Saturday, June 26, 2010

Druid Pantheist or Pantheist Druid? Capitalized or not?

Some people capitalize Pantheist and Druid.  I think it is because they see these things as specific religions, so they capitalize them just as they capitalize Christian or Catholic.  I see pantheist as parallel to atheist, polytheist, and monotheist, which are not capitalized.  I see druid as a bit more complex.  I think that to say someone is a druid is like saying they are a vegetarian or an animal rights activist or a pacifist, so it is not capitalized.  However, I think it should be capitalized when used with a narrower meaning, such as to say someone has attained the rank of Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids.

So, I call myself pantheist and druid without capitalization.  I will not criticize anyone who uses capitalization when applying those labels to themselves.  I think we all have the right to choose our own labels.

But am I a pantheist druid or a druid pantheist?  In such a phrase, the first word is an adjective describing an attribute or state, while the second word is a noun, identifying what a person is.  For example, a person may be described as a wise woman or a happy child.  By this reasoning, I label myself a druid pantheist.  A pantheist is what I am -- I cannot change on a whim my fundamental beliefs about the nature of the world.  Druidry is a practice in which I choose to engage, but which I could at some time choose to stop doing.

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