Anti-intellectualism and Paganism
This is something that I wrote on December 28, 2007 and it seems to be still very true today. It is something that is really on my mind and bothering me very much.
I was talking to a friend of mine in the pagan community about how I seem to be a little picky with what I want to read. And how I am so angry at the way some writers seem to not be able to differentiate between scholastic writing and spiritual writing.
I assumed he was going to say what I thought, that I was nit picking. His answer though surprised me. It seems that he too had the same frustration with what is being written by some writers. And we got talking and I was saying how when I tell people (friends) how I feel they tell me that I am too picky. He said he had the same reaction from his friends too, he says he feels that some pagans (not all) are afraid of intellectual writings. Writing with a historical background, that is substantiated and documented with legitimate sources.
Both he and I feel that when spiritual writings are portrayed as such, they can be very beautiful and engaging. Also books that tell you that they are a mix of both scholastic and spiritual writings, put us at ease because we know that that writer is telling us about his experiences based on his/her understanding of the history and the culture of the path he/she follows. It is the books that tell you that their path is a historical path that was based on a long tradition and then when you read them you realize that the history and the culture of that supposed path could not possibly have been associated with that tradition, that I get angry about. It is not wrong to start a new path, just don’t try to give it validity by associating it with a false history. Just because a path does not have a long history it does not make it any less a legitimate path, just be truthful and you will find people that agree with you and follow your path.
Pagans should not be afraid of scholastic writings. We don’t need to be. We should be proud of our spiritual writings too and not contaminate them with a history that they don’t have. We should be able to accept that with all the new archeological finds we are discovering each day, history is also being re-written, let us not be afraid of change.
Like I said before that I felt that this is still going on, but now people get more defensive. They go out of their way to tell you that they don’t need a degree to practice a path. I never said that, but you do need to READ and understand the background of the culture that you are using as a basis for the path you follow. You need to understand the basis and building blocks of what makes a religion and ritual. That is all I am asking…