Pagan, not ‘Polytheist’.

A pagan wants to talk about religion.

A ‘polytheist’ wants to talk about politics.

A pagan greets friends.

A ‘polytheist’ hunts for allies.

A pagan looks in the land for their gods.

A ‘polytheist’ looks to people for their gods…

… Isn’t that just the way of a ‘monotheist’?

“… Human beings do not live in the objective world alone, nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood, but are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society. It is quite an illusion to imagine that one adjusts to reality essentially without the use of language and that language is merely an incidental means of solving specific problems of communication or reflection. The fact of the matter is that the “real world” is to a large extent unconsciously built upon the language habits of the group. No two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same social reality. The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached … We see and hear and otherwise experience very largely as we do because the language habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation …” Edward SapirThe Status Of Linguistics As A Science; Language Vol. 5, No. 4 (Pub: Linguistic Society of America, Dec. 1929), pp. 207-214

4 thoughts on “Pagan, not ‘Polytheist’.

  1. I respect how people choose to self-identify (I choose to use both pagan & polytheist, animist, Druid etc.) I get the impression you are responding to the way certain people use the word polytheist in contrast with pagan- all the statements you made could be true of some pagans & some polytheists. All these theological/political divisions people come up with online seem really stupid when you get off the internet and put on an event with say, Druids, Heathens, Wiccans, Unitarians, agnostics and Buddhists. That sort of things happens, without a lot of fuss more often than some naysayers might think!

    • Some persons strongly self-identifying with a so-called ‘polytheist movement’ seem not to be motivated so much by religion as they are by a certain type of politics… This ‘movement’ even appears to have been originally defined by these activists, who control its linguistic and cultural codification in order to leverage their influence upon the pagan revivalist movement. It appears to be a political front, in other words, employing a ‘textbook’ approach to creating influence. My advice would be: Beware – free your heart, soul and mind.

  2. Well I have a political science degree so I am picky about what qualifies as a movement..and I don’t think a bunch of manifesto-like posts on blogs and a couple of conferences constitutes a movement.

    • Sure, but the point is that those self-identifying as a ‘movement’ and setting up loads of websites and organisations, cross-supporting and cross-referencing each others’ apparently disparate media-outlets, organising seminars and courses and attending and heavily-influencing conferences, are likely to be able to attempt to define themselves as such. I guess my objection is the same as yours, and that it is the ambition, rather than the achievement which potentially disturbs.
      Congratulations on your hard-earned degree, by the way … I hope that you will remain free to use it for good!

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