Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Pagan Secret

I feel something needs to be addressed. There is a secret that the modern pagan movement doesn't want you to know. This secret is so dangerous that it would utterly change what it means to be neo-pagan. While simple enough the secret is angrily and hastily defended, mutated, added to, and only spoken about in hushed voices by others in the know. The secret?

Pikachu isn't real. Nor are Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, hobbits, Gandalf, or Merlin (or his lost book, currently available for purchase for $12.71 at Amazon.com).

What in the hell am I talking about? Well, it has been bothering me for a long time that pagans have this idea that nearly anything you can conceive of as being a pseudo-religious experience, is real and irrefutable as long as the person claims they believe it happened. People say "If it works for you, go for it." Neo-paganism is a buffet religion. We know this, but we are so willing to allow people to claim the title pagan, with little to no study, and then go off and say things about their White-lighter or that the guided meditation cd they bought at barnes and noble helped them visit Merlin and gain the knowledge of the universe...but they weren't allowed to remember any of it.

I'm talking about the New Age, fantastical world in which every animal, rock, dragon, Otherkin, and anything else JRR Tolkien could come up with lives on some astral plane and they've all got super magical secrets to tell you and treasures to share. It's bullshit, and it's time we called people on it.

There was an excellent podshow called deo's shadow that had an excellent episode about calling bullshit and how we're all afraid to do it. This is supposed to be an umbrella religion where you can believe what you want and have your own spiritual journey to whatever god, gods, goddess, or non-deity you want, right? Well, if that's true doesn't the meaning of neo-pagan get watered down? Isn't it quite impossible to begin establishing some credible history?

Furthermore, what does it teach our children? I've heard some well-respected and otherwise thought-provoking podcasters say they have a Santa Claus altar, and in a previous episode one caster channeled Santa Claus. And he was serious. He taught his children that a spirit named Santa Claus was real and that you could contact him. Santa was even a part of his spiritual practice. The argument can be made that there are similarities between his most modern myths, and they oldest myths of Odin. However, if you're wanting to worship the Norse Father God Odin, then do that, not an amalgamation of holiday myths, children's stories, and 19th century cartoons. If you read meditation 101 books, they'll take you through these guided meditations where you end up learning some secret or gaining some tool that supposedly stays with you forever, but it's invisible in everyday life except to you. Do we even know how off the deep end some of us are getting, because nobody will call bullshit?

We've knocked down the myths created and spread by Margaret Murray and Gerald Gardner. History refutes the idea of ancient Wiccan witch-cults. Can't we use the same sanity and level-headedness to address this invasion of New Age pseudo-spirituality into our religion that actually has a lot of legs to stand on as it is? One of the main criticisms of the religion is that it's a place for people to go when they want to escape reality, to believe in a world of fantasy and myth. If you want that, please delineate your religion from a delicious fantasy novel, such as the ubiquitous Harry Potter. (who is also not real...sorry) Because, otherwise, you're proving the criticism true.

If we teach our children that everything is real on some plane of existence, we're setting them up for failure, disappointment, or ridicule in their lives. I understand that reality isn't fun sometimes, but it's what we've got. We need to live in it. There is a difference between New Age universal spirituality and neo-paganism, and we need to start coming back on this side of the pool before what little strength and legitimacy we have is lost forever because we were too scared to question one another. There's enough gorgeous, legitimate, provable, historically parallel practice already abounding. Must we muddy it up with these flights of fancy, because we're afraid to call out the bullshit? Well, neo-pagans... Something stinks, and I'm saying so.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

10 comments:

  1. I call bullshit. You are talking like some recovered fundamentalist Christian. Pagan is a broad category and can include virtually any religious practice given certain criteria such as being earth centered. This can include Animism, Shamanism, Reconstructionism, or just making it up. In your post you have managed to denegrate half the religions on this earth. THE major difference between pagan spirituality and Abrahamic spirituality is that for pagans, from at least the time of Socrates, there is no right religion and no one path. For Abrahamic religions, which are revealed religions, there is only one way and it is their way. It doesn't matter that they cannot agree on what that way is. Paganism is not Christianity and is not practiced as such. If a pagan wants to call their god Pekachu, that is their business. You talking like a biggoted Christian fundamentalist is not helpful or rational. There is no one pagan religion, no pagan bible or pagan prophet. What you are asking people to conform to is not paganism.

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  2. Thanks, Mike, for your well thought out response to this blog. It's brought about a lot of very interesting conversation in the pagan blogosphere and podioverse.

    I thought about what you said and created a new blog in the hope of properly formulating a response to your comment entitled "Pagan(ism), definition of."

    Love and Lyte,

    Fire Lyte

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  3. Of coarse Paganism is bullshit, at least the supernatural aspects of it. There is no need to worship anything, and the gods of paganism, are really, just different aspects of nature, which does not need worship. The only thing good about paganism, is the fact, that it has no set into stone dogma, like most religions. If a person really wants enlightenment or a New age style,religion, I would go with Buddhism.At least Buddhism, gives a guide to how you should live, and the New Age/Paganism, are self-centered,narcissistic, god complex religions, in the general scheme. The New Age, says you are God, or you can become God,which will in the future, will lead to wars, over what people, have "evolved" more into Godhood, then others.

    Philosophy is a better guide then, religion,because it focuses on truth, and not emotional claims, like religion.Science is the best tool, to determine what is real, and what can happen.

    Paganism, and New Age, will make people delusional, and they will think an acid trip, is really a voyage into the Supernatural, when in reality, it is you're hallucinating.These religions, also, say that the sub conscious mind is the inner Godhood, when in reality its not.This delusional thinking, will lead a person, into hours wasted studying ancient myths, and they will miss out on what is already valid, Science, and Philosophy.Many times, they will say that the "Scientist" are not enlightened, so they can not understand the 6th sense, like a do, which is bullshit, and the scientist, apply logic and reason to see that things like ESP, and Psychics, have no been proven,but they are open to the idea, when enough evidence is provide, unlike the New Ager, which is almost like the older religions, where they accept something, just because their holy book says so.

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  4. So many overly judgemental (critical) imbeciles.

    You want to talk "reality"? Go to an atheists and share these complaints! They'll laugh at how ridiculous it is that you're defending ONE human perspective (which cannot serve for all; what is this, Jesus all over again?) when in fact, none of it has absolutely nothing to do with THEIR "reality."

    Now, the reason why I bring up atheism, is because they have rational and unbiased thinking that can truly put you into place in regards to your bigoted reactions.

    Christians have the same views as has been stated above, Muslims, Jews, etc.. and they feel they have a RIGHT to get angry...

    What makes you so different?

    All religion started off as a mere idea. You cannot prove physical substance (lest it be accepted in atheism intellectual battle). So stop criticizing others and leave them be.

    Did the guy who channeled Santa feel happy?! If so, good! He did well. He's on the flow.

    The Jesus concept was "birthed" into imagination 2,000 years ago. I guess it can't be given life cause it's "just a belief, not a fact"? ... what?!

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  5. I can see how there are so many people upset with the comments made in this post, and I understand myself that this was kind of the point of the post. I am a new pagan (I say new, but I have been waffling for years) and I think that part of the problem with starting, at least for me, is the real lack of consistency from one book or person to another. Am I saying that we all need to believe in the same pantheon, or do things exactly the same way? By no means! However, I am saying that there are things that most of us do, such as perform certain rituals and celebrate sabbats and esbats, that really needs to be focused on. Do I think we need an all pervading, over-blown, dictatorial text, like the Bible, Talmud, or Qu'ran? Definitely not, but there need to be more texts that introduce beginners like myself to the things we have in common before hitting the reader with the "do what you want" part. I will admit, and it may be apparent in my rambling, I am somewhat torn on this issue. Part of me definitely understands wanting to clean out the things that I consider garbage spirituality (such as the Pikachu and Santa Claus references made in this post), but I also understand how important it can be not to have a dictatorial ruler telling you what to believe and what not to believe. All in all, we need to be more open to listening to one another and trying to have a discussion to better understand before we "throw out the baby with the bath water" on this issue.

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  6. You GO, FireLyte! You call BS! I'm so thrilled to see that someone else has noticed the incursion of New Agey stuff into paganism and who sees how alien it is TO paganism and how it absolutely crushes credibility (although I'm sure you know there are people out there who think "to hell with credibility - I don't give a shit what anyone else thinks, I'm going to do my own thing anyway.")

    Lilith Black Dragon

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  7. The main bullshit in modern Paganism are its claims to be pagan at all. Most of these religions they want to imitate were pre-literate, and converted or wiped out to boot. There just isn't a damn thing left of Germanic paganism except a few stories written down by Christian monks. These 'Odin' worshippers in Asatru may as well be worshipping Pikachu, because they just made him and his rituals up. This desire for fake-antiquity extends back to antiquity, with the Palestinians claiming their 5th century Zoroastrianism knock-off was actually older than Babylon up to the present day Protestants trying to convince us that the early church was Calvinist.

    The only Pagan religions we have much extant archeological or written knowledge of would be the Mystery and Gnostic cults, which are promptly ignored by these WiccanFags because they're too intellectually demanding for their pin-heads. 'Paganism' is just a polytheistic version of the typical pew-potato's faith, "Whatever my parents believe, is true" but inverted.

    The Satanists are at least aware of it (and they make about a million times more sense than the Earth Faeries).

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  8. I'm calling bullshit on all this for one simple reason to start. The so called roots claimed by all these fictions and bad history never called themselves Pagans or Druids or Heathens, or Wiccans, or Occultists, or Gnostics, etc, etc. etc. For a matter of a Fact, nearly all your sources of information especially in Western European countries have 99% of their bad information from Medieval Catholic material and modern spin doctors that fudged their credentials and why all of academia is saturated with Greek and Latin and only included Sanskrit as a result of the Aryan myth rolled into Atlantis UFO bunk or any of the other crap I see all over here is frankly the same thing. Get over it. You all complain of NEW AGISM. Your idiots. Every damn thing of these identities is shit deep on the same Medieval to last early Century Occult crap which in reality is like the sewer of abandoned philosophy and bad information comparable to a parasitic infection of the brain. Jesus is a remake of Buddha mixed in with the Solar cult ideas of Constantine who considered himself the incarnation of Helios, Apollo, Mithra, etc. a dash of Pythagorean Trinity ideas (Aeon as Kronus, the Father, Rhea the mother, and Iesous/Son Zeus the Demi urge, thus changed to Aeon Deus, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Its a Super Cult Religion of Empire. You call yourselves pagans and reject Catholicism. Yet it is literally the Most pagan religion even by fact and default that Pagan is Greek/Latin. get over the fact that Freemasons as the nerve center of all the other modern Alternative movements such as they "were" started off as Catholic also as a Builder's guild of all them cathedrals, colleges, universities, schools, etc..

    And if Atheists are so superior how come none of them can acknowledge that Einstein said he was Not and Atheist or a Pantheist and it made him angry those that claim he supports such views in several examples and actual quotes repeatedly or the fact Darwin simply counted himself an Agnostic? if such Atheists are so confident why must they misquote things if they are "more rational." As Tesla put it,The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.” Aristotle; "The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.Evelyn Beatrice Hall (many atheists get this one wrong and think Voltaire said:)"I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. Siddhartha Gautama; You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. Thomas Paine; From the errors of other nations, let us learn wisdom,Martin Luther King Jr.“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

    You claim Atheists are more educated and smarter people. Atheism as an identity is among the most Irrational things there is. You all sit around and bitch and moan about what you do not believe in. Why not just grow up already and use a proper term of non-theist and talk about what you do. You all act like your part of some alcoholics anonymous group. None of your claims are based in fact and thus I call you on the Bullshit. None of your movements are based on any deep education beyond your own little bubbles and take impersonal facts as personal attacks. You call Paganism a family tree of religions? HA!!! its more like a Shrub that ran over itself with a Tank from the beginning (1920's NEW AGE).

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  9. correct me if im wrong but you guys are mainly saying that its not paganisum its self that is bull shit but the fact that people are taking it and adding on weird shit like "i can channel santa!" or "im a god!" and things of that sort?

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  10. The issue is that individuals feel they have the right/ability to interpret all their experiences as valid. Remember that in traditional society, personal experiences would be interpreted through the lens on the norms and traditions of that society. The shaman was a specialist whose role was to access the spirit world and interpret what he experienced within the context of the needs of his community. Now, everyone is a shaman and this is why there is a proliferation of the idea that all experiences and feelings are valid. This is why real shamans never charge money: real shamans are servants of their communities, not individuals.

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