The Pagan Blog Project continues and we’re on to the letter “C.” The concept of the Pagan community has been all over the blogosphere over the last six or so weeks. The best round-up that I’ve encountered throughout the conversation is the Allergic Pagan’s post; he’s been updating it regularly throughout the conversations travels online.
I keep returning to the conversation because our community and its future is dear to me. I’m an advocate of what some term “big-tent” Paganism to indicate that there is a lot of room for a lot of diversity within it. However, an argument was made at the Wild Hunt’s entry into the conversation by a user with the handle GOPagan:
On most levels, Hellenismos and Wicca have almost nothing in common (to take but one example). Why try to cram them into some sort of solidarity that doesn’t make any sense theologically, culturally, or sociologically?
This is a decent point. An argument could be made that there’s a gulf of difference between Catholics and snake-handle Pentecostals but the counter to it is that even these disparate groups believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ and Holy Trinity. It’s harder, as GOPagan put it, to connect a Wiccan and a Hellene when neither practice nor belief line up.
Ancient Spiritual Inspiration
Someone else wrote, and I wish I could find it to give them the credit they deserve, that the common theme between our various traditions is that we’re all modern people seeing inspiration from the faith practices of ancient cultures. This seems to be broad enough to include many of us, but those who are humanist, naturalist, or more occultist in nature may not find that much inspiration in such cultures. In the end, I suspect that it’s impossible to line everything up to create a single definition that is going to work for everyone.
But, I’m beginning to thing that we no longer have to.
I still think it would be nice to have something to share with non-Pagans — by which I mean other world religions, not simply non-Pagan polytheists — as my experience is that others have some difficulty understanding the us without some foundation on which to stand. But, I think that we’ll likely need to use the best words we can and provide clarification as asked. In fact, it’s been my more recent experience that the term “Pagan” is main-streamed enough in interfaith circles that people have that foundation and it’s the clarifications that are becoming more important. But, I digress.
United Federation of Pagans
Instead of a comprehensive definition, I’ve begun to think about things in a different way. In the Star Trek franchise, the action centers around members of the United Federation of Planets. The Federation is made up of many, many worlds each with different cultures, faiths, societies, and rules. Each of these worlds agrees to a charter that not only builds bridges between them, it enshrines the equal sovereignty and diversity of its member planets.
I think this is something that we could aspire to. Clearly, the Federation is a fictional construct created for the purpose of storytelling, but that doesn’t mean that the idea isn’t a good one. In a similar way, Hellenes and Wiccans might be able to agree on a series of principles that might also be agreeable to Khemetics and Heathens and Witches and Druids.
A tall order? Yes.
But maybe, just maybe, we could create such a community given time and the drive to do so. I’m not sure that we currently have that drive, but I hope that one day we might.