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Dear Diary: A rant or two, neopagan nag and a pipe

A rant or two...

This week has given me confirmation that when any group of people are put together to discuss even what might seem like a simple theme, they will argue. Personal gnosis aside, because obviously that is going to be different for each person, but don’t argue about something if you cannot back it up with academic research or factual evidence. Rant over.

Actually I might just keep the rant going for a bit. This time about reviews on Amazon. Don’t get me wrong, reviews on Amazon are worth their weight in gold, the positive ones that is. Once you get a decent amount of positive reviews on a book, Amazon start providing free marketing, including your books in their emails and free promotion. I have been extremely lucky to have only had a handful of negative reviews, but as they say ‘you can’t please all of the people all of the time’ and I absolutely accept that. Although if I don’t personally like a book because it just isn’t my thing then I would never leave a negative review about it, but that’s just me. Anyway…one of the annoying things about Amazon reviews is that you can no longer reply to them or respond to the reviewer in any way. I have had a negative review for one of my books that I would love to respond to, because I believe the reviewer is incorrect in their statement – but there ain’t nothing I can do about it. I have also had a negative review on one of my books because the person had a problem with Amazon delivery, nothing to do with the book at all, but the negative review affects my ratings. Please do think before you rate a book or any item negatively on Amazon in particular, it really has a huge affect.

This week's photo from the archives (2011)

Over the years I have investigated many Pagan pathways, one of those was Druidry and I did work through the first level of OBOD, but was also part of a Druid Grove for a while. There are a lot of similarities between Druidry and Witchcraft and I found it an interesting journey for a while. It all added to my learning curve.

Neopagan nag

And whilst we are about it, the term ‘neopagan’ was mentioned this week. I cannot tell you how much I hate that word. There is just something so snarky about it, not sure why.

I looked up the meaning in the dictionary just out of interest to see what the official take on it is, here are some of the results:

‘relating to a modern religious movement that seeks to incorporate beliefs or ritual practices from traditions outside main world religions, especially those of pre-Christian Europe and North America.’

‘Neopaganism is frequently polytheistic (believing in many gods), and many Neopagan practitioners follow pantheism (worship of all gods in human civilization). One Neopaganism practice is a benevolent form of magick, using supernatural energies to beneficially influence events.’

‘a person who practices a contemporary form of paganism (such as Wicca)’

‘a modern religion that includes beliefs and activities that are not from any of the main religions of the world, for example the worship of nature: The practitioners of neo-paganism are reviving ancient pagan practices and beliefs of pre-Christian Europe. The forms neopaganism takes are so varied, they almost defy description.’

‘Neopaganism / Neo-Paganism (literally, “new paganism” or “revived paganism”) is an umbrella term, covering a widely varied set of spiritual practices typically adapted from pre-Christian or anti-Christian religions. Neopaganism includes various forms of New Age belief, Wicca, versions of Greek and Roman polytheism, and Celtic druidism.’

I think I struggle with the term because of the ‘new age’ inference. There is something a bit insulting in that it makes me feel like the term is a collective for a load of fluffy modern hippies swanning about in harem pants who work with crystals and light incense. My pathway is so NOT that (although I do have crystals, incense and harem pants). Nor is the pathway of anyone else I know who calls themselves Pagan and actually even if your pathway is that, then go for it, I am not here to judge. Perhaps that is the issue I have with it, the term feels very ‘judgey’. I don’t have another term to use other than what about just calling it Pagan? The world seems obsessed with classing everything and putting groups of people into boxes and under specific labels these days, it is mind boggling to keep up with.

Pipe anyone?

In other news, I have a pipe. Yep, a proper smoking pipe. It may seem bizarre but I have wanted one for ages. I think I was inspired by Nanny Ogg from the Discworld books as she smokes a long clay pipe or maybe it was another of my heroes, Sherlock Holmes as he smokes a pipe too. I don’t smoke, never have and have never been drawn to do so, I think cigarette smoke smells vile (apart from the obviously serious health issues). But I love cigar and pipe smoke. My great Uncle Frank used to smoke cigars and I can remember the smell of them at Christmas family get togethers. For a while my dad smoked a pipe, although as I recall I think he faffed about with it much more than actually smoking it! I don’t want tobacco, I will most likely just sit there with it messing about.


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