Discordianism/Erisianism

St. Hugh, KSC, KNS

„If religion is the opiate of the masses, then Discordianism is the alcohol,
caffeine, and something-or-other of the lunatic fringe.“

-Somebody Important at Some Point

Anyone familiar with the Discordians knows the difficulties inherent in describing a vibrant aspect of Paganism that claims to „have no definition. “ With one of the major trends of Discordianism being one of decentralization and disagreement, is there a way to adequately describe it? To be true to Discordia (the Latin name of our primary Goddess, Eris), I would have to say 'yes, no, and maybe'.

To start with, there are scores of Discordian cabals across the world and, thanks to the Internet, Discordian writings and ideas are proliferating. The two most famous Discordian groups are POEE and the Erisian Liberation Front. Even though many people look at the plethora of humorous writings and dismissit as a religion, Discordians take their humorous traditions very seriously. . . to a point.

A tradition, or a set of traditions based around the Goddess Eris is by nature paradoxical and difficult to pin down. But it is, in my opinion, time that other Pagans realize that Eris worshippers are just as respectable as any other group, despite the fact that we laugh at ourselves and others.

History/Her Story/Eris Comes Out of Her Closet

The foundation of the Discordian movement in modern times comes from the paradoxical writing collection known as the „Principia Discordia, or How I found the Goddess and what I did with Her when I found Her. “ It tells the story of two young men in a bowling alley who receive the first Erisian Revelation back in 1957 or 58. (In true Discordian fashion, which year is never cleared up. ) The men go on a search of mythologies and discover Eris, the Goddess of Confusion, Chaos, and Discord. (Eris is also the Greek word for 'strife'. ) They surmised that chaos underlies everything, including order and the followers of order. „Look around and you can see all of the chaos in everything just as much as you can see order. “ The two men declare themselves to be High Priests of their own madness and start a Discordian Society „for whatever that may turn out to be. “

The explosion of the American counter-culture and the revival of surrealism met Discordianism (1960's and 70's) and the result was a Neo-Pagan parody religion of mirth and laughter. During this time the two main groups of the Discordian Society, POEE 'the Paratheo-Anametamystikhood of Eris Esoteric' and the Erisian Liberation Front set down the major practices and ideas that have since influenced later groups of Discordians, most of which were included in later editions of the Principia Discordia. It can also be said (although, many people will argue against this) that the post-modern magical phenomenon of Chaos Magic developed under Discordian influences. The main difference between Discordians and Chaos Mages is that Discordians revere the Goddess Eris, whereas Chaos Mages revere whatever works at the moment. Discordian thought runs a full spectrum from believers in a literal Goddess Eris to those who hold a healthy agnosticism towards all gods.

Today there are several active Discordian groups known as 'cabals' which continue to develop and practice Discordian ideas and rituals. POEE is still around, although it is debated whether or not the ELF still exists. Some of the active groups today are the Church of No Dead Saints in San Francisco, the Discordian Intelligence Agency, which is scattered in places as far afield as Australia, Germany, and Pennsylvania, and the Purple

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