Arguing Definitions

This afternoon, during lunch, I had a comment tossed my way over my being Pagan. It wasn’t anything mean or nasty – and it really was meant to be serious, but I nearly sprayed my iced tea across the table trying to hold back my laughter.

So, as a Pagan, are you in training to become a High Priest?

The question is innocent enough – and is a typical statement that someone that I have met recently eventually comes to. Way back in the day, I used to get slightly offended over the question and come off rather brusque and even somewhat angry. These days, I do my best to not make it sound as if the query were a punch-line from a very good Robin Williams moment. I still found myself apologizing to B over the way I responded, since I felt it was bad manners to look like I was trying to choke down a chili dog during the aforementioned Robin Williams’ joke.

I get the idea where it all comes from though. You read enough Wicca 101 books, and you eventually come to the idea that Pagans and Wiccans are one and the same. If you are Pagan, you are therefore Wiccan. And since those books also mention the idea that High Priests and High Priestesses are the be-all, end-all goal of the Wiccan trainee…well, logic makes it easy to follow for the newcomers. Its then just a matter of about fifteen minutes of explanation to explain my positioning as a Solitaire Pagan, and as an individual on a Path of Druidry to get them set straight. After that, the new questions form, and I start to tackle the next swath of questions that arise. I really do need to create an FAQ card, laminate the damn thing, and keep it in my pocket. That way I can just whip that out, and hand it over for explanation – and then tackle whatever questions the card happens to miss for that individual.  But I digress (as usual) ever so slightly…

Currently, there’s another round of the never-ending debate (do you hear Lamb Chop singing the “Song That Never Ends”?) on just what the definition of “Paganism” really is. Personally, I say “who gives a schtako?” Beyond the generic denotation of an individual participating in a Personal Belief System that is Earth-based or Nature-based Spirituality, I don’t see much more need for a distinction. But that’s just me.

See, I just don’t see much of a need for debating terminology and perspectives when it comes to discussing Personal Belief Systems. Yes, there’s some measure of trying to find common footing in the terminology, but I don’t need to debate that to the nth degree. In my eyes, that’s like arguing over the color of the car that your friend is going to pick you up in to get you to some location. Blue, green, white with purple stripes…what does it matter, as long as the car will get there and there’s enough gas in the tank to handle the trip?

For me, arguing over the slightest difference in terminology, when there’s an already agreed upon basic framework in place has that same feel as arguing politics with someone. No one’s mind is going to be changed over the discussion – thus the entire matter seems to be more for the ego-stroking need to just debate for the sake of debate. Sorry, just not my cup of coffee. For those that find a need to do so – more power to ’em. I am hardly one to tell people how to run their own personal lives. I just see no positive result from the entire exercise from my vantage point…

2 thoughts on “Arguing Definitions

  1. Succinct and timely, as always… Why it was just the other day that I encountered this subject with a friend.. The questions are so rapid-fire and furiously flung that one hasn’t the opportunity to adequatly answer one before delving into the next.. A laminated card!! GENIUS!!


  2. My response to the Priest/ess question is, “I am a Priest unto myself only.” My spirituality/religion/path is mine alone. I see this as true of everyone. This doesn’t mean that there are not points, even lines, where people’s belief systems agree. However, everyone has his/her own understanding of life, and our relationship to the universe. I love the laminated card idea, BTW!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s