Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Campfire or umbrella?

Many people have referred to Paganism as an umbrella term encompassing the various Pagan traditions. Recently, however, there has been quite a lot of jostling for centre position under the umbrella, with various groups feeling as though they have metaphorical rain running down the backs of their necks. It could even be said that some groups were trying to run away with the umbrella, claiming they invented it and everyone else is just touting shoddy imported versions.

Maybe it's time we stopped thinking of Paganism as an umbrella, and started thinking of it as a campfire. That way, we are all standing round the centre (whatever that is - perhaps the deities, or Nature) and warming our hands, but anyone who gets too close will get singed. Also, the warmth of the campfire radiates out much further than the shelter of an umbrella, and has fuzzy boundaries (unlike an umbrella, which has a defined edge); and the light from the campfire can be seen from the nearby campfires (which are friendly religions with a similar ethos, like Unitarians and UUs, Quakers, Taoists, liberal Hindus, traditional indigenous religions, etc). And those who like to visit the other campfires and swap stories (like me and Cat and Peter) can be within the ambit of both campfires.


Evn said...

Oh, that's an EXCELLENT metaphor.

I'm totally stealing it. With attribution.

Yvonne said...

Spread it far and wide - I want it to be a contagious meme :)

Attribution is good, though :)

Yvonne said...

In discussing this in the comments on Facebook, it all got very weird indeed, so I decided the best thing was actually to combine the two concepts and just have a burning umbrella. So I googled for "burning umbrella". Someone else also has a weird head, because there's a MySpace group called "A burning umbrella" and also a festival in Japan where umbrellas are burnt to appease the souls of two brothers who wanted vengeance.