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Author Topic: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid  (Read 12523 times)

Sophia C

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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2013, 11:40:12 am »
Quote from: Cág;130953
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

 
I understood there was a possibility of Lugh being associated with lightning, although nothing definitive. (I think the Dagda has lightning links too.)
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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2013, 02:46:32 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.

 
I think another one is that all deities follow the same archetypes. This drives me nuts especially when it's something like how all goddesses fit into Maiden, Mother, and Crone categories.

It's true that there are often many similarities and if you as an individual are into archetypes that's cool. But it's always weird how people try to shoehorn deities into those specific categories even when they don't fit neatly. If someone does want to go with archetype stuff maybe it would be more helpful to say that archetypes are like the tropes we find in stories, they might work as general categories, but there are often many differences unaccounted for.

Another one is assuming certain symbols or whatever are universal, like in Tana's example, or when people jump to the conclusion that of course pink is associated with femininity or green is associated with luck... you get the point. They're not universally the same so each person should look at what's most common in their own path, in their culture of origin, etc.

Another big one is assuming that all pagan paths include BOTH worshipping deities and also magic. Some include both, some include only one with people doing both separately, and so on.

Melamphoros

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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2013, 03:35:57 pm »
Quote from: Medulla;130965
I think another one is that all deities follow the same archetypes. This drives me nuts especially when it's something like how all goddesses fit into Maiden, Mother, and Crone categories.

It's true that there are often many similarities and if you as an individual are into archetypes that's cool. But it's always weird how people try to shoehorn deities into those specific categories even when they don't fit neatly. If someone does want to go with archetype stuff maybe it would be more helpful to say that archetypes are like the tropes we find in stories, they might work as general categories, but there are often many differences unaccounted for.

 
Related to this:

Hekate was most often portrayed in ancient Greek art and literature as a maiden goddess, not as a crone.


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Jabberwocky

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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2013, 03:43:03 pm »
Quote from: stephyjh;130919
And your proof is?

What we cannot prove, we do not KNOW.

 
That's how the ancient historical method works though.

There is very little we 100% know about ancient history.  There's a lot more we can make informed speculation about, based on the evidence available to us.
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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2013, 04:48:03 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;130946

3) All Pagan religions celebrate the eight [Wiccan] Sabbats.


For Wiccans and similar-path walkers: full moon (and any other moon) day rituals do not mean they are performed at night to worship the moon. The moon cycle is used to determine what day to perform rites (for various purposes) in the morning or afternoon.

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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2013, 04:55:40 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.

 
Firstly, who say I was just talking about Celts?
Here's a hint: Romans invaded Britain (properly) in AD43. Now if we're talking all early Homo species then we've got evidence of them from 700,000 years ago, and then actual skeletal remains from half a million years ago (oh hello, Boxgrove you awesome place, you). But the earliest skeletal remains of Homo sapiens in Britain is from about 40,000 years ago. So from 40,000 years ago to when the Romans rocked up, there's a huge timescale that pre-Roman Britain could be used for.
Now if we're talking from when the land that now makes up Britain actually got separated from mainland Europe that was about 6500BC. So still 6 and a half thousands years of humans who were pre-Roman Britons. (And by Briton I mean inhabitant of the lands now known as Britain)
As for "Celts", here's a fun little thing: Not all academics and archaeologists actually agree that there were Celts in Britain. You see? This is the fun that happens when pretty much everything comes from archaeological finds so therefore pretty much everything is an educated guess or assumption. We don't actually KNOW. Oh and the usual consensus for the emergence of what is called Celtic culture in Britain is about 700-600BC (although again, there's debate about that). So if we're taking the term of "pre-Roman Briton" to mean a human who lived in the land that is now known as Britain when that land was separated from mainland Europe before the Romans invaded in AD43; there's roughly 6,000 years of humans that fit that moniker before Celtic culture started to appear in Britain.
So to answer my own question: I wasn't just talking about the Celts.

(Some of the dates in the above might be a bit wrong. I'm working from memory here (from uni 4 years ago) but I don't think I'm too far out. )

Secondly, I would highly recommend you read Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain by Ronald Hutton and then get back to me with that " Many of their traditions have probably stuck around albeit likely in Christianized form" thing.

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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2013, 07:41:51 pm »
Quote from: Aranel;130979
So to answer my own question: I wasn't just talking about the Celts.   (Some of the dates in the above might be a bit wrong. I'm working from memory here (from uni 4 years ago) but I don't think I'm too far out. )   Secondly, I would highly recommend you read Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain by Ronald Hutton and then get back to me with that " Many of their traditions have probably stuck around albeit likely in Christianized form" thing.
 I might want to check this book out at some point so thanks for the recommendation.  1. All Ancient Greeks practiced Hellenismos in the exact same way and had the exact same thoughts about everything related to religion/piety regardless of which city state they resided in. So false it's amazing how many new Hellenists fall into thisis thought trap when they first enter the religion. Then again, it doesn't help that one of the more prominent 101 authors pretty much worships the Athenian traditions.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2013, 07:42:38 pm by dionysiandame »
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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2013, 07:49:56 pm »
Quote from: dionysiandame;130995
Then again, it doesn't help that one of the more prominent 101 authors pretty much worships the Athenian traditions.

 
It also doesn't help that we tend to have more surviving written records about how the Athenians did it compared to most other city-states.


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Aiwelin

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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #23 on: November 28, 2013, 10:20:51 pm »
Quote from: Tana;130948
The sun must be male, the moon female, the earth female and the sky male.

 
That drives me nuts, too!  With a German grandmother, I grew up singing to Mr. Moon; for my first years as a Pagan, I had so much trouble with the female moon / male sun idea.  I feel much more at home now working in Anglo-Saxon and Irish contexts.

Quote from: Medulla;130965
Another big one is assuming that all pagan paths include BOTH worshipping deities and also magic. Some include both, some include only one with people doing both separately, and so on.


Yep!  When I was applying to the Wiccan coven I'm learning from, they seemed aghast when I said I'd been Pagan for ten years but didn't have much experience with magic.  It's just not a thing I do.

Quote from: Materialist;130978
For Wiccans and similar-path walkers: full moon (and any other moon) day rituals do not mean they are performed at night to worship the moon. The moon cycle is used to determine what day to perform rites (for various purposes) in the morning or afternoon.


I've begun working with an Anglo-Saxon ritual calendar that's been reconstructed to place many of its festivals on the full moon: not because they worshiped the moon, but because in a calendar that starts months on the new moon, the full moon is the natural 'center' of a holy month.  

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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #24 on: November 29, 2013, 12:07:14 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.

 
I just wanted to expand on #1 because popular thought regarding the witch trials bothers me.  I took a class in college called "Witchcraft, Religion, and Magic" that was history based and not religious based. Those persecuted were outcasts within their communities, often old women, the mentally ill, physically disabled, midwives, healers, some cunning folk, even Jews and Gypsies.  The document that lead the hunt was the Malleus Maleficarum written by two German Dominican monks and they weren't concerned with the pagan non-Abrahamic deities so much as they were with devil worship and communing with demons.  They also had serious problems and fears about women.  For example, they thought "these witches" would snatch a man's penis.  They had serious concerns about their junk.  There were also themes regarding reproduction and children, demons and the devil having sex with women, abortions, and children being eaten by witches.  Interestingly enough, at the same time medicine which had historically been more women's domain (midwives, generally female healers and herbalists) was becoming men's domain and men were putting the science of that time behind medicine as opposed to understanding herbalism and more ancient knowledge of healing that generally women held.  These sorts of witch hunts have repeated through history and can still be seen in some developing nations after Christianity took a stronghold.  A bunch of people gather together to say an old woman, midwife, or herbalist is a witch and then they kill her.  Most historians of Early Modern European history  have doubts that any of the people killed were witches by our understanding of what a witch is. The closest we can get is the wise folk, midwives and healers but that can also be explained by medicine becoming more science based and men's increase of interest and participation in medicine and the threat they may have felt by women healers.  I know this was generally written as a men vs women thing, and although some men were tried and killed it was largely an assault on women.

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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #25 on: November 29, 2013, 12:27:04 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.

 
Wow.  ALL of this.  I am all about all of this.  Meaning, I'm so glad I'm not the only one who has thought these things for years.  

Really, as one who is basically still a fledgeling pagan, you have no idea how frustrating it is to get the impression from some people that you don't really have faith if you don't believe the above.  Like somehow all of standard history is conspiring against us pagans, and all the peer-reviewed, scholarly processes are a systematic enacting of this prejudice.

Thank you for this thread.

Also, I feel like another should be added: Paganism does NOT imply new-age hippie.  Or ignorance of the scientific process.  Or ignorance in general.

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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #26 on: November 29, 2013, 05:39:18 pm »
Quote from: windmote;131037
Like somehow all of standard history is conspiring against us pagans, and all the peer-reviewed, scholarly processes are a systematic enacting of this prejudice.

Thank you for this thread.

Also, I feel like another should be added: Paganism does NOT imply new-age hippie.  Or ignorance of the scientific process.  Or ignorance in general.

 
This! I'm a Gaelic Polytheist but also an academic (a Celticist with a minor in Archaeology) and if anything I've found it to enrich my practice because I have the strong knowledge base to pull from and access to better resources than most might. :D
I've found those who dislike scholars tend to do so because often we show them up in their own lack of research and simply don't like being seen as knowing only a bare bones of a topic or being horribly wrong about basic things XD
They tend to back down when I come along :P XD XD
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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #27 on: November 29, 2013, 07:02:44 pm »
Quote from: EasternTiger;131032
The closest we can get is the wise folk, midwives and healers but that can also be explained by medicine becoming more science based and men's increase of interest and participation in medicine and the threat they may have felt by women healers.  I know this was generally written as a men vs women thing, and although some men were tried and killed it was largely an assault on women.

 Even this is a bit wide of the mark. The records of court cases in the protestant areas of French show that the charge of witchcraft was often made by women and the accusers were often led by the village midwife!

I assume that if a group of women decided that someone was a witch, they'd try to get the midwife on side as the lord of the manor would listen to her: after all, she'd delivered his own children. Male doctors only began to get involved in the 18th century: in "Tristram Shandy", Dr Slop is ridiculed as a "male midwife".
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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #28 on: November 29, 2013, 07:59:22 pm »
Quote from: DavidMcCann;131061
Even this is a bit wide of the mark. The records of court cases in the protestant areas of French show that the charge of witchcraft was often made by women and the accusers were often led by the village midwife!

Also, from what I've read re: cunning folk, they were more troubled by secular lawsuits-- fraud & defamation mostly-- than by the church.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2013, 08:00:56 pm by MadZealot »
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Re: Popular inaccuracies new (and less new) pagans should avoid
« Reply #29 on: December 03, 2013, 02:56:33 pm »
Quote from: MadZealot;131064
Also, from what I've read re: cunning folk, they were more troubled by secular lawsuits-- fraud & defamation mostly-- than by the church.

 
I would like to add:

Marvel comics is not a good resource for lore

Not all pagans practice magic

and

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