Deja Vu can be an uncomfortable thing

18 07 2008

This discussion about formalising paganism and having some sort of a corporate voice has been making me uncomfortable in a formless sort of a way, until I realised something properly. What we’re actually talking about is hierarchy, membership and inclusiveness. Which, even if you get everyone pulling in the same direction, means you’re going to have those who are excluded. Or who choose not to be members.

I get a little weary with the circular arguments this tends to draw up – and they’ve been coming out in force. It all looks too much like the Church of England and its current trouble and strife. There’s a clear dichotomy in the CofE between political unity, and the threat of schism on spiritual and doctrinal grounds – which to me looks like an opportunity, but to them appears to be an unsurmountable difficulty. I do not believe that Christianity was ever intended to be a corporate body with universal belief – they’ve had it imposed upon them several times through history, to attempt to bring the balloon back into its shed.

While some in the pagan world are trying busily to stick us into the same failing paradigm, I’m staying put. Obdurate and unco-operative to the last, and I won’t be the only one. These attempts at consolidation and unification are, in my view, doomed to failure, or at best to limited regional success. The means of their failure is built into the model – we’re not frightened of hell, so there’s one stick ‘they’ can’t use to beat us, and we’re well aware that there’s no one true way.

From a political point of view, the steps are already being made to manufacture a larger voice – the efforts being put into spiritual and ecumenical consolidation could be put to better use in some other arena. Public relations, perhaps?




8 responses

18 07 2008

Nope, you won’t be the only one. We can be obdurate and uncooperative together.


19 07 2008
The Green Witch

T, my dear, hello! Sounds like a plan; I just don’t like being told what to do. Grrr!! 🙂

19 07 2008

You and me both, hon! If you want me to really not do something, then tell me I have to. There are fewer times in my life where I dig my heals in so deep than when I’m told to do something.

20 07 2008

Obviously I don’t know exactly who you’re referring to, but there are groups like PEBBLE – is them I think – who are a collection of the big (and some small) pagan organisations working together (despite some political differences! its quite admirable that they put them aside) to tackle Pagan discrimination by public bodies. I remember when it was set up there was some objection about ‘Who are THEY to talk for ME?’ – well, they are the people getting out there and actually making a positive difference! Someone is going to speak up for Pagans to try to ensure there isn’t any discrimination, it’s better representative voices of a dozen organisations than just one mad hatter telling everyone he’s the king of the witches!

I probably got the wrong end of the stick about what you’re talking about, as I often do 😉 I was going to mention Pagan Connection is a ‘company’ but only because myself and Laura who run it have been involved in pagan ventures in the past and know you can get burned without any legal protection. It’s a non-profit organisation and is registered as such, we have no intention of becoming rich from it, but we do want it to become self sufficient and make money to reinvest in itself!

20 07 2008

Formalized, heirarchical paganism? Nearly fifty years of Catholicism was quite enough for me, thanks! True, such a move might solve a few problems we pagans sometimes have. For example, I think pagans are commonly misunderstood and misrepresented in the media; also, as I have only recently stepped onto the path of paganism, I have sometimes had problems finding what I consider to be valid and useful information on pagan belief and practices. But I agree wholeheartedly with you that any move toward conformity or corporatizing would create more problems than it solved and would, therefore fail, ultimately. As messy and inefficient as it can be, I’ll take the dynamic nature of pagan spirituality over a homogenized, pasteurized, formalized church structure in a hearbeat.

20 07 2008
The Green Witch

Fox, you sound so like me!! Scary!

Caspar, that’s a good link – thank you! And of course, your organisation is doing something similar. Only Connect! Isn’t that what the man said? 🙂

Sabrina, I have to agree with you on the information availability issues. Check out the links on my homepage – there may be some links that will be of assistance.

Messy, inefficient – but real. I can’t see for the life of me how homogenisation can assist a living, breathing religion. We need messy and inefficient – it reminds us we’re alive, human and fallible.

Thank you, everyone, for your thoughtful comments on this thread!

24 07 2008

Defiance is my middle name! Hell no I won’t go.

25 07 2008
The Green Witch

Too right, Beweave!

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