PDA

View Full Version : Naturalistic Paganism



Equinox
June 30th, 2004, 01:18 PM
Hi-
Naturalistic Paganism is another spiritual thread to add to the colorful and diverse tapestry of Paganism. I have a naturalistic worldview, which means that I doubt the existence of personal gods, or the idea that prayers remotely change the world. I call myself Pagan because I find meaning in Pagan metaphors like the wheel of the year, and revere the gods as archetypes and human ideals.

I come across other people with this view from time to time. We tend to be a little older, and often have a scientific background. I didn’t see this approach described on the web, so I made a small website for it (www.naturalpagan.org).

I’ve found that this path works well for some people, especially humanists who feel their spirituality is too boring. It also works well sometimes for spouses of Wiccans, or people who aren’t completely into the practice of magick, or are skeptical some other way.

If you are interested, read the page or ask a question, especially if your spouse seems a little suspicious of your Paganism.

May you never thirst-

samiaminsane
June 30th, 2004, 01:39 PM
I feel that much of paganism complements and enriches my life. I see the wheel of the year a beautiful way to honor each stage of our lives and to be with family – not to mention being able to celebrate another year of our lives together. I think that revering gods is good as a way to acknowledge archetypes of humanity (my personal favorite is the titan Prometheus). I see spells as a way for us to symbolically focus our mental energies on specific needs


Wow! Thank you (eternally) for sharing that with us Equinox. That pretty much describes the way I feel, I'm going to have to g do some researching on that now.

Inuus
June 30th, 2004, 07:00 PM
This is pretty nice! It kind of reminds me of my definition of MY vampyrism which I have yet to write an article about.

Equinox
July 7th, 2004, 01:48 PM
I'm glad you both like it! It seems that the most common responses I get are "I don't get it. " or "That's what I've always thought."

Anyway - I can answer questions if needed.

Have a blessed day!

Romani Vixen
July 7th, 2004, 11:13 PM
Quite interesting!!!!

What do you feel that the Gods are metaphors for?

sincerebliss
July 7th, 2004, 11:44 PM
For some reason..I cannot get to the site! :(

Sibylle
July 8th, 2004, 06:13 AM
Curious question though: why should prayer not change the world? I'm asking because otherwise this view sounds very much like mine... and it makes perfect sense to me that anything I focus on grows... which means that positive thoughts can and do change the state of the world, if only in very subtle ways if it's just one person thinking those thoughts.

Thanks for the link, I'll have a closer look at it!

Equinox
July 8th, 2004, 02:20 PM
Romani Vixen wrote:


Quite interesting!!!!

What do you feel that the Gods are metaphors for?
Hi Romani Vixen-

I see the gods as metaphors for human ideas or ways humans act. For instance – I don’t think Apollo is a real person that I could sit down and have a cup of tea with, but I do think the name “Apollo” can be used to personify the human ability to study, learn, and understand. Similarly, the name “Aphrodite” can be used to refer to sexual desire. As a guy, I might say “I’m going out to a party, maybe Aphrodite will bless me tonight.”. I don’t think Aphrodite is sitting up in the sky on the space shuttle, looking down at me, directing my love life. Instead, I’m using the idea of a Goddess of love as a metaphor for human interactions in our real world. Here is a song that personifies Apollo in this way:

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/rush/cygnusx1bookiihemispheres.html (It is a great song too!)

Sincerebliss – Hey, you’re right!! It didn’t work the first time I tried, but I clicked on it again a little later and it worked fine. I think it is just web weirdness. I tried it a few more times, and it seems to be working now. I’ll keep my eye on it. Of course, even normal pages like cnn.com sometime act that way too for me.

Hag Stella wrote:


Curious question though: why should prayer not change the world?

Oh, maybe it does! I just don't see evidence that it does, so I'm guessing that it doesn't.

Please understand that everything I “believe” is just a best guess based on the evidence I can get. So if I’m wondering if my car has a dead battery or not, I’ll check to see if it starts, maybe see if the lights turn on, check it with a voltmeter, check the car’s voltmeter, inspect the battery for damage, etc. In other words, I look at the evidence, not on what I want to be true.

In the same way, I look at all the evidence about prayer (many studies have been done, and they failed to show that prayer had any effect on things like illness). I may try a controlled experiment to test prayer. I wouldn’t just pray that “something good will happen to me”, because good (and bad) things happen all the time, so that prayer is bound to come true. Instead I might pray that “it will rain more than average in July 2004”, then pray “it will rain less than average in September 2004”. After doing this for many months, I might compare the recorded rainfall to the averages for those months, and see if prayer works more than just random chance would dictate (since it will rain more than average in half of the cases anyway). Prayer (or sending energy) certainly works if the recipient knows about it – they appreciate that others are thinking about them, and feel better, and this is bound to help them. I’m talking about whether or not there is some supernatural effect beyond the psychological effect.

It’s not that I’m claiming to know that prayer doesn’t work – I don’t know. My best guess is that it doesn’t based on the studies that have been done, and my own few tests. After all, if I don’t require evidence to believe something, then what should I base belief on? Just on what “feels right”? Or on what my parents said back when I was a kid? Or on how many times I’ve heard it repeated (I’ve heard people say “Jesus saves” many times, but I don’t think repetition makes it true). So that is why I only believe things based on good evidence – and I allow myself to be unsure of something – like whether or not there is life after death (our evidence there is pretty scanty). :ghostie:

In fact, there are a lot of things that many Pagans believe that I don’t (like reincarnation). I might believe it when I see more evidence, but even if I don’t believe it, I don’t have a problem with people who do believe in reincarnation. I like hanging out with other Pagans even if we don’t believe exactly the same thing because they also don’t have a problem with my beliefs. I love the religious tolerance of the Pagan community – it allows us to focus on what is important – love for one another, and celebrating our lives together.

Whether you believe the same exact things or not, did that at least make sense?

LittlePerson
July 8th, 2004, 02:58 PM
Nice thread/path Equinox. May you continue to find spiritual peace with it.

Sibylle
July 8th, 2004, 05:39 PM
Oh, maybe it does! I just don't see evidence that it does, so I'm guessing that it doesn't.

Please understand that everything I “believe” is just a best guess based on the evidence I can get. So if I’m wondering if my car has a dead battery or not, I’ll check to see if it starts, maybe see if the lights turn on, check it with a voltmeter, check the car’s voltmeter, inspect the battery for damage, etc. In other words, I look at the evidence, not on what I want to be true.

In the same way, I look at all the evidence about prayer (many studies have been done, and they failed to show that prayer had any effect on things like illness). I may try a controlled experiment to test prayer. I wouldn’t just pray that “something good will happen to me”, because good (and bad) things happen all the time, so that prayer is bound to come true. Instead I might pray that “it will rain more than average in July 2004”, then pray “it will rain less than average in September 2004”. After doing this for many months, I might compare the recorded rainfall to the averages for those months, and see if prayer works more than just random chance would dictate (since it will rain more than average in half of the cases anyway). Prayer (or sending energy) certainly works if the recipient knows about it – they appreciate that others are thinking about them, and feel better, and this is bound to help them. I’m talking about whether or not there is some supernatural effect beyond the psychological effect.

It’s not that I’m claiming to know that prayer doesn’t work – I don’t know. My best guess is that it doesn’t based on the studies that have been done, and my own few tests. After all, if I don’t require evidence to believe something, then what should I base belief on? Just on what “feels right”? Or on what my parents said back when I was a kid? Or on how many times I’ve heard it repeated (I’ve heard people say “Jesus saves” many times, but I don’t think repetition makes it true). So that is why I only believe things based on good evidence – and I allow myself to be unsure of something – like whether or not there is life after death (our evidence there is pretty scanty). :ghostie:

In fact, there are a lot of things that many Pagans believe that I don’t (like reincarnation). I might believe it when I see more evidence, but even if I don’t believe it, I don’t have a problem with people who do believe in reincarnation. I like hanging out with other Pagans even if we don’t believe exactly the same thing because they also don’t have a problem with my beliefs. I love the religious tolerance of the Pagan community – it allows us to focus on what is important – love for one another, and celebrating our lives together.

Whether you believe the same exact things or not, did that at least make sense?

Oh it does! I'm not trying to "prove you wrong" here, and thanks for the wonderful reply! What I'm trying to do is understand. You know, I am exactly the same in that I only believe what I have evidence of. And I find that I always attract things that are similar in character to what I send out; the effect is stronger when I INTENTIONALLY send something out, like in a ritual or after deep relaxation and meditation. Unlike you, I don't see this as supernatural at all, it's just a law of nature, the law of attraction. That was what made me wonder in the first place - it's such a natural thing. When I 'pray' (I don't actually pray, I more visualise things in ritual, meditation, etc.), I do sympathetic magic. And magic, again, is nothing supernatural in my definition. It's just learning to work the powers of nature, according to the laws that are manifest all around us.

:)

Equinox
July 9th, 2004, 01:36 PM
Hi Hag Stella-

That makes sense. I think that the key I’m using to this approach is the idea that Naturalistic Pagans only believe things that have good, testable evidence.

We talked a bit about the effectiveness of prayer – that’s probably a good case study. Here are some resources on prayer:

Two sites that argue that prayer works: http://my.webmd.com/content/article/14/1668_50132, http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/smj1.html

Two that argue it doesn’t:
http://www.biomed.lib.umn.edu/hmed/2001/12/20011211_pray.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2003/10_october/15/does_prayer_work.shtml

Now, reading over these, I tended to come to the conclusion (based on the evidence) that prayer doesn’t work. This was for several reasons. The arguments that prayer worked tended to be very selective in their data, to ignore studies that didn’t show and affect, to ignore times when the “effects” they found weren’t the ones prayed for, and even worse, were often clearly biased. One of the ones above is even part of an Apologetics page. Out of many studies, some will be show a tiny effect either way (prayer helps or harms) due to just normal variation (your control and test group will always differ a bit in either direction). The “prayer is effective” people seem to pick a small number of studies based on whether or not an effect was seen, so they can argue there is an effect whether the data shows it or not.

So that at least is my conclusion for now. We’ll see if it changes in the future as more data is available. Overall, here is a good summary that I found to be a quicker read than the 4 articles above:

http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/msciprayer.html

Blessed be!

Phi
July 9th, 2004, 02:16 PM
:whatgives Okay, okay...I'm confused.
I thought pagan meant naturalistic. Originally it meant a "country dweller" or a "nature dweller" didn't it?:huh:
Would someone define "Pagan" for me? Naahhh, nevermind...methinks this would be a good new thread. :idea:

equinox2
July 9th, 2004, 02:44 PM
Hi Phi-
You are right about Pagans generally having a nature-based spirituality. However, “naturalism” here is being used according to definitions #3 and #4 below:

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=naturalism (see definitions #3 & #4.)


3. Philosophy. The system of thought holding that all phenomena can be explained in terms of natural causes and laws.
4. Theology. The doctrine that all religious truths are derived from nature and natural causes and not from revelation.

I hope that makes more sense.

-Equinox

Amethyst Rose
August 4th, 2004, 02:15 PM
Thanks for pointing me to this thread, Equinox. I find it very interesting and it's almost exactly how I believe, excepting that I believe in reincarnation, I have my own past life memories that can't be ignored, as well as knowing someone who I consider to be living proof (Boogins :D). I also believe that whatever happens after death is what we expect to happen, so I believe I'll be going somewhere.
Do you think another term that could be used is Athiest Pagan? I've thrown that term around a bit, but I'm not sure if it's actually true, because I believe in the energy of the universe...and while it isn't exactly devine, it's male and female aspects are what form the archetypes of the gods and goddesses.

Equinox
August 4th, 2004, 05:47 PM
Amythyst rose wrote:

Do you think another term that could be used is Athiest Pagan? I've thrown that term around a bit, but I'm not sure if it's actually true, because I believe in the energy of the universe...and while it isn't exactly devine, it's male and female aspects are what form the archetypes of the gods and goddesses.

I wrote down and toyed with about two dozen terms, and then asked around and even had a poll in the theology section before arriving at the name "Naturalistic Pagan". I did consider Atheist Pagan but tossed it for several reasons.
1. as you mentioned, it's hard to say that some kind of pantheist god couldn't exist. Depending on your definition of "god", there could be evidence for it.
2. It is a negative term - it describes what I don't believe instead of what I do believe.
3. Some people may have what I'd consider good evidence - like a direct revelation (kinda like what you have for reincarnation).
4. your reason about the use of gods as archetypes, which I use a lot.

Nonetheless - there are some good points to the term, in that it often answers the questions of others more directly.

Ah ha - reincarnation! It's not my best guess, but I agree that the data is hard to argue strongly either way, and you have some evidence that I don't have. Rock on!

That is yet another example of why we should accept others who have some beliefs we don't hold ourselves. After all, one (or both) of us are wrong about reincarnation. (and I don't have a problem with that - as long as you accept my disbelief, I'll accept your belief).

May gravity hold you safety on our earth-

Karma Chameleon
June 20th, 2005, 10:10 PM
Hi-
Naturalistic Paganism is another spiritual thread to add to the colorful and diverse tapestry of Paganism. I have a naturalistic worldview, which means that I doubt the existence of personal gods, or the idea that prayers remotely change the world. I call myself Pagan because I find meaning in Pagan metaphors like the wheel of the year, and revere the gods as archetypes and human ideals.

I come across other people with this view from time to time. We tend to be a little older, and often have a scientific background. I didn’t see this approach described on the web, so I made a small website for it (www.naturalpagan.org).

I’ve found that this path works well for some people, especially humanists who feel their spirituality is too boring. It also works well sometimes for spouses of Wiccans, or people who aren’t completely into the practice of magick, or are skeptical some other way.

If you are interested, read the page or ask a question, especially if your spouse seems a little suspicious of your Paganism.

May you never thirst-


Very interesting. Pretty much the way I believe (At least certain parts of it.), I'm glad that I'm not the only one. I was reading your website and particularly agreed with part about "evidence and reason, as opposed to faith and revelation" and about honoring the gods as archetypes.

Will you be adding more to your website in the future? Just curious?

Raintreewolf
June 21st, 2005, 01:01 AM
It has been on my mind to check out your Naturalist Pagan Site, Equinox.

You had commented that my beliefs tended to be along the naturalist lines at one time in another post not to long ago...so it did spark my cuiosity at that time as I have liked many things you have written as well.

Yeah, I finally went there and checked it out...LOL, I think you were correct about me. I never really looked at it as there had not really been a ...uh...catagory for my type of views before.
*chuckels*, yeah, I just never stopped to speculate to differences before.

Cool, site....I do agree with most of what you share there, if not pretty much everything. My faith is comprised of actual findings.

Blessings,
Rain Tree Wolf

Eventide
June 21st, 2005, 02:30 AM
Someone told me once that I could be spritual without necessarily being religious and I find that this holds true for me. My temple is a Sacred Space between the Worlds of Gods and Mortals. I worship in the Circle and in Nature; in my body, heart, and mind. My Gods are everywhere; but most of all they are within me. Therefore it is both my right and my sacred duty to discover and develop the Being within, for I may claim no greater power than that of our own higher nature. That is my path...Nature is so essential. It teaches us, guides us. sometimes I'm saddened by the lack of information I encounter sometimes when I research the origin of a certain subject, I feel as if we as a collective whole have lost something precious, gone forever.
I'm glad you posted this thread, I hope you find the answers you seek.

equinox2
August 23rd, 2005, 05:05 PM
Hi Raintreewolf & K Chameleon!

Thanks – it’s always cool to find more of us. You might be interested in joining our Yahoo group. There’s not a lot of people there yet, but it is growing.

Karma Chameleon wrote:


Will you be adding more to your website in the future? Just curious?


Yes, but not right away. I did recently add a link to the yahoo group, and if you follow the link from the naturalpagan site to the wheel of the year site (let me know if you don’t see it), there are many pages linked to from the wheel site.

Starting in a week, I’ll be very busy – teaching a college biology course in addition to my normal full time job as a scientist, plus I’ll still be president of the local UU church until January. So I don’t expect to get any time in all that to put more stuff up. I should put up pictures of my stone circle we made this spring. Well, at least here is a link for that:

http://www.paganforums.org/photoalbum/thumbnails.php?album=913 (http://www.paganforums.org/photoalbum/thumbnails.php?album=913)

Love and Light-

Raintreewolf
August 25th, 2005, 03:26 AM
Hi Raintreewolf & K Chameleon!

Thanks – it’s always cool to find more of us. You might be interested in joining our Yahoo group. There’s not a lot of people there yet, but it is growing.

Karma Chameleon wrote:




Yes, but not right away. I did recently add a link to the yahoo group, and if you follow the link from the naturalpagan site to the wheel of the year site (let me know if you don’t see it), there are many pages linked to from the wheel site.

Starting in a week, I’ll be very busy – teaching a college biology course in addition to my normal full time job as a scientist, plus I’ll still be president of the local UU church until January. So I don’t expect to get any time in all that to put more stuff up. I should put up pictures of my stone circle we made this spring. Well, at least here is a link for that:

http://www.paganforums.org/photoalbum/thumbnails.php?album=913 (http://www.paganforums.org/photoalbum/thumbnails.php?album=913)

Love and Light-

Thanks for the heads-up on the post and yahoo group.

I must say, that circle is wonderous, fits nicely with the landscaping of a yard as well without screaming.."Pagan me"...LOL. Very nice.

I'll look into the yahoo group, I'm heavily emersed in new programs I'm learning and some Digital Art contests I'm preparing for and entering....so.....you might see a litte of me there, for now.

Blessings,
Raintreewolf

misty
August 25th, 2005, 11:45 AM
Very interesting. Thank you for sharing!

Retto-Pyrrah
August 26th, 2005, 12:27 AM
Thank you for posting this! For a long time, I have been trying to put into words my ideas and beliefs about religion. I now feel much better equiped to do so :flowers:

Agaliha
August 26th, 2005, 01:10 AM
This thread is quite interesting. It makes sense ...from the little that I've read, but I do believe in Gods in this sense: There is a mirror (=Single Force) if it is broken the shattered parts reflect something different-- relgions, beliefs and Gods (from Morrigan to Bast to Allah and Brahma) but when put back together they equal a whole. Sometimes I find myself thinking about the Gods in a more archetype aspect...and other times not.

For instance – I don’t think Apollo is a real person that I could sit down and have a cup of tea with, but I do think the name “Apollo” can be used to personify the human ability to study, learn, and understand...I don’t think Aphrodite is sitting up in the sky on the space shuttle, looking down at me, directing my love life. Instead, I’m using the idea of a Goddess of love as a metaphor for human interactions in our real world.
That makes sense.

As for prayer, I believe it works. I beleive in reincarnation too
I also believe what ever name we call the Diety that they are there.
So even though it does make sense, I don't think it's the path for me.... ::sigh:: I will continue my search :)

Cryptic
January 4th, 2006, 06:37 PM
Reincarnation:
I, too, don't believe in reincarnation. The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed (assuming this law is true). I think that the energy that is released from us after we die either goes into the air and blends with the environment or goes into some "spiritual realm" that we don't know about.

I had Deistic views last month, but now I consider myself a Pantheist (http://www.pantheism.net/).

There is chaos and some type of natural laws out there. :)

omar
January 14th, 2006, 04:40 PM
Prayer & Magic both use the very same energy, Thought Power. Thought is energy. sound is eneregy & light is eneregy. This is how the Universe was Created from Choas. If it did not work YOU & I would not be here.

Cryptic
January 31st, 2006, 11:59 AM
Equinox,

Just out of curiosity, regarding your pagan side, do you incorporate one or more different paths (ecclectic), or do you simply follow the Wheel of the Year and other "generic" pagan "customs"?

I consider myself a Pantheist now, with ecclectic pagan tendencies. I am reading about Kitchen and Cottage/Hedge Witchery right now.

Benvarry
February 13th, 2006, 05:54 PM
Wow, that sounds exactly like how I believe! Research needing to be done now!

equinox2
February 14th, 2006, 06:08 PM
Hi all!

Belle Terre wrote:

That makes sense.

As for prayer, I believe it works. I beleive in reincarnation too
I also believe what ever name we call the Diety that they are there.
So even though it does make sense, I don't think it's the path for me.... ::sigh:: I will continue my search

I agree - it seems that Naturalistic Paganism is not the path for your, your views are not naturalistic. That's OK. We can both go to the same rituals, and just see them in different ways in our own minds. Blessed be.

Cryptic - Welcome, on another place to talk. Equinox is my pagan name. Great post - I like the WPM banner in your .sig. I should put one in mine too.

To answer your question - I mostly use the wheel, and not a specific pantheon. Many of my activities are on the file I just uploaded to our yahoo group that has activities for each Sabbat. However, the deity Prometheus does hold a special place in my heart.

May our star warm your face - Jon

Bevarry - Hi! There isn't a lot out there yet. The page in my sig is a good place to start. On our Naturalistic Pagan yahoo group we have some files uploaded and are starting to put together a fancier webpage. You may want to join us there (see my .sig for that too).

Have a fun day :cheers: -

cheddarsox
February 15th, 2006, 08:47 AM
I am a naturalistic pantheist, that tends to hang with "pagans" because...they are fun and they let me!

But I am hungry for a bit more formality and "tradition" so I have been working and discussion with some others about creating some trads and rituals for pans. Personally, I have adopted a whole food diet as part of my personal practice, to keep me aware of the sustaining power of the divine and my physical connection to other life forms.

Practicing diet as part of my faith has been really good for me. It keeps my faith in the forefront of my day. I am intentional about it 5 times a day, 3 meals and 2 snacks, and shopping too. The process of purchasing whole materials, taking the time to prepare them, thinking about how my body incorporates them, helps put my place in the order of the universe into perspective.

Whole food means that I eat things as close to their natural form as possible, being aware of how my body interacts with the materials I take in.

It is the practice of a faith that enhances my life. And pantheism can be a faith without practice if I let it, there are no rules or requirements, so I, and some others are working to create some forms which enhance our lives. Not rules for rules sake, but because we recognize that practice can be useful and beautiful. I suspect most rules and rituals in most faiths came about that way, but over time the connection can be lost, and they can feel devoid of meaning.

anyway, that is where I am with this whole thing.

cheddar

omar
February 24th, 2006, 06:17 PM
The naturalist pagan website was alright,but the have no gods or godessess. So there is nothing to celebrate. No pagan party. Me partydog.

Benvarry
February 24th, 2006, 06:48 PM
The naturalist People website was alright,but the have no gods or godessess. So there is nothing to celebrate. No People party. Me partydog.

Right. I think some famous person said 'A religion needs a culture to survive.' Even if the ideas are brilliant, it's hard for it to catch on if it has no specific symbols, holidays, etc. So even though I have a lot of consistent ideas with this philosophy, I'm not sure it would satisfy me spiritually. If that makes sense.

Philosophia
February 24th, 2006, 09:14 PM
I agree with the philosophy but I have deities in my path that have called me.

Cryptic
February 24th, 2006, 09:20 PM
Right. I think some famous person said 'A religion needs a culture to survive.' Even if the ideas are brilliant, it's hard for it to catch on if it has no specific symbols, holidays, etc. So even though I have a lot of consistent ideas with this philosophy, I'm not sure it would satisfy me spiritually. If that makes sense.

This is why we combine pantheistic views with paganism. The "pagan" part allows for an individual to celebrate whatever they want, have whatever symbols, follow the Wheel of the Year, etc. The "pagan" part is basically ecclectic and unique to each individual. That's why the path is called Naturalistic Paganism.

This path may not suit anyone. Some people look for an already established path with symbols, holidays, celebrations, gods/goddesses, etc; others look for a path they can tailor for themselves. It just depends what you are looking for. :)

cheddarsox
February 25th, 2006, 09:03 AM
I wouldn't be able to stay with any belief system that had no holy days etc either, no matter how attractive the theology. But, YEY!!! pantheism is not (necessarily) a dry religion. I do know some pan groups that don't "do" religion, but that is not the whole story.

I have a really rich holy year to celebrate. Lots of practice, ritual, worship and satisfaction. I'm in love with my faith.LOL.

cheddar

equinox2
February 27th, 2006, 10:03 PM
Omar wrote:


The naturalist Pagan website was alright,but the have no gods or godessess. So there is nothing to celebrate. No Pagan party. Me partydog.

Oh, we party as much as anyone! We have the 8 Holidays/Sabbats of the Year - and celebrating them is both important and fun!

The "no gods" part is actually "no literal gods", and it is just a description of what it is to be a Naturalistic Pagan - if you don't agree, then that's fine. For instance, I personally am inspired by Prometheus, and see him as the spirit of scientific discovery. I don't see Prometheus as a person I can talk to or have coffee with - it's an idea, a spirit of discovery, of humanity.

I'm happy celebrating, say, Yule with pagans who are Naturalistic, Wiccan, Asatru, or whatever. We can all welcome the Holly King, each seeing him in a different way. I may see him as an idea, the Wiccan as a person, the Asatru as a form of Odin, or whatever. No matter - we can all party in his honor.

I agree - me Pagan Partydog!

Minerva - good for you! We have different paths. We can celebrate together, seeing the words slightly differently, while still respecting our own ability to decide what is best for us. That's the nice thing about many kinds of paganism - because there is no hell, it's OK if you believe differently. There is no such thing as heresy, unless of course a belief is harmful (IMHO).

Blessed be-

Agaliha
May 28th, 2006, 06:04 PM
Hey, Equinox, I just reread the thread. :wave:
I saw my old post there, heh. That was before I came to my senses and stopped fooling myself.
Pretty interesting stuff! I also joined your yahoo group! :)

Agaliha
May 28th, 2006, 06:56 PM
I agree with the philosophy but I have deities in my path that have called me.

I thought the same thing, but when I actually looked and thought about it. I really didn't believe they were there. I was more attracted and drawn to their symbolism. I also realized a lot of them were just outward expression of myself.
For example Seshet and Saraswati, both of them I thought "called" me. But really to me they are the pure essense of a artist, writer, poet, creator-- all wrapped into a package humans call "Seshet" and "Saraswati", they're energies, aspects of humans and earth. I am a poet, a writer, a library and book obsessed person, an artist. I was focusing on them because they were like me. Thats' all. Same with Bast, I've been obsessed with felines all my life. Same with Ganesh and my elephant obsession. Same with tons of others. When I really looked at my beliefs I realized they (gods) weren't there, it was just me trying to see them as real because I wanted them to be, because honoring aspects that were like me was comforting.
But I couldn't fool myself any longer. I don't see a problem in honoring those energies that we give names to in a symbolic sense. Is Saraswati there? Sure in every writer, poet and artist. She came into creation because there were people that were poets, inspired and wrote (on the banks of the Ganges way back in the Vedic age). But is she a goddess, alive, interceeding-- not in my belief.
Anyway, I just wanted to say that I felt the same way till I let go of my beliefs that weren't whole-hearted there.

equinox2
May 30th, 2006, 06:38 PM
Agaliha wrote:


I don't see a problem in honoring those energies that we give names to in a symbolic sense. Is Saraswati there? Sure in every writer, poet and artist. She came into creation because there were people that were poets, inspired and wrote (on the banks of the Ganges way back in the Vedic age). But is she a goddess, alive, interceeding-- not in my belief.


I agree. It can be like the phrase "Jack frost nipping at your nose". Do I believe in some invisible guy floating around with a taste for human nose flesh? Of course not. It's a lot more fun than drying saying "yes it is cold out side".:hahugh:

At the same time, I do respect those who see things differently. It's only harmful beliefs (like the idea that those in the wrong religion will burn in hell), that I object too.

Love and light-

Agaliha
May 30th, 2006, 08:40 PM
...At the same time, I do respect those who see things differently. It's only harmful beliefs (like the idea that those in the wrong religion will burn in hell), that I object too.

Same here.
It's not my place to say anyone is more right than the other, each person has to learn and walk their path. This just happens to be mine :)

Philosophia
May 30th, 2006, 08:46 PM
I thought the same thing, but when I actually looked and thought about it. I really didn't believe they were there. I was more attracted and drawn to their symbolism. I also realized a lot of them were just outward expression of myself.
For example Seshet and Saraswati, both of them I thought "called" me. But really to me they are the pure essense of a artist, writer, poet, creator-- all wrapped into a package humans call "Seshet" and "Saraswati", they're energies, aspects of humans and earth. I am a poet, a writer, a library and book obsessed person, an artist. I was focusing on them because they were like me. Thats' all. Same with Bast, I've been obsessed with felines all my life. Same with Ganesh and my elephant obsession. Same with tons of others. When I really looked at my beliefs I realized they (gods) weren't there, it was just me trying to see them as real because I wanted them to be, because honoring aspects that were like me was comforting.
But I couldn't fool myself any longer. I don't see a problem in honoring those energies that we give names to in a symbolic sense. Is Saraswati there? Sure in every writer, poet and artist. She came into creation because there were people that were poets, inspired and wrote (on the banks of the Ganges way back in the Vedic age). But is she a goddess, alive, interceeding-- not in my belief.
Anyway, I just wanted to say that I felt the same way till I let go of my beliefs that weren't whole-hearted there.

I know this is going to sound strange, but I already think like this. Deities, to me, are energy that are within and outside of us. I see Saraswati and Seshat as manifestations of my deep love of books and writing. I see Hecate and Nyx as manifestations of my deep respect and admiration of the darkness and night. I see Minerva as my love of science, mathematics and technology. So, yes, they have called to me. But they did it through the love I have through various aspects. Is she a Goddess? In my beliefs yes, but I don't "see" them as images of humans. Just pure energy.

Agaliha
May 30th, 2006, 08:59 PM
I know this is going to sound strange, but I already think like this. Deities, to me, are energy that are within and outside of us. I see Saraswati and Seshat as manifestations of my deep love of books and writing. I see Hecate and Nyx as manifestations of my deep respect and admiration of the darkness and night. I see Minerva as my love of science, mathematics and technology. So, yes, they have called to me. But they did it through the love I have through various aspects. Is she a Goddess? In my beliefs yes, but I don't "see" them as images of humans. Just pure energy.

Interesting! It's very much like my view, with only some minor differences (ie I don't believe there was any calling). It does seems like if you agree with the Pantheist phliosophy, that you can combine that with your view of deities.

I don't know if this will help:

found this in the Pantheist.net FAQ:




What is the relationship between paganism and pantheism?


There are many points in common between paganism and Pantheism. Most pagans say they are pantheists. They too revere Nature and the Universe and regard them as in some sense unified wholes. They too celebrate solstices, equinoxes and other natural passages. They too have a strong environmental ethic and a deep love of nature.
Many pagans are straight pantheists, using polytheism as a metaphoric way of expressing their reverence for the Universe and Nature. Some people feel the need for symbols and personages to mediate their relationship with nature and the cosmos. There is no harm in this, as long as the symbols help us to connect to Reality and do not block or distort our view of Reality.
Pantheists can also relate directly to the universe and to nature, without the need for any intermediary symbols or deities. The cosmos manifests itself directly to us in nature and the night sky.
However, many pagans are literal polytheists, and believe in magic, reincarnation, and the irrational. Modern pantheists are not polytheists, and do not believe in magic, or disembodied spirits. Most of them do not believe in a personal afterlife, whether through reincarnation or transport to any kind of non-material "heaven."
If by the irrational, people mean a strongly emotional and aesthetic approach to nature and the universe, then we support it just as strongly as any pagan. But we see no conflict in principle between this and science, reason or logic. The findings of science have often been abused to harm nature and humans, but to correct the harm we need better, more ethical science and better public control over science and technology - not an abandonment of science. Without science we would have no hope of saving the earth, and no hope of understanding the universe we live in.
However, if the irrational means abandonment of science, reason and logic, then pantheists reject it. Once these are abandoned, all beliefs are equally valid - including racism, fascism and the wildest superstitions.





Anyway, I only brought it up because you said you agreed with the beliefs, but had deities. I was just relating how I came to terms with all of that.

:)

Philosophia
May 30th, 2006, 09:06 PM
Interesting! It's very much like my view, with only some minor differences (ie I don't believe there was any calling). It does seems like if you agree with the Pantheist phliosophy, that you can combine that with your view of deities.
I don't know if this will help:
found this in the Pantheist.net FAQ:
Anyway, I only brought it up because you said you agreed with the beliefs, but had deities. I was just relating how I came to terms with all of that. :)

I don't think it was a calling per se...just an affinity I suppose. Its like I connected in some way to these deities.
Anyway, I agree with the Pantheism beliefs ust with a different view of deities.
:hugz: I'm so happy that you've found a name for your path. Maybe I might call myself a pantheist, or a "bibliopantheist" (my own name ;)). :hugz:

Agaliha
May 30th, 2006, 09:13 PM
I don't think it was a calling per se...just an affinity I suppose. Its like I connected in some way to these deities.
Anyway, I agree with the Pantheism beliefs ust with a different view of deities.


Understandable. Everyone has their own view :)

I still find myself "connected" to various deities because of what they mean and symbolize to me-- to get rid of that completely would be hard for me even though I don't believe in them in a theistic sense. I guess I see some as being part of me (the writer, poet, bibliophile, ailurophile, etc) and I can't not think of them because I see them as those aspects personified...if that makes sense. Lol.



:hugz: I'm so happy that you've found a name for your path. Maybe I might call myself a pantheist, or a "bibliopantheist" (my own name ;)).

:hugz: Thanks! I'm glad I can put an end to my endless (11+ years) or confusion, searching and all of that! It's a great feeling. :)

Merrilyn
May 30th, 2006, 10:10 PM
All, this thread has brought me both comfort and intrigue! Thanks for sharing!

Agaliha
May 30th, 2006, 10:24 PM
All, this thread has brought me both comfort and intrigue! Thanks for sharing!

:) If you want to read more about it there's another thread-- Pantheism (http://www.mysticwicks.com/showthread.php?t=61242)
I've basically took that one over, lol!

equinox2
May 31st, 2006, 12:16 PM
Agaliha wrote:


I still find myself "connected" to various deities because of what they mean and symbolize to me-- ... even though I don't believe in them in a theistic sense. I guess I see some as being part of me

Me too. I mention this on the Naturalistic Pagan site. For me it is Prometheus, who risked his own safety to bring fire to humans, for their benefit. He incorporates my view of the Scientist, working to discover new technologies for the benefit of all mankind. As a scientist myself, this vision of helping our children's children's children motivates me to do my best in the lab. I need to get a WWPD bracelet.... :)

May your mind soar like the eagle-

Agaliha
May 31st, 2006, 09:19 PM
I just remembered from when I researched Slavic paths (cause of my mom's side), that they have a Earth goddess that is never personified. She's just the Earth.
Her name is Mati Syra Zemlya, which means "Moist Mother Earth"

Could be an alternative to "Gaia" for Pantheists.



NAME: Mati Syra Zemlya `Mother Moist Earth,´ Matka, Mata Syra Zjemlja, Matushka Zemlia. (Possibly also Mokosh a later human formed nature Goddesses & St. Paraskeva in a try to Church her up after she refused to go away.)
SYMBOLS: Unplowed moist dark earth, stalks of wheat, sheep.
USUAL IMAGE: Not viewed as human in form but as the Earth itself. She was thought of as not a spirit that represented Her sovereignty but as the ground beneath one's feet alive and all knowing. It was thought that at some times, most often Zemlya's Night on the 24th who would take human form and appear as a dark skinned Slavic woman dressed in brightly colored ribbons and ornaments, as such she would visit homes bestowing blessings.
HOLY BOOKS: N/A
HOLY DAYS: May 1st (A day on which no plowing could be done) June 24 & August 1st.
PLACE OF WORSHIP: In the home or on unplowed or freshly plowed earth.
MAJOR TABOOS: Plowing on her holy days.
RELATIVES: All the people, animals & plants of the earth, which she used as oracles when asked. Though there are some who say that her husband was the Slavic Dioceses Yarilo who's name comes from the word for passionate and uncontrolled. He was depicted as a blonde young man wearing a white tunic and going barefoot who carried a bunch of wheat in one hand and a skull in the other. His festival day was June 4th.
FORM OF WORSHIP: In holes dug in the earth place bread and pore wine, whisky. Respect for the Her by making sure you do not hit or cut her (plow) on her holy days such as May 1st when she is pregnant.
SYNODEITIES: Nerthus (German), Zemes Mate (Baltic), Zem (Zoroastrian), Semele (Greco - Phrygian), Gaia (Greek), Changing Woman (Native American.)

DETAILS: Moist Mother Earth, which is what Mati Syra Zemlya means, was the oldest and most powerful of the Pre-Christian slavic Goddesses.

So powerful in fact that she survived into the twentieth century despite efforts by both the Church and later the Party to do away with her.
I wouldn't doubt that in some form or other she is still honored in some way on the land that she was said to be.
Moist Mother Earth was prayed to by digging a hole in the earth and speaking into it, or in times of plague by cutting a furrow around the home village being trouble so that Her power would be relased and drive the demons of illness away.
She was also invoced to confirmed oaths and marriages by eating some of her earth or placing some of Her on the head while the oath was spoken.
She had all knowledge and on being asked would release signs that could be interpreted.
Never given a human image she however was said to take the form of a dark woman from time to time to aid those who observed the proper rites and traditions. Sometimes even taking the time to shear sheep, her totem animal.
After the coming of Christianity, she was confessed to if no priest was available. The Church tried to equate her with Mary, but this was not entirely successful and during times of great illness there was a tendency for the people to revert to worship of Her.
Often the village women would take to digging furrows around their homes or village at night while carrying scythes to release the power of Mati Syra Zemlya and to kill any men who happened on them while preforming this rite.
I have to wonder if this might not be a perfect example of a clash between two forces.
One of which is represented by priests who were contacted by a power that came from the driest of deserts and the other which comes from a moist living earth.
(c) Magentashadow
FROM: Mati-Syra-Zemlya (Slavic / Russian) (http://community-2.webtv.net/TerMcC/Matisyrazemlia/)




More info: Mati-Syra-Zemlya {Goddess of the Day} (http://www.mysticwicks.com/showthread.php?t=115593)

:) Sounds pretty Pantheistic to me, how they viewed the Earth.

Sionnach le Fey
June 3rd, 2006, 10:46 AM
I know this is going to sound strange, but I already think like this. Deities, to me, are energy that are within and outside of us. I see Saraswati and Seshat as manifestations of my deep love of books and writing. I see Hecate and Nyx as manifestations of my deep respect and admiration of the darkness and night. I see Minerva as my love of science, mathematics and technology. So, yes, they have called to me. But they did it through the love I have through various aspects. Is she a Goddess? In my beliefs yes, but I don't "see" them as images of humans. Just pure energy.

This is exactly what I believe when it comes to Deity.
To me, they're not literal.
And looking around on the Naturalistic Paganism site, it pretty much fits me to a T. I follow the Wheel of the Year as just a way of celebrating nature, doing my bit for the Earth, having a bit of fun. I don't believe in anything 'supernatural', just the planet and what She's capable of.
I guess I see Earth (Gaia) as my version of Deity...
Does this make me a Naturalistic Pagan?

ETA: Hmmmm, thinking about it, I also believe in this one All, a great energy that's in pretty much everything. I don't think that's a Naturalistic Pagan view...

Agaliha
June 3rd, 2006, 05:01 PM
Equinox can elaborate, but Silver, that does sound Pantheistic.
Earth is sacred and everything is part of Earth-- you could call this Gaia, All, etc.
You might want to go to the WPM website: www.pantheist.net (http://www.pantheist.net) to see if that makes sense, they have FAQs there too.

Sionnach le Fey
June 4th, 2006, 05:37 AM
Thanks very much, I'll check that site out. :)

CelticMoon11
June 4th, 2006, 07:41 AM
Wow interesting thread although I'm not a naturalistic pagan as I believe in reincarnation etc I still found it all a very interesting viewpoint thank you for sharing your path and experience with us :)

Birdy
July 2nd, 2006, 08:28 PM
You could describe the Naturalistic Pagan's belief of deities (if and when we do) as "archetypalism" or "metaphorism" (I got these terms from another thread.) War goddesses remind us to be bold and adventurous. Giving humanity to certain aspects of Nature can help us connect emotionally with them. It makes it easier to relate to things that might otherwise seem sort of abstract. For example, the Goddess mating with the God as an emotional metaphor for the fertile, interdependant blossoming of life in the summertime.

VelvetBlade
July 22nd, 2006, 06:21 PM
Great info! Thanks for the thread Equinox. I'll definately be doing more research on this. Oh, and I joined the yahoo group!

~VB

Dale Ivarie
August 1st, 2006, 07:00 PM
sounds similiar but a little different from my own perspective.......

I believe that scientific discovery is a way that the universe/divine reveals itself to us...but I like a more emotional/personal connection to it.....so I generally personify aspects of nature and scientific theory....like for example

the concept of a thunderstorm.....

The first life on earth or building blocks thereof were caused when storms excited the primordial soup.....

For me the air/sky god(insert masculine god zues or whichever) first made love with the ocean goddess and produced life....each storm is an act of sex that echos pack to the creation of live...standing in a storm watching the lightning feeling the wind and rain against my cheek it is easy to "believe" this which I fully do.....this allows me a personal emotional relationship with my gods

Birdy
August 17th, 2006, 10:54 PM
Personifying natural phenomena into gods/goddesses is consistent with naturalistic paganism. Or am I misunderstanding you?

Dale Ivarie
August 17th, 2006, 11:12 PM
I think it is a little different..in the level of "belief" in the personifications..but I could be wrong....

Dale

Birdy
August 17th, 2006, 11:29 PM
By 'personifying' do you mean anthropomorphizing, as in the gods are ineffable entities and you humanize them?

Windsmith
August 18th, 2006, 05:30 PM
Personifying natural phenomena into gods/goddesses is consistent with naturalistic paganism. Or am I misunderstanding you? Of course I can only speak for myself, and based on some other conversations Equinox and I have had, we don't have exactly matching beliefs/practices, but I can say that, for me, I wouldn't say that that's so. I know I personally try to resist personification/anthropomorphization as much as possible - although I realize that, as a human, it's bound to creep in there some.

For instance, I myself reverence the Winds. I have studied wind deities of various cultures, because it interests me. I have found, in general (though by no means universally), that wind deities seem to represent qualities that I also value: intelligence, creativity, etc. And I appreciate and respect that.

However, when it's down to me and my practices, me standing on a rise with my kite in my hand, I am honoring Wind. Not Njord or Enlil or Zephyros or any other wind deity, not "Wind" envisioned as a woman in a flowing dress or a guy with puffed-out cheeks. Just the perfectly natural and naturally amazing motion of air across my body. To me, nothing more seems necessary.

Cryptic
August 18th, 2006, 07:22 PM
I simply enjoy nature and do not personify any of it...to me, I enjoy how it all is "naturally." :)

watercup
August 21st, 2006, 10:45 AM
Equinox thinks 'out of the box.' I like that you question other's beliefs and findings. You're a truth seeker, like myself. Because in truth, none of us 'knows' if we're going to be reincarnated, or if God exists or what happens when we die. Unless we're enlightened which I doubt anyone on this site has reached that level of awareness. That's the truth. But beliefs make people comfortable and some people need to lean on something whether it's true or not. Fantasy is a great big bowl of comfort food and I indulge in it at times myself!

Dale Ivarie
August 21st, 2006, 12:08 PM
First let me mention that I usually post quickly while multitasking..but in the case of this subject I found it so intriguing that I've spent some time going over your website and all of the posts...Thank you for the topic



By 'personifying' do you mean anthropomorphizing, as in the gods are ineffable entities and you humanize them?


I'm assuming your usage of ineffable refers to this definition

ineffable

adj 1: defying expression or description; "indefinable yearnings"; "indescribable beauty"; "ineffable ecstasy"; "inexpressible anguish"; "unspeakable happiness"; "unutterable contempt"; "a thing of untellable splendor

and not this one

in·ef·fa·ble

Incapable of being expressed; indescribable or unutterable. See Synonyms at unspeakable.
Not to be uttered; taboo: the ineffable name of God.


Anthropomorphizing..hmm yup guess so...I find that having a spiritual connection with something usually means being able to have strong emotional connection..if something is too far removed from what we consider "human" it can be very hard to relate to in a meaningful emotional way..

Although to a certain degree I find that describing some thing like gravity in technical scientific terms versus describing the same thing more poetically causes a different level of "connection...

example

gravity

n 1: (physics) the force of attraction between all masses in the universe; especially the attraction of the earth's mass for bodies near its surface

v. loved, lov·ing, loves

To have a feeling of intense desire and attraction toward (a person).


So I feel that the term anthropomopizing connotates that the "humanized" description is a lie....so I do not like the term...I think rather than falsly ascribing human characteristics to non human things...it's more of seeing aspects of the universe through the perspective that all things have spirit (share the important feature of what it is to be human)

It many again be a semantic difference but for creatures like us who's entire life consists greatly of thinking in words.....and realating to the universe with words semantics is important...

on a different note...
personally I think the divine reveals itself to use through scientific observation...
So in my view using the elements of fire earth water and air is a bit primitive..
There are four elements that make up all life in huge proportion (more than 90%)
those are nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen and carbon...these are the real elements of life..and exploring their spiritual significance...is more in keeping with my path (modern animism) and maybe with "naturalistic paganism"


just some thoughts...

Thanks again I love the discussion on this thread...


Dale

equinox2
August 22nd, 2006, 06:20 PM
Hi All!

I've been busy (and will be this fall), plus I've posted a little over on the evolution/creationism forum.

Dale wrote:


I think it is a little different..in the level of "belief" in the personifications..but I could be wrong....

Hmmm.... reading your posts makes me think that it is similar enough to be practically the same. Perhaps your view is a little closer to literal gods than mine, but they are both similar. You mentioned that you don't like the idea of the anthropomorphizing if it is perpetrating a lie. What you may mean is that the anthropomophizing isn't literally true. However, though it isn't literally true, I'd call it a myth (an untrue story meant to convey a spiritual truth), not a lie (a false statement deliberately told as if it were true with the intent to deceive).

I think that whether we anthropomorphize or not is up to individual taste - it's the Naturalistic worldview, coupled with earth-based or Pagan practices that defines a Naturalistic Pagan. That's one think I like about NP and about Paganism in general - we don't all have to have exactly the same spiritualities, since none of us believe in a Hell for "heretics", our diversity can be celebrated, not condemned.

BTW, I love your image of the primordial sea and the sex metaphor - AWESOME! Or just before that, I think of the Great Rain, when the earth cooled enough for rain to start, and then it rained and rained and rained, filling the oceans! Wow - that must have included some serious storms.

Oh, and the elements:

Of course there is no "doctrinal" position on the elements in Naturalistic Paganism, but for me the traditional elements represent the states of matter. I agree that the traditional 4 elements don't match the periodic table - too many elements! Instead, earth = solid, air= gas, fire=plasma, water=liquid. 'works for me.

May your mind soar like the eagle-

Agaliha
August 22nd, 2006, 06:53 PM
I like those elements you mentioned, Equinox. It never occured to me to look at if that way! Pretty cool :)

Oh and your webpage seems to be down or something! (the read my webpage link)

equinox2
August 25th, 2006, 01:22 PM
Thanks!

Yep, I know about my page. Thanks for mentioning it in case I didn't know. I had to disable it temporarily while I take care of some stuff.

In the meantime, however, you can access all of it. I've uploaded the whole thing to the files section on the Naturalistic Pagan yahoo group. Just go there, download the files, and you're all set.

May the stars light your path-

Dale Ivarie
August 25th, 2006, 01:45 PM
I think there are alot of people out there who are really pagan at heart but some of the image of the community scares them away...I think the mythologizing of scientific revelation is the future of paganism...

The core of religions has always been faith..which in my expeience is in kinda short supply in modern society..pagan, christian or anyone...

Now most people believe..in science..and science is really just observation and description of what is observed.

Joeseph Campbell

Myth = other peoples religion
Religion = misunderstood myth

I think we are looking at the same thing, with slightly different tints to our sunglasses..sorry for the cheezy analogy...

I am kinda computer web stupid..never tried accessing yahoo group stuff. will try and track down the files you were talking about...

I hope this thread continues...

There is another thread or two on the elements..but I think it would be a fun discussion to have here too

ohh yeah gots no clue ho to use the different quote and other functions oh well

Equinox-
"Of course there is no "doctrinal" position on the elements in Naturalistic Paganism, but for me the traditional elements represent the states of matter. I agree that the traditional 4 elements don't match the periodic table - too many elements! Instead, earth = solid, air= gas, fire=plasma, water=liquid. 'works for me."

I like that..
Like I said nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen and cabon makes up 98% of all life
some other things to think about in regards to these elements

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe constituting about 75% of all the matter in the universe. On earth it makes up a vast amount of the oceans and water found here

oxygen is the 3rd most common element in the universe. Oxygen makes up 49% of the earths crust.

the make up of the atmosphere is 78% nitrogen and 20% oxygen

Carbon is the magic element as far as life is concerned, the carbon cycle and carbon bonding is the essential component which binds the other elements into biological molecules which allow for the myriad of life we see...


I'm kinda if your gonna use the elements....use the elements...

Dale

Birdy
August 25th, 2006, 10:14 PM
Of course I can only speak for myself, and based on some other conversations Equinox and I have had, we don't have exactly matching beliefs/practices, but I can say that, for me, I wouldn't say that that's so. I know I personally try to resist personification/anthropomorphization as much as possible - although I realize that, as a human, it's bound to creep in there some.

For instance, I myself reverence the Winds. I have studied wind deities of various cultures, because it interests me. I have found, in general (though by no means universally), that wind deities seem to represent qualities that I also value: intelligence, creativity, etc. And I appreciate and respect that.

However, when it's down to me and my practices, me standing on a rise with my kite in my hand, I am honoring Wind. Not Njord or Enlil or Zephyros or any other wind deity, not "Wind" envisioned as a woman in a flowing dress or a guy with puffed-out cheeks. Just the perfectly natural and naturally amazing motion of air across my body. To me, nothing more seems necessary.

I agree, personification can detract from simply experiencing things (like the wind) as they are. It is definitely important to be able to do that, and to find it enough, more than enough, to be with what is.

However, humans being human, on a conceptual level, it can be more compelling when thinking about relationships with the divine to think in human terms. For example, saying "Water is the mother, Sun is the father and all life are their children, brothers and sisters" is more subjectively and spiritually accurate, whereas saying "the formation of H2O, concurrent with energy from this big ball of hydrogen..." is more objectively and factually accurate. Although the latter is interesting, and although science can be spiritual and inspire awe (for me anyway), it can also be difficult for my grassland primate brain to process in any really meaningful way. That said, I did not mean to imply that all Naturalistic Pagans neccesarily personify anything, just that you can if you want to!

:cheers:

Birdy
August 25th, 2006, 10:51 PM
By saying "anthropomorphizing" I did not mean to imply that your personifying is a lie. I was refering to the belief that deities are ineffable entities (by the first definition of that word) and that humans make humanlike conceptions of them because I wondered (at the time) if this was what you believed.

"It many again be a semantic difference but for creatures like us who's entire life consists greatly of thinking in words.....and realating to the universe with words semantics is important..."

Lol, I'm crap with quote functions too... this is a very interesting and excellent point. As humans, our intelligence and ability to think rests largely in symbolic language so it makes perfect sense that semantics is hugely important to the emotional/spiritual connotations of anything.

"There are four elements that make up all life in huge proportion (more than 90%) those are nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen and carbon...these are the real elements of life..and exploring their spiritual significance...is more in keeping with my path (modern animism) and maybe with "naturalistic paganism"

May I ask how you explore the spiritual signifigance of these elements?

"Thanks again I love the discussion on this thread..."

Best discussion ever IMHO.

RingstoneRound
September 2nd, 2006, 07:24 AM
Hey iI was looking for my message from yesterdau but its gone... but this one sounds like what i wan.t

Can smeone teach me? hop you can :)


Sory if I type to fast.

Agaliha
September 2nd, 2006, 07:36 AM
Hey iI was looking for my message from yesterdau but its gone... but this one sounds like what i wan.t
Can smeone teach me? hop you can :)
Sory if I type to fast.


I believe you are refering to this thread: A natural Path (http://www.mysticwicks.com/showthread.php?p=2776095#post2776095)
To keep track of your posts you can chose to suscribe to the threads you want watch. They'll show up in your user CP as bold when there is a new post.
When you post a comment, on the "additional options" below the area that you type the message out on there is the option called:
Thread Subscription and has Notification Type:
Chose the No Email Notification. They'll show up in your CP.
Also just do a search of your previous posts.
:)

ETA: you can also subscribe to threads on the top where is says: Thread Tools, the drop down menu (near the new reply font)

Also no need to type fast, it's not a chat room ;)
Feel free to take your time.

goddesspisces
September 2nd, 2006, 07:50 AM
I am new and probably would have never seen this topic unless it had been recently bumped. This describes exactly how I feel. Gee, I am 56 and thought this was an Original thought! LOL There are no original thought (probably).

I too don't buy into goddesses/gods of any kind but yes I can relate them as metaphors. I have been a solitary praticioner of Paganism since my late teens way way back in 1968. Right around the time that Martin Luther King and Bobbt Kennedy were assisinated; it was during the Viet Nam war as well and I had just discovered the Holocaust. The few paragraphs found in my history book inspired me to get the truth at the library; not the school library.

I decided at that moment there was no god. It had been coming for awhile this was the straw that broke the camel's back. I realized that no god would allow things like those and other horrible instances of cruelty to humans and animals on this planet to happen. If they created it they would protect it. I decided we are born and on our own basically. There is no heaven or hell. Just the moment in time when we occupy the planet Earth.

Later I used the term Mother Nature to describe all living things and the paths and events their lives have taken since the beginning of time.

Rather than thinking that prayers can change the world; my views are that it is okay to pray for peace, but it is meaningless unless you bring peace into your life, your family and circle of friends; to act in a peaceful way and respect others without condition and last to avoid non peaceful persons9 exclude them from our lives).

We can pray for another person who is ill; rather we can send positive vibes to them to help give them the strength, courage and fortitude to deal with it on a more positive note. It can heal if you believe you can do it and with the prayers of those who love you.

Amazing, and I thought I was the only one just like I felt as a teenage when I realized I was attracted to girls (older women) instead of boys. *sigh* of relief.

RingstoneRound
September 2nd, 2006, 08:11 AM
Sorry this is where i ment to say thanks :):):):):):)

RingstoneRound
September 2nd, 2006, 08:12 AM
going to read it now :)

Windsmith
September 6th, 2006, 04:16 PM
However, humans being human, on a conceptual level, it can be more compelling when thinking about relationships with the divine to think in human terms. For example, saying "Water is the mother, Sun is the father and all life are their children, brothers and sisters" is more subjectively and spiritually accurate, whereas saying "the formation of H2O, concurrent with energy from this big ball of hydrogen..." is more objectively and factually accurate. Although the latter is interesting, and although science can be spiritual and inspire awe (for me anyway), it can also be difficult for my grassland primate brain to process in any really meaningful way. That said, I did not mean to imply that all Naturalistic Pagans neccesarily personify anything, just that you can if you want to!

:cheers:I agree to an extent with your idea of spiritual accuracy vs. factual accuracy. Certainly I'm not immune to personification: every morning when I wake up I sing a song to the Sun; every night I sing before bed I sing a song to the Moon; and whenever the breeze kicks up around me I say, "Well, hello there!" I wouldn't do these things if I were considering these entities solely in their objective physical forms. I have called myself a "sister of the Winds" (though never, now that I think about it, have I called the Winds sisters of me!); this of course is a metaphorical truth and far from a scientific one.

Still, I don't consider myself to have a "relationship" with them like I do with my wife, my mother, or my boss, or even like the one I was taught I had with God when I was Christian. What I believe is that by greeting and honoring these beings and talking to them, I send some of my energy to them and in return, through a process lofty and far beyond the capacity of my mortal mind to understand, some of their energy is sent to me. This is probably the closest I will ever get to a "relationship" with any of them, and it's good enough for me.


I think there are alot of people out there who are really pagan at heart but some of the image of the community scares them away...I think the mythologizing of scientific revelation is the future of paganism...Sweet! I'm on the bandwagon of the future! :fpartyfav

One thing that bugs me is how many modern Pagans call their spirituality "Nature-based" while simultaneously ignoring much of Nature. The ancient Pagan practices from which many of ours are derived explained the world as our Ancestors understood it. These myths still have their place as stories, but I'm always surprised that more Pagans haven't re-visioned those stories within the framework of what we know now about how things work. Particularly aggravating to me are stories of Wheel of the Year that involve the Sun going on journeys, including Winter Solstice rituals that require participants to "call back the Sun." Lovely imagery from a lovely story, to be sure. And yet we all know that the Sun doesn't go anywhere; that it is the Earth itself that does the travelling, and I could never find a story that reflected that.

So I wrote my own. A re-visioning of the Wheel of the Year depicting the tranquil, contemplative Sun and the free-spirited, wandering Earth as a pair of lovers who sometimes just need their space. Yes, it's anthropomorphization in the extreme, depicting a rock and a ball of gases as possessed of human emotions and motivations, even if not with human forms. But it presents a more genuine reflection than I've encountered elsewhere of what's actually going on in our solar system, and so it works better for me as a mythos.

cheddarsox
September 7th, 2006, 07:19 AM
I agree to an extent with your idea of spiritual accuracy vs. factual accuracy. Certainly I'm not immune to personification: every morning when I wake up I sing a song to the Sun; every night I sing before bed I sing a song to the Moon; and whenever the breeze kicks up around me I say, "Well, hello there!" I wouldn't do these things if I were considering these entities solely in their objective physical forms. I have called myself a "sister of the Winds" (though never, now that I think about it, have I called the Winds sisters of me!); this of course is a metaphorical truth and far from a scientific one.

Still, I don't consider myself to have a "relationship" with them like I do with my wife, my mother, or my boss, or even like the one I was taught I had with God when I was Christian. What I believe is that by greeting and honoring these beings and talking to them, I send some of my energy to them and in return, through a process lofty and far beyond the capacity of my mortal mind to understand, some of their energy is sent to me. This is probably the closest I will ever get to a "relationship" with any of them, and it's good enough for me.

Sweet! I'm on the bandwagon of the future! :fpartyfav

One thing that bugs me is how many modern Pagans call their spirituality "Nature-based" while simultaneously ignoring much of Nature. The ancient Pagan practices from which many of ours are derived explained the world as our Ancestors understood it. These myths still have their place as stories, but I'm always surprised that more Pagans haven't re-visioned those stories within the framework of what we know now about how things work. Particularly aggravating to me are stories of Wheel of the Year that involve the Sun going on journeys, including Winter Solstice rituals that require participants to "call back the Sun." Lovely imagery from a lovely story, to be sure. And yet we all know that the Sun doesn't go anywhere; that it is the Earth itself that does the travelling, and I could never find a story that reflected that.

So I wrote my own. A re-visioning of the Wheel of the Year depicting the tranquil, contemplative Sun and the free-spirited, wandering Earth as a pair of lovers who sometimes just need their space. Yes, it's anthropomorphization in the extreme, depicting a rock and a ball of gases as possessed of human emotions and motivations, even if not with human forms. But it presents a more genuine reflection than I've encountered elsewhere of what's actually going on in our solar system, and so it works better for me as a mythos.

I think that doing what you did, bringing the mythos and holidays into your real understanding and experience is key to a vibrant personal faith.

Traditions are cool...if they mean something. Either because they connect us to a past that is meaningful, or because they help us get to a certain frame of mind because they jog memories, etc. But traditions aren't wonderful just because they are old or because someone way back when did them. There has to be a connect. Sometimes we forge our own connect by adding our layers of meaning onto the old framework. Not unlike redoing an old barn or house. We use the old frame,but we add fresh wallboard and wiring and all that stuff, so that we get the best of both worlds.

cheddar

Birdy
September 7th, 2006, 11:57 PM
Just wanted to make a clarification (I'll reply to posts when I have time)

I said before of science: "It is hard for me to process in any really meaningful way" this is not true at all for me actually. Science is meaningful to me in a different way. Science and myth are both important but essentially different experiences of spirituality (for me), the latter obviously requiring thinking in human terms.


I hope I'm making sense, I suspect not, oh well...

later...

Birdy
September 12th, 2006, 11:23 PM
One thing that bugs me is how many modern Pagans call their spirituality "Nature-based" while simultaneously ignoring much of Nature. The ancient Pagan practices from which many of ours are derived explained the world as our Ancestors understood it. These myths still have their place as stories, but I'm always surprised that more Pagans haven't re-visioned those stories within the framework of what we know now about how things work. Particularly aggravating to me are stories of Wheel of the Year that involve the Sun going on journeys, including Winter Solstice rituals that require participants to "call back the Sun." Lovely imagery from a lovely story, to be sure. And yet we all know that the Sun doesn't go anywhere; that it is the Earth itself that does the travelling, and I could never find a story that reflected that.

So I wrote my own. A re-visioning of the Wheel of the Year depicting the tranquil, contemplative Sun and the free-spirited, wandering Earth as a pair of lovers who sometimes just need their space. Yes, it's anthropomorphization in the extreme, depicting a rock and a ball of gases as possessed of human emotions and motivations, even if not with human forms. But it presents a more genuine reflection than I've encountered elsewhere of what's actually going on in our solar system, and so it works better for me as a mythos.

I know what you mean. In this age of science the depth and breadth of our knowledge of the universe has been expanded exponentially, it has so much potential, yet the rituals stay the same. I think the reason for this is partly that it takes a lot of creativity to re-story the universe at this point, especially when the story is so much more detailed and at the same time somewhat less accesible than before. It's easier to get into something already established and feel validated by tradition.

That's a lovely mythos!

equinox2
September 19th, 2006, 11:58 AM
Windsmith wrote:

So I wrote my own. A re-visioning of the Wheel of the Year depicting the tranquil, contemplative Sun and the free-spirited, wandering Earth as a pair of lovers


Cool! Like Cheddar and Birdy, I think that's a good idea. Hey, are you on the Naturalistic Pagan Yahoo group? If not, consider joining and posting your revisioning. We like stuff like that.

Birdy wrote:

In this age of science the depth and breadth of our knowledge of the universe has been expanded exponentially, it has so much potential, yet the rituals stay the same. I think the reason for this is partly that it takes a lot of creativity to re-story the universe at this point, especially when the story is so much more detailed


Yes, science has opened the universe to our understanding in ways that go so far beyond our previous understanding that it is hard to keep track of. Science has provided us with eyes that now see infrared, x-ray, neutrino, gamma ray, and so many other ways of seeing our universe. Re-storying that is indeed a challenge. Have you seen the site www.thegreatstory.org? THey are starting to do that. It's great! I've been reading the universe trilogy (Born with a Bang, from Lava to Life, and now Mammals who Morph) to my kids - our present understanding is so much more wonderful than any of the traditional religions, but yes, we need to work to make it accessibe to all.

Blessed be-

ravenscape
January 2nd, 2007, 12:14 AM
Hello again, equinox! We chatted a bit on a thread about non-theist pagans a while back.

I consider myself a pantheist, but I must say, your description of naturalistic paganism describes my spirituality very well.

What would you say is the difference(s) between pantheistic paganism and naturalistic paganism?

equinox2
January 2nd, 2007, 01:51 PM
Ha, I only check this thread every week or two, and I check it and find your message after only a day.

You wrote:

What would you say is the difference(s) between pantheistic paganism and naturalistic paganism?

I think the difference is just about zero.

Pantheism is seeing the whole natural Universe (including all natural laws) as God, so pantheistic paganism sounds to me like having a pantheist view (a naturalistic view), and including pagan practices (such as celebrating the wheel of the year) as part of the way to live your spirituality. If that description of Pantheistic Paganism is accurate, then I see no difference between that an Naturalist Paganism, which is:

Naturalistic Paganism: The spiritual path which uses Pagan practices while maintaining a Naturalistic worldview.

Some Pantheistic Pagans may say that they don’t quite fit the definition for Naturalistic Paganism because they see God as the sum of the whole natural universe + a little extra “spirit” type stuff. If so, then they are Panentheistic Pagans, not Pantheistic Pagans.

So which name do I hope wins in becoming the standard way to refer to this spirituality? As Rhett would say, “frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”. I happen to use NP (just because it is more explicit), but hey, it’s no big deal either way.


May our sun, growing in daily influence and drawing closer each minute, warm your face-

-Equinox

P. S. I can only use that farewell between Dec 21 and Jan 4th. :lol: