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Now for something completely different.


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13 replies to this topic

#1    GreenmansGod

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 01:11 AM

Neo Paganism covers many different Nature Based religions or spiritualities.  There are lots of them; here is the wiki list.
http://en.wikipedia....pagan_movements

What the hold in common is they hold the Earth and nature as sacred.   They use Gods and Goddesses, but for the most part they are considered different facets of nature.   There are no sacred books or a person held has a sacred or guru.  There is no central authority, other than what needed to organize rituals and activities, such as festivals.  Learning comes from experience and many different sources.  If you go into a book store you will see hundreds of books on Neo Pagan paths.  The thought is there are many paths to the divine and each must find their own way.  We don't seek converts, people come to us looking for spiritual guidance and looking for a greater connection with nature.

So when people tell me Neo Paganism is not a religion, I say, is Christianity a religion, is Islam a religion, is Hinduism a religion?  There many different kinds of them and they usually have a spiritual component in them.  They say it is a spiritual path, but if you look up the definition of Religion and Spirituality they are not that far apart.  
The problem is by saying it is not a religion it loses the protection other religion have under the law.

Edited by GreenmansGod, 02 February 2014 - 01:12 AM.

"The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible." Salman Rushdie

#2    Ashotep

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 01:44 AM

All religions should be protected under the law no matter if you do find them distasteful or one day its possible that none of them will be.  All main stream religions should consider this if they want to survive.  Now having said that all religions should have to obey the laws of the land.  In other words no sacrificing animals, people or doing things to hurt them.


#3    Stormcrow

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 01:51 AM

What I don't understand is why people have to be "neo" Pagan. Personally I find neo-ism a little offensive. It's like saying being a Pagan isn't good enough, suddenly you have to modernize everything...


#4    Likely Guy

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 01:59 AM

I'm disappointed with the lack of Monty Python referrences in this thread so far.

But hey, if you can call yourself a Jedi Knight on your census form, Neo-Paganism is definately a religion.

But then again, what the hell does an agnostic know?


#5    Beany

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 05:29 AM

The US Army chaplains handbook has included a section about Wicca/non-traditional religions for a long time. And there have been numerous legal rulings that Wicca & Paganism have the same protections and rights as traditional faiths. I wonder how much prejudice about non-traditional faiths is due to the fact that they are more matriarchal than patriarchal, identified more with the feminine than masculine.

Edited by Beany, 02 February 2014 - 05:31 AM.


#6    ambelamba

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 05:40 AM

They are incomplete without a footlong blunt.

They came with a Bible and their religion. stole our land, crushed our spirit, and now they tell us we should be thankful to the Lord for being saved.

-Chief Pontiac (1718-1769)

#7    Border Collie

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 10:39 AM

I like Pagans. The world would be a much better place with more of them.


#8    GreenmansGod

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 06:12 PM

View PostHilander, on 02 February 2014 - 01:44 AM, said:

All religions should be protected under the law no matter if you do find them distasteful or one day its possible that none of them will be. All main stream religions should consider this if they want to survive. Now having said that all religions should have to obey the laws of the land. In other words no sacrificing animals, people or doing things to hurt them.

Sacrificing animals is a Santeria (etc) kind of thing. I don't know any Pagans who do that kind of thing and if you did something like that at a ritual they would throw you on the fire. But what is the difference between killing an animal for slaughter and sacrificing it Either way it is not humanine and it ends up dead.



View PostStormcrow, on 02 February 2014 - 01:51 AM, said:

What I don't understand is why people have to be "neo" Pagan. Personally I find neo-ism a little offensive. It's like saying being a Pagan isn't good enough, suddenly you have to modernize everything...

Because where you tell people you are Pagan many of them will argue with the old roman definition of you're country folk or the old one given by the Abrahamic tradition if you not Christian (etc) you are pagan. Buddhist and Hindus are not Pagans.   We are not our ancestors,  We don't kill our infective leaders and toss them on a bog along with all the other crazy things they did. Modern Paganism is a dynamic new religion. I don't think our ancestors would recognize what we have done with the "old ways."
I like the Pledge to Pagan Spirituality written by Selena Fox.  It is really what Modern Pagan Paths are about.
http://www.denelder....gan-pledge.html

Edit to add.  The best thing the old Druids did was not write anything down and we got a do over.

Edited by GreenmansGod, 02 February 2014 - 06:15 PM.

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#9    Stormcrow

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 07:03 PM

View PostGreenmansGod, on 02 February 2014 - 06:12 PM, said:

Because where you tell people you are Pagan many of them will argue with the old roman definition of you're country folk or the old one given by the Abrahamic tradition if you not Christian (etc) you are pagan. Buddhist and Hindus are not Pagans.   We are not our ancestors,  We don't kill our infective leaders and toss them on a bog along with all the other crazy things they did. Modern Paganism is a dynamic new religion. I don't think our ancestors would recognize what we have done with the "old ways."
I like the Pledge to Pagan Spirituality written by Selena Fox.  It is really what Modern Pagan Paths are about.
http://www.denelder....gan-pledge.html

Edit to add.  The best thing the old Druids did was not write anything down and we got a do over.

Too bad. We should probably consider that our ancestors may have been right about that.

Neo-Paganism isn't Paganism as it should be IMO. I'll stick with the old ways myself. Just not a fan of "new" and "modern" applications to traditional belief, to me it just feels like someone's trying to be something that they're not.

"I want to call myself a Christian... but I don't want to be a Christian. I know, I'll be a neo-Christian!"

Same principle. They want to be Pagan but... not be a Pagan. Because being a real Pagan is too hard, it's easier to be something you can make up yourself, but make it sound legit by applying a historical label to it.

Edited by Stormcrow, 02 February 2014 - 07:06 PM.


#10    GreenmansGod

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 08:27 PM

Stormcrow, what path of Paganism are you following? When it comes to the old European pagan religions there really isn't that much left of them.  Most them are relics of Romanticism of the 18th century.  Christianity did a good job stomping it out.  I have read my share of the old Welsh and Irish tales and you can see how the Monks who wrote them down Christianized them.  I think the Norse religions fared a little better, they were the last to be Christianized.  When people ask me my religion I usually say Pagan, sometimes Pagan Druid.  When I started this journey I looked at the history of what I was doing.  As a Pagan I like the truth,  Honesty is a big part of my moral construct.  It is ok with me to think I am really doing something kind of new.  I know where and the day my branch of Druidry started. The guys who started it are honest about it. I follow an Earth based path, my first and foremost teacher is Earth herself. The Gods are really just  props of the different parts of nature. In the end each must find though own way, that is the Pagan way.
Have you read "Triumph of the Moon"  by Hutton.  Every Pagan should read it.

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#11    Stormcrow

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 09:18 PM

I like to associate mostly with the very old Norse traditions as well as having some early Celtic influences. I call myself simply "Pagan", I feel I belong to both Norse and Celtic sects, and can't find it in my heart to choose one over the other because they have both played an incredible part in shaping who I am. My ancestors were from both sides as well, so that might explain why I feel pulled toward both of them. I don't believe in any one more than the other really, they are both important to me and I feel both aspects are "right". I love nature-based belief, and at the same time I am also very attracted to the gods and what I feel has changed in my life since I have taken them up. In a way I can relate to your statement that "I follow an Earth based path, my first and foremost teacher is Earth herself. The Gods are really just  props of the different parts of nature." But for me the gods are more than just props or metaphors/representations of a greater significance.

I have read a lot of Christian-influenced Celtic material and it just, well, it p***es me off... It's the principle of it that I despise. In my opinion it damaged the foundation of the religion, and the modern Celtic idealism is what set the stones for neo-Paganism, and it's related material. That is just the way it makes me feel though.

Snorri's interpretations of the myths in Norse mythology are fun to read, but like you say, by that time Christianity had already made its impact. I still enjoy the stories but I don't treat them like "gospel", due to Christianity's influence on Snorri's interpretations. Unfortunately it is difficult to find records of tradition and belief before the Christian empire made it's debut in the North.

To me it's funny, how Christianity has influenced some aspect of Pagan religions -- but Paganism has influenced more of Christianity than Christianity has influenced Paganism. Christianity's fundamental holidays are completely based on Pagan rituals, some could even argue that Jesus is a Pagan remnant (Mythras).

I am always up for learning and expanding familiarity with my beliefs, I don't feel like I'm an expert in any way on the history or foundations of Paganism at all. If nothing else, I have only sampled a drop out of an ocean of possibilities. We're always learning new things in regards to history, there are always secrets to be uncovered in the scheme of our religions, as well as internally.

I'll check that book out. Most of my reading material the past few years has been centered on studying; I haven't gotten to read philosophical material for ages so it'll be refreshing to get back into it.

ETA: Being a critical thinker I never accept something blindly. So I Googled Triumph of the Moon and got this:

http://www.amazon.co...t/dp/0473174588

"...A new book has recently appeared, Trials of the Moon, by Ben Whitmore, that has reopened the case. Whitmore has painstakingly examined the original sources used by Hutton, and has clearly demonstrated that Hutton has frequently misrepresented his sources, which sometimes state quite the opposite of what Hutton represents.

In addition to the weaknesses in Hutton's conclusions pointed out by Whtmore, it is clear that Prof. Hutton is not above playing anthropologist, although he is not trained as an anthropologist nor does he even attempt to use the ethnographic method..."

Based on this statement -- and others provided by other readers of "Trials" vs "Triumph" I feel I should leave my beliefs in the hands of history rather than modern interpretations...

Edited by Stormcrow, 02 February 2014 - 09:28 PM.


#12    GreenmansGod

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 12:30 AM

Wow, thanks Stormcrow. Different paths in the same forest. I lean to the Celtic.  The way I look at it, thank you Christian Monks, of the time for writing it down or we would have nothing. History is written by the victors.  I will get the "Trials of the Moon" tonight.  I am not expert myself, but the love hunt. Have you read the Mabinnogion?  That is the stories of the Welsh peoples.  ( I know where the guy who writes Game of Thrones got his ideas.} What they are about are their zodic and marking the change of the season.  They are some wild stories, though.  But through all drama is a vain of honor, holding to your word and courage.  I would have like to have been sitting round the fire looking the stars and hearing the ancestors tell the stories.  Stories are their gift to us,  what we do ;with it is our choice.
I hope you are have a Blessed Imbolc.    

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#13    Stormcrow

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 12:49 AM

I've been meaning to check it out but, like I said, just haven't managed to work my way to spiritual books yet. Kind of a shame, but I go through reading phases. At any rate I'll bookmark it -- looks like you can read it online in PDF, so that makes it easy. :) I love reading about beliefs, especially Celtic histories and mythology, they are so full of magic and wonder that it makes me feel so much at home. I've visited Ireland and the UK for three weeks, it was fantastic, I just melted into it and never wanted to leave. It made me love it that much more. I'm not sure where the Norse gods came into it, I can't remember at what point I really felt a connection with them, it was just like one day they were suddenly a part of my life and I couldn't imagine it any other way.

I had no idea GRRM got his ideas from it though. Love those books, the guy has got an imagination and a half, I never get tired of his characters. I knew a lot of it was set from history but didn't know the Mabinogion had anything to do with it.

It is great we had people to write things down through history, we would not know what we know today without them. I suppose it's only natural that they would want to write them in their favor...


Just for a laugh!



Edited by Stormcrow, 03 February 2014 - 12:49 AM.


#14    GreenmansGod

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 01:47 AM

LOL  That is mostly likely how it happen, too.

"The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible." Salman Rushdie




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