Let Me Explain: You Did Not Learn About Paganism from Andre Norton

Okay, this happened a very long time ago, and I am not even one of the people central to the tale. I only heard both sides of the story from the people involved who had no clear idea that I knew both of them. (And it actually took me a while to realize, “hey, small world, these two women are talking about each other!” While the stories were very similar, the spin was different enough that it was actually hard to make a connection between woman A and Woman B.)

I do not know the exact content of the conversation that took place, but I know that the gist goes something like this: Christian woman  has a conversation about Paganism with a Wiccan  Priestess. Due to what I think were some intrinsic misunderstandings, the conversation does not go very well. At some point in time, Christian woman claims that she doesn’t need to know anything (further) about Paganism because she learned about it by reading Andre Norton.

Andre Norton was a writer of science fiction and fantasy. She included a lot of fairy folklore and various systems of mythology in her works. I haven’t found anything about her religious inclinations, but I do not think she was a Pagan. I also do not think that her use of various mythoi indicates a knowledge of actual  (modern) Pagan groups or traditions.

From the Wiccan’s point of view: she’s just been insulted and told that her beliefs are fantasy.  (Research that involves playing with various mythoi and folklore is not the same as research to expand personal  or spiritual knowledge.)

From the Christian’s point of view: she has no idea of why the Wiccan is annoyed by her statements. (Research is research and factual even if it’s changed or altered to suit a fantasy setting created by the author.)

Needless to say, the conversation went very sour from there, and the situation between the two women became slightly hostile toward each other. (There were other factors involved that caused a certain amount of animosity on one or the other part, but I’m not going to go into them because I don’t remember all of the specifics.)

From this, I think we can safely say that it is probably not a great idea to declare that you learned about Paganism from a fantasy writer. This is especially if you are actually Christian and have no interest in actual Paganism. (It may be marginally okay to state that you acquired an interest in learning about various mythoi after reading a fantasy novel however.)


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Filed under ha ha no, pagan, speshul thinking, the past

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