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A Wiccan on Wiccanate Privilege

There's been a lot of talk since PantheaCon in the blogsphere recently about Wiccanate privilege.  I was not at PantheaCon, but to the best of my ability to determine, it is a general sense of being marginalized in the Pagan community that exists among a variety of Pagans who do not follow a path that resembles (at least superficially) Wicca.  They feel that most "Pagan" rituals and gatherings are Wiccan-normative, and they would prefer that this assumption is not made in pan-Pagan ritual, conversations and gatherings.  There have been some excellent articles on the topic; here's one at the Wild Hunt; here's one at Finnchuill's Mast; here's one by T. Thorn Coyle in regards to a controversial "Wiccanate" prayer she gave at the gathering; here's one at Of Thespiae (a Hellenic Reconstructionist blog); here's a couple by fellow PaganSquare writers Stifyn Emrys and Taylor Ellwood; here's a couple by fellow Patheos writers Yvonne Aburrow, Niki Whiting, Julian Betkowski, John Halstead and Jason Mankey at Raise the Horns; and P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, writer of "Queer I Stand" at Patheos, has commented about it extensively around the internet though I couldn't find a specific blog post on the topic in my search (though e was at the conference).  If you read all of these, you'll probably get a good handle on the many different sides of the issue and what various people's take on it is: and if you read the comments, it will be more informative still.  If you haven't done so yet, do it; then come back here in an hour or three if you still want to hear my opinion.  Don't worry, I'll wait . . .

Here's my thoughts as someone who identifies as a Wiccan: I think that those who are advocating for this are right!  I think that most people, within and without the Pagan community, do assume that "Wiccanate" paths are the norm.  And I do think we need to be more inclusive and accommodating in our language and form.  No question about it!  Our community is still small enough that I don't think we can afford to alienate each other.  Let's try to get along in a climate of mutual respect.

I think it might help to have an idea of where the problem came from.  Back in the early 90s, when we were all using bulletin boards and Yahoogroups to open these conversations in a collective way that wasn't in-person at festivals, most of the books out there were indeed about essential solitary "Outer Court" Wicca.  Most people came to Paganism through these books.  Most of us still do.  So I (being one of those sorts) got on a bunch of different Pagan groups to chat and learn about stuff, and identified myself as a "solitary Wiccan".  I suppose the reactions I got were fairly indicative of what was typical: some initiated British Traditional Wiccans (who, don't get me wrong, are justifiably proud of their accomplishments because it takes a lot of work to earn those degrees) told me that because Wicca was a special initiatory mystery tradition descending from either the unbroken line of the Craft back to Neolithic days, or Gerald Gardner, I could not be Wiccan because I was not an initiate.  I imagine that my reaction was very similar to that of others like me; I found the term "Pagan" or "Neo-pagan" (which both Oberon Zell and Isaac Bonewits have claimed to have coined; I wasn't there so I don't know) and began calling myself an "eclectic Pagan" instead.

It quickly became unfashionable to call oneself a Wiccan, and I guess that has remained true to this day.  Wiccans are seen as the "stodgy old establishment" of Paganism.  No one wants to admit to having anything whatsoever to do at all with Wicca these days; no matter how much their personal spiritual path quacks and walks like that duck.

Well, perhaps because I started as a solitary and became a covening Witch in an initiatory tradition, I have a slightly different point of view.  For me, "witchcraft" has always been about practice; but "Wicca" was a faith.  It has all those traits about it that are listed as part of the marks of a Wiccanate ritual.  Initiated British Traditional (and related) Witches are priestesses and priests of that religious path, as are initiates of similar paths such as Feri; not every other "Wiccanate" Pagan out there is.  Many people might forget it, but that's pretty much what Gerald Gardner said about it in Witchcraft Today.

The phenomenon is referred to pejoratively as "Sabbat Pagans" in some circles.  These are mostly "eclectic Pagans," as we used to call ourselves twenty years ago, with a belief system and pattern of practice that would be called "Wiccanate".  But we didn't want to be called "Wiccans" because we felt the "real" Wiccans (really just a vocal minority) would be offended.  Or perhaps we perceived Wicca as a patriarchal hierarchy of oppression (which strikes me as having started as a sort of a backlash against the "you can't be Wiccan" sentiment in retrospect.)  We began using the term "Pagan" to avoid the argument, but "Wiccan" is actually what we were.  Other Pagans in the blogosphere have used the term "Wicca-identified Pagans."  Which works not at all, because no one who is one actually identifies as being at all Wiccan.

I agree with John Halstead when he said:

The first thing I noticed in the discussion was that there is still some serious confusion about what “Wiccanate” means. The initiated Gardnerians in the room heard “Wiccan” and “Wiccanate” and they seemed to think the speaker meant initiatory British Traditional Witchcraft. What polytheists mean by “Wiccan” or “Wiccanate” is not traditional initiatory Wicca, but Wicca-inspired Neo-Paganism or Neo-Wicca, what Don Frew pejoratively called “Llewellyn Craft”. You can say that only initiatory British Traditional Witchcraft is “real Wicca” until you are blue in the face. But folks, that ship has sailed. It sailed with Scott Cunningham and Llewellyn and the Internet. To most people, “Wicca” now means American Neo-Wicca, the blending of traditional Wiccan ritual forms, with spiritual feminism, Jungian psychology, and the mythology of Robert Graves.

You see, I think of it in a parallel of the evolution of other religions (and why would it be any different?)  "Pagan" is a blanket term that refers to a variety of religions with some common ground, just as "Abrahamic" refers to a variety of faiths with some common ground.  But the term "Christian" also covers a variety of faiths.  Gardnerian Wicca is kind of like the Catholic church; it was here first.  Alexandrian Wicca is kind of like the Anglican church; it's a spinoff but it looks a lot like the "original" (though arguably Gnosticism is older; but I digress).  Feri and its derivatives are kind of like the Orthodox church, which is really a case of some crossover but the split was so early in their mutual development that it was more like parallel evolution (or, since they are an initiatory mystery tradition that relies heavily on personal gnosis, they might actually be more like the Gnostics - who are still Christians, just with a very different viewpoint and practice.)  The earliest paths that came from these are like the early Protestants; the Lutherans and the Presbyterians, perhaps.  Everything after the publication of Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner is like Evangelical/Protestant Christianity, which came much later, is considerably stripped of a lot of the formalities and ceremony of Catholicism, and usually so by design.

Ask the Catholics if any of the others are Christians; until very recently they would have told you "no."  Ask the Anglicans who the "real Christians" are, and until very recently they would have said that the high churches were Christian but the Evangelical/Protestant types were not.  And so on.  But the truth is, they all possess enough traits in common that they fall under any religious scholar's definition of "Christian."

So yes, the majority of those who describe themselves as "Pagan" are Wiccanate.  I would go so far as to say that I think they all practice variations of traditions that are different denominations of the many faiths that fall under the "Wicca" label.  If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it just might be a duck!

Or, it might be a funny-looking goose (which is what Feri and descended say that they are.)  Which is fine too.  There are many groups that are defined as "Non-trinitarian Christianity" which don't have quite the same cosmology as everyone else (which includes Mormons, Unitarians, Christian Scientists, and so forth). Or maybe those are the Dianics.

If "Wiccanate" is the term we're going to use to describe this, that's fine by me; but I don't think it's going to work out because no one wants to admit that they are in any way "Wiccanate."  It would help if we'd just accept that we all have enough in common that we sort of need a common label that defines us as being of a particular branch of Paganism.  In this we could learn from the Christians: they all finally gave up and reluctantly accepted their common label, but that took them more than 2000 years so I am probably being optimistic). ;)

But we won't.  And the reason why we won't is that many of us in the Pagan subculture pride ourselves on our differences.  We don't want to admit that we're all unique . . . just like everyone else.

Which is part of the problem too.  I think that the "Wiccanates" would be less concerned with working to find commonalities with other "Wiccanates" instead of emphasizing their differences if they felt that their differences were also being respected.

I have another experience from the 90s to relate as a Wiccanate who had yet to redefine herself as an "eclectic Pagan" to avoid offending people.  I joined a Yahoogroup called "Freya's Wiccans."  There were some really great conversations on there between a diverse array of Pagans of different faiths, including a real-life dyed-in-the-wool no-joking Romani.  Awesome stuff!

There I had my first experience with someone who identified himself as Asatru or Heathen.  I asked him about his faith because I was curious.  And mostly, the answers I got were all variations of "we're different than the Wiccans because" and "we're better than the Wiccans because."

After a few months of discussion I got tired of this.  I said, "Okay, I get that your faith is not Wiccan.  That's great!  So what is your faith about then?  If your only claim to fame is that you're better than Wicca, prove it by telling me what you are, aside from Norse."

The vitriol that ensued was personally insulting and offensive, and guess which one of us was taken to task by the moderator?  So guess who left the list?

Even then, back in the 90s, this was a problem, and I think that many Wiccanates, when confronted by Reconstructionists of various stripes, feel the same way.  I offer this advice; while yes, the assumption that you think like they do shouldn't be made, you will catch more flies with honey than vinegar.  Wiccanates know that Gardner made it all up (even the most militant Goddess worshippers are beginning to accept that) and we really don't care how much more historically accurate you are than we are.  I actually read in the blog and comments of a Hellenismos how offended they are that we depict a strange-looking Hecate in our statues and that we "misunderstand" Athena.  Who in the &^%$ are you to tell me that I "misunderstand" a Goddess because I choose to worship Her in a different way than you do?

Yet I do see the frustration and I think it's justified.  Starhawk's suggestion that what we had in common as Pagans was a concern for the Earth and that we needed to unite over that rather than worry about "this small thing" shows just how out-of-touch a lot of us are.  I've made an effort to learn and I know a lot more about Heathenism now; enough to know that worrying about environmental activism really isn't their primary concern.  And I don't know any ritual magicians or Voodoo practitioners who give more than a passing nod to that issue either.  Heathens and Northern Pagans are concerned with family, tribe, and yes, the well-being of the land of their family and tribe . . . but that's not the same thing. I'm not even sure that the original Pagans of the modern age, those being the British Traditional sorts, would agree with that as a defining characteristic of what makes a "Pagan."

The last aspect that I believe has created this problem for us as Pagans is the desire of the early Wiccanate Pagans to be too inclusive.  In our eagerness to embrace other Pagans, we became completely unwilling to state what we actually are!  We say that anyone can be a Pagan and have any combination of beliefs.  Which I completely support and agree with.  So what, then, is Wicca?  What is not Wicca?  People who are not Wiccan or "Wiccanate" are defining this for us right now.  Maybe it's finally time for us to talk about this.  Our lack of definition creates a cultural melting pot instead of a mosaic, which forces those who do not share a "Wiccanate" belief to conform to that structure simply because it overwhelms everything else in its loose, amoeboid borders.

Now that I've probably succeeded at offending everybody, I'd like you to go away from this article until the steam has depressurized, and then I'd like you to come back and consider; am I right or wrong?  And how do we fix this?

I think we should start by refusing to use language that disrespects others and their beliefs, and we should be more willing to stand by what we are.  Let the British Traditional Witches stop trying to claim they're the only game in town.  Let the Eclectic Pagans admit that they're Wiccans too.  Let the Reconstructionists and the Polytheists tell us what they are instead of what they aren't.  Let the Wiccanates, if they don't want to use that label, help us to find a different name that embraces the commonalities that are evident to everyone else but us.

Please understand that I mean no disrespect to anyone.  For the record, I began my journey as a folk witch, then a ritual magician, then a solitary Wiccanate eclectic Pagan, then a Kemetic, then a solitary Celtic witch; I dabbled in Druidry, then became a covening Wiccanate and a Goddess-worshipper of a soft Dianic viewpoint, then I embraced Reclaiming, initiated into a derivative called "Pagans for Peace," and finally ended up as an initiate in Star Sapphire, which descends from British Traditional Wicca but embraces elements of Feri and Reclaiming.  I look young, and I suppose I am young as I am only pushing forty, but I discovered the Pagan path at a very young age and have been walking it for a long time, trying to find my way.

I'm no exception I think; and that, too, is part of the problem we are facing.  We are a bunch of parallel new religious movements, still trying to figure out what we are.  I suppose it's only natural for us to pass through an adolescent stage of emphatically declaring what we aren't, and how different we are from our parents.  In some ways, we will be right.  But in some cases in our adulthood, we will realize how like our parents we are after all.  Maybe it's time we all grew up a little.

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Sable Aradia (Diane Morrison) is a licensed Wiccan minister and a Third Degree initiate in the Star Sapphire and Pagans for Peace traditions. A writer, musician and vlogger, she makes her living through writing, psychic readings, music, and by teaching workshops. Author of "The Witch's Eight Paths of Power: A Complete Course in Magick and Witchcraft," (Red Wheel/Weiser) she also writes a column called "Seekers and Guides" at Patheos' Pagan channel. Her channel on YouTube features her music, instructional witchcraft videos, and her many projects in the world of geekdom. Born and raised in Vernon, BC, Canada, she has been actively involved in the Canadian Pagan community for a little more than 20 years.

Comments

  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward Wednesday, 26 March 2014

    What a wonderful post! I particularly commend you for being able to approach this in a clearheaded fashion despite the word "privilege" being thrown around like monkey poop. I've now officially been on both sides of that word, and I have yet to see a conversation do anything but degrade quickly once it is invoked.

  • Gabriel Moore
    Gabriel Moore Thursday, 27 March 2014

    Awesome :)

  • Joseph Prisco
    Joseph Prisco Thursday, 27 March 2014

    Can we please stop using the word "Wiccanate"? I find it incredibly offensive and divisive. The very coining of the words implies that if you can't trace your tradition/practices back to Gardner then not only can you not call yourself Wiccan but your practices aren't as good or real as British Traditional Wicca. What hogwash! When did Wiccans become less welcoming than Christians? And the same goes for "neo-Wiccan". That's like calling someone who just started listening to Katy Perry a "neo-Katy Perry fan". It hasn't been around all that long, people!

    (And this is coming from a Wiccan who can trace his tradition back to Blue Star Wicca.)

    That having been said (well, ranted), I do agree that all Pagans are not Wiccan and not all rituals should be in the Wiccan form.

  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward Thursday, 27 March 2014

    For the first twenty or so years I was a Pagan, I practiced a religion that included elemental associations with directions, casting a circle to create sacred space, raising and releasing energy -- you know, that stuff that most people associate with Wicca. However, with the exception of a short period when I actually was in a Wiccan coven, I never thought of myself as Wiccan. (For what it's worth, if that coven can trace its history back to British Traditional Wicca, I never was told.)

    There is a vast swath of Paganism which uses outward forms that are inspired by Wicca. When I started exploring ways to worship that didn't include magic, or didn't necessarily balance gender energies, I still used that framework because I just didn't know that alternatives were even possible.

    That's what the word "Wiccanate" is trying to express, Mr Prisco. Not that there are posers and hangers-on to Wicca, but that Wicca is incredibly effective and Pagans tend to borrow what works for their own practice. Call it the Wiccan penumbra, perhaps, or an aura. Based on your comment, I don't think you've ever lived in that place, but it's where I've been for most of my Pagan life. Certainly some might frame it as an insidious or otherwise negative, but framing something negatively doesn't make it untrue.

    I personally think that the word is ugly, ungainly, and uses a capital letter in all the ways that I dislike. Perhaps we can find another to describe the concept, one that won't make so very many people grit their teeth, but the concept underlying it is quite real, and probably worthy of serious academic inquiry.

  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia Thursday, 27 March 2014

    Well said, sir. I agree with you one hundred present; both in your dislike of the word and in the need to have one that represents what people mean by it.

  • Ruadhán J McElroy
    Ruadhán J McElroy Thursday, 15 May 2014

    You know, I wasn't the biggest fan of "cisgender" the first time I saw it, and said much the same things you have about "Wiccanate", and I'm not even someone it applies to --but it's what caught on, and it's what I got used to, and all things considered, the arguments I made against it basically boiled down to "new words make me uncomfortable".

    Change is annoying, uncomfortable, sometimes sucks, and just takes some getting used to, but it happens, we get used to it, and we move on.

  • Ruadhán J McElroy
    Ruadhán J McElroy Thursday, 15 May 2014

    Can we please stop using the word "Wiccanate"? I find it incredibly offensive and divisive. The very coining of the words implies that if you can't trace your tradition/practices back to Gardner then not only can you not call yourself Wiccan but your practices aren't as good or real as British Traditional Wicca.

    Yeah... That’s not what the word means. Ms Aradia, for all her faults, her understanding of what "Wiccanate neopaganism" means is not among them and she's explained in this post that it encompasses not only Popular/Eclectic Wiccans (i.e., those outside Traditional Wicca, practising a solitary path based to varying degrees on "Outer Court" teachings), but also those who a) practice something clearly based on "Outer Court Wicca" but b) will insist that they are not Wiccan. It's a term that actually includes more people than it excludes, because it describes those outside Trad Wicca whose core religious practises are still innate to Wicca. It makes no judgement about whose practises are "better" or "more real", it simply describes where the core practises of one's religion originate, regardless of what one may or may not call their religion.

    That having been said (well, ranted), I do agree that all Pagans are not Wiccan and not all rituals should be in the Wiccan form.

    Well, that's nice, but we don't need validation from Trad Wiccans *or* the Wiccanate Neopagan majority. All we really ask is that events that purport to be "all-inclusive" refrain from presenting Wiccanate practices as "the pagan default".

  • Constance Tippett Chandler
    Constance Tippett Chandler Thursday, 27 March 2014

    I am so glad you brought this subject up. Ever since I've learned that the NSA pays people to go on blogs and cause disruption, I've been a little and rightfully paranoid. I remember when the CIA infiltrated the SDS back in the 60's. So this "Wiccanate Privilege" sounds familiarly petty and divisive. We have degraded into sounding like a bunch of Christians, Muslims and Jews arguing over who's god has the biggest...following. They all worship the same dessert war god, fighting is their religion. I left those religions because they were violent. I am more interested in trying to leave the world in a better shape than I found it. So, Starwalk is right on this one. The bees are dying. Let me say this again. THE BEES ARE DYING....and we are fighting over deck chairs on the Titanic, priding ourselves that we are “better” or “right” or “different from the other guys”. If our belief isn't in saving where we live, then we will have nowhere to live. This is the only planet we have, this is the only air we have, this is the only fire we have, and this is the only water we have. I want to keep it the way it was and should be...clean, for future generations. We as pagans need to come together over some core values.

  • Ruadhán J McElroy
    Ruadhán J McElroy Thursday, 15 May 2014

    Your accusation of CIA operatives would be plausible if not for basic human nature creating tendencies for many to have a mentality that creates an "Us and Them" dichotomy, which is related to what some people refer to as "the monkeysphere" --people tend to be at least generally ambivalent (though sometimes outright hostile) to those one does not recognise as having much, if any common ground with.

    Furthermore, as the person a lot of people like to cite for coining "Wiccanate" (which I did not, it appears to have been coined and even defined by Johnny Rapture, writing for the PNC blog "No Unsacrd Space", and I picked it up from Star Foster), and as *possibly* the first person to write a blog entry about recognising "Wiccanate privilege" as a privilege idiosyncratic to the pagan community (similar to how being a gay male places one at a position of relative privilege amongst the GBLT community as a whole), I find your implication that I may be getting paid by the government to cause division completely laughable. Shit, my disability cheques are less than the federal minimum wage, much less a living wage, but that's another story for another time, so let's look at some basic facts you're ignoring here:

    The CIA made efforts to unfiltrate the New Left groups in the 1960s and early '70s because they represented a real threat to the status quo --there was something to be gained from disrupting their organisations, especially if word got out, cos it'd mean the knowledge of that would create just enough paranoia in the future thag they'd have to do considerably less in the future, hypothetically.

    Next is the fact that pagan groups have NEVER had the organisation that even some of the smaller New Left groups ever had. Bh that fact alone, we just don't pose much, if any threat to the status quo. While true that there is considerable overlap between pagan groups and environmental groups, the latter certainly are of a greater concern to any government agency, especially since Ms Aradia correctly states that many recon groups, including Heathens (who have had some degree of organisational presence since the mid-to-late 1970s --and yet, as stated in the podcast on T Thorn Coyle's blog with Amy Hale and others about fascist factions within pagan groups, Heathen organisations, in general [including groups with racist/fascist AND non-/antiracist ties], comprise maybe only 15% of the Heathens in all of North America) barely care about environmental concerns, at best. Considering that Heathens are probably the best-organised recon pagans out there (and arguably the best-organised pagans, as a whole, not counting tightly guarded BTW covens), and organised Heathens are *maybe* 15% of all Heathens in the US, Canada, and Mexico, disrupting even Heathen groups is barely going to make a dent on any potential "threat" from Heathen groups --and considering that even non-/antiracist Heathens are WAY more conservative, fiscally and socially, than the average pagan, and thus more likely to endorse the status quo, what ends would it serve to divide Heathen groups? Considering that even the most recent US religion polls suggest that, at most, those citing "pagan" or "other, not listed" as their religion as between 4% and 5% of the total religious population, at at its height, the New Left was a minimum solid 15%, the payout for disrupting pagan organisations, much less the far-less-organised pagan blogosphere, would be worth less than the cost.

    But then, if you're truly paranoid, you're probably just going to assume this is all part of the ruse, or something --my younger sister is a paranoid schizophrenic, and my father was like a Midwestern Democrat version of Dale Gribble (if you watch KING OF THE HILL reruns; if you do not, the reference is easily accessible via search engine) so I have a decent grasp of how unaddressed paranoias can play out. Many people who harbor paranoias rather than address them and assess if it really is (or at least could be) as bad as they believe would rather assume any supported facts or basic logic is just "what They want people to think!" rather than a basic application of Occam's Razor.

  • Christine Kraemer
    Christine Kraemer Friday, 28 March 2014

    Sorry to ignore most of your article in favor of a minor point. :)

    Speaking as someone initiated into both Feri and Alexandrian Wicca, a great deal of what falls under the umbrella of "Feri" is really not very much like Wicca at all. It's witchcraft, yes, and some lines are very influenced by Wicca, but some lines are not. It's frustrating to me that simply because the Wiccan-influenced Feri lines are among the noisiest and have the best marketing, my entire trad is getting classed as "Wiccanate." It would be better to say that particular lines are Wiccanate -- if we have to use that word -- but the trad as a whole is very diverse.

    People often ask what unites Feri tradition. Well, we often say that the things we all share could be written on a 3x5 card. We all trace our lineage back to the Andersons' teachings, but the Andersons trained each student individually, with reference to that person's unique characteristics. The way a particular Feri practices could look like Huna, or like an Afro-Caribbean trad, or like Tibetan Buddhism. Their practice also might look like Wicca but have a very different theology driving it (depending on which kind of Wicca you're talking about -- I find my Wiccan friends in the UK to have very different theology from most of the Wiccans I know in the US, even ones who are "Gardnerian" or "Alexandrian").

    For me, one of the big differences between Feri and Wicca (at least as I've been trained) is that Feri is an approach and Wicca is a practice. When I work with my Wiccan coven, it's all about getting the practice right and doing it well (though of course practice is permitted to slowly evolve). Feri is an approach to doing witchcraft, and I recognize another Feri witch the same way I'd recognize the similarity between my mother's cooking and my aunt's. Make sense?

  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia Friday, 28 March 2014

    Thanks Christine for clarifying! I must admit that to me as an outsider who comes from Wiccan and "Wiccanate" roots, Feri does look a lot like a Wiccanate path . . . but it could be just because the ones who are "Wiccanate" have a better PR department. It's a fact that Feri developed parallel to Wicca, not from it, and that the Andersons didn't use that word until the Sanders' were already in the media (because it sounded similar and then people would have a way to label what they were doing.)

    Maybe it is a bit like the Cathars? They were arguably a synthesis of Christianity and Zoroastrianism. Most religious scholars now classify them as a "Christian heresy," but they always make sure to mention the Zoroastrian element. (And there were Muslim and folk influences too). Is there such a thing as "Feri Wicca" and "Feri Huna" then? And is that different enough to make it entirely its own thing? I ask because I would argue that many Wiccanate paths borrow elements from other paths as well; usually North American Aboriginal spiritual practice and/or Yoga and Tantra. And we're also getting some Taoist and Shinto influence as the Anime generation comes of age.

    This is good! I think it's a good thing to start talking about this so that we *can* be more inclusive and understanding. By making definitions, we reduce assumptions. By defining for ourselves, we prevent others from generalizing (and thus marginalizing).

  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia Friday, 28 March 2014

    Also, thank you for taking this to the article so that others can chime in; I really appreciate it. :)

  • Samuel Wagar
    Samuel Wagar Monday, 31 March 2014

    I guess "Pagans for Peace" is a derivative of Reclaiming in some way, although we haven't done Reclaiming style stuff forever. Well put, Sable. We're at an interesting point in the evolution of our religious movement (broadly, neo-Paganism, including the Recons) - we are having to decide who we are, not just who we are not, and we're discovering that we aren't all the same things, which some people find distressing (particularly when their particular portion of the movement is a lot smaller than they thought).

    Okay by me. I'm a more-or-less Brit Trad Wiccan (in a tradition derived in some fashion from Reclaiming) and I have more theologically and practicallyin common with others in that stream of things. I'm going to write my books as a more or les BTW and not pretend to include everybody else, and build my church in that spirit and so on. Because I'd rather have my particular thing be successful than sacrifice it on the altar of some unitarian fantasy.

  • Ruadhán J McElroy
    Ruadhán J McElroy Thursday, 15 May 2014

    You did not join any Yahoogroups in the 1990s, nobody did. Several free (or mostly-free) elist services existed, and Yahoo had a BB-like "Yahoo Clubs" (thisvwas the service I used for a Rozz Williams fan group I started in 1999, and the language on the frontpage of thag group still reflects the original "Clubs" format) that existed until 2000, when it became YahooGroups, and Yahoo started buying and absorbing other services like OneList (the service I used for the Michigoths elist I started in 1999, and which fullly absorbed into YahooGrouos in early 2001). Usenet existed as a separate service/entity, (kinda BB-like but necessitating a software client to read its groups, which made it the precursor to email lists) servicing groups such as alt.gothic, alt.pagan, alt.religion.wicca, etc..., until being absorbed into GoogleGroups in the mid-Noughties.

    Sorry for being a pedant, but this is how history gets lost --by catering to the "victors" rather than recalling what actually happened. I'm certainly old enough and experienced enough to recall what happened online in the 1990s, and I can certainly cite third-party information that backs me up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahoo!_Groups#History

    You were not on YahooGroups in the 1990s, I was not, nobody was, YahooGroups did not exist until 2001. Email lists existed before then, but through services other than Yahoo. Yahoo launched YahooClubs in 1998, but it was more forum-/BB-like than Elist or Usenet-like. YahooGroups launched in late 2000 and merged with Clubs and began absorbing other elist services in 2001 --some elists which existed for many years before the launch of the YahooGroups service. And the Usenet archives on GoogleGroups (and some of these Usenet groups, like alt.gothic, are even still active) go back to at least 1990, long before Google.com even existed.

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