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BS: More pagan stuff

DigiTrad:
ALLSOULS NIGHT
LORD OF THE DANCE (PAGAN)
O, SAVE US FROM FAUX PAGANS (Or, Observations at a Renaissance Faire)


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Bert 27 Apr 00 - 03:35 PM
Peg 27 Apr 00 - 04:13 PM
MMario 27 Apr 00 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 27 Apr 00 - 04:32 PM
katlaughing 27 Apr 00 - 04:36 PM
Bert 27 Apr 00 - 04:48 PM
MMario 27 Apr 00 - 04:57 PM
Joe Offer 27 Apr 00 - 05:00 PM
skarpi 27 Apr 00 - 05:04 PM
GUEST,firehair28 27 Apr 00 - 05:06 PM
MMario 27 Apr 00 - 05:09 PM
GUEST 27 Apr 00 - 05:13 PM
Jacob B 27 Apr 00 - 05:56 PM
wysiwyg 27 Apr 00 - 05:58 PM
GUEST,JZG 27 Apr 00 - 06:01 PM
Bert 27 Apr 00 - 06:07 PM
katlaughing 27 Apr 00 - 06:15 PM
skarpi 27 Apr 00 - 07:10 PM
skarpi 27 Apr 00 - 07:31 PM
catspaw49 27 Apr 00 - 07:36 PM
catspaw49 27 Apr 00 - 07:50 PM
Joe Offer 27 Apr 00 - 07:56 PM
catspaw49 27 Apr 00 - 07:57 PM
Joe Offer 27 Apr 00 - 08:28 PM
GUEST,Fred's mother 27 Apr 00 - 08:41 PM
Joe Offer 27 Apr 00 - 08:54 PM
Dani 27 Apr 00 - 09:16 PM
katlaughing 27 Apr 00 - 10:24 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 27 Apr 00 - 10:35 PM
GUEST, Fred's Mother 27 Apr 00 - 10:38 PM
GUEST,Phil Shapiro 28 Apr 00 - 01:16 AM
GUEST,L Whitfield 28 Apr 00 - 05:00 AM
GUEST,Penny S. 28 Apr 00 - 07:47 AM
GUEST,Simon in Hampshire, England 28 Apr 00 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 28 Apr 00 - 10:13 AM
Clinton Hammond2 28 Apr 00 - 10:22 AM
Peg 28 Apr 00 - 10:46 AM
MAG (inactive) 28 Apr 00 - 01:02 PM
katlaughing 28 Apr 00 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 28 Apr 00 - 01:58 PM
GUEST,JZG 28 Apr 00 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 28 Apr 00 - 02:27 PM
Amos 28 Apr 00 - 03:59 PM
skarpi 28 Apr 00 - 06:34 PM
Dani 28 Apr 00 - 09:03 PM
catspaw49 28 Apr 00 - 09:33 PM
katlaughing 28 Apr 00 - 09:35 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 28 Apr 00 - 09:46 PM
Eluned 28 Apr 00 - 10:10 PM
skarpi 29 Apr 00 - 03:35 AM
Jim the Bart 29 Apr 00 - 11:22 AM
Hollowfox 29 Apr 00 - 12:38 PM
GUEST,firehair28 30 Apr 00 - 10:08 AM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 30 Apr 00 - 01:59 PM
SDShad 01 May 00 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,L.Whitfield 01 May 00 - 10:49 AM
SDShad 01 May 00 - 11:08 AM
katlaughing 01 May 00 - 11:23 AM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 01 May 00 - 01:11 PM
katlaughing 01 May 00 - 01:40 PM
SDShad 01 May 00 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,JZG 01 May 00 - 02:47 PM
Peg 01 May 00 - 04:20 PM
GUEST,JZG 01 May 00 - 04:41 PM
Peg 01 May 00 - 04:46 PM
Rex D 01 May 00 - 05:00 PM
Rex D 01 May 00 - 05:07 PM
GUEST,firehair28 01 May 00 - 08:27 PM
SDShad 02 May 00 - 09:31 AM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 02 May 00 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,me 02 May 00 - 02:17 PM
MMario 02 May 00 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,me 02 May 00 - 03:31 PM
MMario 02 May 00 - 04:26 PM
GUEST,JZG 02 May 00 - 05:24 PM
MMario 02 May 00 - 05:40 PM
skarpi 02 May 00 - 05:54 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 03 May 00 - 11:19 AM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 03 May 00 - 01:56 PM
Peg 03 May 00 - 02:06 PM
Bert 03 May 00 - 02:33 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 03 May 00 - 03:19 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 03 May 00 - 03:29 PM
Peg 03 May 00 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,firehair28 03 May 00 - 04:39 PM
skarpi 03 May 00 - 04:49 PM
Penny S. 03 May 00 - 05:26 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 04 May 00 - 10:17 AM
BeauDangles 04 May 00 - 10:42 AM
MMario 04 May 00 - 10:50 AM
GUEST,Penny S. (a pupil) 04 May 00 - 10:53 AM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 04 May 00 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,me 04 May 00 - 11:55 AM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 04 May 00 - 12:54 PM
MMario 04 May 00 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,me 04 May 00 - 06:02 PM
MAG (inactive) 04 May 00 - 07:22 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 04 May 00 - 09:46 PM
Malcolm Douglas 04 May 00 - 11:10 PM
Malcolm Douglas 04 May 00 - 11:18 PM
MMario 05 May 00 - 09:13 AM
SDShad 05 May 00 - 09:41 AM
GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere, tangentially) 05 May 00 - 11:24 AM
MAG (inactive) 05 May 00 - 12:26 PM
GUEST,me 05 May 00 - 12:46 PM
MMario 05 May 00 - 12:56 PM
Mbo 05 May 00 - 01:11 PM
MMario 05 May 00 - 01:26 PM
SDShad 05 May 00 - 01:30 PM
SDShad 05 May 00 - 01:36 PM
Mbo 05 May 00 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,me 05 May 00 - 02:30 PM
SDShad 05 May 00 - 02:53 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 06 May 00 - 08:54 AM
Lepus Rex 11 May 00 - 01:45 AM
katlaughing 11 May 00 - 02:08 AM
GUEST,Paul Crawte 11 May 00 - 04:57 AM
GUEST,me 11 May 00 - 01:34 PM
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Subject: More pagan stuff
From: Bert
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 03:35 PM

continuing that pagan music thread


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Peg
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 04:13 PM

yes the other had grown rather long! thanks Bert...

I still am feeling like there is a lot of "well THIS is the way it ACTUALLY happened!" going on in the thread, when I am inclined to agree with whoever recently said that the past is a mystery...and there are as many versions of it as there are historians, folklorists, archeologists, anthropologists and apologists to disagree on it...

at least we are gaining some interesting food for thought and some good reading suggestions...but again, every book is only that writer's version of events, based on his/her research and interpretation of other people's research and discoveries and writings...no?

peg


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: MMario
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 04:25 PM

RE: bert's comments on the rose and the briar....I can see how it can be interpreted as pagan influence, though I can also see how it can be interpreted as merely poetic imagery. Unless we find some way of speaking to the person who first composed that lyric there is really no way we can tell....

*grin* I once had the wierd experience of having someone dissect and analyze a paper who gushed and raved and marveled over the "earth mother, polytheistic images," etc, and so forth. (This was in a presentation to a literature class) When it came time for open discussion, I asked if possibly the author hadn't had various christian practices and images in mind when the piece was written and was quite pointedly told that it was not remotely possible. The presenter went on at some length in order to convince me that I was wrong, and that they were right.

What I never told them was that I had written the piece in question. (The facilitator for the group did know, and had quite a chuckle over the whole affair) At the time I didn't consider it to be the least bit funny, though I do get a chuckle out of it now.

My point...personal viewpoints can colour perception.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 04:32 PM

Peg,

Yes, every history book is its author's interpretation of the data. No, not every book is equally close to the truth. If one book states that the nuns of Kildare truly, to the best of their ability, worshipped the one God to the exclusion of all others, and another book says that they only pretended to do so while secretly and knowingly departing from Christian practice by worshipping other beings that they regarded as gods equal to or superior to the God of the Christians, then both books can't be right according to the same terms of reference.

T.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 04:36 PM

Back to the music, some of the old songs are supposed to include:

The Maypole
At A Maypole Down in Kent
Fill, fill the Bright Mead-cup
The Fairy (sic) Queen
Send Round the Cup

I have the lyrics and sheet music if anyone is interested. They are from a book by Buckland and of course, would represent only HIS opinion/knowledge/or whatever.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Bert
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 04:48 PM

Of course MMario, personal viewpoints are what Mudcat is all about. that's why I love this place so much. We get to talk to our friends about what we think.
Yes it IS poetic imagery, but is it also a vestige of our folk/tribal subconcious?

Your presenter might also have read 'earth mother' implications into a Catholic Easter Mass.

How much of what we believe goes back to prehistoric times?

Bert.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: MMario
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 04:57 PM

I think some things are "hardwired" into our cultures...practically genetic. And I know that various cultural theorists put a lot of credence in the sub-conscious icons and attitudes that colour perceptions. But I have always been sceptical of people who want to tell me what my "real" reasons are regarding a decision. (Heck - most of my decisions are based on either guilt or fear. I learned that a LONG time ago...) I think what I am trying to say is that rather then saying "This is the way it was" (unless you have some really good documentation - or wrote something yourself) it would behoove a lot of people to say rather "this is the way some think it was" or "this is the way it might have been". (Note: myself included. I tend to state flatly things that should be put as theory or opinion...)


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 05:00 PM

Mmario spoke of something being "interpreted as merely poetic imagery." Building my idea that we need to keep our minds open to the beliefs of others, I'd suggest that we need to keep our minds open to the poetry and imagination and imagery that is involved in belief and myth and tradition. I think that we sometimes become obsessed with finding what we define as truth, so that we can defend our beliefs against others. No matter how deeply we study ancient traditions, we will only know part of their truth - but if we explore with an open mind, we can encounter the wonder of these traditions, in a way that is relevant to our own age.
Truth is nice, I suppose; but let's not forget beauty and awe and wonder, and love.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: skarpi
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 05:04 PM

Hallo , can you please tell me what a PAGAN means, I don´t have idea what it means or baybe I just never have thought about it. All the best skarpi Iceland.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,firehair28
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 05:06 PM

I think some of the more heated argument in here is coming from dueling definitions.

From a Christian POV, the term "pagan" is exclusive, it means someone who is not, never was, doesn't believe in, the judeo-christian mythos. You can't be a christian and a pagan at the same time.

But to a neopagan like myself, the term "pagan" is not exlusive, it is inclusive. "pagans" are those who believe in more than one deity/mythos at a time. So, from my POV, those Kildare nuns could have been both Christian AND pagan - practising pagan rituals when they were needed right alongside and within christian practices, without any conflict.

Now, I know what you're gonna say: The Bible forbids that kinda thing, so a "good christian" would never knowingly practise paganism. But, there's a difference between the way something is written and how it is practiced, especially among the "common folk".

To cite a non-western example: Mahayana Buddhism incorporated many local gods and beliefs into its structure when it spread east out of india. The original buddhist scriptures are now only a teensy part of a truly vast religion that varies from place to place throughout Asia. Buddhists see no problem with praying to whomever will get the job done, from saint to deity to even demons, without any conflict of interest.

Just my $.02


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: MMario
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 05:09 PM

I should have said "poetic image with no conscious connotations of religious import to the author" sorry.

Joe - I can't agree with you more...


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 05:13 PM

Kat, I am *really* interested in your May songs!!

Having an all-night vigil here Beltain eve, and we need more songs to sing! Could you send them to me? my email is firehair28@yahoo.com

thanks! Fiona


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Jacob B
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 05:56 PM

If one book states that the nuns of Kildare worshipped one God to the exclusion of all others, and another book says that they only pretended to do so, then both authors are being intellectually dishonest, to the extent that they are making flat declarations about things they have no hard evidence about.

If one author states that such-and-such suggests that the nuns may have worshipped more than one god, and the other author says that there is no reason to believe that was the case, then perhaps you can take what they are saying at face value.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 05:58 PM

What do you all think about a way of approximating the qualitative diff between [pagan] and [monotheistic] that I heard somewhere--

Paganism focuses on the creation, monotheism on the creator.

All viewpoints welcome.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,JZG
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 06:01 PM

Hi there -- I'm not what you'd call an "official" Mudcatter but I follow some of the threads occasionally ... in the context of this one I was wondering if anyone (like maybe Okiemockbird, who seems to be pretty good about sources and scholarship and such) knows of any good scholarship on actual just-before-christianity culture and society in Europe, and what was going on in the conversion itself? I've been curious about this for a while, being unsatisfied with both the miracle-and-martyrdom stories you get from some Christian sources and the standard "well, they were all forced to convert on pain of death, weren't they?" that you tend to get if you ask your friends ... any good books taking both archaeological and historical evidence into account?

I admit to being too lazy, or maybe too busy or something, to really want to go looking at a lot of primary sources; I'm hoping someone has done this research and I can just read it :-)

JZG


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Bert
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 06:07 PM

The people who lived here were both pagan and Christian at the same time. Hedging their bets maybe. Or was it that Hubby was Pagan and Wifey was Christian?


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 06:15 PM

Sure, Fiona, It will take me a bit to scan them, but then no problem. If anyone else is interested, just let me know. Once they are scanned, it's just a quick email click & there ya go.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: skarpi
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 07:10 PM

Still dont get it . skarpi Iceland.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: skarpi
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 07:31 PM

Hallo again , I guess a Pagan is another word for Catholic????????. Já það held ég nú bara. All the best skarpi Iceland slán.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: catspaw49
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 07:36 PM

Most of what we know as "History" is philosophy. All are written from the philosophical perspective of the author and have often been victims of assorted translations and various fashionable "upgrades." When these modified, ancient texts are them summarized by others of the historical and scholarly bent and filtered through their personal agendas or the agenda of a group such as the Catholic church, you are left with mish-mash to the 4th power. We are now up to the 217th power when it comes to the "authoritative information and sources" regarding events of this period being discussed.

Let's not be too authoratative with each other.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: catspaw49
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 07:50 PM

Hi Skarpi......for ease of translation, consider that a pagan does not necessarily subscribe to the "One Almighty God" theory as do Christians (including Catholics)and Jews.

But thanks for the mental picture of Joe Offer as Pagan.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 07:56 PM

I'm going to have to think about that mental image...


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: catspaw49
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 07:57 PM

LOL.......Ya gotta' admit Joe, its aa different look for you!!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 08:28 PM

Does this mean I have to give up wearing plaid shirts and jeans, Spaw?

...everywhere I go, people make remarks about my taste in clothing, and I don't know why. I mean, plaid is my color, after all.
What do pagans wear?
Doesn't plaid have pagan roots?
-Joe, not sure about all this-


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,Fred's mother
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 08:41 PM

Skarpi!!

Why not look the word up in a dictionary.

It is spelt P.A.G.A.N. and would be in any good Icelandic/English lexicon.

All the best. Fred's mother. Titsville Tennessee


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 08:54 PM

'tain't that easy, Mom - My 1997 Webster's New World Dictionary describes pagan as a person who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim.
A Web search for "paganism" brings up information that might be more relevant. Click here for what looks like an interesting page.
Here (click) is another resource which gives a lot of information, including this quote:
Paganism is a broad, eclectic contemporary religious movement that encompasses shamanistic, ecstatic, polytheistic, and magical religions. Most of the religions termed Pagan are characterized by nature-centered spirituality, honoring of pre-Christian deities, dynamic, personal belief systems, lack of institutionalization, a quest to develop the self, and acceptance and encouragement of diversity. Paganism is sometimes referred to as Neo-Paganism to emphasize its connections to as well as difference from pre-Christian religions.

Paganism is a worldwide phenomenon and includes revived and updated ancient European practices and religions, feminist Goddess-worship, and religions inspired by science-fiction writings. For their inspiration, Pagans look to non-Abrahamic, ecstatic, and mystery religions of Europe as well as indigenous and magic-using traditions from around the world. Contemporary Paganism is interwoven with artistic, visionary, and libertarian traditions and emphasizes the free will of the individual. Many traditions celebrate rituals to mark transitions in the natural world (such as solstices, lunar phases, or a birth) as well as in a person's life (such as marriage or moving to a new home).

While the largest segment of the Pagan population is Caucasian and middle class, Paganism cuts across all lines, whether racial, occupational, or class- or gender-based. Most Pagans, however, are avid readers with interests in ecology, creativity, and personal growth. Many come from the scientific, computer, and technical fields. Since it is not an organized movement, it is very difficult to determine the number of its practitioners, but it is estimated that there are between 100,000 and 600,000 in the U.S. alone. Some have termed Paganism the fastest-growing religion in the West.
-Joe Offer, still waiting for admission as a Plaid Pagan-


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Dani
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 09:16 PM

I've recently finished reading a book called "When The Drummers Were Women" A Spiritual History of Rhythm, by Layne Redmond.

Though mostly about the use of the frame drum in spiritual practice(mostly by women) throughout history, the book contains a couple of fascinating chapters that bring alive the 'interwoven' history of pagans/Goddess-worshippers/ early Christians/atheists/ political pragmatists and all of their respective machinations. Tons of research, footnotes, references, biblios, etc., but mostly interesting for making the times come alive and sparking curiosity about how all these folks got along (or didn't) and what the current issues were that affected religious practice.

Joe, maybe there's a place for you. Though raised Catholic, I am a Unitarian Universalist, and raising my children so. However, I have many friends who celebrate Pagan holidays, and whenever I'm asked to join celebrations I do, referring to myself as a "Solstice and Equinox Pagan", like those "Christmas and Easter Catholics"!


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 10:24 PM

Plaid Pagan....I LOVE IT! LOL!!!!

Nice info, Joe, thanks.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 10:35 PM

Skarpi, this is a setup right ? Surely they make you read the following passage in the Islendingabók from the time you are small:

"[A.D. 1000] It was made law that all should be Christians, and they should take baptism who were as yet unbaptized here in the land. But with respect to the exposure of infants the ancient laws should stand, and so with the eating of horseflesh. Men might sacrifice secretly if they wished, but it would be a case for the lesser outlawry if witness was brought forward to it. But a few winters later this heathendom was done away with like the rest."

T.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST, Fred's Mother
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 10:38 PM

Obviously not.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,Phil Shapiro
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 01:16 AM

Why on earth would you assume that there was no resistance to the Christian Church, particularly in the rural peasantry? In a world of minimal communication, surely the high-born and literate would be pulled into the new religion, but what makes you think that ordinary, ornery humans would 100% agree? Does anything else in human nature work this way? In Palestine, at least until a few years ago (I might have read this 10 years ago????) there still existed remnants of: Philistines, and also Samaritans. I think it was the Samaritans who were down to a few dozen. Now, that's orneriness. The Serbs have been trying to stamp out local Islam for a long time now. Have they succeeded? Don't read upper class history as the totality of history. Assume contrariness. You'll probably be right.

Phil


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,L Whitfield
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 05:00 AM

kat/katlaughing - I'd be very interested in lyrics/sheet music of those songs if you could provide them - also some background stuff if the collector provided it (helps with sleeve notes and the like). If they're in abc format or gifs - I can be emailed (lucy_whitfield@wme.co.uk). If not, we'll come up with something else! And just to throw my definition of "pagan" into the fray...someone who follows an earth religion, respecting life and the earth, and attempting to attune with the seasons - and this does not necessarily include any sort of deity. Clear as mud, I know!


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,Penny S.
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 07:47 AM

Not far from Lullingstone, a dig discovered, in a Jutish cemetery, a male interment, woth grave goods - pagan. But the goods were a glass bowl, from Gaul, with a Chi-Rho at the base, and he had no weapons with him - Christian.

At Stone near Faversham, in the 4th century AD a pagan mausoleum or small shrine was built. By the 6th century, it was a Christian chapel to Our Lady of (can't remember, but somewhere very small and local, like a farm name), and it continued so until Tudor times, with various small modifications.

The conversion was a very odd process. But it doesn't seem that major worship rituals continued - if your priestly caste have gone over, who is to do it? If your holy places have been converted, where are you to do it? From the evidence of burials, where you would expect folk religion to hang about a bit, ordinary people went over too.

There are some interesting stories about the locals in various places offering invective to monks - I think one involves St. Wilfrid, not the most attractive of missionaries. I'll try and track them down.

Since the maintenance of a strong pagan presence would have had implications for the organisation of the country, the political hierarchy as well as the church, and especially for taxation, it would have been recorded. Charlemagne wasn't so fierce on pagans for merely religious reasons. He tried to wipe out gilds (the forerunners of the Rotary Club and insurance companies) because they were places where people could discuss things clandestinely, and those discussions could be subversive. And they were Christian by his time - though they had respectable Roman antecedents.

Charlemagne recorded his dealing with resistance with triumphalism. St. Olaf (?eligibility) did the same.

Europe was far more organised and bureaucratic than writers of Junior School history books let on.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,Simon in Hampshire, England
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 07:52 AM

Anyone interested in this sort of thing might like to look out for Ronald Hutton's 'Stations of the Sun' and 'Triumph of the Moon'.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 10:13 AM

Phil, it was YOU, not I, who wrote "Pagans got really quiet when the church took over", i.e. that there was no active resistance. In fact there was active resistance. Late Roman pagans (Julian, Symmachus) wrote eloquently in defense of their ancestral sacrifices. In some places there was armed resistance at least before the church "took over." In the period roughly 1000-1200 A.D. a well-armed Sorbian paganism resisted an equally well-armed Christendom.

Passive resistance and secret non-conformity are certainly possible. As I mentioned, there are recorded cases of Jews in Spain and North Africa conforming outwardly to Islam when the pressure was on, while remaining Jews in secret. I believe there is a letter of Maimonides on just that subject, in which he approves of the strategy. Christianity survived, so I have heard, in remote parts of Japan, and in at least one seaport, from the 17th to the 19th century despite official disapproval. Lithuania accepted Christianity formally in 1386, but a Lithuanian chatechism published in 1547 suggests that the chatechism's author thought it at least possible that his students might be tempted to serve the old god Perkunas. It is logically possible for paganism to have survived through the means of survival-by-deciet or survival-by-self-effacement. But I have yet to be convinced by any claims that have been made for such survival into my lifetime. When we hear about people practicing rites that might once have been offerings to pagan gods (e.g. throwing coins into fountains and wells, or pouring out ale to "Shoney") the evidence shows that the people who conducted these rites considered themselves Christians, and their ritual a Christian practice--not that they were wink-and-smirk decievers.

The Gardnerian Wicca's historical claims once (and in some places perhaps still) echoed the now-discredited Murray thesis, the now-discredited theory of a neolithic Great Mother, and the now-discredited theory of a mutterrecht period of human development. These claims strike me as transparently false. The demographic facts would seem to confirm this. The adherents of the Gardnerian Wicca aren't, so far as I can tell, the children of rural or mountain or forest people (the sort of places where, according to your proposal, paganism would most likely survive.) They are not concerned with practising ancient rituals in order to ensure a good catch or harvest, increase in their flocks, or ensure the prosperity of their city-state. They are individualistic, mainly middle-class suburbanites whose grandparents were by all evidence Christians. Their religion somewhat resembles the eclectic mystery cults of the ancient Mediterranean world, not anything documented for the British Isles. Yet it was in those islands that the Gardnerian Wicca was invented, and continuity with the ancient religion of those islands that the Gardnerian Wicca originally claimed.

A more plausible claim of historical continuity is made, so I once heard, by some in Iceland who sacrifice to Thor. I frankly don't believe their claims (if in fact they make such claims), but at least they aren't insultingly absurd. They've chosen a ritual and a god that are at least historically credible in their situation.

T.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 10:22 AM

A definiton of PAGAN:

P.A.G.A.N.:
People Against Goodness And Normalacy!

At least that's what it was in the movie!!

LOL!!!!!!!!!

{~`


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Peg
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 10:46 AM

Clinton: reminds me of that group in the 1970s whose acronym was W.I.T.C.H. and they kept changing it to suit their cause of the moment...for the most part, though, they were the "Woman's International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell."
I forget the other versions but some of them were quite hilarious...

peg


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 01:02 PM

W.I.T.C.H. was women's radical guerilla theater and great fun.

For more good (modern) songs, try

Linda Waterfall's "Girl's Night Out"

and

Claudia Schmidt's "Beltane Boogie."


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 01:42 PM

Sure, Lucy, no problem. I will get them out this afternoon.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 01:58 PM

FYI when I mentioned Sorbian paganism, that wasn't a typo. I really meant SOrbian, just as I wrote, not SErbian. The Sorbs are also known as the Wends.

I thought I should make that clear, since I know I make many typos in my posts.

T.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,JZG
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 02:04 PM

Who/where were the Sorbs, then?


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 02:27 PM

I think the Sorbians (also called Wends) now live mainly in what used to be East Germany though I'm not sure precisely what part. In the 11th century I think they lived Along the River Oder and adjoining areas, and held some islands (such as Rugen) in the Baltic. One of their principle towns was Szczecin/Stettin.

T.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Amos
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 03:59 PM

The Spanish Catholic conversion of Mexico was effected, among other things, by building the cathedrals and churches on the sites of the temples of main villages, and using the ancient names with Catholic appendages. One example is the small town outside of Guadalajara known as Santa maria de Tequipexpan, the temple there before being called Tequipexpan in the dominant indigenous tongue. Every year the main Catholic festival there is accompanied by a horde of blood-descendants of the displaced Indians who populated this village in the 1500s before the Spanish came. They dance in costume with traditional drums and instruments in the square outside the cathedral.

A very funny confrontation occurred there the year i was there: the Church was holding an annual multiple-weddings ceremony, which they do every year so that couples who cannot afford a separate wedding ceremony can still be properly wed. A wonderful sight -- dozens of young and poor couples in the best finery they can borrow lining up to start their lives together with proper priestly administration of oaths.

But as this ceremony was going on, the Mixtals or whatever the tribe was were drumming outside the cathedral and chanting. Their costumes were bright with feathers and beads and strings, the men were bare-chested, some were masked, and they were raising so much din that the priest had to come out and argue with the chief of the tribe -- they stood there in their respective costumes, icon-to-icon, totem-to-totem, glaring at each other.

It was a genuine 20th century confrontation between the pagan world and the Church of Rome. I nearly died watching them stare each other down. They settled it somehow, but I will always remember it as one of those moments when life imitates the best poetry.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: skarpi
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 06:34 PM

Hallo all, Hmmmmmmmmm I dont know what to say a it seams to me that some of you do not like PAGAN or a Heathendom. Well here in iceland we have a little group witch we can call heathen, and I know something about the Icelandichistory and this year we are holding a selebration of christian faith for 1000 years. Well I am christian soul, but I am not gonna go and take a part of this show.The heathen group is going to have their ,we can call it a heathen mass few days before the christian does, and that is great for them. If my justment is wrong about what you all have been talking about I am sorry I am not writing this to hurt anybody, at the end I will write this : Wheather you are christian,Pagan,catholic,Islam or jew I respect all of you and your religion as I hope you all do for mine.In Iceland today people are leeaving the christian church more now than ever and maybe thats something to worry about.Where do this people go, well some go to the catholic church and some of them went to small religion groups.So here In the once was a heathen land and still are, all the people are free to go where ever they want to be. I thing that the people of the Earth have to learn to respect eachother faith. May god be with you all, all the best skarpi Iceland.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Dani
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 09:03 PM

Amen, brother.

As Skarpi has said, so may it be!

Dani


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 09:33 PM

Skarpi my old friend......For a guy who supposedly didn't understand, you have hammered home the nail of truth and goodwill and the best of what the 'Cat can be.

Thnak you for a true insight and wonderful thought.

All My Best,

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 09:35 PM

Skarpi, my friend, you are RIGHT ON!! Thank you for the information and for understanding what is being said here. You are absolutely right about the need for respect and freedom to believe what we want.

Takk fyrir, góoa noacutett og sofou vel! (Sorry I don't have a button for some of the marks & I hope I got what I do know correct!)

Please, Skarpi, a quick lesson? How do you write "my friend" and "love" in Icelandic? Takk fyrir!

luvyakat


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 09:46 PM

My earlier statement about mystery religions was imprecise. I should have said that nothing like the mystery cults is so far known from the native British tradition. Of course some of the urban Mediterranean cults -- of Mithras (popular among soldiers) of Serapis, of Cybele, maybe some others -- were imported during the Roman period.

Skarpi, yes--"freedom" is one of our "worship words" here in America (that's a reference to an old Star Trek episode, but seriously meant nevertheless) just as it seems to be for you.

T.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Eluned
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 10:10 PM

Joe, MMario, I totally agree with what you were saying about 1/3 into this thread about poetic imagery and cultures! (Some poetic imagery comes just naturally to folks, whether they are consciously parallelling others or not.
Kat....may I too please have these lyrics/tunes to do with Beltaine?
Dani- always wanted to read that book! The bits I have browsed at the local library were like a window into people's lives back then.
Skarpi, you seem to have hit the answer on the head! Live and let live, even unto what we feel in our hearts!


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: skarpi
Date: 29 Apr 00 - 03:35 AM

Hallo, Kat you have forget some words, thats okei.

Sleep well and good night my friend in Icelandic is-- Góða nótt og sofðu vel vinur minn.

love in Icelandic is : Ást.

Now it´s morning here in Iceland and I just saw the newspaper there was a picture of my president with president Clinton. I think my president is in Wasington to be with opening of Vikingsaga how Leifur Eiríksson found Canada and America.I wish I could see this, well back to sleep for two hours then back to work. All the best skarpi Iceland.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 29 Apr 00 - 11:22 AM

One of the things I love about people is our ability to hold seemingly contradictory thoughts and opinions in their mind simultaneously (like how exactly you spell that word for "at the same time"). I think it's a shame that education, at times, seems aimed at proving one line of inquiry while closing the doors on others. I think our ancestors - mine were Polish peasants - were probably better able to accommodate the presence of different religious practices and rituals in their homes than we have become. If something Great-great-grandma did seemed to help the crops grow they would do it in private even if they knew the priests may consider it the devils work if they knew about it. Of course, what they did in private, and what they allowed other people to do publicly, were two different things.

I whole heartedly agree with our wise Icelandic friend, Skarpi. I hope his leader shares his wisdom. Maybe he can straighten out our own Bubba a little. Peace to you all in this wonderful time of the year.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Hollowfox
Date: 29 Apr 00 - 12:38 PM

Joe Offer, if you think people make comments about your taste in clothing, just do without for a day or two; you'll probably get comments such as you never dreamed of regarding your sartorial inclinations. Some would say that plaid has pagan roots, but with regular dye applications, no one will ever know. **BG**


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,firehair28
Date: 30 Apr 00 - 10:08 AM

Thank you all for this wonderful thread -- I have learned so much!

Mostest thanks to Kat, whose lyrics went wonderfully with our maypole! Thank you thank you thank you!

My vote for informative book: "Roles of the Northern Goddess" by Hilda Ellis Davidson. Good scholarship, lots of archaeological data, perhaps a little spurious logic here'n'there, but the facts are presented well. Also, lots of good pictures of obscure statuary - like from northern and eastern Europe where nobody ever talks about it...

Okiemockingbird, sounds like you have issues with Wicca. My advice to you: Everybody's got a creation myth. If Gardnerians wanna be descended from Hebrides fisherfolk or whatever, let 'em. Is it any sillier than being grown from a rib?

Fiona


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 30 Apr 00 - 01:59 PM

It's like the old wisecrack, "why do I get the kind of government they deserve ?" People who make a public historical claim are ipso facto trying to impose their past on me directly by trying to get me to acquiesce in it, and indirectly by duping others into going along with it--others who may then act in accordance with that interpretation of history in ways that may be harmful to me and mine.

Don't think history doesn't matter: the example of Holocaust deniers shows that it does.

T.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: SDShad
Date: 01 May 00 - 10:37 AM

Firehair--

I can speak only for myself, but I don't have any problems or issues with Wicca per se. My dear departed aunt Faith was Wiccan, Goddess bless 'er, and before she passed we agreed as that we'd see each other again, me through my path and her through hers. The core of the Wrede (sp?), "do as you will, but harm none," I find to be an admirable and laudable creed.

As I said in the previous thread which you may or may not have missed, I follow two faiths: Christianity mainly, and the Dakota Sacred Pipe. I grew up with both. I believe in the literal, historical truth of the creation myths of neither. I believe in their symbolic, spiritual, and mythic power, but I don't believe that they happened in history. No back of the turtle, no talking coyote (and I love Coyote stories), no six-days-then-rest, no rib, no universal flood. The universe is billions of years old, and far more mysterious and wild than any creation myth has yet captured.

My father is an historian, so I grew up in a family steeped in history. So I'm a little bit pagan myself, but I'm with T-Bird on the issue of people insisting on unsupportable, often demonstrably untrue, historical and factual claims. Our best example for these things is, I think the Dalai Lama, who when asked what Buddhists would do if science were to prove reincarnation impossible, replied "then we would stop believing in it, of course."

People are free to believe whatever creation myths they want, but when those involve actual historical claims, it's unfair of them to say it's disrespectful towards them to state plainly that you don't believe them.

Chris


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,L.Whitfield
Date: 01 May 00 - 10:49 AM

kat/katlaughing Many thanks - the songs are brilliant. I've actually got a recording somewhere of The Maypole. It's on a British album made in the early 70s called "Morris On", and has the title "Staines Morris". I'm not sure if the album ever made it onto CD, but there are certainly vinyl copies around. Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: SDShad
Date: 01 May 00 - 11:08 AM

A couple of good pagan-themed songs:

BURNING TIMES, of which Christy Moore does a beautiful version.

Dar Williams' The Christians and the Pagans is delightful.

Chris


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 May 00 - 11:23 AM

Lucy and Fiona, so glad the songs worked out, thanks for letting me know.

I would not put all of my trust and faith in science...science once purported many "truths" which we now know are false. Who knows what science may or may not disprove in the future. esp with research like that of Sir John Templeton's.

What harm if someone publicly declares their belief in a certain spiritual background? You do not have to read it nor believe it. There are those who do not believe the Bible and point to no science which backs up its claims.

I believe it behooves none of us to be rigid, authoritarian in stating our beliefs, with so-called proof or not; someone else's way is not always going to be the right path for someone else. If neo-Pagans are guilty of being unbending or demanding of followers, they are nothing compared to the demands of compliance throughout the history of Christianity.

Live and let live.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 01 May 00 - 01:11 PM

One modern pagan movement, Nazism, did not "let live."

I intend to stay on my guard in the presence of tendentious historical views.

T.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 May 00 - 01:40 PM

Jaysus! T-bird, we are NOT talking about the Nazis! There's a difference between standing on your guard and being totally closed to anything which doesn't fit into what you have faith in, but of course, that is your perogative.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: SDShad
Date: 01 May 00 - 02:30 PM

Of course, there's an adage on Usenet that once Hitler or the Nazis are mentioned in a thread, the thread is effectively over in terms of meaningful discussion. This rule doesn't apply to alt.revisionism, obviously.

But we at the Mudcat can probably prove that Usenet adages don't apply here. Funny thing about the Nazis (now that's not a sentence you hear much). The pagan elements of Nazi mythology are obviously there. But because of the Christian language that certain Nazis sometimes used, the Nazi phenomenon is used as a brush with which to paint all Christians as often as it is used against pagans. The Nazis are a sort of Rorschach: they always seem to resemble the people we disagree with.

And I hesitate to venture into territory where it sounds like I'm trying to speak for the 'Bird, but from his (do I have your gender right?) writings in this thread, his historical skepticism about paganism seems to be tied to his personal Christian faith. I think maybe my skepticism is a bit more secular--I think I'd hold to most of the same suspicions about claims of historicity by any religion, Christian, pagan, or inbetween, if I were in fact an atheist. Not a value judgement between the two approaches, mind you, but a reminder that objection to the historical claims of pagans does not equal knee-jerk Christian apologetics, either on Okie's part or on mine.

So as far as your question, kat, of "What harm if someone publicly declares their belief in a certain spiritual background," I agree completely. Spiritual background and spirtual grounding are entirely a matter of individual conscience.

Claims of historical fact, though, aren't (IMHO, since that's pretty unequivocally worded). The spiritual power of belief in the Great Mother doesn't hinge on whether or not the idyllic Great-Mother-cult claims about human prehistory are true. Conversely, neither does the historical validity of the claims hinge on the sincerity of someone's belief in either the historical claims or in the mythology and spirituality behind them. We'll probably never know for sure which way prehistory was, but the archaeological record as we currently understand it tends not to support claims about prehistory that are made by contemporary pagans.

Unfortunately, there is a vocal minority among pagans who demand that these claims be taught in the academy as fact regardless, and who tar anyone who dissents with the brushes of "antifeminist," "patriarchal," "misogynist," or what have you. And I think it's that that the Bird objects to. And pagan-friendly as I am, I object to it too.

As for science. Yes, science has often been proven wrong, or at least incomplete in its earlier findings. But I don't know of a single case where that error wasn't corrected by further scientific inquiry, rather than by metaphysical speculation. To grossly paraphrase Al Smith, the cure for the ills of science is more science. That said, I do find the work of someone like Sir John Templeton to seek unity between spirituality and scientific inquiry to be encouraging and inspiring. I'd not heard of him before your mention, kat, and quite like what I found at his website as a result. Thanks!

Chris


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,JZG
Date: 01 May 00 - 02:47 PM

On the subject of historical claims and such, this morning I came from our local morris dance community's annual May Day celebration (attended also by at least a few neo-pagan types and some who show up in medieval garb, etc.) Anyway ... this year there were some students there from a sociology or anthropology class at one of the universities around here, studying the phenomenon for a class, and some friends and I overheard a morris dancer offering to tell one of them about the historical origins of morris dancing (to the accompaniment of "don't believe him!" and similar catcalls). He told her at least two versions, one involving ancient island dances being spread over the sea by Polynesian traders ... but I think we were all laughing hard enough that she didn't take him too seriously :-)

Actually I think their professor was one of the other morris dancers at the event, which would have made it pretty funny if she *had* believed him, and written it up for the class ...

For what it's worth, my impression of most neo-pagans I know personally (not necessarily representative of anyone else) is that they don't claim what they do is in an unbroken tradition from ancient times, but are interested in borrowing from parts of old traditions that speak to them; in creating a *present* tradition appropriate to their own beliefs and convictions; and in doing so in continuity with the present traditions of the communities they have chosen. I'm just talking about the individuals I happen to hang out with, and I'm not part of pagan circles myself so I don't really have the view from inside the community.

May we respect each other and be careful of taking ourselves too seriously :-)

JZG


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Peg
Date: 01 May 00 - 04:20 PM

JZG; was that in Boston by any chance? (I meant to go, I have not gone in several years, but I needed to sleep!)

missing the Morris dancers,

Peg


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,JZG
Date: 01 May 00 - 04:41 PM

Peg: Yep! (Well, Cambridge to be precise.) Oh right, you'd said you might be there -- but not knowing who you really are, I wouldn't have known if you'd made it or not.

Too bad. You missed good weather for it. Well, Lilac Sunday's still coming up, isn't it? Maybe you can see the morris dancers then (though with fewer pagan overtones, admittedly).

:-)

JZG


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Peg
Date: 01 May 00 - 04:46 PM

hi JZG; yes it was a nice day (though chilly this morning I imagine). I also wussied out cuz none of the friends I asked to come with me would (though many others I knew would probably be there; they go every year and then get breakfast afterward).
I did not know there was Morris dancing on Lilac Sunday; will have to check it out.
When I lived in Amherst, MA, every Tuesday night these Morris dancers would rehearse in a parking lot just behind my apartment. One night I had to wander over and see what they were up to! apparently there are lots of groups in New England. The only people I know who do it now are Rob Berra and Linda Julian, I assume they are still dancing...


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Rex D
Date: 01 May 00 - 05:00 PM

My reading indicates that in most places pagan beliefs ran right alongside Christian ones, at least as far as common folk were concerned...and this right up to recent times. Good book "The Horse of Pride" written by a Breton gentleman about his boyhood in a small village in Brittany around WWI.

He writes at one point about the people speaking of the "other horned devil" meaning the celtic deity Cernunnos. And about the priests still trying to get the people to stop believing in such things. There is a 50 year period in Brittany (late 1600s/early 1700s IIRC) called The Missions when the Jesuits came in force and took over all the parishes in a full out effort to eradicate such beliefs...didn't work.

A lot of Irish folk would staunchly affirm they are Christian, but believe in leprechauns as well.

Ever spill salt and throw a pinch over your left shoulder?

Then there is all the pagan stuff that Christianity incorporated, from holidays to turning local gods into saints...St. Brigid(sp?) in Ireland is a good example.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Rex D
Date: 01 May 00 - 05:07 PM

You are from Iceland, that was settled by Danes right? Belief in the old gods...Odin, Thor, etc...that is one form of paganism. There are others, but that should get the idea across.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,firehair28
Date: 01 May 00 - 08:27 PM

T-bird, you are of course welcome to your views; didn't mean to spark off anyone's tinder.

I, too have arguments with "hard-core" pagans/Wiccans whose minds are so made up they don't wish to be distracted by facts. They come in every stripe, from feminist to high muckety-muck ceremonial, and their arguments are usually limited and boring.

But modern paganism and neopaganism is a relatively new phenomenon - it is still being reinvented every decade, and (at least in my experience) most pagans are encouraged to research their beliefs individually, and decide for themselves what tenets to keep and what to throw away. That is a freedom rarely granted by any religion, and though I am disappointed in those individuals who choose badly, I find I can still support their choices as a whole.

My issue is with those folk who say all paganism is false, based on the flaws they perceive in individual pagans. We are still feeling our way, trying to find common ground. That some folk stop trying should not condemn the rest of us.

Fiona


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: SDShad
Date: 02 May 00 - 09:31 AM

Fiona--

With all the mistakes we Christians have made in 2000 years of finding our way, and given the magnitude of some of those mistakes, it'd be nice if more of us were patient with the same process that y'all are going through as pagans.

Unfortunately, that's not the case, but we're working on it. At least some of us. As long as there's some of us and some of you working on unity, there's hope.

Chris


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 02 May 00 - 01:15 PM

Penny, I hope you find some way of posting those pictures.

FYI Churches are not dedicated to Saint Mary Maudlin or any other saint. Churches are "dedicated" to God alone, though they may be named in honor of a saint. Many people nowadays use the word very loosely, however.

Rex D says, "A lot of Irish folk would staunchly affirm they are Christian, but believe in leprechauns as well." Why "but" ? That many Christian moralists and reformers in the past might have said the same thing doesn't require us to take it at face value in our reading of history of popular culture.

JZG, Robin Lane Fox's book Pagans and Christians may be the sort of thing you are looking for. I have not yet read this book (a lack which I hope soon to correct) but the book is recommended by those whose judgement I trust.

T.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,me
Date: 02 May 00 - 02:17 PM

As a Lithuanian-American of the old noble stock, I can say two things...

Lithuania converted because we were tired of the damnable xtian crusaders. My family remains pagan, tho no longer clandestinely, to this day.

To me, Christians are the people who tried to burn my great(x10)Aunt at the stake for witchcraft, and considering 2000 years of xtian-influenced history, your slaughter is more wholesale than ever.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: MMario
Date: 02 May 00 - 02:41 PM

dear "me" - I am curious. Does your antipathy for christians go so deep you refuse to even spell the word? I am not asking to cause an uproar, I would like your reasoning, because one of the things that "pushes my button" is to see "xtian"


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,me
Date: 02 May 00 - 03:31 PM

I have no antipathy towards xtians, xtianity, however is another story.

The institution of xtianity is best summed up in the words of Dominic Guzman (later Saint Dominic)... "Kill them all, god will know his own."

The history of my family's homeland is another case in point.

Care to dispute the historical facts?


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: MMario
Date: 02 May 00 - 04:26 PM

"me" - I am not denying your history of country or family. Nor do I deny that christians have committed unthinkable atrocities over and over again through history in the name of "peace" I am asking - why do you use "xtian" which is highly offensive to most christians? I am quite sure that you inform and object to anyone using a term you consider offensive to pagans.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,JZG
Date: 02 May 00 - 05:24 PM

T-bird: I do have Robin Lane Fox's Pagans and Christians and it's quite good (I haven't finished it yet, I keep getting distracted by fiction, music, etc.) It focuses mainly on Greek and Roman society and religion for a couple centuries to either side of Jesus' life, and it's pretty interesting; I'm just also interested in the areas outside of Greece and Rome ...

Peg: I don't think I know Rob or Linda -- are they in this area, and do you know what team they dance(d?) with? The dancing on Lilac Sunday is in the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain ...

MMario: For what it's worth, the first time I saw the abbreviation "xtian" (actually, I think it might have been "xn" and "xty") was in a discussion among religion scholars who were mostly christian -- I was browsing a medieval religion discussion list looking for info on this pagan history question ... they were just using it to save typing on a fairly long word that they used a lot. I certainly wouldn't dispute that "me" has taken a pretty anti-christian stance; just wanted to mention that I've also seen "xn" used without offensive intent, and by "xns".

JZG


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: MMario
Date: 02 May 00 - 05:40 PM

JZG - I too have seen various abbreviations used by christians. I don't like it then, either. Nor do I like blacks using the "n" word. Or probably half a dozen other examples.

"me" - I was asking simply for your rational in your usage. And the reason I used antipathy was because I DO know a person who cannot bear even to spell out christ...even as part of another word...it is so hurtful to her.

And BTW ,rex? there is nothing in my faith that prevents my belief in leprechauns. Just from my believing they are dieties.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: skarpi
Date: 02 May 00 - 05:54 PM

Hallo all, What will I say??.PÚFF! Rex D you wrote Pagan stuff? What is the meaning of the word STUFF???. Is it a negtive meaning from your side or.....?

Yes I am from Iceland and the Pagan In Iceland had their god : óÐINN OG ÞÓR. So what we have Jesus christ and holy Mary.

More later: Skarpi Iceland.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 03 May 00 - 11:19 AM

to the troll I say, "It is I, the BIGGEST billy-goat Gruff".

JZG, I'll get back to you with titles of books that I've found interesting. Of the works of Ronald Hutton, which have been mentioned several times by myself and others, The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles, is especially relevant to your inquiry.

My hunch is that people who claim that paganism has survived in their family arrive at their claim by something like the following steps:

(1) the individual becomes jaded or disillusioned with Christianity, Judaism, or modern society;

(2) the individual, remembers, invents, or assumes the existence of ancestors who practiced various magical and/or calendar customs or folk rituals;

(3) the individual uncritically accepts the judgement of obsolete scholarship, romantic fantasy, or Christian moralists that these folk customs are "pagan" in origin and/or intent;

(4) the individual concludes that the ancestors were secret pagans, cynical imposters who knowingly pretended to be Christians but weren't;

(5) the individual cobbles together a kit of obsolete scholarly theories, current scholarly theories, wishful thinking, folk customs and other old materials into a religious system;

(6) the individual identifies this newly-minted religious system with the "secret" religion of the ancestors.

This hypothetical process can have been practised at any time in the past 150 years or so. It seems to underly Jules Michelet's Le Sorcière (1862) and Charles Godfrey Leland's Aradia (1899). So it is possible for moderns to have come by their romantic fantasies honestly.

The possible survival of explicit worship of pagan gods can't be ruled out, as I have repeatedly stated. But the systems--the ones based on variants of the Murray thesis--which have been presented in enough detail to be checked have not checked out. They look more like the results of my hypothetical 6-step process than like anything that can reasonably be thought to have been transmitted from the pagan past without change.

As I have also stated, I am on my guard in the presence of neo-pagans who make tendentious historical claims, just as I am on-my guard in the presence of adherents of various schools of political philosophy who make tendentious historical claims. I will be especially on my guard if I ever encounter any (so far I have not encountered any such, but I have heard rumors of them) who start blaming "the Jews" for "patriarchy" (a flexible term which can cover almost all the world's ills.)

T.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 03 May 00 - 01:56 PM

My use of the word "honestly" in the 3rd-from-last paragraph was not fair, and I apologize. Please substitute the following: "So it is possible for moderns to have come by their romantic fantasies without explicitly undergoing anything like the hypothetical thought-process described above."

However accurate my hypothetical process is otherwise as a description of anyone's reasoning, the key point seems to be step (3), identifying calendar customs, folk rituals, and magic with explicit worship of pagan gods. Anyone who accepts this identification might find plenty of "paganism" in the past and present. Anyone who rejects it might look at the same data and find pagan origins or influences independently of explicit "paganism."

T.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Peg
Date: 03 May 00 - 02:06 PM

aw, Jeez, Okie, give it a rest will ya?????? This religion and the crafting of its history, both actual and hopeful, has come close to becoming an art form. It is the closest thing many pagan academics have to a hobby. Stop already with your relentless pursuit of proof, and your picayunish insistence on being so damn correct in that pursuit. We all KNOW the Burning Times didn't happen that way. We know Graves was a poet, not a historian. We know Iolo Morganw was a plagiarist. We know tracing contemporary pagan "traditions" to actual historical occurrences is a fool's errand (though Hutton is doing a damn fine job of it).

We know. Doesn't make the imagery, romance or beauty of it all any less valuable.

blessed be

Peg


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Bert
Date: 03 May 00 - 02:33 PM

When I've met people who claim to be pagans or witches or whatever, it seems to me that they practice a way of living rather than worshipping other gods. Such as...

If you do something to someone you'll get it back threefold, so you'd better do good (or very strong).
The love of nature.
The study of plants for food or healing.
The study of human nature, which can be developed to such an extent that the practitioner can 'know' things about you which seem impossible.
The care and nurture of animals.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 03 May 00 - 03:19 PM

Peg, you may know those things about Robert Graves, Edward Williams/Iolo Morgannwg, and the so-called "burning times". On the other hand, this post seems to presuppose some version of the Murray thesis, and seems to assume that all pre-Christian religions were based on the same set of presuppositions, identified as "worship of the land, the food giver, the earth mother, and respect for the seasons, celebrating the coming of spring, equinoxes, and the turn of the year" as an integral part of the rural life". As Joe Offer pointed out, such statements sometimes (not necessarily in this case) carry the additional implication that Christianity and Judaism have nothing, or only bad things, to say about the land, the seasons, and other matters that are "an integral part of rurual life".

This post quotes the figure of nine million for the number of victims of 17-th century witch hunts, a number that, as far as I can find out, was pulled out of a hat by Matilda J. Gage in the 1890s.

When others tire of this thread, they will stop posting to it, just as I will stop posting to it when I tire of it.

T.

P.S. Peg, you may have tired of MY posts, but I think yours have been high points of this thread. T.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 03 May 00 - 03:29 PM

That second blue clicky should have been to here T.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Peg
Date: 03 May 00 - 04:34 PM

Look, Okie, no disrespect intended, I certainly did not mean you should stop posting to this thread (sorry if it sounded that way), and I am not necessarily tired of your posts in and of themselves, and I do respect your knowledge, it is just that I do feel your approach to the topic is kind of anal-retentive. And this is a topic which will never lend itself to being pigeonholed. There simply is no single approach or answer to any of it, and I have often felt you have a somewhat condescending attitude towards others who are also attempting to unravel it, as when you say things like:

"So it is possible for moderns to have come by their romantic fantasies without explicitly undergoing anything like the hypothetical thought-process described above."

or:"Skarpi, this is a setup right ? Surely they make you read the following passage in the Islendingabók from the time you are small:"

It is that air of condescension that is wearying and frustrating to me...and it may well be you are unaware of it, or that I am reading too much into your words...if so, I am willing to accept that.

In any case, I find myself agreeing more and more with Mr. Offer on this: Truth is nice, I suppose; but let's not forget beauty and awe and wonder, and love.

peg


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,firehair28
Date: 03 May 00 - 04:39 PM

Ooh, it's been fun, y'all, but this discussion (which started out so nicely!) has begun to get heated. I think it's time to bail -- before things really start to flame.

For the record, Okie, Kat, Peg, Skarpi et al, this discussion has been a geniune pleasure. I have enjoyed it, and I hope that we may meet someday in the "real" world and continue our verbal fencing over hot cocoa (or the beverage of your choice) and comfy armchairs. 'Til then, Bless'd Be!

Your friend Fiona Firehair


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: skarpi
Date: 03 May 00 - 04:49 PM

Hallo all , I ´ll think I rest my case.I am reading the Íslendingasaga from time to time and I like it a lot and if you have a change to do so,try it out. With all my respect to all of you and what ever you believe in , may god be with you all skarpi Iceland.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Penny S.
Date: 03 May 00 - 05:26 PM

Okiemockbird - I may use the word dedicate loosely, but I'd been talking with the vicar and church wardens, and it's such a general usage I'm pretty sure I heard it used there as it came so quickly to my fingers. I've come across a very personal sense of association with the saint in churches. Especially in the case of St. Eanswyth at Folkestone, where her bones are still in the church she founded. I'm sure you are technically right, but that isn't the way people may feel. Perhaps they should all be Christchurch or Holy Trinity.

In my wanderings around old churches, looking at sometimes older yew trees, I find the church guide books full of interesting thoughts on the subject of paganism. Some will point out local features like holy wells or the round churchyard, and state with interest that the church is probably, or certainly, on the site of an earlier, pre-christian, holy site. These do not seem triumphalist, but may even have an implicit sense that earlier hallowing was added to, not cancelled, by christian sanctification. One, though, reading like a Victorian antiquarian piece, though written in the last decade, postulated that the nearby pond was the site of Jutish human sacrifices (evidence not given, you'd think there would be bones, if not a Tollund man lying in the anaerobic mud), and the church nave covered the beaten earth of the pagan dancing floor, with a curious attitude akin to voyeurism.

If I do find how to post the photos, would anyone like yews, too? I haven't any interiors - some churches ban it, some want visitors to obtain permission and pay a fee, but the process involves someone elsewhere who is out, and at Greensted, people were praying, so I couldn't use flash. A time exposure wouldn't have worked well (the window light would have flared). The paintings, at Burstead and other places, would need equipment I don't have. Quite late, 14th century, people were still painting outline figures like those in Early English manuscripts, in ochre. They are curiously endearing.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 04 May 00 - 10:17 AM

Penny, I think pictures of churchyard trees would be very nice.

I'm sure many people speak of "dedicating" a church to a saint. To me this is additional evidence of the death of the old gods, since people can use language in a way that tends (as I interpret) in a polytheistic direction without any feeling of contradiction: they know their own minds, and have no reason to fear or doubt that they are anything but monotheists. Nevertheless I suspect that if you examined the ritual used when an Anglican house of worship was dedicated, the prayers would all be addressed to God. It's been a long time since I read those rituals, though, so there is always the possibility that I don't remember accurately and would be surprised at what I found. I also recall (equally vaguely) St. John of Damascus, writing in the 8th century, very carefully speaking of "raising churches in honor of" saints (not "dedicating them to" saints). But there too, maybe when I read it again I will find something different from what I remember.

Peg, my remark to skarpi was intended as a wisecrack. I probably was, however, also writing from an unexamined, idealized view of Iceland as a country in which everyone speaks English as well as they speak Icelandic (and therefore wouldn't need help interpreting an English word.) I apologize to skarpi for harboring unexamined prejudices about his country, even though I don't consider them to have been negative prejudices.

I stand by my evaluation of some versions of pagan-survival theories as "romantic fantasy". They are fantasy because they are not accurate history. They are romantic because, in my opinion, it is partly a result of the intellectual movement known as romanticism that such theories and thought-patterns exist and are easy for us to use. I think I am right about the inaccuracy of the historical claims of some of these theories. I may be wrong about the importance of the phenomenon known as romanticism in their formation (much would depend simply on how "romanticism" was defined), but for now my hunch is that there is some connection. If you consider my evaluation wrong, we can discuss it if we wish. If you consider it "condescension", then there is nothing I can do about that.

Here are the old words to Nonesuch a.k.a. A la mode de France. They are from Chappel's Popular Music of the Olden Time (1850-ish). Chappel gets them from the Collection of Loyal Songs, (1731). I consider it an anti-Cromwellian political song, but perhaps a Murrayite would consider it a "pagan" anthem on the death and return of the Divine King.

THE FRENCH REPORT
(to the tune of Nonesuch)

Me have of late been in England,
vere me have seen much sport,
de raising of de Parliament
have quite pulled down de Court.
De King and Queen dey separate
and rule in ignorance--
Pray judge, ye gentlemen, if dis
be a la mode de France.

A vise man dere is like a ship
dat strike upon de shelves.
Dey prison all, behead, and vip
all viser dan demselves;
Dey send out men to fetch deyr king,
who may come home, perchance:
O fy, fy, fy, it is, be gar,
not a la mode de France.

Dey raise deyr valiant prentices
to guard deyr cause vith clubs;
dey turn deyr Bishops out of doors,
and preash demselves in tubs.
De cobler and de tinker, too,
dey vill in time advance.
Gar take dem all, it is (mort Dieu)
not a la mode de France.

Instead of bowing to deyr king,
dey vex him vith epistles.
Dey furnish all deyr souldiers out
vith bodkins, spoons, and vhistles.
Dey bring deyr gold and silver in,
de Brownists to advance.
And if dey be cheat of it all,
'tis a la mode de France.

But if ven all deyr vealth be gone,
dey turn unto deyr king,
dey vill al make amends again,
den merrily ve vill sing,
"Vive le roy, vive le Roy"--
ve'll sing, carouse, and dance.
De English men have done fort bon
and a la mode de France

T.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: BeauDangles
Date: 04 May 00 - 10:42 AM

This is a fascinating thread. I wish I had more time and less work to do so I could read and comment on it all. I just had this one bit to offer. In the early early days of christianity, christians were considered pagans by the dominant culture of there time, the Romans. SO the idea of defining Pagan as anybody who subscribes to pre- Christian ideology is bothersome to me. That may be how the dominant culture of OUR time defines it, but if you ask me (as member of that culture, albeit a somewhat fringe member) we are forgetting our roots.

BeauD


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: MMario
Date: 04 May 00 - 10:50 AM

up until recently, I believe most people would have defined "pagan" as "anyone who follows a religion other then my own"


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,Penny S. (a pupil)
Date: 04 May 00 - 10:53 AM

Churchyard yews - very nice! Oh no! There's one at Crowhurst, Surrey (ch. St. George, almost private fiefdom of nearby big house, one of whose occupants decided to paint a Byzantine mural of said saint and dragon)which is most unsettling. The way the trunk twists and coils, it looks like the souls of the dead struggling to escape hell in a judgement painting. Or one of the Disney trees in Snow White.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 04 May 00 - 11:07 AM

I can't remember any Roman document that identifies Christians as "pagans". I once heard that some scholars have suggested that one individual who was put to death on a charge of "atheism" was in fact a Christian, but I don't know how strong their case is. The Roman-era sources I have seen that take a negative view of Christians seem to view them as subversives.

I agree, though, that any use of the word "pagan" must be carefully examined in its setting. For example, if a modern-day ritual society preferentially calls itself "pagan" then it is making an implicit philosophical statement, and may be making an implicit historical claim as well. But if the group calls itself "pagan" only as a concession to the convenience of outsiders, preferring to refer to themselves as "The Society of the Mysteries of the Great Rattlesnake" or some such, then the situation is subtly different, and any claims that might be implicit of the word "pagan" as a self-designation disappear, though similar claims might be found to be made by other means.

T.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,me
Date: 04 May 00 - 11:55 AM

Mario,

I do not spell out "christ" because the man's name was Yeshua ibn Yusef, not Jesus Christ, he was not xtian, and most of what xtianity teaches is paulist misogeny. Have a good day.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 04 May 00 - 12:54 PM

Perhaps I shouldn't leave this thread before pointing out that I am aware that there exist anti-pagan conspiracy theories which are every bit as absurd and tendentious as any theory of pagan survivals.

T.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: MMario
Date: 04 May 00 - 01:27 PM

"Jesus Christ" is a title, not a name.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,me
Date: 04 May 00 - 06:02 PM

well then, that would mean "jesus christ" is equivalent to "vinnie the shiv"?

if we asked the albegensians, they'd give a resounding "yes", and so would my great aunt.

i'm beginning to love this thread. as to historical references... all should be taken with a cup of salt.

rome insisted that the state religion be worshipped along with whatever other religion you chose to enjoy. since xtians refused to participate in this legal requirement, they tended to be prosecuted as criminals.

someone referenced the witch hunts, or "the burning time"... irrespective of the numbers that were/were not burned/flayed/broken on the wheel/etc, it has become axiomatic in the pagan community of which my family has been a part for centuries that "the fire is never far away".

i bear no ill will towards you or your beliefs, Mario, but your kind has never been friend to me or mine, nor to the earth, nor to all that lives. you are apart from the cycles and deny the very evidence of your senses.

i quoted Dominic Guzman, who was sainted for his accomplishments: killing lots of albegensians founding the Holy Office (Inquisition) founding the Dominican Order to staff the Holy Office. like giving hitler the nobel prize for bringing "peace" to 25 milliard souls.

Have a good day


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 04 May 00 - 07:22 PM

Er, Okie, you made a link to MY post, and claimed I claimed 9 million heretic murders in the 17th c.

I did no such thing; nine million is the best guess estimate of the total over several centuries.

I do not like being misquoted.

Dearest Fiona, about the rib thing:

It has been suggested that this bad translation (surprise!) should have been "side." The original human was divided in two; half male and half female. The very earliest Hebrew God stuff supports this.

Love to everyone, MAG


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 04 May 00 - 09:46 PM

MAG, what is the source of the nine million figure ? If it comes from Andrea Dworkin or Gerald Gardner, or anyone relying on them, then it is likely to be simply a repeat of Matilda J. Cage's figure.

T.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 May 00 - 11:10 PM

If Guest,me
Malcolm  (Third-generation atheist, and lifelong student of comparative religion, though nowhere near so well-informed as Okie.)


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 May 00 - 11:18 PM

Oh no!   The Curse of the Missing "/" strikes again!  The invisible section should read: "...has any genuine evidence of a Western European Pagan tradition surviving in his or her family from pre-Christian times, then he or she is sitting on a potential goldmine; nobody else has ever managed to prove such a thing."

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: MMario
Date: 05 May 00 - 09:13 AM

errr...malcolm. That should be amended, because american First Nations people and polynsians and some of the asiatic ethnic groups DO have documented ....never mind....Just saw the "western European" . *thwap*


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: SDShad
Date: 05 May 00 - 09:41 AM

Guest,me:

It would seem that you're unaware of what is happening in Christianity in modern times except for the easy media soundbites about extreme fundamentalists and abortion clinic bombers.

I'd respectfully suggest that you try a little research about Creation Spirituality (not Creationism--it's entirely unrelated and in most ways opposite, as it embraces modern cosmology), and then tell us if you still feel that no Christian is friend to the earth; that every Christian is enemy to "all that lives;" that all Christian "deny the evidence of their senses."

Denying the fundamental dignity of over one billion of your fellows (and humanity is all one family in the end, no?) is about as "apart from the cycles" as I can imagine. We'll never rejoin the hoop if we damn each others' beliefs that way.

Chris


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere, tangentially)
Date: 05 May 00 - 11:24 AM

Changing the trend just a bit, I have just been reminded of the influences on the evidence that remains by seeing a colleague's display on the story of Pandora's Box. The standard school interpretation has Prometheus as the good guy, the "gods" as petty minded characters who shouldn't be let loose on terraforming a traffic island, and hope as a good thing. Apart from some interpretations suggesting that hope was the worst of the bad things in the box, which I think is fairly ancient (I expect T-bird has some idea of the sources for that) I hadn't seen anything else until the other year until I saw a cartoon version by an artist who usually does Bible stories, who had Prometheus as satanic, and visually monstrous, because he opposed Zeus, who ,as king of the gods, should be obeyed. Obviously the comparison between Pandora and Eve had been made much more evident, to the loss of a very subtle story in its own right.

What interests me is the contrast between the survival of that subtle story, and the way that Skarpi's heritage has been preserved, written down by monks. There are obvious comparisons between the Northern and the Southern European pantheons, though Odin/Othin/Woden seems to have taken the places rightfully belonging to Thor/Thunor and Tyr/Tiw, and the relationship between Loki and Odin seems similar to that between Prometheus and Zeus in a number of ways. Except that Loki, in opposing a leader with a number of dubious characteristics, which he claims himself (Stirrer-of-Strife-at-Things, for example)is made deeply satanic, wrong and evil, when the situation is much more subtle than evil Loki opposing good Odin. Has a more subtle story on the lines of the Greek one been hidden by being written down by Christians who inhabited a partially Manicheian(?sp)world of black and white?

I can't find a discussion about this anywhere (except odd implications by Harry Harrison in One King's Way etc, and Diana Wynne Jones in Eight Days of Luke) as books tend to write Loki off at face, evil value. One argument is that Loki had no temples. I am assured by an Indian friend that my claim that a god with an implicit association with fire does not need a personal temple as he is in all temples is exactly the position with Agni in Hinduism, a point I did not know before raising it with him. Incidentally, isn't Hinduism continuously practiced paganism?

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 05 May 00 - 12:26 PM

No, Okie, I suggest you try Trevor-Roper, or other actual historians who have done the actual research. I, for one, am now a sceptic on anything you have to say.

Most sincerely, MAG


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,me
Date: 05 May 00 - 12:46 PM

i do love this thread

Chris, thank you for your kind words, but i "damn" no one. i simply avoid sources of danger, dismay and despair.

frankly, any belief structure predicated on a "someone else can die for your sins" foundation is already looking in the wrong direction. a direction i choose to avoid, along with any variation of the skyfather myth.

individually, i've met some fine people who claim to be xtian -- apparently, on the individual basis, xtianity is often harmless... however, the institution in all of its variations has been the most destructive force in the west for the last 1700 years. i choose not to participate, and "research" will not change my mind. you apparently mean well, and perhaps have a concern for my immortal soul... i have no such concern, i know what faces me when death calls me, and it will be as interesting as my life has been, and a step to the next thing

the Mother's Light upon thee and thine, christian.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: MMario
Date: 05 May 00 - 12:56 PM

"me" - "the institution in all of its variations has been the most destructive force in the west for the last 1700 years." I agree, most heartily! [and for the complete spelling out of christian I thank you. Also heartily.] I draw a HUGE, THICK line between my faith as a christian and the established religious practices of the christian church, in all it's forms.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Mbo
Date: 05 May 00 - 01:11 PM

I hope you are all aware that "x" as in "Xmas" and Me's "xtians" is a Christian symbol. It represents the Cross that Jesus was crucified on, so replacing "Christ" with "X" makes no difference, since they both represent the same thing.

As for Jesus "dying for our sins" you have to realized when and who the documents that became The Bible were written for. I was just talking to my priest, who is a authority on Religious tezts. Also he is a great guy, who believes in "down home Catholicism" as he puts it, and will shoot down the lies and misconceptions even the most devoted Christians have. He was just telling me this week that everything in the Bible is written in metaphorical language, and cannot be taken at face value, but at practical value. "Died for our sins?" he was telling me "Who cares? What does that mean, died for our sins? It's purely metaphorical language...Jesus died for US. And anyone who willingly gives up their own life the help others muts be respected and honored."

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: MMario
Date: 05 May 00 - 01:26 PM

Mbo - I have to disagree with you. (though I have heard it rationalized that way many times.) Most people agree that the shift to xmas has been primarily driven by a marketing movement to make the holy day a secular holiday. And "xmas" for "Christmas" is a recent phenomenan - within my lifespan. Following that reasoning, it would be MUCH more logical for us to have tmas and t-tian. - Unless you are equating the "x" with the greek chi, which I believe is more equivilant of the english "c"


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: SDShad
Date: 05 May 00 - 01:30 PM

me--

(May I call you "mini-me," for your diminuitive lower case "m"?) :-)

Those purveyors of toxic Christianity whom you see as "sources of danger, dismay and despair?" Me too. To them, for all my nature-centered, gender-neutral, nonjudgemental christology, I might as well be pagan.

And maybe by their definitions I am pagan. The labels matter less to me than you might suspect; if someone breathes Unity, they are my brother or sister through Yeshua in a way that I simply don't fully understand yet, regardless of the label they put on it. If I am pagan in the estimation of some and Christian to others, it matters little. But as much as I share your sensible impulse to avoid toxic individuals, at my core is also the knowledge that they are all my sisters and brothers, and entitled to my love: toxic Christians, toxic Moslems, toxic pagans, toxic Atheists. Children of the Universe all, for all their sins and foibles.

And for me, it's not "someone else can die for your sins." For me, it's that this particular person's death gets my attention and shows me the path to the Light. And it might interest you to know that "Abwoon," the Aramaic word Yeshua used in what's called the Lord's Prayer that is usually translated as "Father," doesn't necessarily have to carry any gender connotation, and can mean Mother, Father, Divine Parent, Birther, Creator, or all of the above at once (which, with Yeshua, you can usually bet on layers of meaning). So to me, Alaha isn't a "skyfather"; I put no more literal stock in myths of Yahweh than I do in myths of Astarte. For me, the Divine Mother and the Divine Father are all one, a knowable metaphor for the unknowable, ineffable source of Creation.

White-haired, vengeful patriarchal figures on mountain thrones need not apply.

As for your immortal soul, I part with many of my brethren and sistren in the church on the necessity of my seeking to "convert" or "save" you. In creation spirituality, there is only one true being, of which you and I are both small and equal parts. We are already one even as we differ, and your "immortal soul," whatever that even is, is already a part of the Great Unity without any intervention on my part. What you do with it is the business of you and the Great Mother, and none of mine, except to acknowledge and embrace its unity.

Your revulsion at the evils committed by the church is shared by MMario, obviously, and by me. Imagine how you would feel if large number of pagans took it upon themselves to act in such a manner in the name of the Great Mother--that's how we feel about it. Their path is not our path, and to us not the path for which Yeshua died, though they use his name. Yet it would be hypocritical to say of them what they may say of us, if they knew: "they aren't Christians."

Huston Smith put it very well: to the atheist there is no god; to the pagan or polytheist, there are many gods; to the monotheist, there is only one god; to the mystic there is only God.

I'll be over here in the corner with the mystics.

So I'll sign off with a word that comes from neither of our traditions, yet envelops all of what we both are:

Namaste*,

Chris

*from Saskrit, roughly: "I honor that place in you where the whole Universe resides--that place where, when you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us." As easily said to the Divine Parent as to each other....


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: SDShad
Date: 05 May 00 - 01:36 PM

Okay, just imagine, if you will, that I properly closed off my italics above at the word "all."

thankyeweversoverymuch,

C.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Mbo
Date: 05 May 00 - 01:50 PM

The "chi rho" symbol has long been a symbol of Christianity as well, back to the 100's A.D., with the "x", the Greek Chi, the first letter of "Christ" meaning "anointed" and also as symbol of the Cross is the reason it was chosen, because of the duality between meaning and symbol. And WHY exactly do we Christians get the "xtians" of "tians". Are we more deserving of it? What about all "xiasm" and "xists" and "xems" and "xdus" and "xans"? Why can't we just leave everybody alone to believe what they want instead of dumbing down what we believe in the make other feel not offended. I'm not offended by anyone else's religion...if they want a giant Menorah in the town square, you'll get no complaining from me, in fact I'd enjoy it. If someone wants to pray to Allah or Buddha right there in public, I ain't gonna stop them, I'd encourage it. So why do I have to pretend like my religion is somehow less worthy of respect? We all have our nasty past histories....we can't we all just be happy and respect what other believe as well as what we do?

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,me
Date: 05 May 00 - 02:30 PM

i like lunchtime, too, it makes this thread more interactive.

Chris, you may call me what you like, as long as it remains polite, and you never call me late for supper.

Josh would've like this thread too, he would note just how many are getting the point of what he said in that lifetime in the galilee.

i also enjoy the insistance upon marking a symbol as specific to a mythic cycle that some insist upon, after a few centuries of seeing this, it becomes a tolerable silliness that makes one smile.

just for the heck of it... here's the real ending to the parable of the talents...

the master took the third slave, the one who'd buried the two talents in the earth and handed him over to the first, now free and rich, saying take this man and his two talents and teach him as you have learned, and if he does learn, free him and give him the talents he has earned as i have done for you.

peace upon all of thee and those you love


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: SDShad
Date: 05 May 00 - 02:53 PM

Okay, then. mini-me it is. :-)

I love that ending of the talents parable. Consequences with compassion, which I like to believe "Josh" was all about.

And I'm not joshin'.

"Tolerable silliness?" Good blanket phrase for religion in general, some times.

Trivia note: a talent of gold was about 200 pounds.

Blessed be,

Chris


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 06 May 00 - 08:54 AM

MAG, good for you. I don't recall ever claiming to be anything but an amateur historian, so of course there will be gaps and blind spots in my knowledge (and even a professional would have these to some extent.) So of course you should check up on me.

In your post of 25-Apr-00 - 01:17 PM, your use of the words "witchcraft persecutions" and your mention of the Malleus Maleficarum let me to conclude that your "orgy of sadism" referred to the deaths only of those who were put to death as witches (not as heretics) and only after the appearance of the Malleus Maleficarum. Apparently you meant to count heretics as well as witches, and to count prosecutions prior to the publication of the "Hammer of Witches" as well as those subsequent to it. I apologize for jumping to the wrong conclusion. I'm still not sure about the nine million figure. I have so far not succeeded in tracing the computation in Trevor-Roper's (now Baron Dacre's) writings, but only two of his older books are so far available to me.

T.


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 11 May 00 - 01:45 AM

Hi--- Interesting thread here. One thing's been bothering me: 'xtians'. No, it doesn't offend me. But shouldn't it be 'xians' if it's going to make sense? Extra 't' there, you see... Also, I see no reason not to believe that 'paganism' hasn't survived 'til modern times in Western Europe. It's still alive in parts of Eastern Europe, such as the Russian Federation republics of Mari-el and Chuvashia, not to mention the peoples of arctic European Russia.So by pagan we mean anything not Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, right? So perhaps the Kalmyks of Khalmg Tangch (also in Rusian Federation), traditionally Tibetan/Mongol Buddhists, would count as 'pagan.' Thanks----


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 May 00 - 02:08 AM

PBS has been running a Nova series on new discoveries about the Vikings. I just saw part of a segment last night which was very interesting. You can find out more at www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/vikings.

I especially found this to be of interest:

"Even with the advent of Christianity in the north, runes continued to appear on coffins, gravestones, and monuments, often side-by-side with more traditional Christian symbols. Like many of their contemporaries, the Norsemen Sven and Thorgot, who raised a runestone "in memory of Manni and Sveni; may God help their souls," had no problem using pagan symbols to replace the usual "may Thor hallow these Runes" with an appeal to the Christian God. The Norsemen continued the practice of mixing runes with Christian symbols until the 17th century, when the medieval church banned runes in an attempt to drive out all vestiges of superstition, paganism, and magic. Runes fell out of widespread use but did not disappear altogether, and in recent times the Vikings' enigmatic alphabet has had a resurgence at the hands of everyone from Nazis to New Agers."


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,Paul Crawte
Date: 11 May 00 - 04:57 AM

What a thread ! I guess there are lots of pagans watching from the side lines, I know of a couple who come here but haven't joined in.

As a quick note, I hope people don't leave thinking all pagans are wiccans, or indeed that all witches are wiccans.

I know of no pagans who claim that the music they enjoy has a continual history to "The Old Religion", and I know very few pagans who claim to have any connection, or indeed knowledge of, "The Old Religion". The music I enjoy happens to be folk music, and that kind of works well around camp fires with groups of people. Lots of people can join in with a lot of songs, there's plenty of scope for trying new things with old tunes, and the range of instruments that can be played to compliment each other is wide enough to encourage anyone with any musical leanings the opportunity to learn something simple and share it with others. So, folk music suits pagans well.

Along side of the music, there's a lot of story telling going on. Old stories, new stories, good stories, crap stories. It's a great place to be.

Cheers Paul (available for pagan events, playing music to entertain the good and offend the self rightous)


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Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
From: GUEST,me
Date: 11 May 00 - 01:34 PM

Paul, you'd be surprised just how many follow the old strong religion (which is Cordwainer Smith's term for surpressed xtianity in his Instrumentality stories, but was stolen by me for my purposes), they tend to be monotheist and pagan, and understand that the feminine principle is simply the closest to the truth form for the here and the now.

as for wiccans, they create their own pain, as xtians do. at least druids made sense, tho one did burn me for political reasons in the fourth century.

on another note.. The Messenger is an xclnt movie, so close to truth in terms of Jean's behaviors that it makes me wonder "why now".

the Mother's Light upon thee and those you love


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