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HomeBeginning Wicca, Classes, Witch Lesson 3: Pagan History, in brief


Lesson 3: Pagan History, in brief

Erin

Message: Lesson 3: History part 1
Author: Teacher – Daven Iceni

Date: Apr 11, 2000 23:41

Long ago in a far away land, there were little ape people running around.

I’m serious… Pay attention Brandubh…

Now, when the cultures were still in the Hunter-Gatherer stage, A way of life sprang up.

(What I am telling you now is best guestimate from many Anthropologists and Archeologists. This theory first was explored and proposed by Margret Murray in the essay “The Dianic Cult in Western Europe”)

This way of life centered around SYMBOLIC magick. Basically they believed a) that everything had a spirit, and b) that doing the action to a symbol resulted in the desired outcome.

They would take skins and furs and construct a model of the animal they wished to kill, and kill it in a ceremony with the desire to have a good hunt, and it would happen.

They also were extremely concerned with fertility. The fertility of the Land, the fertility of themselves, and the fertility of the animals that they hunted. All of that was their survival.

This can be seen in many statues of the times, and in the cave paintings. One great example is the Goddess of Willendorf statue.

Goddess of WillendorfAs you can see, she is not too big, but she has exaggerated breasts, belly and labia. This symbolizes three things, that she can nurse a baby well (fertility) that she is well fed (again fertility) and that she has no trouble having children (once again, fertility).  So personal fertility was important to them, as was the fertility of the Land (this is a guess, but there is evidence to point to, but I don’t know any references).

Now, things continued on in this vein for a while, and CIVILIZATION came in to place.  Either invading armies brought it, or it was developed on it’s own, but change came to our poor ape people.  They settled and began to farm and to raise domesticated herds for their livelihood.  This is the time period that we play here at AS.  Wandering became bad, but community became good.

Because there was time for leisure pursuits, they developed things like learning, and stories, and poetry, and many things.  Cave painting became a thing of the past, and Art was created.

With this shift in focus, their religion underwent a similar change.  In the past, everyone was approaching the Gods to talk to them, but with a “specialization” of jobs, a Priest class was born.  It was their duty to talk to the Gods and intercede for the people of the community and bring rain, health, and many other things they needed on a day-to-day basis.

This is also the time that stories about the Gods began to be told.  They were usually made up stories, on the spot, illustrating whatever the speaker wanted to point out.  We now call it “mythology”.

As the society grew more complex, so too did the Gods.  The Gods started developing Jobs themselves, or spheres of influence.  Sometimes, a God or Goddess would be given extra duties to fulfill if it seemed like they would be over it.  Like, Athena, Goddess of women, wisdom, combat, weaving, cooking and childbirth.  It’s because she was the Goddess of Women that many of the other jobs were given to her.

The Druids flourished at this time, as we all know.  They were the learned men and women of the tribes, gave order and justice, advised people, healed the sick, told stories, and many other things.  They developed a written language.

Now, this next little bit is conjecture, but it seems solid.  As far as I can tell, from what little we know, most of the religions got along.  There were different “flavors” to the religion at this time, and I speak on the Pan-European area now.  But there was one religion that had the tenet of “if they don’t worship me, kill them all.” and the followers of that religion took it to heart.

It kept migrating out from where it was, until it started encountering other religions.  Also in the tenets of this religion, there was a concern for the souls of others.  So these missionaries would try to ‘save’ those others, and if they couldn’t, they would be killed.

There was a faction in this religion who looked for “heresy” all the time, and they gained more and more power and “heresy” became defined anything that they did not agree with.

As such, these other religions, who had co-existed for a long time, began to die, and many people who may not have died, were accused for a variety of reasons, some of them possibly true, most for political purposes.  And thus, the Inquisition began.

We refer to this wonderful time period as “the Burning Times”.  It was a time period of terror and politics, and a time when a lot of people were accused for hysteria.

I will go into that more in the next post.

I don’t know if what I think about the other pagan religions is true, but it seems right.  You didn’t hear about worshipers of Horis killing off worshipers of Osirus too often.  I’m sure there were instances of one person having a theological disagreement, and possibly coming to blows.  But the difference was that there was “no one true way” at that time.  As this new Cult said it was.

Anyhow, that’s it for now.

Message: Wow! *S* You covered….
Author: Ollamh Cainte – Thalada Parisii

Date: Apr 12, 2000 04:34

30 thousand years of history pretty rapidly there Daven.  There may be a few germane points worth considering in the broader milieu of history.

Let me take a step back *S*….it is a reasonable tenet that life did not crop up identically in disparate geographic regions of the world given the practically identical set of genetic components across individuals worldwide.  We almost certainly descend from a relatively closely knit subgroup from a relatively tight geographic area.  Having said that humanity spent 50,000 years covering the globe and endured two ice ages in that time…..another will be upon us in earnest in a few hundred years no doubt.

Lets jump ahead 25,000 years, between the last two ice ages.  Humanity had spread far and wide occupying virtually all of the available European and Asian land mass as well as parts of Australia.  They established Goddess worship cults in almost all locations, a rite also in some evidence in primitive tribes today in places as far  flung as the Amazon and Indonesia.  There is much to suggest that this culture of hunter gatherers did not actively engage in violent action against other cultures and we have no way of really knowing how the Neanderthals died out in this particular phase although I personally suspect some intermarriage …particularly when I regard a few of my brothers.

The last ice age, about 12000 years ago receded and left world weather systems topsy turvy for some time….there is evidence of a tropical climate in Scandinavia where a vast culture might have developed been driven from there habitat by climactic changes.  In addition the bible stories of the flood are now carrying some weight with discussions around the fate of the Black Sea when rising salt water overcame the Bosporus and flowed backwards into that fresh water lake.

All this while life was flourishing in the Eurasian steppes and gave rise to many migratory cultures flowing east, west, north and south.  The great Indo European migration that really continued well into the second half of the second millennium ad. The first great culture to rise out of this area were supposedly the Hittites, whose superiority in the use of weapons and chariots lead them to dominate existing cultures in the Mediterranean basin and to establish many branches of their culture there as well, as an overlay to what existed.  It was really the population explosion that resulted from improved cultivation that gave rise to more prolonged and frequent contact between peoples.  This lead inevitably to conflict over scarce resources… which is always what conflict is essentially about.  Religion, in the end, is about manipulation and people only get out of it what they put into it.  In the name of religion, the Hittites conquered virtually everything and they in turn were defeated by the Sumerians or some other group intent upon possession of land and wealth.  Most of these religions were pantheistic and had dominant female Goddesses.  The Israelites were the greatest champions of the single God mentality and their messianic fervor was much feared by other cultures, so much so they were often kept in subjugation.

Thereafter, a large group of peoples, called the ‘Sea Peoples’ by the Egyptians, ravaged the Mediterranean around 2500 BC and finally were defeated and sent packing by the Egyptians (according to their histories anyway, another tale suggest they were bought off by with treasure and a Pharaohs daughter named Scotia) .  They did have some curiously similar practices to later Celtic tribes but not nearly enough to clearly identify them as such.   After that times were seemingly somewhat settled beyond ‘civilization’ but through Greek histories and references we get the first references to true Celtic culture….their is an ancient poem called the Hyperboreans, a people of the far north, which describes in wonderful detail what one of their priests might be like.  Sounds just like a Druid described by the Romans and by the Greek Herodotus.

At this time most major religions were still pantheistic, Celtic religion being the same.  It is probable that the Celtic peoples rolled out of Central Europe in successive waves, engulfing all in their path.  It is also probable that they encountered an older culture there that mixed and mingled with theirs to produce the Celtic culture we have come to know through what remains of western literature.  What we ended up with was a society lead by warriors and run by priests who had a particular bent to nature vs. say the Hindu religion, which survives from the same period and has a decidedly similar structure, which seems more devoted to the panoply of Gods and Goddesses.

Now we are at the time where we are virtually in Tara.  Approximately 200-400 AD, before Patrick, during the Roman Empire and before the Viking dispersions.  The Celtic religion is still vital, festivals are large and well attended, it is not disconnected from its roots, it seems clearly linked with the land and with nature.  Druids were men of learning who could read Greek, Latin and other languages, could write proficiently in any one of them  as well as Ogham, which was never a literature per se but was really only for high level coded messages.  The power of the mind was held to be above all else and celebrated, hence the taking of heads, the references to the head as the seat of the intellect etc.

That brings us to the present day from a virtual perspective….you know the rest of the story from there….Christianity really germinated in the period we are speaking of in other parts of the world but it was not a force until AD 330 when recognized by Constantine.  Even after that it had only fledgling power for several hundred years.  Religious persecution was a right granted to the victors in any battle. A practice that survived well into more modern times.  “If they’re not with me they’re agin me…..”

Did I miss anything?  Daven I hope this aids the discussion…if not then feel free to ask me to delete it.

Message: History of Paganism: Part 2
Author: Teacher – Daven Iceni

Date: Apr 14, 2000 14:37

When last we left out intrepid time travelers, they had investigated to the Inquisition and the Burning Times…

This period of history is critical for anyone who is studying any kind of religion. It was a pivot-point in a lot of ways. Entire socio-economic structures were affected because of the hysteria.

The reasons that the Inquisition came about are many and various, but I think it directly relates to the fact that the Catholic church was fragmenting. First with the two Popes, then with Luther’s defection from the church, and then with the Calvinism.

The Catholic Church was seeing enemies where none existed. They, in short, were paranoid. It may have first started with a sincere desire to find the heretics in their own ranks, and it got a little out of hand.

For a really good article on this subject, I recommend everyone read this article

There were several contributing factors to the Witch Hunts of the Middle ages. One was the paranoia surrounding anything that was different. If it was different from me, it was dangerous, and therefore had to be killed.

Another thing that contributed to this time was when Guttenberg invented type. This allowed books to become relatively common, and to be circulated widely. (And you thought NOW was the Information Age.)

One other thing was the writing of the “Malleus Maleficarum” (The Witches’ Hammer). In it, it states that the witches have ugly sexual practices, eat babies and the Dead, and cause blights and infertility in others, kill cattle and cause famine.

Anyone who has been reading the posts here know how nonsensical that statement is. Why would Witches and pagans of the times want to make someone else infertile when that is the entire focus of life? Why cause a blight when we will starve just as they would?

The Malleus Maleficarum also recommended many things for the suspected witch. No confession could be believed unless the witch was tortured to extract the confession. Torturers were admonished not to look the witch in the eye, lest they fall under the spell of the witch (by feeling compassion for them, one assumes). Even if the witch confessed, they were to be tortured until they had named everyone that they did their deeds with, which would result in everyone they knew being named.

Now, looked at from the perspective of the years, we can say that most of this is cruel and unusual punishment. But circumstantial evidence was used in many cases to get convictions. And witches were not tried by Church authorities, but by secular authorities instead. Jean Bodin wrote “De la Demonomanie des Sorciers” (Of the punishments deserved by Witches). He stated that the punishment of Witches was required, both for the security of the state and to appease the wrath of God. No accused Witch should be set free if there is even a scrap of evidence that she might be guilty. If prosecutors waited for solid evidence, he felt that not one Witch in a million would be punished.

Normal rules of evidence were set aside, and children’s testimony was accepted as proof.

This period lasted from 1227 with the institution of the Inquisitional courts to 1792 with the deaths of the last witches in Poland.

Interestingly enough, there was one country that the witch craze did not touch. In the 1100’s the king of Hungary at the time abolished all anti-witchcraft laws off the books. Paganism was thereafter seen, in Hungary, as legal and protected by the crown.

The actual Burning Times lasts from about 1550-1650 CE. This is the time period that many talk about when they speak on the Burning Times.

We know about Salem, and the fallout from that. What is interesting about it was the fact that it may not have been about religion and witchcraft so much as about family feud. It didn’t end until the family who was benefiting from this fight got accused itself.

But let’s not go there. There have been too many scholarly books published dealing with the Salem Witch trials for me to say anymore about it (especially since I don’t know that much about it.)

I will add my comments here. It has been estimated that about 350,000 to 500,000 people died in the Inquisition and the Burning times. I have heard estimates ranging up to 9,000,000 people, but think, if nine million women died in the 100 year span we are speaking about, there would be no Europe left. The entire population would have been decimated.

As it was, one German town executed all 298 women in one day, and that town completely died out.

As one author pointed out, “No one thinks bad about you if you are beautiful. All those poor women who died in the witch hunts were probably plain, and didn’t have a chance of finding a husband, so they MUST have turned to Satan for comfort..”

Interesting theory.

Also, remember, how the Gods of the old religion become the Demons of the New. Paganism had been around for all of Humanity’s existence at that point, and the “new kid on the block” needed a Bad Guy.

Instead of saying “God allowed Evil into the world to give us challenges to overcome” they decided to say “It’s the Witch’s fault. They sold their soul to the Devil. They are the cause of your child’s death from the Plague. Let’s kill them…”

It is further estimated that less than 10% of those who died in the Inquisition and the Burning Times were Pagans and Witches. The rest were mistakes, herb women, midwives, and others who took the places of the Priests of the times. This threatened them.

Now, to be fair, this was not the responsibility of the Church. They gave their tact permission for this to happen, and for all of this to go on, but they did not instigate this. It was the masses of the people who did. But the Church also did nothing to stop it, and in fact, supported it to an extent. I cannot hold the Pope responsible, just as I hope that the descendants of slaves do not hold me responsible for the atrocities committed on their ancestors.

I may have some facts out of order, and I could be wrong about some of this, I was writing this from memory, and if there are errors, I apologize. I hope that someone will point this out.

I did pull much of this information from the website of Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. And I thank them humbly for their contributions.

Next lesson we shall go into more depth about the modern Pagan revitalization.

Questions, comments, corrections, please post them here or at my domus.

Message: No one expects the Spanish Inquisition….
Author: – Fleury CuChulainn

Date: Apr 15, 2000 23:28

I apologize for my quiet of late, but finals are upon me… Ironically between present RL and AS, one does tie into the other. (oh no, here we go…)

On torture:
In ancient Rome, it was believed imperative to torture a slave. Any information from a slave obtained without torture would be considered inadmissible. After all, what such individual would ‘freely’ give such information… must be more hidden than they’re telling. As such, slaves were tortured and threatened with further punishment in order to garner any information whatsoever, factual or otherwise. Quite convenient really, have them testify to anything you need, and be able to torture them for entertainment purposes too… It really doesn’t get any better than that, does it? *G*

Hurtling 1900 years forward… under the Soviet regime, Stalinist purges saw high ranking officials confess to sabotage, wrecking, counter-revolutionary activity and general plots against the state. These confessions were completely false and were obtained only by overt torture. In fact, the Soviet methods brought torture to a whole new level… They suited only those in the highest power (Stalin, and his successors) even those second in command were not immune from denunciation. It wasn’t even just the insanity of Stalin. Not even 50 years ago the head of state security (Beria), was executed when under extreme torture he confessed to a coup attempt. When did an attempt to control social (and criminal) chaos become an uprising??? I’m not sure, but perhaps we should torture a few of our own officials… heheheh Oh, so uncalled for!!! *EG* Sorry, I just wrote this exam last night…

Anyhoo, what was my point… I have no idea anymore! I guess just that apparently torture has in the past, and probably always will be, an effective tool for exacting information that conforms to the expectations and beliefs of a minority. Its still being used, its just not in the public eye anymore…

Now I did have another point, and its far less in-depth I promise. 😉 Daven, you mentioned “It is further estimated that less than 10% of those who died in the Inquisition and the Burning Times were Pagans and Witches. The rest were mistakes, herb women, midwives, and others who took the places of the Priests of the times. This threatened them.” I’ve always heard, read, believed, etc., that one of the biggest problems was that those in precarious positions and who failed, were most often at risk. Their positions were indeed threats to the church, but any failure was an excuse to rid them of one more threat. For example, midwives who delivered stillborn babies would often be denounced as witches. They killed the babies, stole their souls, etc. It was often the claims of grieving parents, it couldn’t possibly be natural and therefore, there had to be someone at fault. Same with herbalists. Give a potion to a terminal patient and if they die, it was obviously murder.  Give a healing potion to a semi-ill person and they turn around and die!  Well with all the diseases that were completely unknown until recently, in hind sight it makes sense, but back then…  Paranoia is a weird and wonderful thing… NOT!!!

I could go on, but I feel I’ve babbled plenty for now… but I’ll be back! *EG*

Message: No! Not the Comfy Chair!!
Author:Draconis CuChulainn

Date: Apr 19, 2000 16:29

Greetings.  I asked Daven awhile ago if I could chime in occasionally and forgot where this thread was (kinda hidden it seems).  But I finally found it again.  🙂  So, if you don’t mind..

“Also, remember, how the Gods of the old religion become the Demons of the New. Paganism had been around for all of Humanity’s existence at that point, and the “new kid on the block” needed a Bad Guy.”

This is a pretty common practice.  Even the underworld gods and spirits of the Celts are the Gods of the former tribes that the Celts conquered.

Message: Lesson 3: History part 3; The Neo-Pagans
Author: Teacher – Daven Iceni

Date: May 5, 2000 17:32

Once the Burning times were settled down, into a banked fire once again, Paganism retreated into semi-obscurity.  Oh, everything that was wrong was still blamed on Witchcraft, and there were lots of paintings and wood-cuts of “Three Witches having a sacrifice…” and such things…

That time lasted for about 300 or so years.  There were flare ups, from time to time, such as Salem, and some of the accusations in Scotland, but no wide scale murder and death of Witches and Pagans since the Inquisition ended.

The hatred and violence just transferred itself to others.  Like the Native Americans and the Africans.  They were considered “sub-human” and must be saved, or killed, whichever came first.

Be that as it may, this state lasted until Margret Murray wrote a pivotal work “The Witch-Cult In Western Europe”.  It was an anthropological study of just who the ancient Pagans were.  Most of what I have been telling you on the REALLY ancient theories (way back in part 1) have been taken directly from her work.  While there are many inaccuracies, her base theories have proven to be surprisingly resilient, despite attempts to disprove it.

Well, needless to say, when this work was first published, eyebrows were raised and tempers flared.  It was almost a repetition of what happened when Darwin first said that we were descended from Apes, when everyone KNEW the God created all of us from whole cloth.  So, God had existed forever, and nothing else could have happened.

Well, about 50 or so years pass from the publication of this work, and along comes a gentleman by the name of Gerald Gardner.  If no one else can be credited for starting the modern Pagan Movement, He should get this accolade.  Were it not for Gardner, I don’t think that modern Paganism would exist.  However, that is a personal opinion.   What he did do however was write a book, “High Magick’s Aid” which started an interest in Paganism, and lead to his writing the book, “The Witches Sabbats”.  I may be mistaken, and I will double check my facts later.

From that, many people started coming out of the “broom closet”.  Many covens began to come forward in England and Europe since the last of the death penalties for Witchcraft had been stricken from the Laws in about 1957.  They claimed an unbroken heritage of practice back to the Ancient Pagans.  From that, the New Age movement began in earnest.

Paganism started in America with the Hippies and before that with the Beatniks.  This was a group of counter-culture people who despised the established norm.  When the New Age movement started, these groups embraced this philosophy with open arms.

Unfortunately there are still many of the “New-Age Hippies” out there.  The do their drugs and talk about the “Age of Aquarius” and mutter to crystals, but they are about as genuine to Paganism as “Austrian Crystal pendants” are to Pure Quartz Crystal.  Mostly, the Neo-Pagans have recognized these and tend to avoid them.  However, just because their ways are different does not make them wrong.

Raymond Buckland was the first (from all reports) to come out of the Broom Closet in America.  For this and many other pioneering things, he is to be commended.  About this time, Neo-Paganism and Wicca began to look back to their roots and to discover things in other cultures that could be incorporated into our way.  This began the move toward Eclecticism.  The taking of ways and ceremonies and gods and deities and blending them into a homogenous sludge and presenting it as the “Truth, handed down for generations from mother to daughter.”

It is also at about this time, the mid 1980’s that the Lakotah, Dakotah and Nakotah Sioux declared war on “the despoilers of Native American spirituality.”  They produced and published a Declaration of War, a copy of which is on my website, saying that this kind of practice was deplorable and despicable and would not be tolerated any longer.

From there, there have been problems in every country with Paganism and Wicca.  Mostly, the established order has been in opposition to us all, but in America especially, there has been more.  Despite many decisions upholding the Constitutional Amendment stating “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” there have been attempts to regulate all religions outside of Mainstream Christianity, in an effort to “Promote family values”.

But that is all in the past now.  Now is what matters, and where we go from here.  We all need to work together and to help one another.

I have noticed a trend in many metaphysical and pagan communities, and that is toward greater education.  Not only on their own ways and paths, but also in general, and on other religions.  It’s probably one of the reasons Tara exists now.  There is also a greater spirit of co-operation amongst each other, and a growing sense of community.  Along with that, is a greater responsibility to the community as an advocate, good example, helper, priest and councilor, and many other functions.

And so I end here with this history lesson.  We need to remember all of this so that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past.

I will try to assemble a list of references for you all to look at on this history lesson, so you can get a more balanced view of what happened.

I would also like to invite those teachers that I have spoken with about being “Guest speakers” here to now pipe up with their view of this historical chain of events.  Perhaps looking at the same scene from a different angle will reveal another facet that I may have missed.

Take a holiday, no homework for now.  But if you come across some interesting facts, on this topic, that you wish to share with all of us, please do so.

And now…. back to our discussion of Altars and Shrines.  *VBG*

Message: I have re read the last post I put up in here,
Author: Teacher – Daven Iceni

Date: May 9, 2000 11:36

and I may have been unnecessarily harsh on some groups.  Like the New Agers.  It sounds like I despise them, and nothing could be further from the truth.

What I despise is any group or person taking bits and pieces of someone else’s spiritual path, mixing it with bits and pieces of another spiritual path, making up things to fill in the gaps, and presenting that as the “One true way”.  Or whitewashing nonsense that they read once in a book, and passing that on as “Traditional teachings” without making an attempt to either back up or document what they are teaching.

And there are those who are gullible enough to be caught in the nets that these unscrupulous people weave.

The New Agers have a bad habit of doing these practices.  They take little bits that we know about Celtic Spirituality, mix it with AmerInd spirituality, and try to pawn it off as genuine.

Now, to be fair, I am guilty of this same sin too.  But at least my mistakes are honest, and I do try to present accurate information, and I never claimed to have a lock on the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  I do encourage everyone around me to read and research.  And I do try to identify my sources, as far as I can.  And I have never tried to pawn anything that I teach off as traditional or “the way things were done”.

If I offended anyone with my statements, I am truly sorry.  It was not my intention.  I am only trying to present the little that I know with a whole lot of opinions.

Most of what I teach in this thread and on others, is based mostly upon my own experience.  I have read extensively, but I have one of those brains that retains information, but not necessarily the source.

The point is this:  I am not teaching anything “traditional” nor anything “correct”.  It is as correct as I know, but that’s all.  I am human, and I make mistakes and my opinions creep in no matter how hard I try.  I am teaching (in this thread) modern Wiccan and Pagan practices, trying to emphasize how it can be applied in the RP here, or in the discussions around Tara.  I am trying to give a basis for accurate information from other sources at a later time.

Basically, to put in Ionian terms, I am giving you all the “compressed” version of what a Druidic apprentice would go through before they decided to specialize.  But it is still from a modern perspective.  No avoiding that.  But I am trying to make it as general as possible.

I post this here to avoid the possibility of a repetition in this thread what happened on another thread that I follow.  I am making it clear that this thread is a modern perspective and possibly techniques, but I am trying not to let that infect what is posted here.

Okay, I’m repeating myself.  To a point.  So I will stop and we will continue with the discussion on Altars and Shrines.

Message: Just a little comment……
Author: Ollamh Cainte – Thalada Parisii

Date: May 16, 2000 06:03

realizing how difficult it is to present the epic of history in three posts and the span of time and thought in a concise way.  It is most important to walk away from Daven’s discussion with a sense that there is a ton of truth out there waiting to be uncovered and each piece of truth serves to develop one’s thinking.  If there is anything a student should take away it is that they should feel compelled to challenge each piece of ‘fact’ they are presented with.  They should research and read and when they are done that they should do more.  There is no substitute for improving the process of learning better than the process of learning.

Daven, I don’t think you judged neo pagans harshly nor do I think you judged at all.  I agree with your views on Satanism mostly because I view it as an intrusive and reconstructionists religion…like many proselytizing Christian religions.  With regard to Druidism it is unfortunately necessary to ‘interpolate’ where fact has been reduced to supposition.  Much was lost but the logic I think remains intact.  With that logic it is possible to deduce the philosophy of the Druids if not the precise religion.  As far as I am concerned that is the more important of the two anyway.

And perhaps a cut at Myst’s question as I happen to agree with her.  I’m not sure there is an absolute need for an altar but there is a need for a gateway to the power of place.  An altar, I think serves as a ritual gateway, the keys to which are embodied in the symbolic items and arrangement.  Following a ritual path allows one to unlock the door in a controlled, and I might add, safe way.  The grove might also have been used in this way by the Druids….it is the way I use it now.  But the ritual is still carried within us and the need for mastery and control is as important as ever.  Power is neither a good or bad force but it can manifest itself in ways that might be perceived as either good or bad when one does not have the ability to control the power.  Ritual, through an altar or through a trained mind, is the governor and steward of that power.

Message: off the topic again but….
Author: just wondering – myst Niall

Date: May 22, 2000 04:40

Daven does any of the ancient prophesies (sp)? have any place in the pagan religion? Every ancient culture has some kind about the end of time and a lot of them say mankind can stop them if we will take the spiritual path and basically do what you teach here. What do you think about this? If I am totally out of line here please tell me but I did not know what thread to ask this on *smiling*

Message: Epona and Myst,
Author: grinning – Daven Iceni

Date: May 22, 2000 09:35

Myst, I’m not really sure how the tales of olden times apply to now.

Understand that mythology is a way, in symbolic language, for a lesson or a point to be presented to others.  EVERY culture has an “end of the world” myth, and as such, most of them are ignored.

I mean, look at it from the perspective of the people who were living when those tales were first presented.  They see a cycle of life.  The food is planted, grows during the summer, and dies at the end of the fall, to come back again in the spring.  That cycle even applies to the animals and people.  They are born, grow, die, and are used to help others grow and die.

So it would stand to reason, that living with that cycle everyday, that we could postulate a similar cycle with the Earth itself.  Correct?

And if you look at the history of the Earth, not the planet, the End of the World has happened many times.

Basically, sudden violent change is this “End of the World”.  I would state (IMHO) that WWII would count as an end of the world.  The world as it was, ended and a new world took it’s place.  This one.

And if you think about it a bit, you come to the conclusion that the “end of the world” that most of those myths are talking about, are the end of the society that is postulating the end.  Such as, Ragnarok could be thought to have occurred when the German people fell as a society, only to rise again in the Hitler regime, to rise again with the destruction of the Berlin Wall.

As a literal prophesy of doom and destruction?  No, I don’t give that any credence.  As something to strive to overcome by being the best person I can, and helping those around me do so also?  Yes, I can get behind that concept of the End of the World.

I can actively work for a better place for my daughter, my friends, and my family.  I can teach everyone what I know, and help them discover the truths I know, so that they are better people.  I can give back to those who have come before me, and I can leave this place a better place than I found it in.

There is a proverb, and I believe it is traditional Native American, that states, “The Earth is not inherited from our Grandfathers, but borrowed from out Grandchildren.”  I always try to keep this in mind.

And the Earth means not only the planet, but also the people.  What I do now, could reverberate down the ages.  I doubt that people will remember who I am in 50 years, but things I do or say or am could have an impact on those who are not even alive yet.

Such as, I doubt that Benjamin Franklin thought what he was doing when he flew his kite in the storm, would make it possible for you to read these words now.  So, what might have been a minor choice, turned out to have a profound impact on all of us.

But can you tell me who discovered radio?  No, it was not Marconni.  Although, he was the one who stole the credit for it.  Nicola Tesla is the father of Radio, but I bet you he never thought of that.

So, I do think before I act, usually.

Understand better, or did I just really muddy the waters too much for you to see through it?  LOL

Message: I do understand but……
Author: Hmm…. – myst Niall

Date: May 22, 2000 16:04

given the ancients view of the earth as the “mother” of all, the force of all life, why would they assume she would be included in the cycle. Was it not her that made that cycle and controls how and why the wheel turns? As the force that is responsible for us all, does it not make sense that she would not seek to destroy herself? I speak of the way the ancients believed at the time they were carving into the rocks the downfall of our time in history.

You have definately given me much to ponder on and a new insight into the world of predictions. In all truth Davin, my river is running much clearer these days *smiling*

Message: I have no idea
Author: ranting is – Fleury CuChulainn

Date: May 22, 2000 23:36

if I’m off topic, on topic or just babbling… probably all three! *LMAO* But quite frankly I’m okay with that! 🙂

I’m mostly posting in reference to Daven’s comment about life and death, specifically,
I mean, look at it from the perspective of the people who were living when those tales were first presented. They see a cycle of life. The food is planted, grows during the summer, and dies at the end of the fall, to come back again in the spring. That cycle even applies to the animals and people. They are born, grow, die, and are used to help others grow and die.

One thing that struck me was that every death was a temporary and individual ‘end of the world’ but no one seemed to fear it then… death was a natural progression of life. Death was a temporary end but it also promised a new life, a rebirth, just like the harvests every year… People did not fear death as they do now. Now, many people would rather be hooked up to machines and live an artificial life rather than face the inevitable. They subject themselves to operations that suck, tuck, and pull everything into a new position in the hopes of holding onto their youth and thereby defy the ageing process. Do they hope to defy the natural progression? Probably because those who have the money for all of these things will probably attempt cryogenics or cloning or whatever the latest wave of immortality is…

Hmmm, I’m ranting and losing my point… now THERE’S something new… LOL My point is, perhaps we might be a more accepting society (of things like age, and bodily imperfections) if accepted the natural cycle of all life. I got an email recently that I found very poignant. In any region of the world, there are eight million women who wish they looked like a model and only eight who really do. Why is that? Perhaps because we no longer accept, understand and appreciate that which was considered the norm in ancient times.

I could go on, but I know I’ve deviated in a major way… just call me weird! *grin*

Message: Yep, that is how it should be viewed,
Author: Beaming – Daven Iceni

Date: May 23, 2000 00:29

and all too often is not.  For some reason, a cycle of life and death and life again, was transformed into a “one life, then eternal punishment or eternal reward”.

We should have no fear of Death.  Death is a stage, nothing more in our lives.  It comes, it goes, and you live again.  Depending on your religious upbringing, you then either live forever with your Deity of Choice, or you come back here to learn what you missed last time.

Look at it this way:  The cycles of our lives are mirrored when we are young.  You grow and learn love and basics from your parents.  Then you go to Pre K.  There you learn the important things of not eating the crayons, and that glue tastes like Kool Aid.  From there to Kindergarten, and the importance of staying inside the lines when coloring.  Then first grade, second grade, and so on till you graduate High School.  Then, if you want, you can go back to get a degree in college.

Well, in the summers, you have breaks between grades, and you get to rest.  You even get to make important decisions like what kind of notebook you want to take to school when it starts, and so on.

Same thing with your life cycle.  Little things you learn first, and as you go on, you get more complex matters down and go on.  In between each life or grade, you get time to think of what is going on, and what you want.

As such, viewing death as summer vacation is easy.

One of the most powerful statements that I have ever read in any book was in Illusions by Richard Bach.  In it one statement grabbed my soul.  “And always remember, what a caterpillar calls the end of the world, a master calls a butterfly.”

Death is not a stopping, ending, but a metamorphosis.

I read tarot cards, and the one card that everyone fears, and hates seeing is the Death card.  They think it means to die.  But if you look in any tarot deck out there, the little booklet will say “a change, gradual, a metamorphosis”.

That is what our death is.  A metamorphosis from the creatures in this prison of flesh to a being of light and energy, free and whole, knowing all we learned.

So, knowing this, and knowing that the Ancients saw the cycles in nature as a natural cycle, it’s a no-brainer that they thought that the world, their society, their family went through similar cycles.

(this is the point where I loose the track of the thread I was following in my head.  Oh well.)

Hope I made sense.

Stars light your path.

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