Saturday, July 23, 2011

DEJA BROOM: Saying "Tradition" when you mean "Denomination"

"DEJA BROOM" denotes a blog repost from my old site.  Feel free to read anew, or refresh your memory to re-live the ranty goodness.  Otherwise, feel free to skip ahead to more modern mayhem.

Let's have a vocabulary lesson here, shall we?  There's a difference between calling something a denomination and calling it a tradition. Nowadays, people tend to confuse those words or attempt to use them synonymously.

Which is why you'll hear more than a few snickers from the older generation of pagans (those older than say 40 yrs) when  newbie folks announce to all and sundry your shiny-happy intentions to "create my own tradition."
Whenever someone creates a system anew and practices their own formula for witchery, they have in fact built a new denomination, not a tradition.

Something only becomes a tradition once there is a provenance of material and practice which can be tracked over time and through several generations of progeny (literally generations within a family-like setting, or like an upline/downline system) all sharing in the same unique formulaic practices.

As such the members of the same tradition all agree to certain parameters about what defines their trad. This they mindfully share with others who also adopt it, exactly as passed, and continue to follow it, intact in orthopraxy and methodology, if not also in written/oral/demonstrative lore and material.

Here's an example:

Let's say that you always wear a blue shirt on Tuesdays and that might be YOUR unique thing.If you find others who also like the Tuesday blue-shirt say you teach your kids to do it and they carry on the practice every Tuesday and then teach their kids, your grandkids to do it....then you'd all be a part of a blue-shirt-Tuesday-tradition.

Notice that the key points that are hallmarks to the path have been kept intact: the "blue shirt" AND the specific day "Tuesday" as day of the week. The material is the same, as is the practice of applying it and teaching it to others in the same way.

If however let's say you do it on Tuesdays but your kids decide to rebel a bit and each chooses a different day of the to wear their blue shirts instead. Does this mean they are still related to you in the tradition? The answer is no.

While they could be said to be tangentially related to you under the wider umbrella of "blue-shirt-wearing" as a denomination or sect of society who likes blue shirts on a weekly basis, but they would no longer be, by definition, carrying on your Tuesday-based tradition because they've deviated from your starting point, in this case, your chosen day of the week as Tuesday. They aren't technically carrying on your idea exactly as passed.  Get it?

Ah, but for some all this talk of tradition or denomination is just semantics anyway.  Some folks don't care about following a pre-existing path and instead prefer to carve out their own way entirely.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter WHAT KIND of witch you are...only that you are living this path the way you best see fit and it works for you, and you don't snatch others labelling systems when they don't apply to you.

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