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Author Topic: General/Non-Specific: The larger Pagan communities  (Read 465 times)

Jenett

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The larger Pagan communities
« on: January 29, 2019, 01:54:53 pm »
I'm about to do the class on Pagan history and community history for my current witchy students, which got me thinking about how to structure that.

What parts of Pagan community history do you think are really important to know about early on? Which ones bogged you down? (Or still confuse you?) What things did you wish someone had explained (or explained earlier than you learned them?)

And new since the last time I taught any of this explicitly, I want to include a solid segment on abuse in communities, things to be aware of in a specifically Pagan context (i.e. dealing with festival or skyclad situations, etc.) If you have resources you particularly like for this, or things you wish someone had mentioned to you, please do include them here.

(A note: they're pre-initiation, and the classes in this sequence are designed to give context and help them make informed choices about next steps, not make them experts in the topic. Basically, 2 hours of class time with discussion and some additional links is where I'm aiming. I also expect to turn my notes from this one into an article or two on Seeking.)
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Darkhawk

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Re: The larger Pagan communities
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2019, 04:32:30 pm »
What parts of Pagan community history do you think are really important to know about early on? Which ones bogged you down? (Or still confuse you?) What things did you wish someone had explained (or explained earlier than you learned them?)

The thing that I really wish I'd gotten earlier was some clear sense of the breadth of pagan history - like a lot of people my age I got into pagan stuff through reading books about Wicca-derived Craft, and it took a really long time to get a sense of the larger word, especially since I wasn't terribly hooked into community knowledge.  I was dimly aware of Asatru as a thing when I met an Icelandic Asatruar, but that was the limit of my understanding of the world outside of eclectic Wicca (this predates neo-Wicca as a primary thing, though of course there were early threads of that).

I know your students are aware of other traditions as a thing, but I think it's worth doing some amount of outline of at least broad threads, probably with emphasis on where your tradition relates to things?  (I personally am quite fond of the realization that a lot of Craft is a reconstruction of something that probably did not technically exist, at least not in the forms people imagine it now.)

Major high points I'd hit:

- people can be Craft people without being Wiccish
- reconstructions and related stuff
- ceremonial magic religions
- possibly other things (Theosophy?  ties to the New Age? stuff?)

I don't expect most people to share my obsession with the underpinnings of where pagan movement history came from but I suspect part of being a good citizen of the pagan movement is strongly supported by getting a sense of the basics like that.

After that, I think probably a rundown on the specifics of where your tradition fits in, what similarities and difference it has with other Craft lines and other things, is probably warranted?
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Sefiru

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Re: The larger Pagan communities
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2019, 07:34:06 pm »
What parts of Pagan community history do you think are really important to know about early on? Which ones bogged you down? (Or still confuse you?) What things did you wish someone had explained (or explained earlier than you learned them?)

I still get mixed up by the various very early groups (Theosophy, Golden Dawn, Crowley, Freemasons, Rosicrucians etc.) and how they developed into the later Neopagan groups.

Also, a thing that I see over and over again is how people's idea of what constitutes 'religion' is heavily influenced by Christianity.

Quote
And new since the last time I taught any of this explicitly, I want to include a solid segment on abuse in communities,

In hindsight, boasting as a major red flag. ("our lineage is older / our practices are more authentic / only we know the Right Way to do things") Exclusivity is tempting, but ...

Also, how hazing is different from initiation and how to spot it. :/

Sefiru

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Re: The larger Pagan communities
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2019, 07:42:54 pm »
Also, a thing that I see over and over again is how people's idea of what constitutes 'religion' is heavily influenced by Christianity.

And more specifically, the idea that there is a single Right Way to do things.

EmberHearth

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Re: The larger Pagan communities
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2019, 02:04:32 am »
What parts of Pagan community history do you think are really important to know about early on? Which ones bogged you down? (Or still confuse you?) What things did you wish someone had explained (or explained earlier than you learned them?)

Oberon Zell made a comment about a ~40 year cycle in which spiritualism / paganism / new age concepts have recorded through history.  It was one of those things that I took with a lot of salt, and have been checking out on my own.

I've gotten some sense of that from Nigel Pennick's "A History of Pagan Europe," sort of, not quite.

And new since the last time I taught any of this explicitly, I want to include a solid segment on abuse in communities, things to be aware of in a specifically Pagan context (i.e. dealing with festival or skyclad situations, etc.) If you have resources you particularly like for this, or things you wish someone had mentioned to you, please do include them here.

(A note: they're pre-initiation, and the classes in this sequence are designed to give context and help them make informed choices about next steps, not make them experts in the topic. Basically, 2 hours of class time with discussion and some additional links is where I'm aiming. I also expect to turn my notes from this one into an article or two on Seeking.)

I'm still quite fond of Isaac Bonewitz's cult questionnaire, when applied with critical thinking and caution.

(On one hand, I've seen Christian groups that control like cults.  OTOH, I'd be careful about applying it to "all."  Keeping in mind that there are feminist women who practice very Conservative Abrahamic traditions, and who may cover their hair of their own free will.)

http://www.religioustolerance.org/bonewits-cult-danger-evaluation-frame.htm

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