Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Word Meanings

Almost all words we use can have different meanings. It just depends on the context that they are used in, as well as what words are used to support the underlying meanings. Sometimes the subtle connotations of a conversation can make different people walk away with very different understanding of what was just said. Maybe that it why it is a challenge to come up with definitions of words that please everyone.

One word, in particular, that I am thinking about that has this type of linguistic war is the word “Pagan.” Depending on your viewpoint, the word Pagan can be taken to mean something that is bad or something that is good, including several gray areas in between.

While looking at sites on the web, I found this explanation of the word Pagan. It includes the origins of the word as well as seven definitions that are commonly used today.

I would like to know what you think of when the word Pagan is used.

What do you think of the current or past uses of the word Pagan?
Do you think that the word Pagan is a good word to use to describe your path?

1 comment:

soleclaw said...

I call myself Pagan because in my experience Pagan is used as an umbrella term for anyone who is Wiccan, Druid, Shaman, Witch, whatever. Because I am simply an eclectic witch who studies and practices various different things, I find Pagan to be a much easier word to use when speaking to others of a magical inclination.

"Pagan" also is less abrasive than "witch", but I find that most Christians are less uncomfortable if I say I'm "Wiccan" even though I really am not technically. It is so hard to be Pagan, even among the Pagan community. I feel I need to write an essay every time someone asks me what I believe. I found the following quote from the site you linked to be a little unfair:

"When addressing non-Wiccans or non-Neopagans, it is important that the term:

Be carefully defined in advance, or that
Its meaning is clearly understandable from the text's context"

Christians aren't required, when speaking in public, to define the term "Christian." In a perfect world I shouldn't feel obligated to explain myself for fear of being judged or believed to be a Satan worshipper. In a perfect world...where the words "freedom of religion" truly mean something.