Realities of Acceptance
Article ID: 14061
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,240
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Author: Crick [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: July 18th. 2010
Times Viewed: 1,958
I have long felt that man-made religions are a device to control the hearts and minds of fellow humans. And to my mind have little if anything to do with true spirituality in regards to the individual. This is not to say that folks who are members of a religion, whatever path it may be, do not have spirituality. Rather I believe that said spirituality is more of an individual accomplishment rather than that of the religion in question. At any rate religions throughout the ages have focused a great deal of attention to political maneuverings and material wealth and little if any on allowing freedom of exploration in regards to one’s personal spiritual endeavors. Religions tend to be organizations based upon rigid parameters that dictate how its members may think and behave.
This approach in and of itself creates barriers to any true growth and esoteric experiences that may lead to an enlightened understanding of the mystical arts in general and of the deeper mysteries of spirituality in particular. In following a personal spiritual path, one needs the freedom to experience one lesson/experience after another and as it is presented, without worrying about whether such experiences opens the door further than a select group of folks deem acceptable.
Religious parameters simply don’t work in a mystical spiritual setting where one often does not know what to expect in regards to the stimuli/energy that set the experience in motion. In regards to the Abraham religions the Catholic Church stands in the forefront of such manipulation in the pursuit of power here on earth. Some will erroneously see this as a slam against Catholics. But then this article is intended to be a pragmatic discussion in regards to but one aspect of actions taken by a particular religion, which in this instance happens to be the Catholic Church. With their long history of societal influence here on earth the Catholic Church is ripe for such observation and discussion.
The Catholic Church may well be the largest and most powerful religion on the planet. I think that many of us are familiar with the Papal Bull, Summis desiderantes affectibus, issued by Pope Innocent VIII on December 5, 1484 CE. This in turn was the premise used to create the Malleus Maleficarum (Witches Hammer) two years later by the Catholic monks, Kramer and Sprenger. Prior to this Papal Bull being issued, witchcraft was not even recognized by the Catholic Church, though such practices have been around since the beginning of humankind. And then due to the fear of witchcraft by the Catholic Church brought on by the theological and commercial competition, many folks subsequently lost their lives by rather horrible means.
This massive upheaval in society reflects the power that a religion may aspire to and thus attain as part of its Inner Tenets, said tenets, which are vigorously kept from the public eye. But did you know that prior to the Papal Bull against witchcraft 1484 CE, that in 1184 CE, the first medieval inquisition, known as the Episcopal inquisition, introduced a papal bull entitled “Ad abolendam” (For the purpose of doing away with) . The inquisition was in response to the growing Catharist heresy that was forming in southern France.
The Catharists held dualistic and Gnostic tenets as part of their beliefs. Another of the examples, which I would like to proffer as a point of interest and discussion, is the Eminenti Apostolatus Specula. This was the first Papal Bull from the Catholic Church to be issued against the Freemasons. Pope Clement XII issued it on April 28, 1738 CE, and it banned Catholics from becoming Freemasons. It should be noted that the oldest Masonic text is the "Regius Manuscript" circa 1390 CE. And so these actions took place quite a few years after the establishment of Freemasonry.
But just as with witchcraft and many other non-Catholic beliefs, the expansion of the Freemasons became a point of serious contention for the leaders of the Catholic Church. In response to this Bull, and in order to minimize the actions of the Catholic Church, certain high ranking Freemasons created a parallel group that would not be identified with the Masons and yet would retain the core values and rituals of the Freemasons. This group was in essence a subterfuge and was called the “Mopses”. The differences between the two groups became quite evident.
For instance, in traditional Masonry lodges, only men could become members. In the Mopses, women could become members as well. They could also ascend to various offices within the lodge with the sole exception of Grand Master. Though some lodges did institute a Grand Mistress position that unlike the lifelong tenure of the Grand Master was open to election every six months. The Mopes were thought by some to engage in Black Magic, but in general it was seen simply as a satirical response to a real or perceived threat as presented by the Freemasons.
Another custom of the Mopses was to recruit solely from the ranks of the Catholics. Instead of requiring a new member to take an oath of secrecy, ones word of honor was accepted. Such recruitment tactics ensured that the reaction from the Church would be minimal considering it was Catholic folk who made up the ranks of the Mopses. Additionally there is also a school of thought that sympathetic member’s of the Catholic Church created this organization in an effort to preserve the tenets of Masonry that they secretly embraced, while publicly supporting the efforts of the Church to deter folks from joining an organization that was considered objectionable by the Catholic Church.
The Mopses celebrated the Sabbat in the Gnostic sense but they veered away from the Kabalistic approach by substituting the Kabalistic Goat with that of a dog as an object of worship. The word Mopses comes from the German word “Mops” which translates as “Mastiff”. As time goes on the Catholic Church has steadily reaffirmed its stance of intolerance towards the Freemasons. In 1917 CE, Pope Leo XIII presented the “Code of Canon Law” explicitly declared that joining Freemasonry entailed automatic excommunication, and this same canon also forbids books which are friendly to Freemasonry.
In 1983 CE the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued “Quaesitum est” (Declaration on Masonic Associations) , which reiterates the Church's objections to Freemasonry and clarifies that those who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion. Quaesitum est is currently considered the authoritative interpretation of the Vatican's position on this subject.
The intent of this article is not to point fingers. Rather it is to highlight a fact of life. The Neo Pagan perception is one of acceptance and tolerance. However such a notion may be a bit altruistic.
As a Traditional witch, I adhere to the tenet that the only right religion/spiritual path is that of the individual. But we would be wise to realize that many religions do not encourage nor tolerate the path of the individual. If Paganism is to be the religious/spiritual path of the individual, than we should be aware of the established history (not just the Catholic Church) of those who are not as altruistic when it comes to religious/spiritual acceptance.
Engaging the mystical arts requires unlimited parameters, for ones knowledge changes with each enlightening experience. This may be by way of a Vision quest, astral projection, mind melding with a Dryad, energy work and so forth. All of which are elements ignored and denied by powerful religions. It is only by the Pagan community validating itself through its own standards and actions, that paganism will become validated by those who would do so only very reluctantly.
Creating bridges is fine, but make sure that it is connected to the other side before attempting to cross…
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