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Honoring the Earth, Satanism and Paganism

To: alt.pagan,alt.satanism,alt.religion.all-worlds,alt.religion,talk.religion.newage,talk.religion.misc
From: (William Edward Woody)
Subject: Re: Honoring the Earth, Satanism and Paganism (was Satanist/NeoPagan War)
Date: Mon, 17 Jun 1996 20:46:16 -0700

Cher  wrote:

> ...  The topic of
> discussion was not whether a Satanist "could" call themself a pagan; but
> whether they are pagans or should be considered pagan -- implying no
> choice to reject being considered a pagan.  Sort of gives the impressions
> of trying to set them up with the same standing as Wicca.  Where you can
> be a pagan and not a Wiccan, but you can't be a Wiccan and not a pagan.
> And, I'm not so sure the Satanists would be impressed by this lack of
> choice.

Here's where the logic gets interesting to me. (Really--no sacrcasm.)

First, I can understand and see how someone can consider themselves
Wiccan, but *not* self-identify as neo-Pagan. While it is accepted here
in these newsgroups that the Wiccan movement is a proper subset of the
neo-Pagan community, again, there seems to be a whole boatload of non-
religious stuff which is associated with the neo-Pagan community which
a Wiccan may *not* wish to identify with.

Thus, the lines get fuzzier.

Second, many people who have posted to these threads *have* argued
that Mr. Scratch *cannot* (not "shouldn't" but _cannot_) self-identify
as Pagan. The reason why they argue is that as Satan is a symbol
out of the Christian symbol set, Satanists cannot possibly be Pagan
or neo-Pagan, no matter how much they wish to self-identify themselves
as neo-Pagan.

Now if a Satanist wishes not to self-identify as Pagan, who am I to
argue? Just as if a Wiccan does not wish to self-identify as Pagan,
I will not argue the point.

But the point is, there *are* Satanists (mostly ToS folks from what
I have read here, but what do I know?) who *do* self-identify as
neo-Pagan. And there are a *lot* of Pagans who would rather that
those Satanists bugger off and _stop_ self-identifying themselves
as neo-Pagan, no matter *what* their religious belief system is.

And I think that's awfully close-minded of those folks.

> ... What more does it accomplish to consider yourself pagan?  Is
> there something special about it that I'm missing?  So, if I did not
> call myself pagan then I'd be missing out on something?!  What makes it so
> important to be considered pagan?  Maybe Mr Scratch can answer this one as
> to why he would even want to bother, or why he feels he needs to be
> accepted as being a pagan, or what difference he thinks its going to make?
> Who knows maybe we'll discover something and all want to be considered
> pagan!

Uh, unfortunately Mr. Scratch left for the Great White North and won't
be 'round for a while.

But from what I read, my understanding was that it wasn't so much that
he thought self-identifying as Pagan was any great shakes. What the
original fuss was about was that Mr. Scratch, a self-identified
Satanist and Neo-Pagan, was being sold out (so to speak) to the cops
(and other christian fundies) by CAW (another neo-Pagan group) in
the CAW booklet "Wicca, Satanism and Occult Crime" (or something like

In short, he was extremely offended that one Pagan group would sell
out another Pagan group because the second group (the Satanists
he practices with) was unpopular.

And that started this whole mess as to if Mr. Scratch could even
self-identify as a Pagan in the first place.

The point is that if he could *not* self-identify as Pagan, then
CAW's actions, while arguably not nice, isn't as bad as if Mr.
Scratch *could* self-identify (and be widely recognized by others)
as Pagan.

Of course, this all assumes the booklet in question was as bad as
Mr. Scratch (and others) represented it. Now I haven't seen WSaOC,
so I can't comment, other than Mr. Scratch (and others) represented
this booklet in a pretty negative life.

> I also have a problem that someone would feel it is the only way to obtain
> acceptance by those who already consider themself pagan.  And I don't
> understand the reasoning or need to accept a title which has no meaning to
> others, or should I say is so diversified in meaning that it makes it
> meaningless.  ...

I would agree, except that the neo-Pagan and Pagan labels *do* carry
a lot of weight for many people around the alt.pagan and alt.religion.
wicca newsgroups. The meaning of the phrases varies from individuals
to individuals, however--many going so far as to expressly define
the neo-Pagan movement as a "earth-centric religious practice which
is polytheistic, and contains both a masculine and feminine divine."

(Which is Yet Another Argument that no Satanists can appropriately
self-identify as Pagan: it is claimed by many Pagans that Satanists
are *not* respectful of nature, nor are they polytheistic or
respectful of the feminine divine. Of course these claims seem to
be made mostly by folks whose image of Satanism is _only_ 
"inverted Christiainity"--so their claims are a bit questionable.)

With all these folks claiming that Satanists are not allowed to
self-identify as Pagan, it's a wonder that they don't just set
up a religious council, elect a Pope, and lay down cannonical
texts as to what is *revealed* Pagan gospel...

                                                - Bill

William Edward Woody  |  e-mail:
In Phase Consulting   |  WWW:
337 W. California #4  |  Fax:    (818) 502-1467
Glendale, CA 91203    |  ICBM:   N:34.15' W:118.25'

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