Re: cults, magic, and spellers//orthodox pagans

thomas w kavanagh (tkavanag@INDIANA.EDU)
Mon, 5 Aug 1996 21:35:36 -0500

On Tue, 30 Jul 1996, Samantha L. Solimeo wrote:

> In response to a conversation with Rosemary Gianno...
> I can empathize with your dillemma in choosing terminology. I am sensitive to
> the term "cult" because I am doing ehtnography with Dianic Wiccans who object
> to the word. Further, I had a similar problem, regarding terminology, during
> the initial questionaire phase of my research. Stemming from my reluctance
> to label the participants, I had used the two terms, Wiccan, and Women's
> Spirituality, interchangeably. This prompted several disturbed reponses.
> By using the two interchangably, without reference to my motivations for
> doing so, I had sent out a message that implied that I thought the two were
> the same thing. Really, to be Wiccan is to also be Pagan, but not all
> self- identified Pagans are Wiccan.
> This leaves me with the crux of the postmodern dillemma in ethnography
> and language. Do I define every term, every utterance- or do I leave it all
> up to personal interpretation (or misinterpretation)?
> Is this where postmodernism has deserted us?

FWIW, when I was at the Hopi Museum, 1980-81, and when people would come
in asking what religion the people were, we would say "orthodox pagan."

There are differences between Euro-Wiccans and the other pagans.