A couple of weeks ago I told you I wasn’t a supporter of politics on shabbat. Yet there’s more in this world then politics – believe it or not.
Let’s talk about words today. Words, that are said to be “mightier then the sword” yet these days one should rather say “the word is mightier then the explosive belt“ but that’d be politics again, wouldn’t it? It’s really tough to stay out of it once you are hooked …
In Paganism we too use a lot of words. And unfortunately those words mean something different to each one of us. That’s the other side of being a religion with so many traditions. “Magic” is something different to everyone of us. To some of us it means doing rituals with their circle or coven and to some of us it’s the most natural thing in the world that surrounds us whether we are aware of it or not. Plus of course there are traditions that are pagan without believing in magic.(And people doing magic without being Pagan). One of my pals once statet that
“Magic is if you open your heart and use it to look at the world.”
It’s one of my favourite deffinitions, actually.
If you happen to be within a tradition – the biggest and best known for sure being Wicca followed by Celtoi (or Celtic Reconstructionism) and Asatru and others – you might (yet doesn’t have to) happen to share vocabulary with at least the members of your group. Else you’ll might have to struggle to be able to communicate with fellow Pagans arround it. “Chaos Magic” for instance, is a word used in a negative context by somes (as in: people who have no idea what they are doing and are just doing something), as a term to describe a set of magical techniques by others and as one to adress a certain tradition or group within paganism by others.
This group happens to be the one I belong to yet I would never call myself a “Chaos Magician” (yet if others want to adress me in that way, as has happened in the past, they might; it the end the term might mean something else to them then to me). The group I belong to, which isn’t actually a group, likely is the second biggest or even biggest one in numbers within Paganism. It’s the group of those who don’t feel like they do fit into any of the common traditions. Some of them because they haven’t found their tradition yet but a considerable part of them – like me – because they have decided to go their own way even though it can be a lonely and tricky one sometimes.
We call our selves “Free Flyers” for we are free to “fly” wherever we feel like or “Solitaires” for being as alone as are the really big, really special diamonds shaped by the forces of the elements. An term I like to use from time to time is the one of “hagazussa”. It is the world the german word of “Hexe” (witch) is derived from and means “fence rider”; the one to walk on the line between the worlds – this “normal” one and the “other”, magical one. Or the one of being Middle European yet feeling connected to that messed up place called “Israel” 😉
And what makes us pagan in the end? Where are the elements that make us one religion when it comes all down to it? I’ve seen people broading over that one for ages. It’s just like “terrorism”: Everybody feels like he knows what it is but ask him to define it and you’ll get a completely different one per person if at all. It’s the same with paganism. Somehow we all know what it means but then everybody knows something different. Pagan Federation International‘s (PFI) definition for example would be:
Paganism is the ancestral religion of the whole of humanity. This ancient religious outlook remains active throughout much of the world today, both in complex civilisations such as Japan and India, and in less complex tribal societies world-wide. It was the outlook of the European religions of classical antiquity – Persia, Egypt, Greece and Rome – as well as of their “barbarian” neighbours on the northern fringes, and its European form is re-emerging into explicit awareness in the modern West as the articulation of urgent contemporary religious priorities.
And now there’s something for you to think about for the rest of this saturday in order to keep you out of thinking politics: What the heck is paganism?
good luck; you’ll need it