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Atwater Vitki

Modern Or Neo-Paganism

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Oh dear, it seems as I am am late to the party. Before I begin my comment, I would jut like to remind everyone that although I am a Celtic Pagan in general, I am a "classic" Witch and not a Wiccan, so please do not think I speak for them (or for anyone else other than myself). Well, here goes. In the list of beliefs and practices of a contemporary Pagan I do not adhere to the following:

* Believe that magical acts designed to bend one to another's will are manipulative, and not encouraged.

* Believe that whatever actions a person takes, magical or mundane,good or bad, come back to him/her, sometimes threefold.

I differ from Wiccan Witches in that I do belive in curses and hexes when appropriate. I would not enslave someone by totally breaking or dominating their will, but if a hex will keep someone from from harming me or mine I have no qualms about "bending" the person's will away from doing so. I also don't have a problem with love potions. I think some overestimate their abilities. If the gods (or Fate, Wyrd, or Cosmic Law) do not want two people together, a love potion is not going to accomplish it. To me, a potion, spell, or hex is just a formal petition to the powers that be, not much different than a prayer. (Sidetracking for a moment, but I was thinking of Sylvia Browne who said that "God aways answers your prayers, but sometimes he says no." :) ) This may be a hot button for some, but I do believe in retribution, not just prevention. If someone commits malicious acts and goes unpunished, then he may continue to commit such acts. (So I guess, in a way, retribution is a form of prevention so they don't do the same thing to the next person.) What gives me the right to be judge and jury? Nothing. But I accept personal responsibilty for my actions. If slapping a child on his fingers keeps him from touching a hot stove, or punching the school bully keeps him from picking on other kids, then I feel no remorse about my actions and can rest peacefully.

As a Celtic Wiccan with a background in Catholicism (Or, "Pagan in Denial", as I like to jokingly refer), I must say that I agree with pretty much your whole post, not just what I quoted above. One of my favorite authors, Jim Butcher, wrote in his third Dresden Files novel "Sometimes you get what's coming to you and sometimes you ARE what's coming to someone else." Believe it or not, it was the Christian character who said it.

I've always maintained that spellcasting and potion-making were just simply another way to pray, and I'm glad to see that someone agrees with the sentiment. Spells and things don't always work because it's quite simply not always "in the cards".

As to my personal beliefs, I do believe in ONE Divine, the "Source" as I've mentioned on the site before. The Source has two sides, one Masculine, one Feminine. Neither is more important or better than the other. I touch upon different aspects of the Source through my "emulation", as Atwater Vitki put it, of certain older Gods and Goddesses, particularly the Celtic ones. I typically use Lugh for Masculine and the Morrigan for Feminine, both of which require "emulation", not "worship", in the more traditional Celtic way. They are teachers, not rulers.

In many ways, this is similar to, say for example, following the teachings of Yeshua. Or the Buddha. I believe that Mary Magdalene is the Feminine aspect of the Source that most Christians (not all, mind you) tend to want to deny. They call her a whore when there is nothing in the Bible to indicate that she is. I feel that we shouldn't have lost touch with that.

How could God be an atheist?

If Christ was who he said he was, then God is Christ and no other. Imo, monotheism will always clash with polytheism, they just can't mesh together.

Christ never said he was the Son of God, he used metaphors to indicate that the Divine was in all of us. I DO believe he was the Son of God in the sense that we are ALL the Children of God. He wanted us to see this, and treat each other as family, but we don't listen.

Edited by revtimothybland

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-at- revtimothybland

:thumbu:

BTW, my personal god is Lleu, the Welsh form of Lugh, who for me fills the role of the lover/brother/friend deity type. I work with the deities Beli Mawr as a divine father and Don, the Welsh form of Danu, as a divine mother :) .

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As a Celtic Wiccan with a background in Catholicism (Or, "Pagan in Denial", as I like to jokingly refer), I must say that I agree with pretty much your whole post, not just what I quoted above. One of my favorite authors, Jim Butcher, wrote in his third Dresden Files novel "Sometimes you get what's coming to you and sometimes you ARE what's coming to someone else." Believe it or not, it was the Christian character who said it.

I've always maintained that spellcasting and potion-making were just simply another way to pray, and I'm glad to see that someone agrees with the sentiment. Spells and things don't always work because it's quite simply not always "in the cards".

As to my personal beliefs, I do believe in ONE Divine, the "Source" as I've mentioned on the site before. The Source has two sides, one Masculine, one Feminine. Neither is more important or better than the other. I touch upon different aspects of the Source through my "emulation", as Atwater Vitki put it, of certain older Gods and Goddesses, particularly the Celtic ones. I typically use Lugh for Masculine and the Morrigan for Feminine, both of which require "emulation", not "worship", in the more traditional Celtic way. They are teachers, not rulers.

In many ways, this is similar to, say for example, following the teachings of Yeshua. Or the Buddha. I believe that Mary Magdalene is the Feminine aspect of the Source that most Christians (not all, mind you) tend to want to deny. They call her a whore when there is nothing in the Bible to indicate that she is. I feel that we shouldn't have lost touch with that.

Christ never said he was the Son of God, he used metaphors to indicate that the Divine was in all of us. I DO believe he was the Son of God in the sense that we are ALL the Children of God. He wanted us to see this, and treat each other as family, but we don't listen.

In the Gospels, Jesus does call himself "The Son of Man." (King James translation)

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In the Gospels, Jesus does call himself "The Son of Man." (King James translation)

Yes, but "Son of Man" could indicate that he, like everyone else, is a child of Mankind. It is not, IMHO, an indication of him being the "Only Son of God" as most Christians tend to want to believe.

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Son of Man is a title and it can also be found in the old testament in multiple places. if memory serves with Elijah or Ezekiel, it carries religious significance and does not always merely refer to an every day human. Of course one has to believe Jesus called himself this or even existed for it to carry much weight. Either way the jesus myth is well constructed and son of man is there for a reason.

Edited by Stormbringer

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That's open for debate.

Jewish believe that the prophesies spoke of David, Christians believe it was Jesus.

Both, according to how they acted in their respective tales, fit the bill.

Thus, we have the rub. Which one is right?

IMHO, neither. The prophesies spoke of a person who could help, and two showed up in Biblical Canon. This means, IMHO, that both are right, they just see things differently.

Which means that "Son of Man" is not an indication of being the "Only Son of God" as most Christians take it to mean. It merely means that he came to help, and we ignored him. Or misinterpreted him. Or both.

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Yes, he was. Most people forget that. If someone calls themselves "Son of Man" and refers to you as "Brother" or "Sister," then aren't you yourself at that point just another "Son (Daughter) of Man?"

IMVHO, Yes.

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That's open for debate.

Jewish believe that the prophesies spoke of David, Christians believe it was Jesus.

Both, according to how they acted in their respective tales, fit the bill.

Thus, we have the rub. Which one is right?

IMHO, neither. The prophesies spoke of a person who could help, and two showed up in Biblical Canon. This means, IMHO, that both are right, they just see things differently.

Which means that "Son of Man" is not an indication of being the "Only Son of God" as most Christians take it to mean. It merely means that he came to help, and we ignored him. Or misinterpreted him. Or both.

While Jesus was calling himself "Son of Man" -- he was addressing others as "Brother" and "Sister."

Thou art God.

My personal take is:

Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to sit down and talk to Yeshua* face to face?...something the authors of the NT didn't have the privilege of doing. I believe He would tell us he did come to help us understand his "Father" in a different manner than what people up until time had believed or interpreted from the even than ancient scrolls. While Biblical scholars and most Christian alike will argue the point, I firmly believe that the Christ was trying to get us to understand that we are the "I AM" as much as the "Son of Man" as much as the "Son of God" if we but seek within.

There are sagas in Nordic mythology that point to this same concept of the "gods being as mortal and mortal as the gods" meaning the same thing. So when I read it in the ancient Norse codex and ancient religious text...that's the "Bingo!" moment of comparative analysis I look for.

This is what brings me to the conclusion we all may have different paths to the Divine, but the destination is the same place/thing/entity etc. Some walk, some drive, some take the bus while others ride a cruise ship...but the end of the road and/or final port o' call is Disneyland whatever "Heaven" turns out to be.

Blessings of Peace,

*actually any of the great prophets or leaders/founders of any religion or belief*

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Several months ago I posted a similar topic that got very sidetracked. It was decided to close that topic. I have recently been asked about some of content of that Topic Post and felt reposting in a different manner may answer the questions recently brought up. I hope this time things will not go so awry....and thanks for the interest, you two know who you are!!

In our contemporary society the term “Paganism” has taken on a bit of a different meaning than it did in ancient times. Our advances in science, education, natural phenomena and Spirituality have dictated a completely new understanding of things quite mystical and unknown to our ancestors.

While a formal definition of Paganism from a dictionary may read something like:

pagan- anyone not of Judeo-Christian or Islamic beliefs

this does not take into account recognized formal religious affiliations such as Hindi, Shinto, Taoism or Buddhism. Even though the Vatican may not recognize these last four listed as religions, their counterparts practicing and instructing in these spiritual endeavors certainly do.

In ancient times, the word paganos simply referred to someone that lived in the country or foothills surrounding established metropolitan areas. “Heathens” on the other hand referred to people who practiced various forms of paganism in the heath-rows, a large, prickly hedge-shrub that was commonly used to separate individual properties or land tracks.

In our modern cultures and societies, Paganism can best be described as any number of nature based forms of soliciting and honoring traditional, ancient pantheons. The theologies of the various forms of Paganism are as broad and varied as the number of groups, congregations and even in some cases cults, that practice non-religious forms of deity emulation.

The type of Paganism I follow is called Ásatrú Folk which is based on the Nordic Pantheon of gods and goddesses. The Nordic pantheon is in turn based on the older Germanic form of paganism with only a handful of deities specific to the Scandinavian culture being the most significant difference. One of the most important aspects of Ásatrú Folk Paganism to understand is the difference between “worshiping” and “emulating” our pantheon of deities.

To further define this for you:

wor·ship (wûr'shïp)

n.

1.

a. The reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object.

b. The ceremonies, prayers, or other religious forms by which this love is expressed.

2. Ardent devotion; adoration. (1)

and

em·u·late (em'yu-lât')

tr.v. em·u·lat·ed, em·u·lat·ing, em·u·lates

1. To strive to equal or excel, especially through imitation: an older pupil whose accomplishments and style I emulated.

2. To compete with successfully; approach or attain equality with. (1)

To most Pagans the above definitions are the crux of our belief system and what truly gives the esoteric or internal, hidden, inner most air of protected secrecy to the very definition of esoteric. It is an inner part of our being while traditional religious forms of worship describe an exoteric or external form of acknowledging their deity. The nature, or natural, aspects of Paganism acknowledges in every manner the creations on the Earth, commonly known as Gian or Giana, “The Mother” under the Heavens generally referred to as “The Father”.

When the elm, yew or ash tree is venerated or the oceans or lakes are called upon for a bountiful harvest of fish or the heavens asked for the gift of rain, there is no “worship” going on at all, rather more of a petition.

In essence, the Pagan is asking that nature recognize their dutiful allegiance to a particular way of living and honor their request. For the most part contemporary Pagans are naturalist in that they do their best to treat “mother earth” with respect. In our modern society that is by leaving as small of a footprint as possible through recycling, non-polluting and organic means of survival. To some of you “Tree Hugger” may come to mind, but I assure you there are many religious folks that proudly carry that label.

My particular “sect”, as it were, is called Runic in that I firmly believe in the associated power of the ancient form of writing known as the runes or runestaves. If one were to take a tour of Norway, Sweden or Denmark, relics of the many centuries old rune monuments still stand along the road sides, besides buildings and in farmers fields nearly everywhere. The vast majority of these hand chiseled stone monoliths are National Monuments and are registered as such in the various countries of origin.

Specifically there are numerous forms of runes but those such as Ogham, Elder and Younger Futharks are the most familiar to the majority of pagans following a runic path. My specialty is in the Elder Futhark, which derives its name from the first six runes; fehu, uruz, thurisaz, ansuz, raidtho and kenaz. The term “vitki” that I use in my display name is simply an old Norse word meaning the equivalent of “learned” and/or “shaman” in this particular formalized title

The runic system and the practice of paganism are two distinctly different ends to a means. I happen to be a pagan that has furthered his belief system incorporating the majikal aspects of the runes. I would say the vast majority of contemporary Pagans have little or no understanding what-so-ever of the runes as it is most certainly an archaic and unnecessary part of Paganism as a whole.

However, to me, the runes encompass an ideology that serves many means to an end. There is a direct or “majikal” method that is recognized and practiced through varying forms of spell casting, scrying and incantation of invocations. Then there is also the intellectual forms of practice which delve into the inner most core of the Self-awareness of who and what we are as living human beings. I would also like to point out the variances of the “majikal” and “magical” forms of which I speak. The two spellings merely differentiate the many differences between the personification of esoteric knowledge produced in our wyrd (core essence) and the traditional slight of hand tricks one may see at a magic show by some showman.

There is little difference between “prayer” or “ceremonial rite” of the religious person and producing majik by Ásatrú Folk that participate in such things. The religious person will pray to “God” under any number of circumstances while the Ásatrú Folk will invoke a majikal rite for the same means to an end.

To further indoctrinate the uninitiated into pagan practices I would like to offer the following list of descriptions offered by the Bay Area Pagan Assemblies(2) or BAPA. Here they give what I too considered to be the essential practices and Beliefs of a contemporary Pagan.

Many Pagans tend to:

* Be polytheists, believing in more than one deity or more than one aspect of a single deity.

* Be pantheists, seeing the God/Goddess force represented in everything around them.

* Recognize the divinity of the feminine as well as the masculine, not seeing masculinity as a superior force.

* Believe that the life force is sacred, and that nature, as a vital representation of that force, is divine.

* Believe that all life forms are equal, sharing an equal claim to the earth as a home.

* Believe that each individual is solely responsible for his or her actions.

* Believe that the forces of nature can be shaped in ways commonly called magical.

* Believe that magical acts designed to bend one to another's will are manipulative, and not encouraged.

* Believe that whatever actions a person takes, magical or mundane,good or bad, come back to him/her, sometimes threefold.

* Believe that there is no single path to spiritual fulfillment, and that the individual must determine the spiritual expression most appropriate to him or her.

* Believe in reincarnation, or some form of life after death.

One of the other admirable and common traits that I find representative of most modern or Neo-Pagans is a tolerance for people of any belief or non-belief system. As the above list is not in any particular order of relevance, I believe the second from the bottom, ...that there is no single path to spiritual fulfillment..., would be the first if listed in order of priorities. This is something that many Pagan have the most difficulty in understanding; why so many people of religious Beliefs must “convert” or “save” other people and not simply allow others to find and have their own Belief structure.

Tolerance is something society as a whole uses as a common measuring stick around the world to determine their place within this mass populace upon the Earth. Democracy, which granted has its good and bad attributes, and has become the foremost sought after form of governance is suppose to be based on tolerance and the majority opinion. To deny this to the individual is in reality against the very teachings of The Christ of Christian Beliefs and even in some regards to the teachings of Mohamed, though I personally find it to be a bit linear in his interpretation of the very word tolerance itself.

When we have parts of a society that still obsesses over their particular Belief being the only “right” belief we have not progressed much beyond the most dismal and clouded actions of any Religion recognized throughout history.

As a modern Pagan I would hope that my peers and fellow travelers on this planet would define me as Tolerant above all else. I realize I have strong opinions concerning many things and people along this journey called Life, however, allowing those things to be as they are and to flourish in their own means is something I adamantly support. I do not believe religion is about being 'perfect' or fitting into some predestine classification, rather, about how we view our Self-awareness and define Self.

There is a common expression; “I'm not religious, I'm Spiritual” in today's culture. While I firmly believe we are indeed Spiritual beings experiencing a physical reality I also think that having a Belief in a Creator makes us something more than merely a living and breathing concoction of carbon based atoms in a mostly water based meat-sack. I believe it is our conscious recognition of our conscience that defines us as hu-man.

Whether a person's Beliefs and/or religion may be Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Hindi, Shinto, Taoist or Buddhist, which are typically the seven recognized “religions” we share, or Pagan, Heathen, Atheist or any number of other descriptions regarding Faith and Beliefs, we are all, above all else, Human. Some of us are comfortable being a part of organized religion while others are not so inclined. Some believe in absolutely nothing as far as deities go and yet others would probably be best described as agnostic, not sure if there is isn't any validity to religion.

However, humanity would not exist in this flux of unknowns if anyone had a certain proof of the existence of “God”, “The Creator”, “The All”, “The Collective Conscious”, “The Source of All things” or myriad of other descriptions of that little spark within that makes us all wonder and strive to find out.

I've held the opinion for years that perhaps there are some things we are simply not suppose to know, and “God” is one of those things. If we knew for sure, without any doubt or wonder, would we really be better off? Or is it in reality the quest for an Almighty that makes our journey here on Terra Firma worthwhile? Perhaps we have found “God” and s/he is expressed through the many facets of our diverse expressions of his/her Divinity. Perhaps no one, but all of our diverse Faiths are what make “God” who and what s/he is. I think if we were to take the very best attributes of all religions and sum them up into one belief we would have a most admirable group of followers as well as the most respectful and inclusive description of “The Creator-God.”

Maybe, just maybe “God” really is Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Hindi, Shinto, Taoist or Buddhist as well as Pagan, Heathen and Atheist, but being Human, we're just to arrogant and intolerant to believe that. Maybe?

Over the following weeks, I plan on providing some more specifics on my Spiritual Path, but I thought I would start it off by giving a very basic summary first. I welcome all thoughts and commentary and look forward to a continued dialogue with those that wish to participate.

Blessings of Peace,

“Atwater Vitki”

References and bibliography:

(1)http://www.thefreedictionary.com/

(2)http://www.sacred-te.../bos/bos627.htm

Haven't humans progressed beyond such paganism?? I mean, you are referencing a pre-religion belief systems, right???

Part of me does believe in the worship of nature, but for so many that gets confused with modern complications..... I could explain upon request....

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If you could please explain, Youch, I'd like to understand a little better.

I'm not exactly an expert on the subject.....or any other, for that matter.....

I am of the understanding, and logical belief, that most religious feeling has as a foundation the predicate of explaining the world around us. Primitive man asked these questions, and shamans and the like, at the time, fabricated explanations and solutions long before science could do so. Their thought was, we (leadership) must have an answer to those question, else the people will find us (leadership) as faulty or inadequate. Not less intelligent, but a far more malinformed version of our current species!! Thus is the origin of religion...furthermore, I would assert it is also the root origin of the progressive political movement!!

This to me is as logical as math.

Refute, if you desire.....

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You make a well-thought-out point, Youch: Except that none of that, by definition, is logical.

Spiritual matters by their nature are abstract, and tend to defy logic, whereas Science is the opposite; pure logic.

As a result, I feel that we need BOTH in order to fully understand the world. Just because there is SCIENTIFIC evidence of one thing and not another, doesn't meant that the un-evidenced doesn't exist. Thinking in an abstract manner helps us quantify it.

And I wouldn't have lumped politics into this at all. Just because they worship the Almighty Dollar as if it were God, doesn't mean anything.

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i dont use the word pagan, as such i am a Traditional Cunning-Craft Witch,and priest of the Ancient faith, via my people of the Ozark mountain region, brought over from Ireland/Scotland/Wales-Britain.

Our Gods are the gods of the Ancient world and are the Indigionous lands and people of our land. as well use Traditional rites/rituals and spell. as well divinatory rites and ways from the Blessed Isle's and the ozark region.

as well am a member of the Craft of the wise IE: Wica.

we also use tools that are of the traditional ways and have been used for an untold amount of years.

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Atwater Vitki,

If you want to focus on the "I AM" -- we can take that further. In Hebrew, "I Am is "Arni." The first letter in "Arni" is an aleph. The numeric value of Aleph is "One." It's all there in the first letter. "One."

:)

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