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Author Topic: General/Non-Specific: I can't make up my mind! Please help me!  (Read 1500 times)

bekkilyn

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Re: I can't make up my mind! Please help me!
« Reply #30 on: March 11, 2019, 08:30:18 am »
Quote
I didn't know where to post this thread, so I posted it here.

I like reading scholarly papers and studying languages by myself. I really do. That’s why I’ve been downloading – and reading – texts regarding religion and languages for several years now. And I have hundreds of files on these subjects.

It, however, isn’t religion. It certainly is not enough. And after years it can be exhausting and frustrating not coming to any conclusion. It’s somewhat like working hard and not getting paid.

 It's been years, more than ten, since I viewed myself as a member of a definite religion.

 There are people who are OK with their having more than one religion, but I think I could't do it. (I think worshiping Deities associated with more than one religion is different from having more than one religion.)

 I've been considering a wide range of religions, mostly recon, and even though I still didn't make up my mind about it (and that's the reason why I started this thread), I found out it seems that there are some requirements I would like to find in a religion. I don't know if I can remember and/or phrase all of them now, but some of them are:

1. Worship of more than one Deity first and foremost associated with non-Christian, non-Islamic and non-Deuteronomistic Jewish religious practices. I mean, I think my place religion-wise lies near or, maybe most possibly, within the limits of Paganism, although I’ve considered Theistic Satanism;

2. worship of more than one Deity associated with different religions. This possibly rules out some forms of Theistic Satanism and Heathenry; it’s not clear whether heathen North Germanic people ever worshiped any Deity, for example, seen as foreign. Phoenician, Greek, Roman and Gaulish religions, for instance, meet this requirement, as do some forms of Wicca;

3. extant historical description(s) of practice(s), prayer(s) and/or ritual(s). I think this is not so common regarding religions primarily practiced far from the Mediterranean; I’m not sure, but maybe it also rules out Theistic Satanism;

4. extant historical accounts of or evidence for practice at home. Perhaps it rules out all African-Brazilian religions; people can practice alone sometimes but it’s seen as possible usually just once one is initiated and relatively experienced in group practice. Within Paganism, to my knowledge, this rules out Wathanism and the worship of Deities associated primarily to Mesopotamia (by Mesopotamian people, at least);

5. possibility of practice entirely in the context of a bedroom. Within Paganism I think it’s possibly – to a certain degree, at least – in the context of Roman sacra privata and Wicca;

6. from very "elastic" to no purity rules regarding body fluids, male chastity, homosexual intercourse and presence of people found guilty of crime(s) near and/or the room where rituals occur. It’s extremely uncommon. I think this requirement is met at least partially by Heanthenry and maybe fully by Wicca and Theistic Satanism;

7. not just acceptance of sex, but full recognition of genitals and/or sex – including non-reproductive, obviously – as sacred and possible inclusion of genitals and/or sex in liturgical context. I think just Heathenry (partially), Wicca and Theistic Satanism meet this requirement.

8. identity. This rules out “composing” my own religion, even if it’s sharable with other people;

9. not having to meet moral standards that seem too difficult to me, that don’t make sense to me or that I find self-damaging. This is one of the several reasons why I left Christianity and have no interest in mainstream Dharmic religions; I don’t see any intrinsic value in asceticism and related practices. I also don’t see why I shouldn’t try to harm a human being that harmed me and/or my family first. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t know if Wicca is the right religion for me;

10. being universal enough – or close enough to my ancestors, maybe specially to my Subsaharan African ancestry – for me not to feel an outsider within the community associated with it. Obviously this rules out almost all religions named upthread; there are people that say that Wicca also is primarily a religion related to Britain. Some Brazilian religions meet this requirement, but don’t meet most of the others. There’s no evidence that South Arabic religion ever went beyond the Horn of Africa; Nubian religion seems not to be deeply known and there’s no evidence of domestic practice in its context. Theistic Satanism may meet this requirement, for example, through syncretism of the Devil with Exu (Whose name may be spelled Eshu in English; I don’t know);

11. a certain amount of “adversariality”. This includes – but isn’t limited to – space, for instance, for worship of trickster Deities. This is much more uncommon than one can suppose; many religions have upholding everything – humankind, society, the world – exactly as it is as one of their structural concerns. Hellenism is an exception as for it; and last, but certainly not least

12. amulets, cult statues, portable statues of Deities and religious jewelry, for example.

At some moment I realized that no religion primarily associated with pre-Christian and pre-Islamic Eurasia can be satisfyingly adapted, even after reading many scholarly texts, and that a contemporary religion is way better than reconstructing one; it saves much work and, after all, the reconstruction commonly involves so many decisions and gaps to fill that it can end up looking very alike a contemporary non-reconstructionist religion, and the difference between a recon and a non-recon religion can be just one of degree, not quality.

For these reasons I’ve been considering Wicca and a form of Theistic Satanism more than the practice of other religions through reconstructionism. I have many personal issues than make difficult or that even may prevent me to practice Wicca or Theistic Satanism, though, and I can give more context regarding these issues if needed.

I have read and thought way too much. For years. I’m fed up with it.
It’s said that two – and maybe more? – heads think better than one, heh? Can you help me?

(I wrote half or more of this post late at night and English isn’t my first language; that means this text may contain several mistakes.)

I think you've been making it way more complicated than it needs to be and you've come up with a set of standards that no single religion is ever going to be able to meet, because there is always going to be something "wrong" with each one of them. While I am not one of those who believe you have to abandon your intellect for faith, there is still a such thing as becoming too academic and overly-analytical about it and then you are perpetually stuck in your spiritual journey, unable to act.

Regardless of whatever religion a person is, it's not about being religious and doing all the "things". Those are just outer works, and while they can provide a focus, and perhaps work as a "means of grace" (as we Methodists call it) to help draw us into closer relationship with God, they in themselves are not the point of a spiritual practice.

Why not for now just decide you are Agnostic and haven't made up your mind about anything specific religion-wise and allow yourself to be "non-denominational" without stressing over it? Do you really need to make up your mind at all?


« Last Edit: March 11, 2019, 08:35:58 am by bekkilyn »
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Re: I can't make up my mind! Please help me!
« Reply #31 on: March 12, 2019, 12:21:50 am »
(...)
Why are you so insistent on identifying with Wicca here?

 By being (viewed by many people as) modern, (popular/self-initiatory) Wicca lacks many complicated traits common among ancient religions, like (but not limited to):
 
 - purity requirements.
 There are sources that prove the existence of purity requirements for almost every religion I ever heard of. And many of them are extremely difficult to observe for several reasons. For changing according to place and time they can also contradict each other even within the same religion; this happens within Hellenism. I've noticed that many people deal with it more or less arbitrarily, since I think it's possible there not to be a traditional way to decide what sacred law to observe when you aren't a citizen of a Greek or Hellenophone non-Greek city. It commonly ends up being not that different from picking and choosing...

 Wicca allows even sex in ritual context; I've just found literary evidence of it in the Roman religious tradition, but I don't know how reliable that particular source is. There is a scholar that thinks it also happened in a ritual celebrated in the Uppsala temple, but there's no direct evidence of it in extant sources. Chances are that there were male prostitutes in the temple of Astarte in Kition according to an extant text's translation in a scholarly text by Ribichini but, by judging by other extant textual sources how West Asian/Semitic-speaking people observed purity requirements even stricter than those of the Greeks, it's highly possible that sex was practiced in a room different from the one where the Goddess's statue lay and its purpose could be contributing to the temple's funding.

 Also, I work in a hospital. I don't work with the patients but I'm there. And people even died there. And I have many female coworkers. It means that, according to several purity requirements attested historically in the context of several religions, my workplace is hardly suitable for any religious activity, even a brief prayer, because people died there; because blood dropped onto the floor there; because there can be menstruating women and I can have touched one of them, etc.. All of these situations can be regarded as polluting within many religious traditions, ancient and modern, and the cleansing methods can be tough or even nonexistent; this means that just by working where I work I get ritually impure everyday, and certain kinds of ritual impurity can last days... or just be cleansed by animal sacrifice, for example. In (aforementioned) Wicca, however, death, as well as menstrual blood, can be deemed sacred instead of defiling.

 A (popular/self-initiated) Wiccan can place his household shrine in his room and still can receive a stranger there even if they didn't know each other a few minutes ago with no risk to pollute his home altar... and so on.

 - Immediate ethnic associations.
 Yes, Wicca is a religion primarily associated with England and in its context locality matters. OK. But things changed since Gardner's time and Wicca is present in several countries, far away from England.

 In my experience Wicca is the less "ethnicized" and the less racialized demographically large Pagan religion. Even less than Hellenism and Roman reconstructionism.
 Even in my country there are Wiccan meetings, public rituals, organizations, personalities, (seemingly) locally developed traditions, etc..
 
 - It values criativity while isn't inherently against older modes of worship.

 - It doesn't forbid the worship of Deities associated with different panthea.

 - It can be practiced all by oneself.

 - Its eight-word Rede allows moral flexibility.
 
 - It can provide some identity (however thin because of its inherent diversity).

 It's late at night here and these are all the reasons I can think off the top of my head.

This is a pretty big difference. People have plenty of variation in how they celebrate Esbats, but dumping them entirely is basically saying "This whole thing, not relevant."

 In my specific case this is just a way out of the problem related to the commitment to a Goddess I wrote about upthread. I think maybe it's better not to celebrate any Esbats than to irritate Her, even unwillingly.
 
Again, this is a pretty big difference. There are a number of different approaches to the why and how of circle casting, but the idea of "We create a specific space for ritual, for magical working, and to honour our gods" is a pretty key concept. Again, not doing it all of the time is one thing (I've described earlier in the thread how my practice varies), but never doing it or seldom doing it... that's a "Why do you want this label so much if you're avoiding a key practice" thing.

 I thought about adapting a pre-modern one I found in a book about Greek magical traditions, I think... but I understand what you mean.


It depends on which ones you're not celebrating: doing either the solstices/equinoxes or the fire festivals[...].

 I was considering the four traditional Gaulish festivals.

Wicca is designed in many ways around the idea of active balance, and the friction of movement between multiple parties or concepts. If you focus more heavily on Gods, you lose a lot of that.

(And this particular focus puts you on the outer edge of Wiccan and Wiccan-derived practices, because of the at-large societal focus on male deities in a way that focusing on female deities doesn't necesssarily do as much, because they are still in counterbalance to the mainstream. And of course, there are plenty of deities whose genders do not fit into "God" and "Goddess" slots.)

 There's a wiki where it's said that there was a focus on the God in ancient forms of witchcraft... but I understand what you're saying.


Again, those tools exist for specific reasons in the practices. If you are not using those practices or those tools, why do you want the label of Wicca?

(Not everyone uses all the tools or all the time, but if you are never using the key ones - athame or alternative, wand, cup, pentacle, then people are going to be baffled a lot, and you are doing something else. Think about food cultures that require specific tools to make them - you can use substitutes, and that's fine, but if you change the tools entirely or use them in a different way, you maybe want a different label for your dish.)

 Cauldron, cup (or, more likely, patera/phiale) and wand, yes, I was thinking of using. Perhaps also a bolline.
 
Given what you've said, I encourage you to consider options like "religious witchcraft", "dedicatory witchcraft" (or dedicatory religious witchcraft", or "influenced by Wicca", etc. that will give a sense of what you're doing and give you a clearer base for the next layer of explanations (as you want to talk to other people.)

 OK. Thank you.
 If possible I would like to read a further reply from you regarding the further information I just provided.


(Last edited by Morag to fix son of quote-code problem & add white space.)
« Last Edit: March 12, 2019, 01:18:43 am by Morag »
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Re: I can't make up my mind! Please help me!
« Reply #32 on: March 12, 2019, 10:08:02 am »
By being (viewed by many people as) modern, (popular/self-initiatory) Wicca lacks many complicated traits common among ancient religions, like (but not limited to)

Ok. Pausing right here.

This is ... arguably true, but it's also true of plenty of other modern Pagan religions and traditions that are not Wicca. There are probably thousands of those.

Part of why I keep asking "Why are you insisting on Wicca" is that - you're stripping a bunch of Wiccan practices and approaches, and wanting to keep the name. That's probably not terribly useful - either for you, in building a practice that works for you or in talking about what you do and want to do with other people.

Quote
A (popular/self-initiated) Wiccan can place his household shrine in his room and still can receive a stranger there even if they didn't know each other a few minutes ago with no risk to pollute his home altar... and so on.

As above, so can plenty of religious witches, Druids, people who identify as NeoPagans, witches (atheistic, non-deistic, or otherwise.)

You then give a list of a long set of things - and here's the thing, those things are not unique to Wicca. Most forms of religious witchcraft include them. Many other modern Pagan paths include them, and there's a huge variety out there. (You are right that some of them are complicated in the explicitly reconstructionist religions, but that's only one option.)

Again, this kind of diversity is not unique to Wicca. Most modern forms of religious witchcraft have it. As do other forms of modern Paganism.

I'm going to pause here and rec several articles on my website, since they give a better grounding than I have time to do here (basically, if I don't answer this post in the next few minutes, you're not getting an answer until tomorrow...)

What is Paganism (discusses large groupings, some of which you seem to be passing over in your analysis.)

Different ways people use the term Wicca (and why some of your suggested uses can cause problems - for you, and for the communities you might want to connect to)

Wicca can be anything, right? (Why that's not usually a helpful approach - again for you and for other people you might want to interact with.)

(And as I've said:my practices are much closer to what you're calling Wicca than your described ones would be. I use "religious witchcraft" for reasons explained in this thread and in those articles. So I'm coming at this from a place of having thought about it a lot, having a lot of interactions in the broader Wiccan-based community (in three states in the US, no less, as well as online), and still coming to that conclusion.)

 In my specific case this is just a way out of the problem related to the commitment to a Goddess I wrote about upthread. I think maybe it's better not to celebrate any Esbats than to irritate Her, even unwillingly.
 
Quote
I thought about adapting a pre-modern one I found in a book about Greek magical traditions, I think... but I understand what you mean.

That does not replace a Wiccan circle on several fronts. (More about what circles do over here.)

Quote
There's a wiki where it's said that there was a focus on the God in ancient forms of witchcraft... but I understand what you're saying.

Random wikis, generally not the best source on actual practices of people in community. Also, ancient forms of witchcraft are not the same thing as Wicca.

If you're interested in those forms, *do* those forms. There are resources out there. But they're not the same thing as Wicca.

Quote
Cauldron, cup (or, more likely, patera/phiale) and wand, yes, I was thinking of using. Perhaps also a bolline.

Again, that is a different set of practice, a different set of tools. You can build a great form of religious witchcraft with that, I'm pretty sure. But it's not Wicca. Calling it Wicca will make it hard for you to find the resources you want, the information you want, and it's going to confuse other people you talk to, and limit the help you might get or resources people might point to.

Because people are going to see that 'Wicca' and make assumptions that are not accurate for you. In pretty much every part of your practice - deities, ritual structure, ritual practices, timing of rituals, what rituals you do, and so on. Using different terminology that is more accurate will avoid huge amounts of that.

So I'm back to "Why are you so hung up on using "Wicca" above and beyond any other possible term?"
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Re: I can't make up my mind! Please help me!
« Reply #33 on: March 13, 2019, 04:16:07 pm »
So I'm back to "Why are you so hung up on using "Wicca" above and beyond any other possible term?"

I wonder if part of it is that Kaio lives in Brazil, and is speaking from a perspective of what the neopagan landscape there is like? I know (as I'm pretty sure you do too, so I'm including this for others' benefit), f'ex, that Brazil is still going through its 'witch wars' phase, with a huge focus on (BT)Wicca as Gold Standard and much controversy over who's a real Gardnerian and who's a Fraudnerian, and I have the impression that there's little in the way of 'not Wicca but somewhat-Wiccish religious witchcraft' available - or rather, that while things that we in NAmerica would describe that way might well exist, they're not described that way in Brazil.

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Re: I can't make up my mind! Please help me!
« Reply #34 on: March 13, 2019, 11:51:40 pm »
(...)

This is ... arguably true, but it's also true of plenty of other modern Pagan religions and traditions that are not Wicca. There are probably thousands of those.

 Honestly, I don't know any structured Pagan religion other than Wicca that has the traits that I mentioned and that are very common in ancient religions.
 There are no clear purity requirements attested in the Gaulish religious tradition that I'm aware of, but obviously this doesn't mean no purity requirement was observed within its context.
 In addition not to having purity requirements, Wiccan (and related) traditions regard every act of love and pleasure as the Goddess's rituals. Such a view seems to have been uncommon in ancient Eurasian religious traditions; I wrote about it upthread. It means in Wicca many of what was mostly deemed inappropriate during, in or near religious activity, objects or space can be seen as sacred.

Part of why I keep asking "Why are you insisting on Wicca" is that - you're stripping a bunch of Wiccan practices and approaches, and wanting to keep the name.

(...)

So I'm back to "Why are you so hung up on using "Wicca" above and beyond any other possible term?"

 In the past I've considered just worshipping the Deities in a recon way and abandoning the search for a definite religion.
 That seemed to be a good decision, but... I don't know if I am the problem... but if, for instance, I worship a Deity primarily associated with Greece, Another with Gaul and Another with Egypt, then I think that what I should do is worshipping Them according to the respective ancient customs documented for the religious tradition (and geographical area) They are primarily associated with. And that I should observe the respective purity requirements likewise.
 It means that if I decide just to worship Deities and stop worrying about religious identity I spontaneously, maybe without noticing, can end up being a multireconstructionist. Because it seems to me the right thing to do. And it's more complicated than to be a reconstructionism of just one religious tradition.

I wonder if part of it is that Kaio lives in Brazil, and is speaking from a perspective of what the neopagan landscape there is like? I know (as I'm pretty sure you do too, so I'm including this for others' benefit), f'ex, that Brazil is still going through its 'witch wars' phase, with a huge focus on (BT)Wicca as Gold Standard and much controversy over who's a real Gardnerian and who's a Fraudnerian, and I have the impression that there's little in the way of 'not Wicca but somewhat-Wiccish religious witchcraft' available - or rather, that while things that we in NAmerica would describe that way might well exist, they're not described that way in Brazil.

Sunflower

 Yes, I think local context may be a factor.
 I've never lived neither in São Paulo nor in Rio de Janeiro but here, in the Brazilian countryside, lineaged Wicca is almost unheard of; I've found just one girl in a Brazilian Pagan discussion group that said she was a Gardnerian Wiccan, and that she was initiated by a priest(ess) when she lived in Canada. It's very rare. I don't know if I ever found another Brazilian lineaged Wicca. This means by "Wicca" we suppose  "unlineaged Wicca"/"book-learnt Wicca"/"self-initiatory Wicca".
 Other forms of English-speaking-world-related witchcraft we usually know just by name, like Cochranianism and Feri. I myself know next to nothing about these religions.
 Many Pagan people here don't know any Pagan religion other than Wicca.

[Edited to fix link code. Kaio, so you know for next time, BBCode (what forums run) uses 'url' rather than 'link'. - SP]
« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 06:29:05 pm by SunflowerP »
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Re: I can't make up my mind! Please help me!
« Reply #35 on: March 15, 2019, 02:31:22 pm »
Honestly, I don't know any structured Pagan religion other than Wicca that has the traits that I mentioned and that are very common in ancient religions.

You may not know about them, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

Things in this category, and worth learning about (that are also not Wicca): Reclaiming. Feri. Modern traditional witchcraft as described in Laura Tempest Zarakoff's work. The Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood (particularly some of the material by Phyllis Currott), and I believe a number of approaches to Druidry. And that's just off the top of my head for a start.

Most of these have at least some discussion on the forum, and a range of material available through blogs that would help you learn more about whether specifics of that path might be a better fit for you. (Can you learn the complete structure and practices from those sources? Maybe not. But you could figure out a next step.)

Quote
but if, for instance, I worship a Deity primarily associated with Greece, Another with Gaul and Another with Egypt, then I think that what I should do is worshipping Them according to the respective ancient customs documented for the religious tradition (and geographical area) They are primarily associated with. And that I should observe the respective purity requirements likewise.

It means that if I decide just to worship Deities and stop worrying about religious identity I spontaneously, maybe without noticing, can end up being a multireconstructionist. Because it seems to me the right thing to do. And it's more complicated than to be a reconstructionism of just one religious tradition.

You're right that it's more complex. What I'm saying is that looking at the larger category of religious witchcraft (rather than Wicca, which has its own expectations, structures, and priorities) will help you find more material that might help you create a cohesive path.

One thing you might think about here is the reasons for the purity requirements. This is not a question you're unique in dealing with: it's something any reconstructionist must figure out, because a lot of historical practices don't apply today (different kinds of things are easier or harder for us to offer, we have different challenges in our schedule, people are generally worshipping as individuals or small groups rather than city-wide festivals, etc.) 

Historical cultures often had purity requirements, food prohibitions, etc. for a variety of reasons. Some of them were, as far as we can tell, about safety (i.e. they were difficult to make safe to eat in the original environment.) Some requirements were because a particular food was a sacred dish of a different god. Some were because of other societal preservation reasons (if you don't know about germ theory, welcoming anyone who's been in certain situations - including dead people and blood - is not something you want to welcome into your home without precautions...)

Some of those still apply today (a deity who has a particular strong reaction to a particular thing, foods that honour a deity they don't get along with...) But some of them don't. My understanding is that reconstructionists have a range of ways to handle this.

In terms of working with multiple cultures, there have been people working with deities from cultures who interacted (Roman/Egyptian/Greek or Roman/British/Gaulish once the Romans got to Britain and related points). Religious witchcraft (again, expanded from Wicca, which tends to presume deities from a similar cultural context) has mechanisms for doing this. But again, so do most of the paths I listed above...

One thing worth considering: one of the core parts of Wiccan ritual (the Great Rite) is about two deities having a sexual relationship with each other. It is not appropriate to put deities into that situation if that's not the relationship they have with each other. There are alternate ritual options for that moment (including a "we're talking about creative sparks here, not necessarily sexual"), but they take revision, and definitely do move further away from traditional Wicca in the most classic sense.

I work with deities from England (in personal work. and for them I *will* do a Great Rite, because they are a couple), Greece, and Egypt,  (where they are not) with a side of 'planetary influences who are powers but not necessarily deities'. I have revised the thing that would be in the Great Rite so that it is not about the deities necessarily having that interaction.

Quote
Many Pagan people here don't know any Pagan religion other than Wicca.

Which leaves you with some choices I already mentioned. If you want to work *with* people in your area (or country) then yes, using the terminology they use may be helpful. Especially when working with them.

But if you want to learn from or work with or get help from people in other places, learning to adjust how you talk about what you do for those spaces is probably going to help you more.

In places (including online) where people make more distinctions about practice (as in the articles I linked to earlier...), using different phrasing ('religious witchcraft', 'Wiccan influenced', 'Wiccan based', etc...) will help people understand where you're coming from or at least understand that they might want to ask questions before giving specific ideas or advice or recommendations.

Insisting that what you're doing is Wicca, but with a long long long list of differences is ... frankly, going to make it harder to interact. Most people are going to forget your specific thing's details. They may get frustrated, because they offer help (that would be fine if you were doing something more firmly Wiccan) and then you come back with a long list of "But I can't because..."

But then again, I'm someone who has firmly embraced the label of initiatory religious witchcraft, despite having a practice that is in very very many ways much closer to traditional Wicca than most people who identify as Wiccan.
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Re: I can't make up my mind! Please help me!
« Reply #36 on: March 16, 2019, 06:33:49 pm »
Honestly, everything here could be applied to Hinduism. I know you ruled out "mainstream Dharmic religions" with #9, but I feel like you are being influenced by false, steriotypical western perceptions of Hinduism and not by it's actually theology.

Hinduism doesn't demand or expect asceticism, except for members of the clergy and various mysticals sects. Most Hindus aren't aescetic; only about half of us are even vegeterians.

Adding to the above. I know you aren't into pop culture paganism.  One of the things I learned after the Black Panther movie, is that there is a history of trade and cultural exchange between India and sub-saharan Africa.

(M'Baku's mention of Haruman is based on history.)

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Re: I can't make up my mind! Please help me!
« Reply #37 on: March 16, 2019, 10:38:15 pm »
I know you aren't into pop culture paganism.

You would be surprised - my feelings on the subject are complicated. It's one of the several things I need to post about eventually, along with my broader theology and my views on Christianity. You kinda reminded me to I need do that.


One of the things I learned after the Black Panther movie, is that there is a history of trade and cultural exchange between India and sub-saharan Africa.

Yup. Specifically between India, Arabia, Egypt, and Sub-Saharan East Africa. Indian ocean trade network. One piece of evidence is that there were documents from seafarers found on Soctotra written in Greek, Arabic, Egyptian, and several other languages documenting the long history of trading in the Indian ocean.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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