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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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GUEST,me 11 May 00 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Paul Crawte 11 May 00 - 04:57 AM
katlaughing 11 May 00 - 02:08 AM
Lepus Rex 11 May 00 - 01:45 AM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 06 May 00 - 08:54 AM
SDShad 05 May 00 - 02:53 PM
GUEST,me 05 May 00 - 02:30 PM
Mbo 05 May 00 - 01:50 PM
SDShad 05 May 00 - 01:36 PM
SDShad 05 May 00 - 01:30 PM
MMario 05 May 00 - 01:26 PM
Mbo 05 May 00 - 01:11 PM
MMario 05 May 00 - 12:56 PM
GUEST,me 05 May 00 - 12:46 PM
MAG (inactive) 05 May 00 - 12:26 PM
GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere, tangentially) 05 May 00 - 11:24 AM
SDShad 05 May 00 - 09:41 AM
MMario 05 May 00 - 09:13 AM
Malcolm Douglas 04 May 00 - 11:18 PM
Malcolm Douglas 04 May 00 - 11:10 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 04 May 00 - 09:46 PM
MAG (inactive) 04 May 00 - 07:22 PM
GUEST,me 04 May 00 - 06:02 PM
MMario 04 May 00 - 01:27 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 04 May 00 - 12:54 PM
GUEST,me 04 May 00 - 11:55 AM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 04 May 00 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,Penny S. (a pupil) 04 May 00 - 10:53 AM
MMario 04 May 00 - 10:50 AM
BeauDangles 04 May 00 - 10:42 AM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 04 May 00 - 10:17 AM
Penny S. 03 May 00 - 05:26 PM
skarpi 03 May 00 - 04:49 PM
GUEST,firehair28 03 May 00 - 04:39 PM
Peg 03 May 00 - 04:34 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 03 May 00 - 03:29 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 03 May 00 - 03:19 PM
Bert 03 May 00 - 02:33 PM
Peg 03 May 00 - 02:06 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 03 May 00 - 01:56 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 03 May 00 - 11:19 AM
skarpi 02 May 00 - 05:54 PM
MMario 02 May 00 - 05:40 PM
GUEST,JZG 02 May 00 - 05:24 PM
MMario 02 May 00 - 04:26 PM
GUEST,me 02 May 00 - 03:31 PM
MMario 02 May 00 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,me 02 May 00 - 02:17 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 02 May 00 - 01:15 PM
SDShad 02 May 00 - 09:31 AM
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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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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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,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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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,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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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,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 - 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 - 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: 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: 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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