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Neopaganism and Anti-Religious Immaturity

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.pagan.magick,alt.religion.wicca,alt.christnet
From: Fluffwikkun 
Subject: Neopaganism and Anti-Religious Immaturity 
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2004 02:23:17 GMT

50040727 viii om

hi Gianna, great to see you in these forums. thanks for posting

"Gianna Stefani" :
# ...Having been a
# pagan since I was 16 (before that I was a non-believer in anything in
# particular), I can honestly say that I do not believe in the
# Judeo-Christian-Islamic religious systems although I accept that other
# people may do so and that such persons have a right to practice such
# religions.

in other words, you don't agree with their cosmologies.

# By definition therefore, I do not accept the 'sudden' appearance
# (in the history of human religions) of their one god,

strange. if I read you literally above it sounds like you don't believe
that these religions even exist, but my reinterpretation of your text
has it that your belief extends to their *cosmology*, probably theology,
but not their sociology (i.e. you accept that the religions exist, but
do not accept that their deities or attendant powers are at all real).

in the paragraph directly above, however, not only don't you believe
in their cosmology (neither do I, btw, it has serious flaws), but also
don't accept *the existence of their divinity(/ies)*, which is common
enough amongst Neopagans and those who were provided the 'Not Us' name
(which all the Religions of the Book have --> Goyim, Pagans, Kafir, and 
the extended COWANS (Wicca) and PROFANES/VULGAR/TROGLODYTES (Hermetics!)).

# even as a subset of the real gods.

this "subset of the real gods" appears to be variable amongst religious
generally, and I have begun to identify religious *based at least in part
upon whom they exclude as 'real gods'*. Neopagans exclude the Christian
and Muslim gods (Jewish gods vary, from Asherah and El which are often ok,
to the Jehovah-Jesus Bible deity with whom Neopagans have problems), and 
this is comparable to how Judeochristian religious exclude the 'pagan'
gods as 'inferior *g*ods', 'djinns', 'demons', etc., etc. -- something
which I find reprehensible in BOTH Neopagan and Judeochristian cultures,
and which gets me classing them TOGETHER sociologically (as antagonistic
sibling rivals bent on exclusivity and willing to dismiss their relatives).

what I'd like to suggest here is that the very category of "real gods",
which one may suppose, is itself part of cosmological presuppositions
and seems greatly influenced by sociopolitical consideration. the overlap
between Discordians and Neopaganism may yield jewels and gems of practice
(in the creation of deities, adoption of fantasy-beings for ritual, etc.). 

effectively, what it allows the speaker/religious to do is to *diss*
someone's religion and their god(s) -- something which Judeochristians
have been doing to one another and to those 'not of them' for countless

is this a valuable practice within Neopaganism? I say NO, and I'll 
explain why as I'm able below.

# As a consequence of course, there are no angels with which
# one might converse.

active disbelief in the entire cosmological edifice of Christians, at
least. of course 'angelos/angels/messengers' are not isolated to the
Religions of the Book (many middle-eastern religions have them, or
something comparable).

the method used to determine a god's existential status, therefore, becomes
important in the consideration of any single individual's exposition. based
on your background ('pagan' since 16), it seems that you have learned popular
Neopagan attitudes and beliefs regarding what to do about the enveloping,
semi-hostile culture in which you find yourself (guessing: Christian):

	* deny it

	  "I don't believe in those gods."

	* oppose it as 'flawed, cosmologically'

	  "I don't believe in their God or their Devil."

or	* disbelieve its elements are 'real'

	  "The Christian deities don't really exist."

what I'd like you (and all other Neopagans) to consider is how this 
actually play into hands of the conservative Religious of the Book who
seek to divide and conquer through conversion those whom they primarily 
oppose or at least dismiss as unworthy of attention and respect as 
worshipping cohorts. 

compare this to the assimilationist responses provided by the 'Hindus' 
who effectively melt Buddhism back into their cultures. I want to 
suggest that the whole activity of "denying other gods" is ignorant,
participates in the 'One Wayism' which Neopagans by and large oppose,
and is unnecessary once Neopagans have consolidated sufficient 
momentum and practice outside an oppressive Christian context.

re: Dee's Enochian Magic:
# I have in my youth read some texts in connection with the topic as part of
# comparative religious studies .... 'what passed between Dr. John Dee and
# some spirits' was one such .... frankly I cannot remember anything other
# than the title.
# Magick is self-evidently as simple or as complicated as the practitoner
# needs to make it in order to achieve the end result.

it isn't self-evident to this mage. there are so many structural descripts
for the ontological function of magic that the whole "belief-based works"
theory is sometimes foisted completely without challenge. if magic achieves
the cause of effects at distance using symbolic means, then why it must be
dependent solely upon the *imagination* of the magician (as compared with
the glorious *natural world* upon which so much natural magic, witchcraft,
etc., is based), is not something I completely understand. perhaps it is
a result of the urbanization of human beings that this has become such a
popular paradigm, but many of those sources upon whom modern magic-users
draw (e.g. Agrippa, others) did NOT conceive of this belief-based cosmos.

perhaps, comparably, it is a result of competition with empirical science.

# If a particular group
# wish to set up 'levels' and 'examinations of skill or memory' (such as the
# GD did, and the masons still do, to name but two) then that is for them to
# decide.

where it pertains to magic, and this doesn't necessarily involve other human
beings in the activity or by cosmological presupposition, it is indeed.
as an "art" its inherent articles are a function of those making them. as 
a science, comparably, this kind of thinking doesn't wash, rationally.

# This has no bearing on the magick itself does it ?

that depends on how magic works. if it is a function of belief, and what
is done ritually that's attached to the powerful will of the mage will 
occur when it is not opposed by equivalent counter-force, then it would 
have no bearing on magic at all, no. if 'some things work better than
others' (even for single individuals), then certain groups may find that
certain forms or styles of magic may work better for them over time, 
in particular formats or with certain components, in which case it 
would indeed have a bearing on magic itself at least for the involved.

# Most groups and
# indeed civilisations have 'rites of passage' between segments of life ...
# they are important to the adherents of course, but not to anyone else.
# For example, a Jewish boy may go through a ritual at age 13 to mark his
# transition to manhood.  However if he does not go through the ritual, 
# he will still make the transition; will still grow old and die.

agreed. the issue with religious participation in these rites is that
the God can sanctify the event, protect the individual, etc. 

# The veils of secrecy are there to protect those behind them .... secrets to
# make sure that only those who know the secret can take part.  They have no
# meaning in themselves.

I don't follow the logic of why this is included (ostensibly because of the
Hermetic propensity to employ masonic standards of secrecy as in Thelema
and Wicca), but agree generally that the mechanism of secrecy is not usually
itself given symbolism. sometimes it is: as a distance between innocent
and mature development, separating 'Elders' from 'Young folx'.

# Reading the often aggressive exchange on this topic is, given my beliefs,
# absolutely fascinating - long may it continue.

in part I think that the reason that exchanges on Enochian magic are so
aggressive is the Judeochristian overtones provided to its originating
context. the use of the name 'Enoch' and the repute provided to the
'angelic language' (Dee: "superior to Hebrew"!) can sometimes rub those
who discuss it the wrong way. its Judeochristian originating context is
to great extent what I don't like about it, but I do like it when it is
employed by witches (e.g. Paul Huson's "Mastering Witchcraft") as a
backdrop for their withcraft lineages/tradition/powers. 

however, my main point is that it is morally superior, functionally more
dissolving of the oppressive religion (compare Unitarianism or the Metro-
politan Community Church in my area at least) and takes away any kind of
resistance to its worshippers' joining in the polytheistic frenzyparty to
tell them: 

	"Jesus-worshippers, Jehovans? sure! bring 'em on! You can be part
	 of our Circles if you like, as long as you are cordial and don't
	 bring a dismissive, conversion-oriented attitude into our midst."

think how much more rational this is than selecting one pantheon (which
I argue is the deity-set of the virtual *parent* of Neopaganism: 
Jehovah-Jesus, Mary, the Archangels, angels, apostles, saints, etc., 
etc.) and saying:

	"Oh no, we don't believe in that set of gods."

one might as well maintain that the Chinese gods are all false and that
only Japanese, or American, or middle-eastern gods are real. it smacks
of a limited, foolish mind, or one very severely constrained by those
religions against whom one is opposing.

you later say to [M]:
#># I make no case for, or against, Enochian Magick ..... I cannot 
#># 'try it' as it is founded on something I hold to be untrue,
#> What do you think Enochian magick is founded on, which you 
#> hold to be untrue?
# The existence of angels, among other things.

do spirits exist? gods? elementals? disbelieving an entire class
of beings (e.g. 'djinns', 'faeries', 'ghosts', etc.) starts in on
a whole response of why they don't and whether these objections
apply to one's favoured spirit-agents.

food for thought, blessed beast!

r       B
o      l         b
n     e        e
w    s       a
o   s      s
d  e     t
e d    !

Newsgroups: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,talk.religion.misc,alt.religion.wicca,alt.pagan,alt.pagan.magick
Subject: Re: Magic, Religion and Belief
References: <> <> <>  <> <2ODMc.13929$> <> <0YQMc.15526$> <>  <>  <>  <>
From: nagasiva 
User-Agent: nn/6.6.0
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Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2004 21:47:05 GMT
X-Trace: 1091051225 (Wed, 28 Jul 2004 14:47:05 PDT)
NNTP-Posting-Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2004 14:47:05 PDT
Xref: alt.magick.tyagi:48241 alt.magick:381009 talk.religion.misc:414106 alt.religion.wicca:862184 alt.pagan:397158 alt.pagan.magick:41862

50040728 viii om 

thanks, Gianna, for entertaining my questions. much appreciated.

"nocTifer" :
#> if magic is the activity of doing things with unseen agents and it doesn't
#> matter if the agents are real, then it might not be important whether you
#> believed in the reality of that with which you were interacting. this was
#> in part why I mentioned the value of Discordians and their fabrications of
#> gods out of cartoon characters, famous individuals, or their own minds.

"Gianna Stefani" :
# Interesting - does it not matter if the agents are real ?  

this (what is 'real' and how does it affect magic?) is the 
central issue here, yes.

# Are you suggesting here, in simple terms, that if I were to pray to 
# Saint Herbet of Hindustan for some favour, he would grant it even 
# though he never existed as a human, is not a saint, and so does 
# not have any 'powers' to grant my request?

compare "Saint Expedite".

the point is that "real" has a number of valences which are not being
considered in any depth. they might be "real" in the sense that they
are intelligences in human consciousness but not outside of that.
they might be "real" in that they are thoughtforms created over 
decades by hundreds of people but never lived and never had any
reality outside of these minds. they may be "real" in the sense
of some aspect of an individual's consciousness or spirit that is 
well-named and identified but not extended outside an individual.

#> what are the minimal requirements for engaging magical pursuits? 
#> belief is in some way necessary? as you lay it out, this does make 
#> some sense (since as you have it belief is what makes the results), 
#> but if the function and form do not necessarily cohere to what is 
#> believed, then something else may be a determining factor (such as 
#> the combination of worshipper or mage and the objects of 
#> worship/involved with the magic).
# I think that the belief of the practitioner is required.  

belief-driven. this seems a widely-believed cosmology. :>
it's also amusingly self-circumscribed. 

# As I hope I have made clear, if a believer in Enochian 
# and its bases performs something correctly, I (and the 
# practitioner) would expect it to work.  But if I, a 
# non-believer, tried it (and why would I when I don't 
# believe it) I would not expect it to work (and neither 
# would the Enochian practioner I think).

as you think it's belief-*driven*, you would not, of course,
attempt it, because you'd expect it to fail on account of
your not making it happen by belief. if you didn't *believe*
(humorously enough) that belief was the driver behind function,
then you may well think it valuable to experiment, try it out,
check to see if there really *was* something into which one
might connect through rituals, shewstones, tables, or whatever.

r       B
o      l         b
n     e        e
w    s       a
o   s      s
d  e     t
e d    !

Newsgroups: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.satanism,alt.religion.wicca,talk.religion.misc,alt.christnet,alt.pagan.magick
Subject: Cosmologies, Religion, Syncretism and Respect
References: <> <> <>  <>
From: lorax666 
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Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2004 22:58:21 GMT
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Xref: alt.magick.tyagi:48247 alt.satanism:246124 alt.religion.wicca:862211 talk.religion.misc:414109 alt.christnet:777571 alt.pagan.magick:41868

50040728 viii om

"Gianna Stefani" :
# pardon the snipping - limited time today ...

greatly appreciated, thanks!

#> the method used to determine a god's existential status, therefore, 
#> becomes important in the consideration of any single individual's 
#> exposition....
#> seems that you have learned popular Neopagan attitudes and 
#> beliefs regarding what to do about the enveloping, semi-hostile 
#> culture in which you find yourself (guessing: Christian):
# If there were any popular neopagan attitudes almost forty years 
# ago then I have to confess that I was totally unaware of them....

very interesting. I don't know of the means of this attitude's
arising, but I suggest it may be in part inspired by Christians.

# ...I came to my beliefs as a result of a personal search of what 
# was available to me, combined with some sort of inherent feeling 
# of 'how things are'.  (I had been required to attend 'sunday 
# school' at the age of ten and felt very aware even then that 
# what I was being told was not believable although I had no 
# idea why at that time.)

the requirement is in part what I meant about the enveloping
religious environment. 

# For example, it was obvious to me that death and rebirth occur, 
# and that nothing is ever lost from the planet...  ... why was 
# it obvious to me ?  Well, watch a deciduous tree
# ..... (no, I don't hug them).

I do!!!!! it's fun and I recommend it! trees need love too! :>

# I did not live in a semi-hostile culture - my antecedents were 
# nominally christian 


# but were wholly inactive in terms of beliefs - I was free to
# practice my personal beliefs in the family home and would be left
# undisturbed while doing so.  There was a desire that I should not 
# do anyone harm (a popular misgiving of nominal christians I think), 
# but then I had no plans to try that anyway.

I had a similar upbringing but my parents weren't nominally anything
(other than, perhaps, agnostics).

# The reason for dismissing the J/C/I deity is because I cannot see 
# that their deity, who I understand claims to be the only deity, 

unless you heard it from that deity, you may wish to look more 
closely into that deity's attributed sayings. 'have no gods before
me', for example, clearly indicates other gods. the initial (Older
Testament) parts of Christian scripture have clear references to
a 'council of gods' (the *elohim*) of which the Jehovah god may 
have been portrayed as Chieftain. other gods are mentioned in the
same scripture, so it is a bit of a stretch to formulate so myopic
a cosmology out of Christian scripture without ostrich-tendencies.

# could be a subset of the previously existing deities - that would 
# be a contradiction in terms.  

I like your reasoning, to a point. you could just as easily take
it for granted that, like any other god with whom you have had no
interaction, it *does* exist, but it is misunderstood about its
contentions, or its worshippers or even the god itself LIES about 
the universe, and the god's importance/role within it.
your choice to disbelieve in the god, therefore, is an extreme
reaction which I can totally understand. it sets up a kind of
opposition to Christian religion which is admirable in the face
of the kind of disrespect and dismissiveness that are often
offered to those who are not Christian or Jews or Muslims.

# I do not reject it simply as a form of denial.

thanks for elaborating on your thoughts here.

# I will explain this if I can - I do not reject all other deities 
# but mine own.  

ok, that's the first step, really, in a consideration of a cosmology.

	* is the configuration described with the cosmology
	  the only believed content of the universe?

the second would be something like

	* is the cosmology somehow meldable to compatibility
	  with that of others?

e.g. it may reinterpret the cosmology of others (changing the 
conditions of the competing gods, for example), but it mixes
and doesn't require "your god" to be imaginary, 'false', etc.
# I accept in principle the existence of myriad deities regardless 
# of their 'ethnic origins' (chinese, japanese, roman, greek, 
# scandinavian .....  any country).  My personal deities do not 
# oblige me to believe in the non existence or falseness of 
# other deities.

I find that this is true about most Neopagans, though for some
reason (maybe those you are here outlining) they choose to
disbelieve in gods whose worshippers do them likewise (it is
something openly-espoused as an ethic by Satanists: to offer 
like treatment to those who support or oppose you).
# Equally I can find no reason to believe that all paths lead to 
# the one 'power' as though there is some necessity for there 
# to only be one power ...

New Agers like that quite a bit. a kind of inferred syncretism.

# that is a comparatively recent idea which seems to me to be 
# an attempt to get the (now) mainstream religions to not 
# persecute the (now) minor ones because 'it is all the same 
# thing really'.

which is not likely to happen as long as these mainstream
religions are 

	* opposed to iconography that doesn't match theirs
	* opposed to iconography of any kind
	* interested more in conversion than collaboration
	* wielding an exclusivist and incompatible cosmology
	* unable to play nicely :>

at which point they deserve the sort of treatment you are
laying out.

that said, I'm not sure that the tolerance of Neopagans is
showing its best face to Jews/Christians/Muslims who *can*
play nicely when it becomes so blatantly anti-Christian.

also, I should make it clear that there are *more harsh*
attitudes (some of which I enjoy), such as that "your prophet(s)
as described within your books never existed", describing a
historical nonexistence of 1 or more human beings, their status
with respect to the cosmos, etc., and "the Creation is imaginary
and unnecessary to explain the facts arrayed before us".

while I find these more extensive dismissals of cosmology to
be helpful in interacting with rude, arrogant religious (we
meet in a more squared-off approximation in knowing how much
we differ, then go from there), I don't think that they are
truly representative of the Unitarian Universalist (CUUPS!)
style 'welcome all gods' approach that I think resonates with
the Neopagan compassionate response (Mama Goddess says 'Sure!
bring your friends and their gods to the table, we'll feed
them and their youn'uns!" ;>).

r       B
o      l         b
n     e        e
w    s       a
o   s      s
d  e     t
e d    !

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