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Author Topic: Sources for forming your own path/religion  (Read 1658 times)

Mulciber_Volcanus

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Sources for forming your own path/religion
« on: August 15, 2013, 02:33:12 am »
Hi all!
I'm working on trying to hash out a rather unique path. It's a reconstruction of ancient tribal Israelite practices/culture based on my own accademic research and religious experience. I'm trying to get a book together and start a group to educate others on my ideas/beliefs.

I'm looking for sources (web, book, or otherwise) that could help with forming a new path. I was an anthropology and religion major in school, but that didn't help much in actually forming my own thing.

I need help specifically with the following:
  • What people need to know. This is a very different path from most forms of paganism that people are familiar with. Any sort of guide on this would be great.
  • How to get started with finding like minded folks and getting this off the ground.
  • How to be a good spiritual leader.


Any other help would be great as well.

Are there any sources out there for this sort of thing? If you google "how to start your own religion" or something similar, all you get is sarcastic jokes and anti-religious hate sites.

Thanks in advance!

Riothamus12

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Re: Sources for forming your own path/religion
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2013, 04:31:18 am »
Quote from: Mulciber_Volcanus;118985
Hi all!
I'm working on trying to hash out a rather unique path. It's a reconstruction of ancient tribal Israelite practices/culture based on my own accademic research and religious experience. I'm trying to get a book together and start a group to educate others on my ideas/beliefs.

I'm looking for sources (web, book, or otherwise) that could help with forming a new path. I was an anthropology and religion major in school, but that didn't help much in actually forming my own thing.

I need help specifically with the following:
  • What people need to know. This is a very different path from most forms of paganism that people are familiar with. Any sort of guide on this would be great.
  • How to get started with finding like minded folks and getting this off the ground.
  • How to be a good spiritual leader.


Any other help would be great as well.

Are there any sources out there for this sort of thing? If you google "how to start your own religion" or something similar, all you get is sarcastic jokes and anti-religious hate sites.

Thanks in advance!

 
I'm not certain it goes that way. It just sort of happens. A tradition begins when one teaches it to another or two or more like minded people get together. You cannot expect to just convert people. They must come to you of their own will. All I can say is keep looking and if you should find any others who believe what you do then it may be the emergence of a new path.
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I started a blog. Feel free to peruse. It's still in it's early stages and I have to write more, so do bare with me if it's all a little basic so far.

Yei

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Re: Sources for forming your own path/religion
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2013, 04:53:44 am »
Quote from: Mulciber_Volcanus;118985
Hi all!
I'm working on trying to hash out a rather unique path. It's a reconstruction of ancient tribal Israelite practices/culture based on my own accademic research and religious experience. I'm trying to get a book together and start a group to educate others on my ideas/beliefs.

I'm looking for sources (web, book, or otherwise) that could help with forming a new path. I was an anthropology and religion major in school, but that didn't help much in actually forming my own thing.

I need help specifically with the following:
  • What people need to know. This is a very different path from most forms of paganism that people are familiar with. Any sort of guide on this would be great.
  • How to get started with finding like minded folks and getting this off the ground.
  • How to be a good spiritual leader.


Any other help would be great as well.

Are there any sources out there for this sort of thing? If you google "how to start your own religion" or something similar, all you get is sarcastic jokes and anti-religious hate sites.

Thanks in advance!

 
Yeah....I don't think that a religion can just be 'created' like that. People will not just simply 'convert', especially to a religion that people are not familiar with. I also would not trust the internet to teach anyone to be a leader in anything.

If you think your religion deserves recognition, by all means share. But don't try to convert people. Simply inform them. Their feedback will also help you uncover gaps in your own knowledge, and will may give you the skills to become a spiritual leader. Then, and only then, people will convert, if they think the religion is right for them.

Mulciber_Volcanus

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Re: Sources for forming your own path/religion
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2013, 06:35:17 am »
Quote from: Riothamus12;118989
I'm not certain it goes that way. It just sort of happens. A tradition begins when one teaches it to another or two or more like minded people get together. You cannot expect to just convert people. They must come to you of their own will. All I can say is keep looking and if you should find any others who believe what you do then it may be the emergence of a new path.

 
Quote from: Rob;118990
Yeah....I don't think that a religion can just be 'created' like that. People will not just simply 'convert', especially to a religion that people are not familiar with. I also would not trust the internet to teach anyone to be a leader in anything.

If you think your religion deserves recognition, by all means share. But don't try to convert people. Simply inform them. Their feedback will also help you uncover gaps in your own knowledge, and will may give you the skills to become a spiritual leader. Then, and only then, people will convert, if they think the religion is right for them.

 
OK. Thanks for the responses.

Let me clear a few things up:
  • I never said that I was seeking to convert people. I'm not sure how both of you took that from what I said (or if Rob was just going off of what Riothamus12 said). The goal was to create a way to provide coherent information in a clear presentation that people could seek out. Since both of you thought that I was trying to proselytize at this juncture (and both of you spent the majority of your responses explaining why that was wrong), I clearly need help condensing my speech into a coherent pattern that is easily digested by anyone who seeks the knowledge I am trying to provide.
  • I'm not trying to create something just "like that." This is a religious path I have followed for over 20 years. What I'm trying to do is package it for export, so to speak.
  • And religions do get formulated. Growth is organic from there, but the initial phase of getting everything solidly worked out has to happen. Getting my ideas on paper is easy, to an extent, but organizing them in a coherent fashion and knowing what people need to know is the challenge.

Yei

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Re: Sources for forming your own path/religion
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2013, 07:28:15 am »
Quote from: Mulciber_Volcanus;118993
OK. Thanks for the responses.

Let me clear a few things up:
  • I never said that I was seeking to convert people. I'm not sure how both of you took that from what I said (or if Rob was just going off of what Riothamus12 said). The goal was to create a way to provide coherent information in a clear presentation that people could seek out. Since both of you thought that I was trying to proselytize at this juncture (and both of you spent the majority of your responses explaining why that was wrong), I clearly need help condensing my speech into a coherent pattern that is easily digested by anyone who seeks the knowledge I am trying to provide.
  • I'm not trying to create something just "like that." This is a religious path I have followed for over 20 years. What I'm trying to do is package it for export, so to speak.
  • And religions do get formulated. Growth is organic from there, but the initial phase of getting everything solidly worked out has to happen. Getting my ideas on paper is easy, to an extent, but organizing them in a coherent fashion and knowing what people need to know is the challenge.

 
Well you did say things like:

Quote
I'm trying to get a book together and start a group to educate others on my ideas/beliefs.
How to get started with finding like minded folks and getting this off the ground.
How to be a good spiritual leader.
Are there any sources out there for this sort of thing? If you google "how to start your own religion" or something similar, all you get is sarcastic jokes and anti-religious hate sites.


These things can be easy to misunderstand and while I'm sure you do not intend evangelism it did seem as though you were intent on converting people.

When I said 'creating' I did not mean creating artificially. And I'm sorry if I implied that and I should have been clearer. What I mean is that any sharing of information has to be carefully handled. You seem to what to put all your beliefs into a whole document. While such a document could be useful theologically, it could also be overwhelming to most people, more so to those who are not looking or are interested in something else.

Fionnbharr

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Re: Sources for forming your own path/religion
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2013, 07:55:39 am »
Quote from: Mulciber_Volcanus;118985
I need help specifically with the following:
  • What people need to know. This is a very different path from most forms of paganism that people are familiar with. Any sort of guide on this would be great.
  • How to get started with finding like minded folks and getting this off the ground.
  • How to be a good spiritual leader.


Any other help would be great as well.

 
You can either write your thoughts out simple or into detail, whether any will understand either is individual. Write it so it makes best sense to you, if you try to bend yourself too much for the sake of others your message might end up getting deluded - speak straight from the essence of your belief the way you see it. What are the major focus point in this belief of yours.

In mine it is simply put like this:
- Life is all that there is.
- Khora (my principle of life) say that life in its essence is simple, though through existence complexity is born.
- My Mythology of Nothing then say, Everything is Nothing and that way it has the ability to be Anything.

How others interpret it has nothing at all to do with me, however the more time I spend on talking about it, the better chance does others have of seeing it from my POV.

Write down your thoughts unfiltered and share them, see how people respond and regulate it until it is as you wished it to be - this is what some artists do with new songs, they try them in front of an audience to see if the song works the way they intended it to. In this process you might even find like minded people, at least they are hard to find if you do not share yourself and the belief you have ;)

How to be a good leader? Ask yourself how you wish to lead and write it down, then again share and see how others see such a leader, and once more regulate it until you are satisfied. There is the expression that Rome was not build on one day... be patient and see this process as an opportunity to learn. Just thoughts...
Grief and sorrow grows on the far banks of the river Styx, go there and visit them and you might not find your own way back home. - Achilles

Jenett

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Re: Sources for forming your own path/religion
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2013, 10:19:39 am »
Quote from: Mulciber_Volcanus;118985

  • What people need to know. This is a very different path from most forms of paganism that people are familiar with. Any sort of guide on this would be great.
  • How to get started with finding like minded folks and getting this off the ground.
  • How to be a good spiritual leader.


 
Are you intending that whatever like-minded folks will be local or not local? Because they're two rather different skill sets.

One problem is that books are not actually an ideal way to teach religion. If you're working in person, they're an exceptionally good reinforcement, but for actually teaching, you are probably going to want multiple modes of interaction and instruction. That may mean learning how to do audio recordings, simple video recordings, and how to manage online teaching, which is a specific set of skills most people don't have unless they work at learning it.

In terms of 'how to make group work', there aren't many resources out there for Pagan groups that aren't covens or ceremonial magic groups, but those books will have a lot of helpful stuff you can adapt on the topic of teaching this type of material, and on the kinds of issues you might want to think about. In particular, I'd suggest Nick Farrell's _Gathering the Magic_, Judy Harrow's _Spiritual Mentoring_, Amber K's _CovenCraft_, and Thea Sabin's _A teaching handbook for Wiccans and Pagans_. All four focus on slightly different aspects, and they've all got a lot of practical "How to make group work" stuff.

Several of these (especially the last one) will help you figure out how to break down the things people might want to know into smaller bits. One model that's not uncommon in the Wiccan community - for good reason - is having a short series of intro classes (what is this religion, what's involved in it in a general sense, here, simple ritual experience, time for some questions) of 3-5 sessions before people make any further commitment or

You might find my sample 'how I teach a Dedicant year' essay also of help as one possible model of what to focus on when: http://gleewood.org/seeking/practices/a-possible-dedicant-year/ (It's based heavily on how I was trained, with some modifications, so it's a progression that's had a certain amount of testing behind it.)

In terms of finding potentially like-minded folks, it seems that you'd want to look both within the larger Pagan community, and potentially outside it. (Which is going to be a bit delicate, because, for really excellent reasons, the Jewish community - namely, the people who are potentially particularly likely to be interested for cultural reasons - are touchy about people trying to draw folks away from being Jews.) However, I suspect there might be online spaces that attract, say, people who appreciate the cultural heritage side without wanting to be Jewish.

In all cases, it tends to work better if you hang out in some spaces, talk periodically about what you do, have something in your signature people can check out casually (a well designed site that starts with a summary page or two, before going deeper). A blog where you talk about things can help, because you can link to it (in a signature or because of a very specific topic) and people may then read more. But that means laying a lot of ground work, so you have things (that read as authentic and meaningful to people) to point to.
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Mulciber_Volcanus

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Re: Sources for forming your own path/religion
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2013, 07:33:17 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;119006
Are you intending that whatever like-minded folks will be local or not local? Because they're two rather different skill sets.

One problem is that books are not actually an ideal way to teach religion. If you're working in person, they're an exceptionally good reinforcement, but for actually teaching, you are probably going to want multiple modes of interaction and instruction. That may mean learning how to do audio recordings, simple video recordings, and how to manage online teaching, which is a specific set of skills most people don't have unless they work at learning it.

In terms of 'how to make group work', there aren't many resources out there for Pagan groups that aren't covens or ceremonial magic groups, but those books will have a lot of helpful stuff you can adapt on the topic of teaching this type of material, and on the kinds of issues you might want to think about. In particular, I'd suggest Nick Farrell's _Gathering the Magic_, Judy Harrow's _Spiritual Mentoring_, Amber K's _CovenCraft_, and Thea Sabin's _A teaching handbook for Wiccans and Pagans_. All four focus on slightly different aspects, and they've all got a lot of practical "How to make group work" stuff.

Several of these (especially the last one) will help you figure out how to break down the things people might want to know into smaller bits. One model that's not uncommon in the Wiccan community - for good reason - is having a short series of intro classes (what is this religion, what's involved in it in a general sense, here, simple ritual experience, time for some questions) of 3-5 sessions before people make any further commitment or

You might find my sample 'how I teach a Dedicant year' essay also of help as one possible model of what to focus on when: http://gleewood.org/seeking/practices/a-possible-dedicant-year/ (It's based heavily on how I was trained, with some modifications, so it's a progression that's had a certain amount of testing behind it.)

In terms of finding potentially like-minded folks, it seems that you'd want to look both within the larger Pagan community, and potentially outside it. (Which is going to be a bit delicate, because, for really excellent reasons, the Jewish community - namely, the people who are potentially particularly likely to be interested for cultural reasons - are touchy about people trying to draw folks away from being Jews.) However, I suspect there might be online spaces that attract, say, people who appreciate the cultural heritage side without wanting to be Jewish.

In all cases, it tends to work better if you hang out in some spaces, talk periodically about what you do, have something in your signature people can check out casually (a well designed site that starts with a summary page or two, before going deeper). A blog where you talk about things can help, because you can link to it (in a signature or because of a very specific topic) and people may then read more. But that means laying a lot of ground work, so you have things (that read as authentic and meaningful to people) to point to.

 
First, I'd rather find local folks.

A teaching handbook for Wiccans and Pagans sounds very helpful! Thanks!

I came from the Jewish community originally -- black-hatter Orthodox, to be exact. I think what I'm trying to do here may attract more disenchanted Jews and Christians than established Pagans. I find that most American Pagans tend to be happy where they are, which isn't always the case with Judaism (especially Reform) and Christianity. My educational background is the anthropology of religion focusing on Late Bronze Age and Iron Age Levantine Religious Culture and Medieval Jewish Religious Culture. My primary goal is to provide a more accurate alternative to Modern Rabbinic Judaism, which I feel has been tainted by various sources (especially Ashkenazi culture, which dominates American and Israeli Judaism).

The advice on the website and blog is appreciated. That's definitely in the works with an already purchased, but undeveloped, domain. Part of what I was looking for here was what to put in the site and what to leave out. I think the book you suggested may help there.

As far as gaining local interest after that development, what do you think of using Meetup.com? Is that something Pagans do often? In the Atlanta area, the Pagan presence on Meetup is minimal, but it seems to work well for the general New Agers and the Christians, even the more obscure denominations.

Also, if I wanted to chat a bit about my ideas on The Cauldron, which forum would work best? "Pagan Religions?"

Materialist

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Re: Sources for forming your own path/religion
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2013, 10:26:59 pm »
Quote from: Mulciber_Volcanus;118985

What people need to know. This is a very different path from most forms of paganism that people are familiar with. Any sort of guide on this would be great.


I'm also working on a religious reconstruction, and I've been putting some thought into how to organize the information.

A liturgical calendar, listing festivals, when they take place, what they're for, which leads into how to perform rituals-altars, clothing, offerings. Which leads to religious architecture-icons/idols, temples, shrines, natural landscape features. What gods were worshiped, other spirits, mythology, afterlife. Then there's the "daily round" as I call it-daily rituals, marriage, birth, death, business transactions, protective amulets. Whatever the Israelites were doing way back when.

Mulciber_Volcanus

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Re: Sources for forming your own path/religion
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2013, 07:22:26 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;119079
I'm also working on a religious reconstruction, and I've been putting some thought into how to organize the information.

A liturgical calendar, listing festivals, when they take place, what they're for, which leads into how to perform rituals-altars, clothing, offerings. Which leads to religious architecture-icons/idols, temples, shrines, natural landscape features. What gods were worshiped, other spirits, mythology, afterlife. Then there's the "daily round" as I call it-daily rituals, marriage, birth, death, business transactions, protective amulets. Whatever the Israelites were doing way back when.

 
I would be interested to see what you're working on. Are you building a website to house some of this information?

Materialist

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Re: Sources for forming your own path/religion
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2013, 07:12:46 pm »
Quote from: Mulciber_Volcanus;119139
I would be interested to see what you're working on. Are you building a website to house some of this information?


Me do stuff with high tech technology? Not a chance. I can barely do anything with a computer.  And always there's  wondering if I know enough to know enough.

From the chatter in the Celtic Reconstructionist forum, there's already a website for these types of religions, so maybe I can get some stuff submitted there.

What I'm working on mostly is a reconstruction of the religion of the Roman era in Britain, which I'm calling "Senobitis," though, do to my phonological studies (still undergoing), I'll have to modify it to "Senubitis." The other is the religion of the Mauretanian provinces of Africa, also during the Roman era. I don't think anyone's considered that area yet, perhaps do to the dominance of Muslim culture-in the Canary Islands the pre-Christian religion has already been revived, emphasis on pre-Christian, having been conquered by Spain.

I'm more passionate about Senubitis do to my disappointment with what I have found in Celtic Reconstructionism. It's all Irish this and Irish that. Then there are the people who say they worship "Brythonic" deities but turn out to be characters from post-Norman romances. Lack of historical context drives me nuts. I really want to get it exact, for the sake of my ancestors.

Mulciber_Volcanus

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Re: Sources for forming your own path/religion
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2013, 01:14:04 am »
Quote from: Materialist;119236
I'm more passionate about Senubitis do to my disappointment with what I have found in Celtic Reconstructionism. It's all Irish this and Irish that. Then there are the people who say they worship "Brythonic" deities but turn out to be characters from post-Norman romances. Lack of historical context drives me nuts. I really want to get it exact, for the sake of my ancestors.

 
Are you going for more Scottish Celtic religion? My dad's family were descendants of Norse-Gaels and Picts from Scotland. They were one of the last septs of one of the last clans to "convert" to Christianity. I use "convert" loosely because they never fully took that plunge.

When my dad was younger, he had older relatives that made libations to the gods (particularly Seonaidh) with a can of cheap American beer. I can imagine that the gods were not all that happy, considering the great Scottish ales they were used to!

Two of his female relatives, now deceased, practiced some weird amalgam of Christianity and traditional Scottish religion. My grandfather, when he was alive, also had some beliefs in that area as well, though his were significantly more tainted by Christianity. His family has all sorts of stories involving the daoine s├Čth (fairy folk), werewolves, kelpies (some sort of water horse demon thing), and all manner of other Scottish myths, though in many cases they have been demonized.

The only gods I remember being mentioned though were Seonaidh (who apparently was a patron god of our family or something, as we have a few relatives who have that name from the 1500s and back) and Crum Dubh. Seonaidh seems to have been a god of beer and revelry, or at least that's how it was translated to me. Crum Dubh was some sort of spring-time god, like a god of crops or something. The two female relatives I mentioned before apparently honored Crum Dubh on Easter, though I'm not sure if that's a wide tradition or just localized to my family.

Either way, my dad doesn't believe any of that stuff. He's pretty much a strict deist or an atheist, depending on his mood.

Mulciber_Volcanus

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Re: Sources for forming your own path/religion
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2013, 01:18:03 am »
Quote from: Materialist;119236
What I'm working on mostly is a reconstruction of the religion of the Roman era in Britain, which I'm calling "Senobitis," though, do to my phonological studies (still undergoing), I'll have to modify it to "Senubitis."

 
Sorry, I missed that you were going for the Brythonic side of the Celtic family. Good luck to you on reconstructing that!!! I imagine that there is less left of that religion than there is of authentic Israelite religion! Between the Romans, the Germanic tribes, and the Christians, there's probably very few reliable sources left of Brythonic tribal religion, if any. That's a pretty serious task.

Materialist

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Re: Sources for forming your own path/religion
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2013, 09:59:57 pm »
Quote from: Mulciber_Volcanus;119259
Between the Romans, the Germanic tribes, and the Christians, there's probably very few reliable sources left of Brythonic tribal religion, if any. That's a pretty serious task.


Hm, yes. The word "Celtic" tends to drive people to wild fantasizing, for some reason. But the Romans did northwest Europe a favor by introducing a writing system used to write religious dedications, so hundreds of gods are known from that time. The real tricky part will be reconstructing the British language because phonological mutations that result in the evolution of a new language don't happen all at once, but randomly, taking an average of three generations to become permanent. Otherwise, I have a good idea of what British religion was like in the first four centuries of our era.

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