Who Are the Pagans? by Barbara Ardinger

Barbara ArdingerIt has occurred to me that it’s possible that some of the bloggers and readers of this site may not know very much about pagans, so here’s a little New Year’s lesson. The first thing to know is that pagans are almost by definition rebels. That means any generalization anyone may make will almost certainly have a thousand exceptions. You may have heard what Will Rogers wrote in 1932: “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.” Well, the same goes for pagans: many of us joke that we don’t belong to an organized religion. “Pagan,” by the way, is the generic term. Witches, Wiccans, and eclectics (among others, see below) are specific terms. Many of us belong to what are called traditions, which are somewhat analogous to the Protestant denominations. Some traditions are said to go back to the Middle Ages (or further back), but this is generally nonsense. Paganism as it is practiced today is a modern religion looking for (and—voilà! finding!) roots in the ancient and classical pantheons or in Old Europe, where archaeology shows us that the Goddess was worshipped thousands of years before Abraham met his god, ca. 2000 BCE (see Marija Gimbutas’ text for more information on this). Continue reading “Who Are the Pagans? by Barbara Ardinger”

Fun With Bumper Stickers By Barbara Ardinger

I was driving through one of the more conservative corners of Orange County, California, a couple weeks ago and went past a very pretty brick church with a tall, proud steeple and signs in the front yard giving times of worship services. I have no idea what kind of church it was, but as I went past, a car pulled out of the driveway and began following me. It’s a public street, I said to myself. Looks like a tony neighborhood. No need to worry about being followed. So I neither sped up nor slowed down. At the red light, the car behind me pulled up beside me and the driver, a young man, looked at me. As soon as the light changed, he sped ahead, changed lanes, then slowed down just a little. As I pulled up behind him at the next red light, a hand came out of the driver’s window. A finger was aggressively elevated.

Good grief! How had I insulted this driver? The guy made a right turn, I stewed and fussed a couple of miles…and then it dawned. My bumper stickers. I have four on my car. PROTECT OUR MOTHER EARTH—SHE’S THE ONLYONE WE’VEGOT. THANK GODDESS. BRIGHT BLESSINGS. And my current political bumper sticker: IMPEACH THE SUPREME COURT. (This last, of course, is a comment on the Citizens United decision, which many people think is doing incalculable damage to the political process.) For years, my friends have been telling me that at any gathering, they can always tell I’m there by the bumper stickers on my car. Continue reading “Fun With Bumper Stickers By Barbara Ardinger”

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