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Neopaganism and Christianity; Religion

To: alt.divination
From: tyagi nagasiva (
Subj: Neopaganism and Christianity; Religion (
Date: 49940205

Quoting: | (Laura)

I'll bite...

Laura writes:

|Help!  I recently told my mother that I was a pagan, and now she's looking
|for answers that I cannot seem to give her.  

That's what great parents are for, to keep us on our toes.

|(Either I understand the
|situation but I have difficulty explaining to her what I understand, or its
|a question that I am satisfied with not knowing.)

a) Perhaps you do not understand it conceptually but it feels right to you.

b) Perhaps later you will know more and will be able to share your journey
   to such knowledge with mother.  Sharing and communications are very 
   important kinship-building skills.

|Specifically, some of her concerns are:
|1. To what do you pray?  

Great question.  The word 'pray' is key here.

|(I made the mistake of offering her my
|meta-religious theory on the existence of  deity--to quote another source,
|God/dess is the sum of all forces in the universe, and what you call
|Her/Him/It is relevant only to the purpose of your prayer/spell/&c.)  

I think this is also referred to as 'secular humanism' by the fundamentalist
Christian establishment.  Essentially it comes down to antinomian pantheism.

|I am
|trying to get her to understand that all gods are one God; all Goddesses
|are one Goddess; and the two are united.

Great teaching, but poor on its philosophic staying power.  If your Mom
is an intellectual this one won't hold her off.

|2. Why are you rejecting Xianity?  Why are you trying to "make your peace"
|[my words] with it?

Another great question.  I think there was some truth to the person's
claims that characterized you as not rejecting Christianity but particular
ASPECTS of the tradition you've come to know as 'Christianity'.

|Well, I'm trying to tell her that although I understand the good in
|Xianity, I wish to reject that which is not consistent with my observations
|and experiences.  

The method of Science, the aim of Religion.

|Wicca gave me a framework in which to place those
|experiences ones that affirm both life and womanhood.

More power to you!  That should be reason enough for her!

|3. A slightly stickier wicket how do I approach the subject of magick? 

I would suggest that you do not know what it means yet and keep up
the studies.  Any 'Elder' who claims they 'know what magick is' is to
be scrutinized carefully.  People study for years and never come to
an understanding of this one word.

|4. What is the governing principle?

This is very important.  Your mother is looking here for the general
route of action.  I suggest focussing on the shared values among
neo-pagans of ecology and the freedom of religion.  Aside from this,
and some feminism, there isn't much that will really scare her if
she isn't beyond your reach.

Consider this carefully.  What is the governing principle of Wicca?
Certainly the Rede provides a lovely railing for the stairwell, but
where does that stairwell lead?  I claim that it leads toward a fusion
of self and other such that the interests of our biosphere and general
environment will become our own, mystically and socio-politically.

Beyond this I tend to feel like the 'spirit' of Wicca is its mystery,
its deep hold on the Dark Lord and Lady, even when they show us their
faces of pain and shame.

|I've told her the Wiccan Rede (Harm none and do as you will), but she feels
|it's too easily twisted to condone sacrifice and the like.

As I said in a previous post, she is correct.  It, like the Law of Thelema,
not a moral injunction or imperative.

|5. Why is it so secretive?  Why isn't it something you can share with the

A very good question.

|For me, ceremonies are intensely personal (I'm a solitary at present), with
|meditations, and I don't really *have* anyone with whom to share
|celebrations.  And I know that Pagan/Wiccan practices can be shared with
|the public, at festivals, &c., so its not completely hidden.  

Harbor no illusions.  Festivals and large-scale rites often lack the very
intense and personal energy of a well-oiled coven.  Sometimes the very
disapproval of the authorities in our lives brings about the need for our
rite.  When this is the case, sometimes a symbolic (or actual?) transgression
of that directive may be valuable.  Peggy, this ties into the bloody cookie

|I tried
|explaining that the reason the broom closet exists in the first place is a
|result of the early Xian church's erroneous association of pagan practice
|with the newly formed satanism, but that didn't satisfy her.

Not only that, there is still great fear about heresy and conversion,
mainly, I'd wager, due to the weakness of the faith.  Those who have
found God need never doubt His Perfect Way.

As well your mother ought not be satisfied.  Wicca is certainly a
heretical tradition as examined by the more strict Christian sects.
Besides priestesses and the acceptance of the body, sexuality and
self-determination, I'm sure there are quite a few disputes regarding
the nature and value of doctrine/dogma.

|She doesn't buy my explanations, and I'm trying my best to place that which
|I understand into concrete terms.  Any assistance any of you can offer me
|would be wonderful.

I've done the best I could do.  Good luck.

|I don't often get the chance to read all that is in the newsgroups, so
|please mail responses to me:

Sorry, only posting this so far.



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