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Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:21 pm
by scoia
I compeltely agree with you about the practices of ritual. That's how I feel about it and practice it.

My first response was really about people who feel the need to "show off" their beliefs at every conceivable opportunity who happen to utterly bore me.

While I do support the defence of my religion, I don't necessarily feel the urge to go out and hit everyone over the head about, nor do I feel being overly vocal about it helps anyone.

Which is possibly part of my hermit-like attitude to people in the first place, but meh. I've vigorously cultivated my solitude, I'm not giving it up for anything :-D

Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:35 pm
by Crazy Healer Lady
While I do support the defence of my religion, I don't necessarily feel the urge to go out and hit everyone over the head about, nor do I feel being overly vocal about it helps anyone.

Which is possibly part of my hermit-like attitude to people in the first place, but meh. I've vigorously cultivated my solitude, I'm not giving it up for anything :-D
Excellent

Hermitude is to be coveted. =D> and preferably forced on certain Fundies and (to reference another topic) people who wear hipsters.

Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:25 pm
by Paganlight
CHL - totally agreed there!! :-D

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 4:33 pm
by Grumpy
food for thought as usual, oh wise one...

This may be down to semantic niggling, but I've always thought of the word heathen as a Xtian word, as in "not us", whereas pagan strikes me as a more secular descriptor. Calling myself heathen seems like describing myself from their viewpoint. Maybe that just depends on your own personal context. Perhaps Europeans use the two words more interchangably? Are the Norse Heathens (as the given example) more common over the pond? I don't get out much, but I've never met any non-Xtians of any faiths who call themselves "Heathens" here in NE U.S. Maybe its just my upbringing or something. I have connotations of missionaries "helping" the poor jungle pygmy heathens who don't know any better, where "Heathen" = "Savage". Too many of those old B&W Tarzan movies as a child?! Is this like the thing where gay people can call each other "fa*got" but straight people can't? Or black people using the N word to each other but non-blacks can't? I dunno, heathen just has those leftover Xtian connotations for me. Somebody look up where the two words came from, eh? Ragnar? Which one is not derived from judeo-Xtian vocabulary? That's what I wanna be called.

Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 1:35 am
by Ragnar
Grumpy wrote: This may be down to semantic niggling, but I've always thought of the word heathen as a Xtian word, as in "not us", whereas pagan strikes me as a more secular descriptor.
We see it as the other way around, and considering the church spoke Latin, and "Pagan" is Romano/Latin, then...(See lower down).
Grumpy wrote:Are the Norse Heathens (as the given example) more common over the pond? I don't get out much, but I've never met any non-Xtians of any faiths who call themselves "Heathens" here in NE U.S.
There are twenty four web sites in Germany/Austrian/Switzerland, all of them "Norse Heathen", or "Germanisches Heidentum", the German name for us. Holland has fifteen to twenty by it's self all "Germanisches Heidentum", Britain has ONE. All of them have actual meetings. So thats 50 seperate groups that are active in 5 countrys. An average of 30 active members per group.

THEN there are around 200 groups who are "non internet" groups. Ie, do not have a web site. But are equally as active. With the same average numbers.

THEN there is Sweden/Norway/Denmark, with officialy registered as religious groups (You can do that in Scandinavia), numbering around 400. (Finland is part of this group, but does not have an "official register".

THEN, there is Iceland with one group of 600 active members!!

EVERY one of these people would defend to the death the name "Heathen", and would like wise fight to the death, any one labeling them as "Pagan.

Now we have the Keltic groups. More in U.K, France, Belgium etc. They are about 70% "Heathen", 30% "Pagan".

How do I know this? "Woddenserben, Forum des Germanischen Heidentums" ran a survey of all groups it could find, this was ONE of about 50 different questions. These mentioned above are the ones that answered. There are also people who are members of no group, but describe themselves as the same. It seems to be the "racial name of choice".

Also note, that this more or less fully equates with the furthest line of the Roman advance accross Europe, which went home in body bags, defeated by the Germanen and Scots around 500C.E.

So HEATHEN for us has allways been a symbol of resistance against Rome.
Grumpy wrote:Which one is not derived from judeo-Xtian vocabulary? That's what I wanna be called.
Both. Heathen comes from Old, and modern German/old Norse/old Saxon/AngloSaxon. "Heide" (heath), "Heidenisch" (of the heath), "Heidnen" (heath dwellers.) I.E "Country dwellers, Forest etc etc. Out side of the town or city walls.

Pagan is Latin for virtualy the same ideas. But because of geography, "Pagan" is more likely to be the christian one. Remember the official language of the church of Rome was allways and STILL is Latin.

As "christianisation" started in citys, then those that were called Heathen/Pagan, as a description of where/how they lived, by the native inhabitants, and even a description of themselves, would be the last ones to be "christianised" after the church had completed it's evil work in the city. So they would become synomonous, to the church, with "non christian" and all that went into "converting the Heathen". I.e "Heathen became a label to seperate christians and non christians. In effect the church tried to make it into a religion. What they failed to apprieciate is, that it never WAS "one religion". That, to some degree has enabled us to survive.

The church attacked our geography and mistook it for religion.

To us, to be called "Pagan" makes us grit our teeth. It is like I imagine Africans feel when some one shouts "Hey you, the coloured gentelman". It is, in our opinion, the christians trying to be all "P.C", and "Oh, arn't we jolly modern?", about it, whilst spitting behind your back, and building piles of wood around poles.

Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 3:16 pm
by Rain ForestMoon
Just a quick one on the Heathen/Pagan thing.

I believe that both words are pre-christian in their origin.

Heathen, as per what Ragnar said.

Pagan. The term was used by the Romans to describe people who had not yet come around to adopt the pre-christian Roman State Religion (the Roman Pantheon). For the Romans the Pagans were country-dwellers (which is what "pagan" literally means) who were so "backward" that they were animists and honoured ancient local Gods.

Obviously, with the Roman State Religion later changed to christianity (and latin also being the official language of the western christian church) the meaning of the term Pagan then changed to meaning anyone who was not christian.


Just as an interesting aside, as far as I know, English is the only Language where both the terms Pagan and Heathen is known. Other than that, all the germanic languages only know Heathen and the romanic languages only know Pagan. This anomality may have something to do with the Norman conquest of England. (In the same way as Pig becomes Pork once it's on the dinner plate.)

If we translate the meaning of the German word "Heide" to English, the correct translation is "Pagan". To me, "Heathen" used in the English language means "a particular type of Pagan" and more exactly a "Northern European type of Pagan" (be that Scandinavian, or Celtic or Germanic).


So, where does all that leave me?
Well, in English I refer to myself as a Pagan, in German I refer to myself as a "Heide".
Although, it could be argued that I am neither.
I have animistic beliefs and other nature-based beliefs, but I do not adhere to any of the "recognised" Paths.

In the end, I think one should refer to groups of people (be than religions, races, sexes, minorities) in they way that thay wish to be referred to. Because often the label we insist on sticking on then has its origins in an insult to them.


Blessings

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 12:37 am
by Ragnar
Rain ForestMoon wrote: I believe that both words are pre-christian in their origin.
For the Romans the Pagans were country-dwellers (which is what "pagan" literally means) who were so "backward" that they were animists and honoured ancient local Gods.
As I said
Rain ForestMoon wrote:Obviously, with the Roman State Religion later changed to christianity (and latin also being the official language of the western christian church) the meaning of the term Pagan then changed to meaning anyone who was not christian.
As I said
Rain ForestMoon wrote: This anomality may have something to do with the Norman conquest of England.
The term "Pagan" went to Britain with the Romans. It was allready in use 566years before the Normans got there. As evidence of proof, in the parts of todays Germany, that was invaded by the Romans, ie Bayern, Austria, W├╝rtenburg, Hessen etc, they also have the word "Paganisch". "Heiden" is considered North German, ie the part that was NOT invaded by the Romans. But both are used. North Germans ONLY use "Heiden".

The same pattern for the willingness to allow themselves to be descibed as Pagan, is the same in U.K. The further North you go, where historicaly Roman influence became weaker, the less likely it is to hear people call themselves the LATIN "Pagan". Untill at the Antonine wall, it disapears totaly. Except among Southern immigrants. Ie, from London, or somewhere.
Rain ForestMoon wrote:If we translate the meaning of the German word "Heide" to English, the correct translation is "Pagan".
There is no translation of "Heide" into English. English is a Germanic language, the word "Heide", or "Heidhe", is / was as much a part of English as of "German" in "HEATH". In parts of Yorkshire and Scotland, even today, called "Heid" (Old English/Saxon "Heidhe"). You do not "translate" words that are allready used by you.

Why would they translate a word that was allready well known to them into a foriegn language, ie "Pagan" = Latin?
Rain ForestMoon wrote:Well, in English I refer to myself as a Pagan,
IT IS NOT ENGLISH. IT IS LATIN.
Rain ForestMoon wrote:In the end, I think one should refer to groups of people (be than religions, races, sexes, minorities) in they way that thay wish to be referred to.
Except, as has been shown here, even in the face of syntactic evidence, some groups can not make their minds up WHAT they are.
Rain ForestMoon wrote: Because often the label we insist on sticking on then has its origins in an insult to them.
Not in the case of Heathen. As Has been shown, this was our own name for ourselves. It was the christians, mistaking it for a way of the German tribes differetiaiting religion rather than demographics, that lead to it being thought of, by THEM, NOT us, as an insult.

It is a name we carry with pride.

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:54 am
by Rain ForestMoon
Firstly let me say that I did not seek to disagree with you, Ragnar, but that I am in broad agreement with you on this matter.
Ragnar wrote:
Rain ForestMoon wrote: The term "Pagan" went to Britain with the Romans. It was allready in use 566years before the Normans got there. As evidence of proof, in the parts of todays Germany, that was invaded by the Romans, ie Bayern, Austria, W├╝rtenburg, Hessen etc, they also have the word "Paganisch". "Heiden" is considered North German, ie the part that was NOT invaded by the Romans. But both are used. North Germans ONLY use "Heiden".
This is interesting. I grew up in (german-speaking) Switzerland (well, we speak some sort of a German, anyway) and the word "paganisch" I never encountered. I do remeber christian missionaries who had gone to Africa or India talk about converting "Heidenkinder" (or, as it would be said in Swiss-German: HeideChindli) to christianity. Switzerland is further to the south than most of the German provinces you mention, and it was completely under Roman rule 2000 years ago.

Ragnar wrote: Not in the case of Heathen. As Has been shown, this was our own name for ourselves. It was the christians, mistaking it for a way of the German tribes differetiaiting religion rather than demographics, that lead to it being thought of, by THEM, NOT us, as an insult.

It is a name we carry with pride.

I do think you mis-understood me there. The meaning I meant was that it would be an insult to call someone who wants to be referred to as a Heathen a Pagan.
To call someone a Pagan was (probably) an insult many centuries ago in the Roman Empire, probably akin to calling someone a "Hillybilly", a "Country Hick" or "Retard".


Which leads to a question, of course:

How should a non-northern-european adherent of non-christian/non-jewish/non-muslim/non-hindu/non-etc be referred to?


I, if it comes to that, neither Pagan nor Heathen fits (but for me the [swiss-]german "Heide" would). If we need to be specific, "Animist" is fine with me, even though most people would have no idea what that means.


Blessings

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 4:10 am
by Ragnar
"To call someone a Pagan was (probably) an insult many centuries ago in the Roman Empire, probably akin to calling someone a "Hillybilly", a "Country Hick" or "Retard"."
I think it only became an insult AFTER the "anti's" got hold of it. If you look at Scotland today, you have "Towny's", obvious really, and you have "schemy's" (Those that live in "welfare housing, or "projects" in U.S(?), and you have "Chuchters", which is, as far as I could find, the Gaellic for "Heathen", "Pagan", BEFORE those words came to mean something else. So in the demographic sence, not the religious.

I think the only reason that Scots Heathens, or Pagans, do not call themselves "Chuchters", is because, unlike Germanic, and Latin, Gallic suffered from;

a) A total ban for close on three hundred years, on pain of death. The same with the tartan cloth, that was a badge of the country dweller.

b) It became, even before the ban, a very "insular" language. Spoken only by communitys which, by then, were heavily christianised any way. So the difference of a towny being christian, and a "Chuchter" being not, did not exist.

c) "Chuchter" as a well known word only came about with the "Celtic revival", since Queen Victoria.

d) "Chuchter", has been re instated into the language as an automatic insult. Similar to your examples of "country hick", and "retard".

So, it is the fact that their actualy WAS a religious difference within the Germanic and Latin community's, between "Heath dweller", and "town dweller", that has preserved these words till now. The Scots never had that, WITHIN THE LANGUAGE. They obviously did "Physicaly".
"Which leads to a question, of course:
How should a non-northern-european adherent of non-christian/non-jewish/non-muslim/non-hindu/non-etc be referred to?"
The word "Heathen" is, today, used by the three monothiestic religions, and ethnologists, to refer to ANY one that is not monothiestic. So Hindus, us, Shinto, Budhists etc etc, fall under the "Heathen" umberella. They are also "anamistic", in that they (we), believe THINGS have spirits. Ask my Teddy bear.:roll:

What you call yourself WITHIN that group, is what we are discussing.

As to Swiss German. Switzerland, as a country, is a relative new comer, so MAY suffer from the same as the Scots. In that thier lannguages, or dialects thereof, have developed during the christian period. So it is difficult to tell.

Wow man. THATS heavy before my first joint. :-D

Enjoyable though. I think it is DETAILS that we are discussing. I feel that we do both actualy follow the same basic points as each other.

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 3:37 pm
by Grumpy
Thanks, Ragnar, I knew you'd come up a cropper on that one! Fascinating. I guess my non-european US mutt-ness precludes any strong feeling on the subject.
It occurs to me (face turning red) that asking if NORSE Heathens were more common over there may be the stupidest question I've ever posted. Heh heh. Oops. I was concentrating more on the "Heathen" bit than the geographical/ethninc bit.
Still, there's a good bit of Norse mythology in use in various groups in the US; Wicca, for example, and it doesn't seem to be a point of controversy. Obviously it comes down to the cultural history. The same way I bristle at being mistaken for a Yankee. (I'm from the deep South, originally) I agree with whoever said we should call each other whatever we prefer to be called, and give each other the benefit of the doubt if someone goofs. I know I've always used the two terms more or less interchangeably. :-x

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 2:23 am
by Ragnar
Grumpy wrote: I know I've always used the two terms more or less interchangeably. :-x
I do my self in inteligent company, like on Pagan Library. But on other message boards, where the enemy can be found, I insist on the correct version. :tongue5:

The same as when talking to any one that I do not know.

I particularly insist that christians get it right. :finga: As I said, I always feel that christians use "Pagan" to patronize.

Like my total idiot "mother" (:gib: ) thought it was nice and friendly to call Africans "darky", because it wasn't as "nasty" as "n+gg+r". Or Enid Blytons famous line in "Five go to Smugglers top", "You shouldn't call him "Sooty", it's not his fault he is black". Which for dear old Enid, passed as an attempt at early school "P.C".

Another thing that has occurred to me; muslims ONLY use "Heathen", "Pagan" is "unknown" to the Arab language group. SO "Pagan" is purely (in it's roots) Romo/christian.

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 9:59 am
by Grumpy
Ragnar--Another thought: have they/you always used those terms in those specific ways? The "darky" comment brought this to mind. My parents are the same generation, they still slip up now and then and use "colored". They aren't really prejudiced people, it was just the word they were raised to use, the same as we would use black or Afro-Amer. today. PC words change over time, ya know? Is this an historically based distinction or something modern, in a modern revival of religio-ethnic pride sort of way?
Just curious, I believe that labels other people apply to you are irrelevant, but the way you label yourself is everything.

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 11:31 am
by Ragnar
Grumpy wrote: Is this an historically based distinction or something modern, in a modern revival of religio-ethnic pride sort of way?
Well, my Granny always said we were "Heathen" as that was the way she had been brought up. THEN what type of Heathen, i.e Norse, Keltic, whatever (Although christians do not differentiate). So I was brought up with the term.

But, as I said earlier on this thread(? I think it was this one), we never had a name for ourselves, because it was something we just DID. Like...Oh I dunno, a word for when people sub-consciously pick thier nose or something.

It was only when the christians came along and said "Right, THATS a religion, and we object", that we really thought about it.

But in the history of the christian church we were/are called "Heathen". I know of no christian text, or anything, that calls us any thing else, (except "Satanist" and "Devil worshippers"). So, I supose it is at least for the last 2000 years "historical".

As to the new kids on the block, your "neo Pagans" etc, I think it HAS become, as you say, a modern revival of religio-ethnic pride sort of thing.

But I do think that some people, particularly your younger ones who are trying to find a nice way to "come out of the closet" to Mummy and Daddy, use the term "Pagan" more as something to try and "soften thier image".

Where as we don't care what people think. "Heres us, don't like it, go back to your Middle Eastern hovel, and we will stop buying your oil, THEN see how you get on". :-D

Which would NOT be the way to tell Mummy AT ALL. I apprieciate that. :lol:

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 5:25 am
by Midori
In Britain we use Heathen to mean followers of The Norse Tradition, also known in the US as Asatruar, but that is just one of many titles that cover a massive number of people.

Many would still put them under Pagan, but that is an ignorant Christian assumption, to class all under one heading.

Ragnar speaks correctly about the words Pagan and Heathen meaning the same thing originally, although current usage has corrupted the meanings.

As a Wiccan and Druid, I have no problem with being called Pagan, but I have Heathen friends with whom I go to Camp who would take umbrage, rightly so, but they are generous to genuine seekers. I enjoy taking part in Heathen ritual.

BB Midori

Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 2:05 pm
by lucas
Which is possibly part of my hermit-like attitude to people in the first place, but meh. I've vigorously cultivated my solitude, I'm not giving it up for anything :-D [/quote]

I've found this discussion to be intimidating for such a new guy. I'm not at all sure what I am, but it sounds like I have the personality for this.