PDA

View Full Version : A Vision for Pagan Future


breath
01-05-2011, 08:21 AM
Hi All

The Pagan forums seem to be dead and I guess this is relevant here too, so I've decided to post here.

Knowing quite a lot about pantheist history in europe, the nordlands, india, and around the ancient world I naturally often disagreed with some of the modernisations made by pagans in the modern day. This changed recently when I felt my third rush of Asatru based love and direct relationships with the gods started. This was incredibly surprising to me because I've been quite an out and out 'atheist spirituality' type and felt any other spirituality that doesn't take the absolute most scientific view is pointless.

Then of course, like the rest of the pagans in the world (i'm guessing) I got to feel the feeling of connecting with one of the gods and suddenly knowing what I was supposed to live for as a human animal. So I started wondering how I was supposed to follow this, I know I want to - I really desire to do earthy rituals and mud myself in with the animals of this earth.

I've learnt to see a distinction between heavenly beliefs and earthly beliefs. Earthly beliefs give you a direction as a creature of earth, and heavenly beliefs give you direction for the greater multiple-life cause. So in a sense, I feel that my new pagan branch is good for my current incarnation where as my taoist-to-buddhist comprehension is my over all perception of all existence.

So... I've started constructing a belief system based on my experiences as a liberal buddhist, a taoist and with my historical knowledge on paganism - it's really started to come together in my head. Already I've got a term which means 'awake and calm' which is Vaka Viss which sounds lovely doesn't it? lol. It's old norse and literally means calm-awake. As an achievable human state which is conductive of spiritual understanding, magic and general happiness. I've experienced meditation with the aid of an understanding of the norse pantheon of old. Are you VakaViss today? :P lol

Anyway, where the vision starts. I had almost 20 dreams last night, each of them were incredibly earthy and mind changing -starting at 8 I meditated until about 9 then let myself sleep. I saw a woman dancing with the sun disc on her belly, and knew I would love to see this again in modern paganism. I also could see people arguing about earthly matters but from an above perspective asif what they would decide could effect life here, but also like earth was only one of many of the heaven's 'territories'. In another of the dreams I could see a pagan religion which wasn't based on anything celestial but instead only viewed earthly balance as it's fundamental feature.

It absorbed taoist understanding of energy as well as keeping it's own terminology. Yin and Yang were both accepted (conceptually) as a precursor to the universe, as even in Pagan stories of the old times leave out a space before the goddess came to be... I can't remember most of the dreams anymore, as usual they start leaking from my head the minute I wake up and I woke up a good few times during the night (which actually started at around 8! and has finished at 8 again). But I do have a sensation and a desire to create something that fits with this sensation.

I don't believe I'm a divine person more than anyone else, but I do believe I have full permission from all greater forces to express my new beliefs, but that it isn't essential to anyone but might be able to help to understand the balance we should share with earth in our own way. I don't wish to convert anyone to a new way, or even to convince anyone my way is right. For me this isn't about having the right way, it's just about more knowledge and more understanding and frankly having fun on this planet for the short time we're here.

I think it's good to have as many sources as possible from where we can take a comprehension of our place in relation to our environment in a spiritual perspective. Many people have done this before and they're still relevant in my eyes. I'm not trying to get across some kind of knowledge I have, but I feel more like a photographer who's wandered by an amazing beautiful image and wants to take a record of it. The view isn't then the photographer's, it doesn't belong to him and didn't come from him, it was already there waiting to be seen. Anyone else could see it I guess but not in this unique exact way, which I feel is really worth getting out there incase there is another person like me who might have been feeling spiritually aware, spiritually knowledgeable, skillful at his practice yet starting to feel something needs to be placed somewhere.

So what I'm guessing is that I'm going to start writing a book and then I'll try to release it. I'll also categorize and label my concepts and that's about it, I can talk about it easily as I already know everything about it in my heart. So there we go.

I'd love to hear what you all think about this idea.

Friğr Vilja

norseman
01-05-2011, 12:44 PM
"The Pagan forums seem to be dead" ?

Depends on where you have been looking. But, as a general comment, the forums as such have had their day to a large degree.
The pagan cosmology has always been based on three Realms of Being - Underworld, Middle Earth , and the Heavens. Heaven is presented as an aspiration [home of the gods] . I feel the most hopeful sign in modern paganism is development with the times, rather than harking back to origins. Paganism is a very broad church and encloses many points of view but, today, they are mostly Earth-accented - a new High Green faith if you wish.
I follow a goddess faith and that goddess is Mother Earth. My path is that of the Wise or Cunning Folk but in a modern world setting, using the Craft for different ends. The ancient Wise/Cunning folk were animists, invoking local spirits to achieve their aims and their practices were to serve a pastoral society. This is still the case but now, instead of offering beneficial "spells" for your oxen, it will be for your tractor.
My point is that to be pagan is to be pragmatic - no fixed dogma, no fixed rituals but rather an individualistic life style and path.

breath
01-05-2011, 01:45 PM
"The Pagan forums seem to be dead" ?

Depends on where you have been looking. But, as a general comment, the forums as such have had their day to a large degree.
The pagan cosmology has always been based on three Realms of Being - Underworld, Middle Earth , and the Heavens. Heaven is presented as an aspiration [home of the gods] . I feel the most hopeful sign in modern paganism is development with the times, rather than harking back to origins. Paganism is a very broad church and encloses many points of view but, today, they are mostly Earth-accented - a new High Green faith if you wish.
I follow a goddess faith and that goddess is Mother Earth. My path is that of the Wise or Cunning Folk but in a modern world setting, using the Craft for different ends. The ancient Wise/Cunning folk were animists, invoking local spirits to achieve their aims and their practices were to serve a pastoral society. This is still the case but now, instead of offering beneficial "spells" for your oxen, it will be for your tractor.
My point is that to be pagan is to be pragmatic - no fixed dogma, no fixed rituals but rather an individualistic life style and path.

I agree with all that you said, but there was much more to many of the pagan societies. They had daily accessible metaphors which lead to cultural understanding of themes. Mimir, one of odin's ravens could travel at the speed of light to any destination he had once been. Mimir meaning memory, has just automatically give us the concept and idea that our memories are accessable at any time, it also tells us that our memory can be lost, and just completely rains on us with metaphorical understanding. Today we can say the word 'memory' but we have no story of memory, we have no sentimental value for the term memory, many of the words we use today have this noisyness and meaninglessness to them, they don't indicate what they are just the title of a thing that isn't very well defined.

So if I want to give thanks to my memory, I can sit there chatting to myself or we can all come out to have a party and celebrate the flight of our memories, the ability to look back at things that have passed and enjoy them. It's not even necessary. Not all pagan tradition was just about agriculture - I mean a lot of paganism has been found in cultures who didn't use agriculture and instead lived as shaman.

But anyway, the reason I chose the old norse paganism and why I feel it's what I'm looking for as a mortal is because of it's high scientific level of understanding. You may be familliar with the realities behind the stories in norse mythology or you may not be, but from what I've seen it's absolutely brilliant. This image though of a pagan being a person who does magic to help oxen or tractors is a little minimalist of an explaination of an entire race of people.

I think the word pagan can create a big illusion that most pagan paths are similar, when really they're not. I can barely see a connection between Siğr and Kemeticism, or Roman Paganism. So it's hard to say 'this is what pagans were'... Really, they were anyone that christians met during the ages in which they called other religious folk Pagans. But earth worshippers are similar I guess. So I wouldn't necessarily call Siğr an earth worshipping religion but rather an extensive orbital view of earth, with explainations and stories for almost everything on earth.

My love for this kind of paganism comes from realising that as much meditation as I do, I lack in one area of my psychology and that is as an animal of this planet, a 'tough' tree climber, swimmer, runner, sexual creature and dancer. as a mortal. Everything you can learn in buddhism and taoism is almost celestial knowledges that you can only REALLY follow if you're a complete buddhist or taoist. You can only go so far unless you start living the full life as either one, but I feel asif for this life at least, I want to choose the animal of a human's life, I want to keep my girlfriend and help her raise kids, grow plants, understand the seasons that can kill me and make me stronger, learn about the trees and what they specifically can do for me and work to sustain my species in a balanced and beautiful way without ugly mechanisms which don't respect the other species of this planet, of which we would fail as a human race to lose or destroy.

I feel the animal side of us is a little repressed, our sexualities are turned into rebellious and naughty side lives, our desire to compete is somehow thwarted by our fear of failure and our spontaniety and eratic fun loving behaviour is tamed so that we must always stand up straight and must never shout out like dogs in the street. So, I support those restrains in day to day life to make things easier, but I'd like some more spirituality to flow into these areas of life.

Tell me about your religion, I love to hear about them.

Sorry it was so long. XD

Thanks for reading if you did.

norseman
01-05-2011, 03:12 PM
"Not all pagan tradition was just about agriculture - I mean a lot of paganism has been found in cultures who didn't use agriculture and instead lived as shaman."

The origins of many pagan cultures was in the old hunter-gatherer tribes on the dry North Sea plain before the melting of the ice sheet and they definitely had shaman [votive objects dredged off the present sea floor]. These tribes came to Britain when it was a truly wild place around 6000 BC and began to clear the forest for agricultural purposes. The tribes had their shaman - generally a Cunning Man who was a generalist, advising on best time to plant and harvest, caring for the male breeding stock [bull, stallion, ram, boar]. He also invoked local spirits to ensure a successful hunt/harvest. Often partnered by the Wise Woman - medicine woman, midwife, invoked the Great Mother Goddess. Tribal societies purely pastoral but also expert builders in stone [Stonehenge for example]. In the millenia that followed, right up to present day, this model survived. Rural communities with their supporting "shaman", even through the Witch Hunting times.
One thing worthy of note concerns the druids - they were not originally Celts but were taught celtic culture and mysteries by the Welsh Wise/Cunning Folk. One piece of research I found claimed that the original druids were buddhist missionaries sent by the Indian king, Ashok [ there is a sort-of connection to the Tuatha too].

Not sure that I follow a religion, it's more a path, a way of life although I have had moments of epiphany during meditation in rural settings.

this link is the detail
http://www.spiritualforums.com/vb/showthread.php?t=4753 (http://www.spiritualforums.com/vb/redir.php?link=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spiritualforums.co m%2Fvb%2Fshowthread.php%3Ft%3D4753)

Animus27
01-05-2011, 05:20 PM
Good posts, guys!

The whole word paganism is a tricky word for everyday usage because it's so horrifically broad and non-specific. For example, both Asatru and Kemetic Orthodoxy can be called pagan religions, but it would be wrong to say that all pagan religions have an earth goddess - in Kemetic religion the earth is male!

That is one of the biggest problems in talking about paganism because there is no paganism. There's only pagan religions. This is a rather large stumbling block with many people, pagan and non-pagan because it creates a lot of confusion - since there is no over-arching belief system. Even the "hallmarks" of a pagan religion can easily be argued as being incorrect, simply because of the diverse peoples and beliefs that fall under the grouping.

With that aside (which wasn't aimed at either of you lol), one of the strengths of many older, non-eastern/non-Abrahamic religions is that many of them, usually, have a mindset of embracing the world and learning your place in it, whether through good action or adoration of the gods and what have you. Rather than an attempt to escape the world and reach Heaven or Nirvana (which is an over-simplification. But it gets the point across).

I think that learning about the pagan religions has a lot to offer quite a few people, whether to help them understand their own religion and how it contrasts others, or as an answer to the ancestral call back to the ways of old.


~end ranty thing Animus27 wrote up and is unsure of what he is talking about.

Animus27
01-05-2011, 05:24 PM
Mimir, one of odin's ravens could travel at the speed of light to any destination he had once been. Mimir meaning memory, has just automatically give us the concept and idea that our memories are accessable at any time, it also tells us that our memory can be lost, and just completely rains on us with metaphorical understanding. Today we can say the word 'memory' but we have no story of memory, we have no sentimental value for the term memory, many of the words we use today have this noisyness and meaninglessness to them, they don't indicate what they are just the title of a thing that isn't very well defined.

I think you're confusing Mimir with Munin. Mimir is the Jotun who guarded the Well of Mimir in Jotunheim. And he was later traded as a hostage with Hoenir after the Aesir/Vanir war. And after Hoenir couldn't make a decision without consulting Mimir the Vanir grew suspicious that they had been cheated and given an oaf for a hostage, so they beheaded Mimir and sent the head back to the Aesir. And Odin preserved Mimir's head with his magic so he can ask counsel of him whenever he wishes.
Munin is the raven along with Hugin. :D

norseman
01-05-2011, 06:02 PM
"learning about the pagan religions has a lot to offer"

It is my stance that there never were pagan "religions", more life styles with a simple faith structure. No pantheons like Asatru. Likewise with Kermetic Orthodoxy, a fully fledged pantheon and ritual, dating from 1988. One thing that does place pagan creeds apart is the lack of formal rituals and priesthoods. The relationship between god and follower is personal.
Asatru is a revival dating to about 1970 and is classed as Norse Heathenism. It fits generally into German neopaganism. So, I come back to the statement that the pagan creeds are Earth-centred and goddess faiths, and unique to individuals as I said earlier.
So, really the vision for the pagan future is a slow evolution as in the past, individualistic and ideosyncratic.

Animus27
01-05-2011, 06:23 PM
"learning about the pagan religions has a lot to offer"

It is my stance that there never were pagan "religions", more life styles with a simple faith structure. No pantheons like Asatru. Likewise with Kermetic Orthodoxy, a fully fledged pantheon and ritual, dating from 1988. One thing that does place pagan creeds apart is the lack of formal rituals and priesthoods. The relationship between god and follower is personal.
Asatru is a revival dating to about 1970 and is classed as Norse Heathenism. It fits generally into German neopaganism. So, I come back to the statement that the pagan creeds are Earth-centred and goddess faiths, and unique to individuals as I said earlier.
Aye, I agree. Religion itself is a more modern context influenced by Christianity. But using the word religion is neigh unavoidable in most conversations.


No pantheons like Asatru. Likewise with Kermetic Orthodoxy, a fully fledged pantheon and ritual, dating from 1988.
I was using these as examples of modern 'pagan' faiths. It is true very few older religions had a closed pantheon, but to imply there was none at all, is reductionism. Considering many of the cultures had a rather consistent set of deities, albeit varied with time and place.



The relationship between god and follower is personal.
Asatru is a revival dating to about 1970 and is classed as Norse Heathenism. It fits generally into German neopaganism. So, I come back to the statement that the pagan creeds are Earth-centred and goddess faiths, and unique to individuals as I said earlier.
I disagree. The whole earth-centered goddess faith idea, is a more modern neo-pagan idea that ignores vast amounts of history and is more focused on modern "green" movements and complementary religious practices. And looking back at most 'pagan' religions, they tend to be very collective in terms of practice. The individual's personal connection with the gods had little bearing on the religion as a whole. It was more important to engage in feasts, sacrifice and observances with the community, rather than a individual, more mystic path. Which did exist in many cultures, but it's weight upon the people at large was more negligible.

norseman
01-05-2011, 06:49 PM
That is my point. The pagan creeds are STILL evolving in a modern context. Any faith, like language, that does not evolve is "dead". This is the reason why the British pagan creeds have survived since pre-christian times. The path I follow was followed by the people who built Stonehenge in a different form. You learn from history, you are not limited by it.

Animus27
02-05-2011, 04:07 AM
That is my point. The pagan creeds are STILL evolving in a modern context. Any faith, like language, that does not evolve is "dead". This is the reason why the British pagan creeds have survived since pre-christian times. The path I follow was followed by the people who built Stonehenge in a different form. You learn from history, you are not limited by it.
I agree.
Religions evolve and change, just as everything does. But due to the nature of the neo-pagan movement, which is characterized by a desire or goal of renewing or returning to many pre-Christian and Islamic faiths, which tend to be heavily fragmented in some respects. As a result it's easy for ludicrous or bad information to leak into the paradigms of modern pagans. Which is why people should have a good grounded in the history of their beliefs and practices, otherwise you have the select groups of Wiccans who claim to be the inheritors of a pre-Christian, 50,000 year old Great Mother Goddess religion.

EDIT: hit enter before I really finished lol.

I think it's important to have a good pool of knowledge when reviving the pre-Christian religions, otherwise you have one that has more in common with post-Christian New Agery, rather than what ancestral people actually practiced. Even just to understand their conceptions and attitudes, to part ways with them in certain forks (i.e Celtic polytheists can't go a-head-huntin' much today :D ).

norseman
02-05-2011, 08:17 AM
:D Dont get me started on Wicca, Animus. A manufactured creed at best, dating from the 1950's but with a core of the Craft. After all, Gardner called it New Witchcraft.
"good pool of knowledge of pre-christian faiths" - so agree with that which is why I stick to the meticulously researched books coming out of British academia [ Hutton, Davies, Wilby, etc].
I will admit that I have no interest in the pagan world outside of the British Isles, although the Cunning Folk were known across Northern Europe because of the common roots on the dry North Sea plain.
Anyway, an excellent area to discuss - so many unknowns in it :D

breath
02-05-2011, 10:08 AM
I think you're confusing Mimir with Munin. Mimir is the Jotun who guarded the Well of Mimir in Jotunheim. And he was later traded as a hostage with Hoenir after the Aesir/Vanir war. And after Hoenir couldn't make a decision without consulting Mimir the Vanir grew suspicious that they had been cheated and given an oaf for a hostage, so they beheaded Mimir and sent the head back to the Aesir. And Odin preserved Mimir's head with his magic so he can ask counsel of him whenever he wishes.
Munin is the raven along with Hugin. :D

Lol! New it sounded like that. :redface: Was almost sure because Mimir sounds like memory phoneticallyish.

Neville
02-05-2011, 10:09 AM
A Persons relationship with their environment is intimate and personal it comes as no surprise to me that sometimes Paganism is a solitary living experience.

It occurs to me that because such a relationship with one's Gaia is so intimate that the discussion of such might be akin to sharing details of other equally personal relationships. I am not saying that this is a difinitive answer as to why Paganism is not so regularly discussed openly but it might account for some of it.

Just thinking allowed as usual.

breath
02-05-2011, 10:16 AM
I think over all my desire to pick up an earthy religion comes from living so long with the complete opposite. In taoism it's hard to realize while you're practicing but it's similar to paganism only it's more associated with the heavens than the earth. The earth is almost considered a reaction of the rest of the universe and no more important, so it's almost a religion for objective spirituality. Earthy religions can only exist from the point of view from someone on earth so they help keep you grounded and in touch with the communities of both animals and people around you. I think it's good to have a balance of both, which is why I think It's time for me personally to complete my circle. Who knows what will happen next though? lol.

What I can see from here is that there is what paganism should be and what paganism is. Paganism (imo) should be a pro-community glue which works in similar ways to 'christian' camps and take aways only in ways which REALLY get nature in the groove with the community. So that the pagan community can work with the rest of the communities to help them learn the balances that they're a part of, as well as what is nature for humans to feel and how liberal with themselves they can be. Offering a new and more constructive inner-vision than what I call a self-doubt guilt based christian one.

I do however totally believe that we should entirely drop the term pagan, as it I feel it's somehow an accepted derogatory term, similar to Ni**er for african americans in america. We really shouldn't accept it at all maybe.

norseman
02-05-2011, 12:20 PM
breath, dunno about a pagan community. Many pagans are solitary and have a tendency to eccentricity in one form or another, myself not an exception. As I said earlier, and agreed by Neville, the relationship with Earth is very personal and there is a high degree of ancestor respect to add to this. Over the world, you will find millions of people involved in environmental works, many of them solitary pagans, beavering away on their own projects. I was "told" by Gaia what She wanted me to do and I have been doing it for decades. The relationship is I do not own the Land, it owns me ! I am not the master but the servant.

breath
02-05-2011, 01:56 PM
breath, dunno about a pagan community. Many pagans are solitary and have a tendency to eccentricity in one form or another, myself not an exception. As I said earlier, and agreed by Neville, the relationship with Earth is very personal and there is a high degree of ancestor respect to add to this. Over the world, you will find millions of people involved in environmental works, many of them solitary pagans, beavering away on their own projects. I was "told" by Gaia what She wanted me to do and I have been doing it for decades. The relationship is I do not own the Land, it owns me ! I am not the master but the servant.

Love it. I do agree with that as well, I don't believe that if one thing is a good way then any other is bad, so I totally agree in the solitary, or hermit pagan's way too. I think in this day and age we are quite segregated from those who would follow a similar path for good reason, in that institution has become some what of an addiction and those of us who have found ourselves slipping from it's terrible grip tend to land as droplets. It makes meeting one from our spiritual family all the more beautiful.

I still think though that there would be no harm in getting our point of view out there for our children, I have 2 step kids one of which is learning meditation techniques and how I percieve my place on earth, she loves it and I can see the powerful positive effect it's having on her psychology. It makes me think that it could help many children to be taught the modest beliefs of nature following and if it helps the children of today, there's no telling where the positive effects will stop.

I believe we have similar patterns of thought Norseman, as I also believe that we are out of the earth and are made for our servitude, not of a slave in a roman context but as another animal which plays a part in the delicate balance. I do believe that my personal skills that should be becoming more awake now that I have started on a earth path are to be practiced as the intellectual mending and caring for our mother.

Thanks everyone for the great posts.

norseman
02-05-2011, 02:04 PM
Just a bit of the Land I work for :D - the Yorkshire Dales

http://i282.photobucket.com/albums/kk267/norseman_photo/Best%20of%20-%20my%20choice/HaymeadowsGunnerside2.jpg

Animus27
04-05-2011, 03:16 AM
Absolutely beautiful!

Prokopton
07-05-2011, 12:37 PM
@Breath; I wouldn't identify as 'pagan' but I did find some of your thoughts very interesting; I think they could do with some fleshing out if you'd care to post more. I may have looked at some of these issues from similar angles.

One thing I'd chip in with is that there are links with Taoism here, in its capacity as a Chinese popular religion which is actually an extremely earthy religion. I realize that you see all the paganisms as fundamentally different, only put in a category by historical accident as it were, but Taoism isn't only about high-flown alchemies and immortality. If you read into the folklore of Taoism and look how it's practiced in communities, you could get an inspiration for how to link your other stuff to the Norse side.

Where there is a definite link that might work with your vision is in the angle of simple polytheism. Some of what you are talking about vis-a-vis fitting in with daily life is something you will find in all polytheistic approaches, because each place and act of society has accrued its deity and its way.

A book that addresses that really well IMO (sorry I'm not yet allowed to post links) is Paper's "The Deities are Many", which attempts a 'polytheistic theology' and has a lot to say about how polytheistic religions work in societies compared with monotheistic ones. What's interesting is that the author is very involved in both Native American and Traditional Chinese religions and sees the commonalities. Maybe it would be a piece of the puzzle...

Chrysaetos
04-06-2011, 07:14 PM
With that aside (which wasn't aimed at either of you lol), one of the strengths of many older, non-eastern/non-Abrahamic religions is that many of them, usually, have a mindset of embracing the world and learning your place in it, whether through good action or adoration of the gods and what have you. Rather than an attempt to escape the world and reach Heaven or Nirvana (which is an over-simplification. But it gets the point across). This is exactly the reason why it's so interesting.
Maybe it's not really surprising that salvationist religions are products of crowded civilisations..

Great thread guys.. lots of interesting information.
Can anyone recommend me a good (preferably academic) book about western/northern paganism in ancient Europe, with a no-nonsense approach?

Prokopton
04-06-2011, 08:03 PM
Can anyone recommend me a good (preferably academic) book about western/northern paganism in ancient Europe, with a no-nonsense approach?

HR Ellis Davidson (http://www.amazon.com/Myths-Symbols-Pagan-Europe-Scandinavian/dp/0815624417/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1307217704&sr=1-2) would be my choice -- academic, neutral, readable, reliable. Neither romanticized nor cynical. And great fun, with real flavour.

Animus27
04-06-2011, 08:13 PM
HR Ellis Davidson (http://www.amazon.com/Myths-Symbols-Pagan-Europe-Scandinavian/dp/0815624417/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1307217704&sr=1-2) would be my choice -- academic, neutral, readable, reliable. Neither romanticized nor cynical. And great fun, with real flavour.
I second that! I haven't read that particular book of hers, but it's next on my book list. Her Gods and Myths of Northern Europe is a fantastic book http://www.amazon.com/Myths-Northern-Europe-Ellis-Davidson/dp/0140136274/ref=pd_sim_b_1
She really knew her stuff.

And Rudolf Simek is a very knowledgeable guy when it comes to Germanic myth. Although most of his books are in German. His stuff delves deeply into linguistics as well, if that's something you like.

Sapphirez
07-06-2011, 08:39 AM
interesting