Briefly: Pesky Practices

Over on Sermons from the Mound, Yvonne has a post about how drawing enemy lines is kinda silly (well, a lot silly). There is a good point about how we usually get other religions’ details and theologies wrong, even more so when we define ourselves opposite it, and I feel it’s a good place to note that you can seriously use anything from any religion to make any point you want to. (Fanfic authors have been doing this since forever.) So the article is good.

It did remind me why I’m not a Pagan, though – the definition of Paganism as ‘life-affirming, world-affirming, sex-positive, non-hierarchical, and inclusive’ is fine, but it’s not really what I do (especially the non-hierarchical part – I love me some hierarchy). Again, fine, but that’s part of why I don’t call myself a Pagan; I don’t fit the definition. Strange cranky polytheist? That I most certainly am.

Speaking of cranky (and another topic entirely), across some parts of the blogosphere is the usual round of ‘writing doesn’t even matter’ or ‘writing isn’t a legitimate spiritual practice, you need to be doing something’. While I agree that we need to live our religions and spiritualities, I’m unclear as to when writing became a non-action. (I’m rather sure my hands are moving, but I suppose saying that is a bit too cranky, even for me.)

There’s this really weird love-hate relationship with reading and writing and thinking in our various communities, and it just boggles my mind. I don’t – contrary to what some may believe – sit all day thinking and typing away idly. I, amazingly, have a job; I, amazingly, am trying to go back to school; I, amazingly, pray and do ritual and interact with spirits and gods. But I also write, a lot. It’s something I’m good at, just like I’m good at digesting words when I read.

There’s this interesting phenomenon in the various communities where if you’re online more than someone else, some other spirit workers, you’re not ‘really’ doing the Work. Which, honestly, makes me laugh and then sigh because it’s nonsense. Someone uses the internet differently than you, horror of horrors. Not only is it ridiculous to begin with, it’s invalidates that whole ‘not everyone does religion the same’ bit that Pagans and polytheists could really learn. Not everyone is dedicated to some intense god-interaction 24/7. Not everyone does it even half the days of the week. Some people are living their religion with their actions and writing and interacting on social media and that doesn’t make them less religious.

I write. It’s a huge part of my religious practice. Just because it isn’t part of yours doesn’t mean it’s not valid.

About Aine

Aine Llewellyn is a 20 year old girl creature currently mucking about in southern Arizona. She enjoys the winters and rain but can’t stand the heat. She is a difficult polytheist that natters on and on about her faith.

  • Yvonne

    Thanks for the shout-out – much appreciated.

    I was trying to avoid getting into the sticky quagmire of defining Paganism, but I see I dipped a toe in it. Actually I think “not very hierarchical” would be a more accurate description, and even then, someone will (a) point out a perfectly valid exception; (b) point out that non-hierarchical is a negative term :)

    I get that Polytheists & Reconstructionists are finding it increasingly uncomfortable under the Pagan umbrella, and to be honest, I think there are some key differences between Polytheists and Pagans, which make it likely that they are two different groups. But I hope we’ll all continue to get along. There are too few of us to have infighting. Sure, we can disagree all we want, but we can’t afford to actively dislike each other. Also, I am a polytheist.

    Also – I’m enjoying your blog very much.

  • Christine Kraemer

    > While I agree that we need to live our religions and spiritualities, I’m unclear as to when writing became a non-action.

    Agreed. I wonder if it’s related to our evolving understanding of *online* writing, specifically — a feeling that online communication, while it’s supposed to connect us to each other, can feel paradoxically distancing. (I tend to think the distancing comes not from the fact of text, but rather because we’re all exposed to such an assault of communication all the time now — we distance ourselves as a defense.)