Monday, 7 July 2008

Labels

Just a short note, in addition to the rather lengthy posts on "Defining My Use of the Term, 'Fluffy Bunny'" and "Begging, Borrowing and Stealing", on labels.

Do we need them? Yes, we do. We need them in everyday life and we need them to define ourselves, our beliefs and our practices. Its no good saying, "Well, one person's polytheist is another's animist".

I am not a skyscraper just because I am taller than most erections. I am not a freezer just because I have been known to give people the cold shoulder. I am a human being, I am a woman.

Each word in the English language has a basic definition that most can comprehend, allowing for differences in dialect and dictionaries. Hence, I feel its important to keep those definitions when talking with other people. This is my reasoning behind not borrowing terms from other cultures and traditions. It just muddles things for those trying to understand the differences.

So, when someone says they are a druid, you can assume that they adhere to a broad spectrum of practices amongst modern druids, can't you? Well, no. Not in today's pagan circles you can't. I have my own definitions, based on what I know of history, archaeology, relevant texts, the Oxford dictionary and my experience of those, of my acquaintance, who are tryng to follow the path of the ancient druids. Unfortunately, my definition does not seem to be the same as others; thus giving occasion for my posts of last week.

So, when you seen the word "pagan" before any other word, do not assume that the definition of the latter word is unaltered. It ain't always what it says on the tin.

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