In the Name of the Gods



It’s scandalous, it’s salacious and it’s a story that has sparked quite the debate among townsfolk. What could possibly rock a small, conservative Christian community? A sex shop, that’s what. Our little dorpie has its first sex shop, tucked away in the industrial area far away from schools and churches; not that has stopped leaders of the latter from having heavy opinions about the town’s newest retailer. Now you may be wondering what a little sex shop out in some small town has to do with Paganism. It’s simple really and it all lies in the name of this new shop: Isis Boutique.

From a personal standpoint I see nothing wrong with a sex shop- what consenting adults do within the privacy of their own bedroom is their business, not mine. Even from a religious perspective, I have nothing against the act of sex. While I view it as something sacred, I know not everyone shares my view, so I have no right nor desire to force my views on anyone else. However there is one thing that, from that same religious standpoint, irks me somewhat.

The name of this adult shop is Isis Boutique- it is named after a Pagan Egyptian deity. Granted Isis is a mother deity, and we all know how women end up mothers, but that is beside the point. This newest vendor in our town is another example in a long tradition of naming unrelated, non-Pagan enterprises after Pagan deities; and I’m not exactly sure how I feel about it.

On one hand it could be argued that so much of the language of our everyday lives is founded in the names of Pagan deities. From the names of the days of the week, to words like ‘cereal’ and ‘morphine’, they are all based on ancient pagan deities. In a sense, having yet another store or product named after a Pagan deity is no biggie. You could even go so far as saying it is one way of keeping the names of the Gods alive.

However, on the flip side of that view is the thought of what would happen if the shoe was on the other foot. What would the reaction be if we had a sex shop named ‘The Holy Spirit’, or Jesus™ sportswear? There would be mass outrage; which would be due to the common thread of mainstream religions being big on the whole ‘not taking their deities’ names in vain’ theme.

And that is just the point- how do Pagans feel on such ideas of taking their Gods’ names in vain; or do they even see the use of their Gods’ names in such a setting as blasphemous in the first place? As a religion, Neo-Paganism is still the new kid on the block; it’s still finding its feet and deciding how it feels on certain issues. However, that is perhaps the one thing that really sets Paganism apart from mainstream religions: we don’t speak universal opinions on issues and rather leave it up to the individual to decide. So that begs the question- how do you feel about non-Pagan enterprises using the names of your Gods for their businesses and products?

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