I put way too much faith in spiritual titles.
I think what bothers me the most about all of this is the simple fact that I don’t feel the need to title myself in my daily life. I am what I am. I don’t feel the need to say, “I am this, this, and this” when it comes to my personal life. You take me how I am or you don’t take me at all. You like me or you don’t. You enjoy my company or you don’t. In all of that, I have never once felt the need to entitle myself in some way. Hell, the only “title” I can think of that even remotely describes me is “mom.” But, that’s it. Everything else is merely a quasi-mix to make me the awesome-possum that I am today.
I’m not denigrating entitling oneself, by the way.
Sure, some titles are helpful: doctor, nurse, firefighter, cashier… These titles help others to know the occupations that a person is working in. Miss, mister, ma’am… These titles help you to politely address someone you have never met. Mother, child, son, brother… These titles help you to distinguish between different members of your family. They’re useful to tell stories or to figure out what you “want to be” when you “grow up” or to be polite. They’re there, but they’re all-encompassing title formats. They are the very ones that Joe Shmoe down the street use as well as Jane Doe across the world.
Religious titles, however, are incredibly important I’ve come to see/believe/realize.
I’ve always kind of known this in a broad kind of way. That’s how most religious people distinguish themselves from others: I’m a Protestant or a Fundamentalist Christian or a Jew or a Jihadist Muslim or or or. When you’re talking to some people about religion, they always make sure to define the faith for you. I guess it’s kind of like saying, “I am Mrs. So-and-So, a doctor of cardiology, sitting on the Board of Directors on Hospital Make Believe” but in the form of a religious way.
So, titles are pretty important in the Western world of religion.
Heck, let’s not be stupid here and get to the point… titling is fairly important in the pagan world, as well. I am Kemetic, which tells everyone that I follow the ancient Egyptian gods. Other titles are Heathenry, Celtic, Hellenic, Roman, Canaanite, etc. These are all very important because, just as the Western faiths’ titles generalize a branch, so do these terms. This is telling people just what kind of branch they fall under.
Then, you get into the specifics of the entitlement from there: reconstructionist, revivalist, reformatist, witch, and anything else you can think of. These titles are telling you just how specific they are in the faith. There aren’t any concrete titles in this realm, unfortunately or otherwise, but I think that gives those of us pagans a little bit of leeway: Instead of saying, concretely that I am Joe Blow from Alaska and I am a Jehovah’s Witness, then I can say, I am Jane Blow from Canada and I am a pagan who happens to also be an Asatru Reconstructionist Witch.
This is all pretty confusing, but I think in writing this I am finally coming to grip about spiritualist titles.
Let’s break it down from here: in the “alt” religions, there is paganism. This is an umbrella term for a lot of different people (as I mention in “The Path” tab at the top of my journal), just like Christian is an umbrella term for a lot of different people. From there, you have different forms of paganism, just like you do in the Christian world. And even from there, you have different branches off of the branches of paganism. It’s very confusing and incredibly odd, but it’s a wide net that we’ve spread out for ourselves, just like Christianity.
Maybe one day, we’ll be more of a majority than we are today. And maybe we’ll be able to talk about it publicly…
In the mean time, by talking about titles, I’ve come up with one of my own. This is the same for others: we can say that we want to be just like so-and-so, but each one of us walks a different path and so therefore, each one of us comes up with our own title for it. To follow a rigid stance on your religion, I think, is folly. Sure, it’s great to get together with fellow Christians or Jews or Muslims to talk shop (I assume), but we don’t have that option because we’re all so different. Nothing is rigid or sure on our paths, so while alone, we can also pretty much make up the rules as we go along.
And my title, to be honest, is weird and odd and long, but it’s funny and amusing and it’s me.
I am a Kemetic Hard Polytheistic Revivalist Pagan.
And now, I feel better. I feel like I have a title. And maybe, I feel like my purpose on this path is just a little bit more concrete now.