Page 3 of 16 FirstFirst 1234513 ... LastLast
Results 21 to 30 of 160

Thread: Defining "Pagan"

  1. #21
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
    Reputation
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    8,309
    Religion
    Alchemist and Neo-American Redneck Buddhist
    Location
    Frozen Northern Michigan, near Thunder Bay
    Phrase
    Where are the tweezers?

    Re: Defining "Pagan"

    [quote author=thalassa link=topic=669.msg11948#msg11948 date=1289484615]
    See...when I define something, I do this thing where I base it on the bulk of what I observe is actually thought and practiced, and what established accepted definitions already exist...not on what I *think* it should be defined by.[/quote]

    IMHO - there are two ways to define words:

    1. How they are normally used by people who speak the language - this is the most common, and is how definitions in dictionaries are decided - which makes sense, since people were using words long before dictionaries were defining them. Because each person will use a specific word in a slightly different way, these definitions are never precise and clear cut.

    2. As technical terms - terms used in technical literature, such as scholarly writing or in the sciences, need to have very precise and unambiguous definitions so that people referring to the literature will know exactly what is meant by each term.

    One of the problems that we seem to have when we try to define the term "pagan" seems to be that some people want it to be a technical term, while others want it to be a normal English word.

    As a normal English word it has a very wide open and not very clear definition - which is exactly what makes it so useful to the people who use it. As a technical term it is useless, because no definite and specific definition can be attached to it which will stick.

    My recommendation is to do what Thalassa does, and understand the word "pagan" as it is used by the people who use it.

    When you need a technical term, you're better off by naming a specific religion, with it's subsects and other defining features (ex: Polish Roman Catholic as practiced in Northern Michigan, on the East side of the state, above the 49th parallel, but below the Upper Penisula).
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

  2. #22
    Sr. Member
    Reputation
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    296
    Gender
    male
    Religion
    Chaote: It varies.
    Location
    Reston

    Re: Defining "Pagan"

    [quote author=thalassa link=topic=669.msg11948#msg11948 date=1289484615]
    See...when I define something, I do this thing where I base it on the bulk of what I observe is actually thought and practiced, and what established accepted definitions already exist...not on what I *think* it should be defined by.
    [/quote]My definition is simply a reflection of the whole movement that brought this word back up from the pages of history - the Neopagan movement. Nobody else cares about what is or is not "Pagan" except for the looniest fundamentalists. The definition of "Pagan" should fit what it actually means in this context - a practicing member of the Neopagan Movement. More archaic definitions of 'Pagan' hold no weight relative to this community and how it defines itself. And as it turns out, I haven't seen where this movement has necessarily been given a clear and meaningful definition either, at least not one that can be both taken seriously and includes the whole religious movement. This is the simplest way that I can state my observations.

    [quote author=thalassa link=topic=669.msg11948#msg11948 date=1289484615]
    And...well, I know as many people that *don't* practice some knock off of a European Indigenous Tradition to ever define what they call themselves in that light.
    [/quote]"Knock off"? Well, thanks for that display of your attitude towards that segment of the Neopagan community. Then again, there is the fact that I acknowledged that incredibly diverse influence of Wicca as a part of Paganism... so, where's the problem?
    "A true initiation never ends"-Robert Anton Wilson
    http://www.hermetic.com/crowley
    "Reality has become a commodity"-Stephen Colbert 1/29/07
    http://www.chaosmatrix.org/
    "Sometimes, when you can't breathe, there are people there to breathe for you" - Aesop Rock
    http://upholdingmaat.wordpress.com

  3. #23
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
    Reputation
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    11,241
    Religion
    relational theophysis and bioregional witchery
    Location
    coastal Georgia
    Phrase
    *a little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika*

    Re: Defining "Pagan"

    [quote author=AzazelEblis link=topic=669.msg12249#msg12249 date=1289525220]
    "Knock off"? Well, thanks for that display of your attitude towards that segment of the Neopagan community. Then again, there is the fact that I acknowledged that incredibly diverse influence of Wicca as a part of Paganism... so, where's the problem?
    [/quote]

    What attitude? It is a fairly simple idea that nearly all religiously-oriented traditions in contemporary Paganism are based on a continuum that ranges from reconstruction to inspiration from a pre-Christian culture and mythology. Does "invented" and "inspired" make you feel better? I mean, personally (and religiously), I happen to like knock offs...it means I don't have to pay extra for the brand name.

    Please, illuminate me on what extant European Indigenous Traditions are being followed in some unbroken line from ye olden days of yore. Seriously, if someone out there is practicing some indigenous tradition untouched by modernity or Christianity that has been embraced by the pagan community, I would love to know about it. Unless of course you are calling Wicca some sort of European Indigenous Tradition, simply because it was invented there. In which case, you weren't terribly clear on that point.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

  4. #24
    Sr. Member
    Reputation
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    296
    Gender
    male
    Religion
    Chaote: It varies.
    Location
    Reston

    Re: Defining "Pagan"

    [quote author=thalassa link=topic=669.msg12261#msg12261 date=1289527757]
    What attitude? It is a fairly simple idea that nearly all religiously-oriented traditions in contemporary Paganism are based on a continuum that ranges from reconstruction to inspiration from a pre-Christian culture and mythology. Does "invented" and "inspired" make you feel better? I mean, personally (and religiously), I happen to like knock offs...it means I don't have to pay extra for the brand name.

    Please, illuminate me on what extant European Indigenous Traditions are being followed in some unbroken line from ye olden days of yore. Seriously, if someone out there is practicing some indigenous tradition untouched by modernity or Christianity that has been embraced by the pagan community, I would love to know about it. Unless of course you are calling Wicca some sort of European Indigenous Tradition, simply because it was invented there. In which case, you weren't terribly clear on that point.
    [/quote]
    Well, as much as I agree with you that there is no "unbroken line" of these traditions, I prefer to respect their intent to reconstruct the original faith. These groups fill in the gaps how they can, in a hope to have something true to the spirit, and as close to the original practice as can be done within reason.

    While some of these groups do essentially practice Wicca with a different name, others do their damnedest to respect the original tradition. No, these faiths are not a perfect recreation of the ancient religions. I thought that was obvious from their inclusion in this New Religious movement. But given how in even Archaeology a complete skeleton is 60% of the bones of the original body...


    I think using that the term "Knock off" to talk about a Recon religion is f*****g disrespectful, implying fraud rather than acknowledging the effort that went into it. Hence, my revulsion, and interpretation that you've slandered a large segment of the Neopagan community.

    Edit: profanity removed by admin.
    "A true initiation never ends"-Robert Anton Wilson
    http://www.hermetic.com/crowley
    "Reality has become a commodity"-Stephen Colbert 1/29/07
    http://www.chaosmatrix.org/
    "Sometimes, when you can't breathe, there are people there to breathe for you" - Aesop Rock
    http://upholdingmaat.wordpress.com

  5. #25
    One with the Force ChainLightning's Avatar
    Reputation
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    5,070
    Gender
    male
    Religion
    Polytheist with Pan-/Panen- tendencies.
    Location
    Elk River, MN
    Phrase
    In the darkest recesses of your twisted mind, a G-rated version of me resides.

    Re: Defining "Pagan"

    Watch the language. This is not the Rant section - where a small amount of profanity is tolerated.

    /mod hat




    "Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it." - Ayn Rand

    "Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." - Marcus Aurelius

    "The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice." - Mark Twain

    "The only gossip I'm interested in is things from the Weekly World News - 'Woman's bra bursts, 11 injured'. That kind of thing." - Johnny Depp



  6. #26
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
    Reputation
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    11,241
    Religion
    relational theophysis and bioregional witchery
    Location
    coastal Georgia
    Phrase
    *a little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika*

    Re: Defining "Pagan"

    [quote author=AzazelEblis link=topic=669.msg12459#msg12459 date=1289591704]
    I think using that the term "Knock off" to talk about a Recon religion is fucking disrespectful, implying fraud rather than acknowledging the effort that went into it. Hence, my revulsion, and interpretation that you've slandered a large segment of the Neopagan community.
    [/quote]

    Actually, I wasn't refering to Recons in my original comment....you drew that conclusion your your own. I was refering to eclectic Pagans that choose more than Europe as their place of inspiration...and that includes myself. Since you brought it up though...there *aren't* any unbroken, untouched lines of European based religions. But if you want to continue to have your feelings hurt for someone else, by nitpicking over something that wasn't said, go ahead.

    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

  7. #27
    Supporter FantasyWitch's Avatar
    Reputation
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2,133
    Gender
    female
    Religion
    Atheist
    Location
    Bonny Scotland

    Re: Defining "Pagan"

    [quote author=magusjinx link=topic=669.msg10095#msg10095 date=1288920130]
    I am a Jimist ... I believe in me ... I am responsible for what I do ... And if I don't like what I do I send myself to my room for a time out ...
    [/quote]

    This I feel is the best damn answer to the whole thread, although it fails in the point of the thread.

    A pagan is a nature dweller, someone who respects and acts as someone who cares and is in tune with the world around and most importantly calls themselves pagan.

    I am somewhat an atheistic pagan, who does not practice magic, but dabbles in tarot cards. Pagan is a cover term. That is all. X
    "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me"- CS Lewis


    https://www.facebook.com/KimberlyHagenART

  8. #28
    Sr. Member
    Reputation
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    296
    Gender
    male
    Religion
    Chaote: It varies.
    Location
    Reston

    Re: Defining "Pagan"

    [quote author=thalassa link=topic=669.msg12476#msg12476 date=1289592687]
    Actually, I wasn't refering to Recons in my original comment....you drew that conclusion your your own. I was refering to eclectic Pagans that choose more than Europe as their place of inspiration...and that includes myself. Since you brought it up though...there *aren't* any unbroken, untouched lines of European based religions. But if you want to continue to have your feelings hurt for someone else, by nitpicking over something that wasn't said, go ahead.
    [/quote]Sorry, but I don't see how I was supposed to get that from this:
    [quote author=thalassa link=topic=669.msg11948#msg11948 date=1289484615]
    And...well, I know as many people that *don't* practice some knock off of a European Indigenous Tradition to ever define what they call themselves in that light.[/quote](emphasis mine)
    That just doesn't follow. "Knock off" isn't phrased about Eclectics, but rather about the group juxtaposed with eclectics - people who practice some "knock off of a European Indigenous Tradition", which, I have a hard time seeing that as refering to anyone but recons. You've already addressed me acknowledging that you were speaking of this group with that statement and tried to twist it into a compliment somehow, and shift the blame to your reader. So when I explain how that's derogatory, suddenly that you referred to recons at all was "my interpretation"? LOL, that's funny.


    I still don't see how you miss what it is that's got me riled up - an admin of a pagan forum expressing a disdain for fellow pagans. And now, while I appreciate that you've reframed your statement in a way that doesn't address recons at all, it doesn't clean up that mess either.



    It almost looks like you're afraid of apologizing for how that came out, and instead trying to shift the blame of the whole thing onto the guy who called you on it. This in turn somewhat makes it look suspiciously like you refuse to back down from your side in any discussion, for fear of losing - when this isn't supposed to be a contest, but an exchange of ideas. Where chain already addressed me for being too... argumentative about it all, here comes the passive aggression towards a simply disagreeing opinion. All of that... or that you have had bad experiences with Recons - I don't pretend to know.


    And yes, I do believe people can be Eclectic Pagan, and have a few gods from outside the region I've outlined. I just don't see how those gods from elsewhere can be used to justify considering someone pagan.



    And since we're at it, why the focus on an inauthentic idea of lineage? I don't see how that's relevant to the discussion. I thought that even the word "reconstructionist" would kinda give it away that its all being rebuilt.


    [quote author=FantasyWitch link=topic=669.msg12480#msg12480 date=1289592903]
    This I feel is the best damn answer to the whole thread, although it fails in the point of the thread.
    [/quote]Well chain, since you've started editing language, I guess ya might wanna follow through here too. :-\
    "A true initiation never ends"-Robert Anton Wilson
    http://www.hermetic.com/crowley
    "Reality has become a commodity"-Stephen Colbert 1/29/07
    http://www.chaosmatrix.org/
    "Sometimes, when you can't breathe, there are people there to breathe for you" - Aesop Rock
    http://upholdingmaat.wordpress.com

  9. #29
    Supporter FantasyWitch's Avatar
    Reputation
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2,133
    Gender
    female
    Religion
    Atheist
    Location
    Bonny Scotland

    Re: Defining "Pagan"

    [quote author=AzazelEblis link=topic=669.msg12522#msg12522 date=1289600723]

    Well chain, since you've started editing language, I guess ya might wanna follow through here too. :-\
    [/quote]

    Come off it, I swear much worse than that right across the board. I have read the entire thread here and all I see is your being defensive and irritating everyone, which to be honest you don't normally do. Take a chill pill hun or you will have everyone (including me) on your back. Also if Chain wanted to edit my post he would, if he thought it was necessary, which it isn't, and it would not bother me at all because I am not being over-sensitive. You are causing an argument out of a safe and happy thread! Chillaaax.


    "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me"- CS Lewis


    https://www.facebook.com/KimberlyHagenART

  10. #30
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
    Reputation
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    11,241
    Religion
    relational theophysis and bioregional witchery
    Location
    coastal Georgia
    Phrase
    *a little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika*

    Re: Defining "Pagan"

    Mod note: As a reminder, since it seems to have been forgotten...

    When a member has a personal complaint about another member, the administration and moderator staff prefers that said issue be resolved via PM

    Also, when a moderator or administrator is posting AS a moderator or administrator, they do so in this pretty red color...otherwise they are posting as a regular member whose opinions and ideas and comments are their own



    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________

    Now, since this is on actually topic...
    And yes, I do believe people can be Eclectic Pagan, and have a few gods from outside the region I've outlined. I just don't see how those gods from elsewhere can be used to justify considering someone pagan.

    And since we're at it, why the focus on an inauthentic idea of lineage? I don't see how that's relevant to the discussion. I thought that even the word "reconstructionist" would kinda give it away that its all being rebuilt.
    What would you call an indigenous tradition to a group of Native Americans? What would you call the indigenous tradition of a group of ANY indigenous peoples? If someone, 1000 years from now came and said they were recreating some religion of some people that have since lost such traditions or died out or something...no matter how carefully (or not) they might be trying to recreate such an idea...do you REALLY think you can still call it an indigenous tradition?

    Because I don't. THAT is why I think the lineage aspect is important. Someone reconstructing a European Indigenous Tradition is reconstructing that tradition and practicing a reconstruction of it, they aren't practicing it itself And someone that is loosely inspired by the mythology or culture of some European Indigenous Tradition is even further from practicing that European Indigenous Tradition.

    I do historical reenactment. No matter how authentic my gear, no matter how much I read about the time period, no matter how much I put myself in the shoes of en educated middle class woman during the 1860's---I've driven a car, I brush my teeth every day, and I've never been considered inferior to a man, I've never seen a slave...in short, I've never lived in that society, in that time or place. No matter how much I *know*, I am not portraying an accurate picture of a woman in the 1860's--because it is a physical impossibility.



    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 22 Oct 2014, 11:49
  2. Replies: 13
    Last Post: 22 Jul 2013, 00:20
  3. Pagan Version Of The "Holy Ghost"?
    By RiverSong in forum Catacombs
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: 08 Jan 2013, 17:30
  4. Defining "Black Magic"
    By Juniper in forum Left-Hand Paths
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 09 Jun 2012, 23:07

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •