Identity Crises [CR47]

It would take too long to explain fully why language regularly comes up in my articles but the simplest expression is that language is what creates the universe for us. The logic behind this can be summarised in a twist on a very old adage: what came first, the idea or the word to describe it? Really its impossible to have one without the other (Gertrude Stein’s work notwithstanding) and it is because of this that, in the simplest way, language continues to be a powerful source of understanding. This is why things like knowing whether you are a Witch or a Wiccan or a Shaman or a Bruja or a Seiðrmann are so important. What you call yourself and what you do have a relationship that sometimes is very tightly controlled and someimes is comparatively freer. Some things have additional layers to their meaning and the useage of the word. Shaman, for example, or Druid.

 

Shaman as a word, Shamans as practitioners and Shamanism as a practice to be studied all have an advantage over an equivalent, such as Druid, in that many cultures in the modern world have continued to have shamanic practices well into the present day. As such its been possible to determine that there are certain commonalities, across the many cultures with Shamans, that determine whether a person is or is not a Shaman. Conversely, Druids are something that we understand very little of beyond knowing that a Druid is and is not certain things. These details are things that perhaps don’t give enough cause to stop and consider or asses amongst Pagans and Heathens, because there are times when such terms have very specific qualifiers as a part of them which aren’t always being met. What a Pagan or Heathen is is affected substantially by those things they call themselves, their identity, and those things that they do, their practices – sometimes the difference between a calling and a human desire to be a particular thing is a much finer detail than people expect.

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