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To: alt.religion.all-worlds,alt.satanism,alt.pagan,alt.religion.wicca,talk.religion.misc
From: (Brenda Mobley)
Subject: Re: Paganisms old and new (Was: Re: SATANIC Hypocrisy)
Date: 27 Dec 1996 02:32:14 GMT

I must apologize for the delay; my access to Usenet has been spotty over
most of December.  It will be better next month.  Again, I'm reading from 
alt.satanism, so if you want me to see your response, please either 
include a post there or email me a copy.  Thanks.

On 3 Dec 1996 "Mr. Scratch"  wrote:
> On 4 Dec 1996, Brenda Mobley wrote:
> (Much excellent discussion deleted)


> > Syncretism is a loss.  It is always a loss, for it signals, in a way 
> > nothing else can, that autonomous nations have become submerged into 
> > another society and lost their independence.  When that society is 
> > Christianity, educated whites had better beware not to be glib 
> > dilettantes, because the price they are STILL paying is the ongoing 
> > destruction of what little is left of their own European paganisms!
> This is one of the problems I have often mentioned in my critiques of 
> neo-paganism;  the majority of subscribers are Westerners who, even if 
> they were never born-again Christians, were certainly indoctrinated into a 
> Christian culture with Christian values.  When they make their conversion 
> to Paganism, it is largely a feat of the intellect.  They insist they no 
> longer believe in Christianity, and that settles that.  

Exactly.  Then they turn around and enforce Christian norms.  If someone
is from a fundie or other X-tian strict background, they may not notice that
a lot of neo-pagans are no more liberated than the liberal Protestants.

> But it isn't that easy at all.  The inner preconceptions and views 
> formulated under the Christian influence remain unbroken, they just have 
> a new set of faery-tales to justify themselves.  I call it the old wine 
> in the new bottle.

Rapidly turning into vinegar.  This has led me to a kind of disappointment, 
as I find that not all neo-pagan space is "safe" for freethinking.  In
particular, I find that most of the ecofeminists have unexamined class
biases, which they then project into their version of neo-paganism.  Should
a rural or working-class person challenge these biases, they get accused
of being "conservative" and are trashed.  Just for one example, consider
the kind of venom that is likely to get unleashed on someone for admitting
to an Evil Crime like cattle ranching - even if that person is doing it
as organically and as humanely as possible.  And can we cut trees 
selectively, managing what is often not virgin stands anyway?  Noooo.  We'll
be lumped in with the clearcutters.  I could go on like this... I leave it
to the reader to come up with many other good examples of this kind of thing.

So we get a situation like the one in Oregon, where the workers and the
deep ecologists are in opposite camps.  It didn't have to be.  Someone 
could've applied a little Marxism or just plain common sense to this and
it wouldn't have happened in the same way.

But should deep ecology become a *religion*, rather than a philosophy, 
then all things become matters of faith and dogma, and then it's 
impossible to cut a deal or in any way deal with an opponent you must 
DEMON-ize.  As far as I'm concerned, it's just this kind of 
black-and-white thinking that is the legacy of Christianity.

So now I find that my people, rural people, are being presented as the
new demons - for trying to make a living on land they aren't even supposed
to be allowed to own.  If this isn't blind classism on the part of (often)
upper-middle class neo-pagans, what else could it be?  Meanwhile many of
these rural people are liberal Protestants who are in support of a number 
of social ideals that are also held by the neo-pagans, and the latter 
would do well to start thinking of the former as potential allies in the
serious battles for social justice and the environment that are now evolving.

> IMO, it is the primary purpose of Satanism to break this old way of 
> *feeling* in the initiate.  The new Satanist learns to question every 
> premise, every judgement, everything he/she has been told is "right" or 
> "wrong".  I recall wondering to myself that society placed me in the role 
> of ultimate evil, and yet I didn't _feel_ evil.  I had to then examine 
> the problem of whether the Christian notion of evil existed in the first 
> place --  not just as an intellectual exercise (which is easy enough), but 
> as an instinctual transformatione.  Suddenly I could no longer make snap 
> judgements based upon social taboo; I had to consider the nature of why I 
> felt something was right or wrong.  Some justifications withstood the 
> questioning.  Others did not, and I had to learn to accept (or even 
> value) things I had previously condemned.

This is fabulous.  It is what I have been trying to do for a long time.  My
first voyages into stepping back and really looking at society came when
I "came out" as queer (bi).  However, the Christian messages are still 
there - still often unquestioned.  I step back again, and question the 
nature of "God" and of Satan.  What is evil, and what is culture?

At the moment I'm in the middle of wading through a tome by Ken Wilbur called
_A Brief History of Everything_ in which he describes a developmental
psychology he's happy to call a Left Hand Path.  I'm delighted to see 
in it the concept of distancing oneself from societal norms, at the
right point in one's development, as a necessary step in personal evolution
toward a viewpoint deeper than that bound to just one culture.  Sometimes
this happens to people when they find themselves in a different culture than
the one in which they were raised, and they tire of constantly telling 
themselves the new people are Wrong.  If a Christian can be good and a 
Shinto/Buddhist can be good, what is good?  And if we don't learn to value
other people (INCLUDING their "good") we're going to destroy the planet.

> This is why I find it so ironic when other pagans accuse me of revering 
> elements of the Christian theology.  I feel I am the one who has 
> confronted and broken the power of my indoctrination within myself, while 
> it seems apparent to me that my accusers simply continue to respond to 
> it. 

Yes, especially since they care.  If they were pre-Christian they would,
in typical Roman manner, only care about whether or not Satanists were 
living up to their civic duties.  Indeed, it's Christians who
historically have had so much trouble honoring them, and now some neo-pagans,
who seem to think you can get rid of the law by ignoring it - I don't
think the philosophy of civil disobedience was created as an excuse to
avoid the hard work of doing your own politics, but rather as a last
resort when reason and democracy have failed.

I suppose someone will take me to task for failing to see how "patriarchal"
democracy is, blah blah blah, and all the while the practical work of
feminism is being done primarily by liberals and Marxists in a political
context, within the system.

> > I haven't seen the publication you're quoting, but I have seen a lot of 
> > hostility in the form of "we are NOT Satanists, we are nice pagans" and I 
> > think this is caving in to Christian monomaniacal prejudices in the worst 
> > way. 
> I often marvel at the way some neo-pagans, in their scramble to be 
> accepted by Christians, will happily discard whatever practice that the 
> Christians take offense to.  I suppose they can't see that the more they 
> try to conform to Christian beliefs, the more like them the pagan becomes.  
> When the pagan comes to uphold ethics and values that are dictated to 
> them by the Christian church, then the conversion process is nearly 
> complete. 

This is the reason why I despair of ever seeing a neo-pagan group deal
completely with the destruction of, for example, the pagan erotic feminine
during the Dark Ages.  They're often too perfectly happy to repeat the 
process.  It seems that one of the accusations Bonewits made regarding a
certain Satanist is that he is now in the "European pornography" 
business.  My reaction is:  if someone is, and it's legal, what's the 

> > If reverencing a God of Darkness makes you a Devil-worshipper, so 
> > what?  If people were sincere about the gods their ancestors were 
> > actually worshipping they'd notice a lot of gods devoted to war and power 
> > among their other attributes.  It's amazing to me how often eco-political 
> > pagans ignore the fact many of the Goddesses are war deities.  Being a 
> > competent commander was considered just one of the attributes of a 
> > well-rounded leader, to whom the Goddess was then muse and inspiration.  
> > We are talking about FOLK religion, after all!  If a warlike Goddess 
> > inspired cults of Amazons, so much the better; but none of this is modern 
> > eco-pacifist goo.
> I think that if a sizable percentage of neopagans could have observed the 
> rites and values that surrounded their revamped gods and goddesses, they 
> would run horrified back to the safety of their middle-class lives, 
> discarding all notions of paganism in the trash bin on the way by.

Very.  Let us consider, for example, the hangman's noose and the runes.

> For example, I am always struck by the way the image of Kali is exploited 
> in the West.  She has gone from the symbol of terrible, chaotic and 
> purposeless death, destruction and decay, to being neutered into some 
> sort of politicized feminist power charm.

Yes, I have to agree with that.  I do find the image of Kali to be very
useful, but I don't want Her to be watered down.  This, of course, is 
what happens when sheltered middle-class suburbanites get hold of anything.
They've never experienced any but a virtual reality.  Ironic, then, that
so many of them are afraid of the 'net.

> I've spend some considerable time in India, and I understand why Kali is
> revered there by some, especially in Calcutta; her wrath and blessings are
> to be seen everywhere.  They still sacrifice animals to her at her Temple. 
> Her appeal to the Indian is wholly different than her new appeal at the
> "Mystic Porpoise" bookstore on 4th St, America.  Most Westerners who think
> they worship Kali would be appalled to see for themselves what she is
> *really* associated with:  like I said, too much residual Christianity at
> the back of the brain. 

Yup.  What they need is an avenging angel.

> > Anyway, this takes me to Satanism.  When it is totally and entirely a result 
> > of Western thought - and admits it - that's VERY refreshing.
> Though I prefer the reconstructed theology of the Aztecs, this is why I 
> retain the label "Satanist" (among others) for myself.  I am a Westerner 
> and "Satan" is the Western name by which the Dark God was known.  
> Though I consider "his" image in the West to be corrupted, it was still 
> the name by which he was known and there is some honor in that.

Yes, and then there is the way in which all things change, anyway.

> > P.S. I would be delighted to correspond with others interested in 
> > Satanism or concerned with current directions being taken in paganism.

> You might be interested in a couple of mailing lists:
> Darkpaths-l: a non-denominational joining of dark pagans.  Satanists, 
> Setians, ecclectics, Voudounistas, dark Asatru...everything with a 
> pleasant shadow-flavor.  (, message should say 
> "subscribe darkpaths-l")

I tried this one, and nothing happened; I will try again.

> Xepera-l:  Setian operated list dealing with issues of Setianism,
> Egyptology...all sorts of stuff, general Setian POV on things. 
> ( message should say "subscribe xepera-l")

I also tried this one, and am finding it to be good reading.

> It is nice to read an insightful post for a change.

Again, thanks.  And Happy Holidays.


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