A “Truce” Which Requires Silence Cannot Produce Peace

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There will never be a clean separation between Pagans and Polytheists. There will always be people who move back and forth between the two communities, like children of a joint custody arrangement. And we will continue to use much of the same vocabulary, albeit using many of the same words to mean different things. We will continue to bump up against each other in online and IRL forums. So silence is not an option. [Read more...]

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We’re All Appropriating Dead Pagan Cultures

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Do those who are attempting to revive a dead culture have the right to claim vicarious victimhood? Culturally all of us are much closer to the perpetrators than to the victims of the cultural crimes that we are claiming to be vicarious victims of. We’re all of us — eclectic Neo-Pagans and polytheistic reconstructionists — in the same boat. And living in a pluralistic society, we have to get used to the idea that others will use our images and our words in ways that are sacred to them, but alien to us.
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The Image on this Header is Holy to Me

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This is where I write about my spirituality. This is where I write about holy things. And this image is holy to me. Now maybe you can’t appreciate the connections I’ve drawn. I don’t expect you to. But I do expect you to respect the fact that the connection exists for me. It is as real and as holy to me as your relationship to your gods is to you. [Read more...]

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“In With the New, Out With the Old”: Generational Conflict Within Paganism

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The next time some Pagan elder is demanding I defer to their judgment about my Paganism, I think I will just turn away, turn to someone younger than me, and ask myself what I have done to help the next generation of Pagans thrive. [Read more...]

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An atheist Pagan, an animist, and a devotional polytheist walk into a ritual …

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We have to accept that we can define words for ourselves, but not for others. And we have to be willing to hold hands and circle with someone who may have a very different interpretation of what is going on. [Read more...]

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Why I don’t trust the gods (at least not if I’m alone with one)

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I think it’s a mistake to assume the gods are benign. The word “worship” derives from the Old English word for “worthy”. I wonder then, why have I rarely seen the question asked whether the Pagan gods are worthy of worship. To put it another way, why should we assume the gods can be trusted? If the gods are paragons of virtue, are they not also paragons of vice? The polytheistic gods, as I understand them, are not necessarily good and they are not omni-benevolent. If the myths are to be believed on any level, the gods are just as flawed as human beings — they just have more power. Why bow down to power, if it is not paired with virtue? One answer perhaps is that the gods should be worshiped because they are — just as nature can be worshiped because it is. Nature is not moral or virtuous, but worship (or reverence) is a natural human response to it. But worshiping something and trusting it are two different things. I don’t ever assume that nature is benign or trustworthy. Why should we assume the gods are trustworthy? [Read more...]

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