Thursday, January 26, 2012

On Differences

This week is my first Pagan Blog Project post. As those who are already participating may know, you can sign up for some tips and prompts every week to help you decide on what to write. I received my first one today, and opened it eagerly. 

Unfortunately I was really disheartened to see the author's tunnel vision when it comes to the sorts of Pagans who are out there. First she assumes it is spring everywhere in the world (which is scary more than anything - how is it people don't know how the seasons work?) - or possibly that there aren't any Pagans in the Southern Hemisphere. Or perhaps that Pagans in the Southern Hemisphere don't blog? Whichever it is, I can't see any excuse for this sort of thing. Second, she assumes all Pagans celebrate "Sabbats". 

Each Sabbat I would love to see everyone do a post, which will share your thoughts, experiences, rituals, and altar photos for that celebration.  This time we’re preparing for Imbolc.  So on February 2nd there will be a call for Imbolc posts.

I have several very important issues with this sort of thing.
  • It is exclusionary: it leaves out and marginalises a significant number of Pagans whose holidays may be radically different
  • It spreads misinformation: it implies to people unfamiliar with Pagans - and indeed Pagans who are just starting out - that all Pagans celebrate the same holidays, or at least similar holidays at a similar time, which is blatantly untrue
  • It highlights particular holidays as more important and worthy of focus, thus implying other holidays aren't worth the mention.

Is this some sort of "Wicca-flavoured Privilege" within Paganism? Assuming everyone celebrates the same things and the same time as you do? Either way I find it insulting, and my holidays fall at more or less the same time as sabbats - I even call some of my holidays "Sabbats", though I don't consider them the same holidays as of Wicca-flavoured religions. How are, for example, Hellenics with their full calendars, or Kemetics who celebrate some holidays timed by Inundation, supposed to feel? Why not just say something like "please post about your holidays when they come around"? I'm a little creeped out by the way it was phrased, also, as if one is expected to write about Imbolc regardless of whether one celebrates.

It just disappoints me that this sort of thing, with so many Pagans blogging, would be so exclusionary in the language it uses in its newletters.

I was going to post my first PBP post here, but I'm just too bothered by the whole thing. I'll post tomorrow instead. I'm thinking, maybe "blót"? I've discussed blótar before, I think, but I could stand to go into more detail. We'll see how I feel.

"Are you really so agitated, Sanna?"
I am. Perhaps I shouldn't be. And I'm not angry, as such... but I am bothered, and I am disappointed. One of my favourite aspects of Paganism as a whole - and I may have mentioned this before - is the sheer variety of religions, of beliefs and practices. And I'm ignorant of so many holy-days Pagans celebrate that I'm doubly annoyed that they're whitewashed over. I wish they were discussed more. I wish there was a wider appreciation of them. I wish I could say, hey, happy Lesser Dionysia! or something.

"Maybe you should just get the fuck over it."
Probably. I'll try not to make bitchy comments about the rest of the newsletters.


  1. It is irritating though, because there is more out there, and so many people miss out because of that "tunnel vision".

  2. Someone must have heard you... "Pagan Blog Project Celebrates Lughnasadh in the Southern Hemisphere!" :)

    1. EFF YEAH \m/

      Oh wait! But not everyone in the Southern Hemisphere is a worshipper of Lugh!


  3. Lol! I enjoyed this post, but I am probably guilty of a bit of the whitewashing myself- I am not sure where exactly, but if you picked over my blog with a fine-toothed comb I am sure you could find some in there somewhere. You are very right though. I don't think there are many SH pagans doing the project, you're only the second I have come across actually, three including me. The sabbat thing bothers me a little bit too but this is probably an extrapolation of the sabbats bothering me in general- even though I do celebrate them!

    1. We're probably all guilty of it sometimes. I think the world would probably be quite dull if everyone was hyper-aware of giving offence or making generalisations all the time, though.

      The sabbats bother me a little as well, though I'm not really sure why. Maybe that's something I'll explore as I go along. I guess in a way, calling them "sabbats" is a bit like picking a "witchy" word just to fit in with the whole theme of one's identification as a witch... but that's not the whole of it.