“Moderates”

This is a post that is probably going to piss some people off.

You might recall that I reblogged this post from Warboar calling for Pagans, polytheists, or whatever the popular label is these days to shape up, stop being assholes, and create a community that lasts.

Not surprisingly, this post has led to some discussion and some defensiveness, as in this post on tumblr. Actually, go and read it, and then come back. It’s relevant to this post.

Don’t worry, I’ll wait…

……

…….

…….Done?

Good, let’s continue.

Now, I could spend time talking about that post in particular and what’s wrong with it (let’s start with the idea that AL and Raven Radio are in any way “moderate”) but instead, I’m going to give you an example.

Let’s say I give a group of people a drum. Let’s say it’s a frame drum that looks something like this:

Person A will be like “Ooh, drums were used in Native American ceremonies for a bajillion years! It’s so spiritual and stuff! Let’s all drum together after we smudge with white sage and sweetgrass.”

Person B will say “Oh, cool, drums are a great tool for getting into trance.”

Person C will consult their books, conclude that while there’s no record of their specific culture using drums (apart from some vague references) their neighbours (with whom they traded extensively) certainly did, and they see nothing wrong with using it.

Person D will consult their books, argue back and forth with their co-religionists over whether it is or is not appropriate to use a drum in ritual (and if they answer that question in the affirmative, will argue about the appropriate method of drum construction) and will loudly criticize persons A, B, and C because they DARED to use a drum in ritual, and probably end by calling them all fluffy bunnies and playgans.

Notice how I didn’t give any of these people labels, but if I had to, Person A would be the New Ager/”fluffy bunny”, Person B would be Neo-Pagan/Recon-derived, Person C would be Recon-leaning/Reconstructionist, and Person D would be a Hardcore Reconstructionist (FUCK YEAH!) or, alternatively, an Asshattru. Realize that these are very broad categories, and people can and do hold multiple views. I would categorize myself as someone who is between B and C. Sometimes, I do things for the simple reason that they “work”. I see this a lot “Why would you use X within Heathenry?”

Because it works.

At the same time, I like being informed. This is why you won’t find me claiming that tarot is an ANCIENT form of divination stretching back to before we had things like Medieval courts and paper or that Ishtar is somehow related to Easter (no, no, NO). At the same time, I don’t call myself a reconstructionist, because, when it comes down to it, I’m not so much concerned with what so-and-so did in the 10th century than with what I’m doing right now, and yes, sometimes I catch myself saying “academic articles are SO BORING, could somebody please give me a quick summary with all the useful bits in it?”

The other thing is, I don’t think Person D is really all that problematic…to a point, because there’s nothing wrong with arguing and researching and whatnot. No, where it is problematic is when Person D crosses the line between reconstructionist and total asshat. It’s the point where everyone below Person D gets lumped in with Person A.

And that is not okay.

It wasn’t okay when the Catholics I used to talk to did it, and it’s not okay when someone who really should know better does it. The world is not just made up of persons A and D with “moderates” (who really look more like person D) in the middle. There are Bs and Cs who want absolutely NOTHING to do with either group, and there are Ds who go around not being asshats, and there are probably Xs who are just….quirky.

Also, if you think the likes of Asatru Lore and Raven Radio are “moderate”, I have a gif for you:

I love this gif so much.

Also LOL, LOL FOREVER!

And the moral of the story is: don’t be an asshat.

No, Just No.

The tumblr Pagan tag is a source of endless entertainment and frustration for me, but mostly entertainment. Today, I found this graphic:

I have no words for this.

Actually, I have a couple:

“Ishtar” is pronounced “Ish-tar”, this is the way my professor pronounced it, and I trust his judgement, because he, you know, studies this stuff for a living.

ERMEGERD CONSTANTINE! For the love of everything, Constantine didn’t have anything to do with determining the date of Easter or the meaning of Easter or anything like that, THAT debate wasn’t resolved for AGES after Constantine.

Bunnies? Try lions.

I love how this graphic uses “fertility and sex” as if they’re a matched set. I’m sure it might surprise some of these people to learn that songs like “Ishtar will not tire” exist, which have nothing to do with fertility and everything to do with the goddess fucking a whole lot of men near the wall of the city. Why? Because she wants to. (And she’s the goddess of prostitutes, they prayed to her for customers.)

Honestly, why am I even responding to this? Everyone reading this knows that its stupid.

So I had this idea for a story….

It’s horribly cliche, but I really want to try my hand at Medieval-esque fantasy, specifically, playing with the idea(l) of courtly love. Maybe I’m just in a very romantic mood, but I’m picturing an order of knights that (rather impractically) decorates their armor with flower motifs like a whole army of Ser Lorases GTFO Game of Thrones (though some use trees, because trees are, you know, “manly”….or something) and instead of the Catholic Church, there are temples dedicated to the Lady (the Lady had a proper name once, but it’s been lost), and there’s also a god of fire that’s popular with “those dirty peasants”. His sphere is desire (“the fire in one’s loins”, etc.) and everyone honours him by dancing naked around a bonfire and tossing offerings into it (but please, if you’re going to have sex–which is perfectly acceptable, go do it in the shadows, it’s unseemly to do it close to the fire). Oh, and the nobles like to complain about the “dirty peasant god” when they secretly have shrines to him in their castles because they’re all hypocrites like that. The Lady’s priest/esses get all grumpy when you mention the peasant god, but he’s tolerated because everyone would pretty much flip their shit if they banned his worship, and, well, the god has this terrible habit of inflicting infertility or impotency on people who piss him off.

Oh, yeah, and since this is my story, there are lady knights and gentlemen knights who chase after persons of the same sex, and bards are infamous for screwing everything that moves (so long as they consent, are of age, and not related to them) and there are, you know, bandits and innkeepers, no elves and dwarves though, but maybe a couple dragons. No, no, don’t get me started on dragons….

It sounds like a good idea, but I’d feel more confident if I had my “Middle Ages 101” textbook, which was awesome, but my friend borrowed it and never gave it back for some reason, or else she did and I lost it. At least there’s the Internet Medieval Sourcebook, which is an awesome online resource.

Thoughts? Too cliche? Yeah, it is very cliche. I guess it’ll be my “project for when I want to write floofiness”.