Sunday, August 8, 2010

I'll acknowledge that my opinion might not be so humble

I've been compiling information about the Wheel of the Year celebrations from a Druid perspective and ran across something that made me take a few steps back.  And, I admit, laugh.  I acknowledge that nothing we do as Druids or Pagans or Wiccans can be dated back to the times when those religions were practiced freely, but we can and do reconstruct with the best tools available and admit when we are taking on modern intrepretations or practices.

But what I ran into today really goes beyond all of that.  I'm not going to name the site, which was highly recommended to me by someone who insists that it is a far better site than OBOD.  I admit when she adamantly told me that, I thanked her without really intending to join this site because I feel the pull in the direction of OBOD, I love the materials there and I love their perspectives.  The site she mentioned, I found hard to navigate, the materials sparse and not easily read or digested because they don't feel "scholarly" in my opinion.

But this:

Celebrant:  I stand before the Sacred Grove of Minbar of the Berengaria Order of Druids and to the Guardians, Ancestors, and Spirits of this Place.   I declare my intent, I am grey, I stand between the candle and the star.  We are grey, we stand between the darkness and the light.

was just too much.  Anyone who has seen Babylon 5 will recognize the italicized portions as coming from the Minbari Grey Council...verbatim.  Now, I love Babylon 5 with a passion...enough so that I taped 5 seasons of it on VHS tapes in those days when that was all we had.  They are crummy recordings but I still watch them (and missed out on an opportunity to buy 4 of the five seasons for a really cheap price because I didn't have the money and they sold out at the store when I did.) 

But I digress.   This is just my opinion and of course, not binding on anyone else, but I think it trivializes Paganism when we borrow from fictional television shows.  The argument can be made that for some it's just a representation of the Gods/Goddesses and you can call them whatever you want.  I certainly am not saying that I think these people should be arrested or not allowed to call themselves Druid or even Pagans.  What I am saying is that I think it makes those of us who view the ancient religions as something beautiful and precious, something that has a foundation in the bones of the makes us look silly.  And it makes us look like we're making up our religion, too.

Why should I care?  I don't know.  I'm not sure that I really do care except I think it trivializes what we do and makes us look like kids playing make believe.  Or maybe it's like some kind of Sci Fi convention where people get so involved in their characters that they "become" them.  I already accept that a great many people think that because we believe in faeries and Gods and Goddesses and magick that means we're looney tunes anyway.  When you've got someone making rituals based on television shows or sci fi books, it confirms it for them.

Personally doesn't Scientology fill that bill nicely anyway?  A made up religion based on a sci fi writer's dream of making up a religion?  And making a mint from it.

Okay, I'm a bit cheesed and while I realized this isn't necessarily what that particular Druid organization teaches, as it's just a link under the various ways to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox, for me it's enough to discredit them in my eyes.  I'm going with my instinct and sticking with the people who seem to be more scholarly in their research and presentation.  Someday I'll be able to afford the course, I'm sure.  Until then I"ll just read as much as I can but you can bet that particular site won't be on my list anymore.


  1. OBOD is world-renowned, and although that is not my path, it's where I'd send anyone looking for info/teaching on Druidry.

    I do agree that people are free to call upon whom/whatever they please, but I don't feel comfortatble using modern pop culture references for my practice.

    I think this has been an interesting experience for you though! Imagine all the people who had never seen B5 and didn't know the reference (like me!)

  2. I love what I've seen of OBOD so far and it fits nicely in with my perspectives on Druidry. Having dealt with unsavory Christian organizations in the past I'm a bit cautious in affiliating with any Pagan organization that doesn't stand up to my terribly stringent scrutiny. It might be unfair, but there it is.

    I'm a huge sci fi fan and get a lot of the pop culture references for much of sci fi so when I see it spilling over into spirituality, it makes me a bit uneasy. I've seen other things but they stood on their own (like people claiming to follow the Klingon religion) and didn't infect my spiritual beliefs. It might also be unfair but as I said, it's hard enough for Paganism to be taken seriously in the media and among mainstream society. When people start making shit up and combining it with fictional social/religious stuff, it takes away from our credibility.

    But that's just me, for what it's worth.

    It was wicked cool that I knew the reference though.

  3. I love Babylon 5... and I'm making great progress through your archives! It's been wonderful so far to see how you've progressed.

  4. It broke my heart but I just threw out all my video tapes of B-5 because they were taking up room I needed and had degraded so badly I couldn't watch them anymore. I'm glad you're enjoying the archives, but just wait until you see me wandering all over the place before I finally find my path. LOL