a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
to occult, mystical, and spiritual subjects.


NeoPagan/NeoPagan War

To: alt.pagan,alt.religion.all-worlds,alt.religion.wicca
From: (William Edward Woody)
Subject: Re: NeoPagan/NeoPagan War
Date: Sat, 13 Jul 1996 13:27:26 -0700 (Lewis Stead) wrote:
> The problem is essentially this. People want a religious community, which
> by definition is made up of people with similar religious ideas. That
> community needs a title. Right now, many stretch the meaning of "pagan" so
> wide, that it no longer provides a sub-set of the world population that
> provides this community. 

But you see, this religious community is trying to define it's borders
by associating a specific meaning to the word 'Pagan' which does not
fit the borders of the community.

And then bitch and moan when others who clearly fit the *techical*
definition, but who this group would rather exclude from their
community. And the complaint is often that those others are somehow
trying to steal the label, and twist the other groups belief system
around so that it no longer fits the technical definition of that label.

My complaint is not the desire to assign a name to the community--names
are an extremely important part of self-definition. My complaint is
when the technical definition doesn't fit, these same people, rather
than simply revising the definition of the label, instead go out and
twist other people's belief systems until they no longer fit the Pagan

One of the things I've learned from this entire flamewar is that it
is the twisting--the redefinition--where the harm comes in, not from
the exclusion from the community.

Also note that in many of my posts I have refered to the 'Pagan
Movement' rather than the 'Pagan Religion.' That's because, like the
'Gay Movement', the Pagan Movement has two things in common: first,
it does not include everyone who is technically 'Pagan' (just as
the Gay Movement doesn't include everyone who is Gay), and the Pagan
Movement has this underlying need to define itself in terms of
the larger society.

I don't think there is a "Pagan" religion--the boundaries of
association who seem to want the 'Pagan' label do not have a clear
commonality of belief that also sets them apart from other folks they
would excluded from the same umbrella. That is, the entire Satanic
movement pretty much gets excluded from the Pagan umbrella by lots
of folks, even though just about every technical definition of
"Pagan" (beyond "Pagan is not Judeo-Christian") includes at least a
few folks from TOS--while these same restrictions of belief that
are designed to exclude Satanists somehow are not applied to
(in tern) the Norse folks, the Ceremonial Magicians (and those
who based their magic on the CM folks), or members of CAW and
other groups who would invoke Judeo-Christian archangels, symbols,
or even Jesus Christ Himself.

That's why I have said elsewhere "Paganism is made up of the folks
we like and not of the folks we don't like"--because as far as I can
tell, ultimately, this is what most people's definitions of Paganism
comes down to.

It's a rather negative way of saying "Paganism is the community I hang
out with, and excludes folks who may technically fit whatever definition
I put on the Pagan label, but who I *don't* want to hang out with."

But please don't get me wrong--I think excluding folks from your
community that you don't like or can't get along with is a *good*
thing. Just be mindful as to what you are doing, and don't go around
slandering other people's religions simply because you don't want
to include them in your circles, and yet are too damned lazy to
revise your definition of "Pagan," or are simply unable to admit to
the world at large that you just don't like them.

And stop claiming to be all encompassing and all open to other people's
religious beliefs, when you're really not.

                                                - Bill

[Note: all comments above are *not* directed at the original poster,
but are my reflections to the world at large.]

William Edward Woody  |  e-mail:
In Phase Consulting   |  WWW:
1545 Ard Eevin Ave    |  Fax:    (818) 502-1467
Glendale, CA 91202    |  ICBM:   N:34.15' W:118.25'

The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
Send comments to the Arcane Archivist:

Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to the site maintainer for the creation and upkeep of this site.

The ARCANE ARCHIVE is a large domain,
organized into a number of sub-directories,
each dealing with a different branch of
religion, mysticism, occultism, or esoteric knowledge.
Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.


There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase


Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races