Q: What is paganism? A: Absolutely nothing.

At least if you wander over to Tumblurgh. Oh, fuck, I guess it’s not restricted to that pinheaded site..

It’s kind of been bothering me in recent months how utterly devoid of any real meaning the word “pagan” is.

“‘Pagan’ means ‘person of a non-Abrahamic religion'”, says the dictionary. Oh, but here are Christians and Muslims who want to be pagans, too, and here’s some people appropriating Kabballah, guess we can’t say that any-more. See, I used to think that the wormer was called “folk Christianity / Islam” and the latter was “cultural misappropriation”, but I guess not.

“So I guess ‘pagan’ means ‘some-one practising a religion reconstructing, influenced, inspired by, or syncretic with pre-Christian and pre-Islamic religions.” Oh, but here are Atheists who don’t actually believe in any of that shit, and here you have this guy, who wrote a book, and he says “true pagans do not worship deities”, but they’re attuned to nature, and do these rituals and shit, even though it’s just going through the motions.

“Alright, ‘pagan’ means ‘some-one into nature, and maybe but not necessarily religious and/or ritualistic about it’.” Fuck. OK, scratch the first part, because “pagans”, by the dictionary definition, have loved their cities and been trying to get away from ‘nature’ since ancient times. And there are these guys over here who don’t do rituals at all.

“So…. ‘Pagan’ means you’re socially and / or politically left-leaning, and just want people to get along?” You obviously haven’t met some of the same recons I have.

“So then what is paganism?” Nothing. Nothing at all. It’s an empty word, rendered devoid of any real meaning, except to empty people. It’s root, paganus used to be slang for “country dweller”, and then it became a pejorative word for polytheists, and later that included old women living on the outskirts of town who still practised herbalism, but “witch” was more common in the latter case. In the 19th Century, the word “Neopagan” was coined to sort of give a playful ribbing to Hellenophiles and Platonists, like Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley and similar people, usually associated with them, but some of them were atheists who just dug on the imagery, though there’s evidence sometimes even the atheists among them would dig on communing with nature, or at least what passed for “nature” in the English countryside; later that century, the term was reclaimed by the whole “back to nature” fad, but a lot of them were actually Christians. In the Midtwentieth, “pagan” was readopted by people into the Wicca thing and other similar movements, polytheistic reconstructionists, and similar, but those who were actually religious preferred their own terms.

“But what about the pagan community?” Hell if I know…. Most of them, in my experiences, really don’t get along with each-other on even the most basic levels, but still put up with each-other because we’re all simply “not of an Abrahamic religion”, except the handful of us who are. Sometimes I think we’re vaguely united by social and political interests, and then some Fucko into Nazi Mysticiam, or Robin Artisson, has to take out his dirty clown cock, and shatter that illusion I’ve put up for myself. I’ve met an appalling number of Libertarians, some of whom desperately cling to the Republican label in spite of all the Dominionists ruining that train, in the reconstructionist movements, but then it’s not like I’ve ever been a “pure Marxist”, more of a liberal Socialist, so I’m really not surprised.

“There’s nothing that unites you guys?” Not that I can see.

“So why do you still cling to the label?” To be perfectly honest, I’ve been less and less attached to it, lately. I read certain bloggers who self-identify as “pagan” because their writing interests me, but I don’t read all “pagan blogs” I know about, because some of them annoy me, and either way, I don’t always share much of anything in common with those bloggers. On the occasions, maybe since March, at least, that I’ve self-applied the term “pagan”, it’s just been out of habit, and an empty one, at that, since I realise the term is completely devoid of any real meaning at this point.

“Why do you think others do it?” Probably the same kind of habit for some. For others, I imagine it’s cos they’re just empty people who need something, anything to identify with, and the pagan community is kind of notorious for accepting and tolerating damned near any bullshit from anybody, even if it’s supposedly against their own ideals and “ethics”, they’ll tolerate that bullshit because they’re all so empty-headed that they think “follow your bliss an’ harm none” means that as long as people aren’t being physically violent, certain concepts like dignity and integrity shouldn’t matter, because Johnny Rahowa is just “following his bliss an’ harming none” and we should be tolerant cos it’s just his belief, but if I “follow my bliss an’ harm none” by leaving the same room that shit’s allowed to be spewed in, and go home and do my own fucking rituals, I’m being intolerant and should be prayed for —don’t even get me started on saying things like “paganism should mean something.”

“Sounds frustrating.” Oh, you have NO idea.

While I’m at it, did you remember that I’m raising money for a circle punch so that I can make badges, again? This is actually becomming a significant second income for me, but if I can’t make more badges, after my current stock that I used to take to weekenders runs out, I’m not going to have that income any-more. I also give some good reasons here why this will actually benefit people who read this blog.


13 thoughts on “Q: What is paganism? A: Absolutely nothing.

    • Yes and no. ONE other person donated direct. Whatever, it’s not like anything I do, no matter how big or how little or how much joy it gives me and contributes to my quality of life… None of it matters. My work doesn’t matter. My joy in life doesn’t matter. I don’t matter. Other people matter more than I do, always have and always will. There are hobos in Ann Arbor who are more valuable than I am, more valuable than I ever will be. This isn’t just me feeling sorry for myself, it’s true.


    • One other person donated direct, so it doesn’t show on the campaign page. It’s not like it matters. Nothing I do matters. All I’m needed for in life is watching telly and feeding cats. There are hobos in Ann Arbor that matter more than i do. Everybody tells me I have great ideas, but nobody wants to help me make them real; all my ideas need other people, cos they’re just too much for me to do on my own. So either everybody else sucks, or I don’t matter, so they’re humouring me –the latter certain is more probable.

      Nothing I do matters. My extra income doesn’t matter. My art I want to share with the world doesn’t matter. Any joy I try to seek out in this world doesn’t matter. I don’t matter.


      • I think this post is some of the best commentary on the controversy du jour I’ve yet seen. (And will be giving it pride of place in the next wrap-up. And I think you’re nifty. If I wasn’t just barely scraping by myself, I’d certainly donate to your cause as it’s a worthy one. But don’t take it to heart: what you do matters, even if no one else notices or cares. Hell, I’ve sold a whole 2 — count them, 2! — copies of Strange Spirits and yet I think it’s my best book after Ecstatic. So what do people know? Fuck them.


            • Yeah, I’d read the original post from that first guy on The Wild Hunt that apparently started all this and just ignored the comments the first time around. When I read it again yesterday (or Wednesday? hrmmm…), I read the comments and you know what? That arse-hole is being really disingenuous, claiming innocence in response to everybody who called him out on setting up his (presumably secular) humanist paganism as some intellectual monolith amongst the pagan community that possesses everything all the rest of the pagan community somehow lacks. If that really wasn’t what he’d intended to say, he wouldn’t sit there with circular logic trying to claim he never said that. He very well did set up science, intellectualism, art, music, architecture as fields somehow exclusive to a human-centred philosophy / spiriuality, and trying to claim the fucking Acropolis, a fucking TEMPLE, as some kind of triumph of “humanism” is pure fucking narcissism.

              It’s shit like this that drives me to trusting atheists about as much as I trust Christians.


  1. I’m planning on donating after I get paid, but that won’t be until at least the end of next week. My bank is currently being a huge special snowflake with direct deposit from my job failing to work, like, at all. And my bank is in NY and I’m in CT. I really need to figure out which of the regional CT banks I can stomach. ~_~

    Also: I’m writing a bit of a response to the other things, but it pulls from other things and is ridiculously long, so it’s going on my blog.


    • That’s fine, if you need to get financial stuff sorted out, or if you honestly can’t spare anything, that’s fine, I understand —I’ve been there. On the other hand, don’t tell me that you intend to donate and then never do it. 😉


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  3. Pingback: [PBP2013] Realness | Of Thespiae

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