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Author Topic: A Question About Claiming the label 'Pagan'?  (Read 2008 times)

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Ronald.S

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A Question About Claiming the label 'Pagan'?
« on: February 28, 2010, 09:57:33 PM »

Can I be Pagan simply by calling myself 'Pagan?' I mean, there is no strict definition of Paganism, except that it is any non-Abrahamic religion - a rather loose definition if you ask me.
What attracts me to Paganism is my love of the pre-Christian religions of the Celts and Norse. I absolutely love the mythologies and deities of these religions, specifically Odin, Thor, Frejya for the Norse, and Cernunnos and the Morrighan for the Celts.
I'm not as interested in ritual and magick/spellcraft, though I do acknowledge the changing of the seasons and the lunar cycles etc, by at least glancing at the skies and taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of Nature.
I love the lack of dogma which most traditions of Paganism seem to have, and respect a mixture of different Pagan paths. I, however, prefer not to commit myself fully to one path, and instead refer to myself just as a Pagan. I suppose you could say that I am Eclectic.
I also love Nature, I love to walk among the trees and feel my connection to the earth.
So what I'm getting at is this: Since there is no proper definition of Paganism, is it a label that anyone can claim? I do feel Pagan in my heart, I just wish to hear people's opinions on this.
Can I be Pagan simply by calling myself 'Pagan', without any responsibilities or dogma except those which I choose?
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bluefire

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Re: A Question About Claiming the label 'Pagan'?
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2010, 10:40:37 PM »

Can I be Pagan simply by calling myself 'Pagan?' I mean, there is no strict definition of Paganism, except that it is any non-Abrahamic religion - a rather loose definition if you ask me.

There are many pagan paths.  In my humble opinion, you can call yourself pagan if you like.  Just be prepared that because there is no strict definition, if you use that label, people will interpret it however they like.

Quote
What attracts me to Paganism is my love of the pre-Christian religions of the Celts and Norse. I absolutely love the mythologies and deities of these religions, specifically Odin, Thor, Frejya for the Norse, and Cernunnos and the Morrighan for the Celts.

You will find others who call themselves pagans to share that interest.  I think it is more common for folks to choose a specific pantheon than to mix them, however.

Quote
I'm not as interested in ritual and magick/spellcraft, though I do acknowledge the changing of the seasons and the lunar cycles etc, by at least glancing at the skies and taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of Nature.

Not all pagans practice ritual or spell work.  By the same token, not all pagans are into nature.  Catching the idea here?  Lots of variety in the pagan world.

Quote
I love the lack of dogma which most traditions of Paganism seem to have, and respect a mixture of different Pagan paths. I, however, prefer not to commit myself fully to one path, and instead refer to myself just as a Pagan. I suppose you could say that I am Eclectic.

Yes, you sound like an eclectic pagan.  Be aware that some paths do have dogma.  Others do not.

Quote
I also love Nature, I love to walk among the trees and feel my connection to the earth.
So what I'm getting at is this: Since there is no proper definition of Paganism, is it a label that anyone can claim? I do feel Pagan in my heart, I just wish to hear people's opinions on this.
Can I be Pagan simply by calling myself 'Pagan', without any responsibilities or dogma except those which I choose?

The label you attach to yourself is less important than the path you live.  That said, if you want to use that label, it would not be incorrect. 

You may want to do some reading.  I'll mention two books you might find interesting.

The Practical Pagan by Dana Eilers does a good, down to earth job, of describing paganism in the modern world and dispelling the myths around it.

Natural Magic by Doreen Valiente is a good basic primer on earth-based spirituality.  From your brief description of your interests, I think you might enjoy her book.

Edited to correct typo
« Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 08:45:40 AM by bluefire »
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Fox

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Re: A Question About Claiming the label 'Pagan'?
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2010, 10:48:06 PM »

The issue of labels is a very touchy one and you will get different answers from different people.

It has been my opinion that labels are, for the most part, just a way to better communicate with the world around us and to define ourselves.  While we can often find labels that fit best, they are not always totally accurate and will inevitably draw at least one person out to contradict that claim.

I choose to use the label Pagan in reference to my spiritual beliefs because the general concept and accepted idea behind it tends to cover a lot of ground and it fits the most closely to what I believe.  I also know that some of the things that I believe wouldn't necessarily pass with someone with a very strictly held view of what Paganism is. 

There is no one governing body behind Paganism.  There is no hard and fast rules that you have to follow, though there are many ideals that people tend (again, not always) to agree on, so there really isn't anyone that can tell you that you are or are not a Pagan, though you will more than likely find that there are those that may try. 

That probably didn't answer your question, but I don't believe that there is a right or wrong answer to give you.
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Ghost Wolf

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Re: A Question About Claiming the label 'Pagan'?
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2010, 11:29:37 PM »

Generally, those who pledge Troth to the Gods of the North refer to themselves as Heathens.

Pagan covers a wide variety of non-"Big Three" beliefs. I wouldn't worry too much about labels.
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Re: A Question About Claiming the label 'Pagan'?
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2010, 05:06:58 AM »


"Can I be Pagan simply by calling myself 'Pagan',..."
Yes. There's no Pope of Pagan to deny you.

"...without any responsibilities or dogma except those which I choose?"
You can choose your dogma, but you'll find that choice creates responsibilities of its own. Choose wisely.

peace,
ES
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vordan

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Re: A Question About Claiming the label 'Pagan'?
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2010, 08:43:40 PM »


"Can I be Pagan simply by calling myself 'Pagan',..."
Yes. There's no Pope of Pagan to deny you.

"...without any responsibilities or dogma except those which I choose?"
You can choose your dogma, but you'll find that choice creates responsibilities of its own. Choose wisely.

Paganism is hard for you need to make your own decisions, nobody tells you what is the right path except the divine.
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