So, I’ve been pretty caught up with back to semester stuff, life transitions, a minor addiction to League of Legends and a few other things. In this time period, apparently some new controversy (and by new I mean actually very old and tired and saggier than your grandpa’s bits when he forgot to put on trousers) has popped up about definitions of paganism, what it means to have labels, etc. While I’m no blogging heavy weight by any means, I thought I’d share my own opinion for my tiny audience of readers.
First, the compilation of the shitstorm here
Ok, I think this first encourages us to take a quick exploration of why we use labels. While I’m sure there are several deep sociological, psychological and other forms of scientific reasoning to explain why we use labels, I have not the time to quote, investigate, research and dictate to you what you can find on wikipedia. All of this is my quick 2 cents, as I should really be either sleeping or doing homework.
We like labels as much as we hate them. They both help give direction to us as well as force us into specific confines. They group us for recognition of others and creating a collective in-group as well as making us a target for the out group. They both introduce us to others with similar ideas as well as forcing an in group/out group dynamic. That being said, labels then are both useful and harmful.
I am no expert on the long term battles of arguing for definitions of the labels of paganism. I’ve been on the path for, I don’t know, about 9 years, give or take, in some form, but I’m not a big shot. Hell, the person who seems to have stirred a lot of this up, some Star Foster….I think I read her blog once? Really, I personally don’t give two fucks. My concern over labels is simply one of self identification to others. While some argue “I don’t have to define myself to you, blah blah blah”…well guess what? If I ever want a fucking holiday off when I get into the work force, you better damn well be sure I’m using some label when I ask for it. Right now, I’m concerned about making sure that if I ever go public, like plain as day public, with my faith, an employer can’t fire me. If I need labels for that you bet your ass I’m gonna use them. I also use labels to try and help those who aren’t myself understand me. I’ve got a lot of friends who aren’t pagan/witchy/whateverthefuckyoufeeltheneedtocallit and somedays using a single label or 2-3 is easier than taking them through the whole thing.
Another reason why I can use labels without feeling super strongly about them- my faith and practice is constantly evolving. For those of you who have a static set in stone way, sure, bitch about changes and about why you hate this or why you like that. I’m just learning where my path treads. I know what I’m not, that I’m not Wiccan and a few other things, but that doesn’t mean that I know 100% what I am. Really, at this point in my life, I don’t feel that I need to be. I try not to step on toes and I sit in my own corner, playing with my own toys. I like the pagan blog o sphere for sharing knowledge and ideas when feeling limited by geographical location. I think that, politically, aligning ourselves under a label could be useful. But I’m not going to spew vitriolic rhetoric just because I feel like I’m some high and mighty grand poopah of my corner of the internet. Really, the sandbox is big enough for us all, you get your stang out of your ass and focus on more significant things. I bet if you have time for all that constant bitching, you’ve got time to actually do something for the community (and not just the ‘pagan’ one, but the one you actually live in) such as, I don’t know, volunteer, give blood, clean something, tutor someone, rescue some pet. Oh, but if you’d like to stay on the internet, then maybe find some interesting research topic and then do real academic research on it and give something valuable and noteworthy to the online community, instead of some bland copy pasta that sounds like you took the fluffiest piece of poop you could and pissed faerie glitter on it.
There, I’m done now.
tl;dr- quit your bitching and your butthurt, there are better things to do with your life.