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Author Topic: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid  (Read 11524 times)

stephyjh

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Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« on: November 27, 2013, 03:32:17 pm »
I thought it might be helpful to have a thread to help people new to pagan religions sort through some of the very popular, very false claims out there. So, without further ado, here goes.

1. "Nine million witches died in the Burning Times." Historians actually place the number killed in the witch trials between 40,000 and 100,000, with no conclusive evidence that those killed were actually pagan at all. Read more here:
http://wicca.cnbeyer.com/burning.shtml

2. "Wicca is an ancient religion." Gerald Gardner founded Wicca in the twentieth century. He claimed to have a lineage dating back farther, but there's little to no evidence. More here: http://religiousstudiesblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/gerald-gardner-and-origins-of-wicca.html?m=1

3. "In ancient times, the Great Goddess was universally worshipped. Women ruled, and society was generally peaceful." There are plenty of places online where this is debunked, but I recommend the book The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Will Not Give Women a Future by Cynthia Eller.
A heretic blast has been blown in the west,
That what is no sense must be nonsense.

-Robert Burns

Aranel

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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2013, 04:16:22 pm »
Quote from: stephyjh;130900
I thought it might be helpful to have a thread to help people new to pagan religions sort through some of the very popular, very false claims out there. So, without further ado, here goes.

1. "Nine million witches died in the Burning Times." Historians actually place the number killed in the witch trials between 40,000 and 100,000, with no conclusive evidence that those killed were actually pagan at all. Read more here:
http://wicca.cnbeyer.com/burning.shtml

2. "Wicca is an ancient religion." Gerald Gardner founded Wicca in the twentieth century. He claimed to have a lineage dating back farther, but there's little to no evidence. More here: http://religiousstudiesblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/gerald-gardner-and-origins-of-wicca.html?m=1

3. "In ancient times, the Great Goddess was universally worshipped. Women ruled, and society was generally peaceful." There are plenty of places online where this is debunked, but I recommend the book The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Will Not Give Women a Future by Cynthia Eller.

4. We do not know what the beliefs, religions and practises were in pre-Roman Britain. Educated guesses regarding some beliefs and practises can be made based upon archaeological finds but they are just guesses.
Anybody claiming to have the same beliefs/religion/practises as pre-Roman Britons, or that their beliefs/religion/practises are descended from those of pre-Roman Britons are displaying a serious disregard for factual accuracy.
Same goes for pre-Christian Ireland.
Short of a time machine and a babel fish, we will never been able to find out.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2013, 04:17:28 pm by Aranel »

Riothamus12

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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2013, 08:09:27 pm »
Quote from: Aranel;130901
4. We do not know what the beliefs, religions and practises were in pre-Roman Britain. Educated guesses regarding some beliefs and practises can be made based upon archaeological finds but they are just guesses.
Anybody claiming to have the same beliefs/religion/practises as pre-Roman Britons, or that their beliefs/religion/practises are descended from those of pre-Roman Britons are displaying a serious disregard for factual accuracy.
Same goes for pre-Christian Ireland.
Short of a time machine and a babel fish, we will never been able to find out.

I would beg to differ. Records of sorts were kept. Perhaps they were not complete and they themselves may not have written much of it down, but we probably know more than we think.  Many of their traditions have probably stuck around albeit likely in Christianized form. Also considering that the Celts were widespread, we do know what kind of religion was practiced. Granted there were regional variants but claiming we do not know the beliefs or practices is foolish. To claim we know everything is.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2013, 08:14:37 pm by Riothamus12 »
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stephyjh

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Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2013, 08:27:51 pm »
Quote from: Riothamus12;130916
I would beg to differ. Records of sorts were kept. Perhaps they were not complete and they themselves may not have written much of it down, but we probably know more than we think.  Many of their traditions have probably stuck around albeit likely in Christianized form. Also considering that the Celts were widespread, we do know what kind of religion was practiced. Granted there were regional variants but claiming we do not know the beliefs or practices is foolish. To claim we know everything is.

And your proof is?

What we cannot prove, we do not KNOW.
A heretic blast has been blown in the west,
That what is no sense must be nonsense.

-Robert Burns

Cabal

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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2013, 12:28:07 am »
Quote from: Riothamus12;130916
I would beg to differ. Records of sorts were kept. Perhaps they were not complete and they themselves may not have written much of it down, but we probably know more than we think.  Many of their traditions have probably stuck around albeit likely in Christianized form. Also considering that the Celts were widespread, we do know what kind of religion was practiced. Granted there were regional variants but claiming we do not know the beliefs or practices is foolish. To claim we know everything is.
We have an idea, based on archaeological finding and Roman historians, but we truly do not have the understanding backed by factual evidence to truly know what and how the Britons of pre-Roman times practiced as far as religion. We can take what we have from the Roman writers and archaeological evidence and take a educated guess, but mostly we fill the gaps with what we think.
"In Hell, everybody loves popcorn."

Cabal

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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2013, 12:29:53 am »
Quote from: stephyjh;130900
I thought it might be helpful to have a thread to help people new to pagan religions sort through some of the very popular, very false claims out there. So, without further ado, here goes.

1. "Nine million witches died in the Burning Times." Historians actually place the number killed in the witch trials between 40,000 and 100,000, with no conclusive evidence that those killed were actually pagan at all. Read more here:
http://wicca.cnbeyer.com/burning.shtml

2. "Wicca is an ancient religion." Gerald Gardner founded Wicca in the twentieth century. He claimed to have a lineage dating back farther, but there's little to no evidence. More here: http://religiousstudiesblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/gerald-gardner-and-origins-of-wicca.html?m=1

3. "In ancient times, the Great Goddess was universally worshipped. Women ruled, and society was generally peaceful." There are plenty of places online where this is debunked, but I recommend the book The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Will Not Give Women a Future by Cynthia Eller.
The Pentagram or Pentacle is not a unifying Pagan symbol.
"In Hell, everybody loves popcorn."

Dark Midnight

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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2013, 01:00:16 am »
Quote from: stephyjh;130900
I thought it might be helpful to have a thread to help people new to pagan religions sort through some of the very popular, very false claims out there. So, without further ado, here goes.

1. "Nine million witches died in the Burning Times." Historians actually place the number killed in the witch trials between 40,000 and 100,000, with no conclusive evidence that those killed were actually pagan at all. Read more here:
http://wicca.cnbeyer.com/burning.shtml

2. "Wicca is an ancient religion." Gerald Gardner founded Wicca in the twentieth century. He claimed to have a lineage dating back farther, but there's little to no evidence. More here: http://religiousstudiesblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/gerald-gardner-and-origins-of-wicca.html?m=1

3. "In ancient times, the Great Goddess was universally worshipped. Women ruled, and society was generally peaceful." There are plenty of places online where this is debunked, but I recommend the book The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Will Not Give Women a Future by Cynthia Eller.

All Witches are Wiccans. If I hear this one more time, I will not be held responsible for my actions! All Witches are not Wiccans. There are many different types of Witch- Wiccan is only one!
« Last Edit: November 28, 2013, 01:01:34 am by Dark Midnight »
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MadZealot

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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2013, 01:01:49 am »
Quote from: Dark Midnight;130930
All Witches are Wiccans.

 
I thought it was all Wiccans are Witches?  Gaaaah, I get so cornfused....   :p
Superman is uncircumcised. Change my mind.

Cabal

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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2013, 01:12:00 am »
Quote from: MadZealot;130931
I thought it was all Wiccans are Witches?  Gaaaah, I get so cornfused....   :p
All Pagans are not Polytheists!
"In Hell, everybody loves popcorn."

Louisvillian

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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2013, 02:24:44 am »
Quote from: Cryfder;130933
All Pagans are not Polytheists!

Quite right. And not all polytheistic revivalists are Pagans/Neopagans.
I've actually had to explain these distinctions a lot, so I have made a handy-dandy Venn diagram that I've found quite useful:
[attach=CONFIG][/attach]

Naomi J

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Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2013, 02:28:26 am »
Quote from: Louisvillian;130938
Quite right. And not all polytheistic revivalists are Pagans/Neopagans.

And, especially in Britain: some Pagans *are* polytheists...
"We're all stories, in the end. Make it a good one, eh?"
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Oíche

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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2013, 07:49:44 am »
Quote from: stephyjh;130900
I thought it might be helpful to have a thread to help people new to pagan religions sort through some of the very popular, very false claims out there. So, without further ado, here goes. there's little to no evidence.

 
Here's a few which bug me XD

1. Ireland was ruled by druids for thousands of years.

2. Lugh is a sun-god (the word for sun in Irish is female!).

3.The ancient Irish had a potato goddess (you don't even have to be pagan to know that's nonsense XD ).

4. Christianity pillaged and burned all the pagans when Patrick invaded and forced everyone to convert immediately! (I literally tear my hair out at this one XD )
'You're my friend, and I love you- but you really look like a witch!!'

RandallS

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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2013, 08:05:20 am »
Quote from: Dark Midnight;130930
All Witches are Wiccans. If I hear this one more time, I will not be held responsible for my actions! All Witches are not Wiccans. There are many different types of Witch- Wiccan is only one!

1) All Pagans follow the [Wiccan] Rede.

2) All Pagan religions are centered on nature.

3) All Pagan religions celebrate the eight [Wiccan] Sabbats.
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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2013, 08:55:39 am »
Quote from: Cág;130944
2. Lugh is a sun-god (the word for sun in Irish is female!).

Oh really? That's cool.
As Germans we have a female sun and a male moon and I just go head-desking at the universal idea that:

The sun must be male, the moon female, the earth female and the sky male.

No, kids, it can be that way, it isn't universal tho'.

(And this goes to German witches and pagans: for the love of all gods above and below, stop saying 'Mondin' (attributing a female word ending to the male moon to make it female.) Stop it, or I'll be not held responsible for my actions.)
« Last Edit: November 28, 2013, 08:56:21 am by Tana »
\'You had to repay, good or bad. There was more than one type of obligation.
That’s what people never really understood.….Things had to balance.
You couldn’t set out to be a good witch or a bad witch. It never worked out for long.
All you could try to be was a witch, as hard as you could.\'
Terry Pratchett \'Lords and Ladies\'

Confuzzled and proud. :p

Oíche

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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2013, 11:31:56 am »
Quote from: Tana;130948
Oh really? That's cool.
As Germans we have a female sun and a male moon and I just go head-desking at the universal idea that:

The sun must be male, the moon female, the earth female and the sky male.

No, kids, it can be that way, it isn't universal tho'.

(And this goes to German witches and pagans: for the love of all gods above and below, stop saying 'Mondin' (attributing a female word ending to the male moon to make it female.) Stop it, or I'll be not held responsible for my actions.)

Yep :D
I think what tends to cause it is that Lugh is associated with the 'hero's light' (kinda a sorta-halo thing which can appear around a warrior's head in frenzied battle, his son Cú Chulainn is famous for that :) ) and people go 'Oh light? Clearly that must mean sun because light can't be from ANYTHING else XD ). :hdsk:
Lugh is the multi-skilled god :D

Oh that's cool! I never knew that about German, maybe there's a connection :D
« Last Edit: November 28, 2013, 11:32:57 am by Oíche »
'You're my friend, and I love you- but you really look like a witch!!'

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