Saturday, February 27, 2010

When One god Is Not Enough.

I had, for quite a while in the 90's some very cute wiccan bartenders of the "Charmed" watching type. Invariably attractive, none of them came from intact homes and all were tattooed. I am also aware of the more unusual manifestations of the dreaded New York religious right.

The current pagans usually are New Agey and ecliastical rigor does not seem to be a big part of the draw. This is why the nuts and bolts of this chaplaincy appointment intrigues me. How do they vet pagan priestesses for chaplancies at state schools? Exactly what rites are involved? What is the Pagan Holy (Holly?) day? I suppose you have Beltane (May 1) and the like (Shahain?(October 31) but do modern pagans agree on a worship day? Also, my Nordic Pagan Republican from New York likely has no truck with the softer southern gods. Can one priestess cover it?

Sadly, a misspent youth of Conan the Barbarian paperbacks makes me predisposed to a view of pagan priestesses in a more erotic light than normally associated with the chaplaincy. My experience of actual pagan priestesses (however slight) is that graduate school pounded the sexy out 'em. This appears to me to be squelching one of the main draws of paganism over time.

Now, modern pagans have trouble being taken seriously. Obviously the movie Dragnet did not help, nor do the Dungeons and Dragons associations. But as we descend into ruin....I mean become more open, accepting and broadminded...paganism is likely to flourish.

I detest Marion Zimmer Bradley's view of Arthurian legend which outlook, I suspect, informs a lot of modern paganism.

As does the views of this woman.

Traditional pagan, it seems to me, are getting the short end of the stick.

Do the Hindus, numerically dwarfing other pagan cults, get a chaplain? According to the internet they have even suborned the Pope!

And that is what gets me about this. There are real pagans, both the animists of Africa and the Voodoo priests of Haiti and the Carribbean. The current pagans are a completely made-up mishmash of Zinnish-history and sophmoric feminist impulses. Don't you have to put in your dues before you get a chaplancy? Dancing naked under the full moon a few times ought not qualify. Hindus and Voodo have been, in the first instance, the basis of a great civilization, and in the second, outstanding movies. Voodo priestesses should get preference on the strength of Jane Seymour's turn in Live and Let Die alone (and if your tarot reading priestess can't tell the future anymore don't believe her denials about the football coach). What have the modern pagans given us beyond Alyssa Milano?

I assume this will be taken up by other colleges and am aware the military now has pagan chaplains. I can't wait to here the newly appointed Muslim clerics views on all this. By Crom! that will be something to see.


Anonymous said...

I (CRH's brother) know quite a few practicing pagans. Several of them are second generation. Some are third generation and have children who may be fourth generation. One of my friends describes his pagan mother-in-law as totally white-bread. Broken homes don't seem to be a factor.

Is modern paganism more made-up than any other religion was?


jjv said...

Who are modern paganism's martyrs? Where is its intellectual heft? Where are its miracles?

Dave S. said...

Are martyrs, intellectual heft and miracles necessary elements of religion? News to me.

Anonymous said...

I don't know of any religeon that doesn't claim miracles; it's just that outsiders don't acknowledge any miracles but their own. Go figure.

JJV, I've never heard "intellectual heft" being a required element for any belief system other than secular/scientific humanism. Is there something you want to tell us?


jjv said...

Yes, Judaism and Catholicism,particularly, but even the Calvinists and the Muslims for a time have great centers of learning and philosophical rigor. It is why the first two, particularly, survive and flourish in a clash with modernity.