What do we call ourselves for the rest of the world?

Discussions of all things pagan and neo-pagan.

If you had to answer, what would you say your religious beliefs were to a stranger?

Pagan
14
58%
I would give the name of my specific tradition, such as Wiccan or Druid
4
17%
Witch
1
4%
Eclectic Solitary Pagan/Witch
1
4%
Other
4
17%
 
Total votes: 24

User avatar
Stormy
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 733
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2004 6:11 pm
Location: Pittsburgh Area, PA
Contact:

What do we call ourselves for the rest of the world?

Post by Stormy » Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:01 pm

I had an interesting and rather odd question from my husband the other week - odd considering he rarely asks me anything these days about me being Pagan.

His question was "What do you call yourself - what are you?"

When I started to answer with a long winded reply that started out "Well, it's hard to put a label on anyone who doesn't follow a specific tradition..." He cut me off and said "NO, I don't want to hear that, I want a one or two word answer - what you would tell someone else who asked and didn't know anything about this - I want the SHORT version."

The final outcome of it was simply "I am a Pagan." He didn't even want to hear "Ecelectic Solitary". I still have no idea what so ever why he wanted or needed to have a concret answer, but that's what we "agreed" was most "agreeable".

Which begs the question - What should we call ourselves when asked by total or near total strangers? There are so many vast and varied specific traditions as well as the many eclectic offshoots, Chaos Mages, etc. etc. But, as my hubby said, a person asked "What is your religious belief" would most likely answer very simply as "Christian" or "Jewish" or "Hindu" etc., why don't we have a single blanket term that we all use all the time, instead of, as he put it, getting into all this "confusing, complex crap that no one understands anyway".
Stormy ~~}~}-:>
Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

User avatar
Lotus
Level 27
Level 27
Posts: 782
Joined: Thu May 06, 2004 9:47 am
Location: Somewhere over the rainbow
Zodiac: Aries
Contact:

Re: What do we call ourselves for the rest of the world?

Post by Lotus » Mon Oct 23, 2006 4:07 pm

Stormy wrote:Iwhy don't we have a single blanket term that we all use all the time, instead of, as he put it, getting into all this "confusing, complex crap that no one understands anyway".
My answer is that "We" try to lump too many groups that have nothing to do with each other into one category. "Pagan" just simply means not christian. Also, too many of us want to distintion between the other paths.
Some people do not view wicca as a valid tradition and do not want to be associated with it. Its just like my last topic about satanism vs wicca.....by definintion of "not christian" the satanists are indeed pagans.
I perfer the term ceremonalist. It does not have the negative conotations that "witch," "heathen," "pagan," or "wiccan" has tied to them.
This is all really a catch 22. If we come out then we have to face discrimination and other ill effects. If we do not come out then we will not get the acceptance.
To people of organized and standard religions *we* are just full of fruity, "confusing, complex crap that no one understands anyway" without validation.
The point is that "WE" do understand it. Its just not outsider friendly.

Of course:
Getting a bunch of "pagans" to agree on something is like herding cats.
BB
Lotus
I have not been the same since that house fell on my sister.

User avatar
Rain ForestMoon
Level 11
Level 11
Posts: 314
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2004 2:13 am
Location: Australia
Contact:

Post by Rain ForestMoon » Mon Oct 23, 2006 4:38 pm

I think that sometimes we try to be far too precise in defining our own beliefs, and then this zeal of precision is carried through to talking to outsiders.

I think it's good to, on this forum for people to identify and sprecify what their particular leanings are, so that we, who are interested and (probably) versed in the subject matter, know whom we are talking with.

But to a person who is probably only mildly interested in these sorts of things, I believe the term Pagan or Heathen is enough. (In some parts of the world Wiccans seem to have quite a bit of exposure, so there a Wiccan could well be justified in saying they are Wiccan). Then, IF the other person is sufficiently interested and asks a question or two, we might decide to elaborate or not.

As an example. If a christian is asked what religion they are, they will say something like: I'm a christian, or, perhaps, if they want to be specific, I'm a Methodist. But if someone tells you first up: "I'm a christian methodist, although as far as predestination is concerned I hold a more calvinistic view, but with the exception that I don't subscribe to the doctrine of OSAS."Your reaction will be "what sort of a nut have we got here....."

So, I deliberately keep it simple, and tell people (if they ask) I'm a Pagan. If they are interested and start asking questions, then I'll tell them more.
RainForestMoon

"Excess of anything is bad, but especially the excess of Moderation"

"AQUILA NON CAPIT MUSCAS'

User avatar
Kitsune
Level 70
Level 70
Posts: 2097
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 12:33 pm
Location: Calgary, Canada
Zodiac: Capricorn
Contact:

Post by Kitsune » Mon Oct 23, 2006 6:38 pm

I simply say that I follow the path of Neo Cullis, a form of Neo-Paganism.

That way, I'm not confusing them too much, and still saying what I prefer to be known as!

:smt039
Trying to create a world, even in words, is good occupational therapy for lunatics who think they're God, and an excellent argument for Polytheism. -S.M. Stirling

http://www.bamatthews.comThe Writings and Musings of B.A. Matthews

User avatar
SageWolf
Level 24
Level 24
Posts: 716
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2006 8:20 pm
Location: Missouri
Contact:

Post by SageWolf » Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:00 pm

The Main reason I say I'm a pagan is because many people (mainly unfortunately Christains) look at me like I all the sudden sprouted 2 heads and so I've learned the Hard way that instead of going into a long drawn out aclaim of who and what I am I just say I am a Pagan, if they show interest or want more details then I'm more then Happy to share. I know it kinda sucks to lump us all in the same catorgory but in the Christian religion there are more then one branch of christianity, and alot of them just say Christian, but it's just the way things are I guess.

SageWolf
To Error is Human, To really foul things up Requires a Computer.

unknown as far as I know

User avatar
katsu
Level 12
Level 12
Posts: 341
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 11:55 am
Location: The Netherlands
Contact:

Post by katsu » Tue Oct 24, 2006 1:11 am

Fortunatly I can just say "Druid". Over here, at least, it's less scary than saying Wiccan or Witch or Pagan.
I just wish my Gf's parents understood that(or was it the fact that the first picture they saw was of me in kilt????? :lol: )
/|\

User avatar
Willow
Level 86
Level 86
Posts: 2550
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2004 9:35 am
Location: Canada
Contact:

Post by Willow » Tue Oct 24, 2006 6:28 am

I have trouble naming myself too, some people get quite offended when I try to mush my Christian beliefs with my pagan beliefs. So In my head I am a Christian pagan, when I am takling to someone who is easily offended i tend to stick with one or the other (unless I am in an offensive mood ;) )

On that note, I was called a nostalgic agnostic post Christian once...that was an interesting description.
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
Dr. Seuss (1904 - 1991)

User avatar
Ragnar
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2820
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2005 12:26 pm
Location: Preußen (Deutschland).
Contact:

Post by Ragnar » Tue Oct 24, 2006 8:05 am

Willow wrote:(unless I am in an offensive mood ;) )
LIKE it. :lol:

Not that I ever am. :roll:

It depends on who you are talking to. with Scandinavians you are dead safe saying Sammi. They ALL know what that is, the same as Americans know what "American native" is.

But I tend towards "Germanic Heathen" or "Germanische Stammesglauben"

Which losly translates as "Germanic tribal belief". It covers a lot more than "Norse Heathen", and covers all North European identiys from Wiking, to Pruzz, Saxon, Friesische, Jutish etc.

User avatar
Windwalker
Level 20
Level 20
Posts: 594
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 11:01 pm
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Contact:

Post by Windwalker » Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:38 pm

I tend to go with "Pagan". I used to go by Wiccan but my beliefs have migrated so far from that now that it's no longer suitable, and Witch isn't really helpful (not to mention causing some trouble). Pagan is a nice word, and vague enough.
si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes

User avatar
forgotten oceans
Level 17
Level 17
Posts: 489
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2005 4:08 am
Location: J'ville, Tx
Contact:

Post by forgotten oceans » Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:47 am

I too tend to go with Pagan, it feels safe. Wiccan sounds too fluffy for me, it's over exposed. You say Wiccan and ppl are all "oh, wow, I might be Wiccan too, there was this one time....." and then I'm stuck in a conversation when I was only trying to be polite. Or even worse, "is that like that movie (insert typical Hollywood)..." and again, another conversation that seems way too familiar. When I was young and gung ho I went with Witch alot, funny how that word spreads so fast and you find other witches in your area alot easier then before. Of course then you also find more fundies then before too. The word witch will do wonders for teaching you tolerence and patience with the feeble minded, it'll also teach you the finer points of fist fighting. Gods bless the south! lol :lol: But now that I'm not looking to pick fights anymore, I go with Pagan.
Maybe now you're starting to understand that while I may have been born predispositioned to be pretty batty, my parents saw to it that it was a certainty and completely unavoidable. -Me

User avatar
MettaPax
Level 5
Level 5
Posts: 133
Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2006 1:30 pm
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Post by MettaPax » Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:02 pm

I say I am a Buddist Pagan. :-D It's pretty funny to see other pagans with that "Wha?" look on their face. :lol: Although, technically it's much more than just that, it's just the "easiest for me" thing to say. 8-)
Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.
-Yoda

"The path of true happiness is one of integrating and fully accepting all aspects of our experience." - Sharon Salzberg from "Loving Kindness"

User avatar
daibanjo
Level 9
Level 9
Posts: 267
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2004 9:44 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Zodiac: Virgo
Contact:

Post by daibanjo » Thu Oct 26, 2006 5:19 pm

If someone is serious then i will say i follow the druid path, or even the pagan path, though i prefer the former.
If the person is not a serious questioner then i tell them that i don't discuss religion or politics. That is a shame though because all that's left is sex and soccer, and americans know nothing about either. :-D
It'll be all right in the end. If it's not all right, it's not the end.

User avatar
Willow
Level 86
Level 86
Posts: 2550
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2004 9:35 am
Location: Canada
Contact:

Post by Willow » Thu Oct 26, 2006 6:21 pm

Well you can always ask Canadians about the former

"True definition of a Canadian is someone who can have sex in a Canoe without tipping it."
Can't remember the source.
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
Dr. Seuss (1904 - 1991)

User avatar
Rain ForestMoon
Level 11
Level 11
Posts: 314
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2004 2:13 am
Location: Australia
Contact:

Post by Rain ForestMoon » Thu Oct 26, 2006 7:36 pm

Willow wrote:Well you can always ask Canadians about the former

"True definition of a Canadian is someone who can have sex in a Canoe without tipping it."
Can't remember the source.
Of course the REAL question is: Is it a one-person Canoe, or a two-person Canoe? ;)
RainForestMoon

"Excess of anything is bad, but especially the excess of Moderation"

"AQUILA NON CAPIT MUSCAS'

User avatar
daibanjo
Level 9
Level 9
Posts: 267
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2004 9:44 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Zodiac: Virgo
Contact:

Post by daibanjo » Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:58 pm

"Sex in a canoe" is my definition of Budweiser.
Let those who know explain to those who do not.
It'll be all right in the end. If it's not all right, it's not the end.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest