T Nation

USA and Paganism?

Hi,
I’m wondering which is the common USA thinking about paganism movements and pagan religions…

thanks for the feedback :wink:

BURN THE WITCHES!

I have pagan friends. Most of them are really open about it. Of course, we’re in a college environment, and even though its a “southern” college, its still got a much more northern attitude.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/witchcra.htm

lots of information right there. Enjoy!

-Gendou

If you’re in the bible belt and you’re a pagan you might want to keep your religion to yourself. If you’re in a more cosmopolitan region then no one will really care; you’ll be just another counter-culture type.

There is an enormous subculture of paganism–and not just college students–in the USA. I haven’t heard of any persecution, if that’s what your asking, but many pagan groups keep to themselves most of the time.

[quote]etaco wrote:
If you’re in the bible belt and you’re a pagan you might want to keep your religion to yourself. If you’re in a more cosmopolitan region then no one will really care; you’ll be just another counter-culture type.[/quote]

what is the bible belt?

i’m really curious 'cause the USA have to me a double face of freedom and biggotry (sp?) I’m really intrested in the spirituality of the people as a eay to understand them in a more complete way

[quote]cadav wrote:
etaco wrote:

what is the bible belt?

[/quote]

An area from Southern Ohio to Northern Florida in which religion is practiced more feverently.

I’m not into persecuting religions- each to their own, but Paganism, come on, this is the 21st Century. It’s one step above Astrology.

[quote]deanosumo wrote:
I’m not into persecuting religions- each to their own, but Paganism, come on, this is the 21st Century. It’s one step above Astrology.[/quote]

I disagree. It’s not a step above astrology. It’s on the same level, just like every other religion. Belief is based in faith, not fact, therefore, neither astrology, paganism, or any other religion has any special claim to the truth.

Paganism is generally practiced by those same attention getting girls who cut themselves just a little.

It isn’t persecuted so much as snickered at. They are totally free to act as silly as they wish.

And the Bible Belt includes all of the South where Southern Baptists dominate religion.

Everything we do in America is paganism disguised. Even the days of the week:

Monday - Moon day,
It gets its name from the Moon, which in turn gets its name from Mani (Old English Mona), the Germanic Moon god.

Tuesday - The English and Scandinavian names are derived from the Nordic god Tyr -(in Old English, Tiw, Tew or Tiu.)

Wednesday - Woden or Odins day
Old English Wodnes d?g, meaning the day of the Germanic god Woden

Thursday - Thors Day
The contemporary name Thursday comes from the Old English ?unresd?g, meaning “Day of Thunor”, aka thor

Friday - Frigas day
The name Friday comes from the Old English friged?g, meaning the day of Frige the Anglo-Saxon form of Frigga, the Germanic goddess of beauty, with similar cognates existing in most Germanic languages

Saturday - Saturns day
It is the only day of the week to retain its Roman origin in English, named after the Roman god of time Saturn, calling it dies Saturni, “Saturn’s Day”.

Sunday - The name “Sunday” (Day of the Sun) apparently originated in pre-Christian Egyptian culture. (See Herbert Thurston’s article “Christian Calendar” in the 1908 Catholic Encyclopedia.) In Egyptian astrology, the seven planets, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon, each had an hour of the day assigned to them, and the planet which was “regent” during the first hour of any day of the week gave its name to that day. The Egyptian form of the seven-day week spread from Egypt to Rome during the first and second century, when the Roman names of the planets were given to each successive day. Germanic-speaking nations apparently adopted the seven-day week from the Romans, so that the dies Solis became Sunday (German, Sonntag). See also Sol Invictus.

Easter - Easter, a Christian festival, embodies many pre-Christian traditions. The origin of its name is unknown. Scholars, however, accepting the derivation proposed by the 8th-century English scholar St. Bede, believe it probably comes from Ēastre, the Anglo-Saxon name of a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility, to whom was dedicated a month corresponding to April. Her festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox; traditions associated with the festival survive in the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in colored easter eggs, originally painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring, and used in Easter-egg rolling contests or given as gifts.

Christmas - Well you can research that yourself.

As you see, we in America embrace paganism daily!

So whoop it up ya wiccan.

Christmas= Saturnalia

What was Saturnalia?

Saturnalia was the feast at which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of the god Saturn, which took place on 17 December. Over the years, it expanded to a whole week, up to 23 December. In the vagaring Roman calendar the Winter Solstice fell in this period; in imperial times that event was celebrated in honour of Sol Invictus and put on 25 December by emperor Aurelian in 274, so after the Saturnalia.

There is a theory that Christians in the fourth century assigned December 25th (the Winter Solstice on the Julian calendar) as Christ’s birthday (and thus Christmas) because pagans already observed this day as a holiday. This would sidestep the problem of eliminating an already popular holiday while Christianizing the population.

It is also possible to see it as early Christians replacing the Pagan celebration in an act of triumphalism. However, others claim that early Christians independently came up with the date of December 25th based on a Jewish tradition of the “integral age” of the Jewish prophets (the idea that the prophets of Israel died on the same dates as their birth or conception), and a miscalculation of the date of Jesus’ death. It is even sometimes claimed that Aurelian moved the feast of Sol Invictus to December 25th to co-opt the Christian celebration.

The Romans also practiced many traditions similar to Christmas; specifically the “Christmas tree”, though the Christmas tree itself is a later development in the celebration of Christmas (having its origins in Germany, possibly during the Reformation). The Romans often cut down evergreens and decorated them to pay homage to Saturn, the god of farming. This was to honor the fact that the evergreens remained alive during the harshness of winter. It was also traditional for Romans to exchange gifts during this holiday. These gifts were customarily made of silver, although nearly anything could be given as a gift for the occasion. Several epigrams by the poet Martial survive, seemingly crafted as riddling gift-tags for gifts of food. The medieval celebration of the Feast of Fools was another continuation of Saturnalia into the Christian era.

[quote]deanosumo wrote:
I’m not into persecuting religions- each to their own, but Paganism, come on, this is the 21st Century. It’s one step above Astrology.[/quote]

And oddly enough, most major newspapers around the world still print daily horoscopes.

Paganism is just as valid a theory of relgion today as it was 100, 1000, or 10,000 years ago. In fact, if you step back away from the stigma attached to wicca or other neopagan religions and just look at some of the foundations on which their belief system is built, you’ll probably find that they make a good deal of sense.

Take, for example, the idea of polytheism. In reality, this is how things work most of the time. Most the leading countries in the world are ruled by many, not by one. Representative governments have different people in charge of different segments and responsible for different things. Same in most, if not all, successful companies, people head up different divisions and groups with different areas of expertise. Very rarely do you see a situation in which one person is completely and totally in charge, and makes every decision with absolute authority.

Another concept people generally fail to understand when criticizing polytheist religions is the idea that gods are beings. Just like in Christianity or other monotheistic religions, most polytheists don’t really believe that there are individual beings floating around, or living up on top of a mountain, or in the sky, or what have you. In fact, if you do some research into neopaganism you’ll generally find that the pantheon is just a different way of representing the all powerful “God” of the monotheistic religions. “God” is just broken up into smaller pieces. Much like the idea of the holy trinity in Christianity making up the whole of “God”. Many pagans even believe that there’s a small piece of “God” in everything, humans, animals, trees, rocks, etc…

Now let’s take a look at the oft maligned practice of spellcasting. It’s really no different than prayer just looked at from a slightly different angle. Prayer is traditionally looked at as communicating with “God” or asking “God” for help in some way. Well, spellcasting is exactly the same, but based on the idea that some small piece of “God” is inside the person doing it. Thus, the focus is more internal.

If it’s the actual rituals people take issue with, well that’s just ridiculous. Muslims kneel on a rug and face Mecca each day to pray. Christians traditionally kneel and place their palms together and look up at the heavens, or bow their heads to avoid looking at a “God” they fear. Pagans tend to get naked (or skyclad as they often call it) and get closer to nature. Well, these all make sense, they’re all ways of trying to get closer to what you believe is the supernatural. Muslims see mecca has holy so they face it. Christians traditionally associate “God” with the sky and the heavens so they direct their prayers that way. Pagans tend to see “God” in nature so they try to get closer to it.

All in all, most relgions have the same basic fundamentals. Sometimes you have to dig really really deep and work through a lot of tradition and whatnot to get to them, but they’re there. The differences in how people interpret it are really just superficial.

So, deanosumo, if I may ask, what are your faults with paganism, or neopaganism? And if it’s just a step above astrology, what’s the next step? And the one after that? And why? What justifies this heierarchy?

Cheers (dare I say “blessed be”;)),
Jay

[quote]cadav wrote:
what is the bible belt?

i’m really curious 'cause the USA have to me a double face of freedom and biggotry (sp?) I’m really intrested in the spirituality of the people as a eay to understand them in a more complete way[/quote]

Do you care to elaborate on what you call the “double face of freedom and biggotry”?

Not to hijack the thread but…

[quote]Jimfound wrote:
cadav wrote:
what is the bible belt?

i’m really curious 'cause the USA have to me a double face of freedom and biggotry (sp?) I’m really intrested in the spirituality of the people as a eay to understand them in a more complete way

Do you care to elaborate on what you call the “double face of freedom and biggotry”?

Not to hijack the thread but…

[/quote]

In the Bible Belt, you are free to practice whatever religion you want as long as it’s Christian. And not just any form of Christianity - it must be fundamentalist Southern Baptist or Pentecostal. Episcopalians, Methodists, and even Catholics need not apply.

[quote]emdawgz1 wrote:
Christmas= Saturnalia

What was Saturnalia?

Saturnalia was the feast at which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of the god Saturn, which took place on 17 December. Over the years, it expanded to a whole week, up to 23 December. In the vagaring Roman calendar the Winter Solstice fell in this period; in imperial times that event was celebrated in honour of Sol Invictus and put on 25 December by emperor Aurelian in 274, so after the Saturnalia.

There is a theory that Christians in the fourth century assigned December 25th (the Winter Solstice on the Julian calendar) as Christ’s birthday (and thus Christmas) because pagans already observed this day as a holiday. This would sidestep the problem of eliminating an already popular holiday while Christianizing the population.

It is also possible to see it as early Christians replacing the Pagan celebration in an act of triumphalism. However, others claim that early Christians independently came up with the date of December 25th based on a Jewish tradition of the “integral age” of the Jewish prophets (the idea that the prophets of Israel died on the same dates as their birth or conception), and a miscalculation of the date of Jesus’ death. It is even sometimes claimed that Aurelian moved the feast of Sol Invictus to December 25th to co-opt the Christian celebration.

[/quote]

Might I add that modern scholars have came to believe Jesus was born sometime during the summer as well. The star the three wise men were following would have only been present, astronomically during the cusp of Cancer to Leo, thus, possibly between July 2, to July 15. A picture at Chateaux St. Rennes would epitomize this. Despite the Roman mistranslation of Roman dates (Which had no concept of the number Zero) to the arabic numeric system, the actual calander is a few months off to begin with - in relation to arabic numerical time system. This places most holidays many weeks off from origin, and most holidays, days off from actual occurance.

This i saw off the History channel, as well as the College I used to attend.

[quote]Loose Tool wrote:
deanosumo wrote:
I’m not into persecuting religions- each to their own, but Paganism, come on, this is the 21st Century. It’s one step above Astrology.

I disagree. It’s not a step above astrology. It’s on the same level, just like every other religion. Belief is based in faith, not fact, therefore, neither astrology, paganism, or any other religion has any special claim to the truth.

[/quote]

Kudos. Great post.

-J

[quote]MikeTheBear wrote:
Jimfound wrote:
cadav wrote:
what is the bible belt?

i’m really curious 'cause the USA have to me a double face of freedom and biggotry (sp?) I’m really intrested in the spirituality of the people as a eay to understand them in a more complete way

Do you care to elaborate on what you call the “double face of freedom and biggotry”?

Not to hijack the thread but…

In the Bible Belt, you are free to practice whatever religion you want as long as it’s Christian. And not just any form of Christianity - it must be fundamentalist Southern Baptist or Pentecostal. Episcopalians, Methodists, and even Catholics need not apply.[/quote]

Most of your replies are enlightened, this one is incorrect,however. There just happens to be a large number of S. Baptists in the South.

heh, I think it’s interesting just how many people on this board are sill living in fucking high school.

there are PLENTY of pagans, most of whom I’ve had the pleasure to know could easily be passed off as “good christians” to an unknowing audience. They don’t all dye their hair black and paint their nails black, they don’t cut themselves, don’t be silly. People are drawn to whatever spiritual path is best suited for them - me? I’m drawn to a multitude of paths… I’m not so sure about this crazy western idea that you can only have one religion. As for persecution, I wouldn’t say anyone is outright persecuted, but kids in shool are picked on, and adults seldom mention their faith to elderly conservative family members, and many fear its mention to the families of future spouses. So there’s no outright persecution, but even in California, people have been afraid to be fully public with it.

[quote]Jimfound wrote:

Do you care to elaborate on what you call the “double face of freedom and biggotry”?

Not to hijack the thread but…

[/quote]

Sure, but first i want to apology.
Because what i “know” or “think to know” about USA came to me from TNation Forum, books, movie, documentary and only spare “real” people i have known cause of my work or interest. So i believe that my point of view is “biased”…

However I see the USA as the nation of freedom. Where a Man can do its path. Where a lot of people go to have the base to build their idea…

Great opportunity for the people who deserve.

But I also see a “strange” behaviour “inside” the USA… The blindness versus who is really different. “A one solution for every problem” approach.

I don’t know… a kind of “rigidity” (sp?) on social behaviour (for example the levinsky “problem” in Italy will never be a problem…)

And also a “deep” religiosity… too much deep for a country as big and “free” as USA…

Christianity is a sham perpetrated on the mind-numb masses for no other reason than to subjugate them. Paganism is at least, original. That America practices the rites of Paganism and doesn’t even know it… priceless hypocricy. The only way Christianity could supplant Paganism was to obfuscate their holy days with their own holy days.