PDA

View Full Version : Question on ancestry for the Folkish types.



GabrielWithoutWings
March 1st, 2009, 11:58 PM
I have a question for the Folkish types on this forum. I was going to post this in the Norse section since they are usually the most outspoken on Folkishness (that I've seen, anyway).

If one believes in evolution and the Out of Africa theory, then why do folkish types stop with Celtic or Norse culture? Why not go back as far as possible and simply adopt African deities and whatnot, since that's where everyone is supposed to come from anyway?

Just curious.

Rick
March 2nd, 2009, 12:36 AM
Hmm... good question...

Answering only for myself, I honor all of my Ancestors, every last damned one of 'em, whoever they were & wherever they originated. But that doesn't change my point of view that Odin is the First Ancestor of the human race; therefore, I might argue that Odin is the progenitor of anyone that came out of Africa, or anywhere else. So... taking your question full circle, why doesn't the entire world follow their First Ancestor, Odin, and his kin?

Glowingsun
March 2nd, 2009, 12:56 AM
That is a good question.

I believe that it was just so long ago that it becomes irrelevent to us. Plus many of the human population are no longer of African descant or are black that we tend to get a bit wary when we try to share te same interests as Africans. We think " Am I being offensive or am I being appreciative and supportive for their race?" Basically what I'm trying to say is that their is just too much differences now and not all people have the same ideas about human origins and there is just too much racism and racist accusations going around or a European to say " Hey, I'm from Africa too."
We can all see the african in us, though. Especially if your like me and you have alot of "chocolate" spots and moles and beauty marks on your body. Really, though, it's just pigmants. And color doesn't have much to do with it. It's all about the how big your anscetral culture is and how long it has been going down through the family. There is just so many cultures mixing dividing that its almost impossible to trace every one of them and live all those cultures with out confusing yourself and running you mad.
And here's another question. If we all originated from Africa and all have African roots and descended from only 2 people. Doesn't that make us all related? Which means there is no such thing as a true stranger and we have both, the rich and powerful, the homeless, the terrorists and the saints, the educators and the idiots all in our one enormous, world wide family. Boggles the mind, don't it!?

BenSt
March 2nd, 2009, 02:22 AM
I just saw this and although I am not Recon... I think I'll add my two cents.

Quite simply put... think of two parellel running lines. One is Norse religion, one is say Nigerian Fon religion...

Nigerian Fon religion evolved from an earlier religious system that was shared by the ethnic ancestors of the Fon, Yoruba and other Mali kingdom peoples. Norse religion evolved from an earlier shared religious affiliation of europe that in it's self evolved from earlier Indo-European linguistic and cultural origins.

Sure we can trace back and eventually all Humans would have had a shared culture and possibly religion. But thats also assuming that religion was a concept for early humans. There is some evidence but even if there was... we would not know what Gods earlier Humans out of Africa worshipped.

Many people assume that religions that exist today are continuations of religions that existed 6000 years ago and that is not the case. To say that an African deity that exists now is the same African deity that was worshipped by Humans 50 000 years ago in north africa is ludicrous (not to say you're ludicrous because your question is really good!). As religions evolve in a certain region, the same thing happens in other regions. Indo-Europeans have as little, culturally, to do with modern day African peoples as walruses have to baboons.

Another analogy can be made within the Indo-Aryan grouping. So, when looking back in time... research suggests that one ethnic group originating somewhere in between Asia and Europe began to spread. This ethnic group was the ancestor group for North Indians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, as well as the Norse, some Slavic groups, Germanic/Norse peoples. All these groups share linguistic similarities. So say 7000 years ago this group spread and one branch of that family tree became Vedic Hinduism... one branch became Norse religion as practiced in Sweden. Those two groups are not the same... they can trace their origins back but they wouldn't be the same. They both evolved from the original shared religion... but you cannot say that a Norse person could start worshiping Vedic Gods because it's an invalid argument to say that the Vedic Hindus are the ancestors.

Religiously speaking African Religions evolved in much the same ways as other religious groupings around the world to rteflect the history and changing culture of those groups. Gods were shaped out of that changing environment.

But you raise a good point. A lot of tiems I see on thsi board people wanting to go back to the 'Old ways' before Christianity was part of their family. The truth of the matter is though that Christianity has been a dominant force in the world for a long time and it is a traditional family religion. All family trees will reflect the times. Just because you may have some celtic origin in you doesnt mean that your family was not being 'traditional' by being Christian for 1000 years. But you could go back as far as you want and still not be satisfied. This is why I feel that sometimes the excuse of wanting to follow a path because of ethnicity or heritage is fawlty. Especially for people descended from the British Isles... that small island chain is such a metling pot that you may not have any celtic in you and be purely Anglo-Saxon or Norman, but no one can tell.

David19
March 2nd, 2009, 05:19 AM
I just saw this and although I am not Recon... I think I'll add my two cents.

Quite simply put... think of two parellel running lines. One is Norse religion, one is say Nigerian Fon religion...

Nigerian Fon religion evolved from an earlier religious system that was shared by the ethnic ancestors of the Fon, Yoruba and other Mali kingdom peoples. Norse religion evolved from an earlier shared religious affiliation of europe that in it's self evolved from earlier Indo-European linguistic and cultural origins.

Sure we can trace back and eventually all Humans would have had a shared culture and possibly religion. But thats also assuming that religion was a concept for early humans. There is some evidence but even if there was... we would not know what Gods earlier Humans out of Africa worshipped.

Many people assume that religions that exist today are continuations of religions that existed 6000 years ago and that is not the case. To say that an African deity that exists now is the same African deity that was worshipped by Humans 50 000 years ago in north africa is ludicrous (not to say you're ludicrous because your question is really good!). As religions evolve in a certain region, the same thing happens in other regions. Indo-Europeans have as little, culturally, to do with modern day African peoples as walruses have to baboons.

Another analogy can be made within the Indo-Aryan grouping. So, when looking back in time... research suggests that one ethnic group originating somewhere in between Asia and Europe began to spread. This ethnic group was the ancestor group for North Indians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, as well as the Norse, some Slavic groups, Germanic/Norse peoples. All these groups share linguistic similarities. So say 7000 years ago this group spread and one branch of that family tree became Vedic Hinduism... one branch became Norse religion as practiced in Sweden. Those two groups are not the same... they can trace their origins back but they wouldn't be the same. They both evolved from the original shared religion... but you cannot say that a Norse person could start worshiping Vedic Gods because it's an invalid argument to say that the Vedic Hindus are the ancestors.

Religiously speaking African Religions evolved in much the same ways as other religious groupings around the world to rteflect the history and changing culture of those groups. Gods were shaped out of that changing environment.

But you raise a good point. A lot of tiems I see on thsi board people wanting to go back to the 'Old ways' before Christianity was part of their family. The truth of the matter is though that Christianity has been a dominant force in the world for a long time and it is a traditional family religion. All family trees will reflect the times. Just because you may have some celtic origin in you doesnt mean that your family was not being 'traditional' by being Christian for 1000 years. But you could go back as far as you want and still not be satisfied. This is why I feel that sometimes the excuse of wanting to follow a path because of ethnicity or heritage is fawlty. Especially for people descended from the British Isles... that small island chain is such a metling pot that you may not have any celtic in you and be purely Anglo-Saxon or Norman, but no one can tell.

I agree with your points, and, although I'm not Folkish, I'd say the reason Folkish Recons and/or Pagans don't go back to African religions is 'cause we don't know anything at all about the first African religion, and, also, while we did all originate in Africa, humans did seperate into different groups, different cultures, you can't just treat the Norse culture like an "adaption" of an African religion, technically, Folkish Heathens (or Folkish anybody) are honouring their ancestors that were a part of a specific cultural group, not all ancestors (although, like Rick said, maybe some honour every ancestor a person might have, regardless if they know them or not). If someone tried to go back to the first African religion, it's likely they'd find it very hard, and might not get much out of it, compared to focusing on a specific section of their human (and divine) ancestors, whether it's the Norse, Greek, Roman, Iranian/Persian, Vedic, Kemetic, whatever, etc.

Personally, just 'cause the Norse, Roman, Persian/Iranian, Greek, Vedic, Celtic, Hittite and Slavic cultures, etc all share the same Indo-European heritage, doesn't make them the same cultures at all, or even worshipping the same God, maybe, at some point in the distant past, the proto-type ancestors of them did worship the same Gods, but, now, Odin is different to Zeus who's different to Indra, who's different to the Morrigan, etc, they can't be treated as the same, in both Mythology, rituals, Lore, beliefs, etc.

Hope that answered your question.

Ruby Heart
March 2nd, 2009, 09:48 AM
I'm Folkish and a pagan Odinist, and I've been pagan since I was a teenager and I'm still learning. I want to take in as much as possible. I've even studied the beliefs of the Greeks, Romans, Celts, Vedic Indians and Amerindians. I've also studied science and alternative science theories that break traditional human evolution theories. I have opinions about human origins that I won't go into on here but that's a different topic needing its own thread.

Personally I think the reason some people don't adopt an African path is because their paths choose them. Each culture has different meanings and contains wisdom of all types. They are far more potent than you think. Magic isn't simply the reason I'm drawn to my faith but also because it calls me and I feel it. If that makes sense to you then that explains why I can't pick and choose a religious/path when I want. People become druids because it calls them.

It's a very heavy subject becuse you go into the psyche and touch on deep levels in order to understand something.

GabrielWithoutWings
March 11th, 2009, 04:43 AM
Thank you all for your answers.

I see the words "distinct culture" being thrown around a bit.

If you call yourself "folkish," but are stopping at a particular point in your ancestry, then wouldn't "culturish" be more appropriate?

BenSt
March 11th, 2009, 11:32 AM
It's not about stopping at a particular point in your ancestry, it's about embracing a particular tradition of one's ethnic or cultural identity. "Folk" means "a people," so to be "folkish" is to follow the ways of one's people, appreciating them as part of an ethno-religious tradition.

I have to say I'm very uncomfortable with this idea though.

To suggest that a cultural identity is stagnant, as you are, is to ignore the changes in that cultural identity. In Ireland, for example, it no longer is Celtic. It's very Catholic and that is a strong part of Irish identity right now.

But I think it also needs to be said that particular cultures around today did not exist when Polytheism was the norm in the world. There was no such thing as English people, or welsh people or Irish people for that matter. The identity was entirely based around kingdoms, tribes and chiefdoms. English identity for me... emerged AFTER the country of england was formed and even then the conceptualization of what it meant to be 'english' was vastly different from what it is today, ergo an extinct English culture existed then and was replaced with successive forms until it's present form now.

I also am a little confused and perhaps this can be a general question... but when we look at religion it tends to be controlled a lot of the time by the elite. Reconstructionists tend to frame their practices on official information, documents, and knowledge that is transmitted through archeology. Folkism, in a rural common persojn sense and not the NeoPagan tradition connected to Norse Paganism... just doesn't make sense. Since all religions inevitably form a higher class because of social politics, information about religion that is taught usually comes to us from a ruling class. Such as the Priesthood, The Caliph, the Vatican, The Druids, Pharoahs and Priesthood...etc,. Thus, reconstructionism doesn't really reflect that much the ways of the 'common people' but more the point of view of the upper elite. So I guess my question is... what exactly is folkish about any religion when it comes from an elite hierarchy (if the religion as practiced in popular culture of the time is not as represented in material we have available today?)?

Rick
March 11th, 2009, 12:55 PM
I have to say I'm very uncomfortable with this idea though.

Could explain a lot about you not bein' folkish, as those of us who are folkish (who the OP was addressing) are not uncomfortable with the idea.

ETA: That came out soundin' harsh, which wasn't my intent. Was just sayin'...

kaosxmage
March 11th, 2009, 02:41 PM
What a great thread! Now that's out of the way ...

This is a wonderful point to the spread of humans throughout the globe. I've pondered many of these questions, and I think you'll find a great deal of treasure in this search.

It seems to me the original concept of religion may have been something like animism, that slowly rose into anthropomorphic dieties. One dominant repeat in God names and forms is the Raven - just as an example. Slowly over time the Raven isn't just a bird, but a godlike being with some human qualities. A little more time goes by, and the Raven becomes a messenger of the Gods or what the God has shapechanged into. We get Raven references throughout mythology: Bran the Blessed, Branwen, The Morrigan, Odin's Ravens, and a host of others. Time and place shape and change the relgious views and needs of a people.

If we all started somehwre in Africa, look at the example of Ravens in myth. North American Indians refer to Ravens as tricksters / creators in most myth. Europeans tend to give Ravens a link to otherworlds, death, thought, memory, and perhaps royalty. (Not writing an essay, I promise). People descended from the same ancestors way back in the mist of time start looking at the same spiritual signals differently. The environment and customs developed in their own tribes determine how spirit enters their life.

In my experience, folkish recons are looking at a specific time and place to rebuild. It's what sings to their soul. I tend to think their work is a difficult choice. There's little solid knowledge that wasn't passed down from Christian monks. Archaeology suggests there wasn't even uniform practice among the same "culture". Often the ties that bind are language related. While I'm not folkish myself, I can't help to thank them for the very hard nosed research they alone seem capable of. Without the diligent work of recons we may still think there was a golden paved empire of matriarchal peace in the past. I'm sure I read that somewhere ...

Lunchtime ...to conclude, we as people have evolved. Our spiritual needs have evolved. It would be terribly impractical and fairly void to the majority of us to follow a tradition that is linked to a specific rock, on a specific hill, that needs a specific language no mouth has uttered in ...calculator anyone?

--Kaos

BenSt
March 11th, 2009, 03:24 PM
Could explain a lot about you not bein' folkish, as those of us who are folkish (who the OP was addressing) are not uncomfortable with the idea.

ETA: That came out soundin' harsh, which wasn't my intent. Was just sayin'...

Oh ofcourse and no you didn't come across harsh at all, the OP was posing it to 'folkish' types. But I guess I was more uncomfortable with this idea that culture and ethnicity is stagnant and someone who lives now has a direct cultural continuation with a specific culture of a specific time that their current culture spawned from.

As an anglo-saxon British national, Canadian living white guy... questions of culture come up for me all the time because I belong to an ethnic religion of whose ethnicity I do not belong. I have had to go through a very similar process as Reconstructionists do when coming to terms with how important ethnicity is to a religious path, but also how that religion has changed or how that ethnicity ahs changed. Culture and religion is not stagnant... and identity is not stagnant either. which is why I think that this question is an interesting one. I was directing that uncomfortable statement more towards Tomas.

Morgaine_cla
March 12th, 2009, 02:20 AM
But I think it also needs to be said that particular cultures around today did not exist when Polytheism was the norm in the world.

I beg to differ... A very large percentage of the world is Hindu, Buddhist, Bon, or other faiths that maintain a belief in multiple deities. Merely because we live in the West and are accustomed to think of the whole world as Judeo-Christian-Muslim, does not make it so.

BenSt
March 12th, 2009, 10:04 PM
I beg to differ... A very large percentage of the world is Hindu, Buddhist, Bon, or other faiths that maintain a belief in multiple deities. Merely because we live in the West and are accustomed to think of the whole world as Judeo-Christian-Muslim, does not make it so.

Buddhists don't believe in Gods... neither do Jains. Bon religion is influenced by Buddhism and is too small a religion to even include. There are only 1 Billion Hindus, but over a Billion Muslims and 2 Billion Christians. Realistically, the majority of the world is Monotheistic. But I am referring to Polytheism as a major world history maker in Europe. Europe has been formed now based on a history of monotheism and the emergence of secularism.

GabrielWithoutWings
March 15th, 2009, 04:43 AM
Buddhists don't believe in Gods...

Technically, that isn't true. The Buddha's birth was said to give the gods great joy, because even they are subject to the wheel.

Buddhists simply don't give gods worship because it's still a form of attachment.

GabrielWithoutWings
March 15th, 2009, 05:39 AM
Again, thank you for the replies, everyone.

I suppose I was curious because I feel utterly no connection whatsoever to any of my ancestors barring a few that I personally knew and loved.

I greatly respect anyone that feels the call of blood enough to invoke their dead multi-great grandparent that fought in the Revolutionary War to steady their aim while shooting and all that, but I simply feel no connection to any culture that I'd be a stranger in. I don't even fit in southern American culture, other than the horrible drawl.

I was introduced to Asatru through my ex-wife, who was brave enough to sport her Mjolnir on our wedding day, much to her mother's insistent protests. LOL. It's a respectable belief system, but it just doesn't do anything for me, which is unfortunate.

You'll never know until you ask. Just curiosity, I suppose.

Rick
March 15th, 2009, 03:18 PM
Buddhists don't believe in Gods... neither do Jains. Bon religion is influenced by Buddhism and is too small a religion to even include. There are only 1 Billion Hindus, but over a Billion Muslims and 2 Billion Christians. Realistically, the majority of the world is Monotheistic. But I am referring to Polytheism as a major world history maker in Europe. Europe has been formed now based on a history of monotheism and the emergence of secularism.

?!?

Two BILLION Christians?

You're gonna have to cite your source for that, and any wikis won't do.

Kaliel
March 15th, 2009, 03:33 PM
For me, that was where the line ended or began I guess. I mean, it's kinda hard when your family is descendant of a frost giant of the hrimthursar named Fornjotur who was rumored to be a mythological being . . . . you kinda wonder if he was just an alien that landed here and mated with humans. It certainly puts things into perspective though when in all actuality, tracing a family line back even to the 1500's is hard, let alone attempting to do it all the way back to BCE . . . . I mean not to mention, there were only so many written records, wouldn't it be impossible to find out which ape in Africa I descended from if they couldn't write about it until thousands of years later?

BenSt
March 15th, 2009, 07:08 PM
?!?

Two BILLION Christians?

You're gonna have to cite your source for that, and any wikis won't do.

It does come as a bit surprising to me too... but it makes sense when you think about how big Christian communities are in South America, Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.

There are plenty of sources:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/worldrel.htm
http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/
http://www.religioustolerance.org/growth_isl_chr.htm

BenSt
March 15th, 2009, 07:10 PM
Technically, that isn't true. The Buddha's birth was said to give the gods great joy, because even they are subject to the wheel.

Buddhists simply don't give gods worship because it's still a form of attachment.

Yes that is true. But Buddhists would not identify themselves as Polytheists though... that was what I was getting at. The mahayana may accept the existance of Gods as a form of life form, they do not worship them. Bodhisattvas are also not classed as Gods. Therevada the southern school doesn't achkowledge Gods at all. Maybe spirits but not Gods.

Morgaine_cla
March 17th, 2009, 01:24 AM
Bon religion is influenced by Buddhism and is too small a religion to even include.

Actually, Bon preceded Buddhism... Also, if you added up all the religions you prefer to exclude, but which share similar beliefs on this issue, there would be quite a few people to contend with... Unless you prefer to exclude all native spiritualities... in which case, you can debate their "significance" with them! Also, I would not be too quick to make claims for Monotheism, since if that's the case the mess the world is in now can be laid entirely and neatly in their laps...

Did you say two billion Christians???... Do you mean two billion people that the majority of Westerners assume are Christians because they didn't self-identify as anything else on a census, or two billion boa-fide practicing Christians?

BenSt
March 17th, 2009, 01:58 AM
I don't want to derail this thread... and so if you want to persue this conversation in a new thread then we can do that, but I think it's important to respond.


Actually, Bon preceded Buddhism... Also, if you added up all the religions you prefer to exclude, but which share similar beliefs on this issue, there would be quite a few people to contend with... Unless you prefer to exclude all native spiritualities... in which case, you can debate their "significance" with them! Also, I would not be too quick to make claims for Monotheism, since if that's the case the mess the world is in now can be laid entirely and neatly in their laps...

Bon is tiny. Bon religion in Tibet has been absorbed by Buddhism. Bon followers identify as Buddhists and the Bon religion has been transformed to become a Tibetan Buddhist branch. But statisticly compared to the rest of Buddhism, Bon has may perhaps only a few million followers since the population of Tibetan people is quite quite small.

But what religions are you talking about here? Tribal polytheistic religions are very regionalized and have hardly had an impact on the world at large. They are also very small in population. If you want I can find data for populations by . Also, Native spirituality is quite vauge... and they cannot be homogenized as all being polytheistic if you want to go by each Band and Tribe.

And as for monotheism... the reality is in many of the more important parts of ther world right now such as Asia, Europe, Africa and North and South America... is has been a major world shaper. It has had an affect on the shaping of the world, whether good or bad. But I feel almost like you are making presumptions here. Monotheism includes Zoroastrianism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Quite arguably Islam has shaped and affected a huge portion of the world and it's politics... as has Christianity.



Did you say two billion Christians???... Do you mean two billion people that the majority of Westerners assume are Christians because they didn't self-identify as anything else on a census, or two billion boa-fide practicing Christians?


That's assuming a lot though. That's assuming that world governments are unable or inadequate in conducting census.

You also assume that Christianity means westerners. There are millions of followers of other branches of Christianity other than Catholicism. If you look around the world, there are Christians in pretty much all countries. I think your argument that westerners claim people as Christians is really inadequate since a lot of the data I added seems to have come from the United Nations. To say that it is western bias to add people as Christians who may not identify as that is a flawed argument.

Morgaine_cla
March 17th, 2009, 12:24 PM
I don't want to derail this thread... and so if you want to persue this conversation in a new thread then we can do that

I don't see any point, really. Firstly, you've ignored the main thrust of what I was saying in order to focus on details taken out of context (your arguments about Bon being tiny ignore the fact that I was talking about a group of spiritualities sharing similar core beliefs, of which Bon was one example). Your claims over the past several posts are no better substantiated than are mine (where is your citation showing that the U.N. supports your demographic claims?), but whereas I see mine as opinions, you state yours as universal fact. Since there is no real discussion happening here, why should I expect one to happen someplace else?

I'm not sure what the agenda is here, but I'll leave you to it, thanks just the same.

BenSt
March 17th, 2009, 12:26 PM
I don't see any point, really. Your claims over the past several posts are no better substantiated than are mine, but whereas I see mine as opinions, you state yours as universal fact -- which means the best I could hope for would be a wrestling match over whose "facts" are more real. Being a mortal, I need a bit more than that. But thanks for the invitation.

Well Im inviting because I think it could turn into a real good discussion and debate. :)

Morgaine_cla
March 17th, 2009, 12:35 PM
Interesting concept... but you'll forgive me if I respectfully decline. My blood pressure is high enough already.