Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence
Alternative Medicine – What Is It?
February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Building a Magick Mirror
The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression
January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 1 (The Center)
September 15th. 2013 ...
Some Pagan Prayers
The Holocaust Survivor (Part II)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Bramble and Cerridwen
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
In Search of Growth in Neo Paganism
Article ID: 14343
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,070
Times Read: 2,688
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Author: Crick [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: April 3rd. 2011
Times Viewed: 2,688
Now that Neo Paganism has been in place for about 60 years, one can look back and see the twists and turns, which has led the Neo Pagan community to its current state of apathy. For those who have not been inundated by the plethora of 101 books generated by members of the Neo pagan movement, Neo paganism took root with the advent of the illustrious Gerald Gardner. It has been clearly established that this gentleman took elements of Catholicism, Masonry and the practices of the High Magicians of the Golden Dawn and created an embellished amalgamation of what he claimed as witchcraft. The truth is that nothing could be further from the tenets of reality than his definition of such a time honored path known as the Craft.
Before I go any further, this is not an attempt to bash Gardner, for he is not alone in perpetuating such a myth. When Gardner’s coven dissolved in the late 1950’s, several of his former followers stepped in and continued the myth that Gardner perpetuated. I can hear the jaws hitting the floor over this statement. But let’s take a pragmatic look at what Neo Paganism has brought to the concept of paganism.
The first thing to consider, of course, is the mind-numbing trove of 101 books that has stymied any true progress in the mystical arts. How many times can such basic knowledge be regurgitated and presented as the next ‘must have’ book? Apparently, such reincarnations have no end in sight. And once you have read one such book, you have basically read all of them. What purpose does it serve a fledgling pagan community to be kept in a constant state of ignorance?
What happened to the intense curiosity and desire to evolve mystically and spiritually that pagans of yore subscribed to? The Craft offers so many mystical and spiritual rewards to those who seek them. And yet with the current Neo Pagan mindset, many folks are sadly unaware of such gifts. This is not to say that the old school pagans of the world have given up such a mindset in favor of the current lack of experience and knowledge, which serves as pillars of Neo paganism.
This brings us to the next failing of Neo paganism.
Though Gardner traveled the world and was keenly aware of the fact that there have always been pagan folks around the world, when he created his self-serving concept of paganism he created a mindset that ignored the greater parts of the world in favor of those of European descent. His claims of reviving a culture that had fallen to the wayside are pure bunk. And such blinders have closed the door to those teachers who may have infused a true sense of understanding of the delicate balance of nature and the creative magic associated with such knowledge. Anyone who is not a member of Gardner’s vision is viewed with skepticism and is ignored as a fraud.
As we continue to take an honest appraisal of the Neo pagan movement, it is this very same mindset that attempts to create an elitist class of so-called pagans. There are those who claim to be better than everyone else because they claim lineage to a man who, at best, was simply an embellisher and whose movement fell apart, only to be revived a couple of years later. This same group now postures itself as the learning curve for paganism, though old school pagans hardly -- if at all -- recognize such a claim. You know… those pagans from around the world who were ignored in favor of the fledgling upstarts whom we now know as Neo pagans.
Probably the greatest accomplishment of neo Paganism has been the years of time and energy that has been spent forcing a symbol that belongs to neither the Abraham religions nor Neo pagans onto tombstones in what are primarily Christian graveyards. That symbol of course is the pentagram. This may come as a surprise to some, but the pentagram is not a Wiccan symbol. It has been in use by various belief systems for over 5, 000 years. It can even be found within Christian churches and graveyards all over Europe. And for most of its existence, it was seen as a positive symbol of health and good will, among other positive aspects. In fact, it was a former Catholic turned pagan, Eliphas Lévi, who first gave the pentagram a negative connotation.
This brings us to yet another erroneous assumption that Neo paganism has created. Paganism is not all about being a religion. Some aspects of true paganism such as witchcraft, shamanism and many other forms of paganism are about spirituality in which its members seek out the mysteries of life as individuals. Such folks do not need nor want the mind and soul numbing control that a religion requires in order to exist. Such an erroneous mindset seems to have been lost on such folks who see paganism as solely a religion.
And so you may ask, if this article is not about bashing a particular mindset, then what is its purpose?
The answer is that as one who has spent his entire life as a Traditional witch, my personal love for the Craft in particular and the pagan/Neo Pagan community in general, knows no bounds. And when one sees an ongoing problem, it is irresponsible to sit by and say nothing. If you had a child that needed help with a learning situation, would you not speak out yourself? And if one is too shortsighted to acknowledge such a problem exists, then there is no chance of ever finding a solution or perhaps a more comprehensive approach that benefits the many and not just the few.
Don’t get me wrong; I firmly believe that the only right religion/spiritual path is the one that works for the individual. But by the same token, we should be wary of the tendency to create a one-size fits all as preached by certain groups within the Neo Pagan community.
As an analogy, if you seek to learn a foreign language, which in essence paganism is to many folks who were formerly of one of the Abraham religions, would you want to learn just a few simple phrases or would you actually prefer to learn to speak fluently? With the current state of Neo Paganism, the community is stuck on just a few phrases, repeated over and over again, if you will. As a community, we need to break free of the baby steps and seek out a more diverse and in depth knowledge of paganism that is sorely lacking at this point in time under the current mindset.
Every group/individual brings something to the table, but no one group/individual has all of the necessary answers for the continued growth of our community. When one group/individual takes the lead, we become stagnant in our magical abilities and spiritual growth.
Perhaps it’s time to realize that there are in fact pagan communities that have been around for eons prior to the mid 1950’s and to seek out the wisdom that such enlightened folks could provide us, given the chance. But to entice such wise teachers to respond, the Neo Pagan community must first learn to put aside its inherent arrogance and ideas of self-grandeur.
The Neo Pagan community must be willing to admit that the current state of stagnant growth in the mystical arts is un-acceptable. And that its members crave so much more.
Wasn’t this one of the reasons so many folks left the Abraham religions to walk the path of paganism?
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