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.
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.