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Moonsmith

Would You Be A Pagan......

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Moonsmith

Would you be a Pagan if it weren't counter-cultural?

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Badger Bob

Probably moreso, I'm not really much of a rebel. If there were no paganism I would probably be a Mason.

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Amber Rosemoon

I often wish I was more 'normal' so that I would fit in a bit better and not spend so much time worrying about stuff. But I can't help what I believe and the way I feel, so on the fringes I stay! ;)

Edited by Amber Rosemoon

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ShadowWalker

Yes I would, definitely not a Pagan because it's not 'mainstream' or whatever. :) I agree with badger bob, if it wasn't counter cultural I would probably be more of one.

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Ellinas

Problem is - counter which culture?

 

I'm not sure that - at least U.K. - culture is monolithic.

 

Amongst pagans, I would presume paganism is pretty mainstream.

 

I also suspect that, amongst many of the proverbial men in the street, it's not so much counter cultural as irrelevant - at least in the sense that one's spiritual outlook is personal and O.K. as long as you don't seek to stuff it down the throats of others.

 

However, amongst my Christian contacts I am - or would be if they knew of my views - rebellious to the point that "counter culture" would be utterly inadequate as a description of where I stand.

 

Now, it's true I seem to have spent a good deal of my life swimming against the tide. I was once a Christian, or at least a particular type of Christian, despite my family. I am now pagan in complete opposition to the views of my wife and of those with whom I've associated these last three decades (and for the last decade and a half only really associated through and because of her). Sometimes I think there is something in my destiny for this incarnation that says I will be in this position. But that's not the same thing as saying that I am a pagan because of a counter-cultural pull. In truth, looking back, I was always pagan orientated without realizing it and my "fundie phase" was something of a blip that probably had more to do with fitting in with those around me at the time than with rebelling.

 

I am what I am, like Popeye. And I've no particular concern about what others think I should be (save insofar as it affects my immediate family). Therefore, what is or is not counter cultural is of no relevance to me.

 

Unless I'm deluding myself, of course...

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Moonhunter

Yes.

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Moonsmith

Yes.

 

On reflection there aren't going to be a lot of replies saying - "No, I'm only here to stick it to the man!"

 

On the other hand I suspect that if the head of state, judiciary, political system, primary ethics and principal religions of the UK [somehow!] reflected Paganism, then some on this site would have adopted something else.

 

I am basing this conjecture on the speed with which many Pagans distance themselves from any attempt to define Paganism. Some leave skid marks!

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Moonhunter

I am basing this conjecture on the speed with which many Pagans distance themselves from any attempt to define Paganism. Some leave skid marks!

 

I am one of those. Mainly because many begin with "nature worship" and head due south from there. :P But I fought within the PF for years against the definitions that organisations imposed on anyone who wished to be a member.

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Badger Bob
On the other hand I suspect that if the head of state, judiciary, political system, primary ethics and principal religions of the UK [somehow!] reflected Paganism, then some on this site would have adopted something else.

 

I am basing this conjecture on the speed with which many Pagans distance themselves from any attempt to define Paganism. Some leave skid marks!

 

But the head of state etc. don't have anything in common with the majority of the people. My local C of E church has amalgamated with three others due to plummeting attendance, when I toddled along this morning (to help a friend on the snowy pavements) I increased the congregation to eight. The other four thousand-odd people in the parishes presumably make up the counter-culture but it feels odd to call the vast majority counter-cultural.

 

As for defining Paganism, I think that shows a more live-and-let-live attitude that harks back to the enlightenment than anything particularly counter-cultural. My experience of the counter culture is of groups who often have very rigid criteria for membership, usually to the point of splintering into micro-committees of mutual loathing.

 

Oh, hang on a minute...

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Veggie dancer

Yep. Id be as I am whatever.. but if 'pagan' was mainstream would that be wicca or hellenism or heathenry or druidry or atheistic or what?.. I dont feel very mainstream even among other pagans..

I think I would love it though if my version of paganism was the mainstream.. :) ah the world would be a lovely green and peaceful place.. As long as there wernt too many counter-cultural types :) ha ha!

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Nomis

Yep, i'm a pagan and a mason :ph34r: hehe

Edited by Nomis

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JohnMacintyre

Dear Moonsmith,

 

Would you be a Pagan if it weren't counter-cultural?

 

Yes. And despite the best efforts of the press, I don't regard modern Paganism as counter-cultural. I actually regard us as the cultural norm, and the other 99+% of society as a weird, eccentric, fringe of outsiders who will probably never amount to much in the long term. :)

 

There's no doubt we have some rather colourful, and occasionally silly, individuals among us, but most of the Pagans I know, and that's rather a lot, are strikingly normal by any sensible standard.

 

Indeed we are terrifyingly normal to some of those opposed to us. I still remember the visible shock on the faces of certain representatives of what I'll tactfully term the "more established religions" when Scottish PF launched its first civic advocacy campaign back in the mid-90's, and they found themselves facing the first Pagan interfaith dialogue group they'd ever encountered, whose members not only looked like pillars of the establishment but talked like them too. They'd expected to be dismissing a collection of hippies, romantics and occultists. Instead they found themselves stuttering about our being "unacceptable" while completely failing to establish any coherent argument as to why that should be so. I don't actually think we could have shocked them more if we'd walked in in bodypaint with freshly-bleeding goats slung over our shoulders.

 

We're a sub-culture, certainly, but one that's mainstream long ago outgrew the need to define itself as being intrinsically opposed to the wider society it exists within.

 

BB,

 

John Macintyre

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Jasmin

Yes

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Hephaestus

Would you be a Pagan if it weren't counter-cultural?

 

Yes. I became a pagan after a long period of personal inquiry and (mainly historical) research. I've joined the pagan community on the basis of what I've come to believe, rather than with the aim of satisfying some desire to be 'counter-cultural'.

 

But I think Badger Bob highlights something important with the decline of Christianity. Whilst Christianity may have been mainstream up until at least the 1950s (perhaps even up till the mid-1970s), since then it's arguably become 'counter-cultural' in itself. Certainly, many people (including establishment figures) still pay lip-service to Christianity, but serious belief is probably only held by a small minority of the population. To a certain extent, British culture is genuinely 'multicultural' I think - after all, enough attempts have been made to ensure that it is precisely this. But if there is a hegemonic culture, it's probably an ill-defined mixture of agnosticism, materialism, individualism and social liberalism. So if 'agnosticism' is mainstream, it could be argued that any form of active belief in a Deity/Deities is radical/'counter-cultural' - whether that belief is expressed through Christianity, Islam or Paganism.

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Freydis

Yes. Being counter-cultural has never been an issue for me.

 

I didn't know what counter-culture was when I first became a pagan anyway. Come to that, I didn't really know what a pagan was and I don't think that I ever thought of myself as being either.

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Hazel

I'm not sure. My problem is that I feel like I am suffocating if I think of myself in terms of a label. Maybe I would be in action, but not sure I would feel the want to use the word.

Edited by Hazel

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Maeve

I echo what Freydis has said save that I was shoe-horned into being an evangelical christian - well, nominally anyway - as a child and until I left home aged 19!

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Ellinas

Yes.

 

On reflection there aren't going to be a lot of replies saying - "No, I'm only here to stick it to the man!"

 

 

Oh, I don't know...

 

Some people can be remarkably contrary...

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Earthdragon

Not sure that I feel counter cultural. There are enough pagans and others that I meet on weekly basis for me to feel that there is a week despread interest in pagan related stuff. That's no doubt because we have a Shop which tends to attract alternative types. If paganism were mainstream it would be more accessible and I would have become fully fledged alot earlier I think! :)

 

ED

Edited by Earthdragon

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NorseNephilim

When I was younger, I was very into counter-culture both in terms of art and belief systems. Strangely, though, that was precisely the time when I was most intentionally avoiding paganism. I think back then I saw it as a different kind of conformism, and so rejected it at that time.

 

Now I have matured a bit and chilled out where the whole non-conformity thing is concerned, I no longer reject things for not being extreme/hardcore enough. That said, I wouldn't really call myself a typical pagan.

 

The only time I use the term pagan to refer to myself is when I think the term 'heathen' wouldn't be understood or I don't feel like having a 30 minute conversation about my beliefs.

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fizzyclare1

Yes, I think so, other faiths haven't really allowed me the space I need to explore largely due to all the doctrine and general structure of organised faith. Paganism positive encourages you to find your own way or path. In the main no one judges you either. There's other little reasons that have kept me here over the years that put simply amounts to a connection

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Perturabo

Yep.

 

I started considering myself to be pagan when I left my "angry atheist" phase behind. Looking back on it, I think being counter-cultural was a big part of that phase, having grown up in C of E schools. Leaving that behind, and coming to paganism, were definitely part of growing out of worrying about other people's expectations.

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Th0rnW1tch

Yes. I also don't feel that paganism is counter cultural, given that there's no one fixed culture dominating the UK, i'm going to say the UK because it's what i have most experience of. You can't say that there's one single culture in the country. There's Scottish culture, English culture, Welsh culture, Irish culture, and that's just breaking it down into the four nationalities, what about Scottish-italian culture? Or gay scottish culture. You can't say that paganism is counter cultural when there are dozens of subculture and micro-cultures spread out across each of the four component nations of the UK alone.

 

Apologies for any typos, i'm a little merry to say the least. Drunk pagan culture for the win!

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Heiðr Freyjasdottir

Not a consideration at all (at least not for the past 6 years). I don't really think about what goes against 'the mainstream' because I don't measure myself up against what other people are doing I just do what feels right in my heart. I'm not trying to fit in or stand out. So in answer to your original question. Yes :)

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Briton

My choice of ancestralism (I am one of those people who DOES define pagan, in two similar ways, and I do not call myself it in front of other pagans) was intuitive. It was neither cultural nor counter cultural. Acultural, you could say even.

 

My previous Orthodox Christianity remains, aesthetically, a part of my practice, with a lot of imagery and incense, but aside from that I left Christianity due to lack of faith and conflict with animistic tendencies which I have held for a long time. There was no atheist in between time. I chose it because that's the one that matched my experiences.

 

If anything, I would like to meet and make some friends who share my nontheistic, animistic system. I am into ancestor and nature veneration but am also interested in shamanism, or hedgeriding which is a more PC term for practitioners in the UK.

 

Friends would not have to share all of the facets but some would be nice. Too many are into New Age syncretism, with crystals and so forth. Good for them for having something but I need some mutual feedback from like-minded people as I'm frankly bored of having no close friends.

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Naga

<p>Good question.

Looking at the Pagan Pride parade it appears that being counter-cultural is very much part of the agenda. It looks like you have various dress options, such as dressing like you've just stepped out of the 16th century to tie-dyed dayglo fractals, but on now account should you turn up looking normal. I don't think that Paganism in the UK is presented as something that wants to be part of anything mainstream, religious or otherwise.

As for me, counter-culture is something that defines me, more so than Paganism, I think. Although you won't get a inkling of that from my external appearance. I've met enough counter-cultural Christians to know that you can still find your niche. So, yes, I think I would, but, I would still be counter-cultural withing a mainstream designation. If that makes any sense at all!

Edited by Naga
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AyeAyeMagpie

Hope you don't mind me reviving this old thread.

I think it is the public face of paganism, as seen at pagan pride events etc that gives the impression of it being a counter cultural movement. I also think it's this impression that perhaps puts some people off from exploring paganism or being open about their beliefs. There's probably a fair number of people who identify as pagan quietly getting on with their lives without embracing the cultural expectations that go along with it. 

I look like a typical dog-walking mum type (think of the cliche Fatface gilet and boots combo and you've got me). That said, at the time when I first started looking into paganism I was into an alternative subculture. I don't know if that influenced me towards paganism...Ok, it must have done because the first book on witchcraft that I bought was from an alternative shop. But it certainly wasn't out of any desire to be rebellious. I'd already 'rebelled' when I rejected my Catholic upbringing in primary school. So I'd been on my own path for at least a decade before I discovered paganism at university. 

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Ellinas

On the other hand, a "conformist pagan" just doesn't sound right.

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wandering_raven
On 1/17/2016 at 7:10 PM, Moonsmith said:

 

On reflection there aren't going to be a lot of replies saying - "No, I'm only here to stick it to the man!"

 

On the other hand I suspect that if the head of state, judiciary, political system, primary ethics and principal religions of the UK [somehow!] reflected Paganism, then some on this site would have adopted something else.

It depends on how much orthodoxy there is in all of that.  Even if it's pagan, if they've got some pagan orthodoxy thing going on, e.g. everyone's got to believe in (say) Thor, Odin et al and believe the exact same things about the gods, Asgard, etc, as they do and if you don't believe right you won't go to Valhalla etc, etc, then it's very likely I'd have adopted something else because I can't just believe stuff on request of anyone, not Jesus, not Muhammad, not any priest or establishment figure, or anyone.  My brain just doesn't work that way.  I believe what I believe and can't pretend to believe something I don't just because other people say I should.  

If there's no orthodoxy and the establishment encourages values commonly considered pagan like respect for nature and the idea that everyone's on their own path doing what works for them, then I'll believe like the establishment and be doing my own path in my own way.  

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