Labels


We all use labels to define ourselves and to identify us to others.  As most pagans and witches need a short paragraph to adequately define what they do it’s easy to start worrying about what you call yourself.

For example, I follow various Irish deities and am a polytheist.  I also practice witchcraft and try to reconstruct the practices and values which the Irish had before Christian times.

If a Christian said they were a Baptist or were Church of England, we’d know exactly what they were because those labels are set in stone, but for a pagan or a witch, it’s different because the labels are not defined so well.  At various times I call myself an Irish Traditional Witch, Irish Pagan or Irish Polytheist.  I keep the labels to a maximum of three words because it gets too complex after that.

However, if I call myself a Traditional Witch, not all traditional witches follow deities, so that label does not encompass all I do.  Neither does “Irish Pagan” as not all pagans do witchcraft and not all pagans are polytheists.  If I call myself “Irish Polytheist” I have the same trouble as calling myself an Irish Pagan as not all polytheists do witchcraft.

Furthermore, if we examine the label “Christian” then we find that Christians worship the same deity, celebrate the same festivals, take communion and worship in churches.  Whereas a pagan may or may not celebrate various festivals and can follow any number from one deity up to many.

Yes, it’s complicated.  This is because most of the paganism and witchcraft we practice today is still in it’s infancy and very unorganised.  So don’t worry too much about what you call yourself, especially as some labels are still shaping themselves into a coherent sound.  And it’s okay for you to call yourself a “bog-standard Pagan” which some do.

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2 Comments

  1. Iolair said,

    May 18, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    I always find that you know in your heart what you are, even if your brain cannot put words to it. Who cares if you can put a label on.

  2. sarastar said,

    May 20, 2011 at 12:06 am

    I’m in about the same boat. But it floats anyways doesn’t it?


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