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Author Topic: A question about a term  (Read 7223 times)

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NyteShaed

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A question about a term
« on: April 03, 2011, 11:51:49 AM »

Why do people use the term "Gardnerian Wicca"  Isn't that a bit like saying "Jesusian Christianity" or "Mohamedian Islam" or for that matter "Papist Catholicism" or "Smithian Mormonism"?

Gardner founded Wicca, all Wiccans are Gardnerian Wiccans, some are also Alexandrian, or Dianic, or Eclectic, or what have you, but saying Gardnerian Wicca seems awfully redundant.

I know that some people use it to mean traditional Wiccan, as opposed to one of the other sorts, but doing so seems to dismiss Alexandrians, Dianics, Eclectics and the other sorts as somehow not actually following Gardner.
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Hjolmaer

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Re: A question about a term
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2011, 12:16:39 PM »

I think the term originated with the first off-shoots from Gardner's work, primarily Seax-Wica and Alexandrian.

In modern usage, it's intent is to identify someone who is initiated into a coven which can trace it's history back to Gardner directly without variance of practice.

I stress "without variance of practice" because technically any lineaged Alexandrian coven (traced back to Sanders) can then be traced (in a direct line, mind you) right back to Gardner's coven.

Saying "Gardnerian" Wicca, like "Dianic" Wicca or "Alexandrian" Wicca is rather more like saying "Baptist", "Lutheran", or "Mormon".

It's all Wicca, the difference is in the specifics of the practice itself.  Though you do bring up an interesting dig at the concept of a "lineaged" coven.  A "lineaged Gardnerian Coven" would be one that traces it's practices directly back to Gardner, but technically any coven that traces back to one of the folks that brought Wicca out of the UK (the Frosts, the Farrar's, Buckland, Sanders, Etc) could argue that their coven also traces back to Gardner, a common point made by some of the more "purist" Gardnerian Wiccans when establishing that their breed of Wicca is somehow "more Wiccan" than any other (this is the extremists, mind you, not the relatively normal Gardnerians).

I wonder what the purists might make of that.....
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Serpentium

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Re: A question about a term
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2011, 12:54:12 PM »

My local Crowleyan Wiccans would probably invoke the lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram against you. Then sit around for days bickering about why it didn't work.
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C_A

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Re: A question about a term
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2011, 02:05:09 PM »

Yes, it IS like saying "Jesusian Christianity".

As so many Christians have fallen SO far abroad from the teachings of Christ, so many Wiccans have fallen from the teachings of Gardner.

People who maintain WIcca as Gardner taught it are Gardnerian.
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blue

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Re: A question about a term
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2011, 08:38:33 PM »


I stress "without variance of practice" because technically any lineaged Alexandrian coven (traced back to Sanders) can then be traced (in a direct line, mind you) right back to Gardner's coven.


 There are a few problems with Alexander Saunders that could invalidate the whole tradition though.

 The first: As i understand it he was only of the second degree.

 The second: It's well documented that he was bisexual. Same gender teaching is expressly forbidden in the Ardanes.

 It's safe to say that the Gardnerian tradition is unequivocally Wicca. It's a baseline to compare everything else that followed to.
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Hjolmaer

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Re: A question about a term
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2011, 07:11:02 AM »

True, but the same could be said for a number of different religions that branched off of another.  The various off-shoots from Catholicism, for example.  No less valid in their own right.
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C_A

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Re: A question about a term
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2011, 09:36:33 AM »

No less valid in their own right.

But CATHOLICS would argue that down, as well.  As "less valid", indeed.  I think that they might well feel as...errm..."protective"(?) about their "label" as any Pagan might.  Of course, the WORD "Catholic" meaning "Universal" or "all encompassing" might bring ot an argument of capitalization the same way that many do with "W(w)icca". 

Validity as a Spiritual path as opposed to the validity as a "legitimate doctrine"...an argument that has haunted these fora since their inception.  Or, at least within a day or two of their inception.
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blue

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Re: A question about a term
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2011, 10:11:34 AM »

 Well ... i'm not Wiccan so i don't really have a vested intrest in it but from an intellectual standpoint one of the things that concerns me is that second degree thing.

If Saunders only attained his second degree in a Gardnerian coven there's a possibility that his understanding of the faith may have been incomplete.

 If he built his tradition on an incomplete understanding then it's possible that he left out something vital. Something that makes Wicca what it is.

 Then ... think about all of the traditions that were offshoots of the Alexandrian Trad. Are they Wicca or did they morph into something different ?

 I think what it all comes down to is that unless you're "in the know" you can't really assume one way or the other for sure. You can form opinions based on what you do know but there's always the chance that a new piece of the puzzle may come along and you'll have to revise your thinking.

 It's best to keep an open mind.

====

 The most prudent thing .... IMHO ?

 Don't call yourself Wiccan if you have attained the third degree in a Gardnerian coven.

Don't call yourself Wiccan if you have not attained the third degree in a Gardnerian coven.  ;D

====

 Just kidding of course ... for the sake of impeccability simply make the distinction between traditions. That way someone isn't inadvertently laying claim to something that may or may not be theirs.

 It's a middle of the road solution to the whole argument over which witch is which.  :)
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NyteShaed

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Re: A question about a term
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2011, 12:10:51 PM »

But CATHOLICS would argue that down, as well.  As "less valid", indeed.  I think that they might well feel as...errm..."protective"(?) about their "label" as any Pagan might.  Of course, the WORD "Catholic" meaning "Universal" or "all encompassing" might bring ot an argument of capitalization the same way that many do with "W(w)icca". 

Validity as a Spiritual path as opposed to the validity as a "legitimate doctrine"...an argument that has haunted these fora since their inception.  Or, at least within a day or two of their inception.

Catholics don't call themselves Jesusian Christians though.
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C_A

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Re: A question about a term
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2011, 12:18:19 PM »

No, they don't.  But that was the e.g. Hjolmaer used, so I addreesed as a matter of course.
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edens garden

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Re: A question about a term
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2011, 12:31:39 PM »

The EG Hjolmaer used ;) haha.

And now back to your scheduled posting.
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Hjolmaer

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Re: A question about a term
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2011, 01:39:19 PM »

I should have clarified up there, but as an example of something which branched off of Catholicism (in quasi-similar fashion to Saunders branching off from Gardner) would be the Protestant church in their separation from the Catholic one.  I wasn't referring to a pseuod-"catholic" religion, but rather a group which branched off in it's own direction, but was brought out of the background of the original.

Catholicism seems to regularly fall under the umbrella of Christianity, along with many others (Baptist, Lutheran, Mormon, etc).  It was this sort of "building off the basics of" example I was going for.

Sorry for the confusion.
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C_A

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Re: A question about a term
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2011, 04:55:45 PM »

It's all good.  But, look at things like the Polish National Catholic Church or the Greek or Egyptian Catholic Church.  Rome calls them "heretics"....
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Hjolmaer

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Re: A question about a term
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2011, 05:16:18 PM »

Indeed, and an excellent point.  And while "purist" Roman Catholics would argue their validity, or claim to "catholic" as a title, most others are willing to accept it.

The real questions is why?

On the one hand, why would the purists argue it?

On the other, why would the (let's call them) non-purists accept it so readily?

I think some of Blue's points speak to the reason (or at least part of it).  To the purists, they see what they do, and how they do it, as the correct way.  To the non-purists, who gives a shit?  Looks like Catholicism to them.

Show a wine enthusiast a selection of wines, and he'll be able to sort the bottles by their quality simply by their vintage.  Show some guy who thinks wine is for yuppies, and he's just going to shrug at you and say "yeah, it's wine, so what?"

To the purists, it's a matter of honor, pride, and (let's be frank) exclusion.  If you aren't part of the purist club, you aren't fit to call yourself anything that even bears the slightest hint of a resemblance to the name the purist club uses.

However, to everyone outside the purist club, it looks good enough.

Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, sounds like a duck.......must be an armadillo.

The ones outside the purist club will usually fall into one of two categories:

The "I Wish I Could Be In The Purist Club" group, and the "The Purists Need To Get Their Heads Out Of Their Asses And Realize That The Real World Moves On" group.

The first sort, in their efforts, I can agree with the purists on.  They'll be the ones proclaiming to be a Gardnerian Coven by simple virtue of the fact that they practice some of the rituals by what they presume to be Gardnerian standards, despite the fact that none of them have ever been initiated into, much less led, an orthodox Gardnerian Coven.

The second group, however, seems to have a much stronger handle on the "real world" as it were.  They aren't trying to validate their group by tying it in to the purist club.  But what their group does, however, is similar (if not very similar) to what the purist group does.  Most of their information is trickled down from those who have left the purist clubs and started "off-shoot not-quite-so-purist" clubs.  They see their practice as having been (for lack of better terminology) handed down from the purists (if in an incomplete form), and are willing to accept that while their particular breed of "club" isn't "pure", it is still, in fact, a form of the same damn club.

Take MELEE for example.  I know I've mentioned it off-hand a time or two, but to recap, it's a group of people who get together with padded swords and axes and beat the hell out of each other for fun.

Let's say that, having experienced MELEE with the group at Whiteside Park, I like the idea.  I hang around, get to know the rules, then go back to my own area and find a bunch of friends that are down with the idea of beating the hell out of each other on the weekends.  But let's say I didn't necessarily like some of the rules.  MELEE allows for the use of armor, assigning various "points" to different types that can prevent damage to the fighter (a hit on an unarmored leg, for example, renders the leg useless.  But wearing leather greaves would allow you to suffer two hits to the leg before it was rendered useless).

I don't like this, as not everyone can afford armor.  So I want to just do away with the armor entirely and put more focus on the skill of the fighters.

Is this still MELEE?  Hell yes.  Even MELEE will tell you that.  It's the spirit of the thing that is important to MELEE, not the rules.  Well, other than the "no-head-shot, no-groin-shot" ones (they just kind of ruin the game).

But I've changed one of the fundamental and widely accepted rules of MELEE.  In my MELEE club, armor counts for precisely dick.  Other than looking cool, I suppose.

"Purists" might argue that it's not "traditional MELEE", based on a lack of rules allowing armor.  But I can guarantee you that NO MELEE FIGHTER I'VE EVER MET WOULD ACTUALLY ARGUE THAT POINT.

They simply wouldn't care.  The armor adds a level to the game, but is not the game itself.  They'd just as happily either drop the armor, or keep wearing it for the "cool" factor.  But they'd still happily beat the hell out of (and get the hell beaten out of them by) all the other non-armor wearing people.

So how would MELEE (a game that literally revolves around violence, more violence, and nothing but violence) correlate to a religion (in this thread, Wicca specifically?)

The connection comes in when people are willing to say "Y'know what, shit changes.  Let's roll with it."
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blue

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Re: A question about a term
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2011, 07:12:10 PM »


 It feels like you're not getting it H.

 You're too distracted by the snobs vs the slobs.  ;)

 Let's use the wine enthusiast example. He understands and appreciates the differences between a bottle of Dom Perignon and Boones Farm Strawberry Hill because he's experienced both.

 The ignorant man sees both bottles of wine as being the same.

 ( Ignorant being defined simply as "not knowing" with no negative connotation intended whatsoever.)
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