Authentic Paganism?

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Willow
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Authentic Paganism?

Post by Willow » Tue May 16, 2006 12:52 pm

I apologise in advance for the pretentiousness of this post.

Well, I am working away on a paper and I just realised that some of you and your insights could be very helpful to me. I know how shy everyone on this board is about giving their opinion, but please feel free to come out of your shell and say what you think (insert sarcasrtic wink here)

The long and short of my paper is this. Religions and religious scholars constantly deal with the issue of authenticity. Not to prove that one religion is more "authentic" than another, but rather how people in those religions authenticate their beliefs and practises. Part of the problem is, authenticity in and of itself is hard to define, so scholars tend to look at how practisioners decide on what is authentic.

As has often been said on this board, "Do what feels best for you" or, with the rede, "as long as it doesn't harm anyone, do what you will." Creating our own rituals and borrowing from other cultures/traditions is result of globalisation and a paradigmatic shift in society (North american anyway).

So, do we as pagans have a way we can "authenticate" our beliefs? Is there a process? Do we do it on a group or individual level? Are we borrowers? Is our religion hedonistic? Just a couple of thoughts, my paper is dealing more witht he creation of rituals and how people are authenticating, I am hoping that some of you may have an insight I can mooch for my paper, and give me a different angle to examine things.
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
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Post by Lotus » Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm

IMO much of the problem is that there are no credentials needed to be a pagan author....anyone can write a book on paganism. Other topics people need credentials to write about them....think if you are writing a book on cheese you'd have to be trained in France or something.
All of the time we get these people who claim to be "high mucky muck" of "their" tradition writing books about paganism. Some of these people did not even go to a Uni.
To authenticate our religion then we need to make standards of things and teach the difference between discernment and judgement.
It is perfectly ok to dis someone's "tradition" and question it. We all go to this point becaused we questioned things to begin with.
Also, this entire "tradition" stuff that people spout off about irks me.
Fairy Rainbow-bright wicca fluff grove is not a tradition.
Heck, Wicca is not even considered a religion....
The military will not allow you to put the "wiccan symbol" on a gravestone.
George W Bush has come out openly and stated that wiccan is not a religion.

BB
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Post by Stormy » Tue May 16, 2006 4:13 pm

Humm, not sure if this is what you are asking but...

...to authenticate any religion (well, most) one just needs to look around them - especially true of pagan religions - each blade of grass in my yard tells me that there is more to this life than what meets the eye. But that's hard to explain - hard to explain how - one of the great "mysteries" I suppose.

I guess what I'm really trying it say is that to know your beliefs "work" and are "valid" as a pagan, all you need to do is be able to get even the slightest hint of understanding of the mysteries, yet it is impossible to put into words what the knowledge is - it is a feeling, a knowing - and when you have it, you don't feel the need to prove anything to anyone, no need to "authenticate" your beliefs. You know it's true in your heart, and what's more, you know that what pagan "b" believes - even though it's not what you believe - is right too. And that is another of the mysteries 8-)

Geeze, I hope I didn't totally confuse you ;)
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Post by Firelord » Tue May 16, 2006 6:15 pm

this is a very difficult question indeed.

We can not authenticate based on a feeling... simply because a feeling can be created in our mind simply because we want to feel that way. Someone can want so badly to feel that their circle is cast correctly that they convince themselves and their mind makes up this little feeling... does that mean it's right? In a way... but not exactly.

That's one of the reasons wicca can be so dangerous... those that haven't had enough experience can raise all the wrong energy at all the wrong times and one of the things a lot of these book-writers forget to mention is that all beginners should go slow and try to find a teacher as much as possible before even casting a circle for the first time... because dangerous things CAN happen and that's what people refuse to believe at first. Stuart Farrar actually told stories of this in "The Witches' Way"

Okay, back on topic... how can we authenticate a religion?

Perhaps only by recording those happenings that go on each and every day. For example, those people that have recollection of past lives and the information checks out, records of possession, dreams that come true, premonitions, omens that come true, use of divination tools that portray the truth WITHOUT becoming self-fulfilling prophecy... etc... the list goes on.

This is the only way we can authenticate a religion... we can not authenticate a christian religion for the fact that we would have to prove that Yahweh exists... we would have to prove that Jesus existed (which historians have already proven that every mention of him in historical documents (of which there were only 3 mentions) were forgeries or phonies)...

Our religion is based on the metaphysical and paranormal phenomena that occur around us every day and there is strong proof of all of this, even ghosts, that are being found more and more every day. Watch an episode of Ghost Hunters to see for yourself. Technology is getting at a point in which we can track the movement and energy of the paranormal...

I believe that's all the authentication someone needs to believe in a pagan path. Of course... now the simple question would be which pagan path? lol.

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Post by Willow » Tue May 16, 2006 6:57 pm

scientific authentication and self fulfilling prophecy, see...

two things I hadn't thought of, I knew I should ask you guys.
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
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Post by Crazy Healer Lady » Wed May 17, 2006 7:53 am

I know there is no way I could authenticate my religion.

I vaguely classify myself as Pagan because I see the Divine in Nature (so much that, darn it, despite the angry teachers I always capitalize it!!).

I think there are some common themes in rituals such as setting up Sacred Space (circle-casting in Wiccan traditions), and this is all we have to go by for authentication.

This is a head-scratcher. Not well with me at this time of morning. :lol:
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Post by Ragnar » Wed May 17, 2006 10:43 am

O.K. I have written a lot of it here before. So I will send you a P.M with some stuff from how we authenticat our stuff.

Please feel free to quote and discuss, if you find any of it usefull. :lol:

Actualy, I don't think I HAVE posted much of what I found. So I will start a new thread. The same offer applies. ;)

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Post by Willow » Wed May 17, 2006 11:42 am

pm away if you like, I appreciate all the thinking and feedback I can find
Thanks Ragnar (and everyone else too)

So out of curiousity, ifyou tell someone else about a ritual you perform or have created, is the ritual open to criticism at all? Or as a ommunity (for anyone in a group) how do you decide as a group on your rituals?
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
Dr. Seuss (1904 - 1991)

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Ragnar
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Post by Ragnar » Wed May 17, 2006 12:00 pm

Creative criticism, yes. But not from non Heathens/Pagans.

As far as group work goes, it is normaly the family head of the place where the ritual is being performed, that takes the lead.

Trusted guests can also be invited to either join in as "helpers", or in fact do the whole ritual themselves, if they wish.

So, allthough, of course, the ritual purpose remains constant, it may be different in text, or there may be a special reason to include a particular "request". Obviously situations change, and rituals normaly get a flavour of that change.

For instance, the spring ritual in 2002/3, in Sachsen, took particular note of "anti flooding measures".

Others as they occur. A bit like the "Blessings board" here. :-)

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Post by Firelord » Wed May 17, 2006 5:04 pm

Crazy Healer Lady wrote:I vaguely classify myself as Pagan because I see the Divine in Nature (so much that, darn it, despite the angry teachers I always capitalize it!!).
Actually... divine should be capitalized in that sentence... for that fact that you are using it in the place of the name of the goddess more than likely... now... nature shouldn't be capitalized... lol.

perhaps we can authenticate the religious beliefs of some christians in the fact that some people are indeed healed by these mysterious "cult" leaders that heal people with their bare hands... however, a lot of christian leaders practice paganism in the closet... and how do we know if that power is coming from their god or from themselves?

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Post by Kitsune » Wed May 17, 2006 9:28 pm

A small point...

Whether it's a Christian or Pagan or Norseman(is that the right way to say it Ragnar? :oops: ) that is doing the healing, does it really matter? How can a Christian be doing things that are Pagan? If he believes in them, and believes that they come from his God, does that make him any more wrong than us for saying that our powers come from the Divine?

Also, wouldn't that make a lot of Wiccans and Pagans "Closet Christians" when they call upon the ArchAngel Micheal to watch and guard their circle?

Just trying to prove a point that since we can't agree on one "right" way of doing things, we shouldn't critisize Christians for not being able to figure out the one "True" path for everyone either.

I say, so long as the power is used for Good, then it is Divine, whether Christian, Pagan or what have you...

Hope this made sense... We've been under a heat wave, which I like, but when it's still 20 degrees at nearly midnight, it fry's my brain until I fall asleep! ;)
Trying to create a world, even in words, is good occupational therapy for lunatics who think they're God, and an excellent argument for Polytheism. -S.M. Stirling

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Post by Stormy » Thu May 18, 2006 6:56 am

Kitsune wrote: I say, so long as the power is used for Good, then it is Divine, whether Christian, Pagan or what have you...
I agree with this, even if the power to heal is coming from the same "method" as we use (raising personal power, will-power, connecting to the Divine, etc.) yet the Christian believes it is coming from their God, who cares? They are doing good.

My beef with the Christians is that they refuse to allow any other religion to be valid but their own.
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Post by Kitsune » Thu May 18, 2006 8:30 am

I agree with that, the fundies do tend to be unable to accept "Outside the box" thinking, I just don't agree with the comment about "Pagan" Christians. It seems an unnessesary labeling.
Trying to create a world, even in words, is good occupational therapy for lunatics who think they're God, and an excellent argument for Polytheism. -S.M. Stirling

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Post by Crazy Healer Lady » Thu May 18, 2006 12:48 pm

Firelord wrote:
Crazy Healer Lady wrote:I vaguely classify myself as Pagan because I see the Divine in Nature (so much that, darn it, despite the angry teachers I always capitalize it!!).
Actually... divine should be capitalized in that sentence... for that fact that you are using it in the place of the name of the goddess more than likely... now... nature shouldn't be capitalized... lol.
:oops: I meant only Nature there, not Divine.
I capitalize Nature though it's not supposed to be.

Pagan, Xian, Voodoo, Hibijeebee... What is really untouched anymore? Everything is starting to blend for me until some a****** starts screaming about hellfire or that you're doing it wrong or you've stepped on the sacred ant of Munoputassama, or I get enough sleep and can differentiate and celebrate the belief differences and look beyond the Divine that is at the centre and see the filters or the Prism, as I see it. There is the Divine that filters through the prism into these beautiful colours (religions).

But then when that happens, you don't get white again. You get a muddy colour.

>_< go away. I'm sleeping
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Post by Ragnar » Thu May 18, 2006 10:51 pm

Crazy Healer Lady wrote: you've stepped on the sacred ant of Munoputassama,
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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