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vanir
11-29-2008, 12:09 AM
Please continue the discussion about Wicca etc here =) -- j7

I agree with your points wholeheartedly, Allronix but obviously the popularised political argument is credibility. Many people can't string an original thought together to save their lives, our wonderful technological and sociological evolution has helped form an environment where individuals entirely incapable of developing survival skills not only form the majority vote but also rise to the very pinnacle of political and socio-economic authority.

Have we not all watched at least some instance of an abuse victim finding themselves declared insane for an inspired reaction to an ignorantly callous act?

In this world of searching literal definements in order to gain an impression of some experience we have yet to attain, for the strict purposes of greed and authority, it is that certain literal definements may yet garner the given impression of an alterior motive. From paranoic Nazi worship in the war against terror to the insidious consecration of Stalinist ideals of preventing the freedom of ideals which might conceivably give the individual space to procreate politically seditious sentiment.

People are scared. They're scared that life's just not so simple as going to work and letting somebody else do all the real work involved in life.

Allronix, the term "Pagan" means literally "neither Muslim nor Christian." That is a problem.

Allronix
11-29-2008, 12:43 AM
Technically, I'm a Neo-Pagan, and my leanings fall more or less into Wicca, which is one of the primary Neo-Pagan movements. "Pagan" is merely a commonly used description.

vanir
11-29-2008, 02:27 AM
Umm...technically you're a cultist. Speaking from the celebrated point of view.

*shrug*

Religious fundamentalists have the argument of traditionalism to fall back on.

Allronix
11-29-2008, 05:57 AM
Umm...technically you're a cultist. Speaking from the celebrated point of view.


Um...that's an awfully pejorative term, especially since Wicca fits none of the generally recognized criteria. (http://www.cultclinic.org/qa3.html) It also does not center around charismatic leaders, and proselytizing is generally forbidden.

Wicca is a recognized religion, even by the US Army, (http://www.religioustolerance.org/wic_usbk.htm) which is hardly a liberal organization. The US Supreme Court (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dettmer_v._Landon) even acknowledged it as a legitimate religion.

This is getting a wee off-topic, though. PM me or start a new thread if you wish to discuss this further.

EnderWiggin
11-29-2008, 02:27 PM
Allronix, the term "Pagan" means literally "neither Muslim nor Christian." That is a problem.

And what problem might that be?

FYI:
Neo-pagan: a person who practices a contemporary form of paganism (as Wicca)

_EW_

vanir
11-29-2008, 07:42 PM
Since religious devotion ~might~ loosely be described as a form of political compass, I'll run with it a little, hope you don't mind Allronix. If it gets too involved as to command its own title, I'll start a new thread.

As an Australian naturally I regard celebration as outside of US legislative authority, but what may be generally accepted among the international community by and large, with no small amount of purely local influence.
I was speaking more as a tourist/observer than any kind of authority. I apolegise, I should have made this clear.

In Australia several oft recognised religions are distinctly termed cults, which would include Scientology, various pagan worship, even believe it or not certain community organisations. I had a friend who published a local horror-writers magazine and support group, when seeking to register a business name was refused on the basis that part of his title, "Horror Writers Society" was cult-like and he was forced to alter it to "Association." Then again Parliament and its legislative powers are distinctly Anglican, noted for their generous funding of private, religious institutions like schools.

And what problem might that be?
I was referring to of course, its likely reception among politically influential, traditional religious organisations. Among some Parliamentary nations this can mean directly, its political and legal reception. It is a distraction from the subject material at hand, and as we surely know discreditation is fully half the political game. Indeed religion, is politics.

FYI:

Quote:
Originally Posted by m-w.com
Neo-pagan: a person who practices a contemporary form of paganism (as Wicca)

The reception and definition of any religious individual is by no means universal. Most fundamentalist Christians may view Wicca as a reversion to pagan ritual, which might itself be represented by self gratification and human sacrifice. Muslim extremists might view Wicca as simply a more childish version of Christianity, something for the kids. Traditionalists might find them poor souls in need of conversion. Paranoics might believe they are a tool of the Devil.

In any case in anthropological and palaeontological texts paganism is often defined as seminal cult worship, or upon the small scale as simply, fertility cult. Pagan icons often involve genitalia, timekeeping is often seasonal/lunar based, its origins often related to cultivation. This is simply the historical perspective.

Jae Onasi
11-29-2008, 07:51 PM
or upon the small scale as simply, fertility cult. Pagan icons often involve genitalia,
And let's not get any more descriptive than that on a PG-13 site, please.

Take care on how things are worded here, folks, so that it's not viewed as a pejorative. Thanks.

jrrtoken
11-29-2008, 09:23 PM
To prevent further embarressment,m I suggest that everyone look over this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicca), for-starters. You'll find out, if you follow me, that there is quite some difference between the stereotypical witch-like pagans of yesterday and the pagans of today. I'm sure that someone could elaborate the concept in greater detail, but overall, most of the assumed "dark" aspects of the pagan stereotype aren't present in Wicca.

Web Rider
11-29-2008, 09:24 PM
In any case in anthropological and palaeontological texts paganism is often defined as seminal cult worship, or upon the small scale as simply, fertility cult. Pagan icons often involve genitalia, timekeeping is often seasonal/lunar based, its origins often related to cultivation. This is simply the historical perspective.

depending where you search, there is plenty-a Crucifix with a clothes-lacking Jesus on them. Human beings HAVE said private parts and IMO, it's more mature to acknowledge them than to deny them.

In any case, I think you need to clarify if you are calling Neo-Paganism a "cult" in modern term, that is a closely knit society that isolates itsself from society and usually revolves around a charismatic leader who portrays themselves often as a higher power.

or, the socio-religious definition that a cult is a newly founded belief system, that has yet to stand the test of time or social acceptance to become a "religion". Many Christian sects can be considered cults due to their relative youth and diversion from existing sects under this definition.

Allronix
11-29-2008, 09:35 PM
Ah. "Cult" is a VERY pejorative term in the US. And even though things have improved drastically since the days I stepped out of the broom closet, most Pagans are well aware of their status as "other." We're reminded of it daily.

Because Neo-Paganism generally doesn't see homosexuality as a sin, reveres the equality of the sexes, and considers the Earth sacred, the Pagans do tend to skew libertarian or liberal.

vanir
11-30-2008, 04:18 AM
Hmm, I do quite apolegise. These ideas are not those I hold personally, but merely an observation of the environment which surrounds me. I wasn't really interested in going the full length down a Wicca discussion, however if it appears of great interest then I should be more than happy for the moderators to accommodate.

Perhaps indeed there is some sentiment which requires expression. Many attitudes, whilst I am forced to recognise their existence and consider them tactically and strategically in dealing with the world at large, I also recognise are quite blatant marginalisations, and I do not wish for anyone, much less Wiccans to feel this way.

And yes, I am fully aware Christianity began as a cult. I would even describe it as such myself, being a stickler for literacy.

Let us have an independent thread then. I am a little saddened to have been requested to perform the duties of devil's advocate, but will do my best. One should prepare, I am no slouch.

Wyrmslayer...is a razor. Consider it deadly sharp.

(edit to add, with the new thread)

May we have a description, in our own words of the Wicca belief? To start things off.
I would start, but would head straight towards the significance of the dagger.

I am the North, the South, the East and the West
I am the centre
But the centre cannot hold...

Jae Onasi
12-03-2008, 09:51 PM
Well, wiki article on Wicca (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicca) might be a starting point--I don't know enough about Wicca to say if it's good info or not.

Achilles
12-03-2008, 11:08 PM
Based on a quick scan of the page, the info appears mostly accurate.

It's important to note that while Wicca is part of Neo-Paganism, Neo-Paganism is not exclusively Wiccan. In other words, the terms are not necessarily interchangeable.

GarfieldJL
12-03-2008, 11:22 PM
I don't really consider it that big of a deal as long as it isn't preached to my kids and they don't perform any abusive actions on minors. I'm a Christian, I believe in God, and I'm going to let God sort it out because I'm only human.

machievelli
12-04-2008, 11:43 PM
I don't really consider it that big of a deal as long as it isn't preached to my kids and they don't perform any abusive actions on minors. I'm a Christian, I believe in God, and I'm going to let God sort it out because I'm only human.

The problem is that it is more often the Christians that will shove their book in our faces and tell us how we are wrong merely because as I tell them, "I believe in god, I just don't believe in yours'.

Arcesious
12-04-2008, 11:51 PM
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&defl=en&q=define:religion&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=title

Wicca sounds like a religion to me...

vanir
12-05-2008, 12:50 AM
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&defl=en&q=define:religion&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=title

Wicca sounds like a religion to me...

Oh God no offense, I can't believe you want to play with semantics and call it rainwater.
It is firstly important that regional definitions differ, in all remotely religious and political definements. This would be various cultural perspectives.

Relevent snippets:
From the Unabridged Random House Dictionary:
a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.

From the American Heritage Dictionary:
Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.

Etymology Dictionary:
c.1200, "state of life bound by monastic vows," also "conduct indicating a belief in a divine power," from Anglo-Fr. religiun (11th century), from O.Fr. religion "religious community," from L. religionem (nom. religio) "respect for what is sacred, reverence for the gods," in L.L. "monastic life" (5th century)

Meanwhile it is also stated:
"The equal toleration of all religions ... is the same thing as atheism." [Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, 1885]

Websters:
The state of being irreligious; want of religion; impiety.

Finally it is important to note that ultimately, the traditional religions have in this day and age a begrudging acceptance of each other. But whether they are willing to recognise new sects as new religions is another matter entirely. One should be reminded that many world governments and legislators are largely, traditionally religious.

I do respect your opinion, Arcesious, but it has no bearing on whether or not Wicca is celebrated by the world at large as a legitimate religion per se. This isn't really a question that can be answered by hand waving.



There was another matter I wanted to discuss, of quite some interest perhaps to Wiccans but I dislike exceedingly long posts and due to the rules about double posting, I should wait again for some member interaction before continuing. I would like to discuss magic.

machievelli
12-05-2008, 01:07 AM
Oh God no offense, I can't believe you want to play with semantics and call it rainwater.
It is firstly important that regional definitions differ, in all remotely religious and political definements. This would be various cultural perspectives.

Relevent snippets:
From the Unabridged Random House Dictionary:
a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.

From the American Heritage Dictionary:
Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.

Etymology Dictionary:
c.1200, "state of life bound by monastic vows," also "conduct indicating a belief in a divine power," from Anglo-Fr. religiun (11th century), from O.Fr. religion "religious community," from L. religionem (nom. religio) "respect for what is sacred, reverence for the gods," in L.L. "monastic life" (5th century)

Meanwhile it is also stated:
"The equal toleration of all religions ... is the same thing as atheism." [Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, 1885]

Websters:
The state of being irreligious; want of religion; impiety.

Finally it is important to note that ultimately, the traditional religions have in this day and age a begrudging acceptance of each other. But whether they are willing to recognise new sects as new religions is another matter entirely. One should be reminded that many world governments and legislators are largely, traditionally religious.

I do respect your opinion, Arcesious, but it has no bearing on whether or not Wicca is celebrated by the world at large as a legitimate religion per se. This isn't really a question that can be answered by hand waving.



There was another matter I wanted to discuss, of quite some interest perhaps to Wiccans but I dislike exceedingly long posts and due to the rules about double posting, I should wait again for some member interaction before continuing. I would like to discuss magic.

There is no specific number required for a relgion. As Robert Heinlien commented, if you can think of a logical reason to include roller skating as part of religion, you can create your own church.

It's interesting that the only three rulings I can find against specific churches or sects were because of noise pollution (A church in the 70s that mounted massive loudspeakers on the roof so everyone heard their services) Violations of Church and state seperation (A child who preached in school disrupting classes because he considered 'god' more important than arithmetic) and The 'Moonies' because of their cultish (Modern American legal definition) following of one man.

As for magic, either perceived or taught, go for it.

vanir
12-05-2008, 02:27 AM
Excellent, let us finally get started.

According to mediaeval Japanese druidism, magic is a misinterpretation of mundane events. Most importantly Japanese warrior-monks in the mediaeval age were interested only in those systems or beliefs which were practicable, ie. which worked to effect once people starting hacking each other to bits, as happened unfortunately quite a bit during this age.

One of the greatest misgivings about this traditional view of magic is that it is not a means by which to cheat the universe. Like anything from which you expect a return, it is work. Hard work. The proverbial warrior-wizard doesn't lay around eating mushrooms and then wave his fingers around when challenged. He's led a specific lifestyle which amounts to a philosophical path, he works hard every day and when challenged, and he waves his fingers around it seems to have some strange effect upon an assailant. Due to the psychological nature of the human condition this is perfectly reasonable to assert.

Wiccans will note some interesting parallels.
There are essentially two primary foundations: duality and the triumvurate. Here is duality, which is the general rule:

Earth, it is confidence, its motion is in the backside.
Water, it is defensive, its motion is in the hips.
Fire, it is aggressive, its motion is in the chest.
Air, it is evasive, its motion is in the spine.
The Void, it is an aether, its motion might be described as imagination or intuition.

And yes, this is a martial art, often called Budo Taijutsu. In some elements and my preference, it is also certain, highly specialised disciplines of Kobudo.

You can observe or you can contemplate, this is essentially the duality. In representation these elements actually form a map of the universe, to be meditated upon and each points to one of the four corners of the compass, except the Void which would be represented by the imagination of the observer or meditator, ie. sitting right smack bang in the middle of it all.

I'll let browsers soak this up before continuing. More to come, if you're interested. Yes much more.

GarfieldJL
12-05-2008, 09:55 AM
The problem is that it is more often the Christians that will shove their book in our faces and tell us how we are wrong merely because as I tell them, "I believe in god, I just don't believe in yours'.

Yeah, those people that shove their books in my face on campus are highly annoying. You don't try to shove a particular religion down someone's throat.

By the same token one shouldn't try to surpress people from celebrating their religion (like how some far-left atheists try to do away with Christmas).

Getting back to your situation, what denomination were these guys from, if it's one of the two I'm thinking of, I may have a few suggestions to get them to leave you alone.

Darth InSidious
12-05-2008, 10:36 AM
The problem is that it is more often the Christians that will shove their book in our faces and tell us how we are wrong merely because as I tell them, "I believe in god, I just don't believe in yours'.

Oh, don't worry. If you're the wrong denomination of Christian, you'll get the pamphlets being shoved at you and the speeches about being 'saved' as one of the 144,000, the accusations of devil-worship etc., etc.

I imagine they're a little more insistent when they're on your back, though.

vanir
12-05-2008, 11:09 AM
Because Australia has no fundamental laws relating to religion (like the way freedom of religion is written into the US Constitution), there is no need for court rulings to determine that a belief is a religion. Legally there is nothing which says Catholicism is a religion, for example.
Hence, conversely there is no cause for courts to have determined that a group or organisation is not a religion. It simply makes no difference whatsoever. Cults and sects are however of public concern and may relate to public safety, so whilst there is no legislation to determine what is a religion, there certainly is to determine what is a dangerous cult, belief, social organisation or following.

Particularly for groups like Wiccans there is a sense of marginalisation which is not entirely absent from government, and nothing really written into anything which says that is not all fine and good to happen.

To complicate matters in Australian criminal courts, much as post-Patriot Act US, suspicion and verbalisation may bring about extensive prosecution and severe penalties upon the erroneous belief of what you may either one day do, or inspire others to do whether unwittingly or (more typically) by intention. All you need is an MP to declare Wiccans an extremist group and God help you, police really don't need much more than an accusation to prove charges which can already be laid on half the general population before they've even left their houses to go to work.

We live in trying times, and are most definitely not yet, politically free. Much less in developed nations, not within the British Empire and not in America. I mean the only thing which really set America apart in the first place was the inalienability of rights and well, that's been rescinded..."suspended for the investigation and prosecution of terrorism" (a battle which by definition, can never truly be over).

What complicates matters secondarily is the simple fact religions derived political, legal and cultural systems by forming a social and philosophical framework of customary belief.

So it will always be of concern just what it is wiccans or any other widespread sect are trying to say. I understand mostly thus far it has been of an extremely peaceful and harmless nature. However what should happen the day one of those yanks rifling teens outside a school happens to be a fanatical wiccan?

------------------------------------------------------------

Darn. Would I be right in thinking the site wiccans have opted out of the conversation? I am tongue in cheek by nature yet I do quite promise to break nobody's dagger. My objective was in fact to reinforce, but there are roads which must be walked for a true sense of accomplishment to be gained.

Allronix
12-07-2008, 02:33 AM
First of all, fanantical Wiccans wielding shotguns and shooting "unbelievers?" Probably not, unless the fellow's got a ton of mental issues that don't relate to his family's faith. Trying to convert or recruit for the faith is looked on as gauche at best and insulting at worst.

Second, the point about the Japanese monks was a good one, but the concept of calling the corners and the directions crosses a lot of cultural lines. The Earth/Air/Water/Fire quaternity came from Ancient Greece, for example. Sacred herbs and spell elements are borrowed from the Norse and the Celts. Magic? Well, that's a combination of prayers along with some materials to focous one's energy on a specific goal. And a belief that one reaps what they sow three times over is a GREAT deterrant to those who want to get stupid with their focus.

Third, what is your definition of a religion anyway? What makes your faith a "religion" and mine a "cult?" Numbers? Political clout? Presence in society and media? Do only monotheistic religions with a book count? If so, you'll have to discount most of Asia, as Buddhism hasn't a central text or believe in a omnipotent deity. Hinduism has something that might pass for a central book, but they're quite cheerfully pantheistic. Shinto is a sophisticated animist faith. Voudoun is a cross of African tribal religion, Carib shamanism, and just enough French & Spanish Catholicism to make things really interesting. Santeria has similar origins.

One of the reasons Pagans, especially in the US, lack "political clout" is because folks lose their jobs, their kids, and their good name over a misidentification with Satanism and the stranglehold a certain type of Christianity has on the national power structure. I came out of the broom closet at 16 (during a fiasco where my school tried to ban gays from student office), and was beaten up and hassled for it. My niece had to keep her head down and mouth shut about her faith in Utah, or she and her mom would starve (the food banks were run by churches).

vanir
12-07-2008, 04:30 AM
With the fanatical, murderous wiccan analogy I was merely making a point about public perceptions. Obviously the beliefs of a psychotic individual are irrelevent but where these beliefs are marginal to begin with (that is, not a mainstream traditional belief), I'm sure we all know the public tendency to concern themselves. If the psychotic gunman were a Scientologist, people would begin turning a critical eye towards Scientology. I'm merely suggesting that since religion really has little to do with the psychotic tendencies of individuals, it is only a matter of time before somebody who happens to be either a wiccan, or a fan of wicca performs such an act, and the public critical eye, in a political capacity is cast upon wicca itself, and wiccans insofar as whether most people consider it completely, psychologically harmless in its nature and forms. True enough I'd say it's fairly likely in most circles but the question is do you have that kind of confidence in yourself? Is this to some extent a closet religion? Is it something for damaged people?

Japanese druidism also came from ancient Greece in some part (the aforementioned part), via trade through the Middle East. This explanation of the four elements (plus quintessence) is also a given explanation for the creation of physical matter in the universe, which begins with positively and negatively charged particles representing atomos.
Magic per se is most specifically described as "the focus of intention." There is also some ritual which involves motions somewhat reminiscent of modern Tai Chi, and few external props (no candles or pentacles or anything), but essentially the parallels are again clear.
What is extremely interesting about Japanese druidism is that it is still practised today, among an unbroken tradition (successive generations of instructors since 1118CE), the most celebrated of which lived until the 1950's iirc (his primary student, again a relative although a distant one, is current Soke or head of the tradition and has a variety of honourary degrees for his hereditary significance to Japanese history). So there was never any break to its being actively practised by at least some individuals in Japan, nothing has ever been lost from it and nothing has had to be relearned. It is a fascinating historical study of common mediaeval paganism, and one should definitely not make the mistake of discounting any relevence due to nationalities, since there are no other such direct links to mediaeval paganism in the world today.

More about those historical perspectives later, if there appears interest (whether it be in parallels or directly).

I don't define religions. I refer to them situationally and whimsically, although tend towards common celebration particularly among academic circles. I refer to wicca as a cult solely because the most literary definition of historical paganism is seminal cult worship. Saying neo-Paganism differs would be like saying neo-Nazism isn't racist. The description means a modern or modernised version, or the common perception of its reinvention. It's nothing personal, there's nothing wrong with a cult, unless US legislation says all cults are bad (doesn't surprise me), which is a really evil way to govern people. All anyone now has to do is level the accusation of cultist to anyone they don't like and it's damaging. That's completely ridiculous, though not saying it doesn't happen. Point being it is obvious you should consider me a messenger in this regard, if I had casually regarded it thusly, whether or not it may apt from a regional or subcultural point of view, it is fairly likely this is going to be a pretty common encounter for you. Fundy Christians crack it big time when I refer to early Christianity as a sect or cult, but again these aren't my words but those of celebrated academic sources.

In any case knowing a following is a cult or sect is somewhat important for the practitioner, as a measure of control. See, and this is the problem of mediaeval philosophies and part concern of clergy is that there are no inherent controls within the belief system, such as the manner modern criminal legislation arguably reflects European Christianisation and democratic evolution. This process has not been performed with other mediaeval or medieaval-like, subcultural philosophies. Just a point in fact.
Since membership, thus tuition within Japanese druidism is by selection certain requirements such as no criminal record or psychological illness can be easily levelled. Nevertheless it is still an avid responsibility of the practitioner to recognise that he is exploring historical perspectives which would cause problems if given unbridled reign in modern society. Survival of the fittest is an almost universal pagan philosophical observation for example, but failing to render assistance is Breach in Duty of Care legally. Not saying individual neo-Pagans wouldn't do that, but it is a control which must be electively placed, ie. Paganism can't exactly be blindly or complacently exercised in every aspect and to its fullest.

But here is the thing. Another almost universal rule is that of three, which many religious neo-Pagans certainly believe refers only to popular media definitions but there is quite more to it. It is the entire basis of focusing intention and it begins with: Thought, Word and Deed. It is a distinct process by which intention is focused, for example, you want to have a good week. So you think only positive thoughts, all day, every day. If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, correct yourself and think positive thoughts. Secondly, only say positive things. If you find yourself wanting to respond to somebody with a negative communication, correct yourself and speak only positive things. What you'll find, as if by magic is that you will go around with a good attitude seeing positive actions to perform more clearly, and instinctively. Perform only positive actions and if you notice yourself about to perform a negative action, correct yourself. You will have a good week, at least every power that you have or are associated with is devoted to you having a good week, and you focused your intention to have a good week. Actually experiencing this is precisely like performing magic, though a simplistic example in the extreme.

Now, following such a rule, whilst disregarding regional legislation for example could conceivably lead an individual to benevolently (in their mind) break the law. And it's not like many other philosophical and clerical personalities are blind to such things.
It's a bit like saying believing in something dramatically different to the mainstream can be equally rewarding, or prone to individual delusion, or in the extreme play upon any natural psychosis which may be related to that individual.

Oh as for me, I'm not religious in the first place ;) I've always been fairly careful about that.