Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Indiscriminate Blessings



Pagans love to bless things. Whether or not they are sincere about it is immaterial. No matter whether you met just that moment or have known and despised one another for a decade, still
the proprieties must be observed, and observed with a treacly smile and a chirpy "Blessed be!" (This may or may not be accompanied by a Creepy Hug, which is a topic we'll address at a later time.) The process will be repeated upon departure, making "blessed be" the same sort of multipurpose greeting as "aloha."

The even perkier variant, "Bright Blessings!" is almost invariably used in a passive-aggressive manner. It is most effective as a sign-off to an offensive email or message board post. Nothing gets the message across faster than six paragraphs of poorly-spelled and poorly-reasoned flamebait capped off with "Bright Blessings!!!" (Superfluous punctuation is also de rigeur.) The general rule is, the level of the poster's sincerity is in inverse proportion to the size of the font and the number of exclamation points. "Bright Blessings," in paganspeak, is roughly analgous to "die in a fire."

The other most commonly used all-purpose blessing is "namaste." This is a Sanskrit compound word, from namas (to bow) and te (to you), and is a culturally-specific salutation common in India and Nepal which has since been widely disseminated thanks to Eastern disciplines of yoga and meditation becoming popular in the West. Most pagans don't know or care about the etymology of the word, because it sounds cool and lends an air of multicultural exoticism to their communications. (Speaking foreign languages where there are perfectly good English words available is a method of one-upmanship which we will also tackle in a later post.)

(Note also that the very word "bless" appears to derive from the Old English blodsian, meaning "to make sacred or holy by marking with blood." No doubt many of the pagans brightly blessing their coreligionists with chirpy words and creepy hugs would prefer to be marking them with blood, but that being frowned upon by the larger culture and often prohibited by law, they make do with what they have. Blessed be, readers!

14 comments:

  1. Absolutely true! We bless our homes, ritual tools, tools that have nothing to do with ritual, our friends, the days of the week, small critters... but isn't wonderful though? How much we love life that we can't stop blessing its glory?

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  2. It's grand to have a life worth blessing!

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  3. Why is it bullshit? I think it's brilliant. I hear pagans spouting this all the time, and there gets to be a point where it's ridiculously oversaid that it loses any and all meaning.

    Hey, can I suggest another topic for this page that is also ridiculously overdone to the point that it loses any and all meaning? "Sending energy" is another ridiculous thing Pagan culture likes.

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  4. BB I think has come into the same sort of thing as "L8er". Over done and a bit ridiculous, but that's not to say I'm guilty of this.

    However, I do like saying "Bright Blessings" after writing a letter to a friend, never used it at the end of an angry or passive-aggressive rant or letter.


    Still, it's very much so over used :(

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  5. Fiona, I think you missed the part about this site being "satire."

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  6. I love this blog! Please write more!

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  7. Good stuff. As long as you keep up the education, your satire is great.

    iiiiiiiiiBright Blessings!!!!!!!

    (Just kidding. I don't want you to die in a fire. But it is fun to use the letter i as an inappropriate spanishification of punctuation, so long as we're talking about etymology and being clever with language.)

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  8. oh gods, I so agree on the "Sending energy" thing, please write about that!

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  9. Interesting broad generalisations. But then, when you comment on an entire community, what else can you do?

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  10. Old joke: What do you call a 4th level Pagan? A Buddhist. I agree with the person who wrote that the humor will work as long as the writers here keep an educational component. I would add that they need to keep a light touch and focus on pith and wit while avoiding snark which is cheap, easy and dull.

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  11. I guess this little blog is dead. Too bad, it was funny while it lasted!

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