Am I A Pagan?

So yesterday I was described as “non-Pagan” not once, but twice in one day!

Once at the The Allergic Pagan (which has since been amended), and again at Postmodern Magic.

Now please understand, I am NOT upset by this. If anything I am honored to be mentioned in two different blogs on the same day. But while I do not usually throw the term Pagan out there as a main descriptor, I have never considered myself to NOT be Pagan.

It always kind of thows me to be described as NOT anything. My view spiritually is that not only does no one religion or path possess the whole of truth, but that mankind has not developed enough yet to even be able to understand the whole of truth. So to be described as NOT something kind of weirds me out. Plus, in this case it happens not to be true.

I mean, I have even been initiated in a coven for crying out loud!

I think it would be accurate for some people to say that I don’t fit their definition of Pagan, but so would lots of other Pagans.  I did mention in a post recently that this was not a Pagan blog and thus had different concerns when it came to the spirit/fiction debate, but it’s not a Buddhist blog or Gnostic blog either.

I mean, you can decide I am not Pagan because I am a Gnostic Bishop, but so is J.M. Greer and a half dozen other Pagan elders I know. You can say that because I am a Buddhist I am not Pagan, while it is true that I do not take refuge in Gods, I do practices that honor many many Gods and Spirits. At the moment I am writing a chapbook on Planetary Magic with 49 Hymns that focus on the Greek Gods associated with the planets. Chronos didn’t care that I am also a Gnostic Bishop and Tantrika when I made offerings to him this morning.

In a way the current myopic focus on the details of ones belief that is dominating the  Pagan conversation at the moment is actually a very un-pagan thing. In classical paganism, religion was much more about what you did (like honoring holidays and offering sacrifice to the gods) than it was about what the details of your personal theology were. If anything this focus on belief as the key factor of who is Pagan and who is not is kind of, well, Christian.

When I was coming up in the 80′s and early 90′s all the teachers I met were all cross-initiated into everything the could get their hands on. There was a hunger to learn all you could. Now it seems people are very focused on being “This and not That”, which saddens me a bit.

As I side note, Jack Faust referred to be as a fellow Chaos Magician whether I like it or not.  I have come to accept that title as well. My next post on Virtue and Mystery gods will kind of solidify me back into that fold if there was any doubt.

About Inominandum

Author. Sorcerer. Consultant. I have 30 plus years of experience making magic a reality for myself, my clients, and my students. For a complete background go to
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14 Responses to Am I A Pagan?

  1. Faoladh says:

    I agree with you to a degree. While it is true that practices and festivals are and were more important (and so much more important to me that I am more or less avoiding the current conversation about “pop culture” heroes, having made only one comment on the matter), it is also true that pagans both past and present thought about and discussed theology in detail. I think that the more important attitude difference is that they did not seem to consider their own theology to be definitive and all other varying theologies to be therefore wrong.

    In today’s world, we also have to focus a little more on theology because there are social advantages to doing so: notably, it is through a coherent, expressed theology that we are allowed by authorities to exercise our supposedly inalienable rights to practice our religions, for instance in prisons or through sacrificial rites, to choose two areas (among several more) where religious repression is highly likely to occur in the modern West.

  2. Nick Farrell says:

    I have been told that I am a pagan, fundamentalist Christian, Satanist, neo-pagan, agnostic, atheist, and heathen in my time. This is because the whole concept is woolly anyway, particularly when it comes to magicians. . I think it is normal for magicians not to fit into comfy boxes. For a start the problem is that Magicians do not tend to worship gods but work with them, They have a concept of God which is so abstract that forming a comfy relationship with it is impossible. I think Terry Pratchett said it best when one of his witches said “of course I believe in Gods and Goddesses, but I would not be doing with worshipping them.”

  3. Genevieve Serafina says:

    I was told that i was not pagan but a uptight prude, because i didn’t think that it was appropriate for a provocative and nude photo shoot to go on in a house where 3 young 9 year old girls happened to be… The truth is, Paganism doesn’t fit in to a neat little box, its all over the place, that’s why we call it Eclectic Paganism. If there is one thing that the whole Pagan community needs to realize is that we mustn’t criticize each other for our differences… we must embrace them, accept them and learn from them. If we can learn anything from the Christians, it is that. Their many forms of Christianity that have been arguing for eons… lets not be like them, and show the world how strong we can be, because of our acceptance and understanding of each other. Blessed Be )O(

  4. Gordon says:

    You’re chaos, baby. SEE YOU AT THE MEETING!

  5. Sara Mastros says:

    I agree with everything you said, especially the part about it being sad how we’re starting to loose out on the cross fertilization there used to be. I was struck by your use of the phrase “don’t take refuge in Gods”, which I’ve never heard that way before. It really resonated with me. Can you say more about exactly what you mean by that? Is it the same thing I mean when I say I work with gods, but I don’t worship them?

  6. Andrew B. Watt says:

    As a former seminarian, I find the whole “what do you believe?” thread in paganism right now to be tedious if not upsetting. I got used to the idea that every so often a professor or a visiting alumnus would ask questions designed to test orthodoxy as they understood it. Infuriating and upsetting, and stressful to my fellow students who were planning on ordination. Compare that with the current “pop” vs. “trad” pagan debates, and it seems like so much more orthodoxy and fundamentalism.

    I contrast this with strategic sorcery, or with Rufus Opus’s gate rites. Or with Druidic studies, for that matter… The deeper into magic I delve, the less important my “beliefs” seem to be — results, order, harmony and contentment don’t emerge as much from what I believe as what I do, make, write, or ritualize.

    I don’t know if that’s how it’s supposed to be — or if that was one of the big lessons i should have taken from the SSC — but I’m happier painting and drawing gods and angels and geometric mandalas and building things or alchemizing, to arguing about what it all //means//…

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  8. Matt says:

    This is an excellent post. You really hit the nail on the head.

  9. Anna Greenflame says:

    Yep. I’m a pagan who no longers calls myself “pagan” because of the general awfulness of so much of pagan culture, at last as it is expressed in the blogosphere.

    My husband came of pagan-age in that era when everybody was cross-training and getting initiated into everything. There was this hunger to encounter new material. Now it seems to be a race toward orthodoxy.

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