Over at Witches and Pagans a right wing Pagan published a piece claiming to show that Pagan religion is not a nature religion. I have shown him to be mistaken.
Why can’t paganism be ancestor worship? That’s how I understand it.
Libby- A focus on ancestors is a common feature of many Pagan religions and in my opinion is sadly undeveloped among most NeoPagans. But I know of none who worship their ancestors as I understand the term ‘worship.’
I know of no Pagan religions anywhere that can be reduced to that as their defining feature however. Do you?
Gus: Well, I don’t know what you mean by “worship.” Can you explain further?
When I hear the word “worship,” I think of its original meaning “weorthscipe” which is an Anglo-Saxon word that basically means “to give worth/value” to something. I do not think of “worship” as “liturgy” because the word “liturgy” means “the work,” as in the ritual itself – the casting of the circle, the incantations, etc. Does this make sense?
One can hold worthy/worship many things, including the ancestors (being a former Anglican as I am, I often think of the ancestors as the pagan “communion of saints”).
Do you not separate worship from liturgy?
I have a layman’s sense of ‘worship’ as the act of honoring the superhuman through some kind of observance. A Christian worships God. The ancestors, to me, are human even if now with a bigger view of what is going on from their current position. Perhaps that is why I think Day of the Dead is such a wonderful observance. So for me “honor” and even “venerate” are appropriate for my relationship to ancestors, not worship.
If I use the word at all, it would be to say I worship the more-than-human. However, because of its now being so imbued with Christian meaning I rarely if ever use the term myself. It simply has the wrong ‘flavor’ to me.
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.