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Thread: Why are there so many paths in paganism?

  1. #1
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    Why are there so many paths in paganism?

    Only within Wicca we suddenly have a bucket full of sub paths with their own labels.

    Does this happen because there is a certain behavior caused of a certain need which might be common amongst those who seek paganism as their identity.
    And thus leading to decentralization of paganism.
    Might it be common to build a distance from other pagans, amongst pagans?

    Is it other pagans who form all these labels to other pagans?
    Or does these new labels form and worn by the same person?

    Do anyone suspect a pattern, i like patterns.
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  2. #2
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    It's not just Wicca, or even just neopaganism. Consider all the different sects that call themselves Christianity. The reason is the same, a person is inducted into an existing path, discovers it's "not quite right" and produces their own version. If that version speaks to enough others, it becomes a sect of its own. Neopaganism tends to encourage this seeking, but it's an evolutionary impulse in every religion.

  3. #3
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    It's not just Wicca, or even just neopaganism. Consider all the different sects that call themselves Christianity.
    You beat me to it, but yeah, Christianity's the most obvious example.

    Not to knock what you're saying, but I think you have it slightly backwards. Wicca is one path in the overarching category called Paganism, not the other way around.
    Not quite. Wicca and Thelema started Neo-Paganism, and they're both rooted in the Order of the Golden Dawn, which is, itself, rooted in the Christian Mystery traditions. Most Neo-Pagan Paths are heavily influenced by Wicca, regardless of what they call themselves.

    Wicca draws heavily from Folk Catholiism, as well. Folk Catholicism would be the basis for most of whatever in Neo-Paganism isn't influenced by Gardner or Crowley, such as Santeria, Voodoo, etc. I know it may seem strange to those unfamiliar with Catholicism that Papa Legba is actually from it's Folk traditions, but there's a reason many Catholics who dabble in Neo-Paganism often return to it, though with more of a Universalist mindset than when they first began exploring.

  4. #4
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    Gladeflower wrote: Only within Wicca we suddenly have a bucket full of sub paths with their own labels.
    I agree to a point. The problem I see is one that arose when Wicca became uninitiated and unlineaged. With the popularity of it in the late 80's onward it became more and more shake and bake and take what you want.

    It also became seen as a teenager revolt against structure and normality. A trend that if one waited they would grow out of. Granted many did and continue to do so which sort of masks those that grow beyond the glitter stage and actually discover the inner depth and beauty of the system.

    Does this happen because there is a certain behavior caused of a certain need which might be common amongst those who seek paganism as their identity.
    I do not think so. The single most common trait being the revolting against society and social accepted religious beliefs. They go from a tight structure and dogma to what they think has no dogma and structure. Yet the true falicy is they do not realize the dogma and structure is still there and when they discover it they try to find or create their own nitch. Yet it's still a lot of the revolt stage stuff that drives and creates the shallow depth of thier practice.

    And thus leading to decentralization of paganism.
    Even that isn't true compeltely. If one looks to the Odinist, Asatru, Voudon, Santeria, Shamanic, Family Trads, etc its not about being different or decentralized. By their nature many are centeralized about family elders or people that are seen in those lights. But then again most of them do not claim a pagan titled or affiliation except to the point of saying this is where they would mostly likely be placed in discussion.

    The stronger sense of decentralization I see is usually backed by those who want to think they are laying a new pathway. That they are doing thier own thing and choosing what parts to take in. Not even ecclectic in the sense that they do not take from the whole with both good and bad but only from a sense of what they like. Almost like children at a dinner table who choose only the desert and avoid the rest of the meal, then wonder why others look down upon them.

    Might it be common to build a distance from other pagans, amongst pagans?
    Even that is a loaded question. My pathwalk as a Shamanic practioner is always as a loner. My pathwalk as a family trad member is also restricted and closed to those not of my family blood. heck even the Stregian pathway I was initiated into is closed to those outside of it.

    Yet it was not from trying to distance ourselves from others, for in truth we really didn't and still do not concern ourselves with what they think. Especially so when we look and see what is occuring within the developing notion of Pagan and the many groups that try to seperate themselves from that umbrella term.

    Is it other pagans who form all these labels to other pagans? Or does these new labels form and worn by the same person?
    My base belief is because of uneducated opinions. To much charmed and other fantasy added to the mix. Celtic Wiccan? To my belief no such thing. One is a Wiccan if they are descended from a lineaged coven, Celtic is only the godheads they work with.

    Yet for me I see many that use the labels in the hopes that it will seperate them from others and perhaps make you think they are better informed and knowledged than they are.

    It's like I ask tell me how your beliefs will or would hold in an equatorial zone. Wicca fails off the bat in that one as the seasonal practice fails immediately. It works in the regions farther away from the equator but fails the closer one comes to it. Which is why I think it has never taken hold in those regions. Just as an example.

    Do anyone suspect a pattern, i like patterns.
    There's many patterns but most will be overlooked in the cry of "You can't tell us what to believe or how to believe!"

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    Ahautenites wrote: Not to knock what you're saying, but I think you have it slightly backwards. Wicca is one path in the overarching category called Paganism, not the other way around.
    Actually I would disagree there to the extent that when Wicca became public no one else was calling themselves Pagan. We were family trads for the most part or occultist but never pagan.

    The usage of Pagan seemed to arise as more and more tried to seperate from the exploding umbrella term of Wiccan. Especially as the self - initiated and uninitiated practice was taking hold and the practice was being sold in books.

    I started seeing it more and more as it became popular to be "Wiccan" or "Pagan". Yet the more popular it became the more anti-pagan things seemed to become. Northern based pathways started to really utilize the "Heathen" title to seperate themselves from the fluffy Pagan movement. Recons started to really push and insist that they were not Pagan either as they actually took the good and the bad from the social and belief systems they connected to.


    I do believe it is natural for a person to want to belong to a group of like-minded people. And because there are so many different people out there, there are lots of different people with whom to be like-minded. It leads to a fractionalization of groups.
    I agree to a point here. By the very design of our beliefs and thier non-traditional roles in most societies we come together for acceptance. Yet it also causes strife in that fluffiness becomes a semi-critical facet many can not and will not ignore.

    We used to say to be an occultist was to be on the path of the wise. We researched everything and constanlty tried to expand our knowledge of both the phsycial world and spiritual world. UPG was a guide but it was never accepted blindly. No single book was ever proof enough, nor was ones position accepted withouth the ability to present their position with sufficient evidence to stand before critical analysis.

    That is steadly falling away. UPG has become sufficinet reason for many. Proof is based upon what ever current Pagan author writes without regard to their credentials or expereince. It's becoming a case of why and I want it fast and now. No need to research or self discover for all or most want the give it to me.

  6. #6
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    Ok now i'm really confused. I quote and respond to a message that was here but is no longer to be found here it seems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MonSno_LeeDra View Post
    Ok now i'm really confused. I quote and respond to a message that was here but is no longer to be found here it seems.
    it might be the person posted it might have soft deleted it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by perceval23 View Post
    I know it may seem strange to those unfamiliar with Catholicism that Papa Legba is actually from it's Folk traditions,
    False. Legba originated as a deity of native Africa, commonly thought from Benin though I've heard some Nigerians claim him. He has morphed over time, taking on the various forms, especially once he was combined with the conqueror religion of Catholicism.

    He was not a saint, though some connect him with Saint Anthony of Padua. I don't know so much if they see him as one in the same or a close associate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lightdragon View Post
    it might be the person posted it might have soft deleted it.
    I though of that but though that it would still leave a place holder.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonSno_LeeDra View Post
    I though of that but though that it would still leave a place holder.
    unless you are an admin. or a guide assigned to this forum. you will not see nothing. not sure on teachers.
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