…maybe it’s not even pagan theology that annoys me. Maybe it’s just pagans in general, or perhaps human-persons, full-stop.
I don’t read ‘pagan’ blogs, which seems silly since I have one — duh. But, I don’t, and the reason is because of the name-dropping, circular dialogue, fantasy-role-play feel of so much that I find when I do venture out.
I am an animist. I don’t do the spirits-flying-about, patron-deity-from-Greece-of-someone-living-in-California, thing. Or heaven forbid, take one of the many feminine aspects of sovereignty acknowledged by one of the over 300 túath in Ireland, single that principle out (the Morrigan) as a battle queen, ‘The’ soverignty goddess,etc, and then transport her to North America and imagine she has any interest there.
I realize that may sound dismissive to someone who does believe those things: especially to someone who grew-up in a christian home, disillusioned with religion and culture–with modernity in general– and sought something different….
For that person, what they saw, heard, or felt in the discovery of the Old Religion, no matter where that religion originated or the culture informing it, had a significant impact on their life.
It still annoys me. The reason it annoys me is the lack of cultural understanding of the religion being resurrected, and a lack of current world view examination on the part of the practitioner.
If current world view were taken into account, most North American pagans (and good lord, what other title can I use? that’s another type of crazy making – this dissecting of terms – pagan, polytheist, monist, blah) would find that they carry within them the basic premise taught within christianity: that god(s) are disembodied entities that exist in a plane of reality so expansive from our own, that they are omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.
Lest I come across overly curmudgeonly, or dogmatic, I want to be clear that it’s not personal. I have no issue with the human-persons involved. It does concern me a little that in a modern capitalist culture, where alienation and anomie reign supreme and our REAL connection with the natural world — of which we are an intimate part — has been divided by a scientific worldview, that pagans engage in more intellectualizing and writing about gods/religion/spiritual practice/pantheons than living a pagan life. It is dangerously close to being just another escapist occupation for a species cut-off from the ecstatic merger with nature that we are biologically designed for.
For myself, I view the world around me as living – genuinely living. Not metaphorically, or on some simpler level than myself. That type of thinking smacks of human centrism and has been the cause of much environmental harm. No…the trees that are my friends (and not all trees are) don’t need dyads or gossamer spirits inhabiting them anymore than I do. They are living creatures with their own language, world view, and culture. Same goes for …. the various Winds, or Hurricanes, or the Robin that eats peanuts in my garden. They are alive. Their experience of the world is so alien to my own that I may never understand or really Know them, but by the gods, I respect them.
I have found in my searching that if you go far enough back, all our ancestors were animists. And that is good enough for me!