kept on with it and mellowed out - so no blame here!
« Last Edit: August 07, 2013, 08:11:40 pm by Aiwelin »
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Re: General Overview & A few Questions
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2013, 08:49:52 pm »
Quote from: GuidedRaven;118316
Is Wicca itself more Earth Based, or is it again, depending on the person and their beliefs?

The group of (usually) related Pagan religions under the "Wicca umbrella" are usually considered earth-based -- but it really depends on how you define "earth-based".

Quote
Your opinions on "An it harm none, do what thou wilt"?

That depends on the interpretation. Under something close to the original meaning (which is moral advice that if something causes no harm, it is definitely morally okay), it's fine. However, when it starts being seen moral law (instead of advice) is gets silly. When interpreted as a moral command to "harm none"/"cause no harm", it's just stupid as such a command is impossible to obey. Example: Breathing causes hundreds or thousands of microorganisms to die with every breath one takes -- so one cannot live without causing harm, but you can't kill yourself to stop causing this harm because that would cause harm both to yourself and to your family, friends, etc.

Quote
I have come across some people who sneer or get a bit irritated when they here I'm Wiccan or Neo-Pagan as I've also heard, why is that?

Unless you have been annoying, the answer is because some people like to feel superior to others or are just jerks.
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GuidedRaven

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Re: General Overview & A few Questions
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2013, 09:36:48 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;118325
But really, what it boils down to is that the default answer to "Why are people sneering on the basis of no data" is, within paganism, the same reason it is outside thereof: assholes. ;)



 
Quote from: Aiwelin
Since Paganism=Wicca in the minds of most people unfamiliar with the subject, that's probably why you get that whether you say Wiccan or Neo-Pagan.


Thank you guys for giving your answers on this question. It makes sense. Some people just seem to have a sour taste in their mouth is all.
--Guided Raven

"Under your wing I feel complete safety,
Atop your talon I feel free,
Against your feathers my body is awakened,
At your beak I intake breath.

...
In the air I can be,
Holding fast to your scaly feet,
Large and powerful being,
Taking me higher and higher; So I can\'t breathe."

GuidedRaven

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Re: General Overview & A few Questions
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2013, 09:39:33 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;118329
Darkhawk has said most of what I'd say, but a couple of pieces you might find handy...



As Darkhawk said, not quite. There's a page on my website you might find handy in looking at some of the differences and some of the similarities. The link is http://gleewood.org/seeking/basics/ and the two pages are the 'things Pagans mostly share' and the 'things Pagans mostly don't share'.

Mostly, the similarities between Pagan religions are that we have some stuff in common being minority religions, we have overlaps between our sources with some other stuff under the Pagan term, and that some of our attitudes towards deity are more complicated than monotheism. But that isn't actually a definable group, except maybe in talking about stuff like legal issues for minority religions or some practical stuff (like finding suitable rental space for rituals when you don't have a church building.)



Here's the thing: I believe (and my religion is what most people would call Wicca - it's certainly comfortable in the initiatory-circles-Sabbats-god and goddess in ritual-etc. grouping, even though I define myself as an initiatory religious witch rather than Wiccan) that *everything* is interconnected.

So yes, it's good to be thoughtful about living on the Earth as a planet. But I also think about things like living in good relationship with other people. And keeping my email cleared out so that I can find the things that matter to me. And considering where I buy things from because I want to encourage small crafters and artisans who bring more beauty into the world. And it's about paying attention to issues of free expression and freedom of information in the world (not just my bits of it) when I can, because ideas are important, and talking about them is even more so.

And "recycling my glass bottles" is a part of that, because things are interconnected. But it's no bigger or no smaller a part of my life than all those other things.

I believe that trad Wicca is a fertility religion, and biological fertility is tied to the health of the ecosystem (both on a microcosm level - the individual - and on the macrocosm - the entire ecosystem.) And naturally, if you have seasonal celebrations rooted in agricultural markers, that's an Earth sort of thing too.

But I tend to think it's a Platonic Elements sort of religion, more than an Earth religion, if you see the difference. (certainly, my strain of religious witchcraft tends to be.)

 

Thank you for providing that link, I will be sure to read it :) And on another, I truly love the way you described Earth Based as a much deeper and platonic way that applies to practically everything. I see it that way as well and couldn't have worded it better myself.
--Guided Raven

"Under your wing I feel complete safety,
Atop your talon I feel free,
Against your feathers my body is awakened,
At your beak I intake breath.

...
In the air I can be,
Holding fast to your scaly feet,
Large and powerful being,
Taking me higher and higher; So I can\'t breathe."

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