Friday, May 15, 2015
Welcome to The Pagan Puppet. As a lifelong puppet enthusiast, builder and collector, and a long-term member of the pagan community, I've often wondered why these two so rarely collide. The puppet has his roots in ancient mythology and ritual. He's participated in magic since his beginnings, played gods and goddesses, invoked and emulated, and even offered himself up at the seasonal bonfires.
Puppets are closely related to poppets, to effigies and to the masking traditions, all of which the modern pagan has embraced and incorporated fairly adeptly. Yet, the puppet himself is rarely seen at the festivals and in the rituals where he logically would make a natural addition.
It has vexed me, I must admit. I know that puppetry should be there, should exist and thrive in a pagan surrounding, and yet, like the Higgs Boson, he plays an elusive game, refusing (okay until recently) to make an appearance. He is the Dark Matter of pagan religion, there in theory only, and to be honest, it's driving me batty trying to sort out why.
Mainstream religion has embraced the puppet. In fact, the prevalence of puppet ministry and Christian puppetry makes both a solid case for the use of puppetry in faith organizations and may also lend to the stand-offishness of the pagan community to the art form. I've no evidence to back that up, but puppetry is definitely going strong in the Christian church and thin at best at the Samhain feast.
Neo-pagans have a strong history of reclaiming the old traditions, the lost lore and the ancient arts, but for some reason, the puppet has been left alone. I propose that that is a sad lapse, and one that, if remedied, could greatly enrich our traditions going forward.
In a lot of cases puppet history is pagan history. They line up because they have always intertwined.
The blog will hopefully touch on some of that history, possibly shed light on the appropriateness of this proposed partnership between pagan and puppet, and if we're lucky, spark some interest in reviving and reincorporating the puppet into our practice.