I've come to a conclusion. Somewhere and with some individuals in the pagan world, an understanding of personal preference versus actual tradtion needs to be established.
Actualy, I came to that conclusion a long time ago. I've dropped bits and thoughts here and there, but now it has its own post.
So my subject is "Traditional Pagan Stuff". And by stuff, I mostly mean clothing. I was reading an article earlier about a couple's handfasting, where I saw this line: "...amid dozens of wellwishers in traditional pagan regalia
And later, describing the clothing wore by the couple getting married, and the woman's son:
"a couture dress, which her mum helped to customise together with homemade "Weddington Boots" made from white wellies adorned with Swarovski crystals and lines of pearls.
Tony wore a pirate suit, as did Rebecca's five-year-old son Bracken
The story contains a picture, a rather smal one. As far as I can tell, "traditional pagan regalia" consists of SCA or Ren Faire garb.
You want a costume wedding with pirates and Ren Faire garb? Sounds like fun! If I were invited to such a wedding, I'd go in costume and have a blast. A pagan handfasting on top of that? Spiffy! "Traditional pagan"? Not so much, skippy.
At best, this sort of costuming is a replica of "traditional" of certain people from a certain time period in a certain region. In many cases, it's not an accurate replica. I'm not the historical costume nazi, so I'll leave that thought alone.
At worst, it's fun and fasntasy passed off as "history".
But back to "replica of "traditional" of certain people from a certain time period in a certain region"...it's just that. Pagans did not have an exclusive hold on this type of clothing. In any given past time period, there was a certain style of fashionable dress. There was sometimes but not always fashion as segregated by religion (best examples offhand...I'm not sure if the Amish and Conservative Mennonite forms of dress today were in place in the past, and if so how different they dressed from others in the same geographical area. I' sure there are some better examples. In this, I'm speaking of the common layperson, not clergy or others of specifically religious vocation, like nuns and monks.) People were simply wearing what was in at the time. If they had been alive in this day and age, very likely the same people would run around in jeans, tshirts and Nikes. You don't see Christians getting laced into bodices like they're going to an SCA event for church. (I'm not comparing the two religions here, just saying...Christians in that time period dressed in that way too).
I have heard some people criticize those who feel the need to wear Ren Faire type clothing to pagan ritual as being ridiculous or making a mockery of the occasion. I'm not sure I go that far...and I've seen a ritual done where *everyone* was dressed in costume. It looked really cool. And far be it from me to criticize individualism, but I do have to ask if everyone else is wearing contemporary clothing...why? In the end though, it's your choice. If that's what you want and no one else in the ritual minds....okay.
I DO however question those who feel the *need* to forgo contemporary dress for ritual.
If it's because you think its "traditional" or "historically accurate? I refer you to the above statements, and I remind you that back in Ye Olde Dayes, those who practiced "Ye Olde Religion" (And by Ye Olde Religion", I don't mean Wicca) wore what was contemporary for their time. I would also ask, if it's "historical" or "traditional" why on earth you're dressed up like the 1400s to honor the gods of ancient Greece or Rome. If you're so concerned with historical accuracy, go put on a toga. And while we're at it...most people in the Renaissance times, at least publically were Christian.
A non-clothing concern is with "stuff". My best example (The only one offhand that I can easily reference, unfortunately I don't have a copy of the book to cite a page number) is from Deborah Lipp's Elements Of Ritual: Earth Air Fire And Water in the Wiccan Circle. In this book, Lipp tells us that we shoud not use glass dishes in ritual...they are "too modern".
Glass! Glass has been around for oh geez...a really long time. They had glass in Rome. they had glass before that. Hell, obsidian- which comes from volcanoes is a NATURALLY-MADE FORM OF GLASS. According to Wikipedia, glass blowing originated in the first centurey BC. Glass is old. Really really old.
My point? Don't tout your personal preference as "traditional" or "historical" unless it actually is. And don't say that a substance thats been around for gillions of years is "too modern". If you don't like the dish...just don't use it. If you think the particular style
of a specific piece is "too modern" by all means, style can be too modern, too ancient, too quiet, too loud. But those are subjective and not to be imposed on others. Myself, I really like glass.
(Here's a link to another op-ed piece regarding the Ren Faire garb thing... Medieval Clothing And Wiccan Ritual In This Day And Age
crossposting this on my own journal and a couple of communities.