Articles/Essays From Pagans
June 16th. 2013 ...
How To Stay Spiritual Amidst This Chaos?
Hearing The Music And Dancing The Dance
A Tale of the Wood
June 9th. 2013 ...
The Nature of Sacrifice
The Magick of Buildings
Start your own Pagan Church in Canada - A Detailed Guide
June 2nd. 2013 ...
Maiden, Mother, Who?! (A Discussion of the Triple Goddess)
Gods Who Live In My House
Why the 'Redneck Pagan'?
Among the Greenwod - An Interview with Raven Grimassi
May 26th. 2013 ...
So You Think You've Found a Teacher...
Learning To Live Your Own Life
Raising Personal Magickal Energy for Spellwork
Casting The Wiccan Circle
May 19th. 2013 ...
The Role of Identity in Magic
Talking Trash? It's a Dirty Subject but Waste Happens.
My Wiccan Journey
13 Keys: The Victory of Netzach
May 12th. 2013 ...
Pagan Studies I: How Should We Define Modern Paganism?
The Third Path
Nothing Special... Part Two
May 5th. 2013 ...
The Value of Multicultural Awareness
Put Your Back Into It (Our Lady of the Sacred Honey Badger)
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Red Lipped Bat Fish
April 28th. 2013 ...
Lessons from the Lessers: Iris
April 21st. 2013 ...
Taken By The Goddess: The Crescent Moon Tattoo
The Gods/Being Godbothered
To Be A Witch
The Archetypes are Gods: Re-godding the Archetypes
April 14th. 2013 ...
On The Inclusion of Children
'Wand Fun' With Grandson
Lessons from a Baby
Lessons of Freedom: On Divinity and Healing
April 7th. 2013 ...
Out of the Broom Closet... Sorta
A Journey Through the Witches Tarot
History and Science Behind Numerology
March 31st. 2013 ...
What is the Magickal Self?
Ethics and Numerology
March 24th. 2013 ...
Keystones of the Sacred Land
March 17th. 2013 ...
Why Some Pagans and Witches Still Hide
Witch Heritage 101: What Happens When Witch Haters Joke about anti-Witch Films
I'm Not a Broom. So What's with the Closet?
March 10th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Things I Did as a New Pagan: Part 3
Hunting for the Real Witch in Film
The Collective Shadow
Lies - The Opposite of Truth
March 3rd. 2013 ...
Grounding and Releasing Negative Energy
A Patchwork of Magick
February 24th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I Made as a New Pagan (Part Two)
February 17th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I made as a New Pagan... Part One
Gardening with Crystal Energies
A Call from the Ancestors
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Black Water Snakes
February 10th. 2013 ...
We Are the Weirdos, Mister: A Completely Uncool Story of Origin
February 3rd. 2013 ...
"I'll Grind Your Bones to Make my Bread": Pagans and Animal Husbandry
The Role of Contemporary Culture in Magic
A Pagan Response to Endangered Earth
The Great Mother's Gift, Heinlein, and the Nature of Squirrels
13 Keys: The Glory of Hod
January 27th. 2013 ...
Why We Do Need Wicca
The Cosmos In the Coffee Shop
On Travel Spirituality and Magick
January 20th. 2013 ...
Beloved Backs and How to Save Them
Building or Burning Bridges?
Plants, Magic and Intuition
Plagiarism - How It Harms Our Community
January 13th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés
The Magick and Power of Words
Aging Is Not Easy
The Riddle of Who We Are?
January 6th. 2013 ...
Wicca v Witchcraft
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
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Author: Crick [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: April 3rd. 2011
Times Viewed: 2,479
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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