Fall Funding Drive Update + Pagan Voices

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  October 14, 2013 — 43 Comments
Peter Dybing

Peter Dybing

“While I have great respect for printed publications,  I am also an information addict. Within our community we have witnessed the emergence of a professional, consistent and ethical Pagan media. Part of my daily ritual has become checking in with The Wild Hunt, a media outlet at the forefront of providing information to our community. [...] As a Pagan Activist there is no more valuable resource than this site. How about you? How often do you read the Wild Hunt? Would you feel informed about the Pagan community in its’ absence?  Do you think, as I do, that it weaves the web of our community together? It is my sincere hope that all Pagans will never have to suffer from the lack of information, both present and background, that past generations have. We as a community need to support this outstanding organization. Obviously, all this does not happen in a vacuum. It takes funds and committed people to make it happen. I urge you to support the Wild Hunt and its’ staff of professional writers. They represent the best of what our community is manifesting.” – Peter Dybing, on gratitude and his information addiction.

Today is the beginning of the second week of our Fall Funding Drive. This is the annual event in which this site raises the money it needs to pay its contributors, hosting fees, and other costs associated with keeping this site up and running for another year. I’m happy to say that in the first week we have nearly reached 60% of our $10,000 goal! Thank you!

funding_larger

The money raised so far, nearly $6000 dollars, came from just 162 amazing donors. Imagine what we can do if just a tiny percentage of our regular readers gave just a little. So I’m sending out a proposal to long-time readers who may be shy about donating, or who think they need to be able to afford a big-dollar donation to make a difference. If 1000 readers, and I know we have many more than that, gave just $5 (which would qualify them for our new “pack” perk) we would not only reach our goal, but surpass it. I’m calling it “5 FOR 1000,” and I hope you’ll be a part of it. Throughout the rest of the drive, I’ll be sending out special shout-outs to new donors, and I encourage everyone to help us spread the word so we can hit our goal! Here’s the IndieGoGo campaign link again: http://igg.me/at/2013-fall-funding-drive/x/497880

Now, here are some more Pagan Voices to round out this Monday morning post.

Jason Mankey

Jason Mankey

“It often feels as if we Pagans are far more likely to share an article that undermines Christianity than we are to share something written by Pagans for Pagans. That bothers me as a Pagan writer of course, but it also bothers me as a Pagan because I feel as if it hurts Pagandom long term [...] What bothers me the most about a Pagnadom far more interested in talking about Christianity than Paganism is that I feel we are losing a big opportunity. We’re losing a chance to better understand each other. Since the conversation is more about ‘why they are wrong’ instead of ‘why this is right for me,’ I’m missing the chance to hear my sisters and brothers talking about how they experience ritual and the gods. Think of all the new traditions and rites that we might come up with if we were more focused on us instead of them! When I’m around the campfire I desperately want to talk about Pagan things! I want to discuss The Long Lost Friend, magick, Gerald Gardner, Aphrodite, and a whole host of other topics far removed from Christianity.” – Jason Mankey, encouraging Pagans to talk about Paganism, and not the latest Christian controversy.

Taylor Ellwood

Taylor Ellwood

“Cultural appropriation is the wholesale stealing of a given culture’s practices. The reason people do it may be a result of feeling disconnected from the culture they are in or identifying spirituality as only residing in the cultural practices of the culture they are appropriating from. Regardless of what the reason is, such appropriation ultimately creates a mockery of the original practices, because while the person might steal away the practices, s/he can never truly know the culture. S/he is always interpreting the other culture through the lens of his/her own culture. One of the grey areas in this kind of discussions involves the choice to study a given culture’s practices. I likely fit into that gray area. I study Tibetan and Taoist meditation practices. I am not of the cultures where those practices originated and I don’t try to be. I study those practices to learn from them and implement them in my life, without trying to identify with the culture. It’s a grey area, because I’m not trying to appropriate the overall culture and pretend to be something I’m not, but I am learning and practicing from that culture’s spiritual practices. However, I think that such learning can fit into cultural exchange if it is done respectfully and with an intention to respect the original culture without trying to become part of it.” – Taylor Ellwood, on cultural exchange vs. cultural appropriation.

Donald Michael Kraig

Donald Michael Kraig

“Although I agree with Mr. Ellwood’s conclusions, we have some disagreements over the details that get there. He states that ‘[c]ultural appropriation is the wholesale stealing of a given culture’s practices.’ I respectfully disagree. For example, if someone who was not of a particular culture immersed himself or herself into the practices of that culture, and then authentically brought the entire thing, ‘wholesale,’ to a wider audience, I would respect that. In fact, I would think that most people brought up in that culture would love to see an authentic presentation of the beliefs and practices of their culture brought with integrity to a larger audience. The problem with cultural appropriation is that it specifically doesn’t bring a culture’s practices to a wider audience in a wholesale and authentic way. Instead, cultural appropriation steals sections of culture’s beliefs and practices, often blending them with practices foreign to that culture, and presents it as being the totality of that culture’s system. In my opinion, what makes cultural appropriation a horrible thing is not that it exposes the traditions of a different culture, but that it tries to blend in a bit of that culture with other concepts and presents it to the public as an authentic representation of the original culture. Some people put on buckskin, go to a Native American Pow-Wow, pray to the ‘Great Spirit,’ and think they’re following ‘the’ Native American path.” – Donald Michael Kraig, responding to Taylor Ellwood on the subject of cultural appropriation.

Sam Webster (with Herm), photo by Tony Mierzwicki.

Sam Webster

“For me, those who empower or inspire from the past are just that, the past. At the beginning of every ritual I ‘Take Refuge’ as the Buddhists call it, invoking the causal influence and beneficent intent of all those who have gone before me to bless and empower the work to come. It is a very powerful way to start a ritual and at times I even consciously include my ancestors as ‘those from whom I have learned’. But, most of the time, they are just part of the Divine Host that I call upon for aid and support. Likewise, when working a spell or blessing, I attune to the causal stream of everything that has lead to the moment of the working, essentially all of the Past, feel it as a wavefront building up ‘behind’ me and then bring it to bear on the intent being worked. I guess my ancestors are part of all that but I’m usually just concentrating on the time-stream and using my lived-moment like a lens to focus the past into the present to make an effective now and thereby change the future. Why wouldn’t I focus all the the past, animate and inanimate, material and immaterial, not just that part that is my ancestors? You might say that I’m working with my ancestors, but from within the frame of a much larger set of ‘resources’.” – Sam Webster, on ancestor worship and dealing with the dead.

Anomalous Thracian

Anomalous Thracian

“Mediumship, possession, divination, oracular trance, are all examples of forms of communication with the other-than-human external forces of creation and otherwise. But even the most mechanical of these (e.g. those which utilize the manipulation and interpretation of physical tools or items to divine the messages of the divine) carry the risk of our own unexamined “crap” coming up into the lenses through which we view these messages. For all the people who espouse faux-Jungian terminology around “shadow work” and doing their “inner work”, very few actually seem to have done so in measured, field-tested form. Who amongst us can confidently answer questions about the contents of our own hearts? Not peace-loving fluffy, comfortable ideas, or Eastern-appropriated ideas of disentanglement from the material considerations of the world, but real and genuine expressions of our own needs, desires, fears, limitations, values, edges, or motives? This is work that is never done, never complete, because we ourselves are never done and never complete and instead are constantly upon and within a grand and damned spectrum and continuum of change, growth, relapse, regression, failure, fault, and fear and forgiveness for all of it, pitted against guilt-shame-denial-repression-borne compensatory-reactions against ourselves and anything and everyone that would dare to come between us and that which we refuse to see within ourselves. And yet our gods are here to guide us toward traditions and techniques and processes of illumination.” – Anomalous Thracian, on the importance of listening and responding.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

Don’t forget to donate and spread the work for our Fall Funding Drive: http://igg.me/at/2013-fall-funding-drive/x/497880

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

Posts

  • Baruch Deamstalker

    Responding to Jason Mankey: My interest in purely Christian news, whether of pedophilia scandals or the remarkable humility of Pope Francis, is primarily as a news junkie, not as a Pagan — ie, the same vein as interest in the gridlock in Washington. My interest as a Pagan in Christian news is where there is a clash between Christians and Pagans, eg, in the Town of Greece case currently before the Supreme Court. That is Pagan news as well as Christian news.In the discussion of appropriation, I note Ellwood and Kraig share an anathema against misrepresentation. I have been to a sweat ceremony, but I do not claim to have emerged transformed into a Lakota, not was it offered in that light. When I smudge in a ceremony I am not claiming Native American authenticity; I’m using a spiritual tool that is meaningful to me.It’s useful to remember that traditions have rifled one another’s contents from time immemorial. When we do so, what’s important is the ethics of our respect for the source.

    • TadhgMor

      Yes but remember, if the tool that is meaningful to you is a misrepresentation of a traditional practice, that can be offensive.

      I tire to no end of Wiccans telling me the meaning of Beltaine (which most of them can’t even bloody say). The Wiccan holiday by that name bears almost no resemblence to the Celtic holiday of that name. Being told by Wiccans what my holiday means, as a Gaelic Polytheist, is beyond frustrating, it’s offensive. Especially when for example they mix in English practices (maypoles), because it’s not like cultural appropriation and violence was ever committed by the English against the Irish, Scots, and Welsh. Yet most are totally ignorant of this!

      If I point it out (as I have), I generally get tarred as “close minded” by a bunch of hippies that refuse to acknowledge that the holiday has an original and a meaning that they are ignoring.

      • Anna H.

        Yet Wiccans were celebrating Beltane as long ago as the 1950s; were you a Celtic polytheist then?

        • TadhgMor

          I was not alive then. So they should receive a pass for cultural appropriation simply because it’s been happening for 60 years? Wicca in the 1950s was very much an English phenomenon. Stealing, and worse, fundamentally altering, a Celtic holiday is not acceptable.

          My ancestors were celebrating Beltaine long before any Englishmen created Wicca in the 1900s.

          • Charles Cosimano

            May not be acceptable to you, but no reason anyone else should care.

          • TadhgMor

            So it does not bother ANY of you to steal a holiday and then reinterpret it incorrectly by adding things from a culture/polity that did SEVERE DAMAGE to the culture you stole it from?

            The Wiccan hegemony over paganism has gone too far if you are so willing to spit on those of us who care about our historical traditions and practices. I am utterly disgusted how all of you are willing to just write off this appropriation as acceptable.

            I had been warned this site was hostile to hard polytheists and too friendly to charlatans and cultural appropriation, but I have never seen it amongst the community here until now.

          • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

            Charles has famously been trolling our comments for years, we tend to ignore him when he tries to shock people.

          • TadhgMor

            He’s not the only one. Perhaps for once his opinions seem to be in the norm, at least of those stated.

            So as embarrassed as I am to fall for a troll, in this instance there is little to separate him from the crowd.

          • Merlyn7

            No. I am thrilled beyond the telling that Celtic Reconstructionists find deep, personal meaning in investigating the origins of Beltane. That is wonderful. But to say that all the innovation over the centuries to the holiday are blasphemous is rather akin to Christians who see Christmas Trees and Santa Claus as the work of the Devil.

            If modern pagans even go so far as to celebrate the love of Isis and Osiris on Beltane it doesn’t take anything away from your historically authentic ritual celebrating Beltane.

            Wiccans didn’t steal the celebration of Beltane from practicing Celtic reconstructionists. Celtic Reconstructionists came along later and began to celebrate the day again in a way that is meaningful to them.

          • TadhgMor

            Innovation over the centuries? There wasn’t any. There was innovation by a bunch of Englishmen last century, and that’s it. The eclectic version of the holiday does not have a pedigree that dates back. It is entirely artificial.

            Why would you celebrate Egyptian deities on a Celtic holiday? That makes absolutely no sense. If you’re going to do that, then calling it Beltaine is ridiculous. Rename it whatever you want, rather than taking the name of an already existing holiday.

          • Merlyn7

            It took quite a bit of time to merge many of the May Day folk customs with customs from Beltane.

            Seeing Beltane as a celebration of love and the return of life and light and equating that with the enduring love for Isis and Osiris is no more nonsensical than all sorts of nonsensical things we do in paganism.

          • TadhgMor

            According to what sources? Because the non-traditional versions all have strong elements of artificiality.

            But that’s taking it an fundamentally reinterpreting it. Change the name if that’s what you want to do.

          • Boris

            In the Netherlands and in Germany, Walpurgisnacht and the First of May have been celebrated for centuries. Did we steal your Celtic holiday too?

          • TadhgMor

            Are you calling it Beltaine? Are you making confused and ignorant references to Celtic practices? No?

            Then I have no issue with it.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        [...I]f the tool that is meaningful to you is a misrepresentation of a traditional practice, that can be offensive. I’m afraid I can give no weight to such a complaint. The tool speaks to me as a tool, not as a culture.Stealing, and worse, fundamentally altering, a Celtic holiday is not acceptable. Same response for the same reason. The holiday speaks to me, not the sum total of Celtic tradition. I can’t misrepresent something I’ve never claimed.[...I]t’s not like cultural appropriation and violence was ever committed by the English against the Irish, Scots, and Welsh It is utterly unworthy of you to drag cultural grievances (whose validity I might be quite willing to concede) into this discussion. We are Pagan practitioners here, not warlords.…a bunch of hippies a bunch of hippies… Same as the previous comment, only about trying to re-fight the cultural revolution of the Sixties. It is completely out of place to try to start a new fight just in case the old one doesn’t poke any red buttons.

        • TadhgMor

          Unworthy? How can cultural issues NOT be part of this? I would not assume you are the type of “fluffy” pagan that would suggest such a thing.

          Perhaps it is different for soft polytheists or pantheists, but for most hard polytheists culture is intimately tied to religious practice. I cannot be a Gaelic Polytheist if I reject Irish culture. That simply does not compute. The distinction between religious and secular blurs.

          Further, if you are appropriating other people’s practices unabashedly, you could suggest you’re acting akin to warlords. I’m not sure I’d go so far, but military analogies fit quite well.

          If you take a holiday, use the original name, then try and tell redefine it, you are misrepresenting it. Period. It does not matter if you accept the sum total of Celtic culture or not. You’ve appropriated a part.

          You want to celebrate a bastardized version of someone else’s holiday? Rename it.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Cultural issues are “NOT” part of eclectic Paganism because eclectic Pagans are not out to trash anybody else’s culture. We respect the panoply of cultural ceremonies worldwide, and we understand that cultures borrow from one another all the time. This puts us squarely in the great human tradition of disseminating resonant tools from all over.I’m sorry this bends you out of shape, but no one’s trying to insult the culture you find precious. Your complaints are reminiscent of tight-butted Christians who get mad when shopgirls, following bosses’ orders, say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” as they ring customers out so as not to insult their Jewish or Muslim clientele. An offense is generated out of nothing by someone who is determined to be offended. If you are one of the latter that’s your problem, not mine.

          • TadhgMor

            How can you be respecting other cultures if you steal from them? Inaccurately no less?

            Not all of us are eclectic pagans or Wiccans. How f***ing hard is that for some of you to understand? You’ve set up a miniature hegemony here, taking on the same sort of dismissive tactics and misinformation that Christians use on minority religions as a whole and applying it to hard polytheists because we aren’t as willing to ignore traditions and steal randomly from many cultures.

            Seriously? Calling me a Christian because I care about tradition instead of being some selfish eclectic who thinks I have the right to change CENTURIES of known tradition simply because of my feelings? To redefine things to suit MY feelings?

            I cannot believe how utterly insensitive you are to this. How selfish you are. Worse, you’re acting the way Christian do towards us yet accusing ME of it. That’s just blatantly dishonest.

            I’m offended because a bunch of hippies, teenagers, and ignorant English people have bastardized a culture I hold dear and spread misinformation about my holidays and my Gods. Apparently that’s fine with you?

            This is absolutely depressing. I was unaware I had to bow at the altar of New Age nonsense in order to be respected here. Notice I haven’t insulted your practices, I’ve simply asked you stop bastardizing mine. But apparently even that is too much for all these self-empowered New Age experts.

          • Nick Ritter

            Perhaps this is the point to ask the following question: to what degree, or in what manner, does the Wiccan (or other eclectic Pagan) appropriation of Beltaine impede upon your ability to practice that holiday in a thoroughly, authentically Gaelic manner?

            Some background on where I’m coming from with this question: I am a Germanic reconstructionist (Theodish, to be specific). The Wiccan Wheel of the Year also incorporates three Germanic holidays: Yule, Ostara, and Litha (or at least their names). From my perspective, the information that often gets passed around in Wiccan and eclectic Pagan circles is inaccurate (for instance, they are often cited as Celtic holidays instead of Germanic), and sometimes just plain wrong (for instance, the attempts to link the goddess Ôstara to Astarte and Isis). In addition, the sheer number of people spreading and re-spreading this kind of information far outstrips my ability to counter it with correct information. So, I understand your frustration.

            Yet, all that misinformation does not prevent me from celebrating these holidays in the most culturally authentic manner possible (within the confines of my knowledge and capability, both of which I continually strive to expand).

            So, I suppose I’m trying to say that I understand your frustration, but I think there are better ways of convincing people of the correctness of your position. Eclectic Pagans are going to be eclectic: they’re going to use stuff from a variety of cultures, mix-and-match to suit, and perhaps even claim authenticity on top of that (the last being particularly frustrating to those of us who spend thousands of hours of research trying to achieve our own standards of authenticity, right?). To be frank, nothing that you or I say has any possibility of stopping that. They certainly aren’t going to be convinced that they should do otherwise by being called “insensitive, dishonest, culture-appropriating hippies” (to paraphrase remarks from your last few posts). If you attack someone’s position, they are going to defend their position: that’s just human nature.

            A more fruitful approach, from my point of view, is *showing* people the products of that authentic approach. Instead of telling people that their eclectic Wiccan Beltaine is wrong, for instance, show them what an authentic Gaelic reconstructionist Beltaine is. Some will dismiss it, but some might be attracted by it, which gives you an opportunity to teach.

            For my part, I try to ignore the specifics of what a lot of people do with their holidays, including what I feel to be their versions of my religion’s holidays. I especially tend to unplug from the general Pagan online community in the times leading up to the holidays I practice – which I should be doing now, since Winternights is only a few days away; however, I saw your posts and sympathized with your position, and figured I would offer my point of view, for what it’s worth

          • TadhgMor

            I’m sure there are better ways. I’ve become rather frustrated by the arrogant dismissive way I’ve been treated here, and it’s lead me towards a bit more heat than I intended. The very idea that someone can take my traditions and change them to suit their feelings is utterly foreign and offensive to me. It’s selfish to a degree that is anathema in community minded reconstructionism.

            I’ve tried to show people. You know what it got me? Insults, slurs, and people dismissing me just as they have here. I’ve tried for years to help counter misconceptions among the local pagan community, which is 90% Wiccan. They gang up on me, shout me down, and eventually walk off to continue their “Celtic runes” or other New Age nonsense.

            I think it harms the ability of hard polytheists to define ourselves and our practices when another set of people are taking our terms and holidays and applying them to utterly artificial holidays. Now not only do we have misconceptions by Christians who dislike paganism, even the friendly ones likely have misconceptions because the hegemony of Wicca and other eclectic paths over “paganism” as a whole. I refuse to let a bunch of purposefully ignorant, self-centered individuals define me, and if I don’t fight this that is what I’m doing.

            What bothers me the most isn’t that most of them are completely fine with this. I expected that. The mindset is simply too different between eclectic pagans and anyone of a reconstructionist bend. Only chance and outside pressure keeps us together under the pagan umbrella.

            What bothers me the most is the amount of arrogance and privilege being shown. As if I should not DARE to question their “feelings”, as if my feelings and traditions hold no value. It’s utterly selfish, it’s based in ignorance, and apparently it’s how the majority of eclectic pagans here feel.

            Like I said in another post, I was warned about this site for this very reason. Too friendly to appropriation, hostile to reconstructionists that reject all the New Age influence. But before now I have never seen it in the community. Now I begin to see some of the warnings. It’s just another bloody hegemony to be under.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I’ve been following this conversation and seen no one dismissing you. I’ve seen people disagreeing with your positions (as I do). Hel, I’ve seen people agreeing with your positions but disagreeing with your approach. If you think this has been arrogant and dismissive, you are importing to this discussion grievances from previous conversations with other Wiccans and their (our) ilk.You, on the other hand, have been quite arrogant and dismissive (and prolix). If you want to claim injury, quit swinging the first punch.

          • TadhgMor

            Read your own posts.

            You were completely and utterly dismissive, as if even SUGGESTING such a thing was outside of accepted norms. Perhaps in your circles it is. Since you consider New Age something valid, and scholarship is certainly not appreciated within those areas.

            Swinging the first punch? Who has appropriated from whom here?

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I have made no effort to impose “accepted norms” on this discussion, and I disavow any distortion of any phrase of mine that implies otherwise. What I have done is disagree, which you seem unable to distinguish from aggression. If, as you report, you feel injured by past conversations with Wiccans, this is probably why.

          • TadhgMor

            “It is utterly unworthy of you to drag cultural grievances….”

            “Cultural issues are “NOT” part of eclectic Paganism because eclectic Pagans are not out to trash anybody else’s culture.”

            Do those not seem like trying to enforce limits on the topic that suit YOU and YOUR form of practice, despite that fact that cultural issues are CENTRAL to many reconstructionist traditions?

            Perhaps you should spend more time reading your own comments and less trying to divine my motives or try and insinuate things about me.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Dragging in cultural issues violates for me a moral standard that I had before I became Pagan, so I can’t be imposing Pagan norms.I can’t help it if a statement of fact seems rude, but by and large neoPagans aren’t out to trash anyone else’s culture.

          • TadhgMor

            No, they just do it accidently through ignorance then double down when they’re called out on it.

            The distinction exists, but it’s quite minute.

            A separation between religious and cultural issues really doesn’t exist for many reconstructionists. It seems to be a norm for some neo-pagans, there is always a backlash when people push out against appropriation. Look at the blatant appropriation and misinformation concerning First Nations practices? How can you understand their practices without the culture? You can’t.

            This distinction is utterly a modern one, one used to protect people who are taking without bothering to get a basic level of knowledge. “Well I like it” isn’t a good excuse for these actions. It’s a selfish one.

            Put this into Google. Cultural appropriation among neo-Pagans and “New Age” types is rampant. Whether or not you want to “trash” any culture is irrelevant if by your actions you are appropriating it. And it’s quite clear that many people are. Why you would be more sensitive of First Nations than others is beyond me.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I’m about ready to give up. This is like arguing with a pro-lifer who won’t quit saying “murder” when s/he knows you don’t share hir opinion on fetal personhood. Fare well and widely.

          • TadhgMor

            That is cowardice. So you appropriate and then walk away when one tries to hold you accountable? F***ing cowardice.

            Tell me this. Do you, or do you not, consider cultural appropriation wrong?

            Further, your example is a false equivalency. The “pro-lifer” is not directly harmed by you. I AM directly harmed by New Agers and neo-Pagans that appropriate my holidays AND spread misinformation and redefine them outside of the appropriate context.

            You’re not even bothering to engage my points. That is dishonest. You’re simply begging away and hiding behind the community consensus.

            The least you could do is actually respond to what I write, rather than hiding. I am bothering to respond to your points, when you raise them.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I have engaged every one of your points with substance, once. I do not re-engage on the same point repeated, to which you are very prone. When all your points are repeats, all I have left to comment on is your presentation, and that gets close to Jason’s zone of disapprobation.Cowardice? How am I supposed to be afraid of you? You are a swirl of electrons behind my computer screen.

          • TadhgMor

            No you have not. You have disassembled, and tried to use differing opinions as a cover for something which does not lie in the realm of opinion.

            Do you or do you not consider cultural appropriation acceptable? Do you understand that the wholesale adoption of distinct holidays without their cultural meanings is appropriation? Do you understand that is wrong, no matter how much you personally identify with whatever form, correct or incorrect, of the holiday or deity in question?

            Your personal feelings CANNOT erase the appropriation, nor can they justify it. Suggesting so is utterly selfish, a type of “individual spirituality” which is utterly tied to modern Christian thought, as well as having undertones of colonialism and imperialism. I shouldn’t need to tell you about the checkered pasts of the numerous “founders” of eclectic movements, nor about their habit of spreading ignorant stereotypes and misinformation for personal gain.

            Cowardice because you hide from making an honest argument, as you have done in this very comment. Whether you “fear” me or not is utterly irrelevant, and I don’t doubt you don’t fear me at all.

          • Peter Dybing

            I agree, as I read the conversation I see people with opposing views, those who disagree and those whose beliefs diverge.It is only TaghdMor who seems to need to call names, say things that could be seen as offensive and seems to be fishing for reasons to be offended. Looks like an agenda to confirm a pre conceived notion

          • Peter Dybing

            The problem I see here is your obsession with the beliefs and practices of a group that you are not a part of. Your beliefs have great meaning for you, thats great and I support you right to believe as you do. Why the need ti trash others beliefs in establishing the credibility of your own. Seems kind of childish to me. It also is not consistent with the generally held interfaith ethics among Pagans of interfaith cooperation and support.

          • TadhgMor

            If appropriation is accepted among the common ethics, then I see no reason to hold to them. Far too many people seem to consider this a minor issue. Considering how widespread appropriation is in mainstream neo-paganism, the ethics you refer to seem to be severely flawed.

            If a group appropriates the holidays of a group I AM part of, I am not allowed to criticize that appropriation? That seems to be the gist here. I agree, respect is important. But when you appropriate you are not showing any respect for those practices. So why should I show respect for those who appropriate?

            For every one person like me trying to correct the falsities and misinformation about Gaelic practices pushed by neo-Druids, Wiccans, and various eclectics, there are a hundred with much bigger bully pulpits pushing the same old tired lies. When faced with this, I think criticizing those who are wrong is a necessary tactic.

            You’re essentially asking me to bow down on the altar of eclecticism, even though that is fundamentally against my faith. Because, well, norms. Baruch did the same when he suggested cultural issues have no place in this discussion.

            I do not see why I should abide by norms that favor others over me, indeed, ones designed to minimize my voice in relation to yours or his.

      • thelettuceman

        TadhgMor, respectfully:

        I think you need to go back and reexamine exactly what cultural appropriation stands for, anthropologically and culturally speaking. It is true that the idea of cultural appropriation has a negative connotation, especially when viewing with larger cultures which have colonized others (and I am not even strictly speaking of colonialism in its historic sense).

        But appropriation isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing. It seems to have picked up one of those excessively negative connotations, driven by vagaries of academic thought and sloppy scholarship that only the internet seems to enable. Social theorists and cultural purists are to blame for the conflation that the usage of and adoption of other cultural norms and traditions is “theft”, even without the dastardly claws of commodification and capitalism sinking in.

        Do not get me wrong. Cultural appropriation (especially commodification) CAN be very offensive. Yoga, for instance, being stripped of the spiritualist roots and marketed to suburbanite soccer moms as a a fitness regimen is offensive to me. Wearing war bonnets from Amerindian tribes is offensive to me. Adopting religious themed motifs as part of various fashion statements (like the recent Byzantine one) is offensive to me.

        But the crux of the matter is: Cultures appropriate from other cultures. They always have and, sometimes, even in peaceful ways. From coffee shops in Colonial England to Yoga in Contemporary America, and far beyond. It is driven by inquest, interest, and the fact that certain cultural values often fill a niche that was absent or helped to bolster an idea. Cultures don’t hold on to useless relics. They adapt them, change them, evolve them, or they die out. That’s the way of it. It always has been.

        Cultural purists and anti-appropriationists shut the door on such things. They fail to see the beauty of what can come from the new vigor that gets thrown into to the older traditions. Am I saying that the old traditions are rubbish? That they need to be constantly revamped? No. Not at all. But it is a slippery slope towards ideological superiority, cultural borders, and antagonism to say that they need to ‘stick to their own cultures’ or ‘leave others alone’, and has bred a significant amount of discord in the past.

        And, because I feel that this is going to be a necessary disclaimer: I am a hard polytheist with reconstructionist practices. A Germanic one, in fact. So you cannot tell me that I do not know the bitter sting of appropriationism of MY religious beliefs. In fact, I dare say, there has been as much appropriation of Germanic ideals as “Celtic” in the wider New Age/Eclectic community.

        It seems, specifically, that you have a bone to pick with the act of English appropriation. That’s another issue that I think is driving you towards this sort of rationale. Unfortunately, I can’t help you with it, as it seems to border on cultural bigotry, along with a fair tinge of classism and ideological elitism (hippies, really?). But it seems to have colored your view of the topic at large, and is perhaps clouding any form of objectivity you might have.

        Do you do anything to fix the misconception? I’m asking this honestly. Do you have discussions where you’re not ranting about English influences and warlords and getting defensive when you think people are calling you Christian (when they’re not)? Do you have a platform for your ideas out there? When you are at gatherings, do you provide any material, any references, or any information to people who might just not know better? There is a mass of sloppy scholarship in our communities. Are you doing anything to help try to change that around? Even so far as providing an accessible reading list of information?

        Or do you just get defensive on internet message forums and comments section and simply get offended after being antagonistic?

        • TadhgMor

          I have a bone to pick with ignorant New Agers taking my holidays and turning them into some completely unrelated mess of hippy bullsh*t. I’m tired of being told what my holidays mean by teenage girls who read the “new age” section at borders. I’m tired of watching eclectic pagans run roughshod over traditional practices and then justify it with “well it’s how I feel”, as if that isn’t a horribly selfish and childish way of viewing the world.

          I would ask they abandon Celtic names for non-Celtic holidays, personally. Stop trying to tell me incorrect things about it. They can celebrate what they would like, their practices are not my business. But they have NO RIGHT to TAKE others practices, bastardize them, and then push that bastardization into wider culture. It’s actively harmful.

          He very clearly called me a Christian to insult me. It worked, I was insulted.

          I’ll have you know, since all of you are apparently uncomfortable with me being upset on this issue, as if it shouldn’t matter, it’s only my faith after all, that I work in history, including Old Irish documents, and work to contribute to scholarship. I won’t have these insinuations, incorrect ones, made about me. I am not here to troll. If you notice my first comment to him, it was respectful. It was his dismissive and arrogant tone that made me angry, and it’s the continuing dismissive and arrogant tone of others that continues to make me angry.

          I’m being treated as if I have no right to be upset over this issue? Why the f*** does some eclectic pagan have more rights to my holiday than I do? Why do they get to define it?

          • Merlyn7

            Serious question: Did your parents and or their parents celebrate a traditional Celtic Beltane ritual honoring ancient Irish deities?

          • TadhgMor

            No. I make none of those “unbroken line” claims.

            But my ancestors did, and there are still LIVING Celtic cultures who also celebrate the holidays (not with polytheistic tendencies in most cases of course). Redefining it is simply more of the cultural imperialism that has been a hallmark of European relations with Ireland since the 17th century.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            “New Age.” “Hippy.” Do you not see how culturally arrogant your deployment of such terms is? Let me lay out a few guidelines to my Path that may not have been apparent.Your anger is not an argument. It is simply anger.My Path does not demand that I engage in hereditary battles of my ancestors.My Path encourages liturgical innovation if the result is a ritual “with legs.” I am blessed to have gotten into Paganism when that, and not the oldest ritual lineage, was becoming the more validated personal feature in Pagan culture, because I’m pretty good at ritual composition.Your Path is, obviously different. But you should be aware of what is the Path of those who disagree with you before you trash them as New Age and hippie (neither of which is an insult in my vocabulary, but obviously is in yours).

          • TadhgMor

            Culturally arrogant? Artificial practices are artificial. Period. I use those terms to refer to those who choose ignorance over knowledge and are guided by “feeling”, as if the world revolves around them.

            Is it so bloody hard for people like you with your own paths to use your own names, rather than ones that already exist? Why take Beltaine? Why not create your own holiday. That is what you’ve already done.

            Yes, I consider those an insult. It stands for selfish, ignorant people. The “fluffy bunnies” in the mall bookstore. I would not have considered you part of that prior to this. But if you stand up for falsities and cultural appropriation, that is where you belong. New Age in particular is anathema to scholarship.

          • Baruch Deamstalker

            those who [...] are guided by “feeling”, as if the world revolves around them.That’s an amazing segue. Feeling means being self-centered? Is there in your universe no example of feeling being a link with another? Bracing the foundations of a community? Being a path to the Old Ones? Amazing.

          • TadhgMor

            If you decide you can ignore centuries of tradition, as well as the views of others, in order to claim something as your own, despite completely bastardizing it from it’s original meaning, then yes, you are being self-centered because of your “feeling”.

            You are the one using “my feeling” “appeals to me” “My Path”, etc.

            If you are bracing the foundations of your community with appropriate practices then your community has serious issues, including ethical ones.

  • Taylor Ellwood

    Thanks for mentioning the article. I appreciate it.

    • Merlyn7

      It’s rather a good one.