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Thread: Why are there so many paths in paganism?

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adelphos View Post
    I practice shamanism in the context of the Northern European tradition. I am NOT borrowing from other cultures, but learning from my own heritage. Don't assume that just because someone practices shamanism, that they are appropriating the cultural practices of others.
    But, you wrote...

    As far as the "old religion" is concerned, Shammanic practices go back to before recorded history, and have been practiced by various peoples world-wide without interruption.
    That was implying an unbroken tradition, as opposed to what Wiccans do. There isn't a Pagan unbroken Shaman tradition in northern Europe. The last holdouts in northern Europe regarding Christianity were the Sami people, and they'd converted by the mid 1700s. A lot of their Shamanic practices survived within Folk Christianity, so what's practiced there, today, is filtered through Christianity by people who consider themselves Christians (You'll find something akin the the "wise men" and "wise women" in most Folk Christian traditions).

    There are people attempting to reconstruct the old Euorpean Pagan practices and religions, including Shamanic traditions, but this sort of thing was started by Wiccans. There's a reason Neo-Paganism didn't explode until Wicca had established itself. Neo-Paganism has a strong Wiccan influence, regardless of whether the Path practices something from Gardner or not. Gardner got the ball rolling, and deserves some credit for it, regardless of what one may think of Gardner, personally, or Wicca as a religion.

  2. #22
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    Only within Wicca we suddenly have a bucket full of sub paths with their own labels.

    It certainly isn't only within Wicca. Christianity, Judaism, islam all have many sub-sects and local special examples. Hinduism is entirely a patchwork of many schools, traditions and lineages, with only the loosest connections.

    I think it's natural and correct for religion to be local and specific, rather than general and universal. Ancient Paganism certainly was - every valley and forest would have had their local spirits and local expressions of the Gods.

    By keeping religion local we make sure that each person can get what they need, and not have to conform to some imagined universal ideal.

    Difference need not build distance. In our town we have a group that runs big public holy day worship, and folks from many traditions come to the rites, not caring whether it's 'their way' or not. In a polytheistic system there's no reason for the Gods to be jealous.

  3. #23
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    You are trying to twist two seperate posts of mine together.

    When I said Shamanism has survived to the present day, I was talking shamanism as a whole. (Not specific to Northern Europe.)

    When I was talking about my personal practice I refered to the Northern Traditions, and the fact that I'm not necessarily borrowing from other cultural shamanic practices. Nowhere did I say the traditions of Northern Europe were never broken. You jumped to that conclusion yourself.

    Heathenism bases itself on the surviving lore that has been preserved over the centuries. Northern Europe is scattered with examples from the pre-christian era. Iceland was the last to be christianized, although paganism was generally allowed to continue there without too much persecution. From Iceland there is substantial literature, namely the Nordic Sagas and the Eddas, relating to the pagan period. You won't find mention of wicca in the Havamal.

    As far as what you said:

    "There are people attempting to reconstruct the old Euorpean Pagan practices and religions, including Shamanic traditions, but this sort of thing was started by Wiccans. There's a reason Neo-Paganism didn't explode until Wicca had established itself. Neo-Paganism has a strong Wiccan influence, regardless of whether the Path practices something from Gardner or not. Gardner got the ball rolling, and deserves some credit for it, regardless of what one may think of Gardner, personally, or Wicca as a religion."

    That phrase is false. Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica." From the 1960s onward, the name of the religion was normalised to "Wicca." There were many people involved in the revival of paganism long before Gardner. He didn't create something from nothing, and he certainly wasn't the first.

    Gardner combined the teachings that he had received from the New Forest coven with additional ideas taken from a number of disparate sources, including Freemasonry, ceremonial magic, mediaeval grimoires, and the writings of the occultist Aleister Crowley, a man whom Gardner knew personally.

    By the way, Neo-paganism didn't explode when Wicca had established itself (1950's and 60's.) It didn't really explode until after some authors in the 80's and 90's began promoting self-initiation (which traditional wiccans were actually against), and the media and the internet began popularising it through movies and t.v., making it more accessible to the masses.
    "I put a capital N on nature and call it my church."

    -Frank Lloyd Wright

  4. #24
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    The reconstructionist paths don't represent an unbroken line to the pre-Christian any more than Wicca does. They all date from the 1930's or later.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daecon View Post
    The reconstructionist paths don't represent an unbroken line to the pre-Christian any more than Wicca does. They all date from the 1930's or later.
    I agree.

    I was just clarifying where Perceval had misquoted to make it sound like that was my claim.

    To restate:
    Unbroken chain = indiginous tribal shamanism in places like the amazon and australia
    Paganism = any religion outside of Christianity/Judaism/Islam
    Therefore Wiccans are pagan, but not all Pagans are Wiccan

    The last statement is where perceval and I are in disagreement. He claims all Pagans are Wiccan.

    All is clear?
    "I put a capital N on nature and call it my church."

    -Frank Lloyd Wright

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by perceval23 View Post
    Then, why are there no references to the name "Papa Legba" pre-dating Voodoo? Why is that name only used in Catholic cultures? Why are representations of him sold primarily in Folk Catholic botanicas?

    Voodoo is a fusion of African and Folk Catholic practices. It's not purely traditional African any more than Celtic Christianity is pure Druid. Catholics have been practicing Syncretism for centuries. That's why there are so many Folk Catholic traditions.
    Because "Papa Legba" originates within the cultures of Voudoun, while LEGBA the GOD, is from Africa. They are the same entity.

    You need to do more research. A simple google search would have answered that question for you.

  7. #27
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    Wasn't Papa legba once called Eshu Elegbara?

  8. #28
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    Responding to two different posters, to avoid confusion...

    Because "Papa Legba" originates within the cultures of Voudoun, while LEGBA the GOD, is from Africa. They are the same entity.

    You need to do more research. A simple google search would have answered that question for you.
    May I respectfully suggest you take your own advice?

    Please point to anywhere, any time, the name "Legba" was used outside of a Catholic culture.

    Does Legba have aspects of earlier African concepts? Yes. That's what I mean by Syncretism. Since you suggested Wiki...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syncretism

    And, even right there in that article, when we get to the Caribbean...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syncret...s_and_cultures

    ...there's Voodoo on the list. Here's a quote...

    Another highly syncretic religion of the area, vodou, combines elements of Western African, native Caribbean, and Christian (especially Roman Catholic) beliefs.
    Voodoo is a fusion of different things from different cultures. Here's something else from Wiki...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folk_Catholicism

    And, again, there's Voodoo...

    Some forms of folk Catholic practices are based on syncretism with non-Catholic beliefs and may involve the syncretism of Catholic saints and non-Christian deities. Some of these folk Catholic forms have come to be identified as separate religions, as is the case with Caribbean and Brazilian syncretisms between Catholicism and West African religions, which include Haitian Vodou, Cuban Santeria, and Brazilian Candomblé. Similarly complex syncretisms between Catholic practice and indigenous or Native American belief systems, as are common in Maya communities of Guatemala and Quechua communities of Peru to give just two of many examples, are typically not named as separate religions; their practitioners generally regard themselves as "good Catholics."
    All clear, now?

    When I was talking about my personal practice I refered to the Northern Traditions, and the fact that I'm not necessarily borrowing from other cultural shamanic practices. Nowhere did I say the traditions of Northern Europe were never broken. You jumped to that conclusion yourself.
    Not really, since you claimed your version of Neo-Paganism had no influence in it's history from Wicca, whatsoever, and used Shamanism as your example.

    There were many people involved in the revival of paganism long before Gardner. He didn't create something from nothing, and he certainly wasn't the first.

    Gardner combined the teachings that he had received from the New Forest coven with additional ideas taken from a number of disparate sources, including Freemasonry, ceremonial magic, mediaeval grimoires, and the writings of the occultist Aleister Crowley, a man whom Gardner knew personally.
    I did mention Crowley, BTW, with Thelema, which I described as the origin of Neo-Paganism along with Wicca.

    The existence of the New Forest Coven is disputed. Of course, Gardner drew from earlier things, from Christian Mystery traditions (mainly the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn) and Folk Christianity, along with the (since disproven) theories of Margaret Murray and the poetic vision of Robert Graves.

    Crowley was once a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, as were Charles Williams of the Inklings (C. S. Lewis's literary group that included Tolkien), W. B. Yeats, and A. E. Waite (co-creator of the most infuential an widely used Tarot deck, which was illustrated by fellow Golden Dawn member Pamela Coleman Smith). The Golden Dawn's roots are in the Christian Mystery traditions of Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism.

    Unbroken chain = indiginous tribal shamanism in places like the amazon and australia
    Paganism = any religion outside of Christianity/Judaism/Islam
    Therefore Wiccans are pagan, but not all Pagans are Wiccan
    And, when I refer to Neo-Paganism (which you'll note is the term I've always used), those first three letters and that dash are important. Those three letters and that dash distinguish it from Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and other genuinely Old Religions. NEO-Paganism does not = "any religion outside of Christianity/Judaism/Islam". You're also forgetting the Zoroastrians, who were Mothotheistic long before Judaism came along.

    By the way, Neo-paganism didn't explode when Wicca had established itself (1950's and 60's.) It didn't really explode until after some authors in the 80's and 90's began promoting self-initiation (which traditional wiccans were actually against), and the media and the internet began popularising it through movies and t.v., making it more accessible to the masses.
    So, you're agreeing with my point that Neo-Paganism didn't explode until after Wicca came along? That's an argument in favor that Wicca got the Neo-Pagan ball rolling. And, again, remember those first three letters and that dash. "Neo" means just that, including things like Neo-Shamanism.
    Last edited by perceval23; March 9th, 2011 at 08:47 AM.

  9. #29
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    The answer is fairly obvious to me. There's no Bible in Paganism.

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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by perceval23 View Post
    Responding to two different posters, to avoid confusion...



    May I respectfully suggest you take your own advice?

    Please point to anywhere, any time, the name "Legba" was used outside of a Catholic culture.

    Does Legba have aspects of earlier African concepts? Yes. That's what I mean by Syncretism. Since you suggested Wiki...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syncretism

    And, even right there in that article, when we get to the Caribbean...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syncret...s_and_cultures

    ...there's Voodoo on the list. Here's a quote...



    Voodoo is a fusion of different things from different cultures. Here's something else from Wiki...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folk_Catholicism

    And, again, there's Voodoo...
    African origins


    Vodou original area


    The word vodou derives from vodũ, which in Fon, Ewe, and related language (distributed from contemporary Ghana to Benin) means spirit or divine creature (in the sense of divine creation).
    The cultural area of the Fon, Ewe, and Yoruba peoples share common metaphysical conceptions around a dual cosmological divine principle Nana Buluku, the God-Creator, and the vodou(s) or God-Actor(s), daughters and sons of the Creator's twin children Mawu (goddess of the moon) and Lisa (god of the sun). The God-Creator is the cosmogonical principle and does not trifle with the mundane; the vodou(s) are the God-Actor(s) who actually govern earthly issues.
    The pantheon of vodoun is quite large and complex. In one version, there are seven male and female twins of Mawu, interethnic and related to natural phenomena or historical or mythical individuals, and dozens of ethnic vodous, defenders of a certain clan or tribe.[citation needed]
    West African Vodun has its primary emphasis on ancestors, with each family of spirits having its own specialized priest and priestess, which are often hereditary. In many African clans, deities might include Mami Wata, who are gods and goddesses of the waters;[2] Legba, who in some clans is virile and young in contrast to the old man form he takes in Haiti and in many parts of Togo; Gu (or Ogoun), ruling iron and smithcraft; Sakpata, who rules diseases; and many other spirits distinct in their own way to West Africa.
    [1] European colonialism, followed by totalitarian regimes in West Africa, suppressed Vodun as well as other forms of the religion. However, because the Vodun deities are born to each African clan-group, and its clergy is central to maintaining the moral, social, and political order and ancestral foundation of its villagers, it proved to be impossible to eradicate the religion. Though permitted by Haiti's 1987 constitution, which recognizes religious equality, many books and films have sensationalized Vodou as black magic based on animal and human sacrifices to summon zombies and evil spirits.


    You're welcome.


    Further more, considering most religions in these areas are Oracular instead of Written, you would would have to talk to the people's of the individual clans themselves to gain a full grasp of how long their deities have been exalted.



    The sentence I bolded PLAINLY highlights that these deities were existence BEFORE Catholic (read European) intervention.


    The second sentence I highlighted (about Legba) shows you the differences between the views of this particular deity from the originators and the religion of slaves that arose after cultural "relocation".



    I know what syncretism means, especially considering I've used the term myself. But we're talking about origins here and the ORIGINS of this deity you seem to be so dead seat on being syncretic and Catholic, are in AFRICA, from a group of indigenous traditional African religions.

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