In The Pagan Community.
An Essay by Helena Handbasket.
Deborah Kest, ever gracious, has allowed us to elaborate on an incident that had befallen her, and to use her unfortunate experience as an example of the problem of Inappropriate Language in the Pagan Community. Deborah had the misfortune, during a World Tree Grove ritual, to accidentally light fire to her hair, and, upon discovery, shout,
Jesus Christ! My hairs on fire!
When it was pointed out to Deborah that that particular Deity was inappropriate for a Greek-inspired Pagan to invoke in time of need, she replied, quite irrelevantly,
I dont care, my fucking hairs on fire!
Sad to say, Deborahs example is only one of many. To my dismay, I have frequently heard many Pagans using Inappropriate Language in this manner. Jesus Christ was simply not the right Deity for that particular situation.
I would suggest, perhaps,
Hecates Tit, my fucking hairs on fire! or,
Great Pans Dick, my fucking hairs on fire.
Or the ancient and ever popular,
E Gads! (which is a corruption of Ye Gods!), My fucking hairs on fire!
Think about it. We could say,
By Odins Eye!
Great Dagdas Club!
Athenas Shield!, or
and Mama!, of course, will always work.
We polytheistic Pagans have a much, much wider choice of invectives to choose from. It seems to me a shame that we keep automatically using the same few tired Deities that the rest of the English-speaking world invokes. Dr. J. N. Adams, of Manchester University in England studied swearing by the ancient Romans, and found that they had 800 dirty words to choose from.(1) We make do with a paltry twenty or so. Perhaps we could reclaim those other 780!
By the Wolfs Tit, Gaius, I blew 500 gold pieces on that Vulcans Breath of a charioteer!
Helenas First Rule Of Pagan Language Etiquette is to Know Whom You Call! Remember that these used to be called oaths, and when you swear, you are swearing by...
Yowee! and Zowee! are both corruptions of the Judeo-Christian Yahweh.
Gadzooks! refers to Gods Hooks.
Great Jumping Jehosaphat is actually a fanciful, rather athletic description of the old Hebrew Sky God Jehovah.
When in doubt, one can always fall back on the old scatalogical terms, Piss and Shit to fertilize our conversations, or Piss, Shit and Corruption, a victorian expletive your grandmother might have used.
Fuck! can also be used, but remember that all acts of love and pleasure are sacred....
I would say that Damn is inappropriate, though. Where would you damn to?
And Motherfucker is an integral part of the beloved Pagan Wheel of the Year!
Blasted and Blooming and Bloody are perfectly fine, though, and can be combined to make quite lovely taunts!
You Blooming Bluddewedd!
Blasted Bloody Bastard! (whoops
I dont know, is bastard at all relevant in a polyamorous, Goddess oriented society?)
Bloody Menopause! or My Bloody Lady! should both be acceptable in proper Pagan conversation.
Or... Ods Bodkins, which refers to Odins shoes, or, perhaps, Odins Balls!
Im sure that all of you get the idea, and can think up useful phrases perfectly well on your own. As time goes on, and our religion matures, Im sure well continue to develop the proper language for all our diverse discourses.
So, the next time your fucking hair catches fire during a ritual, stop and meditate, and carefully choose the appropriate Deity to call upon for help, praise or blame.
Until next time
(1) From The Mother Tongue, Bill Bryson, William Morrow, 1990, p.214