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Author Topic: US-American ethnic religion: what may come from reconstructionism?  (Read 8777 times)

Kaio

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Re: US-American ethnic religion: what may come from reconstructionism?
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2014, 11:52:19 am »
Quote from: Juniperberry;166145
(...) When Scandinavians said they were changing customs to convert,



 What I was trying to say is that conversion itself *is* siðaskipti. "Change in customs" was how Scandinavians expressed what we call conversion today because there seemingly was no concept of "religion" culturally - so of course also lexically - available to them at that time. I mean that the people appeared not to conceive what we call "religion" nowadays as something that could be set apart - or completely set apart - from what one could anthropologically call the rest of their set of social conventions. This does not seem an individualistic or personal approach to religion from my point of view.


Quote from: Juniperberry;166145
(...) it wasn't as basic as just changing the way they did things. It meant turning away from one relationship and pursuing another, by building bonds and traditions with a new god. So it is very personal understanding of deity.



 In the 88th chapter of Heimskringla, Óláfs saga helga, Snorri told the Swedes didn't like the name of one of their kings when he was about to be given the title. His name was Jákob. Nonetheless he was given the name Önund, a name relatable to Freyr in the lore, at the same time he was taking the title of king. It means that the name of a Christian wasn't socially acceptable at that time in Sweden.
 Obviously this state of affairs didn't prevent people from having personal relationships with Deities as there are some old Scandinavian texts about those.


Quote from: Juniperberry;166145
(...) That's actually the entire end-game of reconstructionism; to bring a religion that had fallen behind forward into the modern world. We're not supposed to go back ourselves.



 So I'm led to think that reconstructing an ancient religion/religiosity as a system may be an impossible task. Perhaps inspiration is everything one can get from ancient religious practices as a system if one's trying to build a systemic religious practice.
 I already thought reconstructionist and non-reconstructionist contemporary paganism were a false dichotomy if one looked closely enough at them; maybe they are best described as a continuum, a modern continuum, because the kind of work reconstructionism demands, though, is as modern as non-reconstructionist contemporary pagan religions.


Quote from: Juniperberry;166145
Germanic paganism had Sami, Celtic, Roman etc influences and really wasn't a pan-Germanic religion. The idea of a pan-Germanic religion came much, much later after the conversion.



Germanic people had an Urheimat. Once there possibly was a Proto-Germanic language. Cognate Deity names in different Germanic languages and common traits are present in different Germanic societies according to sources.
 The idea of a pan-Germanic religion may be relatively new, but I think one can barely doubt that all later Germanic peoples branched off from a primal Germanic society. At that time there wasn't anything pan-Germanic as there was a single Germanic society.


Quote from: Juniperberry;166145
So this...



...would be impossible.


 Indeed I'm thinking more and more that embracing modernity is the best I can do in the process of recovering my religious life.
When in Rome do as the Romans do. (Ambrose)

Juniperberry

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Re: US-American ethnic religion: what may come from reconstructionism?
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2014, 08:35:10 pm »
Quote from: Kaio;166156
What I was trying to say is that conversion itself *is* siðaskipti. "Change in customs" was how Scandinavians expressed what we call conversion today because there seemingly was no concept of "religion" culturally - so of course also lexically - available to them at that time. I mean that the people appeared not to conceive what we call "religion" nowadays as something that could be set apart - or completely set apart - from what one could anthropologically call the rest of their set of social conventions. This does not seem an individualistic or personal approach to religion from my point of view.



That's because death, rain, love, the ocean, the wind, war, etc were the sacred spiritual and those things cannot be set apart from everyday living. That type of nature-based folk-religion is world-accepting.

Christianity is world-rejecting (or world-indifferent) because it's spirituality is primarily based in supernatural spirituality. Heaven and miracles and a god that defies natural law. Things that are set-apart from everyday living.

Primitive folk-religions were defined by how 'the folk' handled death, war, love, etc and that relationship became customary, traditional and sacred. No one, including Brazilian ethnicity, owns love, death, and everything else that we deal with today in everyday life. World-accepting Brazilians would have simply owned their own understanding of those things.

So you already have access to the same spiritual world that the world-accepting primitive Brazilian had access to. It has never not been there or set-apart from your life. Now you simply need to reconstruct/revive/adapt/create unique Brazilian customs in relation to them.

Quote
Germanic people had an Urheimat. Once there possibly was a Proto-Germanic language. Cognate Deity names in different Germanic languages and common traits are present in different Germanic societies according to sources.
 The idea of a pan-Germanic religion may be relatively new, but I think one can barely doubt that all later Germanic peoples branched off from a primal Germanic society. At that time there wasn't anything pan-Germanic as there was a single Germanic society.


No one can possibly say that any Proto-Germanic religion was at all similar to later Germanic religiosity. It just doesn't work that way. Look at the changes just in the last two-thousand years between Modern and Historical Christianity.  Linguistic roots don't necessarily imply an unbroken connection either. A modern English speaker wouldn't speak the same English as someone from two-thousand years ago, it'd be two different languages. So a Germanic gothi from 300 AD would probably practice something completely foreign and alien to a PIE chieftain, and they probably wouldn't even be able to communicate efficiently.

And Cognate deity names... we're talking about universal qualities in a language group so of course there will be similarities, but that doesn't mean that the spiritual relationship was the same in it's own complex worldview. We still say "thunder" rooted in Proto-Germanic Thunraz, but we don't have the same spiritual relationship with it. In fact, I grew up with the spiritual knowledge that thunder was the sound of angels bowling and not that it was a red-headed man battling giants. A thousand years from now an anthropologist would be wrong in saying that my usage of the word thunder meant that I practiced a pre-conversion Germanic religion that involved Thunraz. Thunder is present in my society, but a cultural god of thunder is not.
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

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Faemon

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Re: US-American ethnic religion: what may come from reconstructionism?
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2014, 06:58:14 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;166526
That's because death, rain, love, the ocean, the wind, war, etc were the sacred spiritual and those things cannot be set apart from everyday living. That type of nature-based folk-religion is world-accepting.

Christianity is world-rejecting (or world-indifferent) because it's spirituality is primarily based in supernatural spirituality. Heaven and miracles and a god that defies natural law. Things that are set-apart from everyday living.

Primitive folk-religions were defined by how 'the folk' handled death, war, love, etc and that relationship became customary, traditional and sacred. No one, including Brazilian ethnicity, owns love, death, and everything else that we deal with today in everyday life. World-accepting Brazilians would have simply owned their own understanding of those things.

So you already have access to the same spiritual world that the world-accepting primitive Brazilian had access to. It has never not been there or set-apart from your life.


That's a very good case, and I can see how the ideas apply. However, while I'm aware of Biblical verses that do cast the material world as not-divine and miracles as divine interference of natural law, I can also glean a world-integrated attitude in such points as the insistence of creationism as scientific fact. To some Christians, incorporating the natural world is integral to the faith, rather than shoving it all into some supernatural domain--and then there's patches of consideration or rejection of the historical context of political motivations (whether that means so-and-so verse no longer applies, or if there's nothing new under the sun.)

I grew up with Catholicism, which can include the veneration of multiple mythological figures (saints, angels, Mary, God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, baby Jesus and adult Jesus and dead crucified Jesus and resurrected Jesus...) that some dedicants defensively insist aren't a way of pagan-izing a monotheist religion.

Unless we compare brain scans or something, though, I think some individuals manage to venerate multiple mythological figures without the same veneration that pagan polytheists would grant to multiple mythological figures, and perhaps with some individuals it's the same (but it's socially unacceptable to articulate it as such.)

So within paganism, too, I consider a modern lack of united front. Whether any faith was truly united behind the front, would maybe be futile to wonder, but the front as in the communal practice being integral...is probably that.

Etienne Wenger wrote about this in his theory of a community of practice, where it isn't mere practice that is going through the motions of a ritual when maybe or maybe not approaching and experiencing life in very individual ways, but also includes the instinct to follow unspoken guidelines, acceptable perceptions and a shared worldview.

The interface between society and psyche, and Volkergedanken versus Elementargedanken, are main themes that I've been wrangling a lot with this year.
 
Quote
Now you simply need to reconstruct/revive/adapt/create unique Brazilian customs in relation to them.


Chewing on that...

Not to be redundant, but I guess it really comes down to, Kaio, how will you work with what you have to draw from (or draw on) and how supported the resulting belief system will be (or will need to be, and in what ways) within that same context of social-spiritual-stuff?
« Last Edit: December 01, 2014, 06:59:21 pm by Faemon »
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Juniperberry

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Re: US-American ethnic religion: what may come from reconstructionism?
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2014, 10:34:51 pm »
Quote from: Faemon;166563
That's a very good case, and I can see how the ideas apply. However, while I'm aware of Biblical verses that do cast the material world as not-divine and miracles as divine interference of natural law, I can also glean a world-integrated attitude in such points as the insistence of creationism as scientific fact. To some Christians, incorporating the natural world is integral to the faith, rather than shoving it all into some supernatural domain--and then there's patches of consideration or rejection of the historical context of political motivations (whether that means so-and-so verse no longer applies, or if there's nothing new under the sun.)


World-rejecting doesn't quite translate to literally rejecting the natural world. It's more along the lines of what one hopes to achieve, or what one sees as the purpose of living a spiritual life. Most often, the case in Christianity is that a follower hopes to ascend from this world to a more beautiful paradise. Even creationism implies that the Creator is separate from this world and that one should strive to join him in his divine realm. Whereas in world-accepting religions, there isn't a Creator, this reality and all we experience is the true and natural All.  Gods are here, the dead are here, the Otherworld is here. Nothing is anywhere or anything else. Some forms of primitive paganism are also world-rejecting, in that they believe the a truer more sacred reality--Mysteries--are hidden or veiled beneath this reality, and the goal is to discover that superior and more divine experience.

I know that 'rejecting' has negative connotations, but neither accepting nor rejecting is more favorable than the other. It's simply a different perspective on the nature of life.

Quote
I grew up with Catholicism, which can include the veneration of multiple mythological figures (saints, angels, Mary, God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, baby Jesus and adult Jesus and dead crucified Jesus and resurrected Jesus...) that some dedicants defensively insist aren't a way of pagan-izing a monotheist religion.

Unless we compare brain scans or something, though, I think some individuals manage to venerate multiple mythological figures without the same veneration that pagan polytheists would grant to multiple mythological figures, and perhaps with some individuals it's the same (but it's socially unacceptable to articulate it as such.)


So within paganism, too, I consider a modern lack of united front. Whether any faith was truly united behind the front, would maybe be futile to wonder, but the front as in the communal practice being integral...is probably that.

Etienne Wenger wrote about this in his theory of a community of practice, where it isn't mere practice that is going through the motions of a ritual when maybe or maybe not approaching and experiencing life in very individual ways, but also includes the instinct to follow unspoken guidelines, acceptable perceptions and a shared worldview.
 
The interface between society and psyche, and Volkergedanken versus Elementargedanken, are main themes that I've been wrangling a lot with this year.


Well, I know that the Norse socio-religious belief was that a person wasn't formed until the infant had been named. Until that point it was simply a physical body, a mass of cells, without any associated wyrd or Luck. Personhood was given to you by your family/community and not an automatic inheritance upon birth. Think of the supposed feral children, and how they hadn't developed any of the cultural understanding that defines humanity. Their behavior is animalistic, their ethics and morals defined by basic survival needs and not society.    

On the other hand, other socio-religious ideas hold that the soul is already developed pre-birth. That personhood is granted to you by a G/god, and that you are set on this earth to fulfill your own specific divine plan. Your culture is simply one element of your purpose, something to be overcome or something to enhance your journey, but not actually anything of long-term spiritual value.  

Personally, both ideas make me uncomfortable. I don't see much point (at this time) in believing in one either way, especially when it's probably a little of both. The fact of the matter is that I do have personhood and I have inherited a cultural humanity, you know?    
 
 
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Re: US-American ethnic religion: what may come from reconstructionism?
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2014, 12:35:44 pm »
Quote from: Kaio;165907
Sometimes I wonder what would be a Brazilian - or pan-Brazilian? - ethnic religion.

 
Except "Brazilian" isn't an ethnicity.

I've contemplated a universal Paganism myself. I call it "Tholwa." In my idle musings on the theory of religion, I concluded that for a religion to be universal, or just national, the form it must take must have the same diversity as that of all things in the universe, or nation.

For your Afro-Brazilians, their "tholwa" would have an Umbandish flavor. For Euro-Brazilians, a Catholic flavor. But all would be seen as forms of the same religion, rooted in the lives of each individual.

What unites this infinite diversity into a whole is the characteristic I found that defines Paganism and Neo-Paganism from everything else: making offerings. Who, what, when, why being up to personal choice, thereby preserving ancient traditions while simultaneously allowing the creation of new ones at a moment's notice.

A bit grand, perhaps, but that's what I came up with.

Kaio

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Re: US-American ethnic religion: what may come from reconstructionism?
« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2014, 01:49:31 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;166526
That's because death, rain, love, the ocean, the wind, war, etc were the sacred spiritual and those things cannot be set apart from everyday living.


 Reading what you have written elsewhere in this forum I have gotten the impression that your kind of reconstructionism has to do with some form of pantheism informed by the language and symbols related to Germanic native religion(s) and/or with a naturalistic interpretation of the said religion(s). I respect you and your religion but I do not agree with your understanding of these questions. Part of my disagreement is because I think native European religions had supernatural aspects.
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Kaio

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Re: US-American ethnic religion: what may come from reconstructionism?
« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2014, 02:08:40 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;166739
Except "Brazilian" isn't an ethnicity.


 What? :confused: What concept of ethnicity are you based on to make this assertion?

Quote from: Materialist;166739
What unites this infinite diversity into a whole is the characteristic I found that defines Paganism and Neo-Paganism from everything else: making offerings. Who, what, when, why being up to personal choice...


 I think even Christians make offerings...
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Re: US-American ethnic religion: what may come from reconstructionism?
« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2014, 03:14:09 pm »
Quote from: Kaio;167191
Reading what you have written elsewhere in this forum I have gotten the impression that your kind of reconstructionism has to do with some form of pantheism informed by the language and symbols related to Germanic native religion(s) and/or with a naturalistic interpretation of the said religion(s). I respect you and your religion but I do not agree with your understanding of these questions. Part of my disagreement is because I think native European religions had supernatural aspects.



"The Germans, however, do not consider it consistent with the grandeur of celestial beings to confine the gods within walls, or to liken them to the form of any human countenance. They consecrate woods and groves, and they apply the names of deities to the abstraction which they see only in spiritual worship." Tacitus, Germania.
 
Religion is a human construct. To quote Lucy*: "we've codified our existence to bring it down to human size, to make it comprehensible, we've created a scale so we can forget its unfathomable scale."

Reconstructionism is simply a method for reconstructing the human elementof the scale; divinity, supernaturalism, and spiritual truths are natural, organic, living abstracts on an unfathomable scale that do not need, and cannot be, reconstructed or codified. Reconstructionism is not a religion.

So, yes, if we're talking recon, I'll be more likely to discuss the concrete religion of certain peoples than the abstractions of the spiritual and supernatural.

But if you think that my ideas are too different from your own to be of any value in this thread then I can respect that.

I do have one last question though,  your seeming admiration for 'The' Germanic ancestral folkway (which is often the mantra of white supremacist groups) and your insistence that there should be a Brazilian ancestral folkway segregated from other cultures has me curious as to what exactly your mindset is for your type of reconstructionism.


 
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The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

Kaio

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Re: US-American ethnic religion: what may come from reconstructionism?
« Reply #23 on: December 12, 2014, 06:48:20 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;167202
Reconstructionism is simply a method for reconstructing the human elementof the scale; divinity, supernaturalism, and spiritual truths are natural, organic, living abstracts on an unfathomable scale that do not need, and cannot be, reconstructed or codified. Reconstructionism is not a religion.

 Yes, reconstructionism is, indeed, a method, not a religion. And reconstructionism is a very specific method. It's about employing what is known about ancient native religions - including, as much as possible, what is human in them - on trying to build a contemporary adaptation of the said religions in order to practice it.
 What did the Norsemen when they were settling Iceland? Did they used their symbolic and linguistic religious apparatus in order to make sacred, say, the local manifestation of thunder? No. Because Þórr is not related only to the thunder; actually, according to the Eddas He was not regarded as the thunder Himself, or at least not when they were being written. It could be different at earlier times, what may have to do with His name's etymology, but He was not regarded as the thunder Himself according to the Eddas by the time they were written.
 That is one of the reasons why I respect, but I do not agree with what seems to be the reasoning that informs your reconstructive practice. I mean I think ancient peoples did not regard their religious practice as a cloth for a naturalistic, modern science-like pantheism. It seems that all the ancient, native religions had some supernatural elements. And it also seems that most of the Deities related to these religions were not regarded as natural phenomena, or at least had other associations, mythic functions...
 I think understanding Deities as only a kind of religious metaphor for natural phenomena, a kind that lacks a supernatural dimension is something deeply modern. It does not match the historical accuracy that is prioritized among recons.

Quote from: Juniperberry;167202
I do have one last question though,  your seeming admiration for 'The' Germanic ancestral folkway (which is often the mantra of white supremacist groups) and your insistence that there should be a Brazilian ancestral folkway segregated from other cultures has me curious as to what exactly your mindset is for your type of reconstructionism.

 My admiration for the Germanic native religion is partially due to the fact that I practiced ásatrú for some time. It has nothing to do with the semantic burden of a 'The' - unless emphasis in the lore is something you frown upon.
 About my search for a Brazilian ethnic - i.e., non-universal - religion, I like the idea of identities in a strong sense. This is something I lack and maybe I lack it because of what I call the experience of Americanness. I remember I read a Cauldronite that said that contemporary paganism almost aways have an element of search for identity. But I think this is another matter altogether.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2014, 06:52:01 pm by Kaio »
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Juniperberry

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Re: US-American ethnic religion: what may come from reconstructionism?
« Reply #24 on: December 12, 2014, 09:38:45 pm »
Quote from: Kaio;167306
Yes, reconstructionism is, indeed, a method, not a religion. And reconstructionism is a very specific method. It's about employing what is known about ancient native religions - including, as much as possible, what is human in them - on trying to build a contemporary adaptation of the said religions in order to practice it.

To quote myself from earlier in this thread:

"The underlying philosophies of primitive folk-religions can be adapted to contemporary reality, yes. [...] You can reconstruct the philosophies, and then invent modern customs that express that spirituality in a useful and productive way within your modern culture. That's actually the entire end-game of reconstructionism; to bring a religion that had fallen behind forward into the modern world. We're not supposed to go back ourselves."

So I don't see how we're in disagreement there. However, you've seemed reluctant at times to actually embrace adaptation. It seems as though you hope to unearth a Brazilian religion pure of adaption or syncretism, and then shelter it from any further adaptations  or syncretism. Which would not only be unrealistic, but also historically inaccurate.


Quote
What did the Norsemen when they were settling Iceland? Did they used their symbolic and linguistic religious apparatus in order to make sacred, say, the local manifestation of thunder? No. Because Þórr is not related only to the thunder; actually, according to the Eddas He was not regarded as the thunder Himself, or at least not when they were being written. It could be different at earlier times, what may have to do with His name's etymology, but He was not regarded as the thunder Himself according to the Eddas by the time they were written.

You're correct, Thor is not the Thunder. He is a mitigating and controlling force behind the storm.

In fact, the term "god" is simply used as a job title. This means that godliness is not an inherent, inborn trait of a divine species but simply a function. Odin is a 'god' because he is the mitigating and ruling force over an element of death, Freyr is a god because he is the mitigating and ruling force over an element of fertility, Frigga is a goddess because she is the mitigating and ruling force over an element of the household. Etc, etc.

Since godliness is simply a title of position and not a specific divine set of Beings, this explains why several different branches of Beings-- such as Vanir, Aesir, and Jotun--can all hold that title. In fact, all of these Beings--including man, elves, dwarves-- are more  simply defined as wights.


Therefore, if the title of god is given to a wight only when he/she mitigates and controls the universal elements of Death, Love, Ocean, Fire, War, Wind, Fate, etc. then that must mean that those natural, everyday elements are sacred and spiritual.


So, when immigrating to Iceland, the people said: "Let us be careful not to scare off the native wights." Meaning, the native and local beings, who they feared, might begin to mitigate and control elements of Iceland when disturbed. IOW, become unknown and vengeful gods.

To not be at the mercy of these wights, and to hold to traditions and customs, they transplanted their sacred soil to Iceland and thus their sacred gods. They allowed the temple of Thor to float upon the sea and chose for itself the coast of the land where his temple would be built.

The Anglo-Saxons went the other route.

Quote
That is one of the reasons why I respect, but I do not agree with what seems to be the reasoning that informs your reconstructive practice. I mean I think ancient peoples did not regard their religious practice as a cloth for a naturalistic, modern science-like pantheism. It seems that all the ancient, native religions had some supernatural elements. And it also seems that most of the Deities related to these religions were not regarded as natural phenomena, or at least had other associations, mythic functions...

I've never disagreed with there being supernatural elements in Germanic mythology. I don't deny that gods have mythic functions. I do not think the gods are simply natural phenomenon, but I also do not think that natural, everyday things exist in the absence of gods or that they do not contain their own sacred qualities. It isn't an either or thing, but a world where everything material and spiritual is woven together and cannot be separated.

Quote
I think understanding Deities as only a kind of religious metaphor for natural phenomena, a kind that lacks a supernatural dimension is something deeply modern. It does not match the historical accuracy that is prioritized among recons.

I think I left your version of recon behind  some time ago that, yes, my priorities are now different from yours.

Quote
My admiration for the Germanic native religion is partially due to the fact that I practiced ásatrú for some time. It has nothing to do with the semantic burden of a 'The' - unless emphasis in the lore is something you frown upon.

About my search for a Brazilian ethnic - i.e., non-universal - religion, I like the idea of identities in a strong sense. This is something I lack and maybe I lack it because of what I call the experience of Americanness. I remember I read a Cauldronite that said that contemporary paganism almost aways have an element of search for identity. But I think this is another matter altogether.



 I've actually been known to be quite fond of it. (Well, I don't know if I'm known for that. You're impression of me has me question what impression I've been giving off about my beliefs all along.)
« Last Edit: December 12, 2014, 09:39:07 pm by Juniperberry »
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

Kaio

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Re: US-American ethnic religion: what may come from reconstructionism?
« Reply #25 on: December 13, 2014, 12:02:10 am »
Quote from: Juniperberry;167309
(...) I've actually been known to be quite fond of it. (Well, I don't know if I'm known for that. You're impression of me has me question what impression I've been giving off about my beliefs all along.)


 I observed that you often display what seem to be very idiosyncratic views when one considers them from what's in the lore. I'm talking about statements like these:

Quote from: Juniperberry;167309
In fact, the term "god" is simply used as a job title. This means that godliness is not an inherent, inborn trait of a divine species but simply a function. (...)
Since godliness is simply a title of position and not a specific divine set of Beings, this explains why several different branches of Beings-- such as Vanir, Aesir, and Jotun--can all hold that title. In fact, all of these Beings--including man, elves, dwarves-- are more  simply defined as wights. (...)
So, when immigrating to Iceland, the people said: "Let us be careful not to scare off the native wights." (...) IOW, become unknown and vengeful gods.

 
 I obviously did not read the Norse lore through; there are many things that I do not know and/or about which I may be wrong, but almost all these statements I just quoted seem to be UPG. I say it because I do not remember statements in the lore neither about "God" being just a function or, like you said, a "job title", nor about all of Whom you call "Beings" being defined as wights. Nor about wights being the same as Deities.
 I do not think UPG is a problem, though; I think it can be a problem only 1.) when the UPG status of an information is denied, 2.) when one states one is reconstructionist and 3.) when the lore clearly contradicts the said UPG.

Quote from: Juniperberry;167309
To not be at the mercy of these wights, and to hold to traditions and customs, they transplanted their sacred soil to Iceland and thus their sacred gods.


 My interpretation of this part of the lore is that the landvættir were regarded as having a relationship to the idea of locality that differed so much from that of the worship of the Deities. This seems to be the reason why the landvættir of the new land had to be respected while the Norsemen had to bring along everything concerning the worship of the Deities.

Quote from: Juniperberry;167309
I think I left your version of recon behind  some time ago that, yes, my priorities are now different from yours.


 This helps me understand your reasoning. :)

Quote from: Juniperberry;167309
(...) However, you've seemed reluctant at times to actually embrace adaptation. It seems as though you hope to unearth a Brazilian religion pure of adaption or syncretism, and then shelter it from any further adaptations  or syncretism. Which would not only be unrealistic, but also historically inaccurate.


 This is true; I do not like feeling I'm making things up and/or without at least a precedent - and preferably a precedent from before the christianization of the people related to the religion I'm trying to reconstruct.
 As for "unearthing a Brazilian religion pure of syncretism", I do think this is an attractive idea! :) I'm slightly envious of people whose ancestors came from a single and definite people, related to a single and definite land and that, therefore, have the chance of reconstructing and practicing a religion unarguably connected with them. I think it's even better when people live in the same land which their ancestors came from. And I think it's even better when the religion in question is well-documented.
 About adaptation and syncretism, I think some adaptations can be unpreventable but I do not know whether I think contemporary syncretism is OK. Nonetheless, I do not mind syncretism happened before the christianization of the people related to the religion in question.
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Juniperberry

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Re: US-American ethnic religion: what may come from reconstructionism?
« Reply #26 on: December 13, 2014, 03:11:36 am »
Quote
I observed that you often display what seem to be very idiosyncratic views when one considers them from what's in the lore. I'm talking about statements like these:

First, I'd like to point out the 'the lore' is only a small piece of the reconstructionist puzzle.  (And has so many problems that it deserves to be--and has been!-- debated across the internet.)

Second, you actually have to do the reconstructing.  Reading the lore literally and then obeying it to the letter isn't reconstructionism. It's bible study.

Reconstructionism is taking bits of the puzzle pieces (the lore, other manuscripts, carvings,  artifacts,  archeology, anthropology, -ologies &  more -ologies...) and then, yourself,  forming a somewhat coherent picture of what could have been and work it into something viable now, which is, btw,  always open to reinterpretation. Because it isn't a religious truth!

 If you are doing that, then you are a reconstructionist. You can collaborate, you can read others work, you can take a break; but if you are not actually piecing anything together on your own then you're simply worshipping recon as a religiuos ideal.

In this thread I've tried working with you to come up with ideas on how to do the actual recon work for a Brazilian ethnic religion and time and again you have told me that my beliefs are not in accord with reconstructionism.

---RECONSTRUCTIONISM DOES NOT HAVE ANY BELIEFS. IT ISN'T A RELIGIOUS SYSTEM!---

 :)

Quote
I obviously did not read the Norse lore through; there are many things that I do not know and/or about which I may be wrong, but almost all these statements I just quoted seem to be UPG.

I do not think UPG is a problem, though; I think it can be a problem only 1.) when the UPG status of an information is denied, 2.) when one states one is reconstructionist and 3.) when the lore clearly contradicts the said UPG.

So, again, you have to read a lot of material, and not just the lore, to reconstruct a religious belief that was plausible in pre-christian times. I mean, you could just read the lore and be more of an Asatruar (which is a beautiful tradition), but that's not reconstructionism. Reconstructionism means constructing beliefs based off the available evidence. That doesn't make those beliefs UPG, it makes them educated guesses.

Quote
I say it because I do not remember statements in the lore neither about "God" being just a function or, like you said, a "job title"

In Norse mythology (which is not the entirety of Germanic religious beliefs)  the world was not created by divine beings but grew organically from chaos. Also born in this chaos were Odin, Vili, and Ve, who  established order by mitigating, controlling, and ruling over the elements that eventually became our world. Once this was under way (and a war was had) they even sat down together and worked out how to order gods:

 Of old was the age | when Ymir lived;
Sea nor cool waves | nor sand there were;
Earth had not been, | nor heaven above,
But a yawning gap, | and grass nowhere.
4.Then Bur's sons lifted | the level land,
Mithgarth the mighty | there they made;
The sun from the south | warmed the stones of earth,
And green was the ground | with growing leeks.
5. The sun, the sister | of the moon, from the south
Her right hand cast | over heaven's rim;
No knowledge she had | where her home should be,
The moon knew not | what might was his,
The stars knew not | where their stations were.
 6.Then sought the gods | their assembly-seats,
The holy ones, | and council held;
Names then gave they | to noon and twilight,
Morning they named, | and the waning moon,
Night and evening, | the years to number.

24. Then sought the gods | their assembly-seats,
The holy ones, | and council held,
Whether the gods | should tribute give,
Or to all alike | should worship belong.
(Source? 'The Lore')

Here you can see that gods are a few select beings of many  who took control of the natural/spiritual world. After this they came together and decided who was going to be a god and function as part of the ruling assembly. Who was going to continue counciling the sun, the moon, etc. "Council" is used quite often; in fact, one term for the gods is the reginn, which means 'decreeing powers' or 'advise, decision, might, power'.

A god, as a being, is not just a function. But the use of god mainly denotes the functional position of that being.

Quote
nor about all of Whom you call "Beings" being defined as wights. Nor about wights being the same as Deities

You like the PIE connections.
 
Wight (n): from PIE *wekti- "thing, creature".
Thing (n): Old English þing "meeting, assembly, council, discussion," later "entity, being, matter"... from a PIE *tenk- (1), from root *ten- "stretch," perhaps on notion of "stretch of time for a meeting or assembly."  
Creature (n): late 13c., "anything created," also "living being,"

Creature isn't a native Germanic word. The only thing in Germanic language close to it is 'wight'. So, any living thing is a wight, but a wight is also: an assembly, a council, a meeting. The gods are both living things and an assembled council, and thus a wight,  and I don't know what could possibly fit that description better than them.

Obviously we can't just call them wights, because they are something more than that, so we honor them with the title of god.  

Quote
My interpretation of this part of the lore is that the landvættir were regarded as having a relationship to the idea of locality that differed so much from that of the worship of the Deities. This seems to be the reason why the landvættir of the new land had to be respected while the Norsemen had to bring along everything concerning the worship of the Deities.

Well, yes. That's why they have the prefix land-. Interestingly enough, wights connected to the house are called housevaettir/house wights. ;)

The difference between land wights and gods is that the wights are connected to a specific land feature. They live there. They will possibly grant you with luck and assistance, but they aren't trying to be ruling powers of any magnitude. However, Iceland is apparently guarded by four landvaettir that are extremely powerful (Saga of King Olaf Tryggvason).  And, the God Regnitar Omnium Deus was explicitly stated to be connected to a particular grove and the ruler over it. So the definition of wights and gods is again squishy.
 
Quote
This is true; I do not like feeling I'm making things up and/or without at least a precedent - and preferably a precedent from before the christianization of the people related to the religion I'm trying to reconstruct.

As for "unearthing a Brazilian religion pure of syncretism", I do think this is an attractive idea!  I'm slightly envious of people whose ancestors came from a single and definite people, related to a single and definite land and that, therefore, have the chance of reconstructing and practicing a religion unarguably connected with them. I think it's even better when people live in the same land which their ancestors came from. And I think it's even better when the religion in question is well-documented.

About adaptation and syncretism, I think some adaptations can be unpreventable but I do not know whether I think contemporary syncretism is OK. Nonetheless, I do not mind syncretism happened before the christianization of the people related to the religion in question.



Pre-conversion Germanic religion did not come from a single people and there are elements of multiculturalism within it.

You seem to have a very romanticized and folkish inspired (read: racist Asatru) view of Germanic  religion. I'm curious what forums, groups and books you took your ideas from.  
 
I can understand trying to connect with roots. But to want and admire a culture because it is segregated and pure from other cultures, existing undisturbed on its motherland, and to consider that ideal, is just...whatever. It doesn't seem right.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2014, 03:16:20 am by Juniperberry »
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

Faemon

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Re: US-American ethnic religion: what may come from reconstructionism?
« Reply #27 on: December 13, 2014, 03:58:28 am »
Quote from: Kaio;167315
I do not like feeling I'm making things up and/or without at least a precedent - and preferably a precedent from before the christianization of the people related to the religion I'm trying to reconstruct.

As for "unearthing a Brazilian religion pure of syncretism", I do think this is an attractive idea! :) I'm slightly envious of people whose ancestors came from a single and definite people, related to a single and definite land and that, therefore, have the chance of reconstructing and practicing a religion unarguably connected with them. I think it's even better when people live in the same land which their ancestors came from. And I think it's even better when the religion in question is well-documented.

About adaptation and syncretism, I think some adaptations can be unpreventable but I do not know whether I think contemporary syncretism is OK. Nonetheless, I do not mind syncretism happened before the christianization of the people related to the religion in question.


So, maybe Mayan or Incan or Aztec reconstructionism, but further South if that would be possible? Or would you be able to adapt any post-colonial influence that you have? The thing is, any post-colonial influence, or maybe I should just just say colonial influence, has already been adapted to the area that it's moved into. So, perhaps flip that consideration over and realize that the area itself influences everything that comes into to it, even if that exported culture is foreign and new. The style of the area or the prior culture sort of demands to be adapted to at least as much as it adapts itself.
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Faemon

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Re: US-American ethnic religion: what may come from reconstructionism?
« Reply #28 on: December 13, 2014, 04:10:14 am »
Quote from: Juniperberry;167319
Reading the lore literally and then obeying it to the letter isn't reconstructionism. It's bible study.

It might not be bible study if it's not the bible or even in a book, but of course I understand that you meant to highlight the similarity. What I mean is...what is the word for that? There ought to be a word for that.

Quote
RECONSTRUCTIONISM DOES NOT HAVE ANY BELIEFS. IT ISN'T A RELIGIOUS SYSTEM!

 :)

First sentence, I agree. Second sentence, isn't the system the skeleton, though? Or is the system and the content the same in the way you're using the words?

Quote
I can understand trying to connect with roots. But to want and admire a culture because it is segregated and pure from other cultures, existing undisturbed on its motherland, and to consider that ideal, is just...whatever. It doesn't seem right

I can understand how some cultures or even some people could have required a sort of chrysalis-like stage of ideology. Like, the integrity of identity sometimes needs some territoriality (the bounds of which would be the metaphorical outside part of the chrysalis that I'm referring to) to form.

This reminds me of a friend of mine who keeps mourning out loud the ingratiating attitude towards Western civilization, in our culture. One thing that she considers a good model is the isolationist period of Japan, where the government set the territory and allowed the culture to develop integrity within in. (Is how I think my friend sees it.) I considered her consideration of that era strange, because most of what I'd read about that time cast it as A Bad Thing between the lines that I'm reading. But, I sort of get it. The thing is, it's not up to just one person with wishes such as hers: isolationism happened in Japan, not in the Philippines. I personally also feel rootless in my heritage, but if adaptation is the only tool that I'm given then to be sure I'll make it a viable one.

I forgot my point now but I typed too much to want to delete it. :p
« Last Edit: December 13, 2014, 04:12:03 am by Faemon »
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Juniperberry

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Re: US-American ethnic religion: what may come from reconstructionism?
« Reply #29 on: December 13, 2014, 01:32:32 pm »
Quote from: Faemon;167323
It might not be bible study if it's not the bible or even in a book, but of course I understand that you meant to highlight the similarity. What I mean is...what is the word for that? There ought to be a word for that.


Orthodoxy?

Quote
First sentence, I agree. Second sentence, isn't the system the skeleton, though? Or is the system and the content the same in the way you're using the words?


What I mean is that reconstructionism isn't a religion unto itself.


 
Quote
I can understand how some cultures or even some people could have required a sort of chrysalis-like stage of ideology. Like, the integrity of identity sometimes needs some territoriality (the bounds of which would be the metaphorical outside part of the chrysalis that I'm referring to) to form.

This reminds me of a friend of mine who keeps mourning out loud the ingratiating attitude towards Western civilization, in our culture. One thing that she considers a good model is the isolationist period of Japan, where the government set the territory and allowed the culture to develop integrity within in. (Is how I think my friend sees it.) I considered her consideration of that era strange, because most of what I'd read about that time cast it as A Bad Thing between the lines that I'm reading. But, I sort of get it. The thing is, it's not up to just one person with wishes such as hers: isolationism happened in Japan, not in the Philippines. I personally also feel rootless in my heritage, but if adaptation is the only tool that I'm given then to be sure I'll make it a viable one.

I forgot my point now but I typed too much to want to delete it. :p


I've been trying to be pretty careful in addressing certain concerns I have in this thread. I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to Brazilian culture: politics, religion, race etc. I'm not sure if I'm seeing this from a privileged POV whereas Kaio might be coming from an appropriated and silenced POV.

But I do know a bit about Germanic paganism and how it's often misinterpreted to fit racist agendas. Since it's a large problem in that religious community, it's necessary to speak up and correct thoseperceptions. It's not ok to say that you want a pure and segregated ethnic culture like the Germanic people and not expect it to raise some flags. There's a violent and oppressive history there caused by people (most notably Hitler) who misrepresented early Germanic culture in that exact way.

So we have someone idealizing an element of racist Germanic paganism, asking about US-American ethnic religion, and dismissing African and indigenous influences, all in the effort to create a segregated and pure ethnic religion. From my side of the fence that all looks problematic. I'm not claiming that it is, but I am interested in finding out more about what we're dealing with in this thread.

Honestly, this whole thread has me terribly confused.
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

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