Traditions and Paths forum: Ask a Pagan

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ImageWoodwife
Jun 9, 2010 5:30 PM CST
Name: Wendy
N. of Houston, Texas - 8b
An Old Wive's Tale
Have a question about something pagan-y? Ask it here!
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AlohaHoya
Jun 10, 2010 11:58 PM CST
Name: Carol Noel
Hawaii (near Hilo)
It's all about choices.
Is Paganism (p?) a 'formalized' way of thinking (rules, standard ethics etc.... Whistling ) or is it a way of thinking/living/interacting with life?

Inquiring mind wants to know... Smiling
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ImageWoodwife
Jun 11, 2010 12:16 AM CST
Name: Wendy
N. of Houston, Texas - 8b
An Old Wive's Tale
Not really, paganism isn't a belief system on it's own.

This is from the FAQ I'm working on:

http://cubits.org/TheCottage/faqs/view/whatisapagan/

"Paganism is not a religion. Paganism is an umbrella term that covers many different belief systems (often referred to as "paths"). Some are related to each other and some are not.

The most well known pagan paths, Wicca and Asatru, have very little in common with each other."

So each individual path under that umbrella would have its own rules and ethics.


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Curlyhut
Jun 11, 2010 8:49 AM CST
Name: Cindy
London, KY
Reality is just an illusion.
I like the old saying, Take what you will and leave the rest. Also, just because their dead, don't make them right. If I read something and it inspires me to become a better person and treat others the same way, than it's a good thing. I have been told by people with different faiths that I have no rules in my beliefs. I don't have any consequences therefore I can do what I want as a pagan and I don't care. Of course, this is so far from the truth. Most religions believe that when you die you go to hell or pay for you sins then. I believe, as a pagan, I am responsible now. This inclines me to act as a good person always instead of picking and choosing when it's good for my conscience. I can send myself on a guilt trip better than the Universe any day. :) Rules and structures are something that we inflict on ourselves. We change them as we go based on how we live and learn. I think it is all an individuals choice on how they interpret rules and ethics, but on the flip side of that, what is good for one, is not always good for another. Just my thoughts.
[Last edited Jun 11, 2010 2:18 PM CST]
Quote | Post #262716 (4)
Val
Jun 11, 2010 9:54 AM CST
Name: Val
Ohio
In my tradition (CR), we don't have rules but we have virtues that we aspire to. Some of the virtues are hospitality, honor, wisdom, truth, generosity, courage, mercy, etc. These are ideals and no one can have them all 100% of the time. People are human. But these are the values that we strive for. There aren't any rules saying that we need to strive for these traits, it's just something that we want to do. No mortal or God is going to whap me over the head if I'm not very hospitable today. But I would feel disappointment that I didn't even try to live up to my ideals today.

I think that all actions (positive or negative) have consequences. Most people in my tradition believe in reincarnation (especially of reincarnation within your family lineage) and that consequences can follow you from one life to the next. But not in the same way that Hindus believe in reincarnation and consequences. I don't necessarily believe in the concept of karma.

I can't speak for the beliefs of all people in my tradition. There are varying beliefs and interpretations. I can only speak for myself.
AlohaHoya
Jun 11, 2010 10:23 AM CST
Name: Carol Noel
Hawaii (near Hilo)
It's all about choices.
Val....what is CR?
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ImageWoodwife
Jun 11, 2010 10:56 AM CST
Name: Wendy
N. of Houston, Texas - 8b
An Old Wive's Tale
Val wrote:In my tradition (CR),


Val, if you have the time would you be willing to write an overview of Celtic Reconstructionism for the Traditions and Paths forum?

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Val
Jun 11, 2010 11:08 AM CST
Name: Val
Ohio
CR stands for Celtic Reconstructionism which is an umbrella term for some Celtic-based neo-pagan paths. Just as the word paganism is an umbrella term, Celtic Reconstructionism is an umbrella term under paganism. There are many other pagan paths and many Celtic paths that are not CR.

Sorry for abbreviating without an explanation. I'll try to write something about it but for now, this site answers many basic questions about this type of path.
http://www.paganachd.com/faq/index.html
Imagegemini_sage
Jun 11, 2010 7:45 PM CST
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY
Good, informative link!
Imagegemini_sage
Jun 17, 2010 7:26 AM CST
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY
I've heard some claims from Christians of various denominations about the "horrors" and "atrocities" of ancient Druid cultures, although I've found no information or evidence to support those claims. I've heard Jehovah's Witnesses speak of human sacrifice, which has been part of the practice of various religions through the ages (...seems I recall "God" telling Abraham to sacrifice his own son!). Another fellow I met some years back, who's family was involved with a denomination I no longer recall, had been taught that the origins of decorating a Yule or Christmas tree came from hanging human testicles and intestines of the sacrificed offering from the boughs. He said that was where the idea of hanging balls and garland came from! I've never found any reference to such a practice in my reading.

I've always assumed these stories are further examples of the vilification by the church of pagan paths. Are any of you aware of archeological evidence of horrors or atrocities committed by early Druids?
AlohaHoya
Jun 17, 2010 10:44 AM CST
Name: Carol Noel
Hawaii (near Hilo)
It's all about choices.
Not I...and I think that perhaps civilizations in the future will look upon some 2010 Christian rituals as being atrocious. ....in the eyes of the beholder.

And even if it were true, could it excuse the atrocities done in the name of the Christian God? I think not.
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ImageWoodwife
Jun 17, 2010 1:15 PM CST
Name: Wendy
N. of Houston, Texas - 8b
An Old Wive's Tale
Well.....both the Celts and the Teutons sacrificed prisoners, both POWs and convicts.

There's evidence of ritual killings in the bog people that are sometimes found in Britain and Scandinavia. I guess Nat Geo says there's a big recent find that points to Druidic killings.

Bog people
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bog_body

Nation Geographic
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/03/090320-druid...

There's an ancient account from Roman times by a Roman who said that Druids would burn animals and humans alive in a wicker construction. Up until now that's been considered Roman propaganda, but it may not be far from the truth.

A sad part of history but I don't think there is any culture that doesn't have blood on it's hands.

The Christmas decoration connection sounds pretty far fetched though.
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Val
Jun 17, 2010 2:52 PM CST
Name: Val
Ohio
It is understandable why people think of human sacrifice in connection with the ancient Celts. Several Romans wrote a lot about it. Caesar, Diodorus, Strabo, Pliney, Lucan, Tacitus. Of course these weren’t unbiased accounts but I don’t think they can be easily discarded either.

Lucan wrote “…and those Gauls who propitiate with human sacrifices the merciless gods Teutates, Esus and Taranis—at whose altars the visitant shudders because they are as awe-inspiring as those of Scythian Diana”
A commentator elaborates that Taranis, the thunder god, was appeased by fire; the victims of Esus were stabbed and were hanged by a tree until they bled to death; and those assigned to Teutates (Toutates) were drowned in a vat.

This is consistent with Land, Sea and Sky concept. And many Celtic scholars believe that a plate of the Gundestrup Cauldron depicts Teutates drowning his victims.

We also have Lindow Man who was discovered in 1984 in Cheshire, England. He had three kinds of “deaths”. He was struck on the head, strangled and his throat was cut. Other indications that he was ritually killed are that he was naked and painted, had mistletoe pollen in his belly, and was well-manicured (indicating high rank).

There are many instances of possible human sacrifice. However, the remains don’t show if a druid killed the individual. Since the druids were the educated class of the Celts (priests, as well as political advisers, judges, teachers, lawyers, etc), it would be safe to say that they were probably involved.

In a 2nd century pit in Hertfordshire, England was found a skull that had been decapitated and skinned. Damage to the base of the skull, missing lower jaw, and lack of weathering are consistent with being displayed indoors. This is consistent with some of the Roman writings about the Celts.

There are two sanctuaries near Marseille, France that indicate head hunting by the Gaulish Celts. Roquepertuse and Entremont.

Both of these temples had niches in which were set human heads. The heads were of males under 40 years old. Many scholars believe that these were the heads of their enemies. This is consistent with the writings of Livy, Diodorus and Strabo.

An interesting article on the subject:
http://www.digitalmedievalist.com/faqs/sacrific.html

A book that deals with this subject:
http://www.amazon.com/Dying-Gods-Human-Sacrifice-Europe/dp/0...
The author is a respected professor of archaeology at Cardiff.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miranda_Green
I've read a few of her books and loved them. But I haven't read this book yet (someday!).
Imagegemini_sage
Jun 18, 2010 5:48 AM CST
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY
Thanks for the links, very interesting! Isn't that strange how the skin was preserved on those bog bodies but the bones were broken down? I suppose the remains were kinda pickled, LOL.

Ever since I read Ann Rice's Queen of the Damned, I've been intrigued by accounts of ritual cannibalism. Funny thing was that it was years later that I had the realization that communion is a form of ritual cannibalism.
Val
Jun 18, 2010 7:15 AM CST
Name: Val
Ohio
I wonder if there actually was an ancient culture that has never had rituals of sacrifice (animal or human)?

I also wonder how that person got their information about Christmas decorations. Did he think that the decorations somehow survived a couple thousand years for archaeologists to find? What....were they plated in brass?

Has anyone seen the metal male body parts that some people have hanging on to the hitches on their trucks? Maybe future archaeologists will think they were part of a sacrificial cult....
Imagegemini_sage
Jun 18, 2010 7:28 AM CST
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY
LOL!
AlohaHoya
Jun 18, 2010 10:22 AM CST
Name: Carol Noel
Hawaii (near Hilo)
It's all about choices.
Cannibalism... There's an interesting subject. It was very widely practised in Fiji up into the 20th century. I have forgotten the book I read while there, the accounts of a whaling skipper's wife who lived there, explaining the rituals involved. Also probably still done in PNG. Last case 'recorded' in Vanuatu was in the 1940s I think. At the time it was very common...widespread. Yes, even the Hawaiians practiced it.
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Imagemarti
Jun 24, 2010 10:57 PM CST
Name: Mary (Marti) Nelson
Ventura, CA
Peace and long life
I was raised as a Catholic, but never felt that it answered the needs of my inner self. I tried several religions but had the same empty feeling about them. Than I attended some Native American POW WOWs and took a class on native religions and I found the need that I had started to ease. I follow the Native American beliefs and am at peace with myself.
Tahlmorra lujhala mei wiccan
(The fate of a man rests always within the hands of the gods)

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