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Author Topic: Vegan & paganism: any paths where this would conflict?  (Read 960 times)

Hipporadish

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Vegan & paganism: any paths where this would conflict?
« on: July 27, 2014, 03:42:07 pm »
I am a vegan and am currently seeking the right path for me. I was reading about Canaanite paganism and whilst not directly sacrificing an animal a key belief appears to revolve around the buying and eating of meat in honour/offering to deities.

Obviously for me this would not be possible so I was really looking for advice on paths where meat or non vegan food is key to worship so I can rule them out of my search.

Thanks

carillion

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Re: Vegan & paganism: any paths where this would conflict?
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2014, 05:26:58 pm »
Quote from: Hipporadish;154113
I am a vegan and am currently seeking the right path for me. I was reading about Canaanite paganism and whilst not directly sacrificing an animal a key belief appears to revolve around the buying and eating of meat in honour/offering to deities.

Obviously for me this would not be possible so I was really looking for advice on paths where meat or non vegan food is key to worship so I can rule them out of my search.

Thanks


I honestly don't think it matters for two reasons. One reason is that a lot of orthopraxy was constructed to chime in with the social mores , ideas and most importantly, location of the places from which they sprung. Things change over time. There is nothing in old scripture of most major religions governing the use of cell phones or computers ( thous shalt not sext, let thy ringtones chime in harmony with thy beliefs). The second reason is this : what would happen to a place if some plague or disaster wiped out their main and usual sources of sustenance? Would their pantheon or deity leave them? I don't think so and if so, those are/were pretty fickle deities. Many religions do not incorporate either sacrifice or food offerings into their orthopraxy.

Pagan type religions are pretty loose as far as I can see . Some we have very little historical information on. Neo-paganism seems to have evolved from a collection of various ideas and time periods so one could choose that which they are drawn to and probably tweak their practice to accommodate their daily routines.

I would think it was more important to find what you are drawn to. I don't think any really established belief systems will change their structure for you but then unless you find yourself drawn to the smiting set of deities, I don't think it matters. I think you sincerity rather than your food preferences matters more.

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Re: Vegan & paganism: any paths where this would conflict?
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2014, 06:27:08 pm »
Quote from: Hipporadish;154113
I am a vegan and am currently seeking the right path for me. I was reading about Canaanite paganism and whilst not directly sacrificing an animal a key belief appears to revolve around the buying and eating of meat in honour/offering to deities.

 
There's a couple of ways to think about this, really, and to go about it.

First, it's going to depend on why you're vegan: some people are for health reasons (or because they feel better when they are) but would be okay with it for occasional ritual purposes if those offerings came from humanely raised (and killed) animals. I'm guessing that's not you, but it's worth mentioning.

The second thing is whether it's going to limit other possible offerings or ritual foods - how would you feel about honey? About eggs? About dairy? (Dairy is a fairly common offering in some places, and eggs and dairy are two foods that show up a lot in seasonal or festival meals.) Are you living in a place where you can create meaningful seasonal or ritual meals reliably, even if those meals don't involve meat or eggs or dairy?

(You don't need to do those things, mind you, but if you're looking for a community of other practitioners in any form, even online, it's probably going to be useful to have things you can share when they're all talking about their ritual offering to X or what they're making for celebration Y. That requires a certain number of food skills that go beyond just keeping yourself fed, usually, if you need to look at alternatives and adjustments.)

Third, it's good to remember that historically speaking, limiting your food choices was a survival issue. It's not generally something historical peoples did in ways that cut out huge classes of food items (a particular animal, yes, a particular method of slaughter, yes, but not all animal products) It's hard to build a religion - or a community - when you're starving to death.

In fact, in some communities, festivals for the Gods might be the only time people reliably got meat in their diet, or a surplus of food between subsistence living (this is still true, for example, in a number of Haitian voudoun communities, where the loa have specific food and drink that must be present at some rituals)

It's also worth noting that a lot of the food prohibitions we know of usually have to do with either an animal sacred to a particular deity (and often not observed by people who were not particularly focused on that deity) or have some food-safety reasons behind them, now we know more about that topic, rather than being rooted in individual decisions by the practitioner. It's not that those don't matter, they were just not the thing the community as a whole paid a lot of attention to often, and while they probably happened, they're not a kind of thing that shows up a lot in historical documentation.

(I can think of examples from Catholicism - various fasting saints, for example - but that's well into a period where documentation was much more widespread, and where writing about individual people was much more common. And even then, they were vastly exceptions to the usual community practices.)

What does that leave?
1) If you go the route of historical-culture based stuff, you can likely find individual deities where offerings will be things you can work with. However, chances are pretty good that some of the common offerings for any ancient culture will include animal products (whether for that deity or for others in the culture) so you'd want to look to see if there are alternatives.

(For example, one of the standard offerings to the Kemetic deities - the netjer - is cool water. Incense is a common one many places, though there will be ingredients in some incenses that strict vegans would also want to avoid.)

2) You can honour and worship a specific deity (or deities) from a particular culture, but do it outside their historical practice.

Some people do this through using Wiccan based (or historical witchcraft based) methods (where the most common ritual meal is wine and bread, but there are options, and seasonal meals could generally be adapted, though you might have some complications if working with a group.) There are other methods around too, but what will be accessible to you depends a lot on your location and  your willingness to dig through some widely ranging sources.

Some people design their own practices, based on whatever sources make sense to them. The downside to this is threefold: it's a lot of work, it takes some specific skills (that you can likely learn, but most people don't have to start) to build something that's sustainable for a long time, and you can feel awfully lonely.

3) You can sort out some compromise for yourself (as above) that treats religious rituals a bit differently from other parts of your life.

Or, for example, religious rituals with others differently (so that you might offer something that you're comfortable with in private, but understand that if you do ritual with others, it might involve meat. Or you might decide you can do dairy but not meat, or ... well, you get to decide. Depends a lot on your reasons.)

I know, for example, people who keep kosher at home, but when in a restaurant with friends will not fuss about whether the restaurant is kosher (because that massively limits options many places) and instead order an appropriate meal without worrying about the kitchen. I know people who avoid certain foods *except* in ritual. And so on.
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Faemon

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Re: Vegan & paganism: any paths where this would conflict?
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2014, 12:49:55 pm »
Quote from: Hipporadish;154113
I am a vegan and am currently seeking the right path for me.

I was really looking for advice on paths where meat or non vegan food is key to worship so I can rule them out of my search.

 
While not a particular path, have you read The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith? It does have a capital-a Agenda (conclusion: humans are carnivores) that twists and fabricates the science, and even speaking as somebody who's open to the idea of the low nutritional value of a bowl of cereal being the fault of the patriarchy--I think her feminist rants come waaay out of left field, have no support, don't flow in any sort of proof, and halt as suddenly as they begin...but those flaws aside, I consider her personal journey as a vegetarian pagan absolutely fascinating, and it would have been one of my very favorite books had she just kept to the moral philosophy of the nature of life and death that I personally thought was quite wise. So, that's why I'd recommend it to you.
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