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CHLow: Dark/Light Neopaganism

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.pagan,talk.religion.misc,alt.religion.christian,alt.satanism
From: Clifford Low 
Subject: Re: CHLow: Dark/Light Neopaganism (Was Re: Dark roygbiv Light)
Date: 1 Jan 1996 15:16:14 GMT

In article <4c8ftp$> Mandrake .....the Bard, writes:
>   No, they are not. Anyone's values are lifted from a study of the world 
>around them, and I submit to you that the values of the Pagan community are 
>very different from those pounded into our heads by christians. For example, 
>christians believe in labelling right and wrong, good and evil, heaven and 
>hell, but this is completely inappropriate in Pagan philosophy. For the Pagan, 
>there is the world, and any ideas of right and wrong are what we decide, not 
>universal constants.

Ideally perhaps, but not in what most Pagans actually practice. A
surprising number of Pagans have incorporated absolute-evil demons into
their mythologies, consider Crowley an evil black magician, and so on.
Most Pagans I know consider the inquisition a terrible evil, corrupt and
monstrous. These are Christian attitudes that help make modern Paganism
less than independant from JudeoChristianity. In a true pagan fashion, as
I seek to emulate, the inquisition was a pretty nifty idea and should
have been responded to in kind. 

A JudeoChristian-influenced Pagan will find it repugnant that I would
promote massacre and bloodshed; that I didn't "learn the lesson" of the
witch-burning days. There is a Christian lesson to be learned: Massacre
is just plain wrong. There is a Pagan lesson to be learned: Get them
before they get you. 

Which do you choose?

>   Besides that, it's simply a matter of archaeology. The christian concept of 
>"God" derives from the culture and beliefs of one tiny segment of the world, 
>the Middle East, while the various Pagan gods and goddesses derive from a vast 
>array of different cultures which developed independently and separate from 
>the Middle East. Therefore, they are not historically related.

Many Pagans revere Astarte and Lilith, and the Egyptian gods. Some people
also include Greek gods. Gee, I guess we forgot those Middle Eastern
gods, didn't we?

>>And the direct, unbroken Pagan (as opposed to Neopagan) tradition you 
>>practice is what, exactly?  You can document it's authenticity and 
>>antiquity?  No, I thought not.
>>There's not a single 'Pagan' (i.e., 'Neopagan', unless you're claiming to 
>>be Buddhist, Hindu, &c.) religion that can verifiably establish existance 
>>prior to the early twentieth century.  Even Gardner claimed that 'the 
>>religion of the Witches' had degraded and lost much of its liturgy and 
>>practice.  The antiquity of our beliefs is a popular myth, but it is a 
>>fallacious one, and our religions are, at best, an attempt at 
>>reconstruction of what we believe to be the beliefs and practices of the 
>>historical Pagans, adjusted to suit our current preferrences and heavily 
>>influnced by Judeo-Christianity.  This does not mean that they are 
>>without merit.  It does mean that your claims above are, at best, 
>   Oh, you can stop acting as if I'm some uneducated little twit who just 
>became Pagan two weeks ago on a whim. I'm quite familiar with mythology, 
>history, philosophy, and the roots of Neopaganism. The fact is, that Neopagans 
>are "reconstructing" Pagan religions based on everything they have availible, 
>and trying to be as true to history and to themselves as possible. There is no 

What a crock of shit. Let's get some mighty war god sacrifices going.
"Oh, so this one involves decapitating captured prisoners of war and
sprinkling the pyre with oil mixed with goats blood. Let's do a rain
check on this one, boys." Ever heard of the Monkey's Paw? You have no
idea what you are asking for when you talk about bringing back pagan
modes of worship and ethics. If you do, then be honest- our country would
throw us in the slammer if we did authentic worship. The old style
religions were bloody and quite animal-sacrifice focused. 

Even old Judaism's temples were like slaughterhouses with their daily
blood offerings to Jehovah. It was not the exception. The concept of
prayer as an adequate offering to a god is a new concept. In old
Judaism's days, you made sacrifices and sang songs- after the temple
fell, they sang songs instead of sacrifices. 

Most of the old religions would not have found mere prayers (songs)
adequate offerings to their gods. If you want to be authentic, stop
chanting and start cutting. Or admit that your dedication to your
religion is less than the desire to preserve your backside, or admit that
your religion is Pagan skin on Christian flesh and bone.

>direct line of tradition leading to me, but there is historical account, 
>archaeology, philosophy, folklore, and my own heart to lead me and all other 
>Pagans down a path which may not be exactly what our ancestors practiced, but 
>is close enough. And, after all, any religion has a right to evolve, though 
>the christians seem to like their beliefs written in stone for all enternity. 
>But, I guess that's just another difference between us.

Of course every religion has the right to evolve, but there are limits of
definition. A form of Judaism which for the purpose of modernization
promoted eating pork and drag racing on the sabbath isn't Judaism
anymore, even if it did insist on circumcision. 

What is close enough? Is praying to Aphrodite for salvation and stigmata
acceptable? How about invoking Pan to save a marriage (Pan being the god
of rape and madness...)? Or how about invoking various war gods to make
one "more assertive". Why not just be fair to the old gods and let them
die, and invent some gods for your BMWs, PCMCIA cards, herpes, landlords
and fast food? You are treating the old gods like prostitutes, and if
they have any power left folks, you'd better be worried.


+----------Clifford Hartleigh Low------------+--------------------+
| Email:           | |
| Finger/Talk:  | TAINTED BUT HUNGRY |

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