This is a lot of talk about what makes one a “real” pagan, and then there’s diluting bullshit like “Project Pagan Enough” wherein anyone and everyone can pat themselves on the back and become a pagan without actually doing things that pagans do, cos bygummit, you decided to become a pagan, and that’s enough! ^_^;
The thing about reclaiming slurs for sociopolitical purposes, like the word “pagan”, is that if the meaning becomes too watered-down, the movement itself becomes utterly meaningless, and as far as I’m concerned, “Project Pagan Enough” is to the inherent realness of the pagan community as homeopathic dilutions are to alternative medicine. In a nutshell, homeopathic dilutions defy all logic of how healing substances work; the idea is to take a substance that is believed to have healing potential, and dilute it, then take that solution and dilute it, the take that solution and dilute it, and then take THAT solution and dilute it, and so on until it’s watered-down enough to achieve “maximum potency”. At this point, you basically have the contents of a bottle of spring water (as there are trace elements of just about everything in water procured from a natural source), except it’s sold at what amounts to hundreds of times the price (I’ve seen prices at anywhere between $3 to $10 for a tiny vial of only one or two millilitres) cos if you fall for it, you get the placebo effect, and after that’s run its course, either your virus has run its course, or you get suckered into buying more for your chronic condition, cos you’re a moron with more dollars than sense. And that’s the kind of playgan attitude fostered by shit like “project pagan enough” and similar stupid blog banner projects. You’ve substituted a feel-good happy-graphic for realness.
Now, let’s fair, I think Project Pagan Enough began with good intentions —but you know what roads get paved with good intentions, right? And those good intentions are that we shouldn’t chastise each-other for doing things differently, it’s completely possible for, say, recons and eclectics to share nominally “pagan” space and both have full rights to that space, and so on. Unfortunately, as the Tumblrsphere has taught us, this opens up a slippery-slope to all fluffandnonsense that wants the attention and shock-value that the term “pagan” brings, but without any of the actions and deeds that actually fosters realness behind that label.
And that’s the thing about realness: You can take away the label, or at least change it dramatically, and you’ll still know what you are because you do the things that make you what you are. You’ll have that foundation of real ritual actions, real duties to the gods and spirits and ancestors and the megaorganism that is the planet, and real beliefs in something not only bigger than yourself, but very, sometimes painfully real. The label, while important for communication, is not all that you have to connect yourself to something more than a word. Realness appreciates efficient terminology, but the words don’t make you real.
It’s the kids who don’t do rituals, who don’t believe in deities or spirits, who don’t even give two tugs of a dead dog’s dong about recycling and composting their rubbish that need a convenient word to feel real, and make them believe that they’re connected to something, not fully cognisant of the fact that when the word goes away, so do their playdates and message boards because it’s nothing more than the desire to call oneself by that word that makes them feel a part of the community.