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Author Topic: Traditional Paganism  (Read 4642 times)

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Scorched Eartha

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Re: Traditional Paganism
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2012, 06:17:02 PM »

The first site on that link had something to say which resonated really deeply with me and in relation to my Aboriginal heritage; my understanding and my experience of Australian Indigenous people's spirituality.


Quote
The "magic" of the Traditional Path is the magic of the heart of the ground, and the unseen spirit of mankind and Nature- and its metaphysics are not simple to grasp, nor do they come easily to those who have their understandings of "magic" tainted by the new-age. All the same, those who can master the Traditional Path"s many tests and trials can come to a destiny that humans can scarce dream about or comprehend- the unfolding of the human being into the fulfillment of Fate herself.

But this is not possible without the "Ground level" work of coming into a true reciprocal and conscious relationship with the Land and the Old Powers that dwell within. This is the first work of the essential human, and when this work is accomplished, the other will be, as well. Traditional Paganism, in common with many traditional "folk" religions around the world, is a spiritual path that deals with the Land itself as the most sacred manifestation of a timeless reality, which is full of many great powers, including those worshipped as Gods by our ancestors, and the spirits of the dead, who forever fill Nature and make her the repository of all the Wisdom and power of our shared past.

Any path that deals with direct, simple experience of the "gateways" between the human consciousness and the immense, eldritch powers and spaces that exist within the body of the Land all around us, and any path that can approach these powers with a respect born out of spontaneous and genuine love, can claim to be "Traditional", on some level. The human mind can experience many things, and the language of symbol is the key to unlocking this latent power in the mind. Traditional Paganism, like all Traditional spiritual paths, relies on symbols found in myths, folktales and folksongs, and in oral lore, which lead the mind into the right "place" to undergo a transformative and rather indescribable experience, which is the heart of True initiation.

Now this doesn't mean to those who follow such traditions that you can't use anything from the land. Never cut down a tree, mine for mineral ore, kill an animal. Far from it. These things are put there for you. They are meant to sustain you. The proper, respectful use of them is what will ensure the continuity so essential to such traditional ways of life. What it means in terms of Aboriginal spiritual life is that whenever you do any of these things there are rituals and ceremonies to be observed, wherein you give notice to the land that you are aware of her gifts to you - of your dependence upon and connection to her. Some complex and needing communal ceremonial effort, but many simple, silent and solitary too. Accomplished by things as seemingly meaningless to outsiders as the way in which you cut the tree or the order in which you butcher the carcass. Which fruits you leave and which you take in what season.

Caring for the land and its bounty is central to cultures like this, for the spirit of the people is only alive while the land flourishes. I may have told some of you this before, but I'll repeat it here because it's very pertinent to what I feel this passage is trying to convey, though the writer is coming at the subject from her own Celtic tradition. 

My middle name Myee. That's a Waradjuri word which means "I am made of this land" or "I belong to this land" Belong to  not in sense of ownership as westerners understand that concept. Rather "belong to" as in being a part of it. Being "of" it. The land and the people are interdependent and the failure to nurture, honour and care for the land is as basic a betrayal of one's duties as would be the failure to nurture and care for their own child or to honour your own old people. The people are not separate from the land. The land and the gods are not two entities. All are part of the whole. None can continue to "be" without the others.

So you cut down the trees you need to build a shelter. You mine only those minerals required to make tools to survive. You kill an animal only when you need to provide food for your kinship group - and you always in doing so are giving thanks to the land, to the gods or spirits who placed those resources there for you. The amassing of useless possessions; building of unnecessarily ornate structures, killing for sport or trophy taking - that is what is badwrong in cultures such as these.

The stones for the Celtic circles may have been transported many miles to the places they were set, but they were unhewn. Carefully selected for size and shape and composition, but unsullied by masons. The OT recalls this when it says that a temple must be made of unhewn stones. . Not made even and decorated with carvings of figures. More evidence of how monotheists did not so much replace paganism, as incorporate and corrupt its teachings. Tools were made by the users, not forged and sold or traded for a profit. Jewellery was ceremonial and for a purpose, not acquired simply to show that you had more bling  than your neighbour.

The taking of these things needed for survival, both physical and spiritual is a source of joy and a celebration of life. An affirmation of the spirits who provided them. If some people, as NPM found, believe they are continuing traditional paganism by refusing to partake of any of the bounty of the land they sprang from, then they are very badly misunderstanding the cultures they are claiming to follow in the path of. "Reciprocal" is the key word the author of this passage uses to describe the taking of resources - in such cultures you never harvest without giving back - Be that in ritual thanks, in a conscious effort to not kill a breeding female animal or by performing a practical action, such as the Aboriginals burning of bushland, in the knowledge that propagation of most native plants will only take place in the extreme temperatures engendered by a large scale fire.

That attitude of taking what is needed and no more; of giving back and nurturing the realm from which its taken is not the sole property of any one group of people, following one given belief set. It is a goal which all of us who seek a nature based path attempt to aim for. Modern environmentalists, with their emphasis on sustainability are very much of this tradition, though many of them would not use a ritual or a "pagan" label to describe their way of life. The land doesn't care what they call themselves. She only knows what they do to honour her.

I actually found it quite beautiful to know that other cultures and other modern descendents of those cultures have the same understanding of what here in traditional Aboriginal language is known as "spirit of place."

So thank you again FS for those links. I'm still working my way through them all. I expect there's a great wellspring of beauty and wisdom within many of them, But I keep going back to that passage and re-reading it because it expresses so much so clearly..... and in so few simple words.

So I wanted to share with you what I had taken from it.

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Earthbound Spirit

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Re: Traditional Paganism
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2012, 07:38:06 PM »




After a post like that, I really would prefer not to see you refer to yourself as a troll again.  :) 
« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 07:39:36 PM by Earthbound Spirit »
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Scorched Eartha

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Re: Traditional Paganism
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2012, 07:51:17 PM »




After a post like that, I really would prefer not to see you refer to yourself as a troll again.  :)

Just payin' rent for the space under your bridge, innit??

 ;)
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naturalpaganmomma

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Re: Traditional Paganism
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2012, 08:40:11 PM »

Scorched Eartha,

Thank you for your post. I enjoyed reading it and it helped me by seeing your perspective. I hope you do not think I have a problem with those who wish to care for and preserve the Earth and use what it provides reasonably and responsibly. I have no problem with that at all. In fact, I wish more people would.
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Scorched Eartha

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Re: Traditional Paganism
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2012, 09:58:55 PM »

No NPM I didn't think that at all.

But I do think that the people you encountered with their "paganer than thou" attitude that nothing can be used or mined or cut down or skinned without offending some principle of pure earth spirit had their heads rammed right up their own arses...which may well have explained why so much shit came out of their mouths.
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If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up.

You better take care of me Lord, if you don't you're gonna have me on your hands.

The Edge there's no honest way to explain it as the only people who really know where it is have gone over.

naturalpaganmomma

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Re: Traditional Paganism
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2012, 10:42:36 PM »

SE

I wasn't referring to people I had actually met, though I have met people like that. LOL. I was referring to a portion of the website on Traditional Pagans. I may have misunderstood something. I'll have to go back and reread it. I do remember reading something about them being caretakers of the land. I have no problem with that, but I could have sworn they made references to mining and raping the earth for silver or something like that. I felt them insulting other pagans was uncalled for. I couldn't see the difference between mining for silver, which many use for ritual today (I personally use silver for protection of I and my family), and iron, which had been used for weaponry.

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Scorched Eartha

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Re: Traditional Paganism
« Reply #21 on: August 02, 2012, 11:08:14 PM »

I have massive problems with open cut mining, much under sea mining and coal seam gas mining. That IS rape of the  land, done for greed and profit and little to do with sustaining life. It will in the long run ensure that life here is unsustainable. These resources are finite. We cannot take and take and take and expect that the motherlode will never be exhausted.

Asso I have issues with large scale commercial fisheries, trawling for thousands of lobsters to grace the tables of restaurants for the rich who would have neither the wit, nor the wherewithal to fish for their own.

Possibly that's where your misunderstanding took root. To exploit a resource, to trawl it, to plunder and raid the earth for her wealth - that's evil incarnate. No sentient being could say it's possible to live without using a portion of the earth's resources and riches - but nor is it possible to pass on to the next generations a planet which has been asset stripped and expect that they will be able to live well upon it.

Our purpose here, our one truly sacred duty is to care for the earth. To live upon it not as if we own it. For we surely do not; but as if we are guarding it for those who come after.

For that is what we are doing.
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If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up.

You better take care of me Lord, if you don't you're gonna have me on your hands.

The Edge there's no honest way to explain it as the only people who really know where it is have gone over.

Earthbound Spirit

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Re: Traditional Paganism
« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2012, 05:51:18 AM »

I personally have a huge problem with sport hunting for trophies.   If you ain't eating it, why kill it?
« Last Edit: August 03, 2012, 05:51:58 AM by Earthbound Spirit »
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Serpentium

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Re: Traditional Paganism
« Reply #23 on: August 03, 2012, 11:20:44 AM »

I personally have a huge problem with sport hunting for trophies.   If you ain't eating it, why kill it?
  ???  "But it was coming straight at us"!  :-p
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Scorched Eartha

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Re: Traditional Paganism
« Reply #24 on: August 03, 2012, 12:21:30 PM »

I personally have a huge problem with sport hunting for trophies.   If you ain't eating it, why kill it?
  ???  "But it was coming straight at us"!  :-p

The great Englsih hunter

"He kilt him a hedgehog, when he was 43!!"
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If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up.

You better take care of me Lord, if you don't you're gonna have me on your hands.

The Edge there's no honest way to explain it as the only people who really know where it is have gone over.

lucifer

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Re: Traditional Paganism
« Reply #25 on: August 03, 2012, 01:40:07 PM »

Our purpose here, our one truly sacred duty is to care for the earth. To live upon it not as if we own it. For we surely do not; but as if we are guarding it for those who come after.

For that is what we are doing.
It's called stewardship. It means that we acknowledge that this land is not ours (if you really think that you own property, think again. The Goddess and God own it... you're just looking after it [hopefully] while you're here).

It's something that the native people here in America understood pretty well. The land gives you everything that you need, but only if you respect it enough not to take more than you need.

I'm personally not looking forward to the rebirth that happens in the post-technological hell which we (as a species) seem bent on creating for ourselves... (and even if you don't believe in rebirth, know that our children will be paying for these mistakes long after we're gone)
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marisol

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Re: Traditional Paganism
« Reply #26 on: August 03, 2012, 02:00:19 PM »

It would seem to me that Traditional Pagans and Ancient Celts can be hard to compare due to
the span of time between them. The Celts had a much harder life than Pagans today as far as
actual physical survival went.
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Firesong

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Re: Traditional Paganism
« Reply #27 on: August 03, 2012, 02:11:28 PM »

It would seem to me that Traditional Pagans and Ancient Celts can be hard to compare due to
the span of time between them. The Celts had a much harder life than Pagans today as far as
actual physical survival went.

How so...?  The ancient Celts were Traditional Pagans...
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lucifer

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Re: Traditional Paganism
« Reply #28 on: August 03, 2012, 02:26:13 PM »

It would seem to me that Traditional Pagans and Ancient Celts can be hard to compare due to
the span of time between them. The Celts had a much harder life than Pagans today as far as
actual physical survival went.

How so...?  The ancient Celts were Traditional Pagans...
That's semantically (and/or gramtically) wrong. The ancient Celts might have been traditional Pagans, but they were not ``Traditional Pagans''. I'd personally like to think of them as one group of original Pagans, though.
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Firesong

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Re: Traditional Paganism
« Reply #29 on: August 03, 2012, 02:52:03 PM »

It would seem to me that Traditional Pagans and Ancient Celts can be hard to compare due to
the span of time between them. The Celts had a much harder life than Pagans today as far as
actual physical survival went.

How so...?  The ancient Celts were Traditional Pagans...
That's semantically (and/or gramtically) wrong. The ancient Celts might have been traditional Pagans, but they were not ``Traditional Pagans''. I'd personally like to think of them as one group of original Pagans, though.

Just curious... why would you think the ancient Celts weren't what we refer to as traditional Pagans?  By traditional Pagan, I mean a pre-Christian Pagan...
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