I’ve been thinking a bit about definitions, labels, and classifications in the pagan and metaphysical communities. One issue I had when I was younger was defining myself as “pagan” even though as a ceremonial magician, I was essentially practicing a monotheistic mystical system. What it really came down to is that “pagan”, a term which should connote a religious affiliation, had in fact become another term for “magic-user”, even if that person did not adhere to “pagan” religious beliefs or practices.

Hence Satanists, atheists mystics, Christian mystics and witches, ceremonial magicians, and Buddhist mystics might be lumped in with “pagans” even though they kinda aren’t. Because they might do magic, and their systems have been harvested by pagans, so they must be close enough.

So, since we love labels and classifications, and because I am bound and determined to have at least one of my made-up words enter general use in the pagan community, I propose the term “meta-pagan” for those who associate with the pagan community insofar as magical technique is concerned, but deviate from pagan religious practice. Thus, the meta-pagan community includes Satanists, Christian withes, and Reiki practicioners, while the pagan community can be limited to poly or pantheist religious types.



2 responses to “Meta-Pagans

  1. I use the word pagan because of it’s umbrella-like coverage, but I don’t find myself on a religious path, at least, not the way I view religion. I do however touch on various and numerous legends/parables/myths to explain concepts to my children or in conversation, at times. So…you are right, the word “pagan” has become convoluted. I tend to dislike labels because they become constricting/limiting so…I don’t know what I think. Meta-pagan is a very confusing word to me, if the intention is to include so many paths since, if you break down the word, it means that it relates (in some way. i.e. beyond, above, aside from, etc) to paganism. What I am perceiving your idea as is more like the occult…

    • I though about the term “occult”, but like “witchcraft” it evokes a reference to a technical practice, at least in my mind. Its more specific than what I’m imagining. Can you imagine a typical Reiki healer reacting to being called an occultist? But Reiki is magic-like, and hass some overlap with pagan practices and beliefs. So it’s “like” paganism, but still kind of more general. Hence “meta” paganism. That ambiguity is what I’m going for.

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