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Author Topic: General/Non-Specific: Classification of These Traditions or Religions  (Read 314 times)

kale_crtz_2018

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Classification of These Traditions or Religions
« on: November 06, 2018, 01:47:57 pm »
Hello:

I am new to these forums; however, I am not new to the subject of Indo-European studies. I have been studying this subject intensely for over 15 years. No breaks and nearly all of my free time. I have some advanced degrees in the area (and will be pursuing further studies soon) and I read in many ancient languages classified as Indo-European (while speaking many of the living ones).

I am very concerned about some of the older posts I have read regarding reconstructing the Indo-European religion.

Quite frankly, I have read and/or collected hundreds if not thousands of studies, scholarly books and otherwise, primary works, secondary, very obscure books on religion and language, and viewed samples of Indo-European writings at the University of Chicago and other libraries and museums. I have read some of the mythology and scriptures in the original languages (all over Europe, Asia, Mid-East, China, anywhere they have been). I have studied scholars from several continents writing and doing research for the past 200 years +. This to me is the greatest story ever told.

There is more than enough evidence from all branches of science and other fields to accurately reconstruct the Proto-Indo-European religion, language, and what these people looked like with a degree of certainty (a very educated view based on a lot of evidence and not merely an opinion). In fact, early specialists thought that this would unite disparate cultures and races across Europe and India originally. Iranians, Indians (particularly North), Afghans, various Europeans, many others, etc., as far away as Western China are all connected linguistically (and there is increasing evidence for ethnic and genetic and cultural ties as well due to sexual behavior and migration). Not new information at all.

However, I am dismayed by the fact and curious (while not wanting to upset anyone) why some pagans in Europe and USA have decided to become ethnocentric and not realize that when they reconstruct Germanic, Celtic, etc. paganism that they are actually reconstructing the Indo-European religion in its various permutations? This is not Blavatsky or Third Reich territory either (and it is sad that things have gone in that direction in the past). The people who gave you Odin, Thor, Perun, Indra, etc. were short people with dark skin who migrated using chariots and horses. Sometimes they were invaders and committed genocide and sexual violence (but not always) of the native people (especially on pre-Historic Europeans) and sometimes they were peaceful migrants (again, Aryan Invasion theory is just as discredited as the Out of India theory). This is a fact.

Their genetics are spread half way across Eurasia. Very old Sanskrit words have Samoyed and Finnic terms for trees that only grow in Northern Europe. We can reasonably propose that these people originated somewhere in the Baltic or Ukraine area, Eurasia broadly. Lithuanian neo-pagan ceremonies are so similar to Hindu temple services that it is uncanny! Lithuanian and Latvian are the closest languages alive today, outside of India to Sanskrit.

Irish Gaelic, German, Slavic, Latin, Greek, Hittite, even Persian and Pashto, share many, many lexical and grammatical commonalities, cognates, etc. And the list of languages goes on and on. My favorite example is that the word for Ireland in Gaelic and the name of the country of Iran are very similar if not identical to Sanskrit words (a couple candidates including the Sanskrit word 'arya' or noble and/or a few others).

As a librarian, I have been building lists/bibliographies of these peer reviewed sources and publications for years. I have viewed manuscripts and written papers on them in great libraries all over the world.

Do people really still feel this way in the pagan (specifically Northern European pagan) tradition? Or have thoughts changed? I have recently been writing a paper on genetic studies of modern-day Ukrainians, their relation to the Yamnaya culture (pre-historic culture; maybe a pre-cursor or the actual Proto-Indo-Europeans), and the Vedic tribes of India, particularly linguistic roots shared by Slavic languages and Vedic Sanskrit for instance.

How do you answer the charge frequently made by numerous individuals inside and outside of academia that your reconstructions are not based on history or any actual practice (or very little of those practices) by an ancient German, Celt, Slav, etc.? There is plenty of evidence based on scientific research from all areas of science for accurate practices. I am not judging, I just want someone to tell me what they think and how they defend that position. I am ready to defend it with mounds of research and data spanning centuries from many fields.

This is a very serious question for me (maybe others?). I have been confused (my subjective view) by a lot of religious ideas that turned out to not be based on fact. I apologize for any vitriol that comes out, but if I have an interest in religion again, I do not want to make the same mistakes.

To be a worshipper of Indo-European Goddesses and Gods is rather complex and there were many materialist/non-theist/complex readings given by actual Indo-Europeans of their mythology and scriptures. To state that only someone who wants to worship an actual spiritual being or angel is the only kind of pagan (to me) is someone who has adopted a radically different stance than these ancient peoples held, and oversimplifies their highly enlightened existences and beliefs. Many of the ideas that I hear regarding Goddesses and Gods in modern European paganism ring of a 'state church' mentality (to me, others maybe) found in the Abrahamic Faiths, and represents why these people were forcibly converted to begin with. Division and ethnocentrism. It is also obvious that Western occultism is also largely derived from Middle Eastern theology and/or practice (among many, many other non-European cultures and religions).

A lot of controversial statements and/or questions (for some yes, some not). Any thoughts? Forgive my exuberance today, I am a bit sick from some Epilepsy medication, but I assure you I can think and write in an orderly way (typically, haha). My lectures are better than my writing today.

Thanks,

K

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Re: Classification of These Traditions or Religions
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2018, 05:10:06 pm »
Hello:


How do you answer the charge frequently made by numerous individuals inside and outside of academia that your reconstructions are not based on history or any actual practice (or very little of those practices) by an ancient German, Celt, Slav, etc.? There is plenty of evidence based on scientific research from all areas of science for accurate practices. I am not judging, I just want someone to tell me what they think and how they defend that position. I am ready to defend it with mounds of research and data spanning centuries from many fields.

This is a very serious question for me (maybe others?). I have been confused (my subjective view) by a lot of religious ideas that turned out to not be based on fact. I apologize for any vitriol that comes out, but if I have an interest in religion again, I do not want to make the same mistakes.

To be a worshipper of Indo-European Goddesses and Gods is rather complex and there were many materialist/non-theist/complex readings given by actual Indo-Europeans of their mythology and scriptures. To state that only someone who wants to worship an actual spiritual being or angel is the only kind of pagan (to me) is someone who has adopted a radically different stance than these ancient peoples held, and oversimplifies their highly enlightened existences and beliefs. Many of the ideas that I hear regarding Goddesses and Gods in modern European paganism ring of a 'state church' mentality (to me, others maybe) found in the Abrahamic Faiths, and represents why these people were forcibly converted to begin with. Division and ethnocentrism. It is also obvious that Western occultism is also largely derived from Middle Eastern theology and/or practice (among many, many other non-European cultures and religions).

A lot of controversial statements and/or questions (for some yes, some not). Any thoughts? Forgive my exuberance today, I am a bit sick from some Epilepsy medication, but I assure you I can think and write in an orderly way (typically, haha). My lectures are better than my writing today.

Thanks,

K

As a joint Slavic/PIE pagan, I agree with much of what you say. I've been alienated from a lot of the Rodnovers I've spoken with that are from Russia. Over there, Slavic paganism is closely associated with nationalism and radicalism. A group of militant Slavic pagans was even involved in the war in Donbass, during the conflict in Ukraine. Of course the Slavic tradition is not quite an exact permutation of the PIE religion. In general, the Balto-Slavic traditions appear to have been subject to intense Finno-Ugric influence, and the Slavic traditions were (at least in some cases) heavily Iranized due to contact with the Scytho-Sarmatians. I have a thread about Balto-Slavic dualism that goes into depth on this. One obvious example of Iranic influence is the likely replacement of the sun Goddess (cognate to Lithuanian Saule) with the male Dazhbog.

As for defending the accuracy of my reconstructions, I can certainly cite sources. I also feel that Slavic paganism if probably the most neglected area of PIE studies. A lot of people walk into it looking for solid mythology, and there isn't much of that. What there are is folklore, fairy tales, old songs, incantations, etc. My view is that these can all be interpreted using comparative analysis with related cultures, but for whatever reason, many scholars refrain from doing this. It's also clear that there is still a partial barrier between English-speaking academia and Russian-speaking academia. That hasn't helped. Even in English however, it seems that many of the available sources are not brought to bear.  Also, some reconstructions by scholars are just downright terrible. Ryabakov for example found a widespread embroidery motif that had a sun for a head and was flanked by two horsemen. He somehow interpreted it as the earth Goddess Mokosh, whereas if he'd used a comparative method, he would have noted parallels with the Baltic Saule and Asvienai (cognate to the Vedic Aswins.)

http://petitepointplace.tumblr.com/post/136325444385/linen-towel-used-in-marriage-and-childbirth

For further context, I would direct you to the sun goddess entry of Mallory's Encyclopedia of Indo-European culture.

I currently have a B.S. myself, and I appreciate the difference between laypeople and scholars. Yet when it comes to Slavic mythology, it sometimes seems that the difference is not as great as I would hope.

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Re: Classification of These Traditions or Religions
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2018, 06:55:28 pm »
As a joint Slavic/PIE pagan, I agree with much of what you say. I've been alienated from a lot of the Rodnovers I've spoken with that are from Russia. Over there, Slavic paganism is closely associated with nationalism and radicalism. A group of militant Slavic pagans was even involved in the war in Donbass, during the conflict in Ukraine. Of course the Slavic tradition is not quite an exact permutation of the PIE religion. In general, the Balto-Slavic traditions appear to have been subject to intense Finno-Ugric influence, and the Slavic traditions were (at least in some cases) heavily Iranized due to contact with the Scytho-Sarmatians. I have a thread about Balto-Slavic dualism that goes into depth on this. One obvious example of Iranic influence is the likely replacement of the sun Goddess (cognate to Lithuanian Saule) with the male Dazhbog.

As for defending the accuracy of my reconstructions, I can certainly cite sources. I also feel that Slavic paganism if probably the most neglected area of PIE studies. A lot of people walk into it looking for solid mythology, and there isn't much of that. What there are is folklore, fairy tales, old songs, incantations, etc. My view is that these can all be interpreted using comparative analysis with related cultures, but for whatever reason, many scholars refrain from doing this. It's also clear that there is still a partial barrier between English-speaking academia and Russian-speaking academia. That hasn't helped. Even in English however, it seems that many of the available sources are not brought to bear.  Also, some reconstructions by scholars are just downright terrible. Ryabakov for example found a widespread embroidery motif that had a sun for a head and was flanked by two horsemen. He somehow interpreted it as the earth Goddess Mokosh, whereas if he'd used a comparative method, he would have noted parallels with the Baltic Saule and Asvienai (cognate to the Vedic Aswins.)

http://petitepointplace.tumblr.com/post/136325444385/linen-towel-used-in-marriage-and-childbirth

For further context, I would direct you to the sun goddess entry of Mallory's Encyclopedia of Indo-European culture.

I currently have a B.S. myself, and I appreciate the difference between laypeople and scholars. Yet when it comes to Slavic mythology, it sometimes seems that the difference is not as great as I would hope.

Zlote Jablko:

This is really interesting. Thank-you for the information. I am constantly trying to come to a better understanding of this very difficult area of research. I have tried to discuss this with Russian linguist friends (in part), but it is not an area that seems to be of much interest with these particular individuals. Also my linguist friend in the Ural Mountains seems to not be well during the fall and winter months and I have not been able to get in touch. She always loves the summer and likes to have as much exposure to the sun esp. on her shoulders and arms as possible (which seems good for you in moderation) and she seems much happier and less anxious during that time. I hope to get in touch with her more often then. In my area of the US it is dark year round, so we are always very depressed (they call it SAD seasonal affective disorder; I'm not a doctor and not trying to diagnose anyone haha.). It is very hard to get things done and a big difference between Southern California where I lived before.

You mention a Finno-Ugric influence and I see that in IE religion in India as well (among the historic Indo-Aryan peoples). Just with a Dravidian influence instead of the influence as you cite in Slavic countries.

I will review the sources you sent.

Best,

K

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Re: Classification of These Traditions or Religions
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2018, 07:49:12 pm »
However, I am dismayed by the fact and curious (while not wanting to upset anyone) why some pagans in Europe and USA have decided to become ethnocentric and not realize that when they reconstruct Germanic, Celtic, etc. paganism that they are actually reconstructing the Indo-European religion in its various permutations?

Modern pagans typically choose a place and time whose religion resonates with them. Most of them are not looking for the 'original' or oldest known form of a religion. Rather, the religions with the most information available will attract the most attention.

Also, no, most people (including myself) have no idea that there is evidence of a proto-Indo-European religion, just because they don't have access to the information. General books on Paganism don't mention it, specialised books are expensive, public libraries often don't stock much on the topic, what's available online is old out-of-copyright stuff.

My own area of interest is Old Kingdom Egypt, and I basically had to wait until I had a full-time job before I could afford to do in-depth and wide-range research. I've probably spent $300 or so just on Egypt materials, and more on other, related topics. I'm also fortunate that I have access to a large University library in my city, which is just plain not an option for many Pagans.

Quote
How do you answer the charge frequently made by numerous individuals inside and outside of academia that your reconstructions are not based on history or any actual practice (or very little of those practices) by an ancient German, Celt, Slav, etc.?

Well, no, of course not. For most of these religions, a full reconstruction isn't possible, both because sources are so fragmentary, and because modern ways of life are so radically different from those of the original period. Even for religions that are well-documented (like the Greek and Roman), many of the practices just aren't relevant anymore. Also, modern Paganism is part of a broader cultural system that began in roughly the Victorian era (see here) so it has never been solely about historical research.

Many of us end up doing, not so much reconstruction, as just construction: studying things like ethics, philosophy and theology, so that we understand how religions work, and create something that is based on our chosen historical practice, but is functional in our modern context.

Pagans are not reenactors. Historical reconstruction is not the main objective; the objective is to have spiritually meaningful practices and experiences. Some of us find them by looking into the past; some of us look to contemporary literature and media (pop-culture paganism); some choose extant religions; some construct their paths out of whole cloth.

Quote
This is a very serious question for me (maybe others?). I have been confused (my subjective view) by a lot of religious ideas that turned out to not be based on fact.

Here's the thing: Religions are not about facts. They are about experiences, and emotions, and stories. Being true can make a story more powerful, but it's not required (and claiming to be true can be just as good). "This is how it was done in Olden Times" is a story that works for many people whether it's true or not.

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Re: Classification of These Traditions or Religions
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2018, 04:16:19 am »
There is more than enough evidence from all branches of science and other fields to accurately reconstruct the Proto-Indo-European religion, language, and what these people looked like with a degree of certainty

I would agree to an extent, with the caveat that we can't reconstruct their religious practices in detail. We can get the broad picture; who were their gods, how where they worshiped, why were they worshiped.

...but we can't know with any certainty how many different prayers they may have had, or when certain prayers were said, or what sort of foods were taboo in what context, or who was allowed to acess sacred spaces and join in rituals, or a great number of other things.

I've studied history myself, as well as archaeology and cultural anthropology, and the biggest takeaway from all my studies was that was can't know the whole story of what happened in the past. Our sources are incomplete, fragmented, scattered, partial, and otherwise limited. We have a window into the past, yes, but only a narrow window that may give a distorted impression.

Take artifacts, for example. Many items simply didn't survive until the modern day. It's quite possible that entire deities were lost by pure accident, because none of their symbols were lucky enough to survive. Some types of items are very limited by environment, such as leather and wood. Items made from those materials are likely to have been very common in most societies, but are rarely found intact. If religious items were made from organic, perishable materials, we may not have any surviving examples.

Then you have textual sources, the backbone of history. ALL of them are biased. There isn't a single primary source on the planet that tells you actual, pure, undistorted truth. Certainly, many of them try to do so, but they couldn't cut through their own cultural perceptions any more than we can today. Any time you read a document from the past, you have to ask who wrote it, and how that might affect your interpretation.

Lack of literacy in the past also means that many people simply didn't write. There could be entire religious systems swallowed up by the sands of time simply because they were followed by the lower classes, and were not documented by anyone as a result.

I'm not saying we don't know anything. We actually know quite a lot, and can get a good idea about what people believed in a given time and place, but rather that we don't know everything. There's a whole lot that we don't know, can't know, and never will know, and we must always keep that in mind when we try to reconstruct the past. We are limited, our sources are limited, and our picture will always be incomplete and have gaps, some big and some small.
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Re: Classification of These Traditions or Religions
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2018, 08:37:20 am »
How do you answer the charge frequently made by numerous individuals inside and outside of academia that your reconstructions are not based on history or any actual practice (or very little of those practices) by an ancient German, Celt, Slav, etc.? There is plenty of evidence based on scientific research from all areas of science for accurate practices. I am not judging, I just want someone to tell me what they think and how they defend that position. I am ready to defend it with mounds of research and data spanning centuries from many fields.

Well, from where I stand, the key objective is not to reconstruct past practices but to connect with actual personalities in the present. While the historic information can give clues as to what those personalities were and still may be, many things can happen in two thousand years. While I do believe that my own Godhead still does stand behind every word of Scripture as given in the Old and New Testaments, I believe that they have also embraced more recent innovations such as the Magna Carta's declaration that the king is also bound by the laws and the Declaration's principle that government is ultimately founded upon the consent of the governed. Not to mention "side interests" such as roller coasters, ice cream, 50s rock, and computer gaming. There's absolutely no reason why divine and/or immortal personalities cannot continue to grow and develop over time, as well.
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Re: Classification of These Traditions or Religions
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2018, 09:07:10 pm »
There is more than enough evidence from all branches of science and other fields to accurately reconstruct the Proto-Indo-European religion, language, and what these people looked like with a degree of certainty (a very educated view based on a lot of evidence and not merely an opinion).

That is a very ... optimistic perspective.

Large piles of academic knowledge do not a reconstruction make.  One of the major problems in reconstructionist religion is idolatry of academia: the idea that there is just all of this data and so obviously that leads to a result.

The facts on the ground are: it really doesn't.  The data is not formulated in a way that's immediately accessible to a religious perspective, and requires interpretation, and when interpretation gets into play, many answers become possible.  And in many cases, important things are really actively difficult to pin down.  Someone who wants to practice a religion is going to want a calendar of holidays, a set of practices, and so on, and the personal home practices are among the most difficult things to find evidence for, and calendars are a whole other rant and a half, and without a community that is clear on "what do we do" and "when do we do it" nothing gets done.

Mounds of evidence do not a religion make.  Religions are a different category, and while one can use that pile of evidence to build a structure, there's still a whole lot of judgement about what pieces to use, where to use them, what it means to use this bit rather than that bit, how various things go together into an interpretative whole, and all of that is not a simple problem at all.

Quote
However, I am dismayed by the fact and curious (while not wanting to upset anyone) why some pagans in Europe and USA have decided to become ethnocentric and not realize that when they reconstruct Germanic, Celtic, etc. paganism that they are actually reconstructing the Indo-European religion in its various permutations?

Why are you assuming that other people care about PIE religion as a thing?  It's a topic that, well, I understand that people are doing it, but I have absolutely no interest in it myself, so I see no reason to waste my time on pursuing it.  What's dismaying about people having their own religions and their own spiritual interests?  How is this "why aren't you doing PIE recon?" thing any different than "why aren't you doing Christianity?" or any other proseltytization?

There are a myriad religions and denominations on the planet, and no individual is likely to manage to practice more than a half-dozen or so.  The hundreds of others aren't relevant to that person, and PIE religion is just as qualified to be one of the hundreds of others as it is to be one of the half-dozen.

Quote
How do you answer the charge frequently made by numerous individuals inside and outside of academia that your reconstructions are not based on history or any actual practice (or very little of those practices) by an ancient German, Celt, Slav, etc.?

Generally, "Well, DUH.  Have you seen any of my rants about idolatry of academia among reconstructionists?"

Quote
This is a very serious question for me (maybe others?). I have been confused (my subjective view) by a lot of religious ideas that turned out to not be based on fact.

Like the nature of spirit?  Or the nature of divine powers?  The underlying metaphysical structure of the universe?  The nature of evil?  Or good?  Guidance for constructing a society?  Proper relationship?  Whether or not it is appropriate to consume offerings?  The natures of different types of beings?  These kinds of things?

Religious ideas don't much deal with facts.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

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Re: Classification of These Traditions or Religions
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2018, 03:00:53 am »
I would agree to an extent, with the caveat that we can't reconstruct their religious practices in detail. We can get the broad picture; who were their gods, how where they worshiped, why were they worshiped.

...but we can't know with any certainty how many different prayers they may have had, or when certain prayers were said, or what sort of foods were taboo in what context, or who was allowed to acess sacred spaces and join in rituals, or a great number of other things.

I've studied history myself, as well as archaeology and cultural anthropology, and the biggest takeaway from all my studies was that was can't know the whole story of what happened in the past. Our sources are incomplete, fragmented, scattered, partial, and otherwise limited. We have a window into the past, yes, but only a narrow window that may give a distorted impression.

I'm sort of split on this subject. That's part of why I consider myself both a PIE and a Slavic recon. On its own, the reconstructed religion is pretty difficult to practice without anchoring it into the framework of a directly attested cultural tradition. I believe the OP has stated that he is partial to the Vedic religion. The PIE religion is definitely pretty patchy on its own.

At the same time though, there are cases where it looks like the "traditional" interpretation of some pagan beliefs is sort of incomplete. For example, there's the story of Hercules. If you look at his feats, there are a lot of hints at a forgotten significance behind them. One of the Hesperides in the Argonauts recounts how Hercules got thirsty after slaying the many headed dragon Ladon, so he stomped on a rock and caused water to gush out so that he could  drink. Or as Aegle says:

"-and of his own device, or by the prompting of some god, he smote it below with his foot; and the water gushed out in full flow. And he, leaning both his hands and chest upon the ground, drank a huge draught from the rifted rock, until, stooping like a beast of the field, he had satisfied his mighty maw."

Now if you know your PIE mythology, this is pretty classic imagery following a dragon-slaying story. After a many-headed serpent or dragon is slain, the waters are released. You see it in the Vedas, and in Slavic folklore as well. Whereas if you're reading this purely from the standpoint of attested Greek culture, then the significance of this story is... Hercules got thirsty. So you tell me which is more rich and meaning. You could argue that the PIE religion is incomplete as reconstructed, but also that many "living" or directly attested traditions are incomplete without it. It goes both ways. My main goal is continuity with the past, not necessarily a full return to it. A modern reconstruction will not perfectly recreate anything from the distant past, but (for me) it should be clearly traceable back to the distant past.

That is a very ... optimistic perspective.

Large piles of academic knowledge do not a reconstruction make.  One of the major problems in reconstructionist religion is idolatry of academia: the idea that there is just all of this data and so obviously that leads to a result.

The facts on the ground are: it really doesn't.  The data is not formulated in a way that's immediately accessible to a religious perspective, and requires interpretation, and when interpretation gets into play, many answers become possible.  And in many cases, important things are really actively difficult to pin down.  Someone who wants to practice a religion is going to want a calendar of holidays, a set of practices, and so on, and the personal home practices are among the most difficult things to find evidence for, and calendars are a whole other rant and a half, and without a community that is clear on "what do we do" and "when do we do it" nothing gets done.

Mounds of evidence do not a religion make.  Religions are a different category, and while one can use that pile of evidence to build a structure, there's still a whole lot of judgement about what pieces to use, where to use them, what it means to use this bit rather than that bit, how various things go together into an interpretative whole, and all of that is not a simple problem at all.

Large piles of data don't make a reconstruction, but the willingness to tackle data often a mark of devotion. I research data because I care enough to try to reconstruct, and I hope the deities in question will meet me half way. If in fact your stated goal is to rebuild a tradition from the past, then it's a minimum requirement. Not sufficient on its own though, granted. There's plenty of interpretation in reconstructionism, but it's the glue that holds the various pieces together. It is not the tradition itself.

Of course you don't have to be a reconstructionist. As long as we're all clear on what exactly we are doing, it doesn't really matter.

Why are you assuming that other people care about PIE religion as a thing?  It's a topic that, well, I understand that people are doing it, but I have absolutely no interest in it myself, so I see no reason to waste my time on pursuing it.  What's dismaying about people having their own religions and their own spiritual interests?  How is this "why aren't you doing PIE recon?" thing any different than "why aren't you doing Christianity?" or any other proseltytization?

There are a myriad religions and denominations on the planet, and no individual is likely to manage to practice more than a half-dozen or so.  The hundreds of others aren't relevant to that person, and PIE religion is just as qualified to be one of the hundreds of others as it is to be one of the half-dozen.

He said people are often unaware that there was a PIE tradition. Not that everyone had to practice it. That's pretty fair, I think.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2018, 03:07:44 am by Zlote Jablko »

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Re: Classification of These Traditions or Religions
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2018, 01:38:38 am »
Hello:However, I am dismayed by the fact and curious (while not wanting to upset anyone) why some pagans in Europe and USA have decided to become ethnocentric and not realize that when they reconstruct Germanic, Celtic, etc. paganism that they are actually reconstructing the Indo-European religion in its various permutations?

This seems like a dubious claim. Germanic, Celtic, etc. religious practices spanned at least a thousand years and a huge swath of Europe and parts of Asia. I could as easily claim that Martin Luther was "actually" practicing "the Abrahamic religious tradition" of, say, Maimonides with similar qualifications. I would not, because smushing all those different traditions together rather muddies the waters when trying to discuss individual religions as actually practiced by human beings.

Quote
How do you answer the charge frequently made by numerous individuals inside and outside of academia that your reconstructions are not based on history or any actual practice (or very little of those practices) by an ancient German, Celt, Slav, etc.?

I would be somewhat baffled if someone asked me that; people usually assume that my practice is entirely free of reconstruction, given that it involves worshiping a dead rock star as the manifestation of Greek gods. That's not entirely true; I have drawn on some simple but, I believe, accurate reconstruction of ancient proto-Hellenic practices in order to integrate them into the eclectic milieu of my practice.

Plutarch, writing in the first or second century of the Common Era, observes that Ariadne-Aphrodite is worshiped with two festivals on different dates, one of celebration and one of lamentation. I have applied this idea to my practice, and I treat September 5th (Freddie Mercury's birthday) as a joyful festival and November 24th (the anniversary of his death) as a solemn one. I also loosely integrate some ideas about ritual purity common to both Hellenic Greek and other religions in that koine around the Mediterranean into my practice.

It would be largely useless for me to attempt an exact reconstruction, as I do not have the social power to enact large civic gatherings and communal sacrifices in honor of Freddie Mercury. I might, however, consider asking the other guests at Thanksgiving at the gay karaoke bar to join me in a toast, which would serve a similar purpose.

Quote
This is a very serious question for me (maybe others?). I have been confused (my subjective view) by a lot of religious ideas that turned out to not be based on fact. I apologize for any vitriol that comes out, but if I have an interest in religion again, I do not want to make the same mistakes.

You are probably still going to make some mistakes. We're human, no matter what religion we follow. I have not found the gods and Powers inclined to hold a grudge about that most of the time, though.
Utterly Pure, a virtual shrine in progress to Ariadne; Someday Comes Back, my general mysticism/pop culture blog.
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The words of Dionysos and Ariadne from the mouth of their beloved son: Rule with your heart; live with your conscience; love and be free.

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