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. . . because Pagan/Heathen/Alternative Spirituality takes too long to type, and Mysterious Dead Grandmother and Cleopatra Morrison syndromes are a threat to the very polyester blend of reality

By Snooze Hamilton

I started using a couple of acronyms (that are ones I came up with) awhile back, because 1) I’m lazy and 2) I needed shorthand to refer to the ideas behind them.

The first one, PHA, is short for “pagan/heathen/alternative spirituality”, which I started using as a catch-all for anything not considered an Abrahamic faith or a largely recognized Eastern belief system. And to shut up the portion of Heathens/Wiccans/witches/Vodouisants/Santerians/Asatru/whatever that get their knickers in an indignant wad if you use the term “pagan” in connection with them. It’s hopefully open enough to include eclectic DIYers.

The second one, MDG, is short for Mysterious Dead Grandmother syndrome. There is a variant that includes grandfathers, but 98% of the time it’s the grandmother strain. This is a horrible condition where a person will have a fairly (radically) divergent set of beliefs, with variations that don’t really belong to the system (s)he claims. When asked (busted) about this, the MDG infectee will insist that they were born into an ancient (or at least centuries old) family Tradition that has been handed down secretly over the years, and that they were trained as an ___th degree priest-type thinger by their grandmother. This is often accompanied by an insistence that their family trad is a more true or pure form, and therefore more valid, than the more established versions of the belief system it’s being presented as but fails to really jive with. When asked to show some form of proof of the existence of this fam trad, the grandmother (and usually anyone else) is always conveniently deceased, and cannot be spoken with.

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