Is Goddess Religion Pagan?

According to the Pagan Pride Internation Website a Pagan is defined as:
A Pagan or NeoPagan is someone who self-identifies as a Pagan, and whose spiritual or religious practice or belief fits into one or more of the following categories:

  • Honoring, revering, or worshipping a Deity or Deities found in pre-Christian, classical, aboriginal, or tribal mythology; and/or
  • Practicing religion or spirituality based upon shamanism, shamanic, or magickal practices; and/or
  • Creating new religion based on past Pagan religions and/or futuristic views of society, community, and/or ecology;
  • Focusing religious or spiritual attention primarily on the Divine Feminine; and/or
  • Practicing religion that focuses on earth based spirituality.

  • While I realize that this definition is coming from a single source, I find that source to be one that appears representative of the population. None of the points above say anything to exclude Goddess Religion. On the contrary I think each of them is inclusive of it.

    Is it possible to say "All Pagans are Goddessians but not all Goddessians are Pagans" or "All Goddessians are Pagan but not all Pagans are Goddessian"? In my opinon there doesn't appear to be a real seperation between the two (which may be because I find it near impossible to be a Goddess worshipper and/or a Pagan without revering nature), but I do feel a distinct desire for Goddessians to seperate themselves from the Pagan mainstream, even if it's in label alone. It's possible this could be because of a curve towards patriarchal influences in Modern Paganism, but I don't think that's the whole story.

    From my persepective a lot of Goddessians have been moving towards religiosity. Now that's touchy, but let me try to elaborate a little. Goddessians (people who identify themselves as Goddess Worshippers) are often focused on things like worship, ritual, community/fellowship, the building of temples, structure balanced with consensus, etc. The Goddessians I know that are solitary are not so by choice but by lack of options. I have also noticed that there is a more willing acceptance of syncretic beliefs, meaning less bickering over semantics, details, etc. I think this is because those of us who have been touched by the Goddess understand that not everyone is touched in the same way, because that is the nature of how Goddess works.

    I've also noticed that there are Goddessians moving away from New Age ideas and choosing instead to root their spirituality in the Earth, in the mundane, and in reality. Perhaps that may be because the Age of Aquarius has been lost on us, or we've become disenchanted by it. Or perhaps we've moved away from the "Light Worker Mentality" because we've relearned that nature is our true guide; that the Goddess shows us how the universe works through the changing of seasons, the cycles of the moon, and the overall rythyms of the Earth.

    When it feels as though all of nature is speaking to you there seems no need for New Agey divining and channeled excerpts on the Star Seed Theory. Perhaps the time of Victorian seances, Theosophy, and Spiritualism is no longer appealing to some folks. Could it be that (thanks in part to the liberation of the New Age movement) we now have the freedom to choose what we believe in and something new and different is on the horizon?

    New Age, or what some may even call "fluffy" concepts, are very common in Paganism and sort of come with the territory. I'm not saying this is a bad thing. Everyone should be given the opportunity to experience Divinity and their spirituality freely and individually. But, I think the "fluffiness" has pulled some Goddessians to think about how we define ourselves.

    I also think that Pagan is perhaps too broad a term and it doesn't really explain what we believe succinctly enough. If I say I'm Pagan it's not clear that I am a Goddess Worshipper. But Goddessian is pretty darn clear, defining exactly what my spirituality entails in one little word.

    So, is Goddess Religion Pagan? I think it really is. I thinks it's also a tradition (or multiple traditions) within Paganism. Goddessian itself can be an umbrella term which includes all Goddess paths. In that case a Shaktist is Hindu and Goddessian. But are they Pagan? Wow, that's a whole other post which goes beyond the Goddessian connection to Modern Paganism specifically.

    In closing, I think that it's okay to question the labels we give ourselves and realize that many might be correct in definition, but there is usually only one that fits just right.

    These are my opinions based on my experiences. I am not presuming to say this is how all Pagans or all Goddessians believe, think, act, etc. If you have similar or different experiences, please take a moment to share and get some conversations started.

    For more on this topic read the posts that inspired it:

  • Trends in Feminist Spirituality @ Medusa Coils
  • Is Goddess Religion Still Pagan? @ the Wild Hunt
  • The Goddess Movement and Definitions @ Firehawk's Nest 


  • Picture found at GetReligion.org.

    5 comments:

    1. Great article Grian ... and good to "meet" you - via Medusa Coils. I linked your blog here to my forum: http://pagaian.org/forum/viewtopic.php?id=359
      blissings
      Glenys

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    2. Thank you Glenys. Nice to meet you as well. What a lovely place you have there. I joined the forums (of course) :) and can't wait to meet everyone.

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    3. Good article - i have decided to try to avoid calling myself pagan. There are many reasons for this and it will be the subject of a blog in the very near future so i will not go into it now. But - i am having trouble putting a link from my blog onto yours - keep getting a site called "creative solutions" or something. anyway look forward to reading more

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    4. Thanks for the comments Brian. I'm looking forward to your post on the subject of labeling yourself as Pagan. Not sure why you would be getting another site. The only reason would be the address is wrong. Click the link and check out what the web address comes up as in your browser.

      I really appreciate the link. Let me know if I can help you fix the problem. :)

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    5. For some reason, this topic really grabs me (which could explain why I'm commenting so after-the-fact...).

      To be honest, I have a hard time telling Goddess religion and general Paganism apart most of the time. Paganism is a huge umbrella term, but surely there's enough room under the canopy for the Goddessians. Even if Paganism includes "New Age fluffiness", so what? I think the fact that a lot of Goddessians want to separate themselves from the Pagan label speaks of a strong streak of independence (remarkably similar to the fierce independence of most of those who belong to the modern feminist movement...). If it wasn't solely the patriarchal pagans and the new age fluffiness making the Goddessians uncomfortable, I'd be tempted to say they're trying too hard to be independent. Imagine, if every Pagan religion decided to abandon the Pagan label because of something else included that made them uncomfortable? I don't like a lot of "fluffiness" either, but I'm not struggling to claim Wicca as a non-Pagan religion... Wicca, like many Goddess-centered religions, has Pagan DNA, and because of this, has little hope of being able to escape the term.

      But, everyone's entitled to do what makes them happiest. If there are Goddess-worshipers who claim they aren't Pagan, then, sincerely, more power to them. Like you said, several labels may be appropriate for a thing, but only one fits perfectly well. Perhaps, in some cases, "Goddessian" is more appropriate than "Pagan".

      ReplyDelete

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