The Pagan Thread

  • Thread starter eNtRopY
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  • #1
I want to rediscover the religions of my ancient European ancestors and become a Pagan.

I suppose some of you already consider me one, but I think that there must be more to paganism than just mere hedonism.

Could someone give me some tips?

eNtRopY
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Adam
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Paganism

Back in the days of the Roman empire, the countryside was called the "pagus". Those who lived in it, the country bumpkins, were the "paganus".

Now, in the first few centuries AD, christianity was spreading primarily in Roman cities. It became very popular in Rome and a few other places. It was a city religion, followed in places of tjhe most cultural change. Those religions still followed away from such cities, out in the countryside, were known as "pagan" religions BECAUSE they were out in the pagus, believed by the paganus.

In the fifth century AD, I think it was, the Senate declared christianity the state religion and outlawed all "pagan" religions, meaning every other belief followed away from a few major cities.

There is no such thing as a single religion or belief called "paganism". There is no "pagan pantheon", or anything like that. To call yourself a pagan literally means you are calling yourself a person who follows some religion other than the state religion. It could be anything; Buddhism, Shinto, Hinduism, some form of Animism, anything.

Celts

Beware anything that says "this is the way the Celts were", or "this was the religion of the Celts". Why? Because there has NEVER been any single racial/tribal group called "celts". The term "celt" comes from the Greek "keltoi" or "celtoi". They used it to refer to ALL the many, varies peoples of Europe north of the Greeks and their neighbours, and west of the Slavs. Basically everyone in the northern border of the Greek world to Scandians. That's a lot of different cultures.

Religions of ancient Europe

First, read the few genuine sources of information on this topic, such as works by Julius Caesar and Tacitus. You will NOT find anything even remotely based in reality in any book on "paganism" by some unemployed trailer park trash idiot who calls himself White Feather or some such. There are only a few decent sources, and they are all around two thousand years old.

As for religious/superstitious practices. Well, in one region they used to put the skulls of enemies on posts around their territory, a "ghost fence" to keep out dangerous spirits and such. That was on the mainland, in Germany somewhere I think. Over in Britain they liked stacking stones in rings; the reason is debatable. The Sun was quite commonly an important symbol in lots of Europe.

Important note

There never was any single religion/mythology throughout Europe until christianity wiped the slate clean and took over. So any book claiming "this is the way the Celts/Pagans were" or some such is full of crap.
 
  • #3
megashawn
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To call yourself a pagan literally means you are calling yourself a person who follows some religion other than the state religion. It could be anything; Buddhism, Shinto, Hinduism, some form of Animism, anything.

If this is true (not arguing), then since the United States doesn't have a state religion, wouldn't that make an American christian a pagan?

Anyhow, I used to believe in Wicca a lil bit when I was younger. I've later found it most to be mumbo jumbo and most the magic has something to do with running circles around a fire (to get you dizzy) and some to even drink. No wonder why people thinks its magic.

I don't know much about traditional europian religions, just wanted to ask Adam about that, cause it would be most enjoyable to start calling christians pagans.
 
  • #4
Listen. Wicca, if you are talking about casting spells and the lot, is modernized crap. This might be something for you to look into, but you are going to have to get past the sensationalism.

Instead of looking for Wicca, why don't you do a little search for the "Sacred Feminine". This is what you actually want.

You see, when Christianity was building, back when it was only in the cities, the sacred feminine threated the church. The church said that man could only reach God through a preist. The people who worshiped the sacred feminine also believed that he could through unity with woman. The church balked against this and turned a lot of the SF symbols into "Satanic" symbols. That's where you get the magic, spells, etc. stuff to this day. In fact, the Pentagram has nothing to do with Satanism. It's a SF symbol.

Adam was right, the word Pagan does come from Paganus. You'll find another interesting world "villain". It simply comes from the latin villa or "country house". Basically, villain just meant: of the village. The Church was frightened of these non-city folk who didn't worship their style of Christianity, or even Christianity at all.

Anyway, the point is that maybe you should search for the Sacred Feminine. You will find that you don't even have to rebel against other religions. In fact, you might want to start with a book called Magdalene's Lost Legacy, which is simply about Mary Magdalene. The author is Margaret Starbird, and you might be interested in some of her other works as well.
 
  • #5
kat
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Actually, Adam, Although I agree with your statements about Paganus (rural, villager etc.) I think the reason Christians adopted the word Pagans is because prior to their adoption of the term it was also used as military slang for civilians or untrained soldiers. When the Church developed a military symbolist view the term pagan was adopted, along with other militia type imagery such as "soldiers for Christ" etc.
 
  • #6
Lonewolf
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A few links relating to the Asatru, the former religion of most of Germanic Europe.

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/4178/asatru/faq.html

http://www.angelfire.com/on/Wodensharrow/whframeset.html [Broken]

Woden is perhaps more commonly known as Odin, particularly favoured by the Vikings.
 
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  • #7
marcus
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Lonewolf said:
A few links relating to the Asatru, the former religion of most of Germanic Europe.

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/4178/asatru/faq.html

http://www.angelfire.com/on/Wodensharrow/whframeset.html [Broken]

Woden is perhaps more commonly known as Odin, particularly favoured by the Vikings.

I came upon this thread by accident and liked what
one person said earlier:

"Religions of ancient Europe

First, read the few genuine sources of information on this topic, such as works by Julius Caesar and Tacitus. You will NOT find anything even remotely based in reality in any book on "paganism" by some unemployed trailer park trash idiot who calls himself White Feather or some such...."

It would not be a mistake, in any case, to read some of the writings of julius caesar and tacitus

and other writings which go back to early times and are interesting in themselves.

personally I am very fond of the national history book of the norwegians
which was written back around 1250 or so IIRC
but has a lot of stories remembered from earlier

the man who wrote down the Heimskringla was named Snorri and he had a respect for the truth----so it does not matter very much whether he was this or that---or what his religion was. He was an icelander and an observer of Norwegian history and a recorder of the stories.

much of the history recorded by Snorri was in a couple of centuries when
danish kings were trying to christianize (and strenghten their political control over) norway
and when the norwegians often objected to paying taxes or doing whatever the king wanted
and so by way of telling the history Snorri describes some of the religion of the people----among other things---and the means which the kings found
effective for suppressing it, and how various people reacted etc etc.

there is a lot of humor in the Heimskringla as well.

the norwegians still value and love this book

modern norwegian is not too different from norwegian of 1250 or so.
icelandic (the language of Snorri) is even more stable
I think there may be modern icelanders who can read Snorri in the original

has Entropy---who started this thread----permanently gone away, or is he/she still here? what a strange idea to want to rediscover ancestral feelings and imagery
it is best done through reading original literature I suppose
(but also one could try the writings of the unemployed trailer park trash idiot named White Feather to whom the earlier poster referred, one never knows)
 
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  • #8
Marcus,
I'm thinking he may have been banned.
 
  • #9
marcus
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BoulderHead said:
Marcus,
I'm thinking he may have been banned.

what a pity, well no doubt he deserved it
 
  • #10
marcus
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eNtRopY said:
I want to rediscover the religions of my ancient European ancestors and become a Pagan.
...

I just looked up Snorri and he was born in 1177
so the heimskringla that he wrote is even older than I said
at first

I gather from the sagas that a lot of people back then were skeptical of superstition and mythology of any sort-----they werent as credulous in circa 1200 as is sometimes made out. When Bue's son was about to have his head chopped off he cooly proposed an experiment, he didnt talk about Odin or somebody he said let's find this out. I forget the man's name.

And then there was the guy who got tired of having the priests on his ship and threw them overboard. It didnt matter what kind of priests he was just a practical man and they werent serving any purpose.

but maybe Entropy is looking for something to believe in

(when I look for roots I look for people who dont have a strong need to believe one thing or the other---dont have a psychological need to commit to this creed or that----and for people whose music is good)
 
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  • #11
Njorl
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Try finding translations of The Mabinogian, The Eddas, and The Kalavalla for a sampling of Celtic, Germanic and Finnish beliefs. I think there will be only distorted fragments of belief systems though. Like the equivalent of reading the Odessy to learn ancient Greek beliefs.

A source of ancient Roman beliefs might exist in the translations of Virgil and Ovid. Pliny (I forget if it was the elder or younger) was a prolific chronicler of minutia before Christianity tool hold.

Njorl
 
  • #12
marcus
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Njorl said:
Like the equivalent of reading the Odessy to learn ancient Greek beliefs.

those seem like reasonable suggestions and I would rather read the odyssey to find out what the listeners to homer believed
than read some 19th century scholar's reconstruction of their
'belief system'
because with the scholar he gets all the fun of reading the orig.
sources and he also slips in his own prejudices


in odyssey I find quite a bit of sophisticated amusement with the myths.
the gods are made funny
brought in for comic relief
like a puppet farce
in between serious human struggles and dramatic moments
not a lot of reverence

i think people have not gotten uniformly less credulous over the years

credulity and pietism comes and goes

American political leaders of the 18th C, theism, etc.

have you looked at Rod Merrill's new verse translation of the Odyssey
it is musical and uses the original metric form that homer used
(but with stress substituting for length)
 
  • #13
Nicomachus
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Paganism is hogwash why waste your time with it? And no paganism is not hedonism, there is actually much more to paganism then people in this thread are telling you but it is a waste of time to even consider it.
*Nico
 
  • #14
marcus
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Nicomachus said:
Paganism is hogwash why waste your time with it? And no paganism is not hedonism, there is actually much more to paganism then people in this thread are telling you but it is a waste of time to even consider it.
*Nico


you are in danger of throwing out the hog with the hogwash
because the Odyssey and the Heimskringla of Snorri are
very fine reading and full of good stories

however the book by White Feather the unemployed trailer trash idiot
that the earlier poster mentioned may indeed be hogwash and
you may have been reading that and got this unfavorable impression

also the Old Testament of the Bible has some pretty good stories
rather racy too in places

the past is the past
and people who lose a gut feel for it
are screwing up and also if they forget its stories
 
  • #15
Nicomachus
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marcus said:
you are in danger of throwing out the hog with the hogwash
because the Odyssey and the Heimskringla of Snorri are
very fine reading and full of good stories

however the book by White Feather the unemployed trailer trash idiot
that the earlier poster mentioned may indeed be hogwash and
you may have been reading that and got this unfavorable impression

also the Old Testament of the Bible has some pretty good stories
rather racy too in places

the past is the past
and people who lose a gut feel for it
are screwing up and also if they forget its stories

What? All I read was "blah blah blah." What is your point? I'm talking about paganism, not whatever you are babbling about or your erroneous broadly defined version of paganism. As well I am referring to this person who is discussing becoming a follower of these pagan ideologies. I mean really, "blah blah blah."
*Nico
 
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  • #16
Les Sleeth
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Nicomachus said:
What? All I read was "blah blah blah." What is your point? I'm talking about paganism, not whatever you are babbling about or your erroneous broadly defined version of paganism. As well I am referring to this person who is discussing becoming a follower of these pagan ideologies. I mean really, "blah blah blah."
*Nico

If you weren't so busy being rude you might have gotten his meaning.

History isn't just the list of events and dates they occurred. To really understand, it helps to get a feel for what people believed and looked to for inspiration, courage, wisdom, etc. Their religions and myths can be a great source of insight about the past, as well as the influences that shaped our present. One can find paganism interesting without being interested in being a pagan.

And if you don't agree with someone wishing to become a pagan, why don't you explain why it is hogwash. Any fool can go around labeling things hogwash.
 
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  • #17
Nicomachus
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Les, why are you giving me a lecture on history, this is a discussion of paganism. The person I responded to was giving me some unwarranted litany on history, as well as literature, and erroneously defining paganism. Now you are giving me some unnecessary history lesson, I don't see, does anyone want to stay on topic? The doctrines mentioned are hogwash because they are unjustified, irrational, and absurd. This thread is not a platform for you to discuss historical significance or the significance of history and stop insinuating that I am ignorant of the topic. However you feel about the Odyssey or whatever literary work has no relavence with respect to the validity of paganistic doctrines or neo-paganism. Before you jump on some kind of bandwagon to bash me you should evaluate your own positions first.
*Nico

-- I will say this though, with everyone wanting to give me a history lesson, despite having nothing to do with this thread, it looks as if you all you should just be quite and listen to Adam. I missed it the first time but he is the only one saying anything correct about paganism =) Cheers Adam.
*Nico
 
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  • #18
Les Sleeth
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Nicomachus said:
Les, why are you giving me a lecture on history, this is a discussion of paganism.

No lecture intended. Mine was a point of logic, which is that you are being rude.


Nicomachus said:
The person I responded to was giving me some unwarranted litany on history, as well as literature, and erroneously defining paganism. Now you are giving me some unnecessary history lesson, I don't see, does anyone want to stay on topic?

Make your case please. Show us how Marcus was defining paganism! He and Njorl broadened what was likely to be a deadend topic. No one else was worried about that. At Physics Forums, Marcus has many times proven himself to be a thoughtful, considerate man. In a few short posts you have only proven to be so enamoured with your own perspective you can't appreciate another point of view.


Nicomachus said:
This thread is not a platform for you to discuss historical significance or the significance of history and stop insinuating that I am ignorant of the topic.

Maybe when you are made a mentor you can monitor threads and autocratically determine what a thread platform is or is not to be. If no one else objects, then why should you be so outraged?


Nicomachus said:
The doctrines mentioned are hogwash because they are unjustified, irrational, and absurd

Do you realize you are in a forum where reason and evidence are most highly valued? What do you think we can take from an analysis that can give no insights, but instead falls back on mere slurs like "unjustified, irrational, and absurd." That tells us nothing. Make your case!


Nicomachus said:
. . . However you feel about the Odyssey or whatever literary work has no relavence with respect to the validity of paganistic doctrines or neo-paganism.

You remind me of a friend who will discount Steinbeck's entire body of work because he has found technical grammar violations.

To tell you the truth, I can't relate to myth. I like things expressed more concretely. But I do at least recognize that other personalities appreciate and benefit from perspectives that escape me. To me, that is respecting others. If I thought I were God, then maybe I would believe what is good for me should be the standard for all humanity.


Nicomachus said:
Before you jump on some kind of bandwagon to bash me you should evaluate your own positions first.

I have no bandwagon or bashing aspirations other than the bandwagon that bashes rude boys when they show up here apparently for no other reason than to boost their sagging ego by trying to make others look stupid.
 
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  • #19
Nicomachus
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Les, I don't know what your problem is. I apologize if I have been rude but you have done nothing but inflate a problem that doesn't even exist. You didn't understand the point of either response I made and yet you continue this attack on me. As far as how Marcus defined paganism he defined it as someone who does not follow a state religion and that Jews and Christians may be considered pagans which is poppycock. I let it go but you insist on bringing it up. The original poster said "I want to beome a pagan can someone give me tips" and I simply said "Why? It is a waste of time and it is hogwash," and I have you all jumping on me giving me literature and history lessons. I've been a member long before you so don't tell me how in a few short posts I have shown myself to be anything. It is entirely irrelavent. As well any academic knows that "unjustified, irrational, and absurd" are not slurs. I don't use the common vernacular or whatever it is you use so I think there may have been a misunderstanding and apologize. However it does not change the fact that paganism is absurd but if you would like a rigorous analysis of paganism and neo-paganism then I am sure I can oblige, but I do not think it is necesary.

As far as I reminding you of a friend of would "discount" Steinbeck, I fear you should reread my posts and the entire thread as well. I did not discount the Odyssey or other literary works, I discounted the relavence of the literary lessons in this thread. The implication that the act of my discounting the validity of "paganism" by extension discounts the significance, quality, etc of various literary works and the study of mythology as its own ends-is entirely proposterous. I think you misunderstood. You imply that one cannot enjoy a vampire novel or play without accepting the veracity of vampire mythology, nonsense.

I am very interested in mythology and religions and am probably more well versed in the details of various theistic ideologies than most on this forum. However I do not subscribe to them. Nevertheless, I have been hounded for doing nothing more than responding to the original poster and have been attacked for making implications which are even entirely irrelavent to the thread, so I have made no such implications. Anyway, stop insulting me with these personal attacks about ego and so forth, I have made no such ad hominem to you and I think it only shows that you suffer from what you accuse me of, if there were any truth to such accussation at all.
*Nico
 
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  • #20
Kerrie
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Adam said:
Paganism

Important note

There never was any single religion/mythology throughout Europe until christianity wiped the slate clean and took over. So any book claiming "this is the way the Celts/Pagans were" or some such is full of crap.

i have read that ancient christianity was the new religion integrated with paganism...holidays such as christmas and easter were decided on the time of year that they were to incorporate the new ways of the christians (winter solstice and the beginning of spring) along with pagan ways of life...it was a slow process that eventually gave the society of the times the impression that paganism was evil and christianity was the way, although chrisitanity bases many of its holidays right along with pagan ones...
 
  • #21
Les Sleeth
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Nicomachus said:
Les, I don't know what your problem is. I apologize if I have been rude but you have done nothing but inflate a problem that doesn't even exist. You didn't understand the point of either response I made and yet you continue this attack on me. As far as how Marcus defined paganism he defined it as someone who does not follow a state religion and that Jews and Christians may be considered pagans which is poppycock.

Why not just educate us? If Marcus is wrong, don't you think you might find the patience to forgive his lack of knowlegde and demonstrate to us that you know what you are talking about? Labeling ideas "unjustified, irrational, and absurd" doesn't help us understand anything. If you are so informed, please share what you know instead of blasting someone who questions your interpretations.


Nicomachus said:
The original poster said "I want to beome a pagan can someone give me tips" and I simply said "Why? It is a waste of time and it is hogwash," and I have you all jumping on me giving me literature and history lessons.

The attitude expressed above bugs me. It is the statement of someone who doesn't seem to respect another's individuality. Entropy might be attracted to hogwash, but out of respect for his right to be, you might show him/her some willingness to at least find out why he/she is interested.

I am not qualified to lecture you on the history of paganism or myth. But I recognize an inflated ego when I see one. I say, teach us and encourage learning otherwise you aren't helping.
 
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  • #22
Nicomachus
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Les, there you go picking and choosing what you will respond to. Obviously, I did not say marcus was unjustified, etc, I was discussing the doctrine of paganism/neo-paganism. As well, I did not attack Marcus' definition of paganism but his needless attack against me over something irrelavent. Obviously by definition one who is a Muslim, Christian, or Jew is not pagan, but it is irrelavent. All this started because I was needlessly and erroneously "blasted" for my original post. Never did I mention the Odyssey or any of that.

Les, I noticed you deleted that ad hominem attack you made against me, you even criticized me for congratulating Adam on a good post. That just shows me you just want to attack me and I think it is rather pathetic. I realize I may often come off as over bearing but you in similar fashion want to force me to fit some mold of a troll so you can further attack me. As far as "inflated ego" there you go with a continued ad hominem and irrelavent attack. I don't know why you think my ego is inflated other than the fact that I am not head-nodding with everyone. As well, with respect to being productive, this unnecessary ad hominem attack is far less productive than my original post to Entropy. I am simply responding to the unwarranted criticism and pedantic ad hominems, if you think it is not productive then don't attack me or I will continue to defend my assertions.
*Nico
 
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  • #23
Les Sleeth
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Nicomachus said:
What? All I read was "blah blah blah." What is your point? I'm talking about paganism, not whatever you are babbling about or your erroneous broadly defined version of paganism. As well I am referring to this person who is discussing becoming a follower of these pagan ideologies. I mean really, "blah blah blah."
*Nico

Can you read your quote above with objectivity? Saying "blah blah blah" is about as rude as one can get (not to mention "babbling"), and then you did the "blah blah blah" thing twice! Marcus did respond to you a bit confrontationally, but you started it by labeling entropy's interest in paganism as hogwash instead of explaining to him why his interest might not be well thought out.

You seem to be arguing that because your facts are correct, you are justified in being rude. But my criticism has nothing to do with your expertise, it is that you resorted to rudeness before anyone showed you they weren't going to listen to your alleged expertise.
 
  • #24
Nicomachus
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Well alright, I apologize. Now, hopefully we can continue with a more fruitful discussion and maybe Entropy will answer my query as to why he wants to indoctrinate himself into paganism.
*Nico
 
  • #25
Evo
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Sleeth- BRAVO!! Well said! All of it!

I would like this thread to continue the discussion started by marcus on referring to actual historical texts as opposed to "garbage".

marcus, thanks to you I have just started reading some of the Heimskringla. I was unaware of it before you mentioned it.
 
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  • #26
Kerrie
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certain posts have been edited/deleted. lets keep this topic about paganism and not he said/she said comments.
 
  • #27
marcus
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hi general philosophers, thanks to all for response, support and encouragement!

especially Les and Evo, and I confess to feeling very proud that
my mentioning Heimskringla led you to start reading in it

Ive started a Heimskringla thread for anyone to post pointers to good passages, there may even be an online version I dont know

my copy is the translation by Hollander, the book gets borrowed a lot
his style is modern plaintalk, not faux medieval


BTW I apologize if my vagueness gave occasion for dispute
I dont have a point to argue, so much as a kind of avuncular advice
to give people like Entropy


he indicated he wants to connect with euro roots

a lot of people do, they feel something's missing and they think that might help, and it can lead to them connecting with FAKE ROOTS
that somebody basically just made up and have some plausible resemblance to old stuff.

so my advice is be circumspect about it and go for original sources

so I was delighted by what Adam said about books reconstructing pre-christian euro beliefs and religious observances being written by an
"unemployed trailer park trash idiot" named White feather. And also what he said about reading Caesar and Tacitus. this resonated with me.
I wonder if Adam is still around.

also i have a hunch, which is neither scholarship nor philosophy, that the norwegians of Snorri's time were not all that much into the supernatural----and that the way into the european mind (or those minds) is not
really a religious way. Of course when you read sources you can find glaring examples of superstition. they stand out partly because they are so different from what is familiar to us. We have our superstitions and they had these bizarre different ones. But I find a lot of commonsense realism too.

however this is hardly material for a philosophical discussion, so i kind of have to withdraw from this one (until and if I have some idea which seems relevant to it), anyway thanks for the lively responses!
 
  • #28
jradoff
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It is quite possible to reconnect with one's ancestors without taking up their superstitions.

Read about their history, visit museums that display and discuss their artifacts, examine the literature and art that they created. These things will tell you more about who these people really were than practicing their rituals.

While you are at it, why not learn about some of the scientific teachings that these people developed? You might compare how technological developments modified their lives, and compare that to what their religion did for them. Or, you might investigate how their inquiries into superstitious beliefs in things such as astrology and alchemy gave rise to astronomy and chemistry, both of which produced the practical results that earlier pseudoscience did not.
 
  • #29
marcus
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jradoff said:
It is quite possible to reconnect with one's ancestors without taking up their superstitions.

Read about their history, visit museums that display and discuss their artifacts, examine the literature and art that they created...

I am in basic agreement
I also note that on archelogical evidence or the lack thereof, the
"history" in the Old Testament appears to be mostly phoney,
concocted during the Babylonian captivity. It helped to forge a national identity and validate religious laws and practices by giving them an imagined source in history.

Daniel Lazare's article says it ("False Testament" from harper's March 2002 and now a book)----Moses was made up, there is no concrete evidence of any kings David or Solomon like those described in the O.T., there is no evidence of a Joseph or a period of bondage in Egypt. The stories they made up are wonderful however----Lot's daughters, etc. great human interest stories superior to any novel I can think of or the national enquirer or any soap on TV. They are just flat-out excellent stories! So hats off to the guys in Babylonian Captivity times who concocted them.

when was that? 500 BC?
anyway after the babylonian invasion of 586?

Here's a link to lazare:
http://www.worldagesarchive.com/Reference_Links/False_Testament_(Harpers).htm [Broken]

of course the Noah bit was stolen from the Sumerians (Gilgamesh, itself a real great book)

So I would even say this: dont just read their history and look at the archeological record and the genuine artefacts------read their lies.
Read their lies too, their lies tell something about them.

Here's another link to Daniel Lazare's Harper's article:
http://articles.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1111/is_1822_304/ai_83553507

There is an odd contrast. the national book of norwegians is almost all factual----the material was so good that Snorri didnt need to embelish, and it was recent and the facts were widely known. so he couldnt have.

the national book of the israeli is almost all fabricated, written by people
who had been uprooted by invaders who took all the middle and upper class people, the literate, off to babylon (wishing to destroy the indigenous society) and so the uprooted SYNTHESIZED a nation, made up myths and tradtitions and laws and ritual observances. what a great creation!

with reasons why for everything, this is why we do this, because so and so did that and when Moses led us out of Egypt, so we eat this kind of bread
and have salt water on the parsely.

this was a class act. it sets a very high standard for cultural invention

there is no question in my mind but that the O.T. is better reading than
the Iliad and Odyssey and the Song of Songs is at least as good as Sappho
(which is all fragments anyway).

I would compare the O.T. with the Heimskringla (and the rest of the body of factual norse sagas) and say that O.T. has all the trump cards except truth.
people who insist on it having truth too are just being greedy
 
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  • #30
Gokul43201
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Kerrie said:
i have read that ancient christianity was the new religion integrated with paganism...holidays such as christmas and easter were decided on the time of year that they were to incorporate the new ways of the christians (winter solstice and the beginning of spring) along with pagan ways of life...it was a slow process that eventually gave the society of the times the impression that paganism was evil and christianity was the way, although chrisitanity bases many of its holidays right along with pagan ones...

Yes, I believe that is correct. But I also feel it was a populist move, to rope the masses into Christianity by offering a compromise. Thanksgiving has strongly pagan roots.
 
  • #31
marcus
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Gokul43201 said:
Yes, I believe that is correct. But I also feel it was a populist move, to rope the masses into Christianity by offering a compromise. Thanksgiving has strongly pagan roots.

the harvest!
and the spring stuff too

all those seasonal feasts

and now it is the pagan content of conventional church religion
which is the most fun part
most connected to nature and the cycles of the seasons
and family and friends and the human life cycle
mating reproduction birth death

all the ritual and festive response to these things were probably
made up pre-christian and just assimilated by christians (who were
originally just a split off sect of Judaism and didnt even allow
non-Jews to join)

some of the theology may be original but all the
fun stuff in christian practice is stolen
 
  • #32
Gokul43201
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This probably belongs in the book review section, but I'm posting it here, because of its relevance to this thread, and because there are more likely to be knowledgeable folks looking here. So here goes...

What do you think about The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown ? Is it fairly accurate in its description of pagan history and rituals ...and the influence and evolution of the Church ?
 
  • #33
marcus
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Gokul43201 said:
This probably belongs in the book review section, but I'm posting it here, because of its relevance to this thread, and because there are more likely to be knowledgeable folks looking here. So here goes...

What do you think about The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown ? Is it fairly accurate in its description of pagan history and rituals ...and the influence and evolution of the Church ?

I will copy this at the end of this post too because I dont want people who have read Davinci Code to miss a chance to respond. How we see prechristian mentality and practice is (or seems to me anyway) important just now.

I just wanted to interject something else:

prechristian or pagan people are so important to Dante---the roman poet Virgil leads him thru more than half of his space odyssey----and he has a special nice place for Virtuous Pagans----he is trying to sort the whole thing out. And the strongest non-Christian voice in the whole three books of the D.C. is that of Ulysses-----and listen: it is an empiricist voice calling on his fellow voyagers to experience the sphericalness of the world by sailing around the world.

Ulysses, in the greatest speech in the Inferno---recalls how he asked his comrades to sail around the world with him. dante was born in 1265. no one had done this. it is a very european idea to do it

In his speech he does not mention any god or gods, nothing supernatural enters. He says look we have a limited time in which to experience the world with our senses, let's not deny this experience of what the other side of the ball is like

Dante was very interested in the physcial lay out of things (as were greeks before and Kepler and those who followed) and the fact that it was a bunch of concentric spheres and there was an antipodal point to Rome was important to him. Ulysses is the non-christian empirical voice that speaks to the sphericalness of the universe----maybe Ulysses (instead of the devil) is the antipode of Dante's divinity. In any case he is Dante's prime Pagan

and Ulysses' speech from the Inferno:

"frati," dissi, "chi per cento miglia
perigli siete giunti al occidente,
a questa tanto picciola vigilia

dei nostri sensi ch'e del rimanente
non volete negar l'esperienza
di retro al sol, del mondo senza gente

considerate le vostre semenza
fatti non foste a viver come brutti
ma per sequir virtute e conoscenza."

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

[literal transl.:
brothers, I said, who through a myriad
dangers have reached the west,
in this so brief waking time

remaining to our senses
you don't want to deny experience
of the sun's path and the unpeopled world

consider your breeding/what engendered you
you were not made to live as brutes
but to follow virtue and knowledge]


whatever mistakes of spelling (which in the case of
the Dante would probably be quite a few) and
punctuation are because the italian is copied from memory
when Kennedy gave that speech "We choose to go to the moon"
it was like that
certain kinds of fundamentalism are, I think, a desecration of the universe
and a sacrilege to evolving nature and a crude insult to every one
of her 13.7 billion years
those who deny the understanding of nature that humans have achieved do, in my estimation, pee on the altar of natural law
but Dante was not one of those: he could hear the voice of Ulysses
calling to his comrades at the Gates of Hecules and saying let's test the model empirically, if it really is a ball let's sail around it

What do you think about The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown ? Is it fairly accurate in its description of pagan history and rituals ...and the influence and evolution of the Church ?
 
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  • #34
Njorl
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Kerrie said:
i have read that ancient christianity was the new religion integrated with paganism...holidays such as christmas and easter were decided on the time of year that they were to incorporate the new ways of the christians (winter solstice and the beginning of spring) along with pagan ways of life...it was a slow process that eventually gave the society of the times the impression that paganism was evil and christianity was the way, although chrisitanity bases many of its holidays right along with pagan ones...
Ya' know, I was in my 30s before I realized that the eggs and rabbits we associate with Easter are taken from pagan fertility festivals. Hmmm, eggs rabbits, springtime ... how'd I miss that!

I learned recently that painting eggs for a springtime holiday is a Zoroastrian tradition dating back about 2500 years.

The date of Easter is pretty well set by its reference to passover, which I'm sure was not alterred to fit into pagan schemes, but the date of Christmas was set to the traditional feastday of Mithra. It's not a big deal. Until recently, Christmas was not considered one of the most important holy days, it was down the list from Easter, Good Friaday, Ash Wednesday, pentecost, Ascenension, Assumption and probably a few others.

Njorl
 
  • #35
Prometheus
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marcus said:
some of the theology may be original but all the
fun stuff in christian practice is stolen


Stolen is a very strong word that is highly loaded.

Religion has been evoving for millennia. The ancient Greek religion of the Olympians evolved out of the religion of the Titans, etc.

Christianity did not appear in a vacuum. It evolved out of earlier religions. To say that it stole from them is like saying that you stole from your teachers, as you incorporate the ideas that they exposed you to.
 

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