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Thread: Am I a Neo-Pagan?

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    Boethiah's Avatar
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    Am I a Neo-Pagan?

    I have been trying out a new path the last couple of weeks that has seemed to fit quite well for me. I believe that there is a unified spirit throughout the universe, and that there are several different ways of conceptualizing that spirit. I believe all Gods are representations or derivatives of that spirit. I come from Baha'i backgrounds from the last two years. I have been exploring polytheistic traditions and I have been drawn to one that I feel comfortable with.

    I believe presently in the et'Ada, or, the Aedra and the Daedra as seen in the Elder Scrolls game series. I am somewhere in between a soft polytheist and a hard polytheist. I have chosen (or have been chosen by) a "fictional" pantheon because it is something that makes sense to me deity-wise.

    Basic outline of beliefs:

    -Belief in two pantheons, Aedra and Daedra
    -Belief in these Gods as spirit-deities that, when combined, represent the Spirit.
    -Belief in a sort of magic or force that is involved in the universe.
    -Belief in spirits that are involved with each deity of each pantheon.
    -Belief that humans are animals with enhanced cognitive ability, but beyond that are not much different from our animal counterparts.
    -Golden rule.

    In researching "Paganism", I have found that it is incredibly difficult to put a definition on it. Would my beliefs count as Neo-Pagan? I am relatively new here, and I am here to learn.
    "This too shall pass"

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    First off, since you believe in it, your pantheons are not fictional. I'm sure the divine will be more then happy to try on new faces and names. Bully for you to be strong enough to admit that. I admire that, it shows strength in your faith. Although since your faith is not a reconstruction of an older faith, i do believe that nullifies a "true" neo pagan religion. How ever, if we stray away from the hard definition i would say yes. You have carved out a new path and i wish you luck on it. Also, I love that game and it was the reason why i so affectionatly call Isis the "Night Mother".
    the true assention: Jesus died and went up to heaven. Upon entering nobody was there. he was all alone...and then it hit...The voice had tricked him...there was no pie.

    Please, Send your energies to those who suffer from Anatidaephobia...They need your help more than ever, And remember, Anatidaephobia is no laughing matter. Check with your doctor immediatly if you have Anatidaephobia.

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    Hard To Say

    This is a hard question to answer and honestly there probably isn't a real answer for you. My personal belief is to avoid using characters or belief systems from fictional works because they were not intended as works of faith but as works of fiction and for the entertainment of the reader. The author has put a great deal of time into the belief in order to develop it as believable for his story but the soul purpose of this belief is to support the story they are trying to tell, not to give someone a strong moral and spiritual foundation for their beliefs. The video game Shaiya would be a good example. It has a strong story and developed faith of the characters in the game however it is not fleshed out in such a way as to offer the additional perspective needed for me to call it faith.

    That being said, I don't know that anyone can out and out deny your use of any pantheon out there. When it comes down to it, each faith has started as an idea from someone, possibly someone touched by the divine to bring forth their knowledge and to share it with the world. My opinion is that the names matter little; Aphrodite, Venus, Bridget, Freya. These are all goddesses of love. Each one embodies the aspects of love. Each of them said to have power over who falls in love and with whom. They control jealousy, envy, desire, passion and selfless love. If you called any of them Susy, they would none the less embody the same ideas and ideals.

    I would say yes you are neo-pagan in that you are not someone who is Christian, Jewish or Muslim who are all tied together through their stories. Each acknowledges Christ as either the son of god, a prophet or the messiah. I would however caution you in using a pantheon from any piece of work who's intent was to create something to entertain. What real lessons do these god(ess)s teach you? What do they really stand for or are they names with no real foundation for an idea? You may want to ask yourself these things among others before committing yourself to that path. I would warn you that you may be asking for the stigma associated with Scientology to be thrust upon you in taking that path. If that is true, are you ready for that?

    You may want to also consider if you are associating with the particular pantheon or if it's how the aspect and elements of our world are broken down. Maybe you have a goddess of the earth, god of the sky, lady of the rivers and god of the oceans. You might have a god of the woods and goddess of the wild things. Each of these describe a god or a goddess commonly found in every mythological system I have studied. Why is a "name" needed. Any of these descriptions are just as accurate as Bridget, Athena, Zues, Oden or Ra.

    I would never dissuade anyone from the path that those that guide them have set them on. Sometimes their guidance is unclear. I myself have misinterpreted my lady's words with her initial message and over time, as she's given me more information, more clues, and I have meditated, contemplated and pondered the information she gave, the picture of my path has become more clear. What once was a dark forest is now a luminescent glade full of life and joy.

    I hope my words help rather than hinder. I am always glad to offer any assistance if I can should you wish it. Good luck in your search.
    Last edited by ArianaabBrinneall; April 10th, 2011 at 04:03 PM.
    Ariana ab'Brinneall

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    This is a hard question to answer and honestly there probably isn't a real answer for you. My personal belief is to avoid using characters or belief systems from fictional works because they were not intended as works of faith but as works of fiction and for the entertainment of the reader. The author has put a great deal of time into the belief in order to develop it as believable for his story but the soul purpose of this belief is to support the story they are trying to tell, not to give someone a strong moral and spiritual foundation for their beliefs. The video game Shaiya would be a good example. It has a strong story and developed faith of the characters in the game however it is not fleshed out in such a way as to offer the additional perspective needed for me to call it faith.
    I understand where you are coming from. I'm not completely certain though that a deity or pantheon needs to be fleshed out. Deism, for example, is incredibly vague beyond the belief that there is a God who created the world and no longer interacts with it. Pantheism is simply the belief of a God that equals the universe. I have a polytheist tradition to try. I can work with what I have and add what I need to it. However, this is my own view.

    That being said, I don't know that anyone can out and out deny your use of any pantheon out there. When it comes down to it, each faith has started as an idea from someone, possibly someone touched by the divine to bring forth their knowledge and to share it with the world. My opinion is that the names matter little; Aphrodite, Venus, Bridget, Freya. These are all goddesses of love. Each one embodies the aspects of love. Each of them said to have power over who falls in love and with whom. They control jealousy, envy, desire, passion and selfless love. If you called any of them Susy, they would none the less embody the same ideas and ideals.
    I agree completely. Names matter little in the grand scheme of things. However, names also serve to put a "name to a face". It is easier to worship something that has a name I think.
    I would say yes you are neo-pagan in that you are not someone who is Christian, Jewish or Muslim who are all tied together through their stories. Each acknowledges Christ as either the son of god, a prophet or the messiah. I would however caution you in using a pantheon from any piece of work who's intent was to create something to entertain. What real lessons do these god(ess)s teach you? What do they really stand for or are they names with no real foundation for an idea? You may want to ask yourself these things among others before committing yourself to that path. I would warn you that you may be asking for the stigma associated with Scientology to be thrust upon you in taking that path. If that is true, are you ready for that?
    Lessons are what we make of them I think. Reading the Bible does not necessarily bring spiritual change of strength. Because I lack what one might call traditional scripture, a lot of lessons fall on my shoulders. I have to interpret my environment around me and make sense of it. As far as a Scientology-esque stigma goes, I am unsure of which stigma I would be associated with. If it is the "Fictional belief" stigma, one could argue that all beliefs are "fictional" because they are not based in any fact. If it is the "Cult" stigma, this is simply untrue. If it is the "Silly" stigma, "Haters gonna hate". I do see what you are saying though and that is something I am somewhat concerned with, explaining my beliefs when asked. That is something I will need to consider.
    You may want to also consider if you are associating with the particular pantheon or if it's how the aspect and elements of our world are broken down. Maybe you have a goddess of the earth, god of the sky, lady of the rivers and god of the oceans. You might have a god of the woods and goddess of the wild things. Each of these describe a god or a goddess commonly found in every mythological system I have studied. Why is a "name" needed. Any of these descriptions are just as accurate as Bridget, Athena, Zues, Oden or Ra.
    This is true. As I said above, names really don't matter, but it makes worship easier. Of course I could switch out "Akatosh" with "Chronos". Both are time Gods, and while both have different myth stories and personalities, they govern over the same thing. It is a matter of preference perhaps.
    I would never dissuade anyone from the path that those that guide them have set them on. Sometimes their guidance is unclear. I myself have misinterpreted my lady's words with her initial message and over time, as she's given me more information, more clues, and I have meditated, contemplated and pondered the information she gave, the picture of my path has become more clear. What once was a dark forest is now a luminescent glade full of life and joy.
    My path ahead of me is uncertain, but I trust that I will find my way to where I need to be.
    I hope my words help rather than hinder. I am always glad to offer any assistance if I can should you wish it. Good luck in your search.
    I appreciate your advice and viewpoint very much. It has brought much clarity and a new view to the matter. Thank you.
    "This too shall pass"

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    Boethiah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucien View Post
    First off, since you believe in it, your pantheons are not fictional. I'm sure the divine will be more then happy to try on new faces and names. Bully for you to be strong enough to admit that. I admire that, it shows strength in your faith. Although since your faith is not a reconstruction of an older faith, i do believe that nullifies a "true" neo pagan religion. How ever, if we stray away from the hard definition i would say yes. You have carved out a new path and i wish you luck on it. Also, I love that game and it was the reason why i so affectionatly call Isis the "Night Mother".
    Thank you for your wishes of luck. I am grateful for it.
    "This too shall pass"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boethiah View Post
    Thank you for your wishes of luck. I am grateful for it.
    We're all family here, so think nothing of it
    the true assention: Jesus died and went up to heaven. Upon entering nobody was there. he was all alone...and then it hit...The voice had tricked him...there was no pie.

    Please, Send your energies to those who suffer from Anatidaephobia...They need your help more than ever, And remember, Anatidaephobia is no laughing matter. Check with your doctor immediatly if you have Anatidaephobia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucien View Post
    We're all family here, so think nothing of it
    This is good to know!
    "This too shall pass"

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    Truthfully I'd say no you are not. Even the most ecclectic practioner has some ancesteral truth to their practice in the manners and methods they use or the gods / goddesses they call upon.

    While it might be debated that the whole notion of religion and spirituality is Fantasy driven the critical facet is to base upon a game means one is starting out with the sense it is created simply for entertainment.

    It eludes to the shallow facet of the person for their are no ethical issues to ask or face for they in truth have no bearing nor influence upon the game. Religion within the construct of the game is usually of no importance beyond its limited creation to act as a justification for certain actions or conditions to be encountered in the game. But no deeper though or consideration is applied. There is no condition of is their good / bad or correct and incorrect.

    From a chaos magican perspective a game or fantasy novel world is not considered that bad. It's based upon the assumption that the world in question is in fact an alternate realility or an egogret that takes on a life and force of its own because of belief in it. Yet many in that areana do not fall within the scope of a neo-pagan belied but identify as occultist or something similiar.

    Within the "Pagan" umbrella I personally think you'll encounter the same resistance to acceptance as do those that follow the Jedi code and religious structure. Something that is seldom accepted as part of the "pagan" or 'Neo-pagan' community seeing it is based off a popular series of novels and movies.

    But in the end it really doesn't matter what anyone else says only your willingness to accept both the ridicule that some will caste upon you for basing your practice on fantasy game and your own ablity to flesh out a valid pathway from it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MonSno_LeeDra View Post
    Truthfully I'd say no you are not. Even the most ecclectic practioner has some ancesteral truth to their practice in the manners and methods they use or the gods / goddesses they call upon.

    While it might be debated that the whole notion of religion and spirituality is Fantasy driven the critical facet is to base upon a game means one is starting out with the sense it is created simply for entertainment.

    It eludes to the shallow facet of the person for their are no ethical issues to ask or face for they in truth have no bearing nor influence upon the game. Religion within the construct of the game is usually of no importance beyond its limited creation to act as a justification for certain actions or conditions to be encountered in the game. But no deeper though or consideration is applied. There is no condition of is their good / bad or correct and incorrect.

    From a chaos magican perspective a game or fantasy novel world is not considered that bad. It's based upon the assumption that the world in question is in fact an alternate realility or an egogret that takes on a life and force of its own because of belief in it. Yet many in that areana do not fall within the scope of a neo-pagan belied but identify as occultist or something similiar.

    Within the "Pagan" umbrella I personally think you'll encounter the same resistance to acceptance as do those that follow the Jedi code and religious structure. Something that is seldom accepted as part of the "pagan" or 'Neo-pagan' community seeing it is based off a popular series of novels and movies.

    But in the end it really doesn't matter what anyone else says only your willingness to accept both the ridicule that some will caste upon you for basing your practice on fantasy game and your own ablity to flesh out a valid pathway from it.
    Thank you for your honesty. So, would you say that my beliefs categorize better under "New Religious Movement/Ideal" rather than "Pagan"?

    The word for it matters little for me, but I'd like to have an idea of where I potentially fit in the spectrum.

    In addition for the sake of clarity, the moral issues between game and real life are not so different. Taking a look at the TES series, the game lore has been in creation since 1994. These pantheons have existed for 17 years, although in a fictional context. All I am doing is applying them to the All, Spirit, God, etc. The Gods themselves are not drastically different from what one might consider real world values. For example, the Aedra:

    Akatosh - The Dragon God of Time
    Arkay - God of the Cycle of Birth and Death
    Dibella - Goddess of Beauty
    Julianos - God of Wisdom and Logic
    Kynareth - Goddess of Nature
    Mara - Mother-Goddess and Goddess of Love
    Stendarr - God of Mercy
    Zenithar - God of Work and Commerce
    All common morals and attributes. Mercy translates through most works of art and through cultural bounds. Beauty, wisdom, nature, love, and work are similar in this nature.

    I don't bring this up to argue, rather, to understand more. These deities all represent a sphere of reality and morality. I could call Dibella Aphrodite one day. There would be little difference.

    Although I understand the apprehension towards "fictional" based deities, and I equally understand the association with Jediism and other NRMs.

    Thank you.
    "This too shall pass"

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    Boethiah wrote: Thank you for your honesty. So, would you say that my beliefs categorize better under "New Religious Movement/Ideal" rather than "Pagan"?
    Your welcome.

    Turthfully I am not sure where it would fall though New Religious Movement seem's more appropriate as it is being based off of non-traditional and Non-historical influences.

    The word for it matters little for me, but I'd like to have an idea of where I potentially fit in the spectrum.
    I can understand that. My experience is we fit where it fills right to us, its just those about us that make it so much harder. Though I admit at times I am not sure if that is driven by protection of ones own paradyn or fear of having it exposed to the limitations it contains.

    In addition for the sake of clarity, the moral issues between game and real life are not so different. Taking a look at the TES series, the game lore has been in creation since 1994. These pantheons have existed for 17 years, although in a fictional context. All I am doing is applying them to the All, Spirit, God, etc. The Gods themselves are not drastically different from what one might consider real world values. For example, the Aedra:
    BUt what your missing is that it is all still fantasy world creations. Each subsaquent change done to promote the world and make it more fulfilling to the game player. Yet the actual ethics and morality of the game seldom if ever changes from the initial model created. that I think is what many have issue with.

    It's sort of like the LOTR fantasy books. A spiritual group has arisen from that as well. Are they accepted openly? Not by the things I have seen. Yet the core morality and spiritual / religious influences of the whole series can be traced back to an existing series of national myths and creation stories.

    All common morals and attributes. Mercy translates through most works of art and through cultural bounds. Beauty, wisdom, nature, love, and work are similar in this nature.
    But the game restrictions offer no incentive to follow those nor do they penilize any who do not. You do not get better for being good within the perceived notion of good in the game nor are you penilized if you follow the dark sense of the spectrum. It appears more so as a useless trapping in the background that serves no purpose to the conditon or play of the game so is more often than not ignored.

    I don't bring this up to argue, rather, to understand more. These deities all represent a sphere of reality and morality. I could call Dibella Aphrodite one day. There would be little difference.
    Oh I don't see it as arguing just discussing points of view. I personaly try my hardest to not find offense with anyones practice just to understand the whys of it.

    Although I understand the apprehension towards "fictional" based deities, and I equally understand the association with Jediism and other NRMs.
    In truth I actually think much of it boils back to the 1980's and early 90's when the pagan movement was fighting for the right to be accepted as a valid thing. Many times it was seen as a teen fantasy game or stage because of the story book & fantasy situations that were being claimed as valid religious and spiritual practices and influences that offered real ethical and morale understanding.

    I recall some of the infighting that occured when the Jedi practice started to hit the streets. Though in todays situations I think the influex of such things as the Vampiric games and Werewolf games muddied the waters and just make the notions of created worlds even harder to accept.

    It's like the works of H. P. Lovecraft and his gods / goddess and creatures. It's been around long enough and somewhat accepted so that while some may claim the gods do not exists far more are at least willing to conceed that the agregorets and construct energy may have taken on a life of thier own. His Dagon is not the ancient one but in some ways the possibiiity has occured that both could exist.

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