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Title: General Paganism
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Autumn_Heather
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(Date Posted:01/08/2009 05:46 AM)
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Pagan Religions of the Old World

Sun Worship

I have to admit that I’m a “sun worshiper.” I’ll take a nice hot sunny day over a cloudy cold one anytime. (Throw in a beach and I’m even happier!) But the ancients were a little more serious about this sun worshipping business than I am. Being so entirely interconnected with nature and the stars and the sun and all of the wonderment that surrounded them, they paid very close attention to the arrangement of the stars and the cycles of the moon and sun. They intricately knew the patterns of the great orbs as well as we know how to open a car door, get in, put in the key, and start the engine.

It was merely “Sun Patterns 101” for the ancients to recognize that the sun seemed to make an annual descent southward until the time of year we now call December 21 or 22. This is, of course, the winter solstice. It is at this time when, to their earth-centric point of view, the sun stops moving southerly for three days and then starts to move northward again.

Some ancient tribal people celebrated this return (as do I, being the “sun worshipper” that I am) by noting, quite accurately, that the sun began its return around the time of year we call December 25. The Sun was “born again” on December 25th. They imagined that it had died for three days.

Some groups said the sun was “born of a Virgin” because the calendar originally began in the constellation of Virgo. They said the Sun is the “Light of the World.” The sun rising in the morning is the “Savior of Mankind.” There could be no doubt that life depends on the Sun. “God’s Sun” was “Our Savior.” Looking at the Sun, you might even say that the sun wears a corona, “crown of thorns” or halo. Look at the reflection – the sun “walks on water.” The sun is closely associated with the constellations through which it passes. These are the 12 months and the 12 signs of the zodiac, also known as the “helpers” or its “disciples.” One familiar depiction of the sun was a circle divided by a cross, which divides the four seasons and equinoxes, each being a cause for celebration.

The Sun also represented the three stages of life, and this introduced the very first trinity:

    1.) The Sun is Born Again at dawn
    2.) At noon the Sun is Mature and begins the work of God.
    3.) The Sun is Old at dusk and dies only to be reborn again.

All the ancients knew that we mortals are bound to a life on Earth, but the sky was the abode of God’s Sun. He resides “up there” in “Heaven.” Life Everlasting for all Eternity, past and future. Some would imagine that we would be in this Heaven Above in our passing. Even the bible says that God is a “Consuming Fire” in heaven. (Deuteronomy 4:24 or Hebrews 12:29)

This concept had a great influence on many religions. Some ancients imagined that “God’s Sun” was actually the Son of God. And this also brought the idea that, “The Father is glorified in His Son.” In fact, the day of the week we honor for worship and not working is SUNday in honor of the pagan sun god. The halos of Catholic saints are representative of the sun’s halos. Egyptians also had Sun Disks that had quite a similar look.

Horus

There were many other gods that had sun-related mythologies (stories) attached to them. In Egypt one of these was known as Horus, which goes back three thousand years before Jesus Christ. At daybreak, this wonderful, newborn child is, of course, “Born Again.” Horus is risen on the horizon.

But oddly enough, it seems that Horus was born of the virgin Isis-Meri on December 25th in a cave/manger with his birth being announced by a star in the East and attended by three wise men. What? Horus also did some amazing things in his life time. He taught in the temple when he was a child. He was baptized when he was 30 years old by “Anup the Baptizer.” Horus performed miracles and raised a man named El-Azar-us, from the dead. Not only did Horus walk on water, he was also crucified, buried in a tomb, and then resurrected. Curious…

Horus was known as “the Way,” “the Fisher,” “the Truth,” “the Light,” “God's Anointed Son,” “the Son of Man,” “the Good Shepherd,” “the Lamb of God,” and “the Word.” He was also was called “the KRST,” or “Anointed One.”

In fact, in the catacombs at Rome are pictures of the baby Horus being held by the virgin mother Isis. The image of Isis nursing miraculously conceived son Horus conjures up coincidental ideas of the Virgin Mary with Jesus, but we’ll be covering these strange similarities soon.

As with the Sun Worshippers, there was also a trinity with Horus that had more of a family thing going on. There was Atum the Father and Ra the Holy Spirit. Add Horus and we have the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In the later years of Horus he is imagined with 12 followers (or disciples) known as Har-Khuttie. Horus did have an enemy, and originally this was also the dark side of Horus, or his other face. This evil enemy was “Set” or “Sata.” Horus struggles with Sata for 40 days in the wilderness. Some claim that this myth represents the triumph of light over dark. This triumph is most noted on December 25.

Krishna

Let’s move from Egypt over to India in 1200 BCE. Witness the ancient story of the Virgin Mother Devaki being visited by spirits to announce the impending birth of an immaculately conceived child who is God’s Sun and the “son of God.” Here we find the heathen Savior Krishna. Krishna shares many of Horus’ now seemingly universal god-traits. Aside from the birth from a spotless virgin attended by wise men, as well as shepherds, they were both considered god incarnate as they worked miracles, restored sight, cast out devils, and raised the dead. They were both baptized (Krishna in the River Ganges), crucified (Krishna between two thieves), died, buried, and resurrected in three days and worshipped as the “savior of men.” He is also part of a trinity the “Beginning, the Middle and the End.” He proclaimed himself the “Resurrection” and the “way to the Father.”

Additionally, Krishna was presented at birth with frankincense, myrrh, and gold. He was without sin, of royal descent, and raised by a human father that was a carpenter. He preached of a great and final day of judgment and used parables to teach the people about charity and love. In death he stood transfigured (meaning transformed into a god appearance, superhuman as it were—of course we might collectively imagine that appearance to be bright and shining) in front of his disciples.

Much was written about Krishna. He is called the ”Shepherd God” and “Lord of lords.” More than that, he was “the Redeemer,” “Firstborn,” “Sin Bearer,” “Liberator,” and “Universal Word.” He was considered, “Alpha and Omega” as well as being omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. He was prophesized to return to battle evil forces in a second coming.

Most telling, however, is the title his disciples bestowed on him—a word that means “pure essence.” That word is “Jezeus.” We might also take note of the fact that a common earlier English spelling of Krishna was “Christna.”

Mithra

After Krishna came Mithraism, found in both Persia and India around the sixth century BCE. Again we find that Mithra (or Mithras) was born of a virgin, with a few shepherds present on December 25th. Also considered to be a great traveling teacher and master, he had 12 companions or disciples as he performed miracles. Just as Horus and Krishna, Mithra was buried in a tomb, died, and after three days was resurrected and rose again.

Mithras was known as “the way,” “the Truth,” “the Light,” “the Redeemer,” “the Messiah,” “the Savior,” “the word,” “the Son of God,” and ”the Good Shepherd.” Mithra was pictured carrying a lamb on his shoulders. Sunday was sacred and known as “the Lord’s Day” centuries before Jesus.

As yet another Sun God, members of the Mithraic cult had magnificent celebrations on December 25th. They used bells, candles, gifts, hymns, and “communion.” From December 25th until the spring equinox known as Estra were the “40 days” which later became Christian Lent.

The mythology finally places Mithra in rock tomb called “Petra.” After three days, he was removed with giant celebrations, festival, and great joy. (This sounds much like Matthew 16:18: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.”)

Mithraism hit Rome in the first century BCE as the Mithraic cult fled Persia. Here it flourished as the Sun God Natalis Solis Invicti (NSI). The leader of this religion ruled from what is now Vatican hill, which is a place previously sacred to Mithra. This male leader was called Papa (Pope). The Roman sun festival at the solstice celebrated NSI. Books in honor of NSI were called “Helio Biblia,” which translates to us as either “Sun Book” or “Holy Bible.” (I’ll bet they also contained a warning about looking directly at God, the Sun!)

More Gods to Pick From

There was certainly an abundance of gods to choose from in these early formative days. It would seem as if any of them could have become the basis of today’s exoteric religions, judging from the similarity of their mythos. Look at the Greek god Attis, born of the Virgin Nana, (or sometimes Cybelem) on December 25th and was reborn and rose from the dead on the third day. Attis was both the Father and the Divine Son. His crucifixion and subsequent resurrection were celebrated annually, with ritual communions of bread and wine. The wine represented the God's blood; the bread became the body of the savior.

Consider Adonis who was son of the virgin Myrha. There was Hermes, the son of the virgin Maia, as well as a member of a holy trinity Hermes Tris-Megistus. The god Dionysus, turned water into wine. Bacchus was crucified in 200 BCE. Prometheus descended from heaven as God incarnate as man, to save mankind, and was crucified, suffered, and rose from the dead.

Nimrod

Nimrod was represented in a dual role of God the Father and Ninus, the son of Semiramis, and her olive branch was symbolic of this offspring produced through a ‘virgin birth’. Ninus was also known as Tammuz who was said to have been crucified with a lamb at his feet and placed in a cave. When a rock was rolled away from tile cave's entrance three days later, his body had disappeared. Nimrod was symbolized by a fish and the origins of the Popes nutre shaped like a fish head. Nimrod was the son of Cush. Nimrod was a Mason. The Tower of Babel was one of the most ancient traditions of Masonry.

The original Christmas festival originated in the Babylon founded by Nimrod, the grandsom of Ham, the son of Noah. Nimrod originated the Babylonish system of organised competition, man-ruled governments and empires based upon the competitive and profit-making economic system. Nimrod who built the original tower of Babel, the first city of Babylon, Nineveh (the capital of Assyria) and many other commercial and pagan-religious centres.

Nimrod married his own mother, Semiramis. Legend has it, after his untimely death, she claimed that a full-grown evergreen tree sprang overnight from a dead tree stump, which symbolised the springing forth unto new life of the dead Nimrod. On each anniversary of his birth, she claimed, Nimrod would visit the evergreen tree and leave gifts upon it. 25 December was the birthday of Nimrod. It is from this myth, created by a woman living in an incestual relationship, that we get the original Christmas tree.

Pagan Goddesses

But enough about us guy deities! What about the female half of the equation? If the male gods are “up there,” then are the female goddesses below us? Well, Earth always has been thought of as our “Mother Earth” or “Mother Nature.” The ancients could see that rain falling from heaven impregnated and brought life to Mother Earth. So it seemed logical that the Father was in Heaven, the Earth was our Mother. In the ancient Canaan (which is now the state of Israel) the fertility (and sexual) rites of spring were celebrated each year in what was called “The Marriage Feast of Canaan,” where the intercourse between God the Father and the Mother Earth was acknowledged as the rains of spring would bring forth their crops.

Eastre (a.k.a. Eostre) was the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe.  Her name was derived from the ancient word for spring: eastre. Other variations of the name for goddesses of fertility were Ostare, Ostara, Ostern, Eostra, Eostur, Eastra, Eastur, Austron and Ausos.

The female powers in animist cultures was much more powerful to them than the male because females had the power to create new life. But, as is described in far more detail in Section I of Cultural Vision, “The ‘Roots’ of Domination,” as tribes became more war-like and the memes of Domination were growing like a virus throughout these newly evolving societies, the female goddesses were more and more discarded in favor of male deities. However, the pagans, who lived away from the cultural centers where these male gods were becoming more powerful, still kept a large repertoire of goddesses for aspects of their mythologies.

As the great exoteric religions were becoming institutionalized, it was difficult to attract the regular folks, who lived simple agricultural lives in the countryside, to become followers of the new systems of belief. (The word “pagan” means “country dwellers.”) There became a concerted effort to demonize their beliefs. In fact, the word “villain” meaning wicked soul, is derived from the word “village.”

The Pentacle once symbolized the perfect balance between male and female, going as far back as 4000 BCE. The church in a vast smear campaign against pagan religions demonized many symbols of the female goddesses, and even male ones that were part of the ancient pagan myths. Poseidon’s trident became the devil’s pitchfork; the Wise Crone’s pointed hat became the symbol of a witch; the horns of a bull became the horns of the devil, which is where the word “horny” comes from.

As I noted above, the ability to produce new life made women sacred –- essentially a goddess. But this divine sex worship took the perceived divine powers away from the church which was seeking to control and dominate at the behest of those who would profit from such control. Sex was portrayed as disgusting and sinful. Many religions did this. Eve was the one with the sin of temptation on her hands. Women needed to be controlled. Even childbirth pain was now viewed as rightful punishment. The church burned 5 million women at the stake. This turn in events in the Domination cultural evolution led to the male hierarchy in new religions that placed men in all positions of power.

This is the story of the ruthless quashing of all things feminine in the spiritual arena, and the new ascension of the male in all things cultural. This is the beginning of a new revolution we call Christianity.

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RE:General Paganism
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 05:47 AM)

Intentional Mythology

Old Time Religion

This is the fits and starts of the most influential globalized religion in all of history. The story of Jesus is universal, deeply permeating every level of our culture. This is why we must learn of it to find some clues as to why the culture we have today, that evolved with Christianity as its host religion, is failing on such a large scale.

Keeping the Story Straight

If the “Bible is true” and the “Bible is the Word of God,” then I would place great value in those words. But, there are so many contradictory elements of the four Gospels regarding the life of Christ, it might seem that God would be somewhat confused. Here is a sampling:

    Matthew and Luke disagree on the locale of the birth in Bethlehem. (Most modern scholars believe that Jesus was born in Nazareth.)

    According to Matthew, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus fled to Egypt to avoid Herod’s soldiers. (2:13-15) Luke says that Jesus was circumcised, taken to Jerusalem for purification rites before he escaped to Egypt. (2:21-39)

    Mark says that Mary does not want to tell the disciples what had happened, while the other three says she does.

    Luke says that after seeing the angels, Mary met with the disciples, while the other three say she first meets Jesus himself.

    John says that Mary is not permitted to touch Jesus, while the other three say she can.

    How many times does Jesus Christ appear after resurrection? Matthew says 2; Corinthians I says 6; Mark says 3; Luke says 2; John says 4.

    John says Jesus carried the cross, but the others say that Simon did.

    Luke says one of the thieves believes that Jesus is the Christ, but according to the other three, neither thief accepts Jesus.

    How many people come to the tomb? Matthew says 2 (Magdalene and Mary his mom); Mark says 3 (Magdalene, Mary his mom, and Salome); Luke says more than 4 (both Magdalene, Mary his mom, and other women); John says that only Magdalene came alone.

    Matthew says that when Jesus was crucified, the dead emerged from the graves of Jerusalem! Yes, they were walking around showing themselves to everyone. This would have to have been an amazing event that could hardly escape the notice of the other gospel writers, or any other historians of the period. Yet not a word was said about this amazing event from any other sources.

    Only Matthew says there was a great earthquake and an angel rolled back the stone. All the others say it was already moved.

    The first three (Synoptic) gospels claim Jesus taught for one year before he died, while John says it was three years. While Matthew says Jesus delivered “The Sermon on the Mount” before “the multitudes,” Luke says it was a private talk given only to the disciples.

Messianic Expectations

The people of the story in the New Testament believed that the Kingdom of God was at hand, meaning that they thought they were living in the last century. The title, “Messiah,” means “inaugurator of the end.” (see Mark 1:15; 9:1; 13:30; Matthew 10:23; 23:29-36; Luke 12:49-50). It would seem that Jesus had died without accomplishing what a Messiah was predicted to do. If a Messianic expectation is only to be fulfilled by a second coming, what was the point of the first?

The disciples were under the impression that this coming would be in their own lifetime. Jesus never says he’ll be back a couple thousand years later. In fact, Jesus said that his 12 disciples will “not have gone over all the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.” (Matthew 10:23) “There are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of man coming in his Kingdom.” (Matthew 16:24)

It would seem that, perhaps, something may have been lost in the “translation.”

Jesus Who?

At the time of Jesus, there were many writers who were recording the events of the time, bequeathing us with extensive volumes that could fill a library. One of these writers is named Philo. Philo was famous, and he lived during the time of Jesus in Jerusalem, from 20 BCE to 50 CE. Philo was there when Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Philo was living right there when Christ was crucified. He was in town when the earthquake, supernatural darkness, and resurrection of the dead took place. Philo was there when Christ himself rose from the dead and, in the presence of many witnesses, ascended into heaven.

    Yet Philo never once mentioned Jesus. Must have been on the other side of town.

Then there was Josephus, the renowned Jewish historian. Josephus was also a native of Judea and was born in 37 AD, making him a contemporary of the Apostles. Everyone knew who Josephus was. He served as Governor of Galilee, which was the province in which Christ lived and taught. Josephus knew and had traveled throughout every part of Galilee, the very same place where Christ had performed his prodigies just a few years back. In fact, Josephus lived in Cana, which is the very city in which Christ is said to have wrought his first famous and renowned miracle. In his writings, Josephus takes great pains to mention every possible important and non-important event as his work is extensive, comprising twenty books. He dedicates whole pages to petty robbers and cult leaders. The life of a single King took up forty chapters.

    And yet, Josephus never once mentions Jesus nor even so much as hints of such a personage. (There were two paragraphs which have now been proved to have been forged in the 4th century by Bishop Eusebius.)

There is an extensive list of writers living in the same place and time as Christ is said to have lived, and none of them mention anything about him. In fact, the four Gospels we are so familiar with were completely unknown to the early Christian Fathers. Take Justin Martyr as an example. He wrote in the middle of the second century and was one of the most eminent Fathers of Jesus and the Christian movement of his time. He wrote of the divinity of Christ. One would think he would prefer to quote from the Gospels to support his position. And yet, quotes books from the Old Testament nearly 300 times. He quotes from the Apocryphal books around 100 times.

    But Justin Martyr not only never quotes or mentions any of the four Gospels, he never even mentions the writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.

Few Christians are aware that the name “Jesus Christ” was not formally adopted until after the first Council of Nicaea. Furthermore, it is quite interesting that there is no cross in early Christian art before the middle of the 5th century. In fact, the first clear crucifix does not appear until late in the late 7th century. They pictured him as a shepherd, or symbolized him as a fish. Were they unaware of the crucifixion?

Historical Fact or Intentional Mythology?

So, what is going on here? Are we missing part of the story?

Mythology in natural human tribal structure has a great purpose, which is detailed in Cultural Vision. We know that mythology (and most particularly “Living Mythology”) evolves naturally. What I call “Intentional Mythology” is really an agenda to manipulate. Which is the case here? And if the story of Jesus Christ comes from Intentional Mythology, what does that mean for us here today?

I think we can all agree that without the resurrection, there is no Christianity. The whole system is based upon the myth that Christ paid for sins by suffering, dying, and being resurrected. If these events are fictional, maybe there is other aspects of the institution that are designed not to find a life eternal, but to create control and power here on Earth.

Lucius Calpurnius Piso

While this is not exactly a household name, it certainly should be. Lucius created the fictional characters of the New Testament: Jesus, his parents, Mary Magdalene, the apostles and disciples, Paul, John the Baptist, and tied them together with a slew of real people (King Herod, Pilot, etc) in a specific point in time and place in history. He used ancient stories and the writings and characteristics of various Pagan gods to create the story line of his birth, life, death, and resurrection.

Lucius was married to the great granddaughter of Herod the Great. He produced his ‘Ur Marcus’ in 60 AD, which was the forerunner of the Gospel of Mark. His son, Arius, went on to rewrite it, and also wrote Matthew and with the help of the Roman writer Pliny the Younger, wrote Luke. Arius’s son, Justus, then wrote John in 105. Julius Calpurnius Piso (one of his sons) who wrote The Revelation near the end of the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.

The Piso family descended from Philip II of Macedon (359-336 BCE). King Philip was the father of two sons - Alexander the Great and Lagos (the Rabbit). The Piso line descends from Lagos down through the many Ptolemys (kings of Egypt) to include Cleopatra. In their day they were well known, as many great writers mentioned them. They were members of the closed society of Zoroastrianism, and priests of the temple at Zela in the homeland of Pontus on the southern coast of the Black Sea.

The Piso family was betrayed by Julius Caesar in many ways. This is important to know, because much of the early history of Christianity is based on revenge taken by the Piso family against Julius Caesar. The major form taken by that revenge was to replace Caesar as head of the Roman state religion.

The Pisos had many reasons to hate Julius Caesar. He had made war against their homeland. He had betrayed his wife Calpurnia, who was a Piso, with another Piso relative: Cleopatra. He had conspired with the Jewish People against Alexandria, which was another Piso stronghold. He had written the Pisos out of his will. In addition to all this, he was a Populist and was against the Royals, who suspected that if he were to become dictator he might even abolish slavery. The Piso family were Royals. Sixty percent of the people in the Roman Empire were slaves.

So, in 66 CE, Arius Piso waged war against Jerusalem and defeated the Jewish People. He tore down the temple there with the help of a Piso relative named Titus in 70 CE, just as Caesar had torn down the temple at Zela. To commemorate his victory and to create a religion to keep the slaves humble, he and his family authored the New Testament, cleverly inventing a Jesus Christ (with the same initials as Julius Caesar oddly enough) who would replace Caesar as the head of what was to become the new state religion of Rome: Christianity.

The Foundation of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam

At the base of all these religions is the God of Moses. All the great religions go back to this same deity, which was perhaps the scariest version of God there is. So before we move forward, let’s take one look back to get more clues to what makes us tick as a culture. If we are to dig deep into the foundation, we need to take a look in the basement.

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Autumn_Heather
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RE:General Paganism
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 05:48 AM)

Biblical Violence, Hate, and Immorality

Truth Does Not Demand Faith

As a jazz pianist I feel I possess truths that do not require faith. I have never gotten together with other jazz musicians and chanted, “Yes, the notes of an E minor half-diminished chord are E, G, B flat, and D, praise the Chord, brothers and sisters! May the Chord be with you. Have faith in the Chord.” I further believe that a waltz is in 3/4 time, but I don’t need to meet every week to talk about it; it is just a fact. Likewise, scientists don’t gather and keep chanting together in a huddled mass every week that they know biological evolution is responsible for the creation of life. They feel no need to reassure themselves of what they see as Truth.

Religious Truth is a different thing, though, isn’t it? We need to keep drumming this stuff into our heads all the time, lest we fall victim to rational thought.

Many Christians seem to have a difficult time hearing and dealing with rational thought that in any way contradicts what they think is actual historical fact. They must continuously repeat these shocking ideas to themselves every Sunday and every religious celebration. Look at the Nicene Creed that Constantine and his conspirators wrote for people to repeat over and over and over. Why must people, once they are given to accept a religious belief, gather in support groups and repeat their beliefs over and over?

Creationism

Many school systems are constantly under pressure to give equal time to the religious concept of Creationism. This religious-mythology-as-science intrusion of anti-intellectual compulsion into the public school system is damaging to society. We know that the movement to teaching Creationism is not about science, it is about religion and politics. It would be as if to give equal time to the stork in obstetrics. Critical thinking is not critical thinking when you exempt religious beliefs from its scrutiny. Religious beliefs (raising the dead, God as a Burning Bush, Noah saving the animals, a talking serpent, parting of the sea, and so on) all crumble when examined from a scientific platform.

If the Creationists are right (and they realize they must be right if their religion is to survive) then God would have to be a rather odd fellow. Did Adam and Eve have a belly button? Whom did Cain marry if there was only him with Mom and Dad? Did God create light waves to look as if they were coming from old galaxies to keep us confused as to the truth of the age of the Universe? Did he create everything to look as if it were old, even though it was brand new? Did God create fossils to look like life actually evolved? Brian Fellow (a character from the Saturday Night Live television show) would have to exclaim, “This is carazy.”

Consistency in Myth and Knowledge is Critical

But this creates a problem. Cultural Vision notes that in true tribal culture (which is the type of societal structure humanity evolved with), one of the functions that mythology serves is to offer an image of reality that is consistent with the knowledge of the tribe. Mythology, in order to fulfill its higher purpose, must corroborate with that which is known to be factual.

When I was around seven years old I deduced that there was no Easter Bunny. I confronted my parents, who could not defy my logic and fessed up to the secret. But as I realized the scam, I deduced right there that the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus were also a hoax, and they admitted as such.

This is similar to the dilemma the Church has with its mythology dependant on such a delicate house of cards. But we are not gullible children who are genetically programmed to soak up as much mythology as possible. The problem here is that if the world actually did evolve as science claims rather than created by God as the Church claims, somewhere there needs be a concession. How we began should be a question we, as a culture and all-encompassing society composing of many faiths and system of beliefs, should have a mutual understanding of.

The problem is that if there was no Adam, the whole system crashes because there was no original sin, the “fall” of man. But that means there is no hell or heaven. If that is the case, then we have no need for salvation. From that one would have to admit that there was no need for the resurrection, and science would determine that such an event could not have happened anyway.

Believing as a “Get out of Hell Free” Card

Christian religious indoctrination teaches that what makes you eligible for eternal salvation is what you believe, not necessarily what you do. In other words, the true believers and the faithful will join God in life-everlasting. You can even kill someone and be saved by asking for forgiveness from the Lord. Ask and thou shalt receive. But if you are an atheist and don’t “believe in the Lord,” no matter how pleasant or giving of a person you might be, then you will not be “saved” and will go someplace else, like eternal damnation burning in Hell. If you want to sin and get away with it, all you have to do is believe in God (and Jesus for the Christians) to be saved.

The Calvinistic Inhuman Tendencies of Civilization

In order for this system we live in to survive, you need large numbers of people to agree on some foundational tenets that support all the other attributes. We’ve looked at some of the foundation. I’d like to look at the most damaging attribute this system of beliefs has perpetuated on today’s societies. At this point I am going to be referring to Judaism and Islam, as well as Christianity.

The most fatal meme (a sociological snippet of information) to come forth from the Old Testament days is the righteous mentality that emanates from the highly egocentric point of view that mankind is predestined to rule over creation, that mankind should “own” parts of the planet to alter in any way he chooses. (This must be eliminated if we are to survive as a species.)

That is the meme in its most extreme, although it sounds to us modern-day civilized folks like a perfectly reasonable assumption. The doctrine of predestination lies at the root of the great religions. They all think they are the “chosen people.”

The most dangerous form of predestination is Calvinism. Calvinists think that material wealth is a blessing from God signaling divine favor. This was also the Puritan way of thinking. They are extremely moral in their personal life, but all’s fair when it comes to business, patriotism, and military violence. They take a dour attitude with physical pleasure, but compensate for their dreariness with a fierce greed and lust for power and wealth.

Our Myths are Sane, Yours are “Crazy”

It seems that Christians can easily dismiss the “miracles” of Islam. They scoff at other supernatural claims, such as the visit between Joseph Smith and the angel Moroni. If they are holding claim to our society, we should take a good look at their own outrageous claims. Even the disciple Thomas, who was there to see Christ in action, said that the women’s news “seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.” (Luke 24:11)

And should anyone dare to examine these now written (and therefore second- or third-hand information) tales, they might be denounced for “picking the Bible to pieces.” But I believe failing to look closely at all aspects of the story(s) would be in violation of a basic principle of scholarship and study.

Biblical Morals and Commands

What might be most frightening about the Bible is that if you Believe in it, you are commanded by God, Creator of the Universe, to follow the Word of God. But if a person in our society were to follow the Word of God of the Old Testament, that person would soon be put in prison. Here is a sampling:

    If a woman was not a virgin when she married, you should stone her to death. This is part of Mosaic Law. (Deuteronomy 22:21) And if a woman approach unto any beast, and lie down thereto, thou shalt kill the woman, and the beast. (Leviticus 20:16) If your child hits you or swears at you, you are to put that child to death. (Leviticus 20:9) A stubborn and rebellious son should be stoned to death by all the men of his city. (Deuteronomy 21:18-21) It is a good practice to sell your daughter into slavery. (Exodus 21:7) Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. (Psalm 137:9)

It’s sexual abuse, anti-women, domestic violence, and child abuse all rolled up into one. Consider that Abraham drove one child into the desert to starve, and made preparations to butcher the other. The Bible even advocates slavery! (see Timothy 6:1, Ephesians 6:5, Titus 2:9, Peter 2:18) Leviticus 25:44 states that you may buy slaves from the nations that are around us.

    Intolerance to non-believers is innate in these religions:
    People who work on the Sabbath should be put to death. (Exodus 35:2)

It certainly fosters a bad attitude towards women . . . :
Suffer not a woman to teach nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing. (1 Timothy 2:12-15) There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. (Ezekiel 23:30) Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. (Exodus 22:18) Whenever a woman has her menstrual period, she will be ceremonially unclean for seven days. If you touch her during that time, you will be defiled until evening. (Leviticus 15:19)

    . . . but I find the promotion of ethnic cleansing the most disturbing aspect of the Bible: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. (2 Chronicles 36:16-17)

The Bible even says we should ostracize the children of broken families . . . :
A child born out of wedlock should be publicly exposed by the church. (Deuteronomy 23:2)

    . . . and that we should kill Gay people:
    Death for homosexuals (Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:27,32)

The Bible can be as gross and disgusting . . . :
Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces. (Malachi 2:3) Hath he not sent me to the men who sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you? (2 Kings 18:27) And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the LORD thy God hath given thee. (Deuteronomy 28:53) And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man. (Ezekel 4:12.15)

    . . . as it can be threatening:
    He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. (Mark 3:29) Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6: 9-10)

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RE:General Paganism
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 05:49 AM)

Violence is glorified in the Bible, just as it is in other religious traditions and teachings. Moses murdered an Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. Moses exterminated whole nations to secure the spoils of war. Moses butchered in cold blood thousands of captive widows as he tore babies from the breast of dying mothers and put them to a cruel death.

They called David “a man after God’s own heart,” and yet didn’t he lead an enemy’s troops against his own countrymen? Didn’t he plunder the country on every side? He was a liar to avoid justice. But worst of all he was a butcher of people as he tortured and slaughtered thousands of men, women, and children, forcing them through burning brick ovens. Using saws and axes he tore them to pieces. He murdered a faithful soldier after raping his wife. I know this because the Bible told me so.

The Bible is stained with blood. Open it at random:

    Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10: 34-37)

Take all the heads of the people and hang them up before the Lord against the sun. (Numbers 25:8)

    And this is the thing that ye shall do, ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man. (Judges 5:30)

And when the Lord thy God hath delivered [a city] into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself. (Deuteronomy 20:13-14)

    And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males. . . . And the children of Israel took all the women of the Midian captive, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods. (Numbers 31:7-9)

Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves. (Numbers 31: 17-18)

    But God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses.  The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea: That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of thy dogs in the same. (Psalms 68:21-23)

And David commanded his young men, and they slew them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged them up over the pool in Hebron. (2 Samuel 4:12)

    And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them. (Deuteronomy 7:2)

And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. (Joshua 6:24)

    And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel?  And the man of God answered, The Lord is able to give thee much more than this. . . . And Amaziah strengthened himself . . . and smote the children of Seir ten thousand. And the other ten thousand left alive did the children of Judah carry away captive, and brought them unto the top of the rock, and cast them down from the top of the rock, that they all were broken in pieces. (2 Chronicles 25:9-12)

But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth. (Deuteronomy 20:16)

    Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city [of nonbelievers] with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword. (1 Samuel 13:15)

And that day Joshua took Makkedah, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof he utterly destroyed, them, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain: and he did to the king of Makkedah as he did unto the king of Jerico.  Then Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, unto Libnah, and fought against Libnah: And the Lord delivered it also, and the king thereof, into the hand of Israel: and he smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain in it. (Joshua 10:29-30)

    Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. (1 Samuel 15:3)

And let’s not forget all the adulterous sex:
Consider Abraham who married his sister and seduced his wife’s handmaid. Abraham’s nephew, Lot, had two daughters. When Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt, his daughters got him drunk and had sex with him. They both got pregnant and their sons were the progenitors of two nations, the Moabites and the Ammonites. Jacob won God’s love by deceiving his father, cheating his uncle, robbing his brother, practicing bigamy with two of his cousins, and committing fornication with two of his housemaids. David was a drunken polygamist who had a harem of wives and mistresses known as concubines and danced half-naked before the maids of his household. This well-known religious icon also abducted and ravished the wife of a faithful soldier. Why, even Moses made orphans of 32 thousand innocent girls, and turned 16 thousand of them over the brutal lusts of a savage soldiery.

“That’s Carazy!” Sounds more like a pornographic movie than thoughts about spiritual interconnections with the universe!

Plus we are coerced into accepting an entirely fictional and utterly fantastic set of events over the past 7000 years that we know is physically impossible to the point that it is simply silly to take the Bible seriously:

    God instructed Moses to order 3 million people to stone to death one man who had upset Him. (Numbers 15:35,36)

God struck an entire city of men down with Hemorrhoids. (I Samuel 5:8,9)

    The planet Earth is a four-cornered flat earth floating on water (Isiah 11:12, Psalms 24:2, 136:6) with heaven above and the earth below. (I Thessians 4:16-17) All of this was created in just one week. (Genesis 1:1-2:2)

Adam could speak a language when he was just one-day old. (Gen 2:19)

    If you are sick or if you commit a sin, it is because you are infested with demons. (Mk. 1:21-34, 2:6-9)

The moon will turn to blood at the end of history. (Acts 2:20)

    The bible says that there was no rain on the earth up to at least the time of man’s appearance. (Gen 2:5) The bible also says plants appeared on the third day and insects not until the sixth. And yet we know from high school biology that plants depend upon insect pollination for their very existence. Another mystery?

Rising from the dead, walking on water, rivers parting, talking snakes, voices from burning bushes, magic wands and rods, demons, giants, angels, devils, ghosts, disembodied voices, unclean spirits, and curing blindness with spit is just a few of the Bible’s wonders. It just goes on and on.

God is so callous towards all of mankind that at one point He was sorry that He even created people. So, out of spite and anger and to show these sinful folks who is in charge and make them suffer for their sins God destroyed all but a sample of them in a world-wide flood; wiped out everybody! Even all the animals too. Then he commenced to start the whole bloody process all over again! (Gen 6:5-7)

Eliminate all Faith-based Institutions from all Civil Structures

All of the above insane and psychotic (by definition) ideas and quotes are not only entirely responsible for the rationalization for the Crusades, the Inquisition, the torture and murder of millions of women, the overrunning of many thousands of indigenous cultures around the world and right here in America, as well as the Holocaust, it is also in these modern times the subliminal justification for forcing unwanted pregnancies on abused women, spousal abuse, sex discrimination, sexual-preference discrimination, all Holy wars, terrorism, ethnic strife, slavery, colonialism, among so many other ills and damaging aspects of our modern day system of morals and sense of justice, all of which ultimately block us from achieving true freedom.

Religious institutions not only have not the answer, they are the root of the problem.

Society Must Promote Human Values and True Freedom

Religious institutions have now acquired ample political power to enforce its views on the mass population, which demands a question of ethical integrity and moral foundation. These institutions earned their place by pure political conquest, not by argument, not by evidence, nor any proof of Truth.

And so it has become time for all people, religious and not, to affirm the truly sacred duty of our societal structures to protect true Freedom and return to humanity our humanity by disallowing religious influence in the secular business of society. In this way we can bring true Freedom to the masses by allowing people to decide for themselves how and what to honor. This is the task we have before us today.

What is Freedom?

What is true Freedom? This is a valid question. Most people think it means being free to do whatever you want whenever you want to do it. The second part of these twin websites, PrimalTrinity.org will take a close look at the spiritual aspect of freedom and how we can have it when we are ready for it.

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RE:General Paganism
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 05:51 AM)

Druids, Sorcerors, Mages, Wizards(some differences explained)~heather

Category:(Ancient Beliefs) Created:(9/8/2004 8:27:00 AM) Viewed (815 times)

Druids:

Primary Tenets

• Druids approach magic using nature as a basis for context and power.

• Druids consider themselves and their magic to be a part of nature, not above it, below it, or outside of its influence.

• People are also a part of nature.

• All nature is sacred, and trees particularly so.

• Druids ask instead of command when performing ritual and casting spells. This is in direct contrast to several traditions of sorcery or ceremonial magick. Again, this is a matter of respect for nature and an acknowledgment of the druid’s place within it.

• Druids get to know the forces they work with through meditation, study, ritual, and spending time in nature. This relationship can be as professional or personal as the Druid desires, although most relationships with natural forces take on very personal and direct meanings very early on. This takes time. There is absolutely no way around it… of course, your mileage may vary, but you must walk the walk.

• The primary natural forces that the Druid works with are Air, Fire, Earth, Water, and Spirit.

• A Druid is free to work with whatever god forms he deems appropriate or partial to his working.

• The Druidic path is primarily solar.

• Druidic magic taps into energy and bends or directs it.

• As much as possible, include nature in your workings. Work and meditate outside as often as circumstances permit.

• Druids do not consider their spiritual path above or better than any other. (of course, we Druids are human and do take pride in our path!). In fact, it is a Druid’s responsibility to allow each individual to grow according to the pattern nature has dictated. Helping where help is needed is one thing, forcing another sentient being to accept your view of reality is something else entirely.

The Three Keys to Mastery

• To know

• To dare

• To be silent

Sorcerers

Raw Power and Dark Energies

The world of the Sorcerer is one which is wreathed in the mystic fires of the future. Having the same cunning and foresight as a Wizard, Sorcerers attempt to change their world through a slightly different means. While the Wizard tends towards "good" magics, and a defensive position, the Sorcerer tends to have an affinity for the "evil" magics and an aggressive mannerism. This does not imply that they are evil, per se, but it does show that they have a different approach tactic.

Sorcerers use the aggressive magics because they desire to take a pro-active role in the shaping of their future, or the future of their target. They use things that, by the definition of "White" and "Black" magic which is used in The Library of Knowledge, classify as black magics to shape things around them. The idea is similar to the famous analogy used in the magical community concerning psychic warfare: To participate in psychic warfare, one may either attack all of their enemies, or they may shield themselves. Both approaches accomplish the same goal -- the safety of the magician's target (even if it is themself). These approaches bear the same differences as Wizardry and Sorcery.

The Wizard would adamantly defend themself, never becoming too concerned with whoever might be wasting their time attacking. The Sorcerer, conversely, would be the one counter-attacking their enemies, making no effort to adapt themselves to the enviroment, but rather adapting their environment to themselves. To this end, it is often useful for the Sorcerer to utilize an array of skills. These skills include scrying, enchanting, conjuring, and heavy reliance on the art of Magecraft.

This unique art known as Sorcery is one which knows no bounds and has no limits, except those which are allowed by the user.

Magecraft:

Mind Over Matter The art of subtle domination of the environment and one's surroundings is summed most perfectly in the art of Magecraft. The Mage is a highly intelligent, peaceful, mentally focussed individual who seeks the purest forms of control over themself, their surroundings, the people they meet, and the beings they come into contact with(A Mage must be peaceful, as an angry, vengeful, confused or otherwise highly emotional person cannot properly concentrate). Everything aspect of life that concerns a Mage from day to day is domineered so that the Mage is always in total control. Magecraft, as a whole art, consists essentially of three hubs: Psychism, Natural Magic, and Temporal Magic.

Mages draw their energy from somewhere. Truly, anywhere. The Mage appears to be a slightly different breed when one examines their method of energy storage/usage. Energy flows through a Mage. Unlike many casters who store energy and use it at a later time, the Mage uses their stored energy only to initiate a link. The Magecraft system runs on the principle of the four elements: Fire, Air, Earth and Water. A Mage views the entire world as ethereally composed of one or more of these elements. Each of these elements also governs different properties. If a Mage were to attempt a psychic link, their stored energy of Air (intellect) and Water (spiritualism) would be used to open a channel between themself, their target, and to turn themself into ethereal "lightning rods". The environment then, with each spell casting, continuously feeds a Mage so that energy is not spent on the casting of the spell itself, but rather only in the spells initiation. A link between the Mage and the environment is opened with stored energy. The environment then starts flowing through the Mage. The Mage filters the energy into what is wanted and what is not.

The Mage uses the required energy type/s (Air & Water, to keep with the example), and lets the energy then flow into its purpose. In this fashion, energy is conserved and the spell can continue (as long as the required concentration level is maintained). Warning: Be sure to learn your limits! When you are getting tired, stop the spell! Because the energy will never stop flowing through a Mage until it is willed to do so, many Mages injure themselves by continuing a spell until they can no longer maintain precise concentration and collapse to the floor with exhaustion and suffer from an ethereal backlash. You have been warned. Be careful. The last thing a Mage does is Temporal Magic.

Magecraft is a powerful art but, above all other caster types, requires a great deal of mental control and concentration.

Wizardry:

The Challenge of Mind "Wizardry is the type of magic that is intellectually based, drawing on elements not identifiable by modern science, to perform various magical effects." --“Cerberus” Master Wizard of the Hall of Legions

So, you have an interest in Wizardry, eh? Before we get into the real essence of Wizardry, let me make sure that you understand what it is all about. Wizardry is more focused on magic as science as opposed to magic as religion. Wizardry is based around logic more than faith. To have this explained further, please read on.

Wizardry basically has three rules that can quantify how to make spells and magic work for you. I shall tell the rule, and then explain it.

1. One cannot learn and focus on the parts of magic, but forget the whole. Easy to understand, right? If you have a car and you wash the car everyday but ignore the rest of it, do you think it will last forever, or have the same performance as the day you bought it? Don’t think so. So to paraphrase, do not learn the basics of magic, forget them, and then jump off and cast spells all the time. Meditate, do spell research, and collect spell components yourself. Work on all the parts of magic and see them as a collective. The basics of magic are what helps you to fully understand why magic works.

The second rule of magic is somewhat an extension of the first.

2. The magic comes from knowledge of the principles of its use, and in the user’s knowing of how magic affects the environment. This one is a little confusing. Magic works because the spellcaster knows how magic works. It is not as simple as flipping a light switch and not expecting a light to come on. Ignorance of magic combined with the performing of magic will get you nothing. In knowing how magic affects the environment you come to understand the why of how spells function. Magic rarely cooperates with physical laws. Magic bends a lot of physical laws, and occasionally breaks them.

The final law of magic is probably the simplest.

3. Magic comes from the combined effort of your heart and mind. Simple. To make a spell work you must have the spell completely in your mind, casting it in your head as you are casting it in the physical world. You must KNOW the spell in your mind. Inside out, backwards, forwards, etc. The other half comes from the heart. The magic has to flow from your heart into every part of your body, and then into your mind for any spell to work. To paraphrase, you must know in your heart that the spell will work. Not believe, KNOW. Only when you are fully in control of both your thoughts and your heart will the magic work for you.

These three rules constitute the core of Wizardry.

Another thing that is significant to Wizardry is knowledge. Knowledge is what makes a wizard do what he does. He operates outside of the accepted norm of society. For knowledge, he ventures into places that even the bravest men would run from. Always remember that knowledge and wisdom is power. Knowledge holds the universe together. Knowledge gives the wizard purpose in an uncertain world. When you are depressed and the uncertainty of the world brings you down, remember that the magic and knowledge are what gives your life purpose.

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RE:General Paganism
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 05:52 AM)

How much did Christianity inherit from the Pagans?

Everything




The POCM web site introduces you to the mainstream modern scholarship about Christianity's origins in ancient Pagan religion.

You already know Christmas trees and Easter eggs were originally Pagan, and you probably know the traditional mid-winter and spring timing of the two holidays was Pagan too. Mildly interesting. Not what you'll find here.

What you'll discover here is that Christianity inherited everything from the Pagans. The core of Christianity -- the worship of a dying Godman who is resurrected, ascends into heaven and brings salvation to mankind -- was also the core of a number of ancient Pagan religions that began in the Near East two thousand years before Jesus.

Christian theology borrowed more than the archaic myth of the dying-resurrected Godman. Initiation by baptism, communion with the God through a holy meal that represented the flesh of the dead God, the Holy Spirit, monotheism, and immortality of the soul were all core beliefs of many ancient faiths. They were simply part of ancient Mediterranean culture.

Christianity also borrowed elements of Jesus' mythology: the virgin birth, the miracles (including turning water into wine, walking on water, and especially healing the sick) were all common elements of pre-Christian Pagan religions. Mithras had 'em. So did Dionysus, Attis, Osiris, and Orpheus. And more. And they had them centuries before Christianity was a twinkle in Saint Paul's eye.



Enter POCM

So, how much did Christianity inherit from the Pagans?

Christianity is an ancient Pagan religion

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RE:General Paganism
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 05:53 AM)

Kaballah
(also spelled "Qabalah," "Cabala," and various other ways) Hebrew for "collected teachings."

Jewish system of theosophy, philosophy, science, magic, and mysticism developed since the Middle Ages. Collection of anonymously-written works on mystical topics. Holds God is both immanent and transcendent, is all things, and letters and numbers are the keys to unlocking the mysteries of the universe. Main imagery is the Tree of Life, which shows the ten sephiroth as the emanations from the Godhead to humanity. Each sephiroth corresponds to levels of knowledge, parts of the body, aspects of the universe, etc. By traveling up the Tree of Life, one may attain divinity (similar concepts are found in Gnosticism). Kaballah had a great influence on the founders of many modern Pagan traditions, and many Pagans use Kaballistic principles in their workings today.

Traditional Witchcraft and Wicca

Some Differences

How many times have you seen a sentence start with "Witchcraft, or Wicca, is.." leaving the reader with the impression that these are one and the same thing. Such generalizations are unfair to the practitioners of both, and more than a little confusing to those who wish to learn some form of the Craft. Yet, in an age of electronic information, it becomes difficult to set the boundaries that would allow one to study witchcraft or Wicca as distinct disciplines. There are many pagan web sites that proclaim connections to Wicca, although few are truly Wiccan. I must admit that my own web site often fails to make a clear distinction*.

Chat rooms and message boards are filled with arguments over whether this or that act is within the parameters of the Wiccan Rede, yet those chatters are not themselves Wiccan. Perhaps the argument concerns how many traditional witches are needed to call the guardians of the Watchtowers, but the well-meaning participants are unaware that traditional witches usually do not even call the guardians. It's difficult to even find terms to use that haven't already been so blended as to obscure any divisions.

If you are a newcomer, you might ask why this is so important. Well, when you start out to study to be a doctor, you wouldn't want to study only psychiatry if you planned to become a surgeon, would you? If your goal in life is to be a great violinist, would you forego violin lessons in favor of piano lessons? In the first case, both are medicine and in the second, both are music, but you certainly wouldn't want a psychiatrist performing your appendectomy, nor would you wish to sit through a violin concert performed by a pianist. You need to know where you are going in order to map out a path that will get you there. If you don't follow some plan, some path, but just pick up a little information here and there, you'll never get anywhere at all.

The following sections give some of the differences between Traditional Witchcraft and Wicca, though certainly not all. Before beginning, let me explain my choice of terms. The term Wicca is obvious in that its practitioners use the term to define their religion, and as it has been recognized as a religion by the US government for some years now, the term is widely accepted.

Traditional Witchcraft is a bit more difficult to define. To some degree it is a continuation of the religion practiced by early European pagans and Druids, called witchcraft by the conquering Christians. However, as practiced today it is still a form of neo-paganism, as is Wicca. In other words, it has been revived and reinvented in modern times. It is traditional in the sense that it is not derived from the work of a single founder. The term as I use it should also not be confused with the traditional witchcraft of Hereditary Witches. Families of witches may indeed practice what I call Traditional Witchcraft, but the designation is not limited to such families.

In discussing the differences between these two religions, it should also be remembered that they have many things in common, particularly when contrasted to the world religions such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism. In fact, they are far more alike than they are different. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to explore the differences. These differences fall into several categories: history, beliefs, ritual, and ethics.

History

Wicca

Most students of the Craft are at least vaguely aware of the historical origin of Wicca, but have much less precise ideas about the origin of Traditional Witchcraft. This is not particularly surprising. Wicca originated in modern times and has the advantage of being set out in written texts and even in the memories of living people. Traditional Witchcraft, on the other hand, is tied to ancient cultures and myths, and to largely unverifiable ideas about practices and beliefs.

Wicca began with the writings and teachings of Gerald Gardner in the 1930s. Gardner claimed to have been initiated into the New Forest Coven in England by Dorothy Clutterbuck. He published both fictional and non-fictional accounts of witchcraft, the first non-fictional book, "Witchcraft Today," appearing after the last of the anti-witchcraft laws in England were repealed in 1954. Believing that the Craft was dying out, he dedicated himself to reviving it. In his coven, many things were secret, so his writings combined some things from the coven along with elements of ceremonial magick (Quabbala), Masonic ritual, various versions of the Craft, Celtic mythology, eastern philosophies, Egyptian ideologies, and even fictional ideas from mystical works along the lines of Lovecraft and Hubbert. The elements (earth, air, fire, water) which form an important part of Wiccan ideology are from Classical Greece. Gardner was clearly a learned man to combine diverse philosophies and religions in such a way that it not only stopped the decline of the Craft, but led to the powerful and influential religion that Wicca is today.

Gardner's students had an important role to play in the evolution and spread of Wicca. Doreen Valiente added the poetic quality to many of the rituals that have been passed down. Others whom Gardner initiated took the new practices to distant lands, while still others branched off forming their own traditions such as the Alexandrian tradition begun by Alex Sanders. In America, many new traditions appeared, among them Dianic witchcraft and the Faerie traditions, both of which are further from Gardnerianism than the direct descendents, but still clearly influenced by Gardnerian Wicca.

Traditional Witchcraft

What we're calling Traditional Witchcraft has an older history than Wicca, but a much less well-defined one. Witchcraft has been around since the beginning of mankind, long before people could write about it. Our ancestors did leave a few clues such as goddess statues and drawings, but not much can be learned about the nature of their beliefs and practices. Anthropologists surmise that primitive cultures of modern times have at least a passing resemblance to the long dead cultures of the past, and nearly all have some form of witchcraft or magic. However, the witchcraft practiced by most neo-pagans today is clearly of Pre-European origin, and even the most traditionally minded witches rarely try to trace the origin of their practice back much further than the early Middle Ages.

We do know a few things about these times. The native peoples throughout Europe believed in spirits or gods, usually associated with the Earth, Sun, and Moon, and they saw their lives and the lives of the gods as having a cyclical pattern, following the yearly cycle of seasons. The latter part is typical of native peoples everywhere. When one lives by agriculture or by hunting and gathering, knowledge, and if possible, control of the seasonal forces of Nature are vital to existence. Thus, the development of a religion in which the seasons are recognized and celebrated and through which one might attempt to control the more violent and destructive aspects of Nature is quite understandable.

Most of our knowledge of European witchcraft comes from the writings of th (clearly prejudiced) Christian conquerors and priests. In fact, it was the Christians who first called the practice witchcraft. Before the invasion there was no need to give the religion a name. It was simply what all the people were brought up to believe. Some specialized roles existed with special names, though the names reflect the language of the region rather than a common system of belief.

Christians suppressed the native religion, in part, by adopting, absorbing and renaming many of their rituals and customs. Yule became Christmas and Ostara became Easter, and all became a part of Christian tradition. However, not all pagans abandoned their beliefs when they "became" Christians. Many of the practices simply went underground and were passed from generation to generation within families. Since most people could neither read nor write, these oral traditions were the only means of keeping the knowledge alive. Without written records, we know very little of these ancient traditions. The records we do have are often distorted, having been written by priests of the inquisition or taken from the inquisitions records themselves.

That isn't to say that we know nothing of Traditional Witchcraft. A little knowledge trickled down and scholars often preserved the mythologies of conquered peoples. Archaeological evidence helps a little too. The neo-pagan revival has attempted to recapture the spirit of the ancient religion, if not its actual practices. Be a little skeptical of those who profess to practice the Old Ways, unless they recognize that they are reinventing those ways rather than reviving them.

Beliefs

There are some fundamental differences in the beliefs of traditional witches and Wiccans. It is vital that any student of the Craft understand these differences, especially if the student is still seeking a path to follow. How can you know if your path is to be Wiccan or that of Traditional Witchcraft if you have no knowledge of the beliefs associated with them?

Perhaps now is a good place to comment on the eclectic witch. All too often newcomers to the Craft grab onto that label because it seems to mean they can believe and do whatever they want without having to adhere to any particular belief or ritual system. That's simply not the case. To say something is eclectic does mean that it is composed of elements drawn from various sources. However, there must be sources for such eclecticism in the Craft. It does not mean that you can make up your own way of doing everything, your own way of thinking, and still call it the Craft. It does not mean that you can incorporate every New Age idea, regardless of how appealing it may be to the individual, and then claim that what you do is the Craft. An eclectic witch carefully chooses a path that has elements from different witchcraft traditions, making sure that there are no contradictions or conflicts among the element chosen, and that each is well understood. There are some limits. Not only can the path not be entirely idiosyncratic, but it must be clearly pagan.

Some will argue against this, but in my opinion, it is impossible to be simultaneously Christian and a witch without sacrificing important components of one or the other. Conflicts between the two belief systems are immediately apparent, and some are impossible to resolve. Witches of whatever tradition are not monotheistic nor do they follow any revealed scripture (Torah, Gospels, Quran, Book of Mormon, etc.). There are many other conflicting elements, but that must be put aside for another essay.

It's worth noting again that neither Wicca nor Traditional Witchcraft is traditional in the sense of strictly adhering to the beliefs and practices of our ancestors. Like it or not, this is neo-paganism, for we simply have no other choice. Most likely the religion of the original European pagans was quite different, but we have arrived at the point where we need to look at the traditions being practiced today rather than the "old ways," though with some references to the latter when possible.

The first, and I believe the most important, difference between Wicca and Traditional Witchcraft is the relationship to Deity or deities. Wiccans worship a Goddess and sometimes a God, regarding them as supreme beings. Traditional Witches do not worship any entity as their superior, though they recognize the existence of other entities. They believe in the equality of all beings in the Universe, seeing them as different, separate, but never superior or inferior. This difference is often a source of confusion. A traditional witch may speak of the God and the Goddess, usually referring to the female and male aspects of Nature, and while they revere and respect Nature, they do not worship it or its representatives. A Wiccan may speak in similar terms but Wiccan rituals make it clear that the Goddess and God are seen as superior beings to be worshipped. This dualism forms the basic foundation of Wiccan theology, the necessary feminine and masculine components of creative energy. Traditional Witchcraft, however, is polytheistic and animistic, incorporating a number of spirits/deities into a meaningful whole.

Let me make this a little clearer by example. When a Wiccan calls upon the Goddess and the God in ritual, she/he means exactly that - "the" Goddess and God, the ones who appear so prominently in the mythologies that inform this belief and the rituals associated with it. The Goddess is a Triple Goddess and may be called by different names in different circumstances, but most Wiccans believe these different names and personalities are aspects of the one Goddess rather than different entities. Traditional witches, however, may call the Goddess and the God as representatives of the creative force of the Universe, but will usually call on other spirits as well, each being seen as a separate and equal entity.

In Traditional Witchcraft there is a Spirit World or Other World where these other entities reside. Most do not see this as actually separate from this world, but rather a part of it that is usually unseen. Thus, the spirits who are contacted during ritual are already there but may be conjured or evoked to facilitate communication. This is an important point in that Traditional Witches see the interaction between this world and the Other World as constant and not wholly dependent on ritual. Wiccans rely more on ecstatic ritual to obtain contact with the Goddess and to increase ones spirituality.

There are some who say that traditional witchcraft is not a religion at all, because no deities are worshipped. From a strictly anthropological standpoint, that would be a fair statement in that religion may be defined as a system of belief which includes the worship of one superior being or group of beings. However, to say that the practice of witchcraft lacks spirituality is simply untrue, at least among modern witches. For many witches today, it is the spiritual enlightenment offered by the practice of witchcraft that draws them to it, even if their approach to the deities is somewhat different than that found in other religions, including Wicca.

Ritual

Any discussion of religions inevitably leads to consideration of the rituals performed in connection with them. In Wicca, rituals tend to be compulsory or at least advised. One must celebrate the Wheel of the Year with its eight holy days that represent parts of the mythic cycle. Traditional Witches often observe the same days as they correspond to solstices and equinoxes, but do not relate them to a specific mythology. In Traditional Witchcraft it is the seasonal changes themselves that are honored, not the lives of gods and goddesses associated with them. Both Wiccans and Traditional Witches observe Moon phases and other natural phenomena.

The sacred circle is central to Wiccan practice. Wiccans generally create sacred space for their rituals by casting a circle, using techniques of visualization and raising energy. Placing more significance on ritual and ceremony, Wiccans create and perform beautiful rituals, filled with symbolism, to mark the seasons of the Earth and the seasons of life.

In Traditional Witchcraft, all space is sacred and all life is ceremony. When ritual or magick is performed, the Traditional Witch is likely to go to a place that has special qualities, such as a stream or mountain, but practitioners also recognize that the local park or someone's backyard is equally sacred. I'm not saying that Wiccans don't see the Earth as sacred; they do. However, most Wiccans still cast a circle (defined as sacred space) before performing a ritual. These differences are often a mere matter of degree and emphasis.

It is often difficult for urban witches to gain any practical experience of the countryside. Perhaps the absence of daily opportunities to be in direct contact with Nature is what draws so many of them to the more formal and symbolic rituals of Wicca. The separation from natural settings may also have led to the intense concern with environmental issues among both Wiccans and Traditional Witches.

No consideration of ritual in witchcraft would be complete without some discussion of magick. Magick is central to Traditional Witchcraft, whereas many Wiccans do not much practice the magickal arts. However, there is a sense in which all religions use magick, as it may be defined as any attempt to affect the outcome of a given situation by supernatural means (though in Traditional Witchcraft these means are seen as natural). Prayer, for example, is one form of magick.

When practiced, the magick of Wicca tends to be more ceremonial, whereas in Traditional Witchcraft it is more practical. Herbal healing, for example, is a traditional practice which may or may not be part of a Wiccan's custom. Also, the magick of Traditional Witchcraft may include hexes and curses without a specific rule to prevent such acts (see Ethics section).

A more important difference, however, concerns the presence or absence of spirituality in magick. Some say that magick is never spiritual. Since there are often spirits or deities involved, a better way to look at it might be to consider the relationship between the witch and the spirit in performing magick. The idea noted above in relation to defining religion is also applied to magick, that when witches work with spirits in performing magick, it is not spiritual unless the spirits are worshipped. Regarding spirits as a natural part of the witch's environment and as equal beings in the Universe would deny any spirituality to the magick of Traditional Witchcraft. Wiccans, on the other hand, perform magick in which a goddess or god is appealed to for aid and paid homage to during the magickal act. By the previous definition, this would be seen as spiritual. I'm not at all convinced that seeing spirits as natural and enlisting their aid without worshipping them reduces the magick of Traditional Witchcraft to something that is merely practical and without a spiritual component.

Rites of passage are also an important part of the ritual structure of both Wiccans and Traditional Witches. Initiatory rites of passage are central to Wicca, at least as it is practiced in covens. Within each coven there is a hierarchy among the members based on the levels or degrees each member has attained, with the High Priest and Priestess at the pentacle. As a member goes through the levels, she/he learns the Mysteries from someone in authority. The degrees are determined primarily by what the witch has studied and for how long so that the hierarchy, at least theoretically, is one of knowledge.

In Traditional Witchcraft, there are usually rites of passage of some kind, though groups tend to be less hierarchical than Wiccan covens. In some cases, rituals are performed at different stages of a person's life, while in other cases, rites may reflect the individual's choice to dedicate herself to some aspect of the Craft. The only thing that can be said with certainty about rites of passage in Traditional Witchcraft is that they are variable, and are determined more by the specific group or individual than by a conventional structure.

Ethics

Wiccan ethics is based primarily on one rule, the Wiccan Rede (advice or creed), "an it harm none, do as ye will." A true follower of the Wiccan path will know that this does not translate into "do anything you want as long as it doesn't hurt anyone." A person's "will" is the path chosen after careful reflection, not just the whim of the day. Discovering your true will is part of the path you take to spiritual enlightenment, tolerance of others, service to the Universe, and ultimately a fulfilling life. The second most important feature of Wiccan ethics is the Threefold Law, that what you do will come back to you threefold (with three times the energy). This is a karmic principle that has it's origin in eastern religions and replaces the concept of sin and retribution found in Christianity. In other words, if you harm someone (sin), you will be repaid times three (retribution).

Traditional Witchcraft has neither the Wiccan Rede nor the Threefold Law. There is no morality test, only personal responsibility and honor. Also, there is no good or evil, only intent. Humans have the ability to make decisions and act on them, and they may choose and act with good or evil intentions. Traditional Witchcraft does not set out laws as to what actions and intentions are evil, but followers of this path take responsibility for them. In practical terms, this means that using curses, hexes, and the like are not ruled out on principle. If provoked or threatened, the Traditional Witch may act for self-preservation or the protection of family and home. These are considered honorable acts. Yet if there are negative consequences, the Traditional Witch is willing to suffer them.


A final word

I hope this essay will serve two purposes. For those of you studying the Craft and trying to learn a little about the rather confusing terminology applied to its practitioners, perhaps this will be a starting point, but only that. Don't take what I've written as gospel. Many others will have a different view of these issues, but these few words may help you find the questions to ask. For those of you who saw a movie last week or read a web page somewhere, I hope it will make you think twice about calling yourself a "Witch" or a "Wiccan." Without the training, knowledge, and dedication, neither designation is appropriate.

May the Ancient Ones guide you in whatever path you choose.

Branwen

*There is a reason for this blurring of lines in web sites that is not likely to be apparent to the average observer. Web sites must depend on search engine listings to be found by interested readers, and using multiple keywords such as pagan, Witch, Wicca, Witchcraft and so on makes the site more accessible. Also, those of us who sell supplies and tools do carry products used by people on a variety of spiritual and magickal paths. The result, however, must be a bit confusing to the newcomer.

Copyright © 1998 to 2005 Branwen's Cauldron of Light

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RE:General Paganism
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 05:53 AM)

Paganism today Paganism is a collection of diverse contemporary religions rooted in or inspired by indigenous traditions worldwide. Pagan religions are characterized by Earth- centered spirituality, belief in the interconnection of all life, personal autonomy, polytheism, and immanent divinity. Pagans value diversity, good works, living lightly on the Earth, individual freedom, personal responsibility, community service, gender equity, and spiritual development.

While the largest segment of the Pagan population is Caucasian, highly educated, and middle class, Pagans come from all walks of life. Most are avid readers with interests in ecology, creativity, and personal growth. Many work in scientific and computer- related disciplines. Since Paganism is not an organized movement, it is difficult to determine the number of practitioners. Estimates range from 100,000 to several million in the U.S. alone.

Pagan religions may draw on ancient historical practices or be entirely new. In the case of the former, Pagans look to the beliefs, practices, gods, symbols, lands, music, and myths of a particular historical culture and adapt them for contemporary needs. Anachronistic elements, such as ritual violence, are rejected. Elements such as reverence for the natural world, honoring of the ancestors, and responsibility to the community are retained. Pagan religions which are not historically based take their inspiration from visionary, artistic, and libertarian traditions to create vibrant spiritual systems centered in Pagan values.

Characteristics of Pagan faiths
Paganism as a movement grew out of the growing environmental awareness in the 1960s, though it encompasses some traditions from the Middle Ages and earlier. Consequently most Pagan religions are nature-centered. Pagans rethink the way in which we relate to the Earth. Rather than seek dominance over the environment, Pagans work to live as a part of Nature, finding a balance between the self, the biosphere, and society. Part of this rethinking goes along with the resurgence of Goddess-worship, which is widespread in the Pagan movement. Many Pagans look to the fertility Goddesses of old and find vibrant, dynamic models for ecological balance. The myriad Goddesses from the past also provide Pagans with a vision of powerful feminine divinity which is missing from other Western religions.

Unlike many mainstream religious traditions, Pagans view Divinity as immanent rather than (or in addition to) transcendent. Rather than pray to some form "out there," Pagans view all living things as sacred. Diversity is seen as an expression of the divine order. People are viewed as essentially good and holy, although still capable of acting unethically.

Because of this, Pagans view the relationship with Divinity as a deeply personal calling. It is up to each individual to develop a relationship with Divinity as s/he defines it. Because of this, there is no institutionalization within Paganism. There is no single holy book, common creed, or hierarchy of religious representatives. Spiritual communion, even when in groups, is direct and immediate. Each congregation is autonomous, as is each individual within that congregation. While leaders are respected for their wisdom or service, there are no charismatic gurus within the movement. There is no one spokesperson for Pagans. All Pagans value choosing one¹s own path and beliefs and consequently do not seek to convert others. Pagans self- identify; there is no one body or rite which confers membership in the Pagan community. However, almost all Pagan organizations require members to abide by specific guidelines and principles.

Pagan culture
This emphasis on personal exploration and development creates a highly dynamic culture of diverse people who share values of intellectual and spiritual freedom. Rather than conform to a specific set of beliefs or practices, Pagans participate in a vibrant marketplace of ideas, where people contribute and take away what resonates most deeply with them. Community is created through regular gatherings and festivals, numerous publications, and an extensive Internet presence. While specific ethics are discussed at length within the Pagan community, the most common summation is "If it harms none, do what you will." This combines personal freedom with responsibility to the community.

Pagan religions are dynamic, changing systems based on timeless values of faith, freedom, justice, honesty, responsibility, creativity, caring, courage, and respect. Specific beliefs and practices vary as people adapt concepts to their particular needs. Pagans celebrate rituals to mark the Wheel of the Year (see below), as well as life transitions such as marriage, moving, birth, or death. Some traditions celebrate rituals to commemorate specific historic events, while others celebrate natural transitions such as lunar phases or the first snowfall of the year. Pagan religions are a way of life, affecting choices from how we pray to where we shop. Pagans believe religions must change to meet the needs of people on an everyday basis, while connecting them to their most deeply held spiritual beliefs. While some Pagan religions can be quite esoteric, most Pagan beliefs and practices are rooted in everyday, natural experience.

The Wheel of the Year
Most Pagan religions follow the Wheel of the Year for celebrations and holy days. Names and exact dates may vary. Some traditions celebrate only the solstices and equinoxes. Others include holidays not shown here.

 

Some Pagan religions
Most American Pagans practice adaptions of ancient ethnic traditions, the most popular of which are Celtic, Greco­Roman, Native American, ancient Egyptian, Baltic, and Norse.

Asatru: Norse Pagan religion based on the principles of courage, truth, honor, fidelity, discipline, hospitality, industriousness, justice, self­reliance, and perseverance.

Church of All Worlds: Promotes celebration and honoring of all life and the planet as a living, divine organism: Gaea.

Druidism: Many types of Druidism are practiced, with varying emphasis on scholarly research into the original Druids, who were the priest/ess and judicial class of the ancient Celts.

Witchcraft: Also known as Wicca or simply the Craft. Honoring of Goddess and God (some traditions honor the Goddess alone), use of magic, and healing, all within the context of "If it harm none, do what you will." Pagan Witchcraft has nothing to do with and is antithetical to Satanism.

Recommended reading
Drawing Down the Moon,
Margot Adler
Being a Pagan (formerly People of the Earth), Ellen Evert Hopman
The Truth about Neo-Paganism, Anodea Judith
A History of Pagan Europe, Prudence Jones and Nigel Pennick
Positive Magic, Marion Weinstein

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