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PostPosted: 02 Jan 2008, 22:41 
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Public Paganism and a Watered-Down Approach

Gus diZerega writes about a public Pagan Solstice ceremony he was distressed by. He was disturbed by a sermon in the middle of the ceremony, by the political content of that sermon, and by a guided visualization that was entirely scientific, with no mythic or spiritual content. These things (sermons, politics, science), he points out, can be good, but are at odds with the purpose of Pagan ritual:

Changes like these when repeated and institutionalized are how a religion with a new focus is gradually tamed, and brought into harmony with the status quo. If sermons become a component of Pagan ceremonies, participants will increasingly be called upon to become passive vessels filled by whatever words the preaching Priest or Priestess feels called upon to say. If the altered awareness of trance and ecstasy is replaced with hypnotic introductions to scientific orthodoxy, we end up being more dependent on the competence of those giving the sermons and less on the Gods.

As a spiritual community we need to be very careful. Popular interest in our practice is greater now than ever before. We are becoming respectable. But those newly interested in us interpret what we do from within their own framework, and it is natural and appropriate for us to seek points of common understanding within their framework to explain our ways. Yet if we go too far along this path we lose sight of where we began.

Jason was impressed by Gus’s essay, and asks:

I wonder if any of my readers have experienced similar public rituals? Do you think there is a danger that modern Pagans are watering-down (or altering) practice to make it more palatable to a mainstream audience? If so, what should our reaction be?

I have certainly attended watered-down ceremonies, and ceremonies that didn’t feel very Pagan, although not quite like what Gus describes. However, I am not as concerned as Gus.

It is true, and disheartening to me, that part of the Pagan community is moving in a direction that is more socially mainstream, and less of a true alternative. A new set of window dressing on the same old same old. Pagans who are anti-nudity. Pagans who are anti-feminist. Pagans who find dancing around bonfires to be in poor taste.

Many of those Pagans are newer to the community. Not that it’s a newbie syndrome or anything like that. Rather, they are representative of the rapid growth that Gus notes. People now tend to enter into Paganism quickly. They don’t often go through a long period of seeking, because they get their needs met readily through books and the Internet. As a result, they don’t necessarily see the need for inner change. Paganism can be fit into one’s existing lifestyle and values, rather than questioning and changing those values in response to one’s Paganism.

And again, disheartening. Distressing even. But also inevitable, and not actually endangering to the core of Paganism. Watering-down is the bridegroom of public accessibility. But there is still the other Paganism, and people still seek it.

What happened with this movement is the esoteric preceded the exoteric. Oooh, big words. What I mean is, the secret societies, the Mysteries, and the spiritually transformative experiences were the bulk and focus of Neo-Pagan religion when it began. It is only in the last ten years that the exoteric; the outer, the public part of Paganism, has really taken over the perception of the nature of the beast, so that people can think the public stuff is Paganism. While there’s a certain synergism to that (the more people think it, the more the Paganism they practice will reflect that, and the more likely the next person will have the same perception), it isn’t completely a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is still not all that difficult to find out that there’s profound esoteric religion in there, both ecstatic and disciplined, and with no diluting agents anywhere in sight.

Over the years, I have realized that my path is not at all threatened by this other path, the Beltane-and-Samhain casualness, the “Christian Wicca” (huh?), the lecture-about-ritual in place of ritual. All of these have their place. There are people whose needs are met by these things. And those people will never replace the rest of us, who cannot be satisfied by a little bit of religion, who don’t want to hear about the Gods, only to be with Them and feel Them and know Them. Ultimately, we’re running parallel paths.

And that’s okay.


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PostPosted: 02 Jan 2008, 22:49 
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Grand High Lord Admiral of Hell
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Joined: 10 Sep 2007, 13:14
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I find this really interesting ...

Religions have -always- been intertwined with politics/social control and economics, as they are the -other- movers and shakers culturally. Is it a surprise that as the pagan religions gain acceptance, they'll move from being less counter-cultural to being more acceptable to 'mainstream'?

Or, is it more that the 'old-timey' naked, woman-power paganism was the 'real' version, and now it's gone wrong? Are there pagan orthadoxies for (in this case) Wiccans and Druids as there is (seems to be) with Asatru?


Though, I did find this interesting:
Quote:
If the altered awareness of trance and ecstasy is replaced with hypnotic introductions to scientific orthodoxy, we end up being more dependent on the competence of those giving the sermons and less on the Gods.


Science is again the 'evil destroyer' of paganism? :roll:


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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2018, 01:28 
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Bunny

Joined: 07 Mar 2018, 01:27
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Writers always need some help and guidance from some reliable resources to improve their skills. I want to know about that what is edusson legit as I have no basic idea about this, so please someone guide me in proper and professional way.


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