Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Ask a Pagan

Yes, methinks I am just a little bit crazy, but here goes nothing.

Q: I have a question.....Do Pagans believe in a G-d?? What happens when man/woman dies? Do we go to another world?

A: There are some Pagans and Heathens who actually do not believe in deity at all. They might be thought of as sort of humanist Pagans and Heathens. As far as what happens when a person dies...each tradition has their own response to that. The Asatru have a response to that, the Wiccans have a response to that, the Dianics have a response to that, the Kemetic Orthodox have a response to that, the Celtic Reconstructionists have a response to that....I could go on.

Q: How do you worship?
A: Once again, that answer depends on the tradition of the person you're talking to. My man is an Odinist, and there are ceremonies called "blots" that the Asatru participate in ("blot" rhymes with "boat"). Wiccans have circles. I'm sure the Celts and Kemetics and others have different ceremonies they participate in.

I feel I should pause and indicate that there is a branch of Pagan life known as the "reconstructionist" religions, and what this means is that the people involved in this are looking into as much of the history and source material as has survived and are trying to "reconstruct" the old worship/religion/values as closely as possible to the way it was originally done. Examples of reconstructionist religions would be Celtic reconstructionism or Aurrad or Senistrognata - Asatru or Heathenry or Forn Seid or Rites of Odin - Kemetic Orthodoxy to name a few.

Wicca is NOT a reconstructionist religion, please note. (There is a very good article online about the differences between Asatru and Wicca called The Pentagram and Hammer and you'll find it on my blog, which is at h t t p colon slash slash chalicechiq at blogspot dot com)

The things I go through to get the address of my blog on a post. Sheesh.

To continue: there are those Pagans and Heathens out there who feel they have a connection to a particular deity; in some cases the person believes that the deity in question came to them in vision or meditation and "tapped" them or chose them as their own devotee. I believe this happened with Frigga, the Norse Queen of Asgard and myself, many years ago. She came to me in vision while I was doing the wash one day. I wasn't expecting it at all.

Q: What percent worships Goddess?
A: Hard to say, but I do know this much...some years ago the EarthSpirit community did a "Pagan census" and they found that the American city with the highest Pagan population per capita is right here in my own back yard: Orlando, FL. Odd, isn't it? But then again, consider the weather and all. Perfect place to do outdoor rituals year round.

Oh, and a word about the word "ritual." Bear in mind that attending Sunday morning worship at the local Baptist church is attending a religious RITUAL. Going to Mass - going to receive the ash on Ash Wednesday - receiving communion - all these are religious RITUALS. "Ritual" seems to have acquired this horribly negative connotation (probably thanks to Hollywood, mostly) that involves something dark and evil and harmful to either babies or small furry animals. Rituals are simply things that are done with regularity; on Wednesday evenings it is usually my habit to attend a Journal Group at the local Borders bookstore. That's a ritual too. So it is probably best to clear the mind of negative connotations associate with that word, thanks very much.

Q: Now this is the part that gets me. You say you know what pleases the divine and the divine's will but with so many gods and such how to you have a clue?

A: This is why it's important to develop a relationship with a particular deity, in my mind. This way you get to know the way the deity in question communicates with you, and when you see certain things going on in your world, then you know that this deity is imparting a message to you. For example, with my sweetie and his relationship with Odin, he knows there is some kind of message going on when he starts seeing ravens (not crows or other corvids, but specifically ravens, for these birds are closely associated with Odin) all over the place.

Q: Another question, would you consider the golden calf the hebrews made an aspect of the divine?

A: Yes, I would. Look up "Hathor" sometime. I believe that's Her.

"And just a side note. God said not to have any gods before Him because He does not want us following things that dont exist."

I'm not going to go there with a ten-foot cattle prod, and don't give me a hard time about "it's because you know you are following the wrong deity anyway." Do. Not. Start. With. Me. On. That. Level. Understood? No comments about whose deities really do and really don't exist, have I made myself crystal clear? Thank you.

A note on the Wiccan Rede (usually quoted as "An it harm none, do as you will"). This is an ethic that I have been trying to tell people does NOT apply to ALL PAGANS because not all Pagans are Wiccan. I would say the same thing about the concept of "perfect love, perfect trust" and the threefold law. These are WICCAN ideas and have no place in reconstructionist religions like Asatru. So for those who are very unfamiliar with this world, let me say this: NEVER confuse an Asatruar (specifically) with a Wiccan, and NEVER treat Asatruar as if their religion and Wicca are basically the same thing. They aren't. There does tend to be a certain amount of very bad blood between many reconstructionists such as the Asatru and many Wiccans, and there are reasons for this. See the above mentioned article for further information on this.

I also have never liked the way many Wiccans have hijacked the concept of karma from the Hindus, and they don't even have a proper understanding of the word and how karma works. Myself personally, since I am of Northern European ancestry and a Norse Goddess has tapped me, I go in for the ideas of "wyrd" and "orlog" and am learning about them. In some ways they are similar to karma (and bear in mind that the cultures that gave rise to these ideas are all descended from Indo-Europeans that migrated out of the Russian steppes many many thousands of years before the birth of Christ) but in many ways they are quite different.

Q: What is your claim in creation of mankind because not all claims Adam was the first creation of Mankind?
A: Different traditions have different creation myths/stories. Bear in mind, by the way, that I am not using the word "myth" in the perjorative sense. I've studied far too much of Joseph Campbell to ever do that to such a noble word. The Asatru have a specific creation myth that talks about the Ginnungagap, the primordial worlds of fire and ice, a cosmic bovine named Audumbla (I hope I spelled that correctly) and the first being, a giant named Ymir, and how things progressed from there. I'm not going to retell the story right now; I'm too tired for that. Look it up online sometime.

RE: Why Wiccans Suck webpage
As for me, I think it's hysterical. I included it in the links on my sidebar on my blog. Oh, there's also a ** recommended reading list** on the sidebar too. Someone asked about that. I laughed til I almost fell off my chair when I saw it. Of late, I must confess to losing a LOT of patience with Wiccans in general, and I have my reasons for it. Most of them have made of Wicca something that I don't believe Gerald Gardner (whom as far as I'm concerned, pieced Wicca together well over 40 plus years ago) intended. I'm not going to argue about this because my mind is made up on this matter and I like it this way. It suits the information that is out there to be found and read and learned about.

One thing about anyone who has walked a reconstructionist path - you learn to question your sources, and you learn to look to real scholars who have tenure at real universities for your information, not the weak stuff that Llewellyn Publishing tends to put out there. As far as I'm concerned, it's all candyfloss. I am NOT one to recommend writers like Silver Ravenwolf or Raven Grimassi or their ilk at all.

Q: What valid reasons are there that you follow your faith and not the faith of Prophets?
A: Read the Voluspa sometime. That is Norse prophecy. The Voluspa is found in a document called the Poetic Edda. Those who engaged in prophecy and seeing were called "volva" in the North.

"All creation stories cannot be correct"
Sure they can. They're called "myths" and aren't meant to be interpreted literally or read like the Dec. 7th 1941 edition of the New York Times.

"a religion must be accurate in its claims"
Yup. And they are. You're just not looking at it the right way.

"When you believe in Allah then you have to educate about the commands of Allah - The very first command is taking "Shahada" which is testifying there is one Allah without any partners and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah."
Got a point there. This is why I wish more people would develop a strong, deep relationship with ONE deity and learn to see the uniqueness of each deity, not treating them like interchangeable parts and getting into this business of "all love Goddesses are the same" because as far as I'm concerned, there are whole worlds of difference between Freyja and Aphrodite and Venus.

ARGH....I'm just too exhausted to continue this...I have to go to bed.

I'm sure Pensive thinks I've just totally lost my ever-loving mind, and that's OK. He'd be completely right.

Goodnight everyone.


Blogger MeritAset said...

Well answered hon (this is my "public" blog ;-)

1:56 PM  

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