Author Archives: Irreverend Hugh
All about irreverand-hugh - who has written 21 posts on Erin's Journal.
Posts by irreverand-hugh:
(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.”
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.
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
Neo-Paganism has been growing spectacularly in the past few years, especially Wicca which is said to have around one million adherents in the USA alone. Books such as Starhawk’s “The Spiral Dance” are said to have been responsible for starting thousands of covens and an even greater number of solitary practitioners.1 Wicca works wonderfully well in the small group ‘coven’ context, but it, and other versions of Neo-Pagan Witchcraft like it, works surprisingly well as a solitary personal practice. In the old days (well, for me those days are about ten years ago) when I started out learning Neo-Pagan Witchcraft, it was still relatively hard to find groups or covens to practice with. I was lucky in that I could practice with a group. I didn’t have to go to Pagan festivals and other such things in order to find “my own,” so to speak. Despite all of my involvement with my home group, aspects of which still exist with me today, the vast majority of my practice, work, and study was done on my own in a semi-solitary context.
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.
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?
Breaking Craft Stereotypes:
To start with, I practice Wicca. I am a modern Pagan. (Or Neo-Pagan, as I prefer.) This means you can consider me Wiccan. You can most definitely consider me Pagan. But why would you assume that I have no spiritual life outside of the religion known as Wicca? Why would you assume that because I am a Pagan that I cannot be into any other practices? What part of “poly” in the word “polytheism” do you not understand? The last couple of years, I went through a period of not wanting to use the “Wicca” moniker on account of all the bullshit and fluffy nonsense that I saw among people who call themselves Wicca. Then recently, the thought occurred to me: Why should I let all of those suckers take away what I (and others) tend to call my religion?
There are some Wiccans who have no problem with some of us practicing other elements of Neo-Paganism. But there is something wrong with many others. I could go on about the problems that my membership in the Discordian Society has caused among some Wiccans who should know better. I could go on about the time one of my Wiccan friends decided to no longer talk to me because of my Chaos Magic practices. But I will keep it simple enough by discussing two of my religious affiliations which many would assume can never be practiced by the same person.
Breaking Craft Stereotypes:
Breaking Craft Stereotypes:
I know you. Bunny.
You wear a bright new shiny silver pentacle proudly. You challenge anyone who even looks at you without smiling and tell them to stop persecuting you. You like donning all sorts of spooky and occult-looking accoutrements and talismans and then spit and cuss up a storm when the evil patriarchal bastards on the street look at you and ask you where the Halloween party is. You buy all sorts of books with crescent moons on the spine and pictures of scantily clad ‘witches’ on the covers and read them in public places just hoping someone will come up to you and ask you if you are Satanic so you can shoot them down with your “Bunny Witchcraft Catechism.” (You know the one. It goes “Wicca is not Satanic. Witches are good people. Our religion is older than yours.”) You go through extreme lengths to stage your proper “Coming out of the Broom Closet” event so that the maximum amount of people will now know that you are one of “those people.” And then when they dislike you for being one of those people, you rant and rave about tolerance and acceptance and how much their evil Xtianity has destroyed your people.