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BS: Paganism: an exploration

DigiTrad:
ALLSOULS NIGHT
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hesperis 05 Nov 00 - 01:22 PM
wildlone 05 Nov 00 - 03:12 PM
wysiwyg 06 Nov 00 - 12:15 PM
mousethief 06 Nov 00 - 12:48 PM
GUEST,Matt_R 06 Nov 00 - 12:52 PM
okthen 06 Nov 00 - 01:01 PM
Penny S. 06 Nov 00 - 01:29 PM
mousethief 06 Nov 00 - 01:47 PM
Kim C 06 Nov 00 - 01:52 PM
MMario 06 Nov 00 - 01:55 PM
Jim the Bart 06 Nov 00 - 02:00 PM
okthen 06 Nov 00 - 02:35 PM
wildlone 06 Nov 00 - 02:41 PM
Peg 06 Nov 00 - 04:16 PM
okthen 06 Nov 00 - 04:27 PM
Peg 06 Nov 00 - 04:33 PM
Penny S. 06 Nov 00 - 04:44 PM
Penny S. 06 Nov 00 - 04:55 PM
paddymac 06 Nov 00 - 11:18 PM
Ringer 07 Nov 00 - 01:39 PM
mousethief 07 Nov 00 - 02:55 PM
paddymac 07 Nov 00 - 03:41 PM
Bearheart 07 Nov 00 - 04:21 PM
Matt_R 07 Nov 00 - 04:22 PM
mousethief 07 Nov 00 - 04:31 PM
Matt_R 07 Nov 00 - 04:35 PM
Little Hawk 07 Nov 00 - 11:46 PM
hesperis 10 Nov 00 - 12:33 PM
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Subject: Paganism: an exploration
From: hesperis
Date: 05 Nov 00 - 01:22 PM

Mousethief said he would like to know more about other religions. So here is a little bit about the one I am the most comfortable with: Wiccae.

Paganism is usually based on recognition of the seasons of the Earth, a respect for nature and a respect for individuality. Pagans can be atheists, druids, wiccans, pagans or any other philosophy. As far as I know, it is mostly a grouping of Earth-based religions under one category.

There is usually an interest in spirituality, human development, 'magick', and psychology, although none of that is really necessary to call oneself a pagan.

I myself am drawn towards the Wiccan path of expression. Although Wiccae can have Churches where people exclude others unless they pass certain training and tests, most of Wiccae has a respect for people who go their own way, and create their own religion and way of life according to their own conscience.

Wiccans can be monotheistic, or polytheistic. (Or almost both.) We usually recognize that all comes from Spirit, and then we 'worship' the Goddess and the God, or any number of Goddesses and Gods. 'Worship' is generally just trying to live in a way that acknowledges the sacredness of all life, and being in company with the Creators in special rites, called 'Sabbats' or 'Esbats', or just 'The Circle'. (There are probably as many terms for these rites as there are people who do them.) At special times of year or times of the Moon, we make feasts and do 'magick'.

To a Wiccan, magick is merely an act of 'will' which lets you harness the powers of yourself and the universe in order to do what you need to do, whether it be healing or growth, or letting go, or celebration.

There are several kinds of techniques to do 'magick', which basically use the power of symbolism to create changes in accordance with your 'will'. Some techniques are in certain traditions, or borrowed from ethnic groups.

A Wiccan will often consider herself to be a 'Witch', although there are Witches who have been practising in certain older traditions who don't like Wiccans referring to themselves in that way. Witchcraft is hereditary, passed down by training in families, whereas Wiccae is usually found from a book and then incorporated into one's life.

Witches, both of ancient traditions and newer ones, also respect the power of the female, and mourn the Burning Times, when the Church of Rome killed many in order to seize their money and land. Some Wiccans still have a hatred of Christians for this, most recognize that the past happened, and it is more important to work with all peoples to bring harmony. There also is a Law of Silence, which was created, so they say, during the Burning Times, that the Old Ways be kept alive and passed on. Some people still adhere to that Law, out of fear or experience of other people's reactions. I want to exchange thoughts with others, and cannot keep silent in order to do so, so I speak of some things. You can never really tell someone else what actually happens in ritual, because it is so personal and so powerful, and there is always part of it that is beyond words. (To borrow from Taoism: The Way that can be told is not the Way.)

A good resource for starting to learn more about Wiccae, or Wicca, or whatever, is www.witchvox.com

Different people will have different ways of perceiving what paganism or Wiccae, or Witchcraft is, and I would be interested in other's thoughts as well.

Blessed Be,
Many Blessings of the Lady and Lord upon you,
~*sirepseh*~


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: wildlone
Date: 05 Nov 00 - 03:12 PM

hesperis/sirepseh,
To be true to yourself
To do good to others
To respect living things

May the Great Spirit Hold you in his hands,
dave


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 12:15 PM

Hess,

This would be a great place to link in some other threads on the topic. Can you try a search and see what you find and make some clickies? I know there were some on paganism, and I was thinking you would know better than I what words to search on for other threads that may have been around.

It would be great to hear more about this from people actually involved with it, and not hear only the stereotypes that are out there.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: mousethief
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 12:48 PM

The few Wiccans (or other stripes of Pagans) I've known have been very devout people who were far more serious about their faith, and about "loving thy neighbor," than any number of so-called Christians I've met. Not that it's my place to judge either (of course), but still one can't help but having impressions, and my impressions of Pagans have for the largest part been very positive.

And the Christians and the Pagans
Sit together at the table
Finding faith and common ground
As best as they were able
---Dar Williams

Alex
O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: GUEST,Matt_R
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 12:52 PM

Away with pills, 'twill cure all ills
Betweem Pagan, Christian and Jew,
Off with your coat and wet your throat
With the real old mountain dew


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: okthen
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 01:01 PM

would this be a good thread to ask about "samhain", i couldn't find any reference in my dictionaries. I get the impression it's an alternative Guy Fawkes night?

cheers

bill


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: Penny S.
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 01:29 PM

I think that's vice versa. Although there are those who claim that GF has nothing to do with the fires of Halloween/samhain, the timeing is suspicious. What better way of carrying on an ancient and enjoyable custom than disguising it as something the powers that be just have to support. Ie, Christians don't celebrate samhain - O look, here's All Saints' Day at just the same time, and All Souls' Day as well! Wouldn't it be nice to light bonfires for them?

Protestants don't celebrate All Saints and All Souls, especially the latter, as you cannot pray for the dead who are gone where their lives determined, for ever. Goodness me, here's a valid reason to celebrate the end of a Catholic conspiracy! Shall we celebrate that by rolling burning barrels down the hill? Too?

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: mousethief
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 01:47 PM

Penny, forgive me being dense, but I don't understand your reference to a "Catholic conspiracy."

(Actually if you're a Calvinist, your life didn't determine which way you went when you died, God's inscrutable decision before you were even born did, for he created some to be saved and some to be damned, through no choice or fault of their own. Then again I think Calvin was a contemptible heretic (and me not even Catholic!). Give me All Souls Day any day!)

Alex
O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: Kim C
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 01:52 PM

Isn't Guy Fawkes Day on November 5, when they tried to blow up the Parliament? Maybe he was doing it as a Halloween prank? I dunno.

I'm a Christian and I respect everyone's right to practice the religion of their choice, and I enjoy hearing about what other people do. Let us proceed.

As the song says, you go to your church and I'll go to mine, but let's walk along together. :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: MMario
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 01:55 PM

just a small aside, there are protestants who DO celebrate both All Saint's and All Souls.


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 02:00 PM

Thanks for the information, Hesperis. I have nothing to add, but will be reading with interest.

Bart


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: okthen
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 02:35 PM

this is more helpfull, but, halloween is a definate date,as are the holy days and guy fawkes night, how do you work out what date samhain is?

densely yours

bill


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: wildlone
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 02:41 PM

Here is a couple of sites about paganism
"click" .

click .


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: Peg
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 04:16 PM

as for dates, Samhain occurs on the flip side of Beltane,which is April 31, or May 1 and corresponds to the other cross-quarter days (as they ae called) Imbolc (February 2) and Lammas (August 1) --all fall roughly, more or less, kinda, exactly between the solstices and equinoxes...which themselves vary as to what exact dayss they fall upon...it seems to be easier to assign a day than to hold them on their true times:

"true" samahin for example occurs when the sun enters 15 degrees of Scorpio; this is true for the others as well:

Lammas, 15 degrees Leo

Imbolc, 15 degrees Pisces

Beltane, 15 degrees Taurus

BTW these four signs also correspond to the four animals commonly used in Wicca to represent the four directions: eagle, lion, serpent, and bull...

happy autumn.

peg


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: okthen
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 04:27 PM

my thanks to wildlone and peg,the sites were interesting and now it makes sense. the whole pagan idea makes sense come to think of it.

cheers

bill


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: Peg
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 04:33 PM

oops, sorry bout that triple posting.

glad to have helped in any case. I can go on all day and give talks on this stuff frequently...yaking is easier than typing any day...

:)


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: Penny S.
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 04:44 PM

OK, the conspiracy was said to be Catholic, at the time. That is the way the thing was set up by the then spin doctors.

There is a version that the whole thing was set up, entrapping some rather naive young men, by the government intelligence chaps to discredit Catholics. This is only too believable.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: Penny S.
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 04:55 PM

And the form of Protestantism at the beginning of the 17th century was a little bare of festival, and fires would have been abjured, I believe.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: paddymac
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 11:18 PM

Samhain (pronounced sow (as in female pig) - en) is an ancient Celtic festival which pre-dates Guy Fawkes by at least a couple of millenia. It was the Celtic harvest and new years festival. There were no doubt other cultural groupings with similarly timed festivals on other parts of the planet.


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: Ringer
Date: 07 Nov 00 - 01:39 PM

...when the Church of Rome killed many [Witches] in order to seize their money and land

I'm sure that did happen, and perhaps not infrequently, but are you not being a little unfair to tar all Roman Catholics (or at least all witch-burners) with that same brush? From the point of view of the early 21st century it may be difficult to understand, but some might have had purer motives. If they really believed that witches who had sold their souls to the Devil were a reality, and who did, with his Satanic help, bring misery and pestilence to their neighbours they might also have believed that by threatening them with death by fiery torture and if necessary carrying out that threat there might have been some possibility of saving their immortal souls.


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: mousethief
Date: 07 Nov 00 - 02:55 PM

Actually witch-burnings were something the Christians learned from the Pagans.

From this website:

Witchcraft (maleficium) was indeed common in pre-Christian Europe, and it was an ancient pagan custom for those who believed maleficium was being used against them or their kin to take personal retaliation. Death by burning was thought to be a proper penalty and was practised by the German tribes who worshipped Odin, Thor and the other deities of the Teutonic pantheon (Cohn 1975:147-149). Similar practices were found in the "civilised" society of the Roman Empire (Williams 1959:305). "The pagan Romans, like most ancient peoples and modern tribal societies, prescribed the death penalty for those who killed or who harmed property by witchcraft: in a system which believes in magic and has capital punishment for normal murder and arson, there is no other logical situation" (Hutton 1991:255). The hunting and killing of suspected witches was thus an established pagan practice long before the coming of Christianity.

--------------

Alex
O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: paddymac
Date: 07 Nov 00 - 03:41 PM

Your point is well made, Alex. Bald Eagle's point is valid, but a bit broadly stated. During the Albigensian Crusade (1209 or 1210), the Cathars of the Languedoc were burned and their properties confiscated by the Catholic Church. Being a popular gnostic sect, which believed you didn't need Rome (or where ever the papal contenders were at that time) to get to heaven, the "organized" church saw them as competitors and a threat. Remember too, that this was near the time when the "monarchical papacy" was in vogue. It's hard to tell how their property was split up. It appears from my readings the the real property mostly went to local warlords recruited by the church for their military capabilities. The personalty (gold, jewels, cash, and the like) probably went to the coffers of local bishoporics and religious orders. It was a time for which culpable church officials should rot in their own version of hell.


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: Bearheart
Date: 07 Nov 00 - 04:21 PM

Well folks I've been Pagan since about 1982, and into earth spirituality for longer than that-- since I was born probably-- and I regularly teach at Pagan gatherings and hang out with other Pagans. My experience is that there are lots of ways to practice Paganisn/Witchcraft-- I personally consider myself a shamanic witch, but don't practice Wicca in the formal sense much any more. I do honor the Goddess/God and all of creation as my relatives, since we're all in my opinion children of the gods. Even the rocks... for me the joy of this path is that spirituality is a first hand experience of the Divine. As long as you harm no one you are free to do as you like according to my "religion". I try to take it a step further but doing good as often and wherever I can. So one of the things I try to put behind me is the not so nice past of certain humans, since in my experience most people are basically good, or at least not evil. More later probably, but I have a client to see. Thanks hesperis for starting this thread. Hopefully more of us will come out of the closet!

Blessed Be...


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: Matt_R
Date: 07 Nov 00 - 04:22 PM

No use argy-bargying about it, every group has bloody hands in their past. But the sins of the father are not the sins of the son.


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: mousethief
Date: 07 Nov 00 - 04:31 PM

Matt, that's not what Billy Joel said in "Surprises" on Nylon Curtain.

Alex
O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: Matt_R
Date: 07 Nov 00 - 04:35 PM

But it's what Captain Picard said in the episode "Sins of The Father". And anyone who believes otherwise is plumb dumb.


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Nov 00 - 11:46 PM

Excellent stuff on this thread. Bravo!

Paganism is quite similar to American Indian religions in that it draws its inspiration mainly from the world of Nature, the phenomena of earth and sky, fire and water, and all the living creatures and natural energies therein.

Mother Nature is the great female, the life-giver, the birth mother to all of us. Our present technological civilzation has committed great offences against that Mother, continuing a trend that has been typical of the patriarchal era which began several thousand years ago.

Taoism also reveres the female aspect in Nature, and draws inspiration from it. Female, like water, flows effortlessly around all obstacles, is flexible, and endures. The male aspect is rigid, inflexible, and easily breaks itself upon an obstacle, despite seeming very strong on the outside. Male seeks glory and conquest. Female seeks harmony and unity. (Which doesn't mean that all female individuals do, however...women can harness male energy just as powerfully as men if they choose to...and vice versa.)

It is curious that the Christ figure of the western Indian peoples is a woman, White Buffalo Calf Woman, and that they did not embrace concepts such as "original sin", nor did they see sex in "dirty" terms.

I thoroughly appreciate Wicca, and indeed any faith that honours Nature and honours the Goddess. Stand Her beside the God of Sun, Sky and Energy, and you have the whole cosmos in a great harmony. May it be so. Blessed Be.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Paganism: an exploration
From: hesperis
Date: 10 Nov 00 - 12:33 PM

Many great responses.

I am always confused about the Burning Times and the real practices from before Christianity, and even from before the early part of last century!

There is evidence, however, that before the patriarchal societies, a culture thrived with the Mother Goddess being the Creator of All. That women had rights of property and respect, and that it was womankind, not specifically 'man', that invented all the technologies that enabled civilization, such as agriculture, writing, and the wheel.

Definitely, a lot of modern paganism has ideals similar to New Age philosophies. The 'Harm None' of Wicca could be a very modern addition to the religion.

This is partly why I started this thread, to discuss and find out more about my own religion.

Thanks for keeping it civil, as well.

Blessings,
~*sirepseh*~


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