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Author Topic: General/Non-Specific: Seeking: Christian/Secret Polytheist drawn to Pagan Practice  (Read 1724 times)

EmberHearth

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Re: Seeking: Christian/Secret Polytheist drawn to Pagan Practice
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2018, 08:36:32 am »

It's hard to address a topic like the jealousy of God because we may not share the same view of God.  But I interpret the scriptures enjoining the worship of one God in a different light.  All that we do and believe is processed through the self.  The self comes first, and personal conscience.  We are all our own authorities -- even if we defer to an outside authority, we first decided that was the right thing to do.


One of the first interpretations I heard, was that "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" says nothing about after.  Ehrman discusses Jewish and Christian cosmologists in "How Jesus Became God."

I have also taken a look at other religious traditions.  Sometimes I think the Hindu mono-polytheism best fits my concept of deity.  I do believe / feel that there is a oneness somewhere behind it all.  It's just hard to relate to something as vast as a panentheistic being.

This puts me on the softer side of Polytheism.  How hard or soft varies, sometimes in the same day.

I'm not from India and don't read Sanskrit, so my interpretation probably draws more from Plato's Monad than practiced Hindu theology.

Coming from Christianity, I take a particular interest in how the other Abrahamic traditions (Judaism and Islam) address the subject.  Both reject trinitarianism (although the trinity can be another way to get to soft polytheism).

John Calvin argued something like the Catholic recognition of Mary and the saints follows pagan polytheism.   I've downloaded the essay, but haven't read it yet.

(I'm leery of Calvinism.  In part because of my Catholic background, but partly due to the Prosperity Gospel.)

One of the pagans I knew with a Jewish background, came into an understanding of female deity from hearing adults talk about the female names from the Kabbalah.

Another was working to reconstruct Jewish polytheism, based in part on those passages EclecticWheel described.  I suspect they also drew on the archaeology and research on Canaanite religion.

Just to reiterate: polytheism, forms of worship, and magical practices can be taken in various combinations.

  • Ceremonial magic steals a lot from the Jewish Kabbalah.
  • Folk magic is successfully practiced by devout Christian monotheists calling on the Christian God.
  • If deity/spirit calls on you, it is always wise to practice discernment, even if one is a Pagan hard polytheist.
  • Some of the powers that be find humans very tasty.

EclecticWheel

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Re: Seeking: Christian/Secret Polytheist drawn to Pagan Practice
« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2018, 03:27:11 pm »
One of the first interpretations I heard, was that "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" says nothing about after.  Ehrman discusses Jewish and Christian cosmologists in "How Jesus Became God."

That was partly what I was getting at, and I'm glad you mentioned it since I'm not sure I always have the right words to convey what I believe -- it's complicated.  I also tend to equate the Self -- a unique whole interconnected with everything else -- with God, so for me, putting that Self first and what is right for that Self simply is what it is to honor God first, and if it's right for you to have connections to other entities/gods/Selves, then you are not doing anything wrong.  In doing so, you are still serving the Self and putting what is right for that Self first, and that is the same thing as putting God first.

If you are seeking a feminine connection to the divine you might explore Marian devotion, not only in its orthodox contexts, but also some of the other forms you can find online with a google search.  This could help you coming from a Catholic background.  You might explore the Philomarianites and adopt or adapt some of their practices.

My deacon had a hard time because of personal experiences with God the Father for a long time.  But she did find a feminine connection to the Holy Spirit and still refers to her as "she."  The Hebrew word for "spirit" is feminine (ruach), and the Wisdom of God in the Hebrew Bible and deuterocanoncical or apocryphal texts is personified in feminine form.

There should be some interesting stuff on this topic from Jewish perspectives too if you look around, but I cannot look for any links at present.  It sounds like you already have a good start on some interesting things to look into, though, and I hope you keep us updated on any connections you make.
My personal moral code:

Love wisely, and do what thou wilt.

EclecticWheel

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Re: Seeking: Christian/Secret Polytheist drawn to Pagan Practice
« Reply #17 on: December 23, 2018, 12:58:55 am »
That was partly what I was getting at, and I'm glad you mentioned it since I'm not sure I always have the right words to convey what I believe -- it's complicated.  I also tend to equate the Self -- a unique whole interconnected with everything else -- with God, so for me, putting that Self first and what is right for that Self simply is what it is to honor God first, and if it's right for you to have connections to other entities/gods/Selves, then you are not doing anything wrong.  In doing so, you are still serving the Self and putting what is right for that Self first, and that is the same thing as putting God first.

If you are seeking a feminine connection to the divine you might explore Marian devotion, not only in its orthodox contexts, but also some of the other forms you can find online with a google search.  This could help you coming from a Catholic background.  You might explore the Philomarianites and adopt or adapt some of their practices.

My deacon had a hard time because of personal experiences with God the Father for a long time.  But she did find a feminine connection to the Holy Spirit and still refers to her as "she."  The Hebrew word for "spirit" is feminine (ruach), and the Wisdom of God in the Hebrew Bible and deuterocanoncical or apocryphal texts is personified in feminine form.

There should be some interesting stuff on this topic from Jewish perspectives too if you look around, but I cannot look for any links at present.  It sounds like you already have a good start on some interesting things to look into, though, and I hope you keep us updated on any connections you make.

I just wanted to come back to offer an interesting twist on a feminine perspective of deity informed by a Christian framework.

I have heard it argued in theory that Jesus may have been gender nonbinary.  Though he lived as a male, if he was born of a virgin, he could possibly have had no male DNA and thus no Y chromosome.

In some mystical writings Jesus is treated in a way that transcends strict gender categories.  For example, while Jesus is referred to by male pronouns in Julian of Norwich's writings, she will sometimes in the same sentence refer to him as "Mother Jesus" or other maternal descriptions.

In my parish there is a stained glass window depicting Jesus as symbolized by a mother pelican feeding her children by piercing herself with her beak and feeding them on her blood, a maternal eucharistic metaphor.

If you are still feeling a call to be in relationship with Jesus, you might also in addition to the other areas I suggested exploring approach him in a prayerful state of mind and ask him to reveal himself to you in his maternal, nurturing aspects.
My personal moral code:

Love wisely, and do what thou wilt.

EclecticWheel

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Re: Seeking: Christian/Secret Polytheist drawn to Pagan Practice
« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2018, 01:57:22 am »
One of the first interpretations I heard, was that "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" says nothing about after.  Ehrman discusses Jewish and Christian cosmologists in "How Jesus Became God."

I have also taken a look at other religious traditions.  Sometimes I think the Hindu mono-polytheism best fits my concept of deity.  I do believe / feel that there is a oneness somewhere behind it all.  It's just hard to relate to something as vast as a panentheistic being.

This puts me on the softer side of Polytheism.  How hard or soft varies, sometimes in the same day.

I'm not from India and don't read Sanskrit, so my interpretation probably draws more from Plato's Monad than practiced Hindu theology.

Coming from Christianity, I take a particular interest in how the other Abrahamic traditions (Judaism and Islam) address the subject.  Both reject trinitarianism (although the trinity can be another way to get to soft polytheism).

John Calvin argued something like the Catholic recognition of Mary and the saints follows pagan polytheism.   I've downloaded the essay, but haven't read it yet.

(I'm leery of Calvinism.  In part because of my Catholic background, but partly due to the Prosperity Gospel.)

One of the pagans I knew with a Jewish background, came into an understanding of female deity from hearing adults talk about the female names from the Kabbalah.

Another was working to reconstruct Jewish polytheism, based in part on those passages EclecticWheel described.  I suspect they also drew on the archaeology and research on Canaanite religion.

Just to reiterate: polytheism, forms of worship, and magical practices can be taken in various combinations.

  • Ceremonial magic steals a lot from the Jewish Kabbalah.
  • Folk magic is successfully practiced by devout Christian monotheists calling on the Christian God.
  • If deity/spirit calls on you, it is always wise to practice discernment, even if one is a Pagan hard polytheist.
  • Some of the powers that be find humans very tasty.

I temporarily confused the identity of the OP with your post.  The OP apparently does not come from a Catholic background.  In any case, I hope what I said is still helpful in some sense.
My personal moral code:

Love wisely, and do what thou wilt.

Darkhawk

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Re: Seeking: Christian/Secret Polytheist drawn to Pagan Practice
« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2018, 03:24:20 pm »
I have heard it argued in theory that Jesus may have been gender nonbinary.

Some early iconography of Jesus portrayed him with breasts in order to make it clear that his salvific presence was for all of humanity, not just the male.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Beloved

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Re: Seeking: Christian/Secret Polytheist drawn to Pagan Practice
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2018, 11:21:08 am »

  • If deity/spirit calls on you, it is always wise to practice discernment, even if one is a Pagan hard polytheist.
  • Some of the powers that be find humans very tasty.

This may not be the thread for it, but could you expand on these? What does practicing discernment look like? What are these nasty powers and how do you know to stay away from them? I'm trying to understand this outside of what the church I grew up in taught (which of course was that everything other than the Trinity was a demon and to be avoided, and that even the Catholic affirmed apparitions of Mary or saints were demonic).

Beloved

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Re: Seeking: Christian/Secret Polytheist drawn to Pagan Practice
« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2018, 11:30:55 am »
Some early iconography of Jesus portrayed him with breasts in order to make it clear that his salvific presence was for all of humanity, not just the male.

I am learning that Christianity is much bigger than I was ever taught.

Truly, I appreciate every single reply on this thread. I am still doing a lot of seeking, reading, and experimenting. It's been interesting and I feel "connected" in a very real way. I can't say that I have any answers yet, but right now I'm comfortable sitting with the unknown and with the spiritual practice I'm developing. I plan on observing both the liturgical calendar and the wheel of the year over the coming year and just seeing where things go.

Seriously, this forum has been incredibly helpful, thought provoking, and kind.

Ashmire

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Re: Seeking: Christian/Secret Polytheist drawn to Pagan Practice
« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2018, 02:07:06 pm »
This may not be the thread for it, but could you expand on these? What does practicing discernment look like? What are these nasty powers and how do you know to stay away from them? I'm trying to understand this outside of what the church I grew up in taught (which of course was that everything other than the Trinity was a demon and to be avoided, and that even the Catholic affirmed apparitions of Mary or saints were demonic).

Here's a handy thread we have on that topic I often direct people to from outside the Cauldron: https://ecauldron.com/forum/mystery-builders-sig/evaluating-your-gnosis/msg68235/#msg68235

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Re: Seeking: Christian/Secret Polytheist drawn to Pagan Practice
« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2018, 08:17:44 pm »
Some early iconography of Jesus portrayed him with breasts in order to make it clear that his salvific presence was for all of humanity, not just the male.

There's also medieval iconography of Jesus with an erection, to represent that he was fully human as well as divine.

Thomand Valerien

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Re: Seeking: Christian/Secret Polytheist drawn to Pagan Practice
« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2019, 09:03:33 am »
Hi all. :) This is my first post/first day on the forum. Apologies for what will almost certainly turn into a lengthy post.

I was practically born a Christian. My dad, along with just about every other man in my family, was a pastor. I was baptized as an infant and dedicated to the Christian God.

I was (am?) a devout Christian.

Despite being a devout Christian, I didn’t realize growing up that my natural relationship with Deity was, frankly, more pagan in flavor than it was Christian. I remember getting in trouble as a kid for drawing circles on the ground to sit and pray in. I always felt God more in nature than in the church, and felt a relational connection to plants and animals. I rejected fundamentalist ideas even as a young child in a fundamentalist church. I knew, deeply, that my God was good and kind and was different than the God often portrayed in sermons. I never believed it was a different God, only that the preachers had not really met Him!

. . . . . . . .

Does any of this make sense? Any words of wisdom as I try to sort all of this out?

Seek out a congregation which embraces Gnostic Christianity.  There are a number of them out there:

http://www.gnosticschristians.com/

Also look for churches in the New Thought tradition: Unity School of Christianity,  Church of Divine Science,  Spiritualist Church, etcetera.

Final option would be the Unitarian Universalists.

Be aware that these groups will be very progressive in how they understand Hebrew and Greek Scriptures: they will assume the Bible is largely mythology,  with much wisdom to be gleaned therefrom,  but never to be taken literally. 

They may speak of Christ as more of a symbol or avatar than as a  historical person. They won't be interested in classical Christian theology   

If you bring a more traditional or fundamentalist paradigm to such churches, you will endure some cognitive dissonance.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2019, 09:11:05 am by Thomand Valerien »

Starlight

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Re: Seeking: Christian/Secret Polytheist drawn to Pagan Practice
« Reply #25 on: February 23, 2019, 09:29:45 pm »
I have been doing this. It certainly changes things, doesn't it? Frankly, this is where some of my current anger toward Christianity comes from. I feel like I've been lied to my entire life.

You may be interested in a new book by Pete Enns, "How the Bible Actually Works". He also has a website and podcast and interviews some really interesting people with a wide range of interests and ideas around Christianity.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2019, 09:31:54 pm by Starlight »
What you seek is seeking you. - Rumi

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