Tuesday, June 7, 2011

To "Pagan" or Not to "Pagan": That is the Question

January 9, 2012
16 Khiyyaru, Shanatu 84
Malatu (Full Moon)

Please note that I've taken down what was once this post: I am dissatisfied with its (lack of) organization. I may eventually put it back up if I can edit the mess into coherency. If you would like to read a better article about my views on considering oneself "Pagan" or not, please see: http://www.tessdawson.blogspot.com/2011/06/two-winding-rivers-changing-face-of.html Two Winding Rivers: the Changing Face of the Pagan Movement.


  1. Mmm, I've struggled with this one for a long time. I will sometimes use and accept the pagan label, but I'm much more comfortable with the term "polytheist" for many of the reasons you outlined. I don't like using vague terms when a readily available, clear-cut word is there for the taking. I don't like having to explain that no, what I do isn't the same as Wicca. I don't like to associate myself with the more bizarre and flakey aspects of modern paganism.

    And to answer your questions:

    - Yes, I definitely feel awkward and out of place at public pagan events.
    - I accept the label of pagan, but it's not my favorite. I prefer polytheist.
    - I'm think that it's up to individual Qadishuma to decide whether they are pagan or not. The movement? It's so diverse with people coming from different backgrounds and having different interpretations...I don't know. I hate speaking for others so I'll reserve judgement on that.

  2. Doofus that I am I accidentally removed my own comment. What I meant to add is that I recall hearing that the Pagan movement is considered by and large associated with the New Age movement in academic circles. That is an association that does not fit what many Qadishuma, including myself, do.

    I also ran across an interesting comment in a book I was looking through:
    “Although there are overriding similarities among Neo-Pagans, there are also distinctions and differences within the religion.” p. xvi of the preface from Voices from the Pagan Census by Helen A. Berger, Evan A. Leach, and Leigh S. Shaffer, 2003.

    Note “religion” singular, not “religions” plural. What a Qadish does isn't the same as what a Wiccan does. They are not the same religion, and they are not different denominations of the same religion. To see this comment in an academic study of Paganism is disheartening to me and shows me the proverbial "writing on the wall."

  3. My fellow Kemetics are going through the same thing. I think at the very least, the various recon-oriented religions should keep in touch and work on mutual problems. The meaning of "priesthood" being one of the issues, because anyone can declare themselves a priest or priestess just because they feel like it.

    Would forming some sort of umbrella organization of recon faiths be a good way to go? It might be worth discussing, at least.

    Moon God? Same here. We've got Khonsu, Djehuty, and I don't know how many others.

    It's a delight to have found your blog. I've only seen the occasional reference to Canaanite religion on Neos Alexandria.

  4. I agree, Seshathotep, though it is very difficult to gather many in one place for such a discussion. Yes, the issue of priesthood is a deep one indeed for it involves layers: what is thought of as a priest today differs from what it was to our respective religious cultures in antiquity, and differs a great deal from the New Age concept(s) of the word today. I'm glad you found my blog and I hope you'll continue reading. There are many more links out there regarding Canaanite religion: look to the links in the right panel of this blog.