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For Pagans of all paths, and for Pagans of none.

UK Pagan has been an online home and discussion place since being founded in 2001. We pride ourselves on providing a safe space for active debate and conversation, and a place where followers of other religions are welcome providing they show respect and tolerance.

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  • Posts

    • Earthdragon

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      Posted (edited)

      16 hours ago, Stonehugger said:

      Is it the same for ritual though?Does it depend on people being somewhat aligned in their attitudes and beliefs about what's going on there? I don't mean that in a controlling sense, just in a social sense

      My experience with this is that the fundemental grounding and outcome of the shared experience of ritual is in the intentions that are being shared rather than the beliefs which underly the animation of the words and actions into a purposeful event. Intention can be beholden to belief in which case it may not work but this certainly doesn't have to be the case.

       

      16 hours ago, Stonehugger said:

      I've listened a few times and still not heard the word "real" in Sheridan's video ("become a [real] pagan"),

      It's interesting that most of the focus of this thread has been on that word. It is implied for sure but I think that hooking onto one aspect of all of this is a strength in that it doesn't overlook that a seemingly small part of communication can, in fact, contain alot of influence. But also has the weakness that the main thrust and potential value of the rest of what was said might be lost.

      16 hours ago, Stonehugger said:

      The only hypothetical group I could think of excluding from the definition would be people who deliberately pretend to be pagan when they're not

      Hence I might query the usefulness of such a label if it's like a fishing net that is so wide as to catch everything apart from an elephant.

      16 hours ago, Stonehugger said:

      remember often getting distracted into people-watching and making stories about why they were there.

      My wife does this (though not in nightclubs - AKAIK 😆). I have had a bit of practice now and am not quite so terrible at it 😀.

      16 hours ago, Ellinas said:

      At its widest, it [paganism] is spirituality with some basis other than abrahamic monotheism

      My take on this:

      Conversely I can see the relevance of a narrower definition of paganism through examining it's characteristics rather simply discerning a lack of Abrahamic monotheistic content. 

      As I said earlier, different definitions will exist and also as soon as one defines something then one is also defining what is not that thing. The challenge being to relate to that otherness in a mutually beneficial way (which requires reciprocity).

      The resulting clarity will be and seem empowering, until the limitations of the whole process might be realised in which case new definitions are no doubt there to be found...

      Edited by Earthdragon
    • Stonehugger

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      Posted

      10 minutes ago, Ellinas said:

      a term of some use as a label to avoid longer explanations, but highly inexact.

      Yes.

    • Stonehugger

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      Posted

      20 minutes ago, Earthdragon said:

      animated by different and even polar opposite beliefs

      Reminds me of Hotel California - "some dance to remember; some dance to forget". I haven't been to a nightclub for quite a while but I remember often getting distracted into people-watching and making stories about why they were there. The event succeeds with all the very different reasons people have for joining in. Is it the same for a ritual though? Does it depend on people being somewhat aligned in their attitudes and beliefs about what's going on there? I don't mean that in a controlling sense, just in a social sense.

      26 minutes ago, Earthdragon said:

      What , if anything, would you say would exclude the use of the term pagan to describe a person, system or belief?

      That was on my mind too. I've listened a few times and still not heard the word "real" in Sheridan's video ("become a [real] pagan"), but it's certainly implied. I said before that it sounds better than it reads, and I still think that, but my objection to the sentiment was tempered slightly by thinking about where the line (if any) might be drawn and how it could be drawn. The only hypothetical group I could think of excluding from the definition would be people who deliberately pretend to be pagan when they're not, a bit like someone pretending to be a concert pianist but getting caught out on-stage at the Albert Hall.

    • Ellinas

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      Posted

      13 minutes ago, Earthdragon said:

      The bugbear is the "must" I guess

      Correct.

      14 minutes ago, Earthdragon said:

      What , if anything, would you say would exclude the use of the term pagan to describe a person, system or belief?

      Conversely is the anything that you would consider to be necessarily present to permit the use of the term pagan for a person, system or belief?

      I think the question of what defines paganism has been discussed before, though I've not researched past threads in saying that.

      I regard "pagan" as a more of less imprecise umbrella term.  At its widest, it is spirituality with some basis other than abrahamic monotheism.  I would not quibble if Buddhists or Hindus were to describe themselves as pagan, though I doubt they would want to do so.  Having said that about abrahamic monotheists, however, as I've mentioned elsewhere, I am aware of a person who regards himself a Christian witch, and his approach to Christian doctrine seems rather creative.  I've never heard him describe himself as "pagan", but, were he to do so, it would neither surprise nor bother me.

      So, in the end, I see it as just a term of some use as a label to avoid longer explanations, but highly inexact.

    • Earthdragon

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      Posted

      On 9/12/2020 at 10:24 PM, Ellinas said:

      To say (as they did say) that "in order to follow Hellenic spirituality, you must do 'X'" meets, for me, the same objections as saying "you must believe 'X'".

      My take on orthopraxy is that an  accepted cultural norm of participation in certain festivals, rituals and the like can coincide with an acceptance that such participation can be animated by different and even polar opposite beliefs.

      And let's face it, if you have no belief or practice which is the same as a religious group you might still want to party with them after their event/ritual or whatever but you wouldn't be mixing with the crowd when they were engaged with their practice. 

      The bugbear is the "must" I guess...having potential for a variety of practice according to personal input/creativity is better than "must do this or that" for sure.

      On 9/12/2020 at 10:24 PM, Ellinas said:

      My problem with the "true" and the "real" terminology is where it leads.

      I understand your experience as you've described it. There is a huge history of non-pagan useages of such terms. 

      What , if anything, would you say would exclude the use of the term pagan to describe a person, system or belief?

      Conversely is the anything that you would consider to be necessarily present to permit the use of the term pagan for a person, system or belief?

    • Ellinas

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      Posted

      On 9/10/2020 at 8:21 AM, Earthdragon said:
      On 9/9/2020 at 10:32 PM, Ellinas said:

      A question that deserves a considered reply

      For some reason this judgement amuses me. I wonder for balances sakes whether I should aim to make, for example, every other comment or question I direct at someone "deserving of considered reply" rather than a bantered or flippant one 😄

      I suppose it meant that I thought about it a bit longer than usual before replying.

      Never underestimate the power of the flippant, by the way.

       

      On 9/10/2020 at 8:21 AM, Earthdragon said:

      think accepting that we might define things, including spiritual and religious practice, differently to one another does NOT mean that one is excluding the other person or undermining their worth.

      I agree.  But it also militates against the use of exclusionary terminology.

       

      On 9/10/2020 at 8:21 AM, Earthdragon said:

      I think paganism in general isn't as prone to it. It's a major difference between orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

      As to the first sentence - I very much hope that is the case.  Generally, I think you are correct.  But my concern is that, in anything termed "spiritual" there will always be those who sniff at the arse of prejudice.  My problem with the "true" and the "real" terminology is where it leads.  Been there, done that, not prepared to countenance it again.  If that is my prejudice, so be it.  Intolerance of the intolerant is something with which I can live.

      As to the second sentence - I've never really understood that difference.  I first came across this division when investigating Hellenismos.  Looking at a the attitudes I found on an Hellenismos based forum - which I've since failed to find, so I assume it has disappeared during the years between then and now - I quickly came to the conclusion that this was an intellectual conceit.  In the end one's practice should have some basis in one's beliefs, so it follows that the edges must be fuzzy at best.  To say (as they did say) that "in order to follow Hellenic spirituality, you must do 'X'" meets, for me, the same objections as saying "you must believe 'X'".  It defines a specific system as "the one true way", at least in the context of what makes Greek spirituality, despite the fact that the practices of millennia past were not monolithic and are largely irrelevant to modern society.  Had they said "in order to comply with our version of Hellenismos...", I would have had no issue.  The view that was hidden behind the division of orthopraxy and orthodoxy, however, was no different to that of any extreme monotheist.  "We are the real Hellenes - you can't follow that path unless you do so in accordance with our version of it".  Whether characterised in terms of belief or practice strikes me as a distinction without a difference.

      It was a message that I answered (albeit figuratively, as I did not engage on that forum) with a one fingered salute and a loud "sod off".

       

      On 9/10/2020 at 8:21 AM, Earthdragon said:

      On this forum the 'rules for exchange' include an acceptance that we can attack an argument but we remember that this isn't the same as attacking the person'. This is akin to realising that we indeed have different definitions of paganism and that's actually good and proper.

      Indeed, and nothing here is an attack on you, or even on Sheridan.  He might be a very sensible bloke - just careless in his use of what I consider dangerous terms.

       

      On 9/10/2020 at 8:21 AM, Earthdragon said:

      Perhaps Sheridan could have said "that my friends is how I think you can fulfill  my definition of what it means to be a pagan". Bit of a mouthful but that is probably just what he did mean.

      Maybe.  He could have said: "That's my sort of paganism".  Not that much of a mouthful.

    • Stonehugger

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      Posted

      7 hours ago, Moonsmith said:

      there are plenty of Fluffy Pride people here😄

      😂

    • Moonsmith

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      Posted

      Just received this.

      To Walk a Pagan Path.

      Its a bit "fluffy" in places for my taste but there are plenty of Fluffy Pride people here😄

      I've only flicked through it.  It's a bit rural as you might expect.  It makes reference to all sorts of Pagan spiritualities but only along the way.

      As I've said far too many times in the past🙄 -  In a long list of the things that Pagans do not hold in common is:  "A description of the life well lived."

      What I most like about the book is that it describes living rather than praying.

       

      IMG_6608.JPG

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