Rant: I’m Still a Pagan… And You’re Still a Jerk.

The issue with loving your home life as much as I do and being so busy with it is that sometimes you just lack much to say on your blog… Also, you other bloggers are so prolific in my google reader, that some days all I do online is sit and read and read and read. I could be held responsible since I follow so many blogs, but for once I feel like passing the blame onto others since it’s because you are AWESOME.

Plus everyone has been discussion about what Pagans should call themselves. If we should all be Pagans. How much easier identifying as a polytheist is, etc. For some reason this discussion kind of caused my eyes to glaze. I guess I’m of the “call yourself what you want” school. Being so solitary in my practice, and not being comfortable with my past experience with face-to-face (or sometimes in-your-face) Pagan community has left me kind of sighing over everything involved with this discussion.

I am a Pagan, though. Differing opinions would put me in as a “soft” polytheist, and some more hardliners would consider my view that all Divine beings eventually lead to one would try to pin me as a monotheist because of it. Yes, I believe in the Gods. I believe they’re both separate beings, but I believe they’re made up of the same unifying Divine we all are, which in turn makes them inseparable. And it’s that all-is-one mentality that keeps me from being able to claim I’m any specific thing beyond a Pagan. Beyond Paganism, my modern American religion, with all the melting pot of my spiritual upbringing and conversing with the gods, has left me without a label beyond Pagan.

So far I think the closest I’ve ever come to finding a group that believes in the same view of the Divine as me would be those practicing Haitian Vodou. A lot of the religion speaks to me, and I adore learning about it – In fact, if I went back to school for religious studies, I’d probably focus on the group of religions that belong in this family. But I don’t practice. No Loa has shown up and demanded I practice, and I don’t feel a particular need to do so.

In practice there is some overlap of belief with Religio Romana that I appreciate. And my ancestor worship is a major part of my practice.

My religion doesn’t have a name, and I like it that way. I love the Roman aspects of my beliefs like crazy. I work towards maintaining Roman values for myself. If I tried to call myself a member of Religio Romana the majority (or perhaps just the outspoken) of those practicing Roman polytheism would chase me around with pitchforks despite sharing quite a lot with them.

For years now I’ve been told that eclecticism is a thing that doesn’t lead to the pure spiritual path that practicing a single religion does. For me I feel like it has. Working with personal gnosis on top of research and education has taught me a very revealing thing about myself: If I don’t believe in it all, I have problems believing at all.

So… I’m a Pagan. I will remain a Pagan. I will continue to resist having to label myself beyond it, and I think in writing this I’ve come to the main reason why…

Because I’m sick and tired of all of these high and mighty opinions coming from everyone else. Glad your religious path is working for you. Glad you are finding meaning in your life. Glad your gods are paying attention to the love and devotion you give them. Really, I am. But please, for the love of all that is right and good, stop and think about what you sound like when you start in talking about the other side.

It is insulting when you consider me a monotheist, because I don’t consider myself one. And stating that I’m convincing myself that I’m not is really pretty self-important. I’m a human, which means that I’m never going to be 100% sure my beliefs are 100% true. I’m always going to be questioning and trying to figure things out… I think that’s part of what the purpose of humans is; I think that blind faith is dangerous. And if you want to consider me agnostic because of it, so be it… Though since I don’t consider myself agnostic, and you’re using it in a demeaning manner, I’m not sure how it is that you can get all bent out of shape that Pagan is a disparaging Christian term when people call you it. Seems a bit hypocritical if you ask me.

(And as a side note, I find the terms “hard polytheism” and “soft polytheism” to be insulting, too. Typically because it’s used by those who speak on “soft” in a way that makes it seem like they consider this worldview less valid. There is nothing soft about my beliefs, thank you. Figure out another way to express your concept of my beliefs when talking to me, because if you pretend ignorance on the derogatory term “fluffy” within this community and how soft could easily be taken to mean that, I’m going to call you on your shit.)

I feel really, really put out of place when I read opinions about eclecticism being a weak path. Like somehow my beliefs not being easily labeled and categorized makes me religiously lesser than others who can say “I am (such and such).” I’m absolutely thrilled (and I’m not being sarcastic) that you are able to find a religion that speaks to you 100% or that you are able to at least overlook the differences. I can’t. I’ve tried, and it doesn’t work. And I am tired of feeling like my belief system is anything less than yours just because no one else practices exactly like I do, and I understand that most religions are a giant mish-mash of the religions that came before them.

Plus those pants make you look bloated. Okay, maybe I’m just butthurt. But seriously, people, please think before you start writing about what you think of other people. I don’t think I’ve even gotten my point across, because after weeks of this all I can do is rant still.

Awesome. Only not at all.

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10 thoughts on “Rant: I’m Still a Pagan… And You’re Still a Jerk.

  1. Bravo!Beautifully written. I know exactly where you are coming from which is funny because it's the same reason why I call myself 'Polytheist' instead of 'Pagan'. I got so tired of what 'Pagan' entailed and found freedom by stamping my foot and declairing "I'm doing this thing MY WAY, not yours."Kudos to you! The only important thing in this matter is that you are comfortable in your own skin…everyone else can just bugger off 😉

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  2. Thank you, Cora! I'm starting to suspect we're long-lost soul sisters. 😉 I sometimes wonder if maybe I'll eventually tire of the stomping my foot part with the whole Pagan term, but so far I haven't. My declaration has always been "Not all Pagans are Wiccans, darn it!" Haha.And yup! Comfort in your own skin is the most important thing. I'm all for everyone doing what feels right to them. 🙂

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  3. That attitude makes me want to barf. One of the biggest draws of Paganism for me was that I can do whatever the hell I want. I believe that all gods are simply different aspects of one being (just as I believe WE are different aspects of one being, and that we are all connected) so I guess that makes me monotheist in their eyes as well. My path cannot really be defined because it is ever evolving, just as I am. I could go on all day about what I believe but I'll just say this: some people are idiots, even Pagans. Which is a bit disappointing to me.

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  4. I thought you wrote this very well. I haven't gotten into the pagan label debate because i think it's really pointless. We won't be able to agree on anything. And as one eclectic to another, we are far from weak. Our eclecticism actually requires us to be stronger because we don't have everything in a pretty box, we have to make the pretty box and put everything into it.

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  5. Jessica, I think you and I have basically the same viewpoint on this. All of it. Even the disappointed part. It never fails to disappoint me when as a group we can't treat each other the way we want to be treated. How can we expect to stand up as a group when there's so much snarking and stabbing?PaganMom, that's sort of how I feel about it, too. No one will agree. That okay. I guess if people want to discuss they can, but I'm tired of it already. And yes! That is the best metaphor for being an eclectic I've heard!

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  6. I think people that insist on labeling themselves and others are assholes and I won't waste my breath on arguing with them. They can sit in their angry little corner with their frowny face and kiss my fat ass.

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  7. Well put, Dark Mother! That's the philosophy I typically take, but I sometimes have to open up the steam vents and have a good old-fashioned bitch about it. 😉

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  8. I'm a Christian, but I have never thumped a Bible over anyone's head. I'm made of sin. I pray God has mercy on me when I meet Him. I don't go to church cos that's where most problems in Christianity start. I incorporate aspects of Buddhism and Hinduism into my spiritual practices. They center me. So what am I? A Hindubuistian? Nope. I'm Mindy. Thanks for listening.

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  9. That's one of the many reasons I love you, Mindy. And my mother calls herself a Methodist Buddhist; we have a hard time convincing my family that Buddhism isn't a religion but a path. It really is about finding what works for you, because I think above all else finding any sort of spiritual practice is what matters.

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  10. Meganne – Hello!I have just found your blog and already appreciate most of your points of view.On this one, I stand with your defense of the Eclectic. I searched for 40 years to find my place/path and I gathered bits from everywhere I went. One of the reasons I have found my settlement in Solitary Eclecticism (is that a word?) is that I ham sick to death of being told by ANYONE what to believe. That includes everyone: Popes, Synods, Pastors, Brothers and Sisters, Rabbis, and High Priestesses.While you and I are not identical in our PERSONAL beliefs, I thank you for your eloquence in championing your and my right to believe what we choose.*Eliora

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