The Pagan Secret
Article ID: 13510
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,475
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Author: Fire Lyte
Posted: November 29th. 2009
Times Viewed: 10,776
I feel something needs to be addressed. There is a secret that the modern pagan movement doesn't want you to know. This secret is so dangerous that it would utterly change what it means to be neo-pagan. While simple enough the secret is angrily and hastily defended, mutated, added to, and only spoken about in hushed voices by others in the know. The secret?
Pikachu isn't real. Nor are Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, hobbits, Gandalf, or Merlin (or his lost book, currently available for purchase for $12.71 at Amazon.com) .
What am I talking about? Well, it has been bothering me for a long time that pagans have this idea that nearly anything you can conceive of as being a pseudo-religious experience is real and irrefutable as long as the person claims they believe it happened.
People say, "If it works for you, go for it." Neo-paganism is a buffet religion. We know this, but we are so willing to allow people to claim the title pagan, with little to no study, and then go off and say things about their White-lighter or that the guided meditation cd they bought at Barnes and Noble helped them visit Merlin and gain the knowledge of the universe...but they weren't allowed to remember any of it.
I'm talking about the New Age, fantastical world in which every animal, rock, dragon, Otherkin, and anything else JRR Tolkien could come up with lives on some astral plane and they've all got super magical secrets to tell you and treasures to share. It's not true, and it's time we called people on it.
There was an excellent podshow called deo's shadow that had an excellent episode about calling bullsh*t and how we're all afraid to do it. This is supposed to be an umbrella religion where you can believe what you want and have your own spiritual journey to whatever god, gods, goddess, or non-deity you want, right?
Well, if that's true doesn't the meaning of neo-pagan get watered down? Isn't it quite impossible to begin establishing some credible history?
Our community fights for legitimacy alongside the big religions of the world, and while we're making some progress, we seem to constantly stunt ourselves by inability to find out where the boundaries are of our own religion.
Furthermore, what does it teach our children? Say you really like Santa Claus, and you decide that you want to add an altar to him in your home. Even more so, you decided to meditate or astral project or channel and get in contact with a spirit you decide is Santa Claus. Maybe you even tell your children you are channeling Santa Claus. Is this not a line we're crossing?
The argument can be made that there are similarities between his most modern myths, and the oldest myths of Odin. However, if you want to worship the Norse Father God Odin, then do that, not an amalgamation of holiday myths, children's stories, and 19th century cartoons.
If you read meditation 101 books, they'll take you through these guided meditations where you end up learning some secret or gaining some tool that supposedly stays with you forever, but it's invisible in everyday life except to you.
There are just some things go to far, even for modern Neo-Paganism.
We've knocked down the myths created and spread by Margaret Murray and Gerald Gardner. History refutes the idea of ancient Wiccan witch-cults. Can't we use the same sanity and level-headedness to address this invasion of New Age pseudo-spirituality into our religion that actually has a lot of legs to stand on as it is?
One of the main criticisms of the religion is that it's a place for people to go when they want to escape reality, to believe in a world of fantasy and myth. If you want that, please delineate your religion from a delicious fantasy novel, such as the ubiquitous Harry Potter. (Who is also not real...sorry) Because, otherwise, you're proving the criticism true.
Something that has gotten lost over the past few decades is the difference between Neo-Paganism (and its sub-sects) and the New Age movement. Allow me a brief moment of clarification:
Neo-Paganism is any earth-centric religion that attempts to either reconstruct or generally honor the folk traditions, beliefs, and practices of pre-Christianized Europe. It is not a term that means "not Christian." Neo-Paganism is not anti-Christian, but another religion that can run parallel with that Abrahamic mystery tradition, like Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.
The New Age movement began about a hundred years ago, and is more of a universal spirituality than a religion or religious movement. It is the acceptance of paranormal phenomena, ancient mythical cultures, psychic abilities, ghosts, UFOs, Gnosticism, as well as the belief in higher spirits such as angels or demons, along with fantastical beasts such as dragons.
The latter idea is something that a lot of Neo-Pagans have added to their spiritual, religious practice without remembering to separate the religion from the New Age. This is where people start saying they communed on the astral plane with dragons, fairies, extraterrestrials, unnamed demons or angels, and, yes, even sometimes fictitious characters like Pikachu or Hermione Granger.
If we teach our children that everything is real on some plane of existence, we're setting them up for failure, disappointment, or ridicule in their lives. I understand that reality isn't fun sometimes, but it's what we've got. We need to live in it.
There is a difference between New Age universal spirituality and neo-paganism, and we need to start coming back on this side of the pool before what little strength and legitimacy we have is lost forever because we were too scared to question one another. There's enough gorgeous, legitimate, provable, historically parallel practice already abounding. Must we muddy it up with these flights of fancy, because we're afraid to call out the crap?
Well, neo-pagans... Something stinks, and I'm saying so.
Love and Lyte,
Copyright: © Inciting A Riot 2008
Location: Chicago, Illinois
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