Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Predictions of Community

I've been thinking quite a bit about where the Pagan community as a whole is going, and where individual groups are going. Many of us try to pretend that our actions concern only us, but that simply is not the truth or case, our actions will inevitably affect those who we share the community with and will affect some individuals or groups desires to be associated with the neo-Pagan community and movement. I have a few predictions that I"m going to make, with the possible hope of bringing in dialogue and with the definite purpose of sorting my own thoughts about the whole issue out. Here are my predictions based on nothing more than my own observations. No divination was used, nothing like that.

  • Eclecticism in the general sense is probably going to die out. The community in of itself is probably going to cool down and settle to some sort of similar practice, theology, and cosmology. Variations will arise (see Theravada Buddhism vs Vajrayana Buddhism for example) but there will be some sort of common base. A group similar to ADF (if not ADF themselves) will likely be the torch-bearer for the whole she-bang. Smaller factional groups will likely arise, but they will share many of the "solidified" elements of their Pagan base and will remain in "brotherhood" with their religious "cousins"  Wicca will either be a large denomination or will be consumed by the large group that is the torch-bearer. We can easily see all of these tendencies by looking at your standard fare at a Pagan Pride Day or at a general Pagan convention.

  •  Reconstructionist religions will attach themselves (at least partially) to the Neo-Pagan movement until they are big enough to stand on their own. Reconstructionist groups, while very small, will have to rely on the Pagan "tent" to provide recruitment, limited-protection, and a limited sense of community. In exchange the general Pagan community will pilfer elements from the groups to enrich their own traditions. Reconstructionist groups will reach a "critical mass" point to where the members of the religion realize they don't need the Pagan tent anymore, and will slowly begin to distance themselves from the Pagan community and adopt a more "this is us, that is them" mentality towards the Neo-Pagan community. We are already seeing this trend beginning in the Asatru/Heathen communities in which many members are starting to cut ties with the Pagan community at large. Reconstructionist religions will also be forced to form some sort of unifying head for their particular religion (i.e. Asatru and Hellenismos would not have the same unifying head). This unifying group will provide a loose definition of what the religion consists of to outsiders, and will provide the members of the religion a means of building community and organizing themselves. Those who do not do this will remain small. 

  • Neo-Druidry and Wiccan traditions will either meld into one tradition or will both become large denominations for the Pagan community. We will start to see a sort of middle-ground between soft, hard, and archetypal polytheism and systems of theology and cosmology will arise which accommodates these strikingly different view points. "Borrowing" from other religions will begin to slow down and eventually cease (as in, completely new influences being brought in) as Paganism gets its own sense of "this is what we do"  

  • There will be a decrease in the acceptance and tolerance of traditions which are discriminatory in terms of gender and/or sexual orientation. Therefore, I predict that the Goddess tradition will either diminish in number or break away from the Pagan umbrella and that the Dianic tradition will greatly diminish in number. I am uncertain if they will become "extinct" but I definitely feel that they will be seen as "radicals" and "not really *us*" much as liberal-Christians feel about hard-right Evangelicals. 

Thoughts? Comments? Leave them below.

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  1. I'm not a polytheist, not a monotheist, and am a pantheist. But I do understand the concept of archetypes, and I suppose I subscribe to it in some way, which I know you do not. However, I have become totally uninterested in reaching back into the ancient past and drawing out some random Goddess for some purpose. What is she to me? I've stopped calling on the Gods and Goddesses from other times and places and just now call on the energy I need today. Snake Goddess. She who Heals. The Dark One. Sky Goddess. Star Goddess. I feel much more connected to these archetypes pulled out of my own, modern head being used for my own, modern magic.

    1. And if that works well for you I am quite glad to hear it. I'm personally just very interested in preserving and promoting the worship of my Gods and Goddesses. To me, I'm not reaching into the past, they are here and now, but I quite understand that not everybody feels that way, and I respect that. I have high hopes for the community, but 30 years from now I think things will be different.

      It also sounds like that archetypal method works well and compliments your practice, so as I said, I'm glad that you have something that works very well for you. I just don't imagine I'll write anything particularly riveting for you :P


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A young man living in North Texas. He is an actor, a Hellenistos, and a proud member of Hellenion.