Author Archives: Irreverend Hugh
All about irreverand-hugh - who has written 21 posts on Erin's Journal.
Posts by irreverand-hugh:
A response to Keziah Thomas’ What Pagans Believe page.
When I originally wrote my response to Keziah Thomas’ “Ex-Pagan 4 Christ” site, I thought I had found nothing particularly offensive or wrong about her “What Pagans Believe” page. Upon revisiting, I have found many errors. The following are my responses to the entire article, here printed in full for ease of reference, in the hopes that Christians would stop being so sloppy with their research. As a practitioner of Neo-Paganism for several years, I feel it is important to counter such pages and publications as these with the facts. Enough is enough. Some of us Pagans are getting tired of the prejudices of those certain very vocal fundamentalist Christians who exhibit abject discomforts over the idea that other religions and ways of thought exist. To those types of Christian, I can only say that I hope you take your own moral injunctions seriously and stop bearing false witness against your neighbor.
Ex-Pagan 4 Christ
What Pagans BelievePagans subscribe to a vast number of different beliefs, and Christians should not assume that all pagans believe the same things. Pagans even argue among themselves about what the definition of “pagan” is so it is hard to catalogue what they all believe.
One thing that bothers me is the fact that Neo-Pagans, and those who call themselves Wiccan in particular, are virulently anti-Christian. Even the supposedly more moderate Neo-Pagan elders (who should know better) have made statements to the effect that Neo-Paganism is going to replace Christianity. (Not a very diplomatic expression. Not even an expression that shows any of Neo-Paganism’s supposed open-mindedness.) I must confess that such an event, if not coerced, would be fine by me. But frankly, despite the wishful thinking of many people who have probably themselves escaped or left the Christianity of their parents, I find no evidence that Christianity is going to be replaced by anything closely resembling Neo-Paganism. Christianity is not even disappearing, though its influence on several Western European nations has waned considerably in the last hundred years. Within American society, Christianity is stronger now than it has ever been since the founding of the nation.
Copyright © 2005; see bottom of page for full notice.
A Useful Framework to Help Understand Terminology Usage and Identity:
The following will go from the broadest to the most specific. Please read the whole article before you respond angrily or happily. In fact, please not only read the whole article, but also do some thinking about the points I raise. It is not as long of an article as I could have made it simply because I wanted to put the basic ideas out there now. (As opposed to waiting until I finally get around to writing that book about Neo-Paganism and such, if I ever do so.)
Some of you may object to my use of the parallel between Pagan and Abrahamic religions, but it is the most common way to elucidate the framework, since most people are familiar with Abrahamic faiths. Some of you may object because Neo-Pagans as a whole are still a minority whereas Abrahamic religions have billions of members and are dominant in societies across the world. Keep in mind that member numbers have nothing to do with this framework. It is about ideas and approach, not population statistics. (And who knows? Maybe in one-hundred or so years, Neo-Pagan religions may become dominant or at least on a par with the Abrahamic faiths in terms of numbers of members. It could happen, since the Neo-Pagan community seems to be doubling in size about every five or so years.)
An Army of Solitaries
Some responses to “Some Christian Observations on Paganism and Wicca”
In an article* for the Spotlight Ministries website, Vincent McCann attempts to address some Pagan ideas. While this is a laudable thing in and of itself, McCann’s article falls short of creating any actual understanding between Pagans and Christians and instead relies upon some of the very misconceptions that Christians have about Pagan religions. Though he claims at the end to have addressed those misconceptions, he has only reinforced them.
First off, he seems to conflate Wicca and Paganism. Whereas Wicca can be considered a Pagan religion, Paganism is the shorthand term used for all Pagan religions. There are many of them and though they share similar approaches to life and of conceiving the divine, their expressions and rituals are widely variant. The Pagan family includes Wicca, Asatru, Celtic Polytheism, Hellenismos, Discordianism, and other religions. Conflating Wicca and Paganism is a common enough mistake to make however and has nothing to do with the author’s Christianity in the least. Many in mainstream society also tend to conflate Wicca and Paganism. Though someone who publishes an article anywhere to be read by others should at least do cursory research before attempting to use terms such as Paganism or Wicca so that they can learn the difference.
Breaking Craft Stereotypes:
“Just because my religion gives me a cyclical view of life, doesn’t mean I’ll let you run me around in circles.”
The Wiccan “cosmology,” if you will, describing a twin axis between a double-aspected God and triple-aspected Goddess, and a deep yet seldom explored (at least by hordes of new and increasingly vocal Wiccans) four element schema cross-referenced by a yearly cyclical calendar based off of a creative interpretation of observable natural events is all a modern collective vision. Many of the things that make up this cosmology can be said to stretch back towards humanity’s self-consciously accepted “pre-history.” But this is nothing new in the history of religions. New religions often take up strands of older practices or viewpoints and synthesize them into new practices and meanings relevant for those doing task of weaving them together. Many of Wicca’s practices and certainly most of its belief structure can be correctly said to be modern developments. This is, in and of itself, the way things have always been with human spirituality and religion.
(Note from Daven: Please note, this is NOT my article, but it is THE best article I have ever seen dealing with who Eris is and why we should care. Do not make the mistake of dismissing this goddess just because she seems scary like other trickster/chaotic deities (like Loki, Coyote and Discordia) have been in the past. They are CRITICAL to our world. I made a comment when I read this article, and the author said it was one of the best summations of how a Discordian sees Chaos: “Creative Chaos. Without chaos, no inventions can happen, no progress can be made, for it is the spark of the Chaotic that prompts inspiration. Total Order is stagnation. ” So, keep that in mind.)
Eris, the Goddess of Confusion, Chaos, and Laughter
by “Irreverend Hugh (otherwise known as Triskell), KSC, of the Discordians for Softer Sandpaper Society”
“Eris doesn’t want your soul. She only wants to talk to you.”
Before we start. I want you to go get a dictionary and look up the word “eclectic.” I’ll wait.
Found it yet?
There has been some controversy with this word and with people going around calling what they do Eclectic Wicca. There are still a few hung-up British Traditional Wicca types who wrongly equate Eclectic Wicca with fluffy-bunnyism. This is far from the truth, even though many Bunnies hide behind the word ‘eclectic’ as a blanket excuse for their “Wicca-is-anything-I-want-it-to-be” ethic. Some people would go so far as to blame the fluffy-bunny phenomena on Eclectic practitioners. That is also not true. The fluffy-bunnies come from the spurious writings of certain authors and webpage creators.
Some people go so far back as to blame Gerald Gardner for the Bunnies, since he is the one who wrote about, lock stock and barrel, the persecution of Wiccans in the middle ages – which never happened – and a whole lot of other figments. We are not here concerned with that, since Wicca has largely gotten beyond proving how ancient it is. I do bring up Gardner on purpose however.
“I may have only been born yesterday, but I was up all night.”
The twists and turns of today’s Pagan “community” sometimes never cease to amaze me, or rather, piss me off. Since I happen to worship a Goddess of Discord (let’s not name any names here as I feel that today She is not in a good mood), when I get pissed off or irked/irritated, I let it all out. I try to be constructive about it, since discord is best used in creatively chaotic ways (though I will admit there are times when destruction is called for as well; this is also part of creation).
Now when I meet Pagans whom I don’t already know, I tend to be a little bit more welcoming and understanding, since we do share certain spiritual values and/or characteristics. There is one thing that has really started to bother me, as of late. It is a phenomenon, or pattern of behavior which I thought was dying out. Due to Pagan elders and researchers debunking this behavior, I thought it was on its last legs, so to speak. But that was my own conclusion, it seems, for the following will show that the behavior is very much alive and well…and is a potential killer-virus that must be slaughtered. Let me set up my twin May bonfires and pass this potential sickness through it. Okay?